Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How to move a monkey mural

A few years back, I painted a sweet little girls nursery for about-to-be-born Gracie Quinn.  It had pink walls, with a pattern of swirling brown vines, pink flowers, and hummingbirds, inhabited by four monkeys.  Gracie's mama was absolutely thrilled, and her daddy, well, he got used to the pinkness before the paint was even dry.  Within a couple of months though, wouldn't you know it, the perfect house for this busy family came on the market at the perfect price, and I barely had time to get pictures before the family moved.  You can see the original room at theartofthehome.com/murals-and-art.html , since I can't steal photos from my own website, and the computer I had them stored on ate the originals.
Inspiration:  One toile pillow
They weren't even settled in before I was called in to do the kids' rooms.  (Gracie's big brother Graham's "Spiderman in Minneapolis" room was featured awhile back on this blog.)  Now, this new room of Gracie's was much bigger than her old nursery, and had a fresh coat of khaki paint that matched the other rooms nearby, so Mama asked if there was any way we could get a similar feel, without going full-on pink, and could I somehow incorporate the theme of a favorite pillow, bring back the monkeys and vines, and maybe  somehow match the style of a stuffed jester rabbit from Grandma?  Hmmm...Chinoisserie meets toile meets monkeys, looking pink, but really khaki?  Sure!

Not your typical Minnesota fishing scene!  Click on any photo to enlarge, click again for details.

I marked out a frame for the mural, then glazed the walls in a harlequin diamond pattern, a riff on the jester's costume, and "transplanted" four of the swirly chinoisserie vines into pots around the room. 

Glazed harlequin diamonds, occasionally accented with a classic bee motif

A modern take on traditional Chinoisserie

Finally, I tackled the mural, mimicking the scene on the pillow, as seen through a baroque arched door.  I brought back one monkey, changed the jester rabbit's clothes for his portrait, brought in the family's gone-but-still-beloved cat Circe, and rounded out the menagerie with a frog, who just seemed to fit.

Who knew fishing could be so elegant?

The clothing makes much more sense when worn by animals, no?

I had trouble at the time getting good pictures, and I wasn't crazy about the heads on the animals, so I went back last week to tweak the details and try the photos again.  I am completely happy with the animals now, but I still need to get better with the camera...or maybe get a better camera?

Harley the cat handled her supervisory duties quite competently
Mama said that once Baby Gracie saw the vines and the monkey, familiar elements from the old house, she settled right into her new room.  Gracie is three and a half, now, and she kept me company, while keeping a close eye on the improvements I made, giving her seal of approval when I finished.  I love a happy ending!  Now, it's headed for midnight, and I think Harley the cat has the right idea, there.  Nighty-night and sweetest dreams!

Want a storybook ending to your latest move?  Check out my website, theartofthehome.com, to see my portfolio, and all the info on how to hire me.

Spent the budget on the move, and tackling the kids' rooms on your own?  If you need a little advice, do feel free to email me.  Really.  If I know the answer to your questions, I'll be happy to share. dawnmariedelara@gmail.com

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