Monday, June 27, 2011

Sixth Painting Session

Well, I think it's about time to introduce you to the "Other" murals.

First of all, the original mural, created by artists from the Vero Beach Art Club in 1969, and depicts the County of Indian River from 6,000 B.C. to 1969. More details about its creation can be found on the legend panel inserts of the mural. Interestingly, today delivered to me was a photograph of Judge Stikelether, whom I will be painting into the mural dressed in his famous Seminole robe. As his daughter Debbie was reading the original mural she noticed that it was dedicated to the memory of E.E. Carter, a dear friend of Judge Stikelether. And so they will both be joined once again, in perpetuity (or however long the murals exist) in the spirit of this project.

Pictured is the mural created in 2000, also by Vero Beach Art Club artists. This one spans the time of the earliest inhabitants up to the year 2000. Dawn Mill was one of the artists that worked on this mural, mostly the two center panels are of her brush. Her leadership and direction on our current mural has been invaluable. I will write more about both panels some time in the future.

Now to bring us back up to date.

Pictured is Dawn Mill layering more paint on her panel and refining the foliage. She has slightly altered her original design, which seems to be what we all are doing, letting our creative juices flow. Between the three of us, we are constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas to make the murals more interesting, brainstorming inbetween long quiet periods of intense painterly concentration and artistic pleasure. The end project is still a bit elusive to us, but we know it will be exciting, interesting and educational, and hopefully it will help to depict all that Vero Beach has to offer.

Here Christine Thomas is refining the lights and shadows of the water of the Indian River Lagoon. She has sketched the manatee and is about to add another one onto her panel.

Here you can see how Chris and Dawn have succeeded in segueing one panel onto another. After this point they painted in some spoil islands which was just the ticket!

I expected, again, to get much more done these 8 or so hours, but we made some decent progress. Unless we have some kind of push, this project just may take into October. At some point soon, when my new grandbaby is born (due any day), I will be unavilable to post this blog for a couple of weeks, but stay tuned! Next posting, God willing, will be Friday July 1st.

Judy Burgarella, Blogger

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fifth Painting Session

Today is our fifth painting session. We started at about 8:00 and worked untill 4:30 or so, with just a short lunch. Once we got started we were "in the zone" and did not want to stop.

Michelle Genz of Vero Beach 32963 stopped by to do a piece on the mural. She was amazed at the size of the work, and marveled at the earlier mural, created in 2000. Michelle had never seen the 2000 mural, and expressed that the public should be made more aware of its existence. Hopefully 32963 will help to spread the word about the old mural and the mural work which in progress.

Pictured is how our panels were set up for the day, concentrating mostly on just three panels. I had planned to sketch my second panel in, and did so just briefly, just to segue the dirt pathway connecting to Dawn's panel.

Dawn and Christine today had to concentrate on visually joining their two panels together, making sure the water variations match. There was much talking between them about color and stroke while I mostly concentrated on refining the perspective of Downtown Vero.

Pictured is Christine with her manatee panel in the Indian River Lagoon, finishing up the vibrant colors in the water.

As an experienced mural painter, Christine is always coming up with inventive, creative ways to accomplish her creations. Here she has her brushes conveniently accessible, making a very functional alternate use of a tubular ice cube tray. Also pictured is Christine with her laptop, which she uses to search the internet for images or inspiration in the makings of her murals.

Pictured is Dawn with her panel of the Indian River Lagoon. She and Christine plan to depict in their panels many of the water-related activities enjoyed by Vero Beach residents and guests. Dawn struggled with perspective, as did I, with these huge canvases.

Pictured is the Downtown Vero Beach panel, which is coming along very slowly. I am very surprised at how long it takes to paint these large surfaces. Since I am new at both acrylic painting and mural painting, there is a great learning curve, mostly the knowledge of handling the paint and how to use this medium to cover the canvas. Exaggerated perspective is the goal, however it is proving quite difficult for me to achieve.

I am delighted to be able to put a bit of Seminole Indian representation in the Vero panel. The man in the left foreground will be Judge Graham W. Stikelether, Jr., wearing the Seminole-patterned robe gifted to him by Leona Smith, a Seminole Indian. I will reveal other luminaries included in this panel in future postings, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20th, Fourth Painting Session

Dawn and I met today at 9:00 to paint. Christine was out of town so it's just the two of us today.
Setting up of the panels, equipment, supplies, references, paints and palettes, etc. takes about 45 minutes, and clean-up takes almost as long. Because of how long it takes to set up and clean up we decided early on to make our painting sessions lengthy. Today we worked all day with just a short lunch break (we mostly bring our lunches) to make good use of our time.

Today I planned to work on refining the Downtown VB panel, correcting perspective and positioning of all the elements, as best I could considering the abbreviation and foreshortening of the architectural scene.
Pictured is a handy method of creating vanishing points with string (per Christine's suggestion). Using the rough painted angles which I created using the gridding technique, I stretched string over the highest and lowest vanishing point angles and secured each end with brown tape. At the point where both strings crossed over each other was the "vanishing point." At each prominent architectural element I stretched another string in place, intersecting at the vanishing point that was created with the first two strings.

With the strings in place, I redrew the angles and architectural elements in a darker shade of brown paint, and roughly whited out the old lines. I repeated this for the other side of the vanishing point, stretching more strings on another panel on the opposite side of the Downtown panel.

As you can see, the perspective elements of the corner building, Vero Furniture, is much more accurate. This process, albeit interesting to do, was extremely time-consuming but will pay off in the end with a finer product. I was surprised at how long it took, which meant I didn't get much done this day. We had a couple of visitors today, people who saw the news of it in the newspaper.
Dawn is pictured here working on her Swamp panel. First she rough sketched a few elements of her scene with vine charcoal, and at this point she is putting down a loose wash of color over the scene.

Dawn had spent a good part of the day refining clouds and assuring the continuity from one panel to another. We also discussed the coordination of my elments segueing onto her panel, which should prove to be a bit challenging but we'll work it out.

There may be a painting session tomorrow (Tuesday) with Chris and Dawn, but I will not be there. We were packed up and gone by 3:30.

So that's it folks, more postings Friday, so stay tuned!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Third Painting Session, July 17th

Setup for today, with Christine painting the water around where her manatee will be.

On this, our third painting session, Dawn is away so it's just Christine and myself painting for today.
At 9:00 we carried three of the panels from their storage areas to work on them against the mirrored walls of the Florida Room in the Community Center.

Today there was a large group of children playing Bingo in the next room, Christine and I enjoyed hearing their laughter and all of the other sounds of kids having fun ... much better than music to our ears. So we invited them to file through and take a peek. We really enjoyed the questions and enthusiasm, and appeciated hearing from the children how much they love to paint and draw. If only adults knew how important art is to children they would surely not cut creative programs which has historically been the case. Children from every walk of life benefit from this form of expression, and it serves as an outlet for the children, and a mirror into the way they perceive the world around them. Pity that the schools have such little funding art-wise--in our day art was an important part of our school life.

Christine mixes several colors to get that brilliant under-water look. A manatee will soon be peeking out, along with other creatures from the Indian River Lagoon.

Here I am at the canvas, putting in a light wash of greenery and getting some hilights on the waterways. On Monday I will work more on the perspective of my sketch, with a foreshortening-type of technique.

We packed up at about 4:00 o'clock, long day but lots of fun. Next painting session is Monday June 20th, so stay tuned!

Judy B

Monday, June 13, 2011

Second Painting Session, Monday June 13th

It felt like we accomplished a lot today. Got the skies finished with all clouds and sky color variations in place, sans the planes, birds, parachutists and other things we may be adding later. This first photo pictures the first panel, painted by Judy, which ties into the last panel of the 2001 mural (pictured above the partially-painted panel). The sky segued from a fireworks sky into a stormy sky, allowing the panels to be one day hung together.

Judy began the complicated process of gridding the architecture of Downtown Vero Beach. Problems seem to work themselves out with the three of us providing solution ideas--we sure do make a good team! Dawn, as Project Manager, keeps us on track with coordinating our colors with the 2001 mural for continuity, and Christine brings her "bag of tricks" and experience as a muralist and faux painter. It is inspiring to be working in the same room as the original mural which was created by the Vero Beach Art Club in 2001, and has resided in the Community Center ever since. The earlier mural depicts six historical timelines of Vero Beach, from its first inhabitants up to what was then the present-day Vero. The new mural is being painted in a manner which will allow it to run together with the old one if hung side-by-side, with the first new panel depicting contemporary downtown vero, and on to the end panel depicting Vero's ocean reef. We decided to segue the new mural into the old for any possible future exhibition placing which may position the panels together.

Pictured is Christine Thomas, who prefers working on a ladder to paint her panels' skies. Christine is a professional decorative painter and has extensive experience painting murals. She is a wonderful resource to this project, coming up with ideas and solutions as we progress along.

Pictured is Dawn Mill, who also participated in the 2001 mural, putting her "poofy" clouds on the panels. Dawn segued her clouds onto Judy's 2nd panel, making sure to match the cloud colors of the 2001 mural. Skies on the 2001 mural were painted by local artist Merana Cadorette.

And here I am, Judy Burgarella, the writer of this blog, working on my sky. Since I am not an acrylc painter, this is going to be a great learning process in the use of that medium. As an oil painter, I love the short drying time. Can't wait to see the finished product.

More of each artist's work can be seen on in the on-line Artists Gallery.

Well that's it for today!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Vero Beach Mural - First Posting

Welcome to the Vero Beach Mural Blog Journal. We invite you to follow the progress of our mural as we plan and paint our way through all 36 feet of canvas. The mural is being created and will be housed at the Vero Beach Community Center, 2266 14th Avenue, Vero Beach, Florida, 772-978-4592.

Visit this blog frequently for updates and newly posted photographs as we paint. The public is invited to stop by the Community Center to see the murals being created, any time between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Mondays and Fridays (Some Tuesdays also).

The creation of this mural is being sponsored by the Vero Beach Art Club, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32963. Phone - 772-231-0303, Website -

Our Mission
1. To enhance and beautify our Community Center in the spirit of Public Art
2. To give back to the community, as a 501(c)3 nonprofit
3. To help promote the City of Vero Beach
4. To help promote the Vero Beach Art Club
5. To inspire the community to better appreciate the value of Public Art

How did the creation of this mural come about?
At the request of the City of Vero Beach, the Vero Beach Art Club asked Dawn Mill, who worked on a previous mural for the Community Center, if she would agree to be the Project Manager. Dawn agreed, and asked Christine Thomas and Judy Burgarella for assistance in the design and creation of the new mural.

What will the mural be?
The mural will consist of six panels, each 8 feet high by 6 feet wide, totaling a length of 36 feet. It will depict the six habitats of Vero Beach.

Who are the artists?
Dawn Mill - Project manager, paints primarily in watercolor and acrylic, and is renowned for her tropical landscapes and her teaching skills.
Christine Thomas - Paints primarily in acrylic, and is a professional mural and faux painter.
Judy Burgarella - Paints in a variety of mediums and subjectmatter, and is this blog's author.

All three artists are very active in the art community on the Treasure Coast, helping and exhibiting in shows, galleries, paint-outs, etc.

On this, our first posting, I have pictured the first painting session, although many hours were spent in meetings and at home planning, scheduling and coordinating our time, sketching and researching.

The wide blue band at the bottom is actually the base coat of the sky, painted upside down for easier reaching on the 8' panels. This was painted on Friday, June 10th. Next painting session is Monday, June 13th, 8:30 am sharp!

Since this is my first try, there may be some gliches to be worked out on this blog, but hopefully it will improve as we get farther into the project. Stay tuned!