Floral Wall Art Mural
the background is Luster Stone, so transferring the drawing is tricky and I will explain why.
Luster Stone is a porous absorbent substrate once dried. If you are not familiar with working over this ground you may want to seal it, but to me, that defeats the whole purpose of why I use it for some mural projects.
See my previous post,
The other thing you should consider when transferring your design is that a pigmented pounce bag system or the use of graphite transfer paper should not be used. Reason being that both techniques or not stable and will “smear” if you lay your hand on the design while transferring it or even after the transfer while painting it. Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight and can be very frustrating when trying to work over it and around it.
You must keep your hands clean at all times if you use either one.
Good news though the solution is simple, there is aJoannes Fabrics which is where I buy it if I only need a couple of sheets of it, but be prepared to pay a hefty price for it, I paid nearly $6.00 a sheet (18″ x 36″). I didn’t know I was out of it and was in a pinch so sometimes you have to pay the piper and the older I get it seems that the little bastard has been getting rich off of me due to my memory. Yes it’s expensive no matter where you buy it but it’s better than fighting the mess as your working with it or around it, but you still need to be aware of the possibilities and still be gentle. Luster Stone is one of those products that do clean up but not if dirt and other surprises are smeared into the pores but once you hit it with a couple of coats of sealer (semi-gloss) it’s worth the effort.that’s wax-free and smudge-proof and comes in a gray color which is far better than the black of the graphite that is superb to work with. Most art stores don’t carry it and need to be ordered or bought online, however, you may find it through a fabric supply store like
Onward…..Sometimes I get carried away withdrawing too much detail but I like to establish my dark and lights when transferring a design especially when I want it to appear identical to what I am replicating as in this floral wall art mural(or close to it). Remember this is a hand-painted floral design and need not be perfect. You actually want a little imperfection in the work to establish that “painterly” appearance and hand-painted look.
When you consider that everything has a starting point and an ending point you come to the realization that you can do anything if you learn how the system works and when working with different art forms they are all pretty much the same process when it comes to the basics and painting a floral wall art mural. Doesn’t matter if you are painting a portrait or a landscape it’s all relative, there are just different techniques but they all pretty much follow the same process. Now I know some would find that last statement argumentative but just humor me on this thought until you get through the rest of this series of posts. I think that once we get to the end you will realize how not far off that statement is. I like to keep things simple at first it makes things easier to learn and using that theory it keeps things uncomplicated.
“Establishing the Drawing”
This is what makes life easier when painting things that seem complicated and by doing this you are actually giving yourself a map so to speak, after all, if you don’t have a map then how do you expect to get to where you’re going? It’s really quite simple and it actually makes the blocking in seem to go faster. All you are really doing is tracing out the design with a round #6 brush before blocking in the rest with a #8 as you can see in the photos. A trick to remember is the fact that you are painting over the “tracing” twice thus giving the lines a darker value and gives you a “map” as to where your shadows and common color are.
Your common color is what divides or separates your “light and shadow” and as we learn in early Trompe L’Oeil renderings that as a rule “light and shadow never touch” which is another one of those lines that are argumentative but remember we are here to keep things simple so for the sake of argument lets keep this simple and move on after all time is money and we want to get both panels blocked in by the end of the day
“Determining the Common Color”
This step can be fun or you can make it complicated. If you are like me and an “exacting” kind of artist you can waste a lot of time by over-analyzing and spending way too much time trying to hit that perfect mix and value. Some artists like pre-mixing all their colors first before they start painting anything, me, on the other hand, I find this time consuming and a waste of time. I generally work from an open palette and mix my colors as I go and making adjustments while I am painting. This does many things for one it makes you a better artist by learning to see color better and at the same time your getting paint on the wall or canvas. I am also working semi-transparently to create harmony within the painting which is an important part of a floral wall art mural. Without color harmony, your work will have a tendency to look like it jumps all over the place and a good painting or mural will all share one color in common to create a nice flow when it is finished. In this case, I use the Luster Stone color for that commonality but don’t get it confused with the common color of an object or subject. The mid-tone of “green” is a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Yellow Ochre and a touch of white being careful not to make it to blue. A subtle change in the value of the darker color is all you’re looking for keeping in mind where your light source is coming from. With each change in value, you are applying less and less paint to the object to create depth. Don’t sweat any mistakes at this point, variations in your color mixing are what gives it the realism you see in nature and a more natural look.
Your “Common Color” in this instance has to do with the color of the object you are painting (the leaves). Don’t worry you’ll catch on so don’t sweat it, remember we need to keep it simple. I suppose a better way to explain the Luster Stone color would to refer to it as your “Toning Layer” which is done by creating a “Midtone” on a canvas with the use of a wash or even as what some will call a “basecoat” which is opaque rather than transparent. I don’t want to get into a conversation about color theory but this is one subject I could write hundreds of posts about so again let’s keep this simple and get this painting “Blocked In”
We only have two main colors…that we are blocking in …red and green.
Starting with the green, basic knowledge tells us that “yellow and blue make green” so on my palette I am going to start out with “Yellow Ocher” and “Ultramarine Blue” and being that our ground is absorbent I want to use a little water in my mix to make the paint flow but not too much. You should have troweled out a Luster Stone sample to work your colors on and to get a feel of how well this product takes color. Once you get the hang of how much water to use without it “running”, you will love how well it takes color. I don’t use any glazing mediums as it slows the dry time down thus restricting the ability to work quickly, remember we want to block in both panels today. Secondly, I want to work closely to “semi-opaque” to bring the design-forward so I am going to add “Burnt Umber and Raw Umber” to my palette and will add a touch of each to my mix as I am working being that both ocher yellow and ultramarine are translucent. The common color of the green is on the “Olive” side but it still has a bit of a gold hue to it so I will probably be using more of the raw umber in my mix but I still want a darker value without the color getting “muddy”. This is where it becomes fun if you are just starting out and learning about mixing color. By using a limited palette like this you can learn a lot about what these four colors can do and being that you will be going over it with a mid-tone just make sure your mix doesn’t get to “warm” you still want it on the cooler blue side, I’ll explain why in my next post but for now get that green on the leaves going you have plenty enough of those to paint and it should keep you busy for a while.
For the drawing detail, you can refer to the first post of this series by going to