Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mural Time: Long Post with Lots of Photos

I've always enjoyed painting on walls and there are already two murals in my home, but hey, there is still a lot of blank space left to play with, so I had the idea to paint another mural in the bedroom.  The wall is the one that my art desk faces, and I decided to do a tree with a pond and a few birds.  I made a rough sketch first, and also looked online for ideas.  Then I painted the wall a pale sky blue and waited a week for it to dry completely.

This weekend I started on the mural and made good progress.  Here's what I've got so far:

1.  The tree trunk is extra thick because there's a bookshelf that stands against the right hand wall and when it's put back, it will cover a lot of the trunk.

2.  I added the beginnings of the pond, and added highlights and shadows to the tree.  I'm trying to use up those craft-grade acrylic paints, as this is not meant to be long-lasting or fine art.  I'm going for a more illustrative than fine-art look.

3.  I have a Dover clip art book of simplistic black and white bird drawings, and used that along with my field guides (for the colors) to put in a few woodland birds.  Here are a Great Horned Owl and a Pileated Woodpecker:

4.  Next I put in a few smaller birds -- a Blue Jay, Common Yellowthroat, and a Bewick's Wren:

A close-up:

5.  The right hand wall will be mostly covered when the bookshelf is put back, but I decided to add one bird there, a robin:

6.  I may add a nuthatch or creeper to the trunk later, but at this point, I was a bit tired of painting birds and wanted to move on to the landscape.  I started with a line of dark brown along the pond to indicate shoreline, and then added some small rocks all along it.

7.  The basic technique for illustrative landscape like this is to draw the object, paint it entirely in the midtone color, and then add highlights and shadows.  Up close, it may look fairly rough and lacking in detail, while from a distance (which is how it will generally be viewed), it looks just fine.  Here is the same technique used to add cattails and bulrushes:

8.  And here it is again, applied to the tree foliage:

It's now Sunday afternoon around 4pm and I'm tired of painting on the wall!  The foliage is especially labor-intensive and there's a lot more of it to paint.  I also want to add a Great Blue Heron to the shore, a few ducks to the pond, and I'll need to finish off the lower part of the pond edge with more rocks and plants.  I might put some ivy on the lower tree trunk.

I'm pleased with what I've done so far, and find myself eyeing the other blank spaces on my walls.  The only real problem is doing the parts up on top that require getting up and down off a chair -- my sixty-year-old knees don't care much for that!

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