For those of you who have warmly followed the journey of this project, the wait is over! I have a few simple pictures of the final result of this mural. For those of you who don’t know WTF I’m talking about, lemme bring you up to speed...
In November of last year, 2018 SA Senior Australian of the Year nominee and all round people's champion, Glyn Scott, commissioned me to paint a mural on the outside wall of the Love Hope & Gratitude Foundation's new Cafe and Treasure Trove situated on McLaren street in Mt Barker. This was my very first ever wall mural, which was a very positive and exciting challenge for me….
And oh boy, challenging it was!
The first challenge: The side wall was 30 meters long (98.4 feet) and on a slope. This made working on scaffolding a little precarious at times and tricky for little old weeny-weakling me to move the frame and secure it from wobbles on my own (Here is where I’d like to thank Dave Innes, Jeff Innes and Dylan Kelly for being able to assist and ensure my safety. I salute you!)
Second challenge: The texture of the wall was bagged with a coarse gravel finish which required several coats of paint to cover crevasses the brushes would miss (Here I would like to thank Dylan Kelly, Cheryl Day and Annette Innes for doing some of the under-painting touch ups).
Challenge three was the trickiest and cruelest. The weather. Some days were so hot that it was just dangerous to be outside. Adelaide's record for hottest day ever was broken during my engagement on this project (January 24th 2019, 46.2C). Mornings painting the side wall in shade was fine until the sun would find me at about midday. Painting the front wall was fine from the mid afternoon until the sun began to set. However some days were so hot that it was impossible to be outside, and not just because it was uncomfortable and dangerous, the heat would turn the paint to plastic so that it would be unusable.
Some of the things I really enjoyed about the overall project experience was the interaction and feedback I would get from passing locals who would stop and comment on the work. In particular young children cos they have no filter. Almost all feedback was positive and encouraging which was reassuring. I also enjoyed zoning out and being in "my zen" as I painted. Often when I paint it’s like meditation where my mind goes completely blank, and is a really lovely peaceful feeling.
Some of other favourite moments about this experience was walking from Littlehampton into Mt Barker and back via an old abandoned train line. I would be completely alone on those walks in the early morning or pre sunset. Often I’d see bunny-wunnies on this walk. One time there was a kangaroo and a blue tongue lizard, I even saw a small tiger snake shoot across the path in front of me! It was pretty special having that time to myself walking along the train track, it is a memory I’ll cherish. However my all-time favorite thing about this project experience was staying with Dave and Annette Innes. They generously put me up in their home in Littlehampton and often drove me about on really hot days during the project. During my time at their place I was plied with very nice wines and good conversation. I had some really memorable and deLIPcious meals at their place, specifically the pork belly, then the chateaubriand….. and also the roast chicken…. Arrrgh! Look the list could go on. Nom nom nom! And I especially felt very fortunate and appreciative to have been invited to spend last Christmas with them and their family. Thank you Annette and Dave.
Other people I would like to thank Chris Carpenter of Hills Radio for the interviews, support and encouragement. The Weekender Herald for the publicity in the paper and Bob Ellisdon of Outback Bob Photography who took the beautiful photos of me working on the wall which went into the Weekender Herald. Finally I would also like to take the opportunity to thank my beautiful friend Jennifer Innes, for she was the connection that advocated I do this commission in the first place. Without her I would have never had this experience. Fanks dude!
Despite the challenges and setbacks, this was a very rewarding adventure in itself. I learnt a lot. For example, next time I would invest in getting a cherry picker license and I would want to use spray cans in addition to paint brushes. Also I would be mindful of the season and weather, cos burnt ears and overly tanned ankles contrasting white lily calves is not a sexy look.