Whale House Mural Process

Since we're all quarantined now seems like a great time to catch everyone up on this process!! I sat down with the clients and we fiddled with a couple of the designs and came up with this overlay instead....





After making a request for power washing, I started with a sealing layer since I didn't want any residual oxidation making the next layer peel.





The next day I ripped the proverbial band-aid off and blocked in the locations of the new whales while sealing in with a base line blue.




The next step was the water effects which extended up under the lanai and the shadows under the lanai as they serve to extend the water effects. The original had a base wash. Once I got the wave effects the way that I wanted I brought in the greens and the light beams. I did this while the whales were still loose white so I could overlap them without worry, though I did give them a base grey during this time as well (except the upper right baby cause I didn't want it to disappear).



Next I wanted to play with the dolphins because... they're my favorite! I will say I was reminded that while my shading skills are cute/cartoony nothing beats playing off reference pictures


Then it was on to the central whale, giving those driving by hope that there whales were indeed returning...


Eventually I got to the honu and the 'lava rock' effect along the bottom to break up the straight line that existed. The honu started by blocking in with the light blue for the base shape, and then working in the basic shell/flipper shapes. You can see how I layered in the reds and browns to give it dimension and eventually working in some dark blue to give additional depth and dimension. The lines on the shell definitely needed gentle washes to get the 3D effect.



So all that remained was the mother and baby whales. It was at this point that I discovered how fascinating whale musculature and baby mottling are. And I will fully admit, between the lava rock, the air conditioner, the bushes and the cutter/pipe that last mother's face was almost a day unto itself.



And so in honor of the original artist (who I would ABSOLUTELY attribute if we could have figured out the oxidated remnants of their signature), I called this piece "Tradition of New Beginnings", since even though the style changed, the individual elements for the most part did not. It's also in honor of the breeding grounds themselves and the newness that comes each year. It took about 10 days with an average of 5-6 hours per day (my art brain would stop functioning after that length), and about $300 in outdoor satin enamels and Peel Stop at both the beginning, and the end. With the hope that this mural would last another 40+ years, I got to soak in the creation as it now stands.







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