Niki F wanted a painting for her boyfriend, Gil, as a birthday present... but she wasn't sure what. On her request, I met with her to brainstorm.
Niki told me that her boyfriend is from Minneapolis, likes Grain Belt Premium Beer and Jamison, and rides his bike everywhere. Then she slipped in that he would really like Spiderman to be in the painting, but then she dismissed it. She probably thought that I wouldn't do it. I sensed this was important to him, so, Spiderman needed be present in some way.
I went home and thought about it extensively over the next few days. I was stumped. I decided to post it as a challenge on the Panda Facebook Page. While I got some good and creepy responses, I used Molly Fox's idea of having a scene with the WebSlinger on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge by the historic Grain Belt Beer sign. This painting is completely Minneapolis.
Spiderman was problematic for me because I don't know anything about him beyond the cheaply made 1970's cartoon. Is he tough, listen Bud, he's got radioactive blood. That kind of thing. I could make many mistakes (which I may have).
I didn't want to paint something that looked like the cover of a comic because...well...what would be the point? Why wouldn't you just hang up the cover of a comic book? I can't paint Spiderman as well as the guy who draws the comic.
I went with the postcard gone wrong theme instead. It called for a lot of little detail. By the end I felt like I was painting the head of a pin. Pushed my new painting glasses to their limit.
I used my tiny 0000 sized paint brush (as immortalized in Catharina Jarl's Haiku) extensively on this painting. (Also, like the Haiku, this painting features the Mississippi River).
This is really a complicated subject matter to make small scale. The proportions are a little weird. Spiderman is giant next to the bridge...but really...who cares? It helps the narrative.
This painting marks the end of my summer break from the blog. Theo will start school again next week. It's cooling down. Autumn will soon place it's chubby fingers on our heads one more time.
I will go back to posting at least one painting a week.
Thank You, Niki and Happy Birthday, Gil!