Posts Tagged ‘house paint’

Broadway Mural

August 13, 2012


Recently finished my largest painting on Broadway and Denny on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Check out more photos here.

The most common questions I got while working on this mural were, “How did you get this job? Can anyone just paint on this wall? Etc.” A few years ago I applied for a grant through Sound Transit and was accepted to take part in the art that got to decorate the wall. When I received the grant I was told that I would be able to put up a piece sometime in the next four years.

I was able to give Sound Transit an inspirational sketch with the caveat that the mural would look a lot different from the sketch. I didn’t want it to be a production piece where I stuck to the sketch and produced a large version of my sketch. It’s good for me to have some inspiration and guidance with room for internal conversation and inspiration from the space itself.

I’m going to take a minute to tell you about my process and the various self-conversations that come up when working on a piece.

First, I start the piece with some large movements and set the color for the first layer. At that point I’m either really excited about what’s come out and I almost want to stop or I’m feeling the need to continue based on either that I have certain things to accomplish with this painting or I’m not yet satisfied with what I’ve started and I realize it needs more work to continue. Usually both are true.

As it develops I’m continually looking for balance within the piece. I can’t even allow myself to work on one side for too long because I will feel unbalanced. The urge to balance the piece becomes very strong. There’s almost a sense of panic if I look around the rest of the painting. So it takes me a bit to relax and realize that I will get to it eventually.

Then there is the issue of confidence vs. no wrong mark. In the school of thought that I subscribe to it’s said that there is no wrong thought, it’s just different and it is what it is. This really shows up in this process of painting. If I make a mark on the canvas without confidence or I’m not sure if I should make that mark, it shows up as such and I usually don’t like the result. I don’t treat it as wrong though, it’s a little lesson within the painting. A lesson that says, “you didn’t paint with confidence.”

Usually at some point during the process I have a small panic attack. I feel like everything I’ve done is wrong, it’s not going to turn out, I don’t know what I’m doing, I must be crazy, I’m just a monkey making a mess and someone needs to take the paint brush away from me. When that happens, it usually means it’s time to take a break, ask for a second opinion or just sleep on it. After that happens I usually have a small breakthrough and the next step just bursts right through. I’m relaxed, I’m excited and I know what needs to happen. That’s when it feels like I’m really in the flow of what’s going on and know what I’m doing. It’s a great feeling. This time that panic moment only occurred once during the process so the whole thing felt smooth and I’m pretty happy with the result.

When working on an abstract piece there is a question of where to stop. At any point it could be done. Most people could look at this piece at many of the stages and say, “it looks done.” And I could agree, so how do I know when to stop? Well, I stop when I find a stopping point that I’m happy with. Just like anytime anything else is worked on you know when to stop. It’s like making cookies. You could stop at the dough, because the dough is really good and you love eating dough but you don’t have cookies and you want cookies. So you put them in the oven for just the right amount of time and then you have cookies. If you leave them in for too long you have charcoal. OR you could take those cookies, crumble them up and put them in ice cream and put that ice cream into a cake and put that cake as a layer in an even larger cake and so on and so on.

With abstract painting it’s the same. If I were to continue working on this I would have to go much further until it’s quite a different thing altogether. So whenever I have stopped it’s usually because I’m at a point where I’m satisfied and have accomplished my goals for the piece.

A new piece Finished!!!

July 11, 2012


This piece was commissioned by Jennifer Morris for her newly acquired, in the process of remodeling, home. This piece was quite an adventure. After the initial consult with my client we decided on a general feeling and it was up to me to go from there. I had recently found some old wallpaper that I incorporated into the piece. When I was at at stopping point I showed it to my client who was not a fan of the pink and purple elements so we had a conversation and I reworked the painting to her satisfaction.

Painting for Eli Muir

March 22, 2012

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I created this painting for Eli Muir.  This painting was quite a struggle for me to find satisfaction. I didn’t have a plan, just a vague idea that kept changing and developing as I worked. Whenever I work, I’m always trying to challenge myself. In my head that means I need to do something different every time. While working on this piece I realized that it’s ok to do what I do best and expand in new ways of doing that thing I do best.

How one improves their art, skills and craft is by fine tuning the things they do best. Really exploring a genre until mastery has been accomplished. I know that I have a long way until mastery but I’m not daunted by this. The process is the art. To be on an uphill climb is always much more exciting than a plateau. A plateau can be comfortable for awhile but it never feels like progress so new boundaries must be found and challenged.

I am really loving this exploration of painting. With each commission I am extremely thankful that my fans and friends have allowed me to do this. To have my vision supported is really gratifying, validating and amazing. Thank you Eli for supporting this piece.

Each commission that happens this year is going to be in a show called, ‘Sam Trout, Sold Out!’ It will be a show full of commissioned works where the art on the walls is only on lend and not for sale. If you’re interested in helping this show come to fruition please consider commissioning a piece for yourself. I would love to create for you. Each person who commissions me becomes my muse. Giving us the chance to connect on a level that is very satisfying and intimate. If you’ve never commissioned a piece before I would love to walk through the process with you and create something for your home or office.

Commission for Nic Launceford

February 8, 2012

Just finished this commission for Nic Launceford. As a true patron of the arts Nic allowed me to create a piece for his living room while working on my new direction in painting. I’ve been inspired recently to work in the abstract. This direction allows me to let go of all common icons and create from a space of feeling, color, depth, and movement. This process becomes a self-conversation about what the painting needs and weather I have enough confidence to take it in that direction. The boldness of this direction calls for a lot of concentration and clear vision. At times I can work on a piece for hours because I know what needs to happen. Then I take a break and let it marinate a bit, let the ideas flow into place and figure out what needs to happen next.

I also have been exclusively using house paint to create this direction. It’s glossy and sometimes a bit crude and unwieldy so I have to be patient and work out the details carefully. This piece is 3’x4′ on canvas.

Commission for DJ Krispy

February 8, 2012

The door for DJ Krispy's personal music studio.

DJ Krispy aka Chris Haines commissioned me to decorate the door of his music studio. It’s a solid wood door so it was REALLY heavy. I painted the door a deep silver that helped accentuate the doors solidarity. The door came together with a bit of an old-school vibe because of my roots in college radio during the ’90s. The headphones are modeled after the ones I’ve owned for years and the reel to reel machine brought me back to the days of making promo after promo for KRUA 88.1 FM Anchorage. Of course I’m also the type of person who grew up making mix tapes and using tape players with equalizers. The side on the right is the outside of the door and the side on the left is the inside of the door.

New Abstract Painting coming along

February 11, 2011


This is a progress report on a painting I’ve been working on. It’s the biggest painting I’ve worked on in a long time. Six feet wide and five feet tall. It really takes up a lot of space in my living room and really commands my attention. This new direction is quite a world of exploration for me.
It’s taken several sessions of painting and recently I stayed up all night on February 4th, 2011 to work on it. I had a vision and a sense of purpose as I explored this painting. It was if I knew exactly where each line should go. If I felt like I was unsure of whether something should go somewhere that usually meant that I should not do it. With absolute confidence is the only way I can work on this piece. Proceeding in this direction has also been a total release of literal iconography. My exploration into the unknown is thrilling as well as very scary. But if it’s not that, then I know I’m not pushing hard enough.