Unifant

While woofing in rural Portugal at Companhia the owners, an inspirational couple Sarah and Tobias asked me to paint a mural. It was decided that I would paint a Unifant – a fictional animal named after their annual private party.
Unfortunately, I was already gone by the festival.

This project was undertaken during a yoga week on the farm, around the time of the summer solstice. This was fantastic timing, for a variety of reasons – most importantly all the wonderful people I met. I guess it could best be described as a time of change for me too, the start of what became an increasingly introspective time for me. A group chat via Facebook saw the photos sent on to me – so I decided to write a blog about this mural. I’m a bit lazy about documenting my work, but thanks to the wonderful people around me theres a lot on the process for this one.

It was quite hot, but I had plenty of animals coming to visit me and rest in the shade during the hot part of the day.

I remember doing the sketchup on the cinderblock wall with.. a pencil. It actually worked quite well, before this id always used light coloured paint.

The mural was painted with the aid of a few sketches for composition, but they were not very detailed. It was largely conceptual, a relative leap of faith was taken in my skills without a massive amount of work being shown beforehand. Sketching was more about trying ideas, these were far from perfect.


Unusually enough, this was painted using acrylics and other pigments, including motor oil. I think the biggest expense was probably the large amount of white latex paint used as a bas and background. While it was time consuming and required sevwral layers, it was actually quite relaxing and I’d love a chance to do something bigger using these mediums.

I guess thia was one of my favourite murals, certainly out of what I habe painted recently. This is for many reasons, but not least the chance to make a positive mark on this wonderful place where I learned a lot about myself.

And of course, the elephant *ahem* unifant has to have a hat. Need an excuse to put patterns in somewhere.

Of course, a few patterns would develop accross most large surface areas as they would tend to with anything I paint.


Several layers of blue were needed over several days, I could probably have painted mych faster If I had been painting full time but my days had farmwork and yoga, eating and communal fun to fit in.

Because I had essentially painted a composite animal, somewhere in between a horse and a unicorn – some effort was needed to get parts right.the idea was that the legs would draw something from a horses stance.. and this took a while to get right. 


Photos all courtesy of Ruben

The people who were at Companhia for the yoga week were all unforgettable, intereating individuals who I’d love to see again.
The Unifant is quite a fun creature to draw, I have found myself drawing my own interpretations from tine ti time since.

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