Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Krewe of Proteus

So....we're finally, two years after buying our first home, spiffing up the master bedroom. The painting plans have been laid; repaint the ceiling, paint the walls a very neutral "silver plum", and round out with some white-ish trim. All very ho-hum. But have no fear, the obnoxiously vivid painting is here! hang over the bed, that is.

It's been a long-time want of mine to paint up a large scale version of one of the gorgeous carnival posters of old New Orleans. The art commissioned by Mardi Gras krewes circa the 19th century is some of the most beautiful...and over-looked, if you ask me....artwork that I've ever seen. So creative, so ornate; it's what keeps the mystique of Mardi Gras alive for those of us locals that have long since grown tired of the drunken street party portion of the season. I go to that parades for the art. OK.....and the beads, but that's just a primal urge to elbow complete strangers, really.

A couple of years ago, I picked up two volumes of Henri Schindler's collection of these fabulous works, Mardi Gras Treasures, of which he has written about and compiled them as costumes, invitations and float designs. All three books are FABULOUS, which made it really tough to pick a work to enlarge and replicate. I finally settled on an invitation for the ball of the Krewe of Proteus, 1820. The colors are rich and varied and I sort-of have a thing for nautical mythology, of which many yearly krewe themes are based. Anyway, it just seemed right.

For kicks, I decided to chronicle the daily advancements of paint job, for my sole pleasure really, but I'd thought I could share the process with you all too. I should say too, that while I enjoy creating my own art from time to time, I love to replicate pieces like this. It gives you a real sense for another painter's process and creative brilliance that goes on inside of other people's heads. It's like a design puzzle worth solving for art junkies, like me.

One other sidenote, this project is still in progress and I'm taking pictures at the and of each painting day. I do intend to scan the original work when I can, but it may come at the end of the project, so bear with me. Size is approximately 24" in. by 36" in. and it's on scrap plywood, leftover from cutting out hurricane window covers (I love that). But I'll have to measure it out later. Hope you guys enjoy.

End of Day 1.

End of Day 2.


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