Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okay, really, I'm done!

I went back to "The Learning Tree" at Benton Center this morning for the last and final tweaks. The last thing I did on Tuesday was add some metallic paint. I knew I would have to return and knock back the finish after it had dried. I found a few more places that needed touched up. A bit of green hear, a smudge of yellow there, you know, the fussing stage. I fusses and tweaked (technical artist terms) and would still be there if Shirley had not kicked me out. Sometimes you just can't help fussing with your art. Well, all the paint is cleaned up and the ladder is back home so, it is finished.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Learning Tree

I began work around 8 this morning. I worked alone today because I needed to make decisions on color as I worked. I mixed colors and glaze to get the effect I wanted and applied them to the wall. A bit of red hear and a bit of green there, softening and blending as I went.

I finished at about 3:30 and just had time to get things cleaned up before a small gathering of board members assembled in the area for a five year anniversary party for the remodel of the building.

I was trying to get out before the shindig began but was asked by the president of Benton Center if I would stick around so he could introduce me and my "Tree of Learning". Needless to say I was not dressed for the impromptu unveiling but it was nice to get the warm appreciation of all who were present.

Thanks Jeff and Shirley.

The tree is a white oak, native to the Willamette Valley and growing outside of the Benton Center. The colors where chosen to represent all four seasons as well as coordinate with the surrounding colors in the building. The symbols represent the different things taught at the center and are hidden in the tree to be discovered upon close inspection. I am pleased with the way it turned out, so it must be done.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Wall... continued

Things are going much faster than I originally anticipated.

I arrived this morning at Benton Center around 9:00 and started sketching in the icons that represent the classes offered here. I then painted them with a dark brown almost black paint. Around 10:30 a good friend arrived to help. Having help always makes the job much more enjoyable and fun. It didn't take long before we had the dark section of the tree done.

We then mixed up our glaze colors, five in all, a dark red, a pea green, an orange and a golden yellow along with a wall color glaze. The glaze is mixed about 4 to 1 with the paint color. We applied the glaze with natural sponges starting with the dark red, then green, then orange and finally the yellow. I must admit the thing was looking a bit garish after the colors were added but we then went over it with the wall color glaze and it all softened and became quite subtle.

I fussed with it awhile adding lights till I decided it needed time to dry and I needed a soak in a warm tub.

Thank you Nancy for all your help today. It was not easy being brave and sponging such bold color onto the wall. You did an awesome job!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Wall... continued

Yesterday I put a layer of primer and then a layer of wall color paint on the wall. I am ready to start painting the details on the tree!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Wall... continued

Yesterday I want back to the Benton Center and added more joint compound to sections of the tree to define more depth. Jessica was able to join me. Jessica recently graduated from UofO with an Art degree and she specializes in sculpture. It was good to have another pair of eyes to evaluate where more depth was needed. Thank you Jessica!

I will give the wall the next 5 days to dry. It should be good and dry by then and I will be able to put a layer of primer over the sculpture and then a layer of wall color paint.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wall Sculpture

Today I started the "Tree of Learning" mural at Benton Center. My plan for today was to start putting the texture on the wall to create a 3D tree. I was originally thinking about using a material called Kwik Fix but after talking to my carpenter friend Steve, I decided a setting type joint compound would work better.

This type of drywall compound is very different from other types of drywall mud. This type dries through a chemical reaction and is typically very hard. Available as a powder with drying times ranging from 20 minutes to several hours depending on the type used.

I used the 90 minute type. It has excellent bonding capabilities to a variety of surfaces. Other benefits include less shrinkage and cracking, also it is much harder than regular All-Purpose drywall mud.

I used a trowel to apply the compound to the trunk and root area, then I used a textured roller, then knocked the surface ridges down with my trowel. It worked great and really likes like bark.

I applied the compound with a natural sponge to the leaf areas, some thin and some thick. I twisted the sponge and made sure not to get any repeating pattern, just random texture.

In the photos the tan area is the wet joint compound. I decided to allow this to dry a day or so and then go back and add more depth.

It must be going okay because I had several people come by and say it looked like a tree. :))