Tropical Mural - Process

This project was really exciting to take on. I've had a lot of experience with scenic painting and doing some wall treatments, but this really was my first time creating an image this large on a single wall.

The couple that commissioned this beautiful piece of art were just as excited as I was to get started. They'd just closed on a brand new house and I felt so special to have the opportunity to help make it feel more like a home.

 

The reference image I was provided with was actually a photograph the couple had taken on a vacation to Jamaica. It was really neat to have a reference that was a real reminder of a good memory for them; providing your own reference that means something to you is so sweet because it automatically makes the art process more personal for both the client and for me!

The next step in the process actually involves more math than you'd think (and they say artists can't do math - take that, STEM people!). I needed to create a sample illustration that was an accurate reduction of their wall, which was almost 8 feet by almost 12 feet. I also wanted the horizon line to feel natural for the people who lived in the house, so I drew the horizon line at the median between their eye levels, which ended up being about 5'4".

 

After some minor requests for tweaks that would be made to the final mural, it was time to get started! I drove down to Daytona Beach for the weekend to knock this project out. I had a nifty little projector with me that made it significantly easier to recreate my sample on the actual wall, and then while the primer was drying, I went shopping for the paint!

Because I'd created a sample ahead of time (I cannot stress enough that if you are doing a huge project like this, make a sample ahead of time. It saves hours in the long run) I knew what colors I had used to create the watercolor, and was able to pick very similar colors for the final project. Because the clients wanted to retain that watercolor texture in the final piece, I knew I was going to be using almost exclusively washes. Because I would be watering down all the paint, I bought some really pigmented colors. The whole mural ended up being created with the following four colors:

  • Behr Park Picnic - P390-7D

  • Behr Bella Vista - P470-6D

  • Behr Deep River - P500-6D

  • Behr Moroccan Spice - S250-7D

I mixed up my washes which ended up being between 1:2 and 1:6 paint/water mixtures depending on the application I was planning for it. As I began the painting process, I started with brushes and immediately noticed that they were not going to work. They were dripping excess watery paint all down my mural, so I ended up ditching the brush idea altogether and instead painted the whole thing with fresh rags I purchased! This worked out a whole lot better, as the rags both absorbed any excess paint as well as helped to spread the paint out and create this beautiful watercolor-like texture.

As we can see here, I'm already getting a little carried away with the ocean here. It's got too much movement that's already pushing it to the front of the composition. After I added the black and white detailing it was just too much so I actually redid the whole ocean and was much happier with it.

 

So this last image is the final product after it's been sealed and the tape has been removed! I'm so proud of this beautiful artwork, and if anyone is interested in indoor or outdoor mural work, I highly recommend contacting me via my website or email and we'll get started on your custom one-of-a-kind work of art as well!