Hand painted, interior and exterior murals for schools, office and private commission 
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Marvellous Murals for all kinds of interior exterior art decoration

Marvellous Murals
for all kinds of murals

mural artist paints murals for commission schools, commercial and public. 

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A flying start to the new year

Posted on February 26, 2017 at 1:25 PM

Hello, hello, hello and happy 2017!

 

I’m not sure I can really start with that as it’s almost March and we’ve all pretty much settled into the New Year now … but I’m going to. I am so excited for Spring – I’m in serious need of some sunshine and warm weather – The clocks going forward can’t come soon enough.

 

To start off our year we had some fun gargoyles to paint for a pizza Restaurant in Bromley. The owners love Halloween, so wanted something a little quirky to have in the restaurant all year round. We painted these gargoyles on MDF boards so they could be easily mounted in the restaurant. One Gargoyle is eating a slice of pizza and the other is licking an ice-cream. They took around three days to paint.


 

After the gargoyles we had a job in Hertfordshire at the Gordon Brown centre, an outdoor education centre, painting three murals in their dormitories. We only had one week to paint these three murals as this was the only time the centre was closed to the public, so we enlisted a little extra help and stayed on the premises to allow us to work longer days. We had the help of Derrick Throssel, a mural painter and decorator from Essex. Derrick and I made a start on the long dormitory corridor mural, whilst Dean began work on the two main murals in the boys and girls dormitories.

 

In the corridor we were painting large bold flowers and insects to brighten up the space. This building was to be knocked down in the future, so they didn’t want anything too detailed, just something to brighten it up in the meantime that wouldn’t take too long to complete. Although the shapes were all big and bold, the flat block colours tend to need many coats of paint, so it can be a little time consuming. We managed to get this corridor completed by Wednesday evening after doing some extra long days, so then Derrick and I could go and help Dean in the main building. The dormitory murals were a little more detailed and the client wanted them to show the range of outdoor activities that they offer, as well as some of the animals and features from around the centre. Dean had gotten quite far with both murals, so it was a case of helping with the smaller details, such as adding some animals to the murals and some texture to the trees. The Gordon Brown centre was really lovely to work with and made us feel very welcome. The staff were extremely warm and friendly and definitely made sure we were well fed during our stay! It was a lovely place to work and to wake up each morning – even if it was -1 most mornings!


 

Next we painted a rainforest themed bedroom for a little girl in Ebbsfleet who loves animals. She had gone through a book that she owned about the Rainforest and put in post-it notes and comments on all of the animals she would like us to try and fit into her mural (which was very sweet and very helpful!). We started by drawing out and planning where everything was to go (the walls were a nice clean white, perfect for drawing on and painting any colour) and then we could fill in large background areas with an undercoat of pale green. Once this was done, we added streaks of white to add depth and the illusion of trees in the distance, and then we could begin to work forward, making the colour deeper as we went to give that illusion of depth. Once most of the background had been painted, we could start painting in the animals. We painted a clouded leopard, caiman, piranha, a sloth and its baby and a boa-constrictor, to name but a few! To complete the mural we added some little details, such as various butterflies and insects, birds flying across the blue cloudy painted ceiling and pretty rainforest flowers. This room took us eight days to complete.


 

Next up we had a distressed Union Jack to paint in Smokey Joes, a cool bar in Maidenhead. They were having a complete refurbishment with lots of Victorian, steam punk and American influences and they wanted the distressed union jack to go on a feature wall in the club. This took us two days to complete. They also asked us back this week to distress three shutters for them to make them fit in with the new aesthetic. We achieved this look with a lot of spray paint and some strategic rubbing down with sandpaper, all in one day.


 

Deans youngest daughters primary school asked us to paint a mural in their library. They had just purhased a beautiful wooden story telling chair, so wanted something magical and imagination inspiring to painted behind the chair. We chose to paint an enchanted forest, complete with fairies and the Gruffalo hiding in the trees. On the opposite side of the room we painted a large tree with various story book characters in the leaves and on the branches. I think Deans daughters were quite excited to have their Daddy working at their school for the week! I caught that horrible cold that was going around, so after lots of coughing and spluttering on the Monday, I thought it was best to keep my germs to myself for a day and hibernate under a duvet in my flat. We managed to get these murals painted in one week (despite my absence) and the whole school was really thrilled with result.


 

For half term Dean and his family went to visit their zoo in Borth, leaving me to paint a gothic bedroom for a young girl in Maidstone. After discussing the design at length with Dean and planning how to tackle the first room I would be working on alone from the start, I got to the clients house on Monday morning to learn they had decided they wanted to go in a slightly different direction with their mural (from dungeon to graveyard). This is completely fine and does happen, but I would be lying if I said the change didn’t initially throw me! After a few panicked phone calls to Dean (and some facebook messages… and texts… poor Dean), I finally decided what I was doing and got on with painting the ceiling and background. There were a few more setbacks during the week, but it’s all a learning curve I guess! After a few sleepless nights the mural was starting to take shape. I painted the sky a deep midnight blue and painted the milkyway and thousands of stars across it. Dean had painted a woodland fairy themed mural for this client about eight years ago when his daughter was a little girl, but now she was approaching 13 she wanted something a little more grown up (and spooky!), so I had to rub down the walls with sandpaper and then apply a coat of grey emulsion to cover the previous mural and to give me a base for the new one. It felt a little sad covering up some of Deans previous work, but as lovely as fairies are they weren’t suitable for a tennager any longer. I drew in the horizon (as I wanted a spooky foggy effect, this was a lot lower than it would usually be as you wouldn’t be able to see very far into the distance) and then started adding texture and fogginess to the sky in random light and dark patches. Next I drew out the main features of the mural, faint buildings, gravestones and the huge dragon that would be crouching on a giant skull. I could then start adding in details, starting from the furthest away (tiny faint grave stones and lots of mist) and gradually working my way forward, making the objects increasingly darker in colour the closer they became. Right in the foreground I added some simple silhouettes of gravestones and crosses in solid black all around the lower section of the walls. This was the main component of the reference photograph that client asked for, I just added a little more background to add depth and to open out the room. When dean returned the following week, he added some large spooky tree silhouettes whilst I painted the dragon. The client asked for a Game of Thrones style dragon, so I made him a little scary but added some bright blue into his mouth and chest to add a little colour and to tie it in with the ceiling. The rest of the dragon was painted in monotone to keep it the same as the rest of the room. We then included some finishing touches such as bats in the sky, a raven and some glow in the dark paint on the ceiling and on certain parts of the mural to make them stand out. This really was a challenge for me as confidence is something I don’t only have trouble with at work, but in pretty much all aspects of my life! I think it was definitely a good experience, if extremely stressful at times, but once I could visualise what I was doing I really enjoyed painting the room and making something that I would have wanted a teenage goth! We’ve had some really great feedback from the work on social media, which has helped to boost my confidence a little. All the comments and shares really help to give our work a wider audience and we really appreciate everyones kind words and positivity.


 

 

Next week, weather permitting, we will be heading back to Wokingham to carry on with the large underpass mural we started at the end of last year. There has apparently been a little graffiti put on parts of the mural, but we can patch this up and then we will coat it with anti-graffiti varnish, meaning that if it happens again the graffiti can be easily cleaned off.

 

As I type this the sun is shining and storm Doris seems to have gone on her merry way. Spring is getting closer and those warm days without coats and scarfs are almost in reach!

 

Until next time,

 

Jaime

 

 

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