Creating the Mural

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After the mural is selected we can now begin the glaze painting process. It starts by painting the mural area with a gesso layer to prime the to be painted area. The area is then chalked out with a numbered grid. The grid will be used to translate from the scaled down image design to the mural site. Finally the mural is painted using the glaze painting technique. The technique uses multiple layers of paint to create the image. The first layer is darkest color in the mural. Each successive layer then adds the lighter colors in the design. The images that are shown are from the New Life mural in the 2010 showcase.

Step 1: Preparing the Surface

A gesso layer (white primer) serves as a base for the mural. Then a numbered grid is chalked out. The grid is used to translate the mural design from the scaled down image to the mural site.

Chalked Grid

Step 2: Enlarging the Design

There are three main routes to getting the outline up on the wall. Using a gridding system, drawing can be done with large playground chalk and then tightened up with a paintbrush and thinned acrylic paint. Acrylic is recommended because it will dry and not fade or smear into the paint.

Step 3: Underpainting

Layers of painting, this involves painting on a toned or colored ground. An undercoat is applied first using a color that contrasts or harmonizes with the layers of paint that will be applied on top. This top layer of color may be applied in such a way that aspects of the lower layer show through, creating a mixed-colored or vibrating affect. It glows!

Step 4: Paint

Most collaborative murals are painted with good quality acrylic paint, sold in jars. These are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Enamel and oil paints are not recommended for outdoor use because they are moisture impermeable and do not allow the wall to breathe.

When selecting paints and colors, the artist must be careful to select colors that have good light fastness ratings by consulting paint charts for the brand of paint that is being used. Earth tones and black are most stable. Unfortunately, most blues and violets are somewhat fleeting and have a tendency to fade after five to ten years in direct outdoor sunlight.