I did a lot of laboring over Labor Day weekend! Our new house is a cosmetic fixer, complete with old carpet and wallpaper in every room. Everywhere I look I see a new project, which has been overwhelming. So my new method to this madness is to finish one room at a time. Juniper’s room is first up on the list.
A big feature of her old room was the beautiful mural I painted for her. I was open to something new though in this house, so I sketched up a few options for her and let her pick. She chose the same one that was in her old room.
It can seem intimidating at first to boldly lay a paintbrush on the wall to freehand a mural, but there are ways to boost your confidence. The first step in that direction was the sketches I did. It helped Juniper decide on the design she wanted, but it also helped me decide the shape and quantity of the trees to paint.
I used a 2″ painting brush and a nicer, thin brush to create the mural. I began by painting thin lines for each trunk to get the spacing right on the wall, using my earlier sketch as a guide.
After the early trunks were done, each tree began to “grow” on her wall. As one got halfway up the wall, I stopped and worked on the next one. Little by little, working back and forth between the four trees, they took on a unique central trunk up to the ceiling. If one ended up leaning too far in one direction, I could balance it out with the tree next to it.
With the same method, I began adding side branches. I imagined these were aspen trees, growing close together with upward branches. I wanted each one to seem organic, so I tried to avoid too much symmetry and included lots of crooked branches.
It’s important to take a step back often. After a couple branches were painted, I stood back to see how it looked. After maybe 30 minutes of working, I took a water break to leave the room. When I came back, my eyes were fresh to evaluate how things were progressing.
When I had essentially a skeleton for each tree, it was time to go back and thicken them up. Trees are typically thickest in the middle, getting gradually thinner as the tree gets taller – a rule of thumb for both the trunk and the side branches.
I added in a few leaves here and there after the trees were complete. I intended to add a couple birds, as I did for her old mural, but I’m waiting on that step. There’s something really serene to me about the simple way they are drawn now, so I might just leave them as is.
I am no fine artist, but choosing a simple design and taking it slow produced a mural I am really proud of. If you have been thinking about a mural in your home, hopefully this builds some confidence that you can do something similar!