CalVets – Mural 2020

CalVets Mural Project—“It’s All In The Game” By Stacy Kamin

On January of 2019 some of the veterans at Cal Vets asked me to paint a mural for their building.

John Knight, one of the WWII Veterans, asked that the painting be about certain residents at Cal Vets—Leroy Eckles, Sam Nickens, Warren Moose, Donna Daly, Gil Shaffer and himself. After much discussion we decided that they would be engaged in a card game—not unlike the famous painting “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne—but eventually that number swelled to fifteen as excitement mounted and everyone wanted to be included.

Although I photographed them playing cards as back-up reference, the most important information came from watercolor and drawing studies done from life that helped formulate the concept for the painting. Eventually a visual idea began to emerge in my mind’s eye.

My surface was a 4’ x 8’ piece of birch, covered with two coats of clear gesso sanded smooth. My intent was always to allow the warm wood tones to come through in parts of the composition. It proved a marvelous substrate to paint on and I relished the quality the wood added to the finished piece.

 

Once I solidified my arrangement in a sketch, I used a grid system to transfer the drawing onto the board in order to do the painting. As this was the largest painting I had ever done and the greatest challenge I had tackled so far artistically, using this time-tested method of starting a painting made its execution easier.

 

 

In juggling all these figures in one painting, I used some as light elements in the composition, uniting others into middle-toned shapes, and still others into dark shapes. Capturing their individual characters was one of the most satisfying parts of this compositional challenge.

Timelapse of Stacy Kamin Painting the CalVet Mural

Finished Mural

Although the Corona Virus cut my progress on the painting short, I am pleased with the state it is in now and consider it finished. If you are ever in Los Angeles and would like to see the painting in person, it is on permanent display at the CalVets home for veterans: 11500 Nimitz Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90049.

 

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