Underwater Garage, part 2 of 3

Developing a technique

Once I had created the mural image, I realized I had no idea how to paint it. We knew we wanted the mural to look ripply, like it was being seen through water. We thought that using large brushstrokes would do this, and we liked the idea of an image that makes sense at a distance but breaks up into pieces of color up close. So my first step was to transform the image into brush strokes. I used Photoshop to give a feel for what the mural might look like (top image).

Our garden is too dense to transfer the image to the door using a projector-too many plants in the way. I decided to use a grid. Our garage door is made from wood boards, with horizontal grooves between the boards. I put a grid onto the rippled image, using the grooves for the horizontals and lines 1′ apart for the verticals. I marked the verticals with chalk on the ground, and had a grid to rough out the images (second image).

I then used 24″ wide brown kraft paper to try out different techniques. The large paper allowed me to practice full-size, important for doing such a large mural. I started with smaller pencil sketches to get a feel for shapes, curves and colors. Since the paper is brown, I used a white pencil for the highlights, and a dark blue pencil for dark areas (third image).

We next selected paint, picking the strongest colors. I tried to keep the number of colors down, knowing I would be doing lots of blending. We finally settled on 11 colors.

I decided to tackle the blue water at the top first, starting with the white of the sun through the water and blending out to the dark blue at the sides. The dark blue matched the garage wall color. It seemed natural to try a sponge for this large, simple blending (fourth image). I liked working with the sponge so much, that I decided to use it for the entire mural.

Image Descriptions

First: Rippled image

Second: Rippled image with grid

Third: Pencil sketch on kraft paper

Fourth: Water blending sample

Fifth: Kelp sample

Sixth: Purple coral

Seventh: Sponging the mural with paint cans, blended colors in yogurt containers, and the rippled, gridded image in the background

Eighth: Red/black fish

Ninth: Yellow fish

Tenth: Orange coral

Eleventh:  “Artist” signature

Next article: the mural unveiled




3 thoughts on “Underwater Garage, part 2 of 3”

  1. Bro – LOVE the colors! Great job with taking on such a big project. Looking forward to the unveiling!

  2. Dear Steve from Steve,
    Nicely done. Cool effect with all the beautiful plant life surrounding the mural. The contrast is wonderful.
    Do not quit your day job but the Sensei sees potential for second vocation in the future :O)
    Glad you had fun with this, it shows. I am sure THE CAT OF THE HOUSE, had a paw in the final product.
    OAO Steve aka Sensei Doc

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