Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17th, our 37th Mural Painting Session

NOTE: The Vero Beach Mural Project is being Sponsored by the Vero Beach Art Club, and created by Artist Volunteers Judy Burgarella (  Dawn Mill and Christine Thomas (   Examples of artists' work can be found on The Mural consistes of six stretched canvas panels, 36' long by 8' high, each panel 8' x 6'.  Created in and for the Community Center, in their "Florida Room."  Visitors are welcome to watch the artists paint between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays.
Today just Christine and I were at the mural. We had a slow start, chatting about critters and looking at images, trying to decide angles, colors and perspective.  Perspective is perplexing with many of the elements, obviously structures pose a problem in trying to capture the essence of an area of the city with limited space on the canvas and the need for making interesting choices.  Then there are the trees and animals, which we hoped would make sense size-wise from one panel to the other, depending on their position in height on the panel.  Compositional problems prevented us from achieving perspective perfection (say that 5 times fast!) in some cases, but to quote Dawn, "It's a mural, not a fine art masterpiece!"  But above all, we hope the mural will be entertaining to the eye and interesting to the mind.

Although we are anxious to complete this mural as it starts to encroach more on our time during this our busy season in the art world, the mural has become an integral part of our everyday lives.  It creeps into our thoughts during off-time as we pass a nice tree, critter, or anything else we notice that may look great in the mural, or should be in there because it is part of our lives here on the Treasure Coast.  We know that when the mural is finished we'll discover many things that should have been painted in.  There are so many wonderful places, animals, plants, and things to do here that we would need many more panels to portray it all.  Now to the good part ... pictures:

Below is Christine's panel #6, which includes a bit of the beach off Ocean Drive, but mostly Vero Beach's unique coral reef.  She has big plans to include many many interesting underwater life forms, and as her research shows there are extraordinary-looking beings that could rival anything you would find in outer space!  And oh, the colors.  Whatever beautiful colors we have up here in the form of flowers, butterflies, bugs, trees, etc., you will find even more of the color spectrum underwater in the form of tropical fish, coral, and the enless varety of life forms that live in and around the coral reef.

Christine Thomas' Panel #6, Coral Reef, beginning sketches

Below is a close-up of a fish (can't remember what she told me it was) that Christine worked on.  The colors and markings are amazing, and it is oh so cute!

Colorful little fish on Panel #6

Shown below show Christine's sketches, the first act of an underwater ballet.

Christine Thomas' Turtle Sketches

Below is a close-up of Mr. Shark ... can't you just hear the background music of "Jaws"?
On Panel #6, Christine's Mr. Shark is coming right at you!

Below is my Panel #2 progress as of the end of the day today.  I poked around here and there wherever my passion took me, but the next painting session there needs to be more upper background finished before proceeding to the foreground plants and animals.  I just couldn't wait to start that Florida panther though.  He is very roughed in, as in my reference picture the panther's position needed to be reversed and I found that very difficult to achieve.  So tomorrow I'll arrive with a "flipped" image to paint.


Judy Burgarell's Panel #2, Western Vero

Below I've put the finishing touches on lantana behind the tree stump, refined the strangler fig a bit, and roughed in the Florida panther.

Panel #2, bottom left section

Shown below is the upper left portion of Panel #2, the Sexton Ranch, a Vero Beach landmark and family name that has historical roots in the City.  Pictured is a small orange grove, and soon-to-be painted in will be cattle and cowboys.

Sexton Ranch on Panel #2

Tomorrow will be an extra painting day for me.  A rough estimate of 250+ hours of painting so far for each of us, not including all the time researching online, in books, libraries, parks, nature centers, etc.  We are putting the push on now, trying to see a "complete" date in our near futures.  But it's really fun to spend the day painting and collaborating with likable like-minded people.  Not a bad way to spend the day.

Judy Burgarella
Blogger for the Vero Beach Mural Project

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