Painting murals, dying hairs, shaving heads and making friends!
There are so many reasons I enjoy this form of helping/travel. Another I have found recently is having the time and opportunity to revisit old art practices and brush up on dusty skills. I used to paint large murals, and have not for several years.
Happily, this has changed recently. Our most recent hosts were located near Pombal, living in a reclaimed barn that they have built back up from four bare walls and a roof. They started almost a decade ago, and current projects included digging a hole for their pool, pruning trees and painting a mural on one of the bedroom walls!
The house is so beautiful, and our hosts are just so creative! Everywhere we looked there were examples; painted tiles, mosaics, sculptures, made-to-measure niches and cubbyholes all over, bespoke furnishings. Because of my arts background, the mural became my main project over the few weeks I was there.
There was a draft image on their computer which was projected intermittently on the wall for us as a guide, and the brush work was done mostly by myself, another helper and Maryk, the host. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I was rusty at painting initially and had to practice some techniques to get my head into the work. Not the basic up-and-down strokes of course! But as an example, I had to get re-used to holding my hand a certain way to prevent paint smearing, where to start painting to prevent painting myself into a corner, how to blend…just a few small details like that.
The painting was going well, and the painting team was great too! Lots of communication between all of us in regards to planning and movement so we didn’t step on each other’s toes. And after a few hours of painting a day, I could step into the salon (that is me, doing my own hair). The results unfolded in a kind of daily hair-mural-photo-diary.
And then I shaved a side of my head….
And then I stripped the pigment from the regrowth and coloured roots…
Back to painting; I used a light touch to create the clouds, stars and movement in some of the panels (swishing, explosions, action-y lines)…
And a Southern Cross constellation for all my antipodean friends far from home…
The plan is to sketch in the figures using graphite, to keep the finished mural feeling rougher, recently sketched-out and without polish. Part two, blue hair and a completed mural to follow!