A year ago I knew it took more than an idea and a paintbrush to create a mural. This year, I'm learning just how much more. Thanks to Denise Weaver Ross I'm working as an artist assistant on a mural for this year's MuralFest. As lead artist and project manager, Denise worked with Tortuga Gallery's owners Pax Garcia and Jill Logan, to create a piece that reflects the fest's theme When Nature Calls. This ambitious project wraps around two sides of the building, covering between 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, and includes mosaic tile work by sculptor Joel Davis.
Though Denise started this project more than a year ago, my involvement began this week when she gave me photos of flora and fauna of the bosque and two large paper layouts. She asked me to draw the figures in particular places on the layout. She would then add sky, ground, and details that created a consistent appearance throughout the three panels that made up the final drawing. This drawing would serve as a marketing tool and a stencil for transferring the design to the walls. The most challenging part, for me, was to imitate Denise's drawing style. She's often joked that she starts with messy drawings and tightens them into paintings, and I start with tight paintings and then make a mess. With that in mind, Denise encouraged me to draw like I was in kindergarten which helped me to create what she needed. Now the drawing is doing what we need, gathering interest and support from the community.