Painting birds in my bat cardigan

I finished the middle window pane today at 17 1/2 hours.  As a part timer, that’s my work week.  Tomorrow I’m going to channel my inner house cat and balance at the top of a ladder for a few hours.  I’ve got some hard to reach areas.

I’m still slacking on choosing a color palette, but I went to the Met last weekend and took some reference shots of their stained glass.  I’ll probably just steal those colors. Sadly, book pages are presumed to be white, and there’s no way to paint transparent white.  The best I can do is “frost” or “etch” the glass.  I don’t even know if that’s toxic, but then again how long have I been working with all those printmaking acids and solvents without a problem?  Not a lifetime, but a solid decade.

Maybe I’ve seen too many Disney Movies, or too many episodes of LOST, but I’m thinking of embedding some Easter Eggs in this.

My Superbowl Sunday…

…was spent at the library!  Some colleagues didn’t recognize me in my typical streetwear at first, but apparently I still look like a librarian because patrons still asked for my assistance.   So despite some distractions I accomplished everything I wanted for today!  And to think I was kinda nervous!  Thank you Mom, for pulling some strings and sending me absolutely perfect weather.  I was, in fact, able to trace and paint with the windows open without getting too cold.  Big shout out to Chris for doing most of the high altitude stuff on the ladder and for holding it when I was perched on top.

I’m very happy with the Golden brand “Fluid Acrylic Series” Carbon Black paint.  It has excellent coverage on the glass, no beading, and only a little streaking.  I’m sure 2 coats will do the trick.  I’m tempted to mix it with some sort of transparent base or glaze to use it for the transparent part of the “stained glass” but I’ll have to experiment a bit first.  If not, Michaels has the glass paints I need, even though I hate that store.  Maybe I’ll drive the 1/2 hour to Riebe’s…

I’m so glad all the set up stuff is already done, and now I’m up to the good part: the actual painting.  I could probably paint contour lines all day (Steve knows what I’m talkin’ about), which unfortunately I can’t afford to do because I now have homework.  Buzzkill.

So here’s your sneak peak of what got on the glass today.  Pictures below include: my artillery of paint brushes, the sketch taped to the outside of the window ready to be traced with litho pencil, close up of the tracing, and then the first painted bird of the mural!

Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger image:

Take it to the glass

Ok- the sketch was approved!  I begin painting this Sunday, February 6th!  The library’s open from 1-5, so I’ve got 4 hours to lay down the ground work.  Whatever I’m able to accomplish is what’s going to be the first impression of this window mural, so I’m aware that the pressure is high now but it will subside.   As long as I don’t take FOR-EV-ER, it should be fine.

I’m concerned that the window won’t open, which would mean I can’t reach some parts.  Also, I’m concerned that the windows will have to stay open for me to be able to reach, which means I will actually freeze.  (I can’t even go to bed without turning on my electric blanket every night.  I call Bikram yoga “yoga” because I forget it’s hot.)  I hope I got all the measurements right, and that my design “fits”.   I have a couple other concerns, but it’s mostly just first day jitters.  Before I was a librarian trainee, before I was a grad student, I was a full time artist.  I’m not saying I was good enough to support myself on it (yet), but I am a pretty creative problem solver.  So pair my improv skills to my new ability to sing nursery rhymes in front of people, and witness a pretty sweet skill set.

Pack: masking tape/ stool/ warm wear/ camera/ sunglasses/ litho crayon or china marker/ extension cord and heat lamp/ graphite paper/ new podcasts

Library Window

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I’m working on a mural for an oversized window at the library.  My goal was to draw literary themed symbols, and translate the image as stained glass.

Several themes and concepts were discussed, but the winning concept was a vertical book-turn-bird image.  I wanted to capture the weight and substance of books/ information by stacking them on the bottom.  They tower with impressive height, and subconsciously viewers understand that books provide a solid foundation.  Then bindings open, revealing the true value of the books: the written pages.  As the pages splay open, they gain levity and begin to fly.  Flying books are a fairly familiar image, if not cliched, but I hope interspersing the flying books with graceful swallows would please the Smithtown population.  I’d rather be decorative with pretty birds than pedantic with a library-laden message.

I took some pictures of the process so far, so you can see the transformation of the drawing from sloppy sketch to a solid design.  And with the expert help of Trish at Kinkos, I can give you an idea of the scale of this project!  Check out the last few images of the original sketch next to the life size tracing.