What so special about a mural?
It’s not decisions regarding color or line—those are the same as in a traditional painting. The rules of composition remain constant—creating an eye path, establishing focal points, addressing the edges, distribution of light. Similar tools are employed: paint, brushes, rags, gloves, mixing knives. So what’s different?
Your first guess might be scale or size, but by definition a mural can be small as a mouse or big as a house.
Here’s the answer. It’s the wall.
Painting on a wall isn’t like painting on a canvas. First of all, there is no give. You can’t rotate it or put it on the floor. Depending on the surface, it can absorb the paint like a sponge or mute the colors into chalky pastels. There may be cracks, doors, or pipes protruding. Creating a mural is committing an image to a particular space and accepting the transitory nature of ownership and weather. After all, you can’t take it with you.
In honor of my upcoming birthday, I wanted to do something special, an impractical piece unintended for an exhibit or series. So I painted a mural.
Step 1: get rid of the cobwebs on the wall
2: Map it out
3. Put in the shadows (At this stage, I’m questioning my sanity and the wall is getting bigger. What will the paint cost? How many times can I go up and down this ladder? )
4. Embrace the drips.
5. Six hours and three days later, I think I’m done, but no. I awaken to color that looks too high-key. More neutrals are in order. Good thing I still have that ladder I borrowed from my neighbor Elke.
I just hope my landlord approves.
My birthday party is tonight and I made my guests party favors. I drew another version of the mural, cut it up and voila! Bookmarks! I guess sometimes you can take it with you.