Phew! I completed another mural and the kids can’t wait to start playing in their new fairy room! There are a lot of different things going on in this room, so this post might get a little lengthy. As a reminder, here is what the room looked like before I started painting. Keep in mind that the room is about 12 feet long and the ceiling is about five feet high, so these are miniature french doors (love them!!)
Here is one of the sketches that I drew to scale and my client approved before we signed the commission agreement. Part of my mural prep is to add a grid so I can paint everything in the right proportions on the wall. Some muralists just paint as they go and don’t bother with a grid, but for me it is a lifesaver. It does take time to put grid points on the actual wall, but it is so worth it. Sketches quickly get out of whack on a wall when I try to eyeball them! Once I get the main elements in the right places, I can make necessary tweaks while I’m painting.
Here is the finished mural. You can see that there are a lot of things going on in this room, which is perfect because I discovered rather quickly that the kids have incredible imaginations and they can pretend to be big or small or whatever they want to be! The front of the cabinet has two tiny, real doors, so that is where I painted two of the 3-4″ fairies to resemble the children. It was handy that they came to visit me often because they got to hand-pick the exact color they wanted for the trim on their doors, and the oldest chose the color of her clothing, wings, and basket of flowers, too! The little boy was pleased to get dragonfly wings instead of the typical butterfly fairy wings. :)
Now let’s get to the fun trompe l’oeil aspect of this mural ~ the top of the cabinet! Here is what it looked like before…
…and here is what it looks like now. My client knew she wanted a water feature of some sort on the top, and I came up with a design that would incorporate their name into a stream. The waterfall in the distance flows into a large lake (which is barely visible) and some of that water flows around the nearby hill, over this crumbling wall and “into” the top of this cabinet. These kids have several toy fairy homes so I left plenty of green space around the stream where they can place them down and play. The sun was shining and creating quite a reflection on the top of the cabinet so unfortunately part of this photo is washed out.
Here is the other end of the stream. I figured the water had to go somewhere otherwise it would all flood the top of the cabinet, the fairy homes would be destroyed, the paint would eventually wear away, and then I’d have to come back and paint tiny boats or something.
Hmm, that would mean repeat business…
But I digress. Anyway, I figured, why not use a little surrealism to make the water flow into a hole in the side of the “wall?” Where does it go? Beats me. I’ll let the kids figure that one out.
Enough of that area. Turn around after you enter the room, and there are those adorable french doors again!
Here is the sketch for this wall with the approved design, and again I added a grid so I can get the layout accurate. They decided that they’d love to have a dragon, and I thought this would be the best wall for one since the angled walls really mess with perspective depending on the height and angle in which they are viewed.
Here is the completed mural, with just a few slight modifications.
Initially I painted the dragon’s pupils as vertical slits, but I thought that made her a little too scary. My fear was confirmed when one of the kids asked if I could “give her a smile so she doesn’t look so freaky.” I wasn’t able to give her a smile, but changing her eyes definitely took away a big portion of the “freaky” factor.
By the way, did you notice the little mouse near the corner?
So now lets move on to those big side walls. This time I created a bizarre looking sketch since parts of the mushroom and fern cross over onto the opposite walls. This sketch is meant to be viewed by folding it in half, keeping it open a bit like an a-frame, and staring at it while looking up at the ceiling. It is best to do this in a public setting like a coffee shop or something.
It is virtually impossible to get good photos of these walls without a wide-angle lens. If anyone wants to buy me one, that would be awesome. These things are big.
When the oldest child first walked under this mushroom, she exclaimed, “I feel like I’m a fairy!” Perfect. That was the goal. =)
One of the kids was concerned and asked me if hummingbirds eat fairies. Luckily, with my extensive fairy research, I was able to indicate that not only do they not eat fairies, but fairies actually get to ride on them sometimes while they are flying. By the way, the woolly bear caterpillar is three feet long.
I want to be a kid again.