Teaming up with @flightafterflight and @salvagetoscenic to make a mural!
Honestly, it is a blur of a day to look back on. Here is a look into my rendition of the flurry of events for our fateful mural day amongst friends.
The planning of events is far from my forte. I somehow usually forget to arrange one of the fab five factors: Who/What/When/Where/Why. So, for this project I was determined to be on my game and make sure I took the time to map these out. I'm proud to say I think I did an excellent job holding true to this. I will admit to completely forgetting to provide any such directions for Jake on getting to our mural destination, but hey, you have to take your small victories.
Summer had set and fall had already placed its frosty blanket over Colorado by the time Jake arrived in Colorado. A cold front and the promise of snow was on the horizon; a forecast which pleased the skier in me but greatly displeased the artist. Garages being something of a myth for the younger folks of Eagle County, we did not, in fact, have access to one to ensure the painting project would be protected from the elements. Instead, I realized we had something even better-- badass pilot friends who are always eager to help out. Enter David & Christina, pilots extraordinaire, shredders and all-around great time. I reached out to them about this project with my hopes of being able to take-over their plane hangar. Being the unbelievably supportive friends they are, they gave a hearty "yes". So, the 'Where' was won and the crazy Colorado elements were uninvited to this painting party!
Next on the agenda was naturally the 'when'. This was fairly easy to ascertain as art being my side-hustle only allowed me a short window of opportunity to create the mural on one of my days off. Luckily, Jake was flexible with what day he could make the driver over to Eagle County. Originally, we set our sights on a Monday but in true skier fashion we delayed the date another day to lap up some powder on the mountain. This decision to avoid fighting the elements allowed for us to have a far more leisurely day basking and napping (*cough* Connor) in the sun instead of fighting our inevitable transformations into Jack Frosts. Not only did we get to get some fresh turns on the mountain, but Monday also proved to be a major day for me because I was able to finally spot my first "Hobo" ski carry in the wild. It transformed this carry technique from myth to legend, and boy can I tell you, what a sight it was to behold!
Exceptionally proud of my planning thus far I blustered ahead determined to catch every "W" needed for a successful plan. Next up, a dates mate: time. I will come clean and admit that I, Bijou, am not a morning person. More akin to a frizzy haired demon in the morning I knew I had to come to terms with the necessity of an early morning start to be able to complete the scale of this project in a single day. Now, you might be thinking we must have set the start time to 6AM. No, that is unthinkable for this puffy-eyed morning monster. We set our time for the crack of 9AM, knowing the battle I would have to fight against my natural instincts to snooze on through the 6 alarms I would set for myself.
Now the tough part, what the hell was I going to use to paint this mural?! If you are an artist, I am sure that you know the panic of picking the correct materials for the project at hand; especially if it is a foray into unfamiliar territory. This painting would be battling the elements on its adventures, so I knew I needed to get a highly durable outdoor paint that wouldn't wither away from exposure. What is the best brand of outdoor paint? The paint with the mightiest fight? Google will pair you up with a dozen different ads, muralist's blogs will guide you towards their sponsors but none of these pathways give you the outright correct answer. This answer is still a mystery to me, I can confidently tell you that I have now walked the paint aisle at Home Depot and inspected every brand. I'll tell ya, each brand does a heck of a job convincing you that they are the best of the crop. For an hour I picked up, studied and traded black outdoor paint. In the end, after much fuss, I went with my original pick...typical! However, after painting the mural, I would remark that I wish I had used paint markers finished with a sealant as it would have been a far better match for the intricacies of this design. Having used paint and paint brushes it was very difficult to keep the lines an even thickness and it created the necessity to paint a second coat to create the correct opaqueness. An insight for the next mural!
Date, time, location, design and materials acquired all that was left was the actual day. The ultimate test to find out if this was really happening. I'm glad to say everything went even better than I could have imagined. On the day, I only snoozed 3 alarms before slugging my body out of bed and preparing my coffee and car for the day. Connor and I arrived at the airport to meet David, Christina & their furry friend Betsy at the airport gate. Jake rolled in very soon after and I was able to see the canvas for the very first time! It was a beauty, and Jake was a delight to finally meet in person. We headed to the hangar and I was tasked to help David roll their Cessna plane out of the hangar to transform the space into the world's coolest painting studio. I was pleased when we managed to move the plane without somehow throwing it to the heavens (though obviously David was extremely well versed in moving his own plane around, I am decidedly not). We set some painting tarps down, shifted the truck into its new place and I got straight to sketching the outline of the design. It only took the first brush stroke for me to know that I would need to apply two coats, something that sounds easy but while creating small fine lines becomes difficult to match the exactness of the leading line. My strategy was to double coat the thicker outline lines around the entirety of the design before moving onto the finer lines of the mountains, cacti and waves.
I was having the time of my life, slowing watching this mural come to life with the gentle flow of the paint leaving the bristles of my paintbrush to pioneer a new home of the gray wooden boards of the truck. I do believe the spectator position of the experience was a bit less exciting. Time lapses make it fun to watch something big come to life but, in real time, it is many hours watching something look the exact same with small adjustments. Luckily for Connor and Jake, David and Christina had a fun adventure of their own planned and invited the boys for an afternoon of cloud surfing. They set out for their scenic tour of the Gore Mountain Range as I jived to some music painting my little heart out with Betsy dog as my companion. Slowly the outline was completed, and it was time to move onto the intricate little line work.
When the gang got back, we decided to move the truck from the safety of the hangar's shadows to the warming rays of the Colorado sun outside. Once again, I was grooving, this time in the loving embrace of my sweater instead of my heavy-duty parka. What a relief! Jake and Connor went on a lunch mission and when they returned victorious the gang set up some lawn chairs in the sun and mowed on some lovely burritos. I got filled in about the adventure in the sky, and if you have seen Jake's YouTube video you are well aware of the mischief they got up to in the clouds. It felt good to take a break from the grind, but time was running, and I was trying my best to keep up to its fast pace. The sun was starting to begin its slow descent towards its bedtime rituals, so I pressed on determined to get the job done. The parka soon made another appearance around my body while my sunglasses soon abandoned my face. Before I knew it the nightly glow began to show as I made my very last line.
The plane hangar was doused in a beautiful night gown of soft orange, yellow and reds as the sun slowly began to pull its blankets overhead. We drove out into the sunset, chasing its beautiful rays for some good photography lighting but as soon as we parked the lighting had dimmed to a dusk. We paraded around-- celebrated and soon hugged our goodbyes, glad of the day well spent. It's a day with friends that I will never forget.
In the flurry of sunset, I completely forgot to sign my handle on my newly formed mural. I was kicking myself but as luck would have it as I was driving on my way home the next evening from work, I spotted the one and only salvage to scenic rig parked in front of the local favorite: Brush Creek Saloon. Freshly tagged up this project was deemed complete as we could now invite the world to follow along both of our crazy journeys if they wanted.
I honestly can't thank my amazing friends enough for allowing us to take over their hangar for the day. I'm so grateful for Jake giving me this opportunity to be a part of his journey as well as Shane for thinking of me when he saw this opportunity come up. I will also add that I am proud of myself for committing to taking advantage of this opportunity and giving it all that I had. A huge shoutout goes to Connor who had the thankless job of listening to every thought/idea/anxiety I had leading up to this faithful day, not to mention the indecisive display at Home Depot.
Thank you for reading along with me this Sunday. I hope it was leisurely and amusing, as a Sunday morning should be.