Pregnancy Nesting and the Grand Mural-the background

When I was a child I had a mural on my bedroom wall painted by my mother.  It was amazing, and every night I was able to say goodnight to the purple elephant (who ironically had a nice round preggo belly-mum was 9 months pregnant when she painted the mural) and pet the butterfly and caterpillar goodnight.   When I adjusted to the idea that we would be bringing a child into this world I thought… I want a mural for my child too!  Looking back I was totally insane, this is a fun but massive project. Throughout this series of blogs I’ll be highlighting the lessons I learned so you don’t have to re-learn the lessons!

I didn’t really understand what the project entailed when I decided to paint the mural and typical of my history I bit off a huge chunk when creating the project.  I decided to paint a wall about 10×12 with a mural based on the Pacific Northwest.  And unlike reasonable people I went for a quasi-realistic scene.  I don’t know how to create cutesy animals and scenes.  When I do try to create them they look ridiculous and unappealing… so I didn’t even try for this project.

The process started with planning, and sketching and then some more planning.  I opted to sketch on the wall as I considered composition.  This gave me a good perspective of where I wanted the horizon line.  Of course as a trained artist I couldn’t put the horizon line in the middle but neither did I want the whole piece to be all sky… I needed some room to paint the ocean creatures.

Lessons learned: I definitely would recommend using a charcoal pencil to do this.  Graphite pencil or red colored pencil would leach through the paint and then everyone would know about your pre-painting sketching.  I also recommend using either a black or a white charcoal pencil, red is a wonderful color but frankly it is more likely to bleed through than the white or black.

When I asked my guru art friends about murals they all suggested using professional grade Acrylic paint to paint the details on the mural.  But that much acrylic paint just wasn’t in my budget.  I used house paint to create the landscape and saved the acrylic paint to paint the creatures.  Now that I’ve completed the project I’d recommend using as much acrylic paint as you can afford.  It’s designed to handle layers on a vertical surface, won’t drip and the colors are sooo much better.  I definitely had to re-do areas where my landmass dripped into my ocean, and if I’d used acrylic I wouldn’t have had to redo a thing!  All that being said, house paint worked ok… just remember that house paint dries slightly darker than it’s wet color!

Leave a Reply