Tag Archives: Cambridge Arts Council

Going Swimmingly

The restoration of the mural, The Bluefish is Good Tonight, is going really well.  With the help of a bunch of wonderful assistants it is moving along quickly.  As soon as it stops snowing the painting will be put back up at 237 Hampshire Street in Inman Square where it belongs!

in the studio
Harrison Ringel, Regina Gaudette, Carla Hauck and Rachel Newsam work on the details of the mural. Two coats of acrylic paint were applied to all areas.
Carla
Carla Hauck applies the first coat of paint to a green school of fish.

It was interesting to re-work a project that I did so many years ago.  My color sense has changed, and I think the new color choices will be easier to read from a distance.  I had more confidence painting it this time, which made it a lot of fun.  I removed a few details and worked with bolder shapes this time around.

Rach transferring design
Rachel Newsam transfers the designs from the original mural onto the newly refreshed panels.
detail during painting
Complimentary colors really pop!
Maya1
Regina Gaudette and my new puppy Maya were both very dedicated to the project.
stethoscope2
I remembered why I chose all of these shapes several decades ago: I used to take a ceramics class in Inman Square, so I filled up all of the empty spaces with pottery forms.

I am very grateful to Rika Smith McNally, the director of the art conservation program at the Cambridge Arts Council, for her energy and guidance on this project.  She assures me that the painting will be looking good for several more decades!

IMG_0881
Driving home on the Massachusetts Turnpike after a long day at the studio.
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The Bluefish is New Tonight

In 1987, with funding from the Cambridge Arts Council, I was asked to paint a mural for a building in Inman Square, Cambridge. The painting was called “The Bluefish is Good Tonight”, as an homage to the original Legal Seafood restaurant that once stood on this site. The imagery also contained references to the vibrant jazz scene in the area.

It had faded badly over the years and I was ready to have the mural taken down since it had been on display for almost thirty years.  It turned out that it wasn’t so easy to remove the painting because the neighbors had grown attached to it and they still liked it, even though all of the reds and purples and much of the imagery had disappeared.  I was pleased to know that it was so well-loved, and I started to hope that a plan could be made to save the mural.

Rika Smith McNally, the director of the art conservation program at the Cambridge Arts Council, was determined to find a way to re-paint the mural, and she made it happen last week!  Before I could say “What is that huge thing in my studio?”, Rika and a team from USArt, George Hagerty and Alfred Zuniga, had moved the five panels to my studio.

George
George Hagerty and Alfred Zuniga removing aluminum panels from Inman Square building
Rika Smith McNally and Rory Beerits of Cambridge Arts Council, cleaning the mural
Rika Smith McNally and Rory Beerits of the Cambridge Arts Council, cleaning the mural to prepare the surface for painting with Golden acrylics.
Rika and Regina sap
Rika Smith McNally and Regina Gaudette applied a layer of Golden MSA resin varnish to the surface to prepare it for painting with Golden acrylics.

I am planning to re-paint all of the background colors, and then with the help of  assistants Jill Curtis, Rachel Newsam and Regina Gaudette, we will trace the shapes and patterns back in place and repaint them.  On Rika’s recommendation we are using Golden 100% acrylic emulsion colors which are rated for excellent lightfastness.

Painting bright colors over faded areas.
Here I am painting bright colors over faded areas.
Coloful backgrounds ready for patterns to be added.
Coloful backgrounds ready for patterns to be added.