Learning Curves

I recently flew back to Puerto Rico to finish the mural project I had started at the end of last year. What a difference my second time around was! I had learned so much the first time around. Thankfully, my grant mentor, Chad Mize, is a talented and experienced muralist, having painted murals all over St. Pete. He gave me the advice that helped me out the most: “Mix your paint colors beforehand.”

Day 1 & 2

The first two days flew by so quickly and were so stress-free it hardly felt like work. Having so many things go awry the first time taught me what to find solutions for. For instance, I used a paint by color method, numbering each cup of paint color to coincide with a number on my sketch. And the sketch on my iPad was accessible on a tripod nearby. This allowed for me, and my superstar assistants (my parents), to pick up paint without having to second guess what hue went where or if we had the right color.

Day 3

Day 3 proved to be the most difficult since it was all on me to get the details just right. My assistants had fulfilled the task of painting in the shapes and I was running behind on the other end of the project. These walls were much more textured than expected and painting black outlines on them wasn’t the most fun. I also had the challenge of freestyle painting behind the pool’s motor that had very little space behind it. Although the mural behind the motor was only visible from one side of the lanai it had to be painted just as well as, and cohesive with, the rest of the wall. Crawling into that tight space was no easy task.

Day 4

My final day I cleaned up any and all details that were irking my eye. One flower got entirely repainted because the color in the sketch didn’t translate properly to the wall. Thankfully, all the paint was premixed in good quantities. I had plenty of paint to make last minute changes like that. Initially we had planned on painting 2 large murals and 2 smaller photo op walls. However, the clients were incredibly anxious to clean up the lanai and get in some good photos of the areas, so the two smaller walls were never started. To be honest, while I was disappointed I didn’t finish everything I had envisioned doing, I was thankful. I was able to get a couple hours of rest before hopping on a red eye flight back to Tampa. I left feeling refreshed and rested.

Done, for now.

The murals have completely transformed this space. They now serve as conversation pieces during gatherings, give a vibrant energy for many future pool parties and barbecues, and memorialize the many pets this family has loved. It’s an art piece for the family as well as a tribute to the campos of Puerto Rico where nature and earth provide abundance for all who live there. I do hope to return and complete the two photo op walls sometime in the summer.

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