Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We Could Have Had It All

The Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men
do not see it. -Thomas or somebody.

In fact I'm pretty sure it's me. The quote above is mine. I said that, or rather something like it every time one of my clients misses the point of having it all that they fail to enjoy it. Look back into my past posts and you'll find a great example of this. We're approaching the one year anniversary of my Ojai project/non project. They could have it all.

Watercolor by Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc of Pierrefonds.

How about a country? Would you like your very own? HRH The Prince of Liechtenstein asked me for the world and I gladly gave it to him. Okay, so he didn't exactly asked me directly, in person but on behalf of the LGT Group of the princely House of Liechtenstein I painted a world map mural for  their stunning San Francisco offices high atop the Embarcadero Center. Enter the marble stair way and you can see my work and find the locations of Liechtenstein Global Trust world wide.

Studio shot of my map mural for LGT.

This is one of my favorite types of commissions. The general direction is know but it's up to me to chart the course. I get just enough input and there's room for quite a lot of creativity. Paint a map, sure, but which one? I chose the less well known Peters projection rather that the very common Mercator projection. Principalities may seem like anachronisms but LGT is a modern day investment firm and Peters map shows the world accurately. Where Mercator shows Greenland and China as having nearly the same mass Peters correctly portrays China at close to four times the size of Greenland. Let's get it right people.

Installed view detail of my map mural showing Liechtenstein coat of arms.

Do you know where you're going to?

Watch for sea serpents. Life's full of 'em.

Still I give thanks  to Mercator and others for their useful and inventive annotated cartography. I thank you. I used many antique references showing landmasses, navigation lines, and various storied creatures upon the seas. The antique style seemed better suited to the crest and coat of arms of Liechtenstein which I also incorporated into my mural. And I indicated the world wide offices in a font completely based on Mercator's beautiful script. Ironically the San Francisco office is no longer among those cities listed. The office is closed. The whereabouts if this map is unknown to me.

Ojai -no map. That's the way it is.

My "rough sketch" of a map mural for Ojai.

Just like LGT the people in Ojai came to me with the idea of map and I said great, I can do that for you. See my previous blog post for some charming photos of this beautiful property. Now I take you inside to show you my map composite. These days my rough sketches; my cocktail napkin drawings are more likely a Photoshop collage. It's easier in a way and gives a good idea of what the finished work will look like in the space. I take the rough and make it real which in this case would have meant substituting what's all around Ojai. I would added charming little images of the local flora and fauna and shown the terrain. It's beautiful and inspiring country and what a perfect installation for an odd little stairway landing. They asked for and I had planned two other painting projects for the house. "Had" is the operative word.

Adele in her video of "Rolling In The Deep"

Violette-le-Duc's mountain mural.

Violet-le-Duc's home La Vedette. He lived for just one year after completing these murals.

We could have had it all! -Adele. Do you know the song: Rolling In The Deep? The video? I captured a still from the video. Have you noticed that strange abandoned room where Adele sits in front of a mural of a mountain-scape. My only reference for such a thing is Violet-le-Duc. He painted a mural of mountains for his own place, La Vedette. Isn't it wonderful? He's such a fascinating character. I used his designs in an early project of mine. Historically we owe him some gratitude for showing us the beauty of Gothic in a time when it was not especially fashionable. He wasn't interested in fashionable.

Violette-le-Duc's mountain studies.

Violet-le-Duc's restoration project for Napolean: Pierrefonds.

Remember to claim your kingdom. It's all around you.

My job? It's to help you.

Now see my Tumblr

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'll Tumble 4 Ya

You didn't ask for it but you got it. 

The picture only version of this blog.

Please visit my new Tumblr site.

Friday, April 1, 2011

All Parties End In The Kitchen

Wide view showing the entire kitchen mural.

This view orients toward the kitchen but here I wanted especially to show you the beautiful compass rose in the floor.

My Wadmalaw Island mural  project was one big mural or a set of four murals depending on how you look at it. Especially while working on it we had to think of it as four separate murals. 

Studio view. Our light there tended to be on the cool side as you can see.
Note the dividing line. There's a door between those two parts.

The first panel  is cut and waiting on the floor to be hung.

Alan Cooper and company hang the first panel. The kitchen portion of my mural.

The goal is always to have as few pieces as possible but there are actually more than four pieces owing to the interior architecture which includes single and double doorways. It doesn't make sense to include a blank space in the painting where a door would go. The sections of the mural above the doors were painted separately and so there are seams above the doors which are essentially invisible. Therefore the mural is one continuous unbroken picture plane of more than 140 feet.

My abstract corner. Channeling Clifford Still.

The mirrored door to the office open hides the corner and reflects more of the hall.

Another view of the corner and more of the kitchen wall reflected.

In truth it's all abstract to me. To paraphrase Magritte,  'This is not a landscape.'

 Oh, but don't get me started on the math. There's so much math to making a mural and I'm not crazy about that part. Or perhaps I should say it threatens to drive me crazy. 

Looking down the hall to the office. The kitchen is on the left.

One of my first assignments for my assistant, Christophe Cassidy,  was to tackle the math, to figure out the puzzle of all the pieces and how they fit on the stretched fabric. Of course we'd check and recheck each other's calculations and sometimes we'd have to remind ourselves what part of the project we were painting.

The low country.

Looking into the kitchen.

Half of the kitchen portion of my Wadmalaw Island mural.

Double doors to the kitchen.

 "All parties end up in the kitchen," Christophe would say to remind us that we were on the last part of the painting and it was indeed the kitchen. I think he was particularly excited to be in the home stretch (see photo).

Overlapping shots of the same area next to the kitchen double doors.

Same shot as above in perspective.

I love this sort of tangle of growth common to the wild parts of Wadmalaw.

Christophe jumping for joy. We're done!
This is a studio view and you'll note the break allowing for the double doors to the kitchen.

We're done but I'm not! Here I'm adding some painting over the door on site.
Work that would have been too difficult to match up in the studio.

Click on Tumblr for more pictures of this and other projects. Thanks!

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