Mural painting at National Stadium

Dana Jeri Maier - National Stadium MuralFor the most part, I had a good time painting on Monday. It was a bleak chilly day but I was happy to be there, listening to an engrossing audiobook (Columbine, the new David Cullen account of the tragedy--highly recommended, by the way) while crowds of people wandered over to the ballpark behind me. Towards the end of the game, the fans filtered out of the stadium a little drunker and chattier, saying "Hey, nice painting" in a way that implied they didn't think it was a nice painting at all, but then I was interviewed by NBC which was a bit of a pick me up. When I was in art school, painting always followed a predictable pattern. First there was that euphoria--I'm painting! And it looks good so far!--which slowly melts into frustration---uaugh, this looks horrible, now what the hell do I do?--which lurches back into  desperation and/or acceptance--okay, I can save this, I can make it work, etc. This pattern held true on Monday. First the work seemed good, then bad, then acceptable; then it started to rain, and I didn't care anymore because I was hungry and wanted to go home.

During one of the low points I called my dad, who knows what it's like to be disappointed in your own work (excessive self-criticism was evidently passed onto his eldest daughter).

Okay, you don't know it's not good, he said. Let me tell you something. I once did a mural that seemed seemed terrible. I mean, I was so ashamed I wouldn't let your mother see it. And now, more than anything, I wish I had a picture of it. It's your history. And it's probably not as bad as you think.

If you can't make it good, make it big.

I am going to be painting a mural on Monday near the National's Stadium, which I find tremendously exciting. I'm used to working small--most of my art can easily fitin my purse, which comes in handy if you commute on the train 10 hours a week--so the scale will be a challenge. But even so! One of the things I always liked about drawing is that you're never quite sure how it's going to turn out until it's done, which is doubly the case if the medium is new to you.

Pictures to follow. And if you want to swing by on Monday, April 13, I will be painting on near the National Stadium / Navy Yard Metro (Green Line) on Half Street SE, between M and N.