Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Mural Part 1

It has been a couple of days since I got back, so I suppose I should fill you all in on my trip! It was relatively quick compared to my last drive south... just one bus this time and some visiting, dropping off/ picking up of stuff. Since the bus is still engine-less (working on it though) I took the subaru. It was faster, had heat and AWD. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of people I wanted to see, but I will be down again soon! More on that later though.

My first day, I drove from Burlington, CT to Salem, VA. I got a good jump on the day and it was pretty clear in the way of traffic. I headed down 84 until I hit I-81. My first stop was at a truck stop right outside of Scranton.

It seems to be an ideal spot to stop at and I have a pic of my bus here too. Last time it was a fair bit warmer though! I had to change into shorts. This time, I grabbed a soda and quickly headed back to the car. I made excellent time and was halfway through Virginia by 4:00.

I made it down to Salem Import Service in Salem, VA before it got dark. This is Mark and Sandra's shop on Florida St. Mark was kind enough to drive over a syncro vanagon to camp in for the night. He also brought me past his usual hang out spot for some beer and pizza. The next morning Mark and I took his super rare widebed vanagon singlecab out to drop off a client's new tires for mounting and then got breakfast. On my way out, Mark advised me to avoid the blasting on 81 South past Salem... something that saved me time this time but, I managed to totally forget on my way back home! Later that morning...:

And then Tennessee! This is the view from the TN welcome center, take note of the guitar shaped building in the background:

Finally, sometime around 3pm I got to Knoxville and managed to drive past Ed's driveway. Once I did find his driveway I didn't really leave until I was finished 12 days later. Well, I did leave once to get paint thinner, but that for less than 30 minutes. The rest of the time I spent mostly working. I did spend some time standing outside and admiring the view from the powerlines further over on the ridge... and not only the view, but the warmth, and the life! There were plants growing and the sun was a wonderful recharge after being in New England for months.

I was there for 12 days. Edwin was a very kind host and will make a great Paintedbus owner! He had a number of people come past while I was there. I met Gail and her dog Jesse. (Thanks to Gail for all of her cooking btw. To say she kept me well fed while I was working would be an understatement! I guess this is where all that southern hospitality comes in, right!)
I also met Edwin's son Chris and his girlfriend. They came by to check out the mural a couple of times.

Other than the occasional visitor, my routine was pretty predictable. Wake up, eat some breakfast, paint until dinner and then continue painting until I got tired. I did this for 11 days in a row and managed to average 15 hours of painting a day! All said and done, I think I ended up with around 175 hours into this mural. Ed was pleased and I got to add bus # 10 to my portfolio. Since the days ended up blurring together after a while, here is the process without dates... just kinda as it went!:


Here are the driver and passenger side murals. To get you looking, here are some things to look for:

8 fireflies
7 passenger side murals
2 drivers side murals
an owl with its eyes closed
4 painted vw symbols
a backup set of wings
a phrase (good luck)

The passenger side is based off the quaking aspen forests in the Northern Utah mountains. My grandparents had property up there when I was younger that left a pretty strong impression on me.

The drivers side is based off of the BOTheR campout in Erwin, TN I attended last time I was down.

The rear panel is based off of scenery in Monument Valley in UT, but with a lot of creative liberties taken!

That's a chaged face!

This time I also incorporated the wings into a logo. Ed identified with a compass, so I used that in the design as well. It was a fun substitute for using the vw logo. I also put a little "10" in the center to signify that Ed's bus was my 10th paintedbus concept.

Edwin with his new Paintedbus

Part 2, "the ride home" tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An upcoming bus mural

I have been sketching out some ideas for Edwin in Tennessee. The plan is to head down for the beginning of February and spend 5-10 days working on his 84 VW Westfalia "Hannah." Luckily, I have a benevolent friend in TN who has a fantastic heated work shop and painting booth that he has opened up for my use! THANKS BOYD!


The holidays kept me overly busy, so I didn't get to formally start on the concept art for Edwin's bus until this week (big holiday post forthcoming.) But I do have something to share now, so here are some words on that.

"Hannah" the bus is scheduled to go on a long distance trip around the country in a couple of months time. So in this light, I wanted to incorporate some elements of the west into my design. From my perspective, nothing says the American west like big scenery and big mountains. I know I don't feel right when I go too long without mountains. ( I type from coastal Massachusetts... sigh*) But Edwin won't have to worry about that when he is in the heartland... he can just look to his mural!
I can also see pulling out the horizon a bit to a desert landscape, but I will see what Ed thinks about that first.

(click images for full size)

Another aspect I wanted to illustrate in this mural is Edwin's love of camping and music. At the BOtheR campout(and many others like it), there is an unseen music switch that gets flicked once the sun goes down. Everyone that has an instrument pulls it out and starts playing. Edwin was most notable at BOtheR with his ukulele and lighthearted (and frequently adult oriented) lyrics! So, pending his approval, I have included him playing and singing along with some other musicians. That scene is completed by a couple vw's around a camp fire all under a starry night sky. Having Hannah in this scene will allow me to do the frequently requested mural in a mural in a mural. I did this on Jamie's pop-top and was toying with the idea on Snoopy's bus, but ran out of time.

Edwin wants me to paint his bus in a color scheme that compliments his curtains. As coloring takes a fair amount of time, I figure the best way to approach this will be to land on a design that works first, and then do color studies once that is settled upon. However, to give you a point of reference, here is a picture of his curtains:

This gives me a lot of color to work with and as I just need the colors to function together and not match perfectly, I think an almost unlimited organic palette will be perfect for this bus.

The areas outside of the mural will be the Almond color that is currently on the wheels and plastic parts. If I can swing it, I will see if I can get that outside area in a satin finish. I think that would contribute to that vintage feel and set off the glossy mural like nobody's business! Though I am not sure if the almond color plastic will be retained when I get through with it, rest assured Edwin that your desired "unique bus" status will be retained 110%! ;)

Because of the complex angular body lines of a vanagon, I find a lot of vanagon mural painting satisfaction in the panel layout scheme. Both of Aswah's murals were done in a panel layout as well as my Alice bus mural, and I couldn't be happier with how they work. This technique allows me to avoid brush painting on the really time consuming areas... (like the gutters, pop top, and nose) and focus on detail in the focused mural area. In Aswah's most recent mural, I bordered the panel with organic black line work. I think I will do a similar thing on Edwin's mural, taking into account the slightly different bumper design of the earlier model.

Organic black line work:

The back of Aswah's bus also had a Jimi Hendrix quote. I think a quote panel would be appropriate on Hannah but I still need to talk to Edwin about that. A song lyric, favorite personal mantra or book quote would work great. On my bus, I am planning on using the John Muir quote:
"The mountains are calling and I must go."

Maybe something similar would be appropriate here.

So obviously, there is still a lot of work to be done here, but hopefully by the middle of next week we will have this design pretty well sorted out and ready to go! In the meantime, I will be bringing a jar of enamel paint down to CT with me to paint a small little something on my bus, so I can retain it's #9 status. Edwin's bus will be mural #10 and I can use all my Magic Hat #9 Paraphernalia to decorate my bus over the summer;)

My dream shifter, lol!