Canvas Ceiling Mural Design
Canvas ceiling mural design in Naples Fl., inspired by an Ethiopian church ceiling built in the 15th century? Look at this incredible coffered ceiling mural project
When I saw the images of the structure I not only found them mesmerizing but there was something else that almost felt surreal that I still can’t put my thumb on.
All I know is when I saw the photo it inspired me to learn more of the history behind it which happens to me quite often. Some don’t understand how or why artists think the way we do but as for me one side of my brain tells me “Uhg I must paint, paint NOW” and write about what inspired me, while the other side of my brain tells me, “You MUST learn and understand” about what it is I am painting. The last time I felt this strongly about a mural project is when I painted a piece (8ft x 8ft) for a couple who had inspired me so much because there was something about them personally that I felt a closeness to. The more I painted the more I learned about them and this unbelievable pull that this was actually something that I was chosen to do for some reason. It was only when I was about halfway through the canvas ceiling mural design did I learn that she was Dr. Carol Ann of Women of The Word who operated her own accredited ministry. It was then I believe I understood too why I was chosen for this mural project from a power that I can not explain to this day. Well, I could go on and explain why but then I would be stepping out from the other side of the mirror and most would think I am just some kind of nut. So I will just stay here on the other side where I feel safe and let you guess the rest or you can read about it by going to,
This ceiling mural project I am writing about now was also challenging not only because of the simplicity of it but because it was all done on canvas in nine individual panels. Reason being is that the master bedroom was hosting awhere beams and crown molding were installed. Every panel had to be measured to its exact size in order for the design to work out because every “box” was different and not exactly square to one another. When laying out the panels you had to think out the measurements in an upside-down and backward configuration as each box had a border design that only allowed a 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch variance (no room for mistakes).
To the inexperience yes it can be and can also be very costly if it isn’t done right the first time.
Why not just paint the ceiling mural directly on the ceiling you ask?
Well, here a few reasons why;
- The inconvenience to the client would be they would not have access to their bedroom, as a platform would be needed to reach the ceiling. However I have had those who actually loved the thought of sleeping under a platform, it makes them feel as though they are experiencing more of the process. Some really do admire artists work and what the have to endure to make things happen
- Inconvenience to the artist as the layout and painting of a ceiling mural is much more strenuous on the neck, shoulders, and back. Painting on canvas is much easier and more convenient as an artist can work from his/her studio and be more productive.
3. Timing, yes as we all know timing is crucial especially when you’re approaching the holiday season.
4. Murals projects painted on canvas are removable which adds to the value of the work to the individual who has commissioned the artist
I could go on but I believe you get the point, but it really depends on the client and what their needs and goals are.
Below is a video I found on YouTube surprisingly of the ceiling of where the photos were taken and being that I did not know who actually took the photo I did not want to post it on here due to not being able to credit the photographer for the picture
I have found some excellent reference to the design other than what I was shown and wanted to share this with you as well and ran across this panoramic photographers work of one of the Ethiopian churches for which I had seen from the photo. I always try to show support for other artists by writing about them or showing their work to hopefully drive some traffic to their amazing work also. The next view is of the actual ceiling of where my rendition and inspiration came from collectively from what I had as reference material. This photographer’s panoramic work is absolutely wonderful and I wanted to make sure that he got the credit for his efforts. H e has many more panoramic collections and I would recommend visiting his site as well.
So now that you have an idea of where my inspiration has come from on this master bedroom ceiling mural project and what the design is based on you will hopefully understand why I wanted to keep the simplicity intact for the simple reason out of respect to the original artists from hundreds of years ago. The work is truly amazing and if you read more on the history and why these structures have survived like they have it really gives me more enthusiasm to share the knowledge.
As with most mural projects, this is the starting point to try and expand the visual with the client and to make whatever changes are deemed necessary to fit the area. I start out using graph paper to find my measurements to fit the ceiling’s design. The squares of the border had to work in perspective with the size of the Ethiopian angels’ wings and faces to complete a composition that would make sense and flow to the viewer.
I try to show different options on the same drawing as this will save time. This was before I had done the research and found that the faces are renditions of angels. The ceiling was a coffered design with beams that are running around the outside of the border and on the inside area to form nine boxes.
I matched the colors according to the photo which was a weathered yellow-green and terra cotta colors and of course black and white. I found I had to change a couple of things composition-wise as the squares appeared too small from the viewing distance and to the size of the angels.
Finally, I had a design I was happy with and continued laying out the remaining panels. However upon further and a closer look to the work that was done hundreds of years ago, I noticed that there were alternating colors between red and blue in the wings, so I added the blue in respect of the original artists work, I mean, after all, there were 104 of these Ethiopian Angels painted in this church ceiling.
The story goes that there were three identical angels and with most Christian religions there was always someone trying to destroy the beliefs in Christianity including the powers that be during the 17th century. Apparently Spain rushed into Ethiopia and burned down every church of the Orthodox except this one because a swarm of bees swept down and prevented the soldiers from burning this particular one. It is also said that St. Michael appeared before them with a flaming sword to ward off the attackers which left this as the only remaining one of its time. It is also known to be the oldest in Ethiopia. You really should research the history of their religion and their art I will leave some links below for you to get started as it really is a fascinating part of Ethiopian history.
So as I said, I am happy with the design and continued with the mural project and being that I do all the work myself and have other on-site larger commissions it does take me a little longer on my studio commissions being that my busiest time of the year is during the holiday rush and winter/spring season in Southwest Florida. (Naples, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Estero, etc.) This one of the advantages of working from a studio and why I price studio work differently.
So I get a call from the clients and they asked to see how far along I have gotten and I say,
“Great! I’m nearly done and ready for an install, “I’ll bring a panel over for your review”
I love this kind of client as most who are like them really appreciate and love supporting the arts. They also understand what goes into the design and processing of a custom made design.
The only thing left on most of the panels was a final overglaze to age the panels and push back some of the intensity of the colors I used which is normal for this kind of mural project.
As it turns out I had to take out the blue of the wings as there was nothing blue in the master bedroom and paint it back to black……I also darkened the green and kicked up the saturation of the red in the terracotta.
Although this was basically a simple design the work that went into it was more than what you would have thought just by simply looking at it. The beauty within the original artwork is really amazing if you were to examine the details for what it is and what it represented hundreds of years ago and still stands today.
This is but only one of nine panels within the master bedroom coffered ceiling which are now overglazed with a “tea stain” to bring in some aging to the overall look. You must remember though that each panel had to be drawn and planned to each “box” specifically to size so the border would fit as perfectly as possible. So each panel had to be upside down and backward to each measurement. All the squares had to be calculated as they were only based on 2 1/2″
Like I said no room for mistakes, it must be done right the first time otherwise it defeats the whole purpose of painting the mural on canvas in the first place if I have to get up there and repaint the border because I did not do the layout correctly
What I had found and was totally unplanned was that the church in Ethiopia from where this design is in respect to, there are 104 angels painted on the beamed (coffered) ceiling. As I was writing this post I came to the realization that in each one of the rectangle boxes (4) there are 104 squares, coincidence? a sign of some sort? or maybe it’s just my mind wandering again, as usual, sounds like a question for the whiskered one on the other side of the mirror.
For some odd reason, I think we are going to be back revisiting this coffered ceiling in the future as there is so much more that could be done to add to it. Yes the light cans bother me also and I believe those will be changed out and replaced with LED lighting with a much smaller opening and a flat cover that I can paint and get rid of that dated recess can look.
Hopefully, you can see that the panels have been aged (overglazed) to push back the intensity and brightness of the border. It also appears that all my measurements and layout were correctly done. So at this point, it appears that the mission has been accomplished, now we wait for the client’s stamp of approval…
I think that’s the hardest part, don’t you? Tell me what you think and help an artist out and share this article Peace!
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