Friday, October 24, 2014

Second Mural

Went through some of my recent posts and saw that I had a whole post about the mural in the baking center and nothing about the mural in the main kitchen. An oversight, I assure you.

The mural in the main kitchen takes me to the beach, one of my favorite places to visit and spend some time. On the far left, near the fridge, we climb the dunes. There is a sliver of ocean visible to make the climb more enticing. To the right is a swath of dune grasses, with another path up through them. At the bottom of the path, just waiting to head up to the top, is a black Lab. We have had a few black Lab dogs over the years, so it could be any one of them. Further to the right we look out to the beach and far to the right you can just see some headlands poking out into the bay. I discovered that painting water, especially as it washes up on shore, is very difficult. It took some experimentation to get it right. I also decided that painting over the switches for the lights and the outlet covers was better than leaving them white, even though that was also not the easiest thing to do.

What I find interesting is that originally the mural was planned with the dune climb on the left and the beach on the right only. In between, on the wall behind the stove and below the stove hood, there was going to be a sheet of stainless steel. It would have looked great, but Sweetie convinced me that the mural needed to go all the way across. What was I supposed to put in that huge space? At first I was just going to add some more dune grass and dune, but that seemed boring. Then I had the idea to add the dog and suddenly it all seemed like a good idea.

The challenge was to paint that middle section so that it looked like it belonged with the other two sections which were already painted. I no longer had the paint color I had mixed for the ocean, so this dune had to be higher, with no ocean showing at the top. Mixing the colors for the dune grasses was a bit of a challenge, but I managed. Painting the dog was harder than I had thought it would be. I ended up painting the legs at least twice. Still, it was worth it and so now I can go to the beach any time I'm facing that wall as I cook. It adds character to the kitchen that is unique and delightful.

Here is the progression:

Background painted in, left and right:

The first layer over that sketches in the design in broad areas of color:

 The area in between will be behind the stove. I painted well past the area that will be seen once the cabinets are in because I think it will strengthen the design in the end.

The next layer builds up the details in sky, water and land. I used the paint samples that I had thought might work for the walls, so it was wall paint. Acrylic paints were added as needed.

The next layer really adds detail. There are shadows, you can really see the surf washing up on the beach and the colors have been deepened so it resembles Sonoma County beaches instead of the white sands of the Caribbean. At this point I'm thinking of keeping the switch plate and outlet covers white.

At this point the cabinet installer came and began their work, so I took a break. Sweetie convinced me to consider painting the middle section behind the stove. I had planned to have the stove back splash be stainless steel, running up the wall to the stove hood. The dilemma was how to fill in the middle. I was afraid that lots more dune grass would be boring. Once Sweetie suggested painting in a dog I was able to see how I might tie the right and left sides together.

First we had to finish up the wall behind the stove area and paint it with drywall paint and then the gold color. Then I started as usual with the base color.We took care not to get paint on our nice, new cabinets. If you look closely, you'll see that I decided to paint over the switch and outlet covers and blend them into the painting. It was a good decision.

Then I followed pretty much the same layers as with the right and left sides. I made sure that the sky was the same, but made sure that there was no ocean for the middle because I had thrown out the old ocean paint from the two side areas and wasn't convinced that I could match them. Lots of dune and grass instead.

Some of the colors from painting the right and left side dunes were still available and some had to be mixed again, but since the dune grass has lots of colors in it, I wasn't worried that it would look OK.

Finally the dog was added and all the details were right. Everything was given a couple coats of clear urethane to protect the painting and allow for scrubbing. After all, a kitchen is for cooking, so that means splatters sometimes!

So here is a photo of the kitchen with the mural all finished. I enjoy it every day and hope that you enjoyed this post about how it all came together.


  1. So very awesome! Those look like the sand dunes right on the coast near you, too!

  2. *bows*
    We non-artists are not worthy.
    That is just STUPENDOUS, Elle!!! Wow. I'd be really careful about splattering, even with the polyurethane - I wouldn't want to mess that up, ever.