2008/02/23

Buddhist Mural Process

Some pics of the stages of the work of the Buddhist Garden Mural.
As the design calls for soft, flowing areas of paint, using acrylics rather than oils involves practice to avoid ugly *lap-lines* where the paint starts to dry before blending is finished.
Once I begin painting an area, taking into account the dryness of the air, I plan how much I can cover before the paint will become unworkable. Once it reaches this stage, I need to stop working it, let it dry before painting another layer.
The bamboo was to be painted as it would be hit by sprackly uneven light; I *oil in* ( using an acrylic glaze medium) a slippery layer over stalks that I have laid in with a base color; then I work quickly to soften the patches of different colors into it. Once this dries, I paint the more linear shadows and highlights with the aid of a mahl stick.
mural by Kim Senior
bottom three photos by Eileen Eckstein
©kimsenior.com 2008

2008/02/22

Buddhist Garden Mural

Been working on this mural for a couple weeks; its almost done. My client is wonderful, she wanted something calm and restorative for this renovated attic room, all she said was "do something soft, with greens and blues, and maybe some bamboo." The goal was to expand this little space and create a distance.
I came up with the idea of an asian water garden, and she provided me with the perfect focal point reference, a photo of a statue of Kuan Yin, (also spelt Guan Yin) which she had taken about 10 years ago, on a visit to China, and some of the mountains.

click on photos to see larger
Buddhist mural work in progress link

2008/02/20

Puvis de Chavannes at Rodin Museum


A while ago I saw this small mural by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes 1824-1898, at the Rodin Museum in Philly. (click to view larger)

Legendary Saints of France
Reduced version of the frieze above 'The Childhood of Saint Geneviève', church of Saint Geneviève [The Panthéon], Paris
c. 1879
Oil on canvas
Left canvas: 30 1/4 x 32 1/2 inches (76.8 x 82.5 cm); center canvas: 30 1/4 x 35 inches (76.8 x 88.9 cm); right canvas: 30 1/4 x 32 inches (76.8 x 81.3 cm)

I knew Chavannes was a renowned muralist, and hadn't been aware of this piece.

Found this wonderful article on Chavanne's methods; it describes in detail his media and the background of his mural works; how he strove to get the feeling of fresco in the way he prepared his canvas, and how the marouflage was done;

"...The final step in the preparatory process was the creation of a full-scale painted cartoon combining many of the earlier studies. According to Puvis's student and collaborator Paul Baudouin, the cartoons Puvis produced for his mural projects “were very precise and studied works, in which all of the values were expressed” (Baudouin 1935, 300). Baudouin also noted that Puvis used either paper or canevas (a French word describing a coarse, light-colored cloth used for tapestry making) as a support for his large-scale cartoons. Notations on a photograph taken while the cartoon for the Inspiring Muses was on exhibit in the Salon of 1920, in the files of the Musée d'Orsay, indicate that the cartoon was painted in gouache on paper. The present whereabouts of the cartoon are unknown; its last location was in the attic of the Comic Opera, Paris (d'Argencourt et al. 1977, 231).

Puvis executed the Boston murals on a plainweave linen canvas, typical of the type he generally chose for his monumental wall decorations. In the library murals the coarseness of the canvas is evident in many thinly or dryly painted passages. Puvis had access to immense canvases. Only two pieces of linen were used for The Inspiring Muses, each one measuring 4.88 m (16 ft.) high with the left half 8.81 m (28 ft. 11 in.) long and the right half 6.60 m (21 ft. 8 in.) long. If seams were necessary in his large mural projects, Puvis did his best to camouflage or hide them. In the huge Sorbonne mural, The Sacred Grove (1886–89), for example, the two seams coincide with vertical tree trunks... continued... link *

*PUVIS DE CHAVANNES'S ALLEGORICAL MURALS IN THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY: HISTORY, TECHNIQUE, AND CONSERVATION
TERI HENSICK, KATE OLIVIER, & GIANFRANCO POCOBENE

I hope to sometime visit his and Sargent's murals at the Boston Public Library.
photo via Gruenemann on flickr, and this one too. Another reason to visit BPL; this amazing amount of siena marble!!http://www.comitepierrepuvisdechavannes.com/english.html
"More than 60 descendants of Edouard, Marie-Antoinette and Joséphine Puvis de Chavannes, brothers and sisters of the artist, are members of this Committee."

2008/02/05

Hidden art could be revealed by new terahertz device

"Like X-rays let doctors see the bones beneath our skin, "T-rays" could let art historians see murals hidden beneath coats of plaster or paint in centuries-old buildings, University of Michigan engineering researchers say."
link to illustrated article
"The paper is called "Terahertz imaging for non-destructive evaluation of mural paintings."
via Technorati

2008/02/03

Topolski Action Drawings



I have an old issue of Marg magazine, with no cover; going to the Marg-Art website archives, and searching by keyword dates it 1957 September.
It has some action drawings by Feliks Topolski, illustrating an article on Classical Dance of India by Ram Gopal, who was the leading exponent of that form for many years.
I've scanned some drawings, (click to see larger) and linking to a photo of Ram Gopal from that time on another mag cover. One of the most challenging things to draw is a moving figure; Topolski sketched from life, and had a seemingly effortless facility, honed by constant practice.

A good example of the ability to draw, without labor, freeing the artist dash in colors and shapes. watercolour, gouache and silkscreen on paper, circa 1972
93 1/4 in. x 39 7/8 in. (2368 mm x 1012 mm)
Lent by through Pamela Cullen, Pandit Ram Gopal, 2002
National Portrait Gallery
bottom photos via http://www.salidaa.org.uk
link to more sketches and illustrations
link to images by Topolski at the Tate
link to my post on Topolski's 600 foot long mural
link to Wikipedia article on Topolski
link to Wikipedia article on Ram Gopal

Topolski's 600ft Memoir Mural



"For more than twenty years, one of the most unusual exhibitions in London has been Feliks Topolski's monumental installation "The Memoir of the Century". This 600-foot long panoramic painting, standing from 12 to 20 feet high, was ....... Begun by the sixty-eight-year-old Topolski in 1975, and still unfinished at the time of his death in 1989, it still sits under the arches, close to the constant activity of the South Bank and the flow of the Thames, gently shaken by the regular rumble of trains in and out of Charing Cross on the other side of the river."

"The final section is a huge movable canvas mounted on vertical rollers, carrying contemporary images and entitled "the Diary". In this section, to quote Topolski, "the Memoir reaches the present, becomes the Diary and continues from day to day, to be cut short only by nature's will". ..

"...Topolski gave his "Memoir" to the people of London in 1984, but the burden of upkeep proved too great, and in 2002 the family stepped in and established a new trust, Topolski Memoir Ltd, to take ownership of the work and oversee its restoration and display. This project requires Pounds 3.3 million, of which more than Pounds 2 million has already been raised, from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other sponsors. Work is beginning this year and the newly restored Memoir will reopen in 2009, twenty years after Topolski's death.".... continued, see link below to article.

I recently learned about this huge mural, by an artist who's fluid and beautiful sketches I had long admired. I enquired of Sandra Lynes, who is the Director in charge of the Restoration of the Memoir, when it would be re-opening; I would love to see it. She replied that funds are still being raised, and it is hoped to be ready in a year or two.

link to excellent Times Online article, by Nicholas Hilley
link to feliks topolski website, with 'virtual' memoir