Sunday, March 02, 2014

Starting the Mural

Back in 2008, I had an idea that I would paint a mural in the dining room, above the high dado, like a frieze. I even did a little Photoshop image of what it might look like. In 2011, we finished the plaster work, repainting and refinishing the woodwork in the rooms. Last year, we added in beam lighting. Since 2011, that area below the ceiling has remained white and has been the subject of conversation for anyone visiting. 

A couple weeks ago, I figured it was about time that I started on that mural. I laid out a photograph I took of the DesPlaines River, in River Forest, Illinois. It is a beautiful spot nearby and seemed appropriate for the location. I scaled it to fit the area and then drew a grid over the image to act as a guide for my painting. 

I drew another grid on the wall to correspond to the one on the image. The image is half the size of the actual painting. The wall was prepped with two coats of primer prior to laying out the grid.  
Yesterday, I finally started painting. I began with a turpentine wash of yellow and brown to outline the lightest and darkest parts of the painting on the east wall of the dining room. It is all being done free-hand by looking at the image so that it has as natural an appearance as possible. Though I went to art school, I've never attempted anything quite like this so I am a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.  

After completing the initial outline on the wall, I began a second layer of roughly filling in broad color areas within the painting. There are roughly six colors that I am using for this. It is all in oils and being painted directly to the wall. Once I complete these two layers on all four walls, I will go back into the painting with additional colors and add more detail adn depth to the painting.  
In a weekend, I laid out one wall and painted a section that is roughly four feet long. Given the time it takes to mix paints and clean up, I won't be doing any painting during the week but I think I will use the next two weeks to lay out the grids and arrange the images on the other three walls.  
 So far I am pretty happy with things and the anxiousness about doing this project is beginning to dissipate. It is going to take a pretty long time to complete but I think it will be worth it. I have also started looking at how these types of paintings would have been treated in the past and am wondering if I should use some sort of varnish to add depth and protect the work. I haven't made my mind up either way on this yet.


StuccoHouse said...

How cool is that?!! It looks great.

JW said...

It's really beyond cool. Couldn't be more perfect, appropriate or authentic.

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