This weekend I painted a mural for a very special little girl.
My very own daughter.
The BEST part about this mural was that she actually helped me paint it. She has displayed exceptional talent in the arts since she was two years old. So as you look at the pictures for this mural, keep in mind that she painted every bit from beginning to end on the mane and tail of the brown horse. She is only ten years old, so her talent is pretty incredible.
Here is what her room looked like when we started.
Plain, boring white walls…
But for me, white walls are just a blank canvas that I can create a whole new world on.
So bring on the white walls!
The first thing I always do when I am painting a mural is get the background blocked in. Once you have established the position of the background, putting the main image into the painting becomes a whole lot easier.
I used a gray sky ACE hardware brand paint in semi gloss latex for the sky. For the ground I used the same brand in a Terra cotta color.
Once you have the background in place you are now ready to draw the main image on the wall.
I like to use a overhead projector to blow the picture up. I will draw out the mural on a plastic paper and then use the machine to project it and make it life size. This saves me hours of painstaking drawing time. By doing it this way I am able to see exactly where I want the picture to sit on the wall, and know how the entire picture will look BEFORE I ever start drawing.
SO that is my time saving tip for the day
Once you have the image sketched on the wall you can begin to color in the picture.
The first layer of paint will be a lot like coloring a page in a coloring book. There won”t really be any detail yet and the image will look very flat and lifeless at first, but don’t get discouraged. As each new layer of paint goes on, the more dimension your picture will acquire.
See how flat the horses look right now. That is NORMAL, and shouldn’t discourage you at all. Just keep on painting. It really does get a lot better. Here is another angle of the picture. From this angle you can see how that shadow I blocked in under the horses chin is already starting to create some dimension. In this picture you can see how I am starting to add the different shades of color to the horses skin and mane and tail. This simple act of using lighter and darker shades of the same base color will create the look of muscles on the horse, and give movement to the hair on the mane and tails. In this picture, you can see all the little details that I painted in the eye to make it look round and realistic. I also added some white to her face to give her a little bit more personality. We did the same thing with the black mare. We gave her eyes some detail and then extended her mane so it partially covered her eye. We wanted to give the illusion of a thick, bushy mane on the black horse. Here is the finished mural. To complete the background I painted the cactus using four different shades of green paint. By doing this I am able to give the illusion of a round object on a flat wall. Then we just added a few ground details and other desert plants to the wall and that completed the painting. This mural took us 10 hrs to complete.
Here are a few more pictures of the finished mural.