Friday, 6 September 2013

John Lennon Mural

I started a mural project that will probably take me until the end of the year to complete. The office wall I am working on is around 15 metres long. The idea is to paint some quotations as well as some of their famous authors.

Each member of the team working in this office gave their favourite quote. The first one I worked on was from John Lennon.

John Lennon quotation and portrait

I have used a black & white photograph manipulated in Photoshop. First, I pushed the contrast. Then, I applied the "posterize" filter to reduce the number of values.

Set-up to paint Lennon's portrait

I projected the photograph on the wall with a projector hooked to a laptop.

Because I worked on a pale blue background, it was not always easy to see the projected photograph. The other issue to deal with was that you must keep your hand away (or the shadow obscures the projection).

I decided to skip tracing the image and paint the image directly instead. I started with the white because the lighter value is easier to see. The paint is ordinary acrylic house paint that I applied with a small brush, starting with the edges.

When a contour was done, I just had to fill the shape with a larger brush.

After the white, I painted the grey mid-tone. I had a sample tin of a very nice grey (house paint).

Finally, it was time to paint the red. I chose a tube of Vermilion (Daler Rowney artist quality acrylic paint). I also traced the boundaries of the image with a pencil and ruler because, after that, I could switch-off the projector and work with the natural light.

So far, I have used only a small brush because some lines were fiddly and thin. What I was left with after painting the contour was large planes that I could paint with a larger brush.

For the quotation, I wrote it on a PowerPoint slide, projected it and painted the letters directly - without tracing. It may not be as neat as tracing them first, but it already took me more than an hour to get that piece done.

As I am left handed, I painted the letters from right to left and top to bottom, to ensure I would not smudge the fresh paint with my wrist.

No comments: