Having previously worked with Kevin Milkey on another project, Carrie jumped at the chance to work with him again on the Grand Central Brewhouse wall. Her design, concept and proposal won Kevin over, and Carrie was awarded the project.
As with all of her paintings, Carrie put a lot of thought into the meaning behind her concept for the Grand Central Brewhouse mural. She knew she wanted to incorporate a local dog, and asked her friend and fellow artist Marianne Wysocki if her dog Bodhi could be the subject. “Bodhi is somewhat of a local celebrity,” said Carrie, smiling.
The title of her mural is “Awakening Bodhisattva.” It’s a double entendre, explained Carrie. In the artist’s rendering, Bodhi is waking up. The definition of Bodhisattva is, “A Being who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.”
“Bodhi is a very Zen being,” said Carrie, who used a photograph of Bodhi to paint the original small version which she uses as a guide to paint the mural. She estimates it will take a total of two weeks to complete the mural.
Homer, Carrie’s own dog, has been coming along with her while she works on the project, which she began on Wednesday, August 12. Homer watches in the shade, a bowl of water by his side, as Carrie commandeers the motorized scaffolding 30 feet up to begin painting. He whimpers as he watches her go up and away from him.
“It’s always kind of scary going up the first day. I’m wobbling around in it a bit. But, I get used to it. In the evenings, though, my legs are still a bit wobbly, much like the feeling of rocking and swaying after being on a boat.”
Carrie will remain up in the scaffold, painting for three hours at a time, coming down only occasionally to check on her work’s perspective. It’s very abstract painting on such a large canvas that happens to be the wall on the side of a building.
“I have to focus on one spot of the painting at a time and trust the small scale painting I’m working from to transpose the image on the wall,” she said. Still, there is doubt sometimes, especially working so close to the painting. In her studio, Carrie explained, she is able to step back to look at a painting. Working from a scaffold so high up, it’s not productive to keep going up and down to check her work. When she does come down to see the progress, she’s always surprised by what she sees.
Life has always been unpredictable. The pandemic has made us all more acutely aware of this. “All we have is right now; this moment,” reiterated Fred Metzler.
To be able to do something that continues to positively surprise us every single day is the one gift we should give ourselves. “Painting is my favorite thing to do in the world,” Carrie told me. “I can’t even think of a better life.”
Below are photos of Carrie working on the mural at Grand Central Brewhouse. Also check out St. Petersburg, Florida’s 90+ SHINE Murals from your phone or computer by clicking this link to St. Pete Arts Alliance Shine Mural Festival