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.
Looking for Part One? It's right here...
Once I've gotten the outlines figured out, I begin adding the color. There's grass that runs all along the bottom of the cabinet, so that goes in first. Putting the background color down also helps clarify the design...and points out any glaring issues. Some of these issues include, but are not limited to; missing legs, incorrect proportions, frightening confirmation, etc. Of course, most of these things are only really noticeable to me, but yeah...I notice them.
After I've worked out the bugs (a process that never really ends), the real fun begins. It's pretty much a giant paint-by-numbers, only there aren't any numbers. During the drawing phase, I wrote each horse's color & pattern on them. This written instruction is more like a suggestion rather than an unbreakable rule.
I actually make up my mind about each horse's color as I go along. I wish I could tell you that it's all about "The Artist's Eye"(TM), or some other intangible artsy-fartsy magic. The truth is that I'm a cheapskate (otherwise known as 'frugal') and I hate to waste paint. If I have some leftover color after I finish filling in a horse, I'll add a little white or yellow or blue or whatever to change the color enough that it's not obviously the same as the original color. I'll then move over to another face of the box and pick a horse somewhere in the same color family as what I have just mixed up. My method isn't artistic, it's not scientific, it's economic.
Alright, this part of my method is a bit more on the pragmatic side, but stick with me...there's gonna be some fun and artsy-fartsy magic in the next installment...stay tuned!