You Will Need:
A Plucky Spirit
I always wanted to paint a leafy mural, possibly all my life. When I was a child my aunt painted a cloudy sky ceiling in their dining room, and when Grace was a baby I painted her walls with rolling hills and a soft pink sky with simple fluffy clouds. For a couple of years I attended an art class with Anna Saunders in Twickenham which have me the confidence to feel free with a brush - and to not worry about the messy strokes and imperfect edges. Pluck was essential for this job.
Earlier this year I put two new windows into my workshop to bring some light into the back. Before that it was rather dingy and ‘Meh’. I added some built in cupboards so I’m able to keep it much tidier but didn’t you think they looked a bit bland....? Me too, and I want my workshop attendees to feel creative and inspired while they are here, and me too - something was missing and it had leafy mural written all over it. If you share the space you are thinking of painting leaves on with someone please check with them first, or maybe wait for them to go out for a while.
A leafy vine is just right - my theme is nature and I love having a small but leafy garden, and many years dog walking I must have seen trillions of pretty leaves blowing in the wind. Because I also use my space for practicing psychotherapy I didn’t want to go too over the top so my leaves are quite subtle rather than the tempting idea of a full blown forest.
Paint: Sample Pots of Emulsion
If you have acrylics or want more specific colours for a mural you can go for this. Because mine were earthy tones there were great green colours for me in the Craig and Rose range at Homebase. The paint went on easier on the emultioned wall than on the eggshell but it was adhesive enough. I chose three greens and a brown, which I lightened for the trunk. I used medium green for the main leaf shape, then imagined where the light was falling - most of the leaves have a light streak along the top and a darker streak along the bottom.
If you have good ones then use them - though luckily the cheap set from Homebase (Oh do I spend too much time there - there is one very local to me!) seem to have done the job. I think better quality brushes might have given a better finish but as you know I like that my leaves are messy and impressionistic, its just more my style - a touch of the feral but generally 'alright'. I will go over it again (and myself!) to neaten it up though I don't think there is any need for perfectionism for an overall leafy look.
Stencil - Optional
I bought a stencil online which I used at first (it does make progress faster) although I quickly realised that painting a leaf is pretty easy, fun and going freestyle allows you more freedom to go in other directions and the stencil was too rigid after the first use. It also left some of my leaves blobby because it gaped. If you are painting leaves you could draw in pencil first if you're not confident, or get a large piece of paper to practice on - I did to get the general leaf shape right, though they are all a bit different.
I listened to the ‘Classic Acoustic’ Spotify playlist - perfect, including Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel and the Beatles - folky ballads lend themselves very well to this kind of activity! Of course you can listen to whatever you like but I did like the seventies hippy vibe while I brushed.
So there you have it. A simple, messy but I hope effective leaf mural. I will add a few more leaves but as someone told me 'done is better than perfect'. P.S. for a more polished version visit @Createaholic who reminded me that we have to fulfil our own home-dreams and did an amazing lemon tree mural on her bedroom wall last year. Genius!
Have you ever painted a mural or done something creative that you felt so happy with? Fancy giving it a go yourself?
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