Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mission Carwash Mural: start to finish

The husband and wife duo behind Mission Carwash (and Lube N' Tune, and Tia Gladys Cantina) have been supporting a revival of the historical Mission Play. To build some excitement about this year's centennial festivities, and cheer up a ho-hum hallway, they commissioned me to paint a mural. Other than requesting lots of color and joy, The parameters were pretty loose. That's a good thing.

I used the mission playhouse as a background, and added doves and folklorico dancers for a little life. Adding flowers makes injecting color really easy.

Here's the process start to finish.

Freehanding the initial drawing is doable, but getting the perspective right would have been a big pain since its in a hallway. I took my outline to Staples and got an engineering print made, blowing up the original drawing from legal size to the intended 4' x 12' life size scale.

To transfer the image, I sprayed the back with this awesome awesome transfer spray made by Bernini from Blick. It leaves really precise, erasable marks without any smudging or mess. Way better than any premade transfer paper I've ever used. Time to trace.

Trace trace trace. You can barely see it but its there.

Next comes filling in the sky. It's quick and makes you feel like you've done a lot.

How about some foliage?

O yeah.

Time to start the playhouse, and ignore an increasing sense of dread and foreboding.

Paint everything that's not a playhouse!

Get in there, tiger!

Now it's time for a distraction. How about more plants!

Dark dark dark makes other colors bright bright bright.

Forget it I'm going to paint the tiles. Bah the playhouse has jaundice!

Getting better. There's a peek at my photoshopped source material. The more initial planning, the better the result.

OMG so much detail. I'm tired.

People won't even notice most if this but if its not there it'll suck and no one will know why. But I will. Flower distraction time.

And lettering. I like lettering :)

Hey this is starting to look pretty good. o crap. I added people. WHY did I add people.

Ignore them. Paint the fountain.

Ok get in there.

Teal tops were a good choice.

Go sit down.

Funny thing is, you never run out of details. Their heads are so small!

I hadnt decided on a border beforehand but i liked the lapis colored tile in the restroom, so i recreated it around the edge. it looks pretty convincing in pictures.

A few more details.

Clear coat. And done. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

SLO County

After finals, Minh wanted to get outta town for a while, and I'm always game for a trip of any kind. We thought going up the coast on the train and taking bikes would be sweet, and it's something we still want to try, but scheduling this sort of last-minute jaunt wasn't in the cards. We only had two days to spare, and the train takes for-freaking-ever, plus, to go as early as possible, we'd have to box the bikes. No go.

So yeah, it was looking grim. Minh's never been to San Luis Obispo, so he was surprised to see how cheap it was to drive. $60 in gas instead of $160 in tickets, 3-hour drive instead of a 5-hour train ride, full autonomy, sold.

That drive is one of my favorites.

Los Osos State Beach had some really great tide pools, and gives you that first taste of rocky California coastline. 

After hanging out with hermit crabs and starfish we checked in and hit the main drag for food. Firestone grill is where we ended up, thanks to a reddit thread listing yummy places and cool local spots. It's one of those casual family places where the food is ample but ends up exceeding expectations nicely, like Stonefire...wait...

Glad I ate before finding Bubblegum Alley. College town. Half ton of spitty gum. Shudder. 

"Don't touch anything!"

We made our way to the Mission just in time to catch the tail end of mass.

After the obligatory downtown swoop, we wanted to get back out to the coast. We took some wrong turns to the right place.

Morro Bay was quiet, and windy and a little wild. We rode out to the rock, got our feet sandy and listened to sea otters crack shells in their bellies with rocks.

We were still pretty satisfied from lunch, but the Great American Fish Company called to me.

Delicious creamy, chunky chowder, and fresh cold shrimp and crab cocktail with bracingly tangy cocktail sauce. Just what I'd hoped for.

There was inspiration everywhere.

The next day we started with breakfast at Louise's. 

If you look very closely you can see a pound of guac in my omelette :)

And had a lazy heart mocha to share.

Before leaving we visited the Elfin Forest on SLO's south side. That's a miniature oak grove. Biker fangs used to hang out here and party. I'd like to come back and have a sandwich.

With this guy.