In my previous post, I dealt with planning and sketching out a mural. All that remains is to paint the real thing but, just before we get into that, you need to draw a grid over your sketch. This can be as fine or as coarse as you think best suits the drawing, but I hope that you’ve chosen a design that is simple enough for just eight to twelve cells in the grid to cover adequately.
The grid separates the picture into several smaller areas that will be easier to deal with one at a time. Now scale up the grid to full size and sketch it on to the surface to be painted. So, if for instance your sketch has squares of one inch per side, you might have squares on the wall or pool bottom of one foot per side.
Now we can begin to paint, outlines first. Study each square of the grid so that you see the shapes contained separately from the whole picture. Using a small brush and a light color (so that it is easy to cover with another color if you make a mistake), repeat the shapes in outline within the corresponding square on the full size grid. When you have done that, move on to the adjoining square and repeat the exercise. And keep doing that until all the squares are filled.
Now when you stand back to get an overall view, you should see your originall drawing magnified upon the surface of the wall or pool. If there are areas that don’t seem quite right, adjust the outlines by re-painting them, then painting over the errors with the background color. When you are happy with the outlines, go over them with a black or dark grey so that they stand out.
Finally, it is merely a matter of mixing to get the colors you decided upon and filling in the relevant shapes. If you’re doing a pool bottom, watch where you’re putting your feet so that you don’t stand on a line and smudge it. Work from the top of the drawing downwards and you’ll not have to stretch over a recently-painted area to reach something in the middle.
And that’s all there is to it. You should now be the proud owner and creator of a huge work of art. Congratulations!
Have you ever wanted to paint a mural? Or maybe the bottom of a swimming pool? It’s not nearly as difficult as it seems and, even if you’re a bit short on artistic talent, the results can be very effective.
The most important part of such a project is planning. Measure the area you have to paint and then draw a rectangle to scale on a piece of paper. Decide on your design and sketch it out, then fill in with color.
Example of a simple pool painting
The simpler the color scheme, the easier it will be to achieve once you come to paint the real thing. Probably the best is to aim at a cartoon style with its flat areas of color and no shading. The reason for this is that the more colors are used, the more mixing of paint you’re going to have to do. When working with large quantities, that can be very messy and time-consuming if you’re struggling to get subtle nuances of hue. Cartoons also outline everything and this is easy to reproduce as the basic sketch on the final surface.
When I say cartoon, don’t think I mean the kiddy Donald Duck/Mickey Mouse kind of thing. As an example, years ago I was asked to paint a picture of a mermaid and dolphin on a swimming pool bottom (it’s hard holding your breath long enough to do that – no, I lie, the pool was empty). I sketched out the design and then emphasized the important outlines with bold lines, filling in with flat color afterwards; it wasn’t Walt Disney but nor was it Rembrandt. Think of it rather as simplified reality.
Don’t be too fussy over exact shades of color to be used. When you get to the store to buy the paints, you’ll have to accept a few basic reds, blues and yellows that you can mix to get the colors you want. Theoretically, you should be able to mix any color you want with those three but it can be a painstaking task to get precisely the shade you want. Go for a few more colors that are at least close to what you had envisaged. Be sure to get a couple of cans of black and white too.
Okay, now you have the sketch and the paints (and your trusty brushes that you cleaned so thoroughly after decorating last week) and the daunting surface you’ve decided to release your artistic endeavors upon awaits. Frightening, isn’t it?
But be of good cheer – once you get started you will enjoy it immensely and in the end you will have something to amaze your friends with. But that must wait until my next post…