Los 3 Grandes of Mexican art: Rivera, Orozco, Siquieros, the great muralists. They can rest in peace. I completed my first mural this past weekend. Whoo hoo, what an unexpected opportunity!
A friend posted that she was helping organize a collaboration of artists to paint a mural on a wall of The Hive, a multi-use art space here in Phoenix. I decided to stop by and check it out.
Before leaving, I'd been asked to participate. There was a knot in my stomach, I'm not a mural artist but like the battle of those little guys on each shoulder, I weighed the pros and cons and "yes,"won out.
The mural was titled, "The Wall of Nopal," (cactus in Spanish). Every artist was to depict one or more types of cacti with an emphasis on the prickley pear cactus.
Saying yes was the easy part. What would I paint, how would I paint a mural, even a small one?
The ideas bounced around in my head. Two had come to mind and then a third. Being my first mural, it was best to keep it simple. In the middle of taking a class on desert plant mandalas, my portion lent itself to the shape of a half circle. Decision made-next step, draw it out on paper.
Here it was, my spot, one big, blank space surrounded by really cool work. Yowza! How on earth was my work going to stand against theirs? That would have been a good way way to psych myself out but I'd made a commitment. It was time to put on my big girl, artist pants and get to work. (I really do have those pants).
Design on paper, cut out and then traced. (I brought a baggie with about 30 sharpened pencils for this part).
I'm not sure if this is how it's supposed to be done. It was hard to see but good enough with my nose right up next to it. Time for paint.
Cow's Tongue prickley pear. It has a longer, skinnier pad than other more familiar prickley pear cacti. While mixing color, I ended up with a gray green that was the perfect agave color. Agave was added to the design.
Day one ended here. Cactus pads, tunas, (fruit), and a little bit of texture on the agave laid out. I cringed at the wreath like look of it but would have to wait another week to finish.
Day two-was night and day to my first day painting, an event was going on in the morning, artists were coming and working all afternoon. It was quite a vibe. I loved it but was glad I'd had 4 hours almost alone for the first half.
After starting with the tunas, I moved onto the flower. It was intimidating. The funny thing is, the other artists who painted prickley pear flowers said exactly the same thing. The flower was tough!
It was an amazing opportunity. It was a challenge putting myself "out there." With my face staring at a green blob trying to create the perfect thorn, many things were swimming in my head. I am a painter, I am a colorist... I am a "Nopalista!"