In 2015 a call for artists was issued for an artist to paint the south facing wall of the Sangre De Cristo Arts and Conference Center and Buell Children’s Museum. In October 2015 I was awarded the commission, and in late October 2016 the Mural began its construction and was completed in the early part of November. Titled the “Wall Of Wonder,” the painting was completed over the course of 16 days. The original concept of the work formed a year earlier when I met with museum director Jim Richardson. After the call for artist went out and I received selection as the artist, then Jim and I went back and forth on the design until we arrived at this final version.
The mural was painted with a base of concrete primer, and then enamels were sprayed on top. The primary medium is spray paint, and the Sangre de Cristo sign is painted with a mixture of spray paint and brushes. The entire mural was painted from within a 45ft boom lift and from standing on the ground. The weather could not have been better for the whole project
The boom lift proved to be a challenge as the slope of the hill made the tractor off balance and caused the alarm go off. Going up the first night with the alarm going off disregarding the warning sounds, might not have been the best choice. It’s always scary going up in those lifts for the first time, even more so with the alarm blaring in your ear. After a few hours of having the alarm going off, I could handle no more and had to stop for the time being. The next day the rental place came and attempted to help me solve the problem but to no avail. After a few hours, another construction company gave us some ramps which I used to balance out the lift for the remainder of the project. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing. It was nice being up in a box in the sky. I felt very comfortable and able to zone out completely. Plus the views up there are stunning.
Another issue I had was the transfer of the Sangre De Cristo lettering. They proved to be the biggest challenge. Finding the proper spacing for the lettering was taking too much time and painting directly on the concrete left no room for error. My final solution to the problem was to create a pattern on the ground and transfer it to the wall via pouncing. This classic transfer method worked out very well I’m very pleased with the way the sign came out.
While painting, I most often listen to audiobooks. During this project, I listened to several books, one of them being Robert Greens “Mastery.” It was significant for me to have listened to this book while painting this, my grandest work. While painting the “Wall Of Wonder” my confidence as an artist, as a creator, grew to new levels. The cumulative work I completed in Pueblo, led me to have a much greater understating of myself as an artist. It led me to an understanding of mastery. I’ve come to understand that with faith and persistence all things will come into being in a rather natural way. I’ve discovered that even though fears occur and mistakes happen, they always are what is necessary for the final product to reach completion.
For me, the “Wall Of Wonder” has been a high point of my career as a muralist, as well as the pinnacle of the work which I completed in Pueblo. The growth I experienced in completing this project will carry over into every project I will do in the future.
It was a great honor to have been able to paint this mural. Having accomplished my first museum commission, I’m very grateful that I completed it in my hometown of Pueblo, CO. Big thank you to Jim Richardson and Alyssa Parga for all of their help and efforts in making this project happen. Thank you to Houston construction for the generous donation of the platforms to level the lift. Thank you to Wagner Rentals for the very generous donation of the boom lift.