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20 minutes every 2-3 hours

Day 1,2,3 aftermath:

Being an artist is a soul fulfilling job. I wake up excited to create (most days), I work hard and feel the greatest happiness looking at the image I've grown and molded from a blank surface. Seeing your work turn out beautifully is the best. But such a pretty image hides all of the frustration and pain, physical pain, from its unaware viewers.

Taking a few days break from this mural to work on last minute set painting for HCT's Beauty and the Beast has finally left me exhausted. My left and most treasured wrist (sorry right guy, but I'm a born lefty) gave up. It was time for a break and to ice my pain.

As I took a break to care for my body, I thought about my first day painting this mural. A woman who lived upstairs in the building I was working on came down to see what the noise was. We had gotten permission from the office workers inside but somehow we weren't aware there was a tenant above. A very nice lady approached my mother and I and inquired on what we were doing. She said she thought the building owner had finally hired someone to reside the building, but when she saw two women she knew that couldn't be it. At the time, interacting with this lady as I so uncomfortably try to do when people talk to me, I thought nothing of her comment. Today as I sit and ice my hard worked body, I thought about it. Why couldn't my mother and I be resided this building? I probably had all of the tools necessary with me and even more enthusiasm to work. I've personally witnessed my mother and my (soon to be) mother in law worked equally and even harder than a "man hired to do the job". I've seen these women take power sanders to the leg and work through a broken rib. Yeah, lady I may not be resided your building but that's not because I couldn't. I'm going to make it look even better than that.

As artists (women) we work. Big paintings require big work: power sanders, ladders when you're afraid of heights, working in the heat, the cold. Any size paintings require work, really. Some days I work with toxic paints, lead paint, chemicals, table saws, miter saws. Some days I have to kill spiders that crawled onto the last patch of wall I need to reach (ok fine, my fiance has to kill the spiders, but still).

I was painfully reminded non creative types see artists as people "who sit and color all day." Yes, that's been said to me more than once. It's work. Physical work. As a freelancer, some months are jammed packed with working, allowing your body to adjust to being used so physically. Then some months commissions are slow. Muscles forget what it's like to be on your feet all day. Your shoulders forget that vigorous up and down motion, while your wrists and hands lose the familiar posture of holding paint brushes. Then you get hired for a job and you start up this physically routine again quickly without any warning to your body because that's what you do.

Day 4 comes welcomed but weary. This mural has given me a few hours a day to be with my favorite self: The Painter. Day 4, I'm ready for you. After I take this quick ice bath (just kidding, that sounds horrible).

There's always a trusty dog helper around.

This past week I quickly had to learn to carve foam into faux stones. Now as a 2 dimensional artist, having to create something dimensional was not a welcomed task. However, it went lovely and I'm looking forward to another opportunity for a set I can use this new skill. But can you imagine all that back and forth motions of sawing? My poor arms.

I had to match the paint technique on these stairs. Can you see the spots I did??

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