A few years ago I painted two steel doors for a magnificent, historic, local movie theatre, in Renfrew, The O’Brien.
The building has a long history and is a real gem. The owner has kept the place up, and currently uses a digital projector for his nightly, and matinee, screenings.
But this is about painting.
The first O’Brien commission involved painting two steel doors, here, in my then newly built studio. It was a vast place then, unencumbered by clutter. There was room to house the two doors readily.
But it was summer, and for the initial background painting I housed the doors on sawhorses, under a tent in the gravel driveway. This was ideal.
One afternoon, as the process continued, tsp, wipe, sand, fill, sand, prime, paint, turn, tsp, sand, fill, sand, wash, prime, paint, turn. Two doors, four sides, all to appear the same. They were heavy steel doors to turn on my own, so the owner would appear at just the right moment to help me flip them over.
One afternoon the wind started to pick up, and a sudden freak microburst came and tore the tent apart, along with half the countryside. After that, the doors came inside, they were unscathed by the winds’ efforts to destroy anything in its path. Their base coat was finished, so they came in to be drawn in, then painted.
The first door’s image is of a theatre marquee of the old style. A tall thin sign,with the name Shamrock, emblazed on it, proudly presents itself against a clear blue summer sky, with the support of steel grids.
The next theatre is called The Clover. Here, I am creating four paintings of a similar nature, of a field of young white clover, at the edge of the prairies, where such fields seemingly go on forever…low cloud cover scattered at the edge of a quiet warm sunset completes the idea. The vastness of the prairie field is presented to the moviegoer as he or she passes towards watching imaginary lives led, in a large darkened room.