First time painting a mural?

Wed 7 Dec, 2011 08:51 pm
Heya :3

I'll start with a little back story so this all makes sense. I'm sixteen years old, and I go to an arts school. Visual arts is my main focus at the school, and I spend most of my free time drawing or painting. I'm best at pastels and inks, and my work is really ornate and traditional--I've tried doing modern art, and abstract, but I've failed miserably. My work is usually black and white, but I have a good hold on colour, because of my work with pastel (and pencil crayons, prismacolour).
Because of my noticeable lack of social life, I spend a LOT of my time drawing, and I'm pretty advanced in visual arts. I built a reputation from my work in grade nine and have kept it up till now. Anyways, word got through to my English teacher, who asked if she could see some of my art. I gave her my sketchbook/portfolio thingey that included pencil sketches, ink, pastel, and pencil crayon pictures. She said she really liked my stuff and asked me if I could paint. I do paint a bit, though I don't like it as much as I like dry media. Because I'm not very comfortable with paint, I point out all of my mistakes, and my paintings look pretty bad to me. Still, when I show them to other people (and not just my friends, adults, too) they say that my paintings are really good, and they seem to really enjoy them.
Recently, my English teacher asked me if I would be willing to paint fish on the (blue) wall of her daughter's bedroom, because the fish wall stickers that she bought keep peeling off. She would also want me to paint a "pink, girly design" on the wall of her other daughters room. I told her I'd think about it, but I'd like to get back to her about it soon enough.

Well... I'm pretty horrified. It was a great compliment to my work, but I'm not sure if I could do it. Fish are one of the easier things for me to paint, as they're detailed and they're animals (I find animals and architecture the easiest and most interesting subjects to paint), but I've never painted on a wall before and I'm scared that I'll screw up. Not to mention, I'm in grade ten. That's... reeeaaally young. I've been told by other people that I should do it, as it would be a great addition to my portfolio for university applications, etc. But... sooo many things could go wrong, and I'm scared my nerves will mess me up.

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Wed 7 Dec, 2011 10:43 pm
Sounds really neat for the experience alone. I would submit some preliminary sketches to your teacher so she understands that your ideas and hers may not coincide (Remember Michelangelo took great freedom in reinterpreting Pope Julius's idea about what should go onto the Sistine Chapel)

I see sea turtles, manatees, porpoises, manta rays, and whales as well as some smaller fish. AND, just to be a little whimsical, why not reinterpret what a "Shool of fish" is all about (Since shes a teacher, mnake the fish wear mortarboards, some with glasses and have pencils behind their fins and carrying iphones).
I usually hate the background colors (aquamarine blue) that many of these sea murals use. Try to grade the colors in value as well as hue.

Dont sell your services cheap, give her a "pwer fish" rate and then quote her a package deal of a few hundred or more.

However, I even hate to say this, but in todays climate, please be safe!!.
Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:31 pm
Thanks for your comment- everything you suggested is really helpful, especially the preliminary sketching idea, which I'll definitely use. The school of fish is really cute, too, especially in a child's room. I'll probably talk with my teacher about which marine animals will be included in the mural, but I'm really hoping I'll be able to paint porpoises and sea turtles, both of which I find really lovely.

And thanks for your concern. My English teacher is a really nice and empathetic person, and I'm probably more open with her than with any other adult at my school. I wouldn't go over to her house unless I felt completely safe. ^^
Wed 7 Dec, 2011 11:49 pm
Well, Im a dad Its my job to worry.

What kind of paints do you plan using? Acrylics ?
Thu 8 Dec, 2011 12:00 am
I'm not a hundred percent sure at the moment, but based off of the research I've done I'm assuming that acrylics will be the best. It's also what I'm used to working with, so that's a bonus. Considering the fact that the room I'll be painting belongs to a child, I'll probably seal it afterwards, but I still need to figure out what I'll use for that (I'll want something with a matte finish, most likely).
Thu 8 Dec, 2011 08:41 am
Ive found that, even if you paint a background and lay the subject over it, you can make the fish pop out by painting a background color around them after youve painted them. Its a trick we use in plein aire painting to define trees against the sky and make them appear more as a foreground.

When you give your teacher some preliminary sketches and work ups, might I suggest that you use an opaque projector or a digital projector to shine the working drawings onto the wall so you can get an idea how they will fit and to assist you in the skecthing phase.
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