Kunamokst Mural Mosaic, Part II

A few weeks ago, I received my panel for the Kunamokst Mural Mosaic in the mail:

Panel 102, Kunamokst Mural Mosaic

Panel 102, Kunamokst Mural Mosaic

Even though I had selected this panel as one of my ‘top 3’ choices to paint, I was still surprised when it was shipped to me. It suddenly seemed very purple! (I scanned through the paintings I have completed over the past 7 years in this style and realized that only a small handful have ever had purple in them. I would need to expand my palette for this project, it seemed.)

I knew that I was going to paint either an historical ‘west coast’ building or a boat of some significance on my panel. Given the strong diagonal lines cutting across the panel (not to mention the purple!), I decided it would lend itself better to a boat.

The SS Beaver

The SS Beaver

The SS Beaver has been on my list of things to paint as part of my ongoing Fisherman’s Wharf series. I am drawn to the boat, which is actually a replica of an earlier vessel that was shipwrecked in 1888, because of its storied history and charismatic features. The SS Beaver was instrumental in the founding of Fort Victoria and, later, in chartering much of British Columbia’s coastline (over 1500 kilometres). More information on the history of the SS Beaver can be found here.  The current vessel has been extensively (and beautifully!) refurbished and now docks at the Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, BC.

A rendering of the 1888 shipwreck at Prospect Point in Vancouver

A rendering of the 1888 shipwreck at Prospect Point in Vancouver

I started the process of making my mural panel by doing a quick sketch of the SS Beaver, with the basic composition of my particular panel in mind:

Sketch of the SS Beaver, copyright 2009 Martin Machacek

Initial sketch of the SS Beaver, copyright 2009 Martin Machacek

Next, I added a smooth foundation of acrylic paint over top of the roughly painted base layer:

Although the tones and basic shapes in the original panel must be adhered to, the creators of the Kunamokst Mural Mosaic ask that no original background paint be showing the final piece.

Although the artwork should adhere to the tones and basic shapes of the original panel, the creators of the Kunamokst Mural Mosaic ask that no original background paint be showing in the final piece.

Once the new ‘base layer’ was dry, I painted an outline of the SS Beaver onto my panel, and then I gradually proceeded to add more details and depth to the painting:

The 'ghost' of the SS Beaver. This photo was taken in different lighting so looks much darker and foreboding than it is in real life.

The 'ghost' of the SS Beaver. This photo was taken in different lighting, so it looks much darker and foreboding than the panel is in real life.

... and out of the mist, a ship appears! The features of the SS Beaver become more distinct as the process goes on.

... and out of the mist, a ship appears! The features of the SS Beaver become more distinct as the process goes on. These colours are much more true to the painting in this photo, although the SS Beaver itself is black, not deep purple.

SS Beaver, completed panel of the Kunamokst Mural Mosaic.

Et voila! "SS Beaver", completed panel #102 of the Kunamokst Mural Mosaic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of contributing to this mural project. It was a challenge at first to simultaneously ‘be original’ but to stay within the panel’s lines and colour schemes. However, I found this challenge to be very exciting and inspiring! It is truly an honour and privilege to be part of such a great collaborative project, in the company of so many other talented visual artists. I am looking very forward to seeing the completed mural!

Me with the "SS Beaver" painting, for scale

Me with the "SS Beaver" painting, for scale. The mural will consist of 231 panels, each measuring 12" x 12".

The “SS Beaver” painting, step by step:

ss1

ss2ss3

ss4ss5

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~ by martycultural on October 2, 2009.

2 Responses to “Kunamokst Mural Mosaic, Part II”

  1. You appear to be a Beaver enthusiast, I have relics of the old steamer left to me by my grandfather who worked on ships from Seattle to Alaska around 1915 to 20. He was a collector of artifacts surrounding his birth year “1888”. I have in my possession a coin that was made from the brass of the Beaver and what I believe to be a gavel constructed from some of the brass tubing from the vessel. I understand the Victoria or Vancouver museum may have a gavel also although I have never seen it.
    Anyway I do like your work and will need to visit Victoria soon to see the refurbished ship and you mural.

  2. Avast!
    I love your art work, I have spoken to you before when you have been down on the inner harbour.
    We have just moved the SS Beaver to the end of Broughton Street.
    Very soon we will be doing a lot more work on her ;o)
    I would love to meet you John as I am a true SS Beaver enthusiast, and the General Manager of the replica.
    Cheers!

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