Photograph Memory Treasures

I found some birthday memory treasures while going through old photographs. We have been loving the outdoor skiing sports for a long, long time.

PeteVal1Pete and I were married the year before, and I remember that wonderful soft beard of many colors? In January of 2000 we were the parents of two young teenagers.

It was my daughter, Rachel’s 16th birthday, so, where did we do her party? Why, up at the ski hill of course! Skiing, what better way is there for a teenager to spend birthday energy? With a total in attendance of eight people, we had three newbies with us; Allison, Sarah and Colleen. Then there were the old-timer ski hill bums Cody, Patrick, Peter, Rachel, and myself. You classify as a ski bum if you go up on the hill every day off you get.

Newbies

AllisonPat
Allison skiing with Pat boarding by her.
Sarah
Sarah falling only a few times.
Colleen1
Colleen snowplowing
Colleen2
Colleen conquering the bunny hill.

Old Timers

Then there was the rest of the gang…

AllisonRachelSarah
Allison, Rachel, and Sarah

Not a lot of money but good food, friends and laughter.

AllisonRachelCody
Allison, Rachel, and Cody

Expressive body language…

RachelCody
Rachel and Cody
Cody
Cody

Lunchtime had soup sandwiches and birthday cake at our table. Cooler and thermos experts we were and still are. Remembering these days and your friends bring a warm chuckle to my heart. I wonder how everyone is doing now. You guys were a really fun group to hang out with, and I treasure these memories brought back by a small packet of photographs taken in January of 2000. We know that is the date because of the irritating red neon date on the bottom right corner.

Nervous Bear Ski Repair

Looking at the BearBear Skiing Sign 01

This animal character sign is a bear learning to ski. While his major damage is not very obvious, he does have poke holes in scattered places  the majority of them being the ski pole and claw area. Most importantly, he is missing half of his back ski. I wonder how many people will notice that the ski is half gone?

Bear Repair Process

Bear Skiing Sign 02

First, I paint the bear fur in browns using a red tint to bring some surfaces closer in appearance.

Colors Change

Bear Skiing Sign 03

This close shot shows how a warm red tint tends to draw his front leg closer to our eyes. In contrast, an addition of a cool blue makes shadow appear pushing his other leg back away from us. Isn’t it amazing to move areas with just a small addition of different colors? Certainly, art is cool.

Drying

Bear Skiing Sign 04

I paint the various blue accessories, including his small blue neck warmer, ski’s and pole and set him to dry. Not everything can be done on wet surfaces, and needing a completely dry surface to apply details, I set him down to dry.

Details

Bear Skiing Sign 05

Working on camouflaging the bear’s missing ski problem I use his ski pole to diffuse attention as we visually separate the skis. The ski pole basket is deliberately located right at the intersection point of the two skis. Hopefully, this will cause a distraction resulting in effectively blurring the area between the two ski surfaces. Best case scenario result is, a redirection of the viewer’s attention away from the bear back paw being located way to far back on the ski. With an ounce of distraction the artist becomes a magician. Bet you didn’t know that about being an artist.

Bear Skiing Sign 06

Continuing, with black outline details that exaggerate his wide-open expression and adds shadows above and below the eyes his face transforms.

Bear Skiing Sign 07Likewise, his mouth line makes-ready for later additions of his tongue and sweat. Why? Because, I plan to make him have a really nervous expression as learns to ski. A similar expression to the little people that will be poking at him later on the beginner ski trails.

Finishing

Bear Skiing Sign 08
Now, the nervous skiing bear repair is complete and he is drying on the table. Even though he is a nervous wreck as he learns to ski he will be ready to go play with the other kids learning on the trails up at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah WA.

Finishing Details on Mural

1_49MuralDetail

Adding finishing details and final touches to this winter scene interior mural at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah Washington. My scaffold gets packed up and I use the ladders to work on the last parts of this project. With my smallest brushes, I paint, then backup to see how the whole wall looks to me. This little step-back-and-look habit, always really helps me to change my perspective making it possible to see things I do not notice when I am close to the wall. After repositioning myself, I usually see missing items better.

02_49MuralDetail

Watch Out

Mountaintops in the winter can easily become an addictive thing. This whole project is quite an enjoyable one for me as I am painting from my own memories on the hill. There is absolutely nothing like spending the day speeding down a powdery hill feeling the cold wind kissing your face. Your eyes take in some of the best views on the planet as your heart races similar to being on a rollercoaster. If you have not tried skiing yet, don’t miss out on this wonderful experience in your life. You may find that winter will become your favorite time of year! Really!

I tell you the truth, skiing is just about as much fun as you can have without breaking any laws.

01_49MuralDetail

Finishing Touches

I carefully add scattered groups of detail in larch and birch between the evergreens bringing a little realism into the whole impressionistic view. Stepping back, lets me notice that I am missing majestic tamarack trees both in the background and up front. Next some shrubbery is added at the tree bases using a rigger brush with dark browns and then adding snow on some of them. Some of the closest snow mounds receive a stroke of white to finish them up.

03_49MuralDetail

Standing back to get a better look, another missing ingredient comes to mind. I can’t forget to add little clumps of snow resting on the branches of the trees. If you knew our family, you’d know why that snow is important! Especially Patrick, who is known for sharing those clumps of snow with unsuspecting fellows on the slope. Okay, remember now that payback is patient dude!

Wall “A” is a twenty foot long space and all details are complete now.

Finished 49 Mural Wall A first half Finished 49 Mural Wall A second half

Wall “B” is a forty-foot wide wall in three sections, having 2 columns and a doorway in it. It also has a rather large storage cabinet built into the corner behind the cash register. It was kind of tricky to figure out where to put the finishing details and not cause confusion or competition with the door or columns, and use of the benches. People tend to hang out and examine the details in a mural, so I try not to interfere with the business by drawing attention with the placement of details to areas away from traffic patterns if possible.

finished 49 Mural Wall B1 Finished 49 Mural Wall B2 Finished 49 Mural Wall B3

Wall “C” is now finished as the shortest twelve foot wall that divides the nursery from the children’s club. The cash register counter is on the right where parents check-in with their children dropping them off for lessons on the hill.

49MuralWallC

“All Pau!” with this winter mural.

When you are all finished with something, then you are “all pau” with it in Hawaii. Which is simply a scrap of trivia information for those of you who enjoy collecting those little bits of information. I can’t wait to start skiing this season! Hope you can come up to 49 Degrees North to see the mural and let me know what you think. Time to pray for snow everyone!

Finish a Mural

One Step at a Time to Finish

Finishing involves painting, cleaning up and changing colors to do it again. Persistence pays off in this line of work, and so does good planning. Remember, taking time to plan for less cleanup makes the process of painting a large mural much easier. I paint the entire length of the surface over and over until I’m done. Simple tools are what I use, like a handy “paint can lid” pallet with large pools of the color on it. It is easy to hold in one hand as I use it to mix paints on my brush. Most importantly, if I run low on a  color, it is easy to go back and dip in the bucket to quickly refill and continue. I grab my brushes and paint anything I run across on the wall using that group of colors. 

“B” is the longest wall being 40 feet long (400 sf), and Wall “C” is 12 feet (120 sf).

wall B treelineWhen I put the frosty trees in, I also put in more of the white on the mountain tops at the same time. Catching all the things using whatever color I am working with.

wall B treeline 3I see a real good separation after the green and gray treelines on the horizon are rendered.

wall B treeline 4Adding the trunks with dark shadows on the closest evergreens to give a deeper feel to their shadows.

Day is Finished

max 1

When I am wanting to get a mural finished, I get kind of lost in my painting and loose track of time. The jobsite supervisor is telling me it is time to get home as he sings me a howling song. It is real good for me to have this kind of buddy around because he makes me take breaks and walk around with him. He never lets me eat lunch alone. If I get lost in my work Max will bring me back down to reality. Dogs are some of the best people! If you would like to see more of this fantastic dude check out this link.

max 2 max 3

Tree Perspective

initial tree sketchMy thoughts were on tree shapes and how the weather affects perspective values as I drove up the mountain. Distant trees almost disappear into the softness as we travelled the road through some pretty thick fog this morning. As a result of the poor visibility, we had to go real slow until we got about half way up the hill and then we broke through the fog layer. Surprise! Brilliant sun greeted us, with everything sparkling and lightly frosted, which was absolutely gorgeous. We pulled into the resort and unloaded tools.

Sometimes, it is hard to figure out what to start with. When that happens I start on the first thing I see. This morning that was, sketching the first tree in simple impressionistic shapes then adding a cast a shadow. Quickly placing the rest of the trees on the wall gives me a good idea of how this will be looking.

trees in wall A

Check Out Real Trees

chair one fog
When in doubt take a look at reference material. Taking a coffee break we walk outside and take a peek at a real trees on the hill before we paint any further. It is always really neat to look at the real colors of nature. The chill was noticeable and another layer of heavy fog was drifting down from above, making everything real quiet. Here is the view from the bottom of chair one where Max and I admire the hill. Winter is on the way!

Using a mixture of natural colors along with primaries, I continue to fill-out tree bodies. Colors used include burnt sienna, umber, white, and mixtures of the primaries of yellow, red and blue. I quickly add little cast shadows on the snow from the tree trunk bases, and almost instantly don’t like it. When I step back I realize that I am also not getting the depth that I want yet. Everything looks as though they are at about the same “depth of field” (the same distance away from me) so I need to do something different. treeline full greens

Perspective in the Trees

trees gray green whiteStarting in again working on the tree perspectives using greys and white much more boldly. Immediately we begin to see remarkable results. There is a real distance accomplished by adding greys. It is astonishing to me, how this change in value really makes the tree take a step back in space. As I add more greys I am being careful to reserve enough dark forest green shadows in each tree. I want to feel as though I can reach into the branches and touch a trunk. Using a lot more white on other groups of trees gives an occasional “frosty the snowman” surprise tree in the mix.

trees with no shadow

Are you a sharp eyed individual?

You may have noticed missing cast shadows on the foreground. The shadow lines just seemed too busy and not to serve any purpose. Thank goodness I am using wall paint latex, so I can eradicate errors easily. By the way, artist’s are allowed to change their minds.

Painting Begins

Initial Wall Painted

background mountains
background mountains

Painting the first wall of a mural is where I tend to experiment with colors and shapes the most. We want the mountains fading as they go off into the distance brighter trees in the foreground, so, I am using muted colors that overlap to start achieving a shortened depth of field. Consequently, you will see on the far left that I am experimenting with a little snow cap on the hill.

Snow Caps

snowcap mountains
snowcap mountains

Along with the white cap mountain tops I work my way to the right trying clouds above the hilltop to see what it looks like. The jury is still out about whether this is the best sky treatment for this room scenery.

Trees

trees foreground
trees foreground

The next step is the tree layout. With a limited pallet I am staying real gray and using only quick and very essential shapes right now. The sample I was given to work with had this big tree up front, but I am not in love with it right now. That may need to change  before the job is over.

Start Next Wall

background mountains next wall
background mountains next wall

I have made the turn around the corner and started with the snow capped mountain range on the longer wall. It is a little tricky to keep the lines right when avoiding things like a column or doorway like this wall has, but it can be done. Sometimes I use a drawn chalk line across the door to the other side so I can keep the lines straight. The resort is getting ready to open their doors around Thanksgiving this year. Everyone is praying for snow. You can check out 49 Degrees North Ski Resort at their website. All in all, things are progressing at a good pace and I am happy.