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A Mural For A Mexican Restaurant

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

It certainly pays off to wine and dine frequently in a local family-run restaurant for more than a decade. Besides the fact that you do start to feel like family, and get to know the lovely waiters who eagerly refill the guacamole dish, there is a point when you exchange more personal information with staff and patron. This is how it came to be that I was asked to paint a mural in one of their restaurants (which filled me with great joy as it is always wonderful to add a spark of imagination to an already great place!). The first mural I painted went straight onto the wall which was actually not ideal as the decorum of said restaurant features rather rough textured walls and this tends to be a tricky background for more detailed paintings. However, after a good amount of research and some soul searching together with the lovely owner, I decided honouring one of Mexico's great mural artists (Diego Rivera) might be a good starting point. Hopefully, I achieved a satisfactory outcome, not intruding too much on the fabulous artist's work and adding enough of my own skill and spirit.

Not yet stretched onto the wall. You can tell by the soft waves the canvas throws at the top.

The pictures I feature here on this blog entry are taken from the second restaurant commission. This time I felt it was wise to paint the mural on an oversized piece of canvas. Two pieces, to be exact. The height of this 10 ft mural was not only too large to squish into my then studio, but I felt it would add a great rustic touch to sew two pieces of cloth and create a whole long one. I DO love to paint on the raw wall, don't get me wrong, but sometimes painting on canvas has an advantage. In this case I felt, it might be beneficial should the mural need to be moved. In the USA people move a lot and so do businesses, including restaurants. I thought it to be a pity to leave the murals behind, should moving to new premises happen. The canvas got attached by the restaurant's well trusted craftsmen, and I was able to add a wooden frame which not only helped with further decoration but also with concealing the borders of the canvas. (Canvas murals CAN be smoothly attached to walls by a skilled wall paper hanger, and then, no framing is needed).

Well here you can see a part of this very tall piece of work,

The effort pays off.

Below I attached a small collage of close ups. Diego Rivera has often worked in the al fresco technique, which means that pigments are directly added to moist plaster. I tried to imitate the look of such work by adding certain brush strokes while not getting too literal. I kept the colours earthy but soft for the same reason, which, in addition, worked well for the restaurant's decor.

Mural in its 10ft length on the upper left, first sketches on canvas upper right, imitating fresco style with small brush strokes and earthy pastel hues.

This would make a beautiful entrance mural for a family home too. Possibilities are limitless.

Here are brief views on the first mural I painted for the chain. The conditions were not very ideal, as the walls had a very rough texture. However, with this particular style of painting, the walls almost made sense.

Obviously, if you do not wish to get a mural painted onto your bare walls, a canvas mural is an option. Take it with you, when you move, or change its location within your house if you like to redecorate.

Sometimes a mural for a nursery lends itself for being painted on a canvas instead of a wall, imagine what a heirloom this would make for your kid. How about a mural like this one featuring Versailles, the famous castle of Marie Antoinette in France. Your kid can hand it down to her own kids.

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