Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is Living!

To the left is the waterfront. To the right is the main entrance to the house from the driveway.

In this post we've just stepped inside the door on the center left and will follow the walls indicated in red.

 Just one step inside the front door of the Wadmalaw Island house and you can see a lot. 

Looking from inside the guest room toward the door we've just entered from the driveway.
You see into the guest room on the right, through to the other side of the house straight ahead, and beyond the living room to the library on your left. And you can see some parts of all of my mural which I have divided into four main parts. In this post we will explore the living room portion.

During the installation.
Detail of living room portion, studio shot.

Looking into the living room.

Living room doors closed.

Part of the property that the house sits on is cultivated. So I depicted freshly plowed fields ready for planting and the natural forest bordering the field.

Looking from the hall through the living room and to the wall of the library.

This is a detail of the photo above. 

Wide shot showing the entire perimeter of the living room and all of this portion of my mural.
I didn't really think about it but there's poetic logic to the living room portion of my mural showing the land that gives life; food and a livelihood. 

Looking back through the open doors of the guest room. The living room is on the right.

Looking through the hall and into the living room from the library.

At the party given in honor of the craftspeople I met Robert and Lindsay MacLeod, Wadmalaw Island neighbors,  who are using part of this land to raise their own crops. They also happen to be the craftspeople who made the beautiful outdoor lanterns for the house. Coming up I'll show more of the outside as well as the kitchen portion of the mural. 

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Library (not public)

The library is behind these walls. Here can see all of my library mural .

My flattened elevation showing me what I needed to paint.

The library is the upper left corner of this maquette.
Go here for more on the architect:

You, my readers, are not the public. Through me you have access to this private library. Actually we're going to concentrate on the outside of this library which is the third installment of my Wadmalaw mural entries.

Alan Cooper during installation.

Finished and close-up of sconce. Placement on the tree is purely coincidental.

My back in a studio shot.

First, a little more about the manner in which this project was conceived. As mentioned in my last post Glen Keyes' office sent me a beautiful set of plans and elevations but these I had to adapt for my own needs. What I needed were elevations which showed me the contiguous wall surfaces so I made them myself. Even better my good friend Alix Soubiran took these new elevations and made a simple paper model for me. Now I could really see what I was dealing with.

Looking into the library from the living room across the hall.

Outside the library and in.

Della works perfectly with my palette. That's a pink flamingo next to her.

Beyond the library walls there is water, the Wadmalaw Sound. Water, marsh, and a few trees that's the view in this direction. I placed a tree in the corner near the door to the library which has not leafed out. Somebody told me they thought my mural seemed to simultaneously depict all four seasons. That wasn't my intention but I like this idea. 

This is one of the largest stretches of fabric I had to paint. It wraps the corner here.

The waterside is through the closed doors.

There's cake on that table. Good cake.

What I had in mind was the time of day which is that in between time, close to sunset or sunrise. The light is low then and colors are muted. My rather neutral palette causes the mural to change it's complexion. The changing light in the hall is subtle and continuous which is partly why you see differences in my photos.

Studio shot of the other end of a long panel.

Same piece as above installed. Note there's an inner and outer corner.

The end.
This isn't the end. 

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Be My Guest

Ask me.

The house floor plan. The guest room is in the upper right and outlined in red.
You may refer back to this plan as you look through my photos of the guest room.
We'll start near the single door, round the corner, and end up on the other side of the double doors.

This is elevation from Glenn Keyes' office showing one guest room wall, the door to the driveway, and one living room wall.  I kept staring at this until the light bulb went off over my head. I had to rip this apart and create my own elevations.

My Wadmalaw Island mural is quite large so to design and paint it meant breaking it down into manageable pieces. The floor plan is simple. It's this: +.  A plus sign you might say. Simple right? Yes, of course, but there's more to it than that and anyway I'm more concerned with the elevations since that's where my mural comes in. What I soon realized was that the beautiful elevations sent to me were not quite what I needed so I reconfigured them to conform to the four quadrants of the house and named them for the rooms they defined: kitchen, guest, living, and library.

That's me in the studio with my (long handled) Whistler brush.
My assistant, Christophe Cassidy, brought in a music stand which held my sketch. See it?

The installer, Alan Cooper, and his crew at work on the guest room panel.

 It was decided from the outset that the surrounding countryside would be the subject of the mural. I've been to Charleston and the area a number of times and have painted it too so this was familiar to me. The interior designer, Amelia Handegan, suggested I use the work of Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876-1958), as inspiration. I love Ms. Smith's work because she shows a strong sense of the abstract which goes beyond merely recorded information. And her work is beautiful. You can't argue with that.

The abstract corner. These out of the way places are some of my most favorite.

The abstract corner is behind the opened mirrored door.
Shells in the woods. Well remember, we are near the water. It's all around us here.

The small door on the left leads to the guest room.

The opposite corner far right is the living room.

The clients sent me a cache of photos taken on their property. There were a lot to choose from, some water views, fields plowed for cultivation, marshes, and wooded areas. So what shall we concentrate on? "What would you like to see", I asked.  A little of everything they told me. So here's how I approached it: if you stood in the middle of the house and could look through the walls what would you see. That's basically how I composed the mural and used each room to represent a different aspect of the low country property.

Turning the corner.

The other side of the guest room.

The pocket doors closed to the guest room.

The opposite corner is the kitchen wall. And that's Della on the floor.

The land beyond the guest room walls is wooded and canopied with foliage. The trees are beautiful but all the other views have sky above so how could I use this view and maintain a consistent palette and values? I decided to render the forest view as if it were a misty morning with the upper story dissolving into fog. Solving  this design dilemma was the beginning for me so here in this post I present the atmospheric and ethereal "guest room" mural, one of four.

Looking into the guest through the double doors.

Details of another abstract corner. Channeling Alice Smith.
Stick with me. we're only about one quarter of the way through this project. And please remember: click on any picture to enlarge. You'll get a much better view. Next up: the library.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Island Party

Come with me, you're my date. I'm taking you to a party and you will love it. It's down a lonely road in the low country of South Carolina. We've left Charleston. We're going over the Esau Jenkins Bridge, under a canopy of old oaks, passed truck farms and down a dirt road you could easily miss if I weren't at the wheel.

At last we see it and it looks new but is this a new house? Could be a restored Antebellum.  There are people on the porch, oh good, we're not the first to arrive. OK, let's go in. Wow, beautiful. Go on, I'm going to explore on my own. This doesn't seem to be a party where everyone congregates in the kitchen. But look there are just four rooms and this giant hallway that cuts through from front to back and side to side.

Waterside porch through the doors on the left and the library on the right.

Ok, true confessions: I've been here before, just once. I painted the mural that lines the hallway. The mural was created in California but I came for the installation and now I am back for a party given by the owners in celebration of the craftspeople who put this house together. In future posts I'm going to thoroughly explore this space to show you all of my mural. I'll take you back to the studio to show you the painting process and even further back to the planning stages.

Looking into the living room and the guest room down the hall.

View from inside the library looking across the hall to the living room.

Just outside the kitchen seen through the doorway on the right.

The library is behind the wall on the immediate left and the kitchen is straight ahead.

The view from the living room into the hallway and the library beyond.

Looking into the living room.

Now don't go away blog readers. This should be interesting.

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