Fairy Play Room Mural

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!!)Looking through the 3-1/2 foot high french doors into the fairy playroom.


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.Waterfall Sketch


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. :)A big waterfall cascades in the distant mountains. In the foreground we see a small hill with colorful mushrooms and a crumbling brick wall. A secondary waterfall rushes over a broken stone and appears to pour into the top of the cabinet. The front of the cabinet is a different scene entirely. Distant waterfalls flower into a lake and that stream flows into the foreground. A fairy is painted to resemble each child, and weeping willow trees fill the landscape.


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…Top of cabinet before painting began.


…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.Top of cabinet appears to be recessed about 2-3 inches. Grass fills the top with a meandering stream in the shape of letters. Lily pads fill in the center of the letters "D" and "A".


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.Right hand side of cabinet, where the stream seems to disappear into a hole in the recessed top. A robin's nest with three eggs is placed near the letter "L" , and a small exotic snail is near the letter "H"


Enough of that area. Turn around after you enter the room, and there are those adorable french doors again!Inside the small playroom, looking back at the entrance.


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. Dragon Sketch


Here is the completed mural, with just a few slight modifications.A purple and blue dragon with orange horns peeks into the room above a faux crumbling brick wall. Mountains are seen in the distance and pink roses are growing near her tail. Angled side walls reveal a 3' long ruby-throated hummingbird.


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.Kid friendly dragon peeking over a faux brick wall with a tiny mouse nearby. The artist sits in front of the door. The dragon has purple scales on her body with blue scales down her chest. She has four orange horns on her head and her three fingers reach over the wall. Her fingers have orange claws. She has long black eyelashes and yellow eyes.


By the way, did you notice the little mouse near the corner?Life sized, realistic mouse in front of the faux block wall.


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.Both walls shown in one sketch.


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.
Acorn about 5 feet tall with artist lying on the carpet in front of it. It has a door with a small awning to match the acorn cap. A variety of green curly grasses fill the background.


This large fluffy squirrel is eating a colorful mushroom and sitting under a large mushroom. A fern is behind him and behind the over-sized acorn.


A mushroom with a yellow-orange stem and orange-red underparts and blue cap spans from the floor to the ceiling. The cap of the mushroom crosses onto the opposite wall so you feel like you are below it. A fairy door is at the bottom with a fluted awning to match the mushroom. A smaller mushroom with blue cap and orange spots is behind the large mushroom. Many fantasy curly grasses fill the background and get lighter and lighter in the distance.


When the oldest child first walked under this mushroom, she exclaimed, “I feel like I’m a fairy!” Perfect. That was the goal.  =)
View of large mushroom when lying on the carpet and looking up at the ceiling.


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.This three foot tall ruby throated hummingbird is sitting on a fantasy curly grass with more curly grasses fading away in the distance. A three foot long woolly bear caterpillar is along the baseboard and a large purple pansy is in the foreground. The end of the fern from the opposite wall curls onto this wall just above the hummingbird.


Hummingbird size comparison


I want to be a kid again.View of one wall with ruby throated hummingbird, pansy, huge mushroom, and woolly bear caterpillar.