Art Bark in the Park is a massive public art installation to display the community’s love of art, dogs, and the talents of 150 artists. Out of the artists I am one them, to help participate in the city project. The Mission of Art Bark in the Park is designed to promote public art in the area, encourage community involvement, highlight local artists, and raise funds for the Riverside Art Museum through the Riverside Art Alliance.
This October, Riversiders will get a chance to view more than a hundred Art Pups at downtown Riverside’s White Park. A huge celebration of both art and our canine companions. Sponsors of Art Bark in the Park will get to take home an Art Pup for display in their home, office, or garden after the event is over.
And I get to be apart of it all! (Excuse me while I happy dance over here.)
My First Community Project as a Local Riverside Artist
Since this is my first city project this was a huge accomplishment for me as a local artist. Not to mention I’m a huge dog lover and even specialize in painting pet portraits. I was beyond thrilled to be chosen as one of the local artists. I was ready to expand my comfort and challenge myself as an acrylic painter.
All artists were provided with a 3′ x 4′ Art Pup made from primed metal. The two dimensional form were either a silhouette of one of the following breeds: Labrador, Scotty, Beagle, Basset Hound, and Husky. Each silhouette, we were free to use as a canvas for your artistic interpretation. I luckily received the Labrador, which is the one I really wanted. (Since I have a boxer at home it’s the closest to size I could get.) Not going to lie, I spent a few days brainstorming by just staring at my blank “canvas” until I had come up with a game plan.
Starting My Pup for Art Bark in the Park
This was my first time painting on a metal material. The texture is much smoother than a regular canvas surface. I ended up painting multiple layers, since I felt like the acrylic paint wasn’t showing up as well as it normally does. I did learn a valuable lesson during this process. If you paint on metal use the good stuff: Heavy Bodied acrylic paint. (Winsor & Newton or Golden are professional, good pigmented brands to use.)
After the many layers of navy blue background, I started forming my Labrador into a more realistic silhouette. When I chose my colors I wanted to think about color psychology. What the colors actually represent. Blues, especially more on the Teal side are my go-to colors. The symbolism behind teal is quite fascinating.
Teal Color Meaning And Symbolism
A person whose favorite color is teal is known to have an introvert and unconventional nature. Such people are noted for their uniqueness and often tend to like things which are little different and not much appreciated by the common mass. Another characteristic trait of teal lovers is that they are not impulsive but careful and cautious, reasoning before performing an action or taking a decision. They are also open-minded and not judgmental. They are even trustworthy and can be relied upon by friends or acquaintances.
I mean, doesn’t that scream, Labrador?!
Stepping out of my Comfort Zone: Dog Anatomy
The Riverside Art Museum city project Art Bark in the Park gave me the freedom to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to explore and try painting in a different style than what I’m used to. I decided to add some dog anatomy to the mix. Luckily, I was able to find some good dog anatomy reference online to help me construct my idea of what I wanted to paint.
*When I need I need an inspirational push, I go back and read a previous article I wrote: How to get Inspired: Sparking Your Creativity. (I swear it helps me and maybe it will help you to!)
Before I was ready to paint, I sketched out the veins and heart with chalk first. This helps when you have a beautiful background already painted. Instead of having any “happy accidents” with permanent paint, I decided to go with something I could erase. Doing line work isn’t my steez but once I finished all the layers of detail, I was happy with the results.
Deadlines aka Survival Mode for Artists
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes doing any kind of art commission or freelance artwork, I tend to wait until the last minute. In my defense I work all the time, since I’m the owner and only instructor for The Paint Sesh. The workload never ends. My spare time to work on my pup for Art Bark was rather limited.
I think deadlines are an important part of any projects (especially for community projects.) It’s almost like you’re in survival mode and kicks your butt into high gear. Which I desperately needed since my due date was a day away. Thankfully I was able to call my art pup “done“, just right in the nick of time.
I felt like I could have kept adding more and more detail but every artist’s struggle is knowing when to put that brush down and call it a day. I mean i s a painting ever really finished anyway? My dog, Waldo was ready to pose in-front of it too, so I think that was good sign! 🙂
Sealing Acrylic Painted Metal
Before I could turn my project in, I had to seal my pup with a clear topcoat. I had no idea what to use since I’ve never had to seal metal. My pup was also going to be display outdoors for several days. I needed something durable. Off to Lowe’s I went!
I found the perfect spray paint topcoat to use: Rust-Oleum Clear Durable Topcoat – High Gloss
Now, doing one layer of topcoat isn’t going to cut it. The instructions said to do 3-4 layers. I ended up doing 5 layers since I know this was going to be displayed outdoors. That and the fact that I spent how many hours finishing this bad boy. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Soul Meets Body: Finished Pup for Riverside Art Alliance
While I was turning my project into the Riverside Art Alliance, I was asked a question that I hadn’t even registered to me.
“What is your pup’s name/title?”
Crap. I was too busy trying to finish my Lab I hadn’t even thought about the name. After several attempts of me playing with names and phrases in my head. I thought of an old Death Cab for Cutie song titled: Soul Meets Body. That was it. So Perfect and suiting.
Everybody meet Soul Meets Body:
Art Bark in the Park Gala
Pictures don’t do my dog painting justice! Come take a look for yourself on opening night of the gala. Appetizers and refreshments will be available. Tickets are $25 each. All proceeds from Art Bark in the Park will benefit the Riverside Art Museum. (Or stroll down on a free day.) Hope to see you there!
Rather not pay the fee? The Art Pups will be on display for free public viewing during normal park hours October 5–10, 2019. Any kind of local support is appreciated and goes a long way!
Community Project Takeaway
The Riverside Art Alliance, Art Bark project was an overall rewarding experience for me so far. The most exciting part was being part of the city of Riverside and being apart of something bigger.
I was able to explore my creativity and step out of what I typically paint. Something new. Something different. Painting line work is also a challenging task for me since I prefer to blend. I think I aced it with flying colors! 😉
If you ever get a chance to do a city project don’t think twice. Just go for it.
You never know the potential you possess until you challenge yourself.