These photos, below, show the very rough marker sketches I made for Betty to choose from.
The photo, above, shows my "canvas", primed, with the whole side of the trailer masked off.
The first step in the actual painting of the mural is the border. I decided Gold with HotRod Sparkle on top would be perfect. After masking off the area, I fired up the airbrush and got to work.
...especially #3, which warns: "do not insert any eyewinker into the compressor." OK, good to know. I kept my eyewinkers safely out of harm's way.
30 parts white
4 parts Caribbean Blue
5 parts Cobalt Blue
1 part Red
Yes, RED. That greys it out a bit so it is not so blue-blue.
So, all by myself on a very gusty day I grabbed two tarps, each 18x25 feet (every Floridian has tarps in their garage for post-hurricane roof repairs) and a drill motor and various hooks and screws and bungee cords and created what you see in the photo above. This was the exciting part I alluded to in the intro to this post above.
At one point I was on the ladder, balanced on that step that says, THIS IS NOT A STEP...when a huge gust of wind picked me up and sent me flying off the ladder. I held onto the tarp and my brain told me to bend my knees in a springy fashion when I landed a nano-second later. I landed on my feet (I'm cat-like!) and suddenly understood the appeal of wind-surfing.
Time to paint the horses! First, I had to mask off the sky and the fence to prevent drips and over-spray from the airbrush.
I don't have any photos of Mojo in progress...probably because I was using all my brain-power to try to capture his color.
The next step was many layers -- I lost count -- of clear-coat. This was the step I was most worried about because automotive clear-coat, as used in custom auto body shops, contains isocyanate, a VERY dangerous chemical. I do not have a $2000 forced air breathing hood system and full HazMat protective jumpsuit, so I had to find something that would protect the painting but require no more personal protection that a volatile organic compounds (VOC) respirator, which I DO have.
I found U-POL #1, a rattle can clear-coat recommended by Auto Air for protecting their line of paints. It worked well and I used four full cans.
Thanks for reading about this project. For some of you it may have ignited a desire to learn airbrushing or automotive finish techniques...if so, contact me and I will share some wonderful resources. The rest of you are probably thinking I was crazy to take on this project. I have learned so much and have had a lot of fun, even though there were times -- those windy, humid days -- when I regretted saying YES.
Knowing all that goes into even the most basic automotive finishes makes me appreciate those guys at the body shops...they really don't get paid enough when they fix dings and dents and repaint your car, good as new. Next time you have body work done, give the guy a big tip...or at least a hug!
If you are interested in my NEXT project of this type (are you ready, Russ?!?) send me an email and I will put you on the list.
Ciao for now!