Seward Mural; Pointillism

The nearly finished mural waiting for pointillism.  Photo by Ron Niebrugge.

We agreed to meet at the terminal Monday morning at 8:30 AM to put some pointillism in the mural.  I couldn’t stay long, for we had appointments in Anchorage and planned to be back in Palmer by mid afternoon.  All night I wrestled with the question of how to incorporate pointillism in this highly stylized, hard edged image.  It finally occurred to me to leave the image alone, and fill the white negative space around the image with dots.  Pale, multicolored dots that would read as a non color, a pale gray from a distance.

My husband and I skipped our morning bowl of cold cereal and had a hearty breakfast at the Breeze Inn.  We were the first customers of the day.  The town was quiet, the visitors were gone, the cruise ships gone, the train gone.  It was like any other small town again, just the locals going about their business.  And, a visiting artist from Palmer preparing to paint pointillism on a huge mural.

Four dedicated artists were ready to paint.  We mixed seven or eight colors all the same value, just a step and a half darker than white, and started placing dots over all the white space around the edges of the image.  At first the artists were tentative and careful.  At that pace would be there all day.  Some good natured prodding and cajoling sped things up a bit, but we were still too slow.  They were actually trying to make perfect dots, equally spaced!  Don’t worry about the dots being round, I advised, they can be square, they can have pigment, they can be big and small, they can be close together and spread apart, just do it!  Move that arm fast, make lots of dots!

Soon everyone fell into a rhythm and the speed increased.  Part way down the panel we lightened the dots to a half value above white and continued.  The effect was nice.  It was looking good.  I was actually sorry when we had to stop at noon, we could have continued all day.  But in the end they were able to have some pointillism in the mural and everyone was happy.

I haven’t seen the mural upright with all the panels side by side yet.  The paint needs to dry for a few days.  I asked my son, photographer Ron Niebrugge, who lives in Seward to take a photo of the whole thing once it is together.  It won’t be mounted outdoors until next summer, so there is plenty of time.  I’ll  post the photo when I get  it.

I slept like a log that night.

Gail Niebrugge, Alaska Artist

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