A mural in Portugal and a hair-volution

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.

Painting walls volunteering Europe Portugal

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.

Wall painting graphic novel travelling Portugal

Blending on the wall to make a sunrise

Delicate clouds overlaid shell pink sunset sky

Complete sunrise panel

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.
Brushwork graphic novel panelling large scale

And then I shaved a side of my head….

Painting walls learning to pigment

And then I stripped the pigment from the regrowth and coloured roots…

Painting graphic novel murals Portugal

Painting dot work mural panels diy

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)…

Comic text faces shading details complete

Star charts antipodean crux painting

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!

About kellymarietheartist

I am an artist who, up until recently, was living and exhibiting within Toowoomba and the greater Granite Belt district. I have since packed up and left Australia, and am currently living and working in England. My work engages the craft involved in handmaking within a contemporary art context. I am drawn to the physicality of repetitive textile processes, and this is transcribed though the tactile quality of my forms. In particular, processes such as crochet, sewing and rug making serve as a proxy for growth within my personal environment. Many of my works imitate situations in nature, and they form organically as I create each individual piece, each addition both a continuation and re-enforcement of its predecessors. I enjoy using recycled materials for many of my works. Using crochet and other textile techniques to do this is an important part of my work as it celebrates a tradition of craft that has historically been relegated to 'women's work', with all the negative connotations that entails.
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2 Responses to A mural in Portugal and a hair-volution

  1. Pingback: Mural and hair-volution part two | kellymariemcewan

  2. Pingback: Digging, sifting, pruning in Portugal | kellymariemcewan

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