Thursday, September 18, 2008


The mural was installed at Macrina's new headquarters yesterday! The building is huge and the front cafe has been beautifully designed to emphasize the historic warehouse architecture and materials. They will open for business tomorrow so today is my last chance to touch up the painting. There is a very tall ladder propped against the wall this morning waiting for me climb up and do the do my best Michelangelo impersonation. A little scary with everyone watching me...I like being in the building though, with the hustle and bustle of last minute activity. It has the feeling of a play about to open. The baristas are huddled by the espresso machine for intensive training. The electicians and carpenters rush around with hard hats and tool belts. The architect pops in and out looking worried. The owners linger in corners having important conversations. And all the while I can see the bakery staff through large glass windows making magical tempting smells with enormous mixing bowls of raisins, chocolate and spices. The production area of the building has already opened.

I got a call last night from the carpenter who is installing the mural telling me that one of the panels didn't fit and they were forced to take a slice off one side and glue it to the other side. This should give me pause...but he seems like a careful and skilled person so I am sure it is not as drastic as it sounds. I will just have to deal with it today. I have also asked him to put screws through the face of the mural to secure it to the wall really really well. We get earthquakes around here. He seemed reluctant to damage the painting but I know that I can camouflage the results. Looks like a busy day ahead of me.

I painted some chickadees in the branches of the tree in honor of the chickadee family that nested on my front porch this summer. There is a parent feeding a fledgling but everyone thinks they are kissing. Kind of nice, I guess.

Several people asked if I would include a weasel in the mural so I have signed my name in the lower right hand corner with one. This picture shows how the grain of the plywood tempers the shininess of the aluminum leaf. I was worried that the mural would glare as it reflects a lot of light but now I can see that it is ok.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Applying Leaf

I couldn't wait to get into the studio yesterday to start applying aluminum leaf to the mural. The leaf comes in 5.5 inch squares and is about as thin as one layer of a double layered kleenex. I had to close the studio door to stop the draft from blowing the leaf around the room.

I paint glue wherever I want the leaf to stick, which is tedious, but pleasantly doesn't require any brain power. Thank goodness for NPR keeping me company. Then the leaf is stuck all over the painting and rubbed with a cotton ball. Where there is glue it sticks and where there is paint it rubs away. Or that is how it is supposed to happen...

Oh no. Oh no. The plywood is rougher than I am used to working on and its tooth grabbed the leaf leaving it stuck to the paint in about a quater of the painted surface. There is nothing I can do but repaint on top of the unwanted aluminum. Very very time consuming. This may require more than the comfy voice of KUOW's Steve Scher to get me through. I might have to hit the books on tape... All this with a deadline of 15 September. It is going to be quite a week.

Still it will all be worth it in the end... Grrr.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Moving Outside

Henry and I took advantage of the sunshine today to move the painted panels outside into the alley allowing us to see them together. (One was left inside as it wasn't painted yet.) Once we had blocked the alley with the panels we ran up to the studio roof deck to look down on them. This meant that I could see if the angles and placement of the branches matched where they crossed from panel to panel.

I had never seen the panels all together before and it was a shock to see how big this thing is. I am trying not to be freaked out by it.

I took notes and photos and moved them all back inside again.