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Squared is lots of feet

I’m getting on really well with the working drawings for the murals at Eureka, including the various aspects that the clients have asked for, but delighted that they have given me a lot of creative independence as to where some of the things are placed within the images. So the basic ideas are there, the setting is there, but some of the aspects within that setting are down to me the artist. That’s how I work best. Of course the overall decision is down to the owners of Eureka, which is why I am doing the working drawings to show them, as they can be rubbed out, painted over, and changed. I want it that the day I go to paint the first mural, the easier of the two, I know exactly what it will look like as I have the working drawing for it infront of me, and the working painting with all the colours there for me to use as my guide, but with adding more artistic flair as they are painted on the walls. These working drawings now are the thinking aspect. And I always say that painting is only one tenth of the thought process that goes into painting a picture. I always put a lot of thought into my artwork. And I know it shows….

Yesterday I did an inventory of how much acrylic paint I have for the murals. As I really don’t want to run out of paint half way through and have to wait until I can order it online from the art suppliers and wait a week for it to arrive with me. I’m used to doing that with any commission I do, as I always have a large supply of oil paints, watercolour paints, and acrylic paints…but sometimes know I need to buy more white, or black, or cadmium red, or burnt sienna, or whatever for the new artwork.

Which is fair enough, and I’ve never run out of paint yet as I’m well organised. But these paintings aren’t in inches, they’re in feet. Lots of them.

I decided to do a quick grid of the two murals, the first one is just over 8 feet by 5 feet, that’s 40 square feet, and then I put in the basic colours for the background for each square in the grid, bearing in mind that very few of them will have just one basic colour in them, it will be a mix of colours. And totted up the colours for each square. I made sure I over estimated the colours, so when I added them up they came to 48 square feet. I only need 40, but its over 8 feet, and just over 5 feet, and I’d rather have too much paint than not enough, and I don’t know if some of the colours will have to be more than one layer.

The second mural is over 12 feet by 6 feet so that’s 72 square feet. I did the grid for that one too and broke it down to the basic colours (bearing in mind every colour under the sun will be in it!) and totted up the colours for that one too which came to 81, so again I’d rather over guess the colours I need. Some of the colours are the same as the smaller mural, some are different. So know I have a basic understanding of which colours I will need. All of the colours I already have in my selection of acrylic paints. But not enough of all of them.

40 plus 72 is 112 square feet to be covered.

And of course If I’m mixing pale blue then that is cobalt blue and lots of white, and if I’m mixing pale green that will be mid green plus white plus pale yellow, if I’m mixing mid green that will be mid green plus cadmium yellow plus cobalt blue plus a touch of raw sienna or burnt sienna, if I’m mixing dark green that will be burnt sienna and mid green and ultramarine blue, if I’m making flesh tones that will be raw sienna, white, cadmium yellow, burnt sienna, magenta, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, black, in various tiny delicate variations. There is no such thing as "flesh" colour when you’re a professional artist, you mix it yourself. I will need brown, and burnt sienna, and raw sienna, pale yellow, turquoise, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, magenta, black and a lot of white.

I know I have enough Cadmium red, and Cadmium yellow.

I also don’t know how porous the walls will be when I paint them. The walls have been painted and sealed, I could see that last week when I went to view them. But how porous will they be? How well will the white paint that I have cover the walls? Will it need more than one coat on it?

I remember years ago a woman artist told me when you paint in watercolours, you mix the colour then double it as its never as enough as you think it will be. I think that might be a good adage here! And of course the joy of acrylic paint is that if its still in the tube then it stays fresh. And will keep. And I’m using colours I always use anyway, its not like any of it will be wasted.