Beginning of mural Barbuda

Paint on the Mural

Today was my first working Saturday after getting started with the students. (Last week was the BATCAVES, which I haven’t posted about, but will back date it.)

This morning I organized the paints to use for the mural, setting the stage anticipating students. I even discovered a few cans of a couple different colors that put my paint supply worries at ease. We have plenty of paint to make a mural.

There is a supply issue constantly at the background of almost every aspect of life in Barbuda. You can get a lot of the items of everyday life in New York, but the question is when, and how much will it cost. A bottle of Gatorade, for instance, is generally available at the stores, but sometimes they are out of the supply and waiting for a shipment. A 20 ounce bottle cost 6.50 Eastern Caribbean dollar, or $2.40. These small things can add up very quickly.

I have sampled some of the home cooked food that people sell on the side of the road. It is all very good, but perhaps not too healthy. I haven’t eaten this much chicken since the days when my brother would complain about how often my father would serve it for dinner. Generally that food is a bit cheaper.

I was in a bit of a bind after I organized the paints. I wanted to have some students around when we added the first bit of pigment. But it was Saturday morning and I found out that they are likely doing chores and would be available a bit later.

I brought some paints down to the museum and added the word “MUSEUM ->” as a bit of clarifying signage. Immediately, I attracted some kids on bikes who were quick to lend a hand.

I am learning this is not a place for a perfectionist, not that I am one. But giving the paint brush to kids when you are painting something like letters on the wall of a museum space is a hard thing to do! I wasn’t bothered by it, just aware of the letting go, while remembering that the exposure is the key.

I met a rather commanding 5-year-old who had a lot of questions. I threatened to paint her nose with the yellow I had. I did, and the group got had a laugh! Shortly afterwards, most of them had yellow dots on their noses.

To drive home the point of this being a new experience, one of the kids opened the acrylic paint, marveled at the bright green on his finger and asked “this came from Brooklyn?”

We painted up the lettering, and I went back over the edges to tidy it up. The accent is thick thick thick. I invited some of them to come paint the mural with me later in the day.

There was a frustrating moment where I was hoping to paint the mural, but no kids were around, and then when I packed up to go paint on a canvas, the kids would show up. They promptly disappeared after I put my oil paints back. This felt like it went back and forth several times. But we got started on the mural.

I had the first group work on the water and the second group work on the sky. With 6 brushes, the wall got covered pretty quickly. We even blocked in a good section of the mangrove. Now there are a lot of things to figure out still, but it was great to have a solid and under control work session with some kids. With each successive session I will bring the size of their brushes down and that should allow me to keep it manageable. After they left for the day, I spent a bit of time working on it myself. Several of them plan to return on Sunday.

I like the balance of letting the students work and then trying to pull that together. I hope for some happy accidents that take the mural in unexpected directions.

The evening was a great casual sit down where I finally cooked something for Sophia, Louise, and John. I had a lot of questions and learned some history.