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Sometimes there is no right answer.
I heard somewhere, many years ago, that the difference between a puzzle and a problem is that a puzzle has a solution.  A problem may not have a 'correct' or even a good solution.  In the last couple weeks I've been working on an interesting mural that has become a bit of both.

My commission was from a local real estate company - American Dreams RE - who use the US flag as their logo.  Their office is in building that has a metal lattice breezeway barrier, and they wanted to see if it was possible to put a flag image on there.  I thought it would look neatest, visually, to use the two left panels of the three panel breezeway, I can't use the entire area as there is a concrete planter in front that's not going anywhere without a sledgehammer.  The customer was fine with this solution.

I researched flag dimensions, but miscalculated the height of the lattices, based on the slant of the slats and ended up with a template that matched up with an incorrect number of stripes, and was going to leave some stars painted on gaps.  

Naturally the location is at the windiest side of town, and is in full sun in the afternoon, so we have a break in progress while I wait for the right conditions, but also more time to think about the puzzle. Fixing the stripe is just a problem and will be easy, but I wanted to put the stars on the lattice and not miss any. 

One solution to the puzzle might have been to paint a variant of the current 50-star flag which has offset rows of stars - and an old flag - the 48 star flag, which had stars lined up evenly.  My customers weren't happy with the idea of deliberately omitting two stars, but one thing they did
notice is that the form of the lattice make the flag look like it's waving in the wind. Which gives a good reason for stars that are not visible - they're just in the folds!  
 
One of the payoffs of the challenge is that I get to work with spraypaint, which I had not done before.  I loved the coverage, but it's definitely a non-windy-environment medium.  Also, with the wavy lattice, it's not possible to spray the stars on.  Fortunately the spray paint I stumbled on is acrylic based and will mix with the paints I usually use. 

In the studio I went, back to the flag dimension webpage and the calculator and a different sized template.  Luckily the corrections also mean that once I bring the red stripes to the right end of the center panel edge, the width of the 
flag will only be very slightly short of 'standard' - but that's what happens when it waves!  So, this ended up being a 
puzzle with a good solution.  Now, the problem is just when the wind will die down so I can continue.

Hoping the wind will not take my booth anywhere, I seemingly have a quiet month (though the best laid plans....)

Apr 4-6: Indian Wells Arts Festival, Indian Wells, CA 
Apr 26-27: Mission Federal Artwalk.  Little Italy, downtown San Diego, CA. 
Copyright © 2014 Jeni Bate, All rights reserved.
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