Monday, September 25, 2017

Halloween Season Kicks Off for 2017

While everyone is belly aching about the latest news frenzy, I'm in the background designing and organizing for the upcoming Holiday Window Painting Season. It's an overwhelming task. I keep notes on my current clients and structure the necessary photo albums for quick image reference. I'm at a loss at times for ideas until I begin the journey to the location I will be painting. Sometimes, inspiration hits just in the nick of time and I am off and running with the idea or ideas in this case.

I love designing a window painting that reflects the business I am decorating. The select elements mixed with tried and true imagery and characters lends a sense of humor and a unique view of the business offerings inside. It is tailor fitted to each individual case and the theme may take a few hours to take its true shape. Once it forms the sketch is drawn out and the colorful sections filled in.

The above scene is one of the dog grooming service offices in my client list. They asked me to take down the summer scene I did and create something fitting for the Fall season and Halloween. I'm sure they'll want to leave this one up as long as possible. I know I do. I enjoyed creating it very much and spent a very emotional few hours finishing it. The individual sections are brimming with delightful imagery. My heart aches when I take them off to change seasons. Art is both a joyful and painful path.

Right to left we have bright pumpkins in a pumpkin patch setting. The leaves and pumpkins are lit up in neon colors. This is a standard theme for Fall decor and one I must pay close attention to when painting. It must be solid enough to brave weather changes and last about two months. The windows here are covered with a roof section so the tempera paint I use won't be rained off, thankfully. They may take a scratch or two or a chip, but they will last and hold color for a very long time.

Panel two is a design that I did not plan. This scene was pure inspiration and one I'd like to preserve on canvas eventually. This is Monster Piece, a trio of dogs dressed as classic Hollywood Monsters. The bulldog stars as The Mummy. Our pink poodle models the wig from The Bride of Frankenstein and the Foxy Dog character is dramatically pulling off the Dracula look. I was delighted with this design image and giggles surrounded me in the creation of my monster piece...

The business entrance door holds a place for the traditional Halloween kitty. Scaredy Cat was backed up by a line of blue so the raging, rising fur could be scene clearly at a distance. Check out the glowing, glaring eyes and sharp fangs in the image below.

Moving on to the next panel, we have a sweet Autumn scene with a sheep dog dressed as a farmer or scare crow and a wild Chihuahua popping up from a Jack O' Lantern. That little dog is the cartoon image of my beloved Tulip. She's a Chihuahua short-haired Terrier mix and a very busy, but sweet little girl. I've included her whenever I get the chance to do pet scenes.

Close ups of the faces are below...

Now you can see why I was a giggling fool with this scenery. I hope it causes others the same cheery emotion.

The next section is a door that is not used and it holds a nice trio of pumpkins.

Funny thing about this door. There are two cats that live in the store and they like to bat at the window while I'm painting. The first time they did that I called the owner. This was during the summer scene and I did not know the critters were in there. I told her I thought something fell over in her store. She told me about the resident felines then. They sure made me jump when they hit the window!!

The pumpkin's scrolling vines and leafy details were added to give form and texture to the image. I'm more of a cartoon artist, but I like to try my best to add contrast and light to my paintings. It's been 40+ years creating these scenes and I still believe I have a lot to learn.

The final panel is a small scene with three additional pets in costume. Left to right we have a Maltese in a pumpkin outfit. (He is a dedication to my dearly departed Simon.) Next is Frankenkitty - an unhappy cat dressed as Frankenstein. Finally, we have Charlie B., a beagle with the ghost sheet like the one that Charlie Brown wears in the endearing Peanuts series. The bag reads Tricks for Treats because we all ask our pets to perform for us before offering a reward.

Enjoy the holiday season and be safe out there when Trick or Treating!!

Browse the blog here for more stories and artwork or visit the artist's website for more information. There you'll find the artist-author's book The Essential Window Painting Guide. This simple tutorial will help you get started in the wonderful world of window painting.

Thank you for visiting!

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Christmas Magic

My favorite painting of Christmas this past year was a section of the Santa Sled team I did for Dynamic Scenery in Las Vegas. The job was one of the largest window areas I had ever been asked to do and the pressure was on for a good project. The design and paint had to be right this was a professional design company. They did displays for conventions and other business services. I know the reindeer team turned out well. I could feel it in my heart.

One of the unintentional elements I added was a reindeer looking up at the sky. The sweet face was directed at the bright star placed over a tree. I like to have action with in the sled team. It gives the design a sense of life. This small piece of the design is one I will always hold dear and will add to a canvas for permanent enjoyment.

My thoughts on the scene was that even Santa and the team believed in Christmas and I hope to inject that wonder and hope into every painting I do because I do, too. It is the promise of light in the dark. The knowledge of Spring warmth following  the dead of winter. It is the faith of one's hardship to end and blessings to come.

Take time to explore your belief in the good things of this Earth. There are many wonders to delight in and beautiful things to treasure.

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Painting Fourth of July - An Endurance Marathon

(Image credit: M Burgess)

I had the privilege of painting for a local children's therapy group this week. Decorating for the Fourth is a new theme for my portfolio and catalog. The colors are the standard red, white, and blue. I added some of the fluorescent colors for firework effect. These paint colors weren't the only hot thing with this project. The temperature on my car dashboard read 122°F! Heat like this is deadly and measures must be taken to maintain safety and personal health.

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

The best thing a person can do for extreme heat is drink a lot of water and stay shaded. If one must go into sun exposure a good sunscreen is recommended. Wearing clothing made from a light material with long sleeves and long pant legs would be a good idea to further prevent sunburn, but who wants to wear all that fabric in hot weather?

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

Cool Foods

Carrying an ice chest with me proved to be a life saver. Inside this relief station I packed a dozen water bottles, assorted soda and sports drinks and a few goodies. The best treat on a hot day is cold fruit like cut watermelon or a chilled apple or orange. With the fruit on hand, a quick healthy snack can help cool the body down. The fruit also delivers much needed vitamins and sugars for energy. The sweet time out helped this artist complete a gruelling painting marathon. 5 businesses in two and a half days were decorated. This sets a record for me. I have now painted in both weather extremes.

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

Cool Memories

In the future, when called upon to paint in hot weather, I shall remember these tips above and think back to the night I tried to paint a gas station in the dead of winter.

The wind whipped through me and froze the paint as soon as I touched brush to glass. The material failed to stick and blew away with the heavy breeze.

I know now that painting in the late fall and winter are blessings to me. May I never utter another complaint about being cold while sharing my art. This summer thing was challenging in more ways than my health.

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

Heat and Equipment Challenges

Anytime a business hires me to paint I start by cleaning the window surface. I never paint unless I have a clean canvas to work with. I found that the hot glass dries almost instantly, so I had to use a sopping towel to moisten the surface down for the squeegee. The sponge with the squeegee didn't add enough water to the glass and the rubber blade just smeared soap across the area. The preclean helped cool me down a bit and the window cleaning was completed quickly using the towel.

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

A sketch of the design is done after the cleaning is performed. Drawing out images and adding lines for lettering helps balance out designs and lettering. It is helpful for complex image creation and making sure a phrase is spelled right. It also is useful in helping the casual passerby see what is happening. The window glass was so hot that my stabilo pencils melted almost instantly. I countered the effect by dropping them into a ziplock and stashing them in the ice chest to cool them down.

Paint thickens as it is heated and a few colors were the consistency of tomato paste from the extreme temperature. I make it a rule to pull all medium from my car at night so I do not lose product. Given a few drops of water, thick paint may still be usable.

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

Plastic has a tendency to melt or grow brittle in high heat and one of my fluorescent orange bottles blew out while in the course of this project. Thankfully, it was not a full container. I did have a green blow out and soak the entire tub of my materials once. There was green paint all over my equipment for days!

I am super thrilled to add this holiday theme to my portfolio and catalog. I learned a lot with these paintings and believe it helped me improve in several areas. Repeating a design is never easy, but my brushes lived up to the challenge.

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

Folks, stay cool. Stay shaded. Stay learning. If you ever end up outdoors working like I did, you know what to do!

One last thing. Keep your pets safe during the festivities. Animals tend to bolt and panic with the sound of fireworks. Shelters fill up quickly during this holiday so keep them inside!

(Image Credit: M Burgess)

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