Noah’s Ark Mural

I had the pleasure of painting accents in Immanuel Lutheran School in La Crosse last year (thanks to Tim Parcher!) with no requirements other than a specific budget and to paint something pretty in the girls’ restroom and something unique in the boys’ restroom. I was able to let my creativity blossom by painting large flowers and butterflies for the girls, and 3-d blocks with toys and more for the boys. Here is a peek at just a couple of those walls:Large flowers painted in bathroom include daisy, tulip, rose, and poppy.

Blocks appear to be missing in the wall and objects are painted in the recessed areas, including a chess piece, a baseball, acorn, caterpillar, and feather.

Then about a month ago, Tim commissioned me to come back! He gave me his budget and asked me to add cartoon animals or kids in the hallways and a trompe l’oeil scene at the end of the hallway. He generously put his trust in me to come up with something creative again and didn’t even want to see sketches. That can be a good thing, and a bad thing. Because I tend to be a procrastinator. I remember in High School I had a big paper due and I literally waited until the day before to write it because I couldn’t think of a topic, so I ended up writing about procrastination. My teacher wrote a huge, “F.  Now stop procrastinating!” in red ink across the top and underlined several times. Keep in mind, I was a straight A student and had never received an “F” before. Then below that he wrote, “Just kidding, A+.” So actually, that didn’t really do much to deter my procrastination. But I did find it hilarious.

So in this instance, since I didn’t need approval of the sketches, it got pushed aside on my to-do list while I enjoyed summer with my family. I always do sketches for myself anyway, but it is much less urgent if the client doesn’t need to see them. I’ve never painted cartoon animals before, so I spent time researching stylized animals. I personally didn’t want random animals all over the place without a way to tie them all together, so I was a little stuck and a little stressed as time was ticking away and I couldn’t think of a cohesive theme.

Then about one week before painting began, I had an epiphany. Noah’s Ark! Perfect for a private religious school! I could have a male and female of every animal! They could do school things! The trompe l’oeil scene could show the end of the flood! Their eyes could all look the same! How about one more sentence with an exclamation point!

My procrastination paid off as I needed the time to make everything click. However, this may lead to more procrastination on future projects…


So here is what I painted: Two flamingos near the main drinking fountain, standing in water and holding a book (see, a school-related element!) I thought it would be fun to paint only the cartoon animals with black outlines.

Cartoon flamingos near the water fountain are standing in blue water. The male flamingo is holding a green book.

On the corner across from the flamingos, I painted two koalas. Since everyone walks past this corner, it is likely it may get scuffed or damaged, so I used that to my advantage. Why not have the koalas paint the tree that they are climbing? (Surrealistic art! Another school-related theme!) Way to go, cutie pies! You’re doing a great job!

Koala bears

Koala detail


Tim asked that I include sports/phy ed elements in the hallway near the gymnasium, so after seeing the trophy cases filled with basketball trophies, I had to include a basketball for this monkey…

Monkey 2


…and a jump rope for this one.

Monkey 1


Giraffes are always high on the list of awesomeness with kids. At least, I think they are awesome. How could I keep them somewhat true to size? They wouldn’t exactly fit with ceilings that are shy of 8′ so I figured they would fit if they were standing in the basement. Or, below deck, as it were.


You may notice that I didn’t include any school-related item with the giraffes. Right?

Not so fast. I had no idea how they could fit the school theme, until literally two days before painting them. There’s that procrastination again! Check out their spots. See anything?

The female on the left has our earth’s continents, and the male on the right has 22 of our 50 states (see, geography education!)


Now onto the trompe l’oeil scene. I used the existing blocks to lay out my design. The door and trim had been black, so Tim spent a lot of time painting it the same color as the wall for me. (Thank you!) I made sure that the exit sign and other items still had their spots on the wall so they weren’t just “floating” out of place in the mural. The door handle will always cast a shadow due to the overhead lighting, so I had to be careful with that area or it would be very distracting.

Door, before


Here is the completed mural, with the cartoon dove sitting on the ledge holding an olive branch. The sheep must have heard him because they obviously dropped whatever school-related item they were using and ran down the hallway to check this out.

Ocean View


Here is one more view, from part way down the hallway. I hope the kids enjoy all the animals!

Long hallway view


I did fulfill one special request to add a butterfly bush near this drinking fountain. The two butterflies are similar to those I painted in the restroom last year.



Time for me to get going on some sketches for the music room of another private school and a painting on canvas. After a snack. And after checking facebook and playing some Maybe I’ll just watch a movie first. Ooh, Inception, one of my favorites!

At least I’m getting better at this procrastination thing.

Dragon Time

So I finally get to paint a dragon! Granted, it is for young kids, so we didn’t want her to frighten anyone and we wanted to give her some fun colors to coordinate with the other elements in the room. She doesn’t look like your typical dragon, but the kids are enjoying her, and that is all that truly matters.  =)

Inside the small playroom, looking back at the entrance.
Inside the small playroom, looking back at the entrance.


She’ll be peeking over the stone wall looking into the playroom. Here I have her outline sketched and I’ve started blocking in other areas of the mural. If you read my previous blog post, this wall is directly opposite of the waterfall wall.

Dragon outline sketched onto the wall.


The distant hills are getting filled in here and the stone wall is almost completed.Dragon 3


Blocking in more background colors for her skin. If you ask me, I’d say it looks rather terrible at this stage.

Dragon 4


“I am an alien from outer space and I am going to eat you.” Okay, nevermind.Dragon 5


Working on her eyes and adding some outlines for where the scales will go. She’s getting there slowly but surely.Dragon 6


Meanwhile, I am also working on her tail.

Dragon Tail 1


Here I added more purple and made sure the shadows are all at the correct angles on her little pointy thingys since the light source is the actual light fixture on this wall.Dragon Tail 2


Well, while I was painting the tail I only got one more in-progress photo because I ended up in my own little world (but like my brother-in-law Pete says, “they like me there.”) And of course that photo was blurry. Dagnabbit. So instead here is one where she is almost completed.

Dragon 8


I realized that no matter where you go in the room, she is always looking at you. I wonder if she will see the life-sized mouse on this wall…. Dragon 7


I still need to tweak her wings, and there are some other anatomical issues I am not entirely satisfied with so I may make changes next week when I finish up everything else in the room. Meanwhile, here is a peek at the room from the doorway. There are many over-sized elements on the angled walls that you can’t see properly unless you are in the room. It has been a very busy week and I still have some solid work days ahead of me. For now, I am going to enjoy the weekend. Stay tuned for another update next week and have a great weekend!

In progress mural

New Website!

I designed my website in early 2012, before I even launched my business. This year, my software has become so outdated that I am running across all sorts of technical issues and it is incredibly difficult to update my site since I am not well versed in html. I want to be able to share photos of my recent murals on my website but I haven’t been able to. I’ve been sharing a lot on Facebook, but I realize not everyone has an access to that.

I’ve also been frustrated that my site wasn’t mobile friendly due to my dated software, so this year I decided it was time to start over with a fresh new look. I have been teaching myself WordPress, and it has been slow going for me as I’ve been trying to figure it out in between projects and all the events of daily life. But I think I’m finally starting to get the gist of it! So please have patience if pages don’t load correctly, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in hiring me to paint a mural for you. Thank you!


Portrait of Mikey, Acrylic on Canvas.
Portrait of Mikey, Acrylic on Canvas.