Wall Mural Migraine & Major Pivot

There's nothing quite as empowering as walking out of the hardware store with your hands full of tiny pots of paint. For a brief moment you feel like anything is possible and there's this warm glow that gives you the feeling that once you screw off the lid and put paintbrush to the wall that it's going to turn out magnificent. Spoiler Alert: the paint pods are liars. 

BEHR Paint Sample Pods

Something about this picture gives me the warm fuzzies all over.

When I was first planning out my workroom makeover, I knew that a bold and colorful wall mural inspired by the fabulous Banyan Bridges was a MUST! I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, sketched it out then headed to Home Depot to grab an embarrassing amount of paint samples. Luckily one of my favorite gals was working at the paint counter and she was happy to fill my cart with little pots full of technicolor possibilities.

These are lies that the tiny pots of paint want us to leave believe. I had a plan it was carefully measured and sketched out. I even colored the sketch using my expensive art markers that gave me the exact hues and opacity where the colors would sit over each other. I was happy with the design so I move forward to the next step and marked off the wall then sketched in where I wanted the lines. Even took little notes of which colors went in which lines and taped off any of the areas that I wasn't ready to paint yet. I even went to step further and sealed the edges of the tape with the wall color so that the lines would remain true and crisp when the paint tape was peeled off. My daughter had some free time, and she is an amazing painter, so I put her to work and the little pots of paint were opened up and assigned their very own paintbrush. Once she was finished with the first round of stripes we both stood back and looked... and then that oh so familiar feeling started to sink in.

The mural was exactly like the sketch, every paint color was in its correct spot. All the measurements are exact, and yet it still wasn't right. Somewhere along the line the tiny paint pots whispered their sweet and innocent lies into my heart and up to my head... which made me second-guess any of the concerned feelings I was having as the mural was getting painted?

Luckily, it wasn't just me that felt like something was off. My daughter noticed it too, and we dove in trying to fix it. Changing the colors of the stripes a bit.  Making one wider and one thinner, (things that I have seen Rachel from Banyan Bridges do time from time to time and she paints murals for a living.) Whatever we were doing and trying to fix it was just making it worse . I was too impatient to let the coats dry in between so some of the colors started to get muddy. Once frustration set in and I refused to measure things out again, a bunch of the stripes became crooked and their thicknesses became way too inconsistent throughout the mural. 

Now at this point of the project, I should've known better. I know myself well enough to know that when I get to this stage of me frantically trying to fix things.  I inevitably always make it worse. After several hours of trying to figure out why everything felt off I stepped back and looked at the full-on wall mural migraine I had created. 

usually after the realization dawned on me that I made something bad into something much much worse I knew i had reached that stage where usually one of two things happen...

Either I rally and a stroke of genius hits giving me a new vision and a clear path of exactly how to fix it or I am so frustrated that I start going numb as I start to spiral and questioning every decision I've ever made in my life.  I honestly can't remember which I did that day, maybe both but I did inevitably walk away and told myself I would look at it with fresh eyes the next morning telling myself that future Lindsey would know what to do.

Later that night as I was doom scrolling on my phone, I decided to do a little research into color theory and color, overlay art installations in which, of course let me back to one of my inspirations from the start but because of the magic of the internet new images popped up in my search and there was a particular installation done by the artist Gabriel Dawe that immediately caught my attention. I was familiar with him but hadn't seen this branch of his work.

It was like looking at music. The way he introduced color and light as separate beings, giving each their own space. i was fascinated by how he would overlay and inner twine them with each other creating a completely different experience for the viewer. Every angle is different, where the colors lay over each other would create a new color. It was exactly the thought and feel that I wanted my tiny-basement-work room-mural to have . 

The next morning, I could barely wait to jump out of bed right to my sketchbook measured out the space I was working with divided by how many colors I wanted to showcase, looked at the color codes of my paint pots or at least what was left of them, and started pouring out small amounts of each color into a secondary cup. I knew the stripes weren't working and decided that triangles were the way to go. I had the paints for the large triangles, but the tricky part was that I needed to mix paint by hand to fill in all the smaller triangles. It had to be just right because painting on a flat to the surface doesn't exactly give you the feel of something that has opacity with light shining through it so it took a lot of tinkering to get that overlay just right. I spent a lot of time thinking about what would the color be at those intersections and how do I create it to look like it is also not completely solid

I spent hours painting then stepping back and tinkering with the colors, adding a bit of this, adding a bit of that, painting it again, letting it dry then repeating the process. As soon as I would get an intersection  that I knew in my guts was right, I force myself to move on and not look at it again. The areas between the reds and purples, and where the yellow met with the orange were definitely the hardest, but I knew that if a threw my hands up in the air and said it's good enough that in a few days (a week, a month ) it would bug me I would have to pull everything out and mess with it until it was right so I told myself to power through until every section and every intersection and overall gradient of the mural from left to right was perfect.  It took a lot of extra time and energy perhaps a bit of blood sweat, tears and swearing, but I was very happy with the end result.

The creative process often follows the same path for me... I have a small creative spark that turns into excitement that more often than not turns into a hyper-fixation until I get my hands on some supplies and start digging in a little.

Then I start running with my idea, I plan it out, start making it, hate it, question all my life choices, forced to come up with a different plan, pivots, starts over or starts fixing it then wash and repeat. I go back-and-forth between feeling like a creative and a total poser filled with self-doubt. I get frustrated if it doesn't turn out perfectly the very first time, which we all know is silly and ridiculous, but you feel it anyways, maybe you give up maybe rethink some things maybe you bring in some help or maybe power through it. Do you ever experience that? I'm pretty sure i'm not alone right?

One thing i've learned over the years of dealing with this "creativity life-cycle" is that I don't often regret my decision to push pause or walk away and come back to it later. What I do regret are the times that I kept going long after I was completely frustrated. Those projects rarely turned out good and I was so fried by the end that I inevitability burned out any of my interest in the project. I've come to treat those "sparks" more carefully. Like a tiny ember that needs small amounts of air to grow into a stronger flame. If its something i'm truly passionate about i need to give it the proper time and attention and not smother it right out the minute it catches. 

What does all that nonsense mean. Well, in the long short of it I will not be pursuing a career in painting wall murals. 

I will leave that to the professionals like Rachael from Banyan Bridges, Else Kerkmann and Liz Morrow. I like how the one for my studio turned out, and I may even do a few more in my home, but the stress of having to face that feeling of staring at a mural that doesn't look quite right and not knowing how to fix it would be too hard to deal with day in and day out.

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