Flashback to Parts One, Two & Three...
Because I have a full-time job, the weekends are the only time I can really put some serious hours in on the cabinet. Every morning before I head out to the cabinet, I douse myself in sunscreen, make sure my iPod is charged up and pack plenty of water for my 8-ish hours on site.
With an intent gaze, I look over each horse to make sure its outlines and patterns are to my liking. Then I move on to the finishing touch...the eyes.
I always leave the eyes of my subjects for last, since it's the eyes that give the subject life and character. This habit originated after learning about a Nepalese ceremony called
"mikhā chāyekegu" (opening the eyes). Of course, I don't consider my cartoony creations sacred at all, it's just a pleasant way to signal the end of the painting process.
Because these are functioning electrical transformers, the utility department isn't really keen on the public interacting with them (aside from us artists painting them, that is). So one of the requirements is that each artist has to leave a space for the warning stickers to be prominently displayed. I usually achieve this by painting a 'signpost' where the stickers will go. That way, they become part of the painted environment.
Finally, as with all of my murals, I like to include a little surprise for anyone that is able to really look at the artwork. Those with sharp eyes will spy a purple-striped horse snacking on a lock-shaped apple and a pink polka-dotted unicorn somewhere on this cabinet.
All told, it took me about 7 weekends of working 6 - 8 hour days. During that time, I dodged thunderstorms, worked in 103° weather, got plenty of sunscreen in my eyes and had some interesting conversations with passers-by.
Once finished, the city seals the cabinet with a durable clear-coat to protect it from the elements. And yes...I get paid for my work, too.
As I mentioned earlier, after the black outlines are in, the project becomes similar to a giant paint-by-numbers without the numbers. The perceived freedom of filling in whatever colors I want isn't really there. Sometimes I actually get quite stymied while choosing each horse's color & pattern combo. Ideally, I attempt to alternate warm & cool colors, complement the surrounding color families and not repeat any adjacent pattering. It's tougher than it sounds.
Aa far as my painting technique, I do what's called 'painting to the line'. At least that's what I call it...I honestly don't know if it has an actual term. The upshot is, I fill in the color up to the outline, leaving some areas of the line thicker and some thinner.
As you can see, sometimes I go too far and obliterate the line, but fear not...I've got plenty more black paint.
Through the generous use of masking tape, I create some pretty fun patterns. Argyle, pinstripes, herringbone and plaid...it's like a each horse was designed in a textile factory!
Next up...the devil is in the details.