Friday, February 25, 2011

The Progress of this Mural

This is a mural I did for an elementary school auditorium. It measures approximately 60' x 6' 6". The principal wanted an Arts theme centered around those arts found in the city of Louisville, since that is where the school is located, so I looked to the Louisville Ballet, the Kentucky Opera, Actor's Theatre, and the Louisville Orchestra for inspiration. Most of the figures you see are composites. I would look at between 2-4 photographs, for reference, to draw and paint each figure. The school colors are a deep green so I used a lot of that in the background.
Before I get started, my adjustable Bil-Jax scaffolding, awaiting.

Applying a tinted, high adhesive primer. I like to start from a middle tone, this time grey.

Starting to draw out the figures, I use a grid method and prismacolor pencils. They don't tend to mix with the paint, however, some colors I've used have bled through after I've applied a sealer.

With the style of painting I was doing here, I went ahead and outlined my figures in black and started to paint them in. The kids really enjoyed seeing them come to life.
More and more of the figures coming out of the wall. I was struggling to find the right skin tone on the female cello player.
Moving right along, you'll notice I hadn't yet drawn in the far left of the mural. My original sketch didn't quite work once I got on the wall and I was still trying to figure out what to fit into that area.
Well, I still hadn't figured out what to do with that far left part of the mural and all of my other figures were painted so it was time to start painting in the background.
You get a general sense of the Louisville skyline just in shapes and colors but now I really need to figure out what I am doing to the left.
So I add some actors and the conductor. They aren't looking right quite yet.
But finally after about 5 weeks the mural is complete. The kids really enjoyed getting to watch me paint and I so enjoyed being able to bring this to their school. Now here are some detail shots.

It was fun, but I was happy to be finished.


  1. Wow -- it turned out so amazing!!! Thanks for sharing pictures along the way, it's so great to be able to see it all come together!

  2. Thanks so much Maureen! I am going to try and be better about documenting my progress on some of these projects.


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