Thursday, January 28, 2010

Children's Murals

Children's murals are the most popular type of residential painting across the world. Every parent wishes to dote on their little pumpkin male or female accentuating their personality and personalizing the room as a result. Murals have become increasingly popular over the years for a variety of many reasons. My belief is people have endured financial and emotional roller coasters over the past few years. We attempt to establish control and truly focus on making our homes a safe haven for family and friends. This is mostly accomplished by adding color to our walls and decorating environments with accessories that represent our individual interests and personalities. In short, we wish to define our homes with detail establishing an environment conducive for our children to stay in rather than out and for family's to bond.

I am working on a non-profit with Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado. We are hoping to establish a system to execute a minimum of 4 murals weekly for children with on-going diseases. We plan to work inside the children's homes and do a room "makeover." Our belief is that environment weighs heavily on the emotional well-being of any individual. If a child requires at home care, the healing will take place in his or her bedroom. If you create an environment that reflects the child's interests and character in happy bright colors, this will enhance how the child projects his or her image. In short, picture your happy place or see yourself healthy frolicking about within this "happy place."...We can measure this hypothesis with biofeedback. And...that is what we intend to do. We are still waiting for the logistics of the non-profit to be established and for Children's to devise a plan on allocating the murals to specific and why.

So...with that being said, let us talk about various murals and how to approach them for a child's room.

Each room will contain four walls. Some of these walls will have windows, closet doors, and an entrance exit door. Make certain you utilize the space optimally. If it is an outdoor scene, see if you cannot incorporate the tree outside the window into the mural...being creative and innovative is what makes murals most enjoyable. Understand your composition.

Base out your ceiling and walls. Many times, the mural can be incorporated onto the ceiling or simply a cloud scene can be the ceiling accentuating the feeling of outdoors. If you are painting a space scene, the ceiling can be a darker blue with flares and millions of stars. If you are painting an underwater scene, the ceiling can be the water with sun shining through. I like to paint the ceilings because it assists in the believability of the faux environment.

Materials: Basically the same for every painting assignment
Drop cloths
Blue tape
Green tape
Light masking tape with a 1/8 inch width
Paint brushes of various sizes
Purdy or equal in quality 4, 3, and 2 inch brushes
Paint trays
Rollers and naps
Air brush if necessary

Select a mural theme. In this case, we will discuss a very elementary mural, Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat.

This is one of those murals where painting the ceiling does not apply. We are not painting an elaborate scene but merely tattooing the wall with Dr. Seuss images in clever areas. I painted the room out in a sand color since this room is intended for an elementary school aged child. We are taking into consideration bangs against the walls and scuffing from chairs, shoes, or whatever. Use a flat paint for the base. This enables the parent to easily touch up the walls without having to worry about flashing. Many people will state that it is incorrect to paint a faux finish on a flat base due to the wall drinking the finish...this isn't really a faux finish but a drawing, if you will.

Once you have selected which images from Dr. Seuss you would like to place on the walls and where, you have two options. One, you can project the images onto the wall utilizing a computer projector or overhead or two, you can free hand. I prefer free handing with simplistic subject matter.

Just note, like in any rendering when utilizing a still life type subject matter, shading and shadows play an integral role in execution of your piece. In this case, soft and very simplistic shadow lines are laid down. These are cartoon drawings...not a challenge, but fun and whimsical. When enlarged and strategically placed, these cartoons can seem, to the child, that they are interacting with him or her.

Have fun and certainly feel free to inquire for assistance.

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