Sunday, October 31, 2010


Still working on the high end.  Not satisfied yet.  Damn uncomfortable working so high and so close; hard to see the overall composition through the scaffolding.  Hope to finish the panel by the end of next week.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An allegory concerning creativity and the development of the individual

A day mostly given to conceptualizing the content of the mural and reconsidering the style of figuration at the upper levels.  I wiped out three of the first figures I painted last week and painted one full child figure and some masks with more naturalistic features, in keeping with the direction the mural is taking.  I still plan to insert more abstracted figures higher up but I need a better transition from what is well established below.    Still hoping to complete the upper levels during this week.  I have been removing planks as I finish areas so that I can see the composition a bit better.

This morning before going up the scaffolding I sat with my journal and strong coffee to take notes about the significance of the mural as it grows day by day—metaphorically, psychologically...socially. More in detail later, but I have a new understanding of my own work. The general theme of the mural is emerging as an allegory about creativity.  Of course music, the plastic arts, theater and dance are involved, but the "integration" I was trying to articulate became (largely in my unconsciousness) an allegory that I only now have started to realize and so I can advance the content with greater efficiency.   I might be easier to have all of this in mind before beginning, but my mind and energies don't seem to work that way.  The work will suggest, in a vertical narrative, factors in creativity (innocence, authenticity, ultimate and existential solitude), the celebration of love, romance, the yearning for intimacy and the formation of personality (drama, the acceptance of roles and a split between interior and exterior forms of being in the world).

I am thinking in terms of the lowest level as the Theater of the the Persona, the social plane in which roles and masks create the illusion of being.  All is exterior to the authenticity of the individual.  Family is formed by such roles, children and parents, as is social unrest, cooperation, and the darker aspects of interactions such as suspicion, social fear, etc.

One layer above is the Theater of Transcendence, a watery and transparent place of love, romance and celebration, dance, the upward urge to merge, to form adult intimacy, to share individuality...

At the proportional golden mean between the ground and the top, at about 24 feet from the ground, is the Theater of Innocence and Creativity, symbolized by the infant in ultimate existential solitude, solipsism, introversion, pure being, nascent, untouched.  The infant is a symbol of creation--on a biological level--and will play well with the family of figures I plan for the ground level.  

The child figure between the infant and the man in love is pre-sexual, innocent but aware of the outside world.  The eternal child full of wonder and curiosity though still psychologically between attachments to the mother and the father (gestures to indicate this stance), not yet motivated by romantic love.

Above that is the Theater of Personified Powers, the realm of invented gods and devils, social pressure, demons and parental figures personifying all that is greater than the individual, all that restrains direct knowledge of the elemental forces....

Above that is the Theater of Elemental Forces, abstractly represented forces of light and darkness, tempestuous and terrible, billowing and beautiful. Subsequent panels will deal more separately with music (through abstract fields of pattern and luminous colors), dance and theater.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

hands, legs, faces....

A day spent on details that enhance the larger figures, at least I hope they do.  Moved some of the planks to see better and realized that I have about 2/3 of the mural about finished.  The remaining third, most of which is at the bottom and the extreme top, already have rich grounds.  The general character of the figuration has become somewhat more romantic and sweet than I would have expected.  Jorge calls it esoteric, but I am satisfied that it fits the school and will be understood and appreciated.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two new figures today

Good progress on Sunday and today.  The middle level has taken shape and the lower section has a rich base.  The upper section is due for some revision and lots more work.  Tomorrow marks a week on the project, though I only got in a half-day last Tuesday.  Still, I think within another week or ten days I should have the first and largest panel largely finished.  I would like to do one of the three smaller (still about 30' high) panels while I am here this year.  We'll see.

These two new figures, one male, one female, are really quite large, at least ten feel tall; maybe a bit more.  The color is more luminous than it shows because by the time I took the shots this afternoon the light was low.  Also, as you can see, the angle through the scaffolding makes it hard to see ALL of any given figure.  That does present a challenge of proportion, but then again I am not going for naturalism.  The lower legs and feet look pretty good passing into the ochre and yellows.  Will post more from a lower angle later.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A rainy day....progress at the mid-level

I did more than these pics show, particularly in the negative spaces along the edges of the lower half, but these shots do illustrate the sort of glimpses I get as I work through the scaffolding rails.  These figures are from the mid-section at about 20-30 feet from the ground, full of abstracted figures alluding, I hope, to dance.  The lower portion will be more naturalistic, the upper even more abstracted.  I have hopes of starting the second panel during the month but will have to see how the details of this first one go.  Still nervous at the highest levels, but better.  Need to modify the structure to feel more secure.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A few figures emerging...

Yesterday and today I did the rest of the background field and started some of the figurative imagery.  I experimented with different ways of handling charcoal lines over the base layer with glazes (decalced with a rag) and later cellular fields.  Am feeling pretty good about it though the highest part is still pretty scary.  I intend to tie the scaffolding to the building's upper structure to hold it in case of an earthquake and/or wind and sway.  There have been recent quakes so the precaution is not as crazy as it sounds.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Second day: working high on the base layer

Gathered all that was needed and started the upper third or a bit more of the blue base using cerulean and ultramarine and a bit of pthalo green mixed with lots of transparent medium, ragged on to create a rich textural base, one that will hopefully inspire me as I work.  The scaffolding wiggles a bit and there was more wind that I was comfortable with at the highest level this afternoon, but I got over most of my fear and made good progress.  A full day planned tomorrow, plus I will post photos of what I accomplished.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First day.

Jorge Luis Acevedo, my colleague and sponsor at EMAI in front of the lower portion of the largest panel.  The surface has been primed on Panel #1 of four, the scaffolding is sort of installed, err wired together with a few wooden diagonals to stabilize it.  Really is more secure than it looks; doesn't wiggle too much when I climb it.  I will need a security belt to tie myself on and more planks to sit on a various levels as I work.

Looks pretty high at 40'!  Will start the surface treatments with semi-transparent color tomorrow.  Doubt I will linger terribly long at the top!

Statement of purpose: En este mural mi propósito es que a través de fusionar pigmentos de colores luminosos, sutiles y vibrantes así como veladuras, celebrar la municipalidad de Santa Ana en el propósito común de honrar la unidad de las artes musicales, plásticas, el teatro y la danza para el beneficio de la comunidad.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Critical remarks by María Isabel Piñas Espigule

Ron Mills, creator of worlds

Ron Mills’ paintings  point to what in creation is tenuous, fragile, even possibly frail in a world of powerful simmering explosions of color and beautiful molecular sub realities. The delicate and sometimes daunting balance in nature we sense when we see Mills’ best work has nothing to do with insubstantiality, but rather his work evokes what is truly essential, uncovering the fundamental nature of being beyond individual parts to show true essence. We see organic raw material mingled to become enigmatic organisms with self will. Are we viewing construction or deconstruction? The emerging or submerging in the primordial soup of life? Are we witnesses to active forces creating, evolving slowly from essence through individual definition of parts to the final becoming of an organism or are we viewing the reverse process?
The becoming is governed by the essence of what is trying to push to the foreground. It can feel threatening because it feels unstable to the observer and unveils what we have always feared deep inside, that the world is capricious and unpredictable. We are confronted with the dichotomy of creation, good and evil, but mostly the uneasy feeling of randomness in creation. The possibility, likelihood of this wantonness in creation challenges our determinist view and the sense of order we labor to bring to our lives. We can experience the deconstruction of what is, threatening what we think as concrete and real. In Mills’ paintings we do not know if we are seeing the beginning or the end, but we know we are seeing the essence of organic life going through molecular metamorphosis with all its colorful, textural, and at times terrible beauty.

March, 2010


Las pinturas de Ron Mills ponen en evidencia lo que es tenue en la creación, frágil y delicado, en un poderoso mundo hirviendo con explosiones de color y hermosas subrealidades moleculares.  El precario y formidable equilibrio en la naturaleza que sentimos cuando vemos los mejores trabajos del maestro Mills no tiene nada que ver con insustancialidad sino que su trabajo evoca lo que es realmente esencial.  Descubrimos lo elemental en la naturaleza del ser más allá de sus partes individuales.  Vemos la mezcla de materia prima orgánica convirtiéndose en enigmáticos organismos con voluntad propia.  ¿Qué estamos contemplando?  ¿La construcción o la deconstrucción?  ¿Lo que emerge o lo que se sumerge en el caldo primitivo de la vida?  ¿Somos testigos de poderosas fuerzas creando con lentitud, evolucionando la esencia primordial hacia la definición individual de partes para finalmente convertirse en organismo o estamos presenciando el proceso inverso?

Lo que está empujando al primer plano en las pinturas de Ron Mills se rige por la esencia de ese ser emergente.  Es posible para el observador sentir ese devenir como una amenaza al sentir la inestabilidad latente en ese mundo misterioso que el maestro Mills nos muestra.  Un mundo que nos enfrenta con lo que siempre hemos temido muy adentro, que el mundo es veleidoso e impredecible.  Nos enfrentamos  a  la dicotomía de la creación, lo bueno y lo malo, pero principalmente nos enfrentamos al sentimiento incomodo y alienador de la aleatoriedad de la creación.  La posibilidad o más bien la probabilidad de esta inconstancia en la creación desafía nuestra visión determinista  y el sentido de orden que nos esforzamos en traer a nuestras vidas.  En el trabajo de Mills podemos experimentar la deconstrucción de lo que es, amenazando lo que pensamos es concreto y real.  No sabemos si estamos presenciando el principio o el final pero sabemos que estamos presenciando la esencia de la vida orgánica a través de la metamorfosis molecular en todo su colorido, textura y a veces su terrible belleza.

To see more of Ron's work visit: