A challenging mural project

For the past month I’ve been working on a project in Istanbul. It’s a city that’s been on my list of places to visit for many years and I’m now lucky enough to be working here on a house with beautiful views of Asia across the Bosphorus. I’ve travelled a fair bit in Asia over the years and have always wanted to see the this historic city and the gateway to the east. The company is good too – I’m helping another muralist, the artist Richard Bagguley and working alongside graphic designer David Bird and S.P. Howarth the poet and actor.

Working out here has given me a little more free time than usual, hence starting this blog.

Here’s another painting I did some years ago. It was for a bar in Bristol and had to be completed within a very tight timeframe. It was around 7 metres in length and I had around 20 days to produce it. The whole thing was painted in my studio to be installed on completion. I fell off a ladder on the first day and ripped the canvas and this set me back a couple of days with ordering a new one. Luckily, when I finished the final painting I still had a few days to spare. The brief itself was quite open – I was required to paint a classical reproduction in an almost letterbox format. I chose this painting by Guido Reni, as I had painted it some years before as a street art piece, the format fitted and I knew it fairly well. I stretched the canvas myself in a studio I was working in at the time. After my accident and false start I sketched the outline in one day and made a start on painting the fabrics.

Drawing the outline of the mural

After this, the painting went rather quickly – I took the next image at the end of the second day. Most of the painting was sketched in now and all the canvas covered with an initial layer of paint.

At the end of day 2

After the second day, things really slowed down as I guessed they would. I had to get adding the details – painting all the figures in, getting the contrast right, blending of the clouds and so on. The painting in the end had to stand up to a fair degree of close scrutiny.

Final mural painting almost finished.

It felt like a challenge at the time to complete such a large painting in the time I was given and I was glad to have a break after. As soon as the paint was dry I spent the money from the painting on a flight to Kathmandu and a month travelling around Nepal.

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