Friday, December 03, 2004

Mural blogging

I'll admit I was jealous when I saw Prentiss blog about buying art. I've got a 19-year old starting school in the spring who looks like she may be affected by the financial aid fund running out, so I'm definitely not buying much art right now.

Without me lifting a finger, though (okay, I occasionally carry paints and supplies), the missus has been slowly painting a pretty significant mural underneath our back deck. She got the idea when we were traveling in Mexico earlier this year, and a lot of the small restaurants had significant murals in them. Some of the big ones, too; this is a great restaurant in downtown Mexico City called Sanborns that serves a reasonably priced breakfast. It's covered in amazing blue tile on the outside and it's been there a long time. There's an Orozco mural in the stairwell, and the location is mentioned in the opening chapter of D.H. Lawrence's
novel about Quetzalcoatl:

We were sitting in that room when Kathy announced she was going to paint a mural under the deck. Hers isn't quite that fancy, and in fact imitates more ancient pre-Columbian art motifs, not that florid, European style. But I'm pretty proud of her. I couldn't do what she has in a hundred years. The whole thing runs the full width of our house -- about 25 feet or so wide, and about 8 feet high, on a bit of a slope. There's basically two pieces to it on either side of a small door. The smaller portion is mostly finished:

And a larger portion that she's still working on:

You can see she's adopted the orange sky motif from the Sanborns, but not much else. That's her rendition of one of the 20-50 ton stone Olmec heads which were found in Southeastern Mexcio, mostly in southern Veracruz state. We saw quite a few of them at a fabulous archaelogical museum in Jalapa. Here's some close-ups of other mural sections. This one's my favorite:

Kathy likes what she calls the "talking man" the best:

The lines coming out of the character's mouth, we read somewhere, indicate which character in the scene is talking, a lot like a speech bubble in a comic book. This is her rendition of Mixtec suns from set of pre-Columbian codices we saw in Mexico:

All of these are very close to stuff we saw, postcards we bought or images from a museum book we came back with. The Olmec head and the vertical stone statue, in particular, Kathy sketched in the museum in Jalapa, and drew them from her sketches straight onto the wall! We've been together 14 years, and until this fall I've never seen her do anything like this. I definitely benefit from this new hobby, even if it's been recently rain-delayed.

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