Thursday, August 12, 2010
Have you ever been inspired to tackle a project out of your normal repertoire? This recently happened to me while doing some painting at home. It was late in the day;
I was up on the ledge of our 2 story foyer, finishing one last section of wall and my wife said to me “why don’t you paint a mural around that window?” Glancing at her with a perplexed look, my initial thought was “what, right now?” I’ve never painted a mural before. But as I looked at the “blank canvas” she was obviously looking at I said “why not?” A mural in this unique space would really add the “wow” factor, especially when viewed from the upstairs hallway. She really inspired me on this one. Most of the surface we were talking about is taken up by a large circle top window. The mural would surround the window (see photos), so it wasn’t a very large area to paint. “What’s the worst that could happen”, she exclaimed! If you mess it up, just paint over it. Easy for her to say, she wasn’t the one doing the painting on a 4 foot ledge 10 feet up! Did I mention that I’m afraid of heights?
Without hesitation, the very next morning I went out to buy some paint, not wanting to think about this project for too long, for fear of talking myself out of it. I gathered an assortment of colors suitable for a Tuscan landscape. RUST-OLEUM brand Painter’s Touch, a heavy bodied latex paint seemed to be a good choice. I also bought a few sponges and the smallest sash brush that Home Depot had in stock. The sponges can be used instead of a brush to apply large amounts of paint.
The wall area around the window is about 8ft. by 8ft. square. We just happened to have a Tuscan landscape painting hanging in our dining room which is also square. This would be perfect to use as a model. All that had to be done was to scale the painting to the wall area. Now I had my inspiration and my subject; I was halfway there!
Using a pizza box, I made up a palette with disposable foam bowls used as paint cups. I cut up the sponges in various shapes and sizes, gathered the rest of my supplies and hauled everything up the ladder to the ledge. I wasn’t quite ready to paint; the area had to be prepped. Since the walls and ceiling were painted the day before, everything needed to be masked to keep everything as clean as possible. The area where the mural was going to be painted was framed with 12” masking paper. The window frame was also taped off. Taking extra time in preparing the area saves tedious touch up later. Believe me, been there done that; more than once. Now, ready to paint.
I carefully brought the pizza box palette up the ladder. Each bowl contained a different color of paint, with a few extra bowls for mixing custom shades. The ceiling of the foyer is painted a color aptly named Cloud Blue, from the Ralph Lauren collection. Using a brush and a small paint roller, I painted the top 1/3 of my canvas this same color, as a base coat for the sky. With a large piece of sponge, various colors were blended; gray, white, yellow, gold and silver to mimic the sky in the Tuscan painting. Next, the bottom 1/3 of the mural was painted brown with some dabs of black, green, yellow and beige mixed in. In the middle section, a sharp edged sponge was used to add houses and other buildings. Using the small sash brush, windows and rooflines were defined. The trees and shrubbery were sponged with shades of green, brown, beige and black. Finishing touches were the bright red flowers in the lower portion of the mural.
This project went well because I didn’t think about it for too long. From inspiration to completion was about 24 hours! Normally, I’ll think a project to death. This was a first for me. I’d never done a mural before, and to complete it so quickly, certainly was a plus. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and just give it a shot. What’s the worst that can happen?
I think I’ve heard that before!
Check out my article on InfoBarrel on how you can paint your very own Tuscan inspired mural!