Last week I took time out from doing my fine art to take on a St. Louis Rams mural of a football helmet and and logo to complete a recreational room totally decked out in Rams gear. Every sports fan's dream. Complete with well-stocked bar, pool table large screen TV, and the c-c-c-coldest fridge in town. I grew up liking the L.A./St. Louis Rams--but this guy took it to the next level--he even named his son Rams! All he was missing was a custom Mural and a Rams tattoo. Hey--maybe I can talk him into a tattoo? Hmmmmm?
I thought I would put together a few shots of the mural to give my collectors and readers some insight as to how I create a mural.
Here's some insight to my techniques:
I try to have a plan of action for the mural and most images I paint. Most of the time when I paint it seems that I start off with a plan and that all goes out the window as soon as I am about a quarter of the way into it. Then it usually feels like I am just messing with it until it looks like something. Maybe alot of that stems from being mostly self-taught. I don't know exactly, but in the case of this mural, everything went as planned. Make sure you click on the pics to see larger views.
1. First I started by projecting an outline that I designed up on the wall and doing a light outline with my airbrush. Okay-okay, Actually I started with pencil which turned into a waste of time but I like to be as accurate as possible. I then outlined the rest with a mixture of white. The wall is actually a bone white color so I could still see where I was going.
2. Here we go! I blocked in some color in the background for the sky and the grass. I used my airbrush for most of this mural because I am real fast with it. I should have used a smoother transition on the blue, but I knew I was going to cover most of it with some fluffy clouds. Same with the grass and the stands. I didn't detail them out because this is supposed to be background stuff and not the main image, besides I was probably using the wrong size airbrush anyhow. Sometimes I just get in there and go and tighten it up along the way.
3. Here I have pulled out the trusty ol' paint brush and went in to block the shape of the stone-like arch-way that I created. Using a beige type of color first, I blocked in the shape, which gives me a hard line around the edges and sinks that background to the back. I used sponge techniques with slightly brownish colors and flicked paint to cause a stone texture. Be careful when being a paint flicker. You don't want to have to cover mistakes!
Although I love airbrush. I try to mix up the procedure in order to get a more balanced mix of textures. Airbrush alone is too smooth for everything and things tend to take on an illustrator feel. Or can cross the line and have a carnival feel to me. Hopefully we gave the customer a little of both textures to make it fit in with the room.
4. You can see here the finish archway and I detailed in the Vince Lombardi Trophy on either side. I added a few streaks to look like rusted water for a rustic look. Ram horns were sculpted in the sides and I left a spot for the new Rams logo. I painted in some hard shadows using different values of browns. I originally wanted it to be lighter but the other wall is darker. So I believe we created a nice piece without it being an eyesore.
*Info: Handcrafted by Tiffany & Co. and valued at $12,500, the Vince Lombardi Trophy depicts a football in kicking position that is made entirely of sterling silver. The words "Vince Lombardi Trophy" and the NFL official logo are engraved on the base of the award. The trophy itself stands 22 inches tall, weighs seven pounds and takes 72 man-hours to create.
(I bet you didnt know that! Or care. Let's move on.)
I spent a lot of time on the helmet and used a pearlized gold paint that I blocked in for the logo and the horns. It might not show up on this photo, but there are violet glazes on the helmet and man, I was almost out of that deep blue color on this job. Right down to the last drop. I should have mixed up a bottle of something but this particular color was just right for the team colors. I added a three dimensional feel to the logo by adding what I call BLINGS (No not Nelly's new platinum grill silly...I'm talking about those shiny little stars that everyone likes.) and a little shading to the little Ram head.
Customers happy! I'm happy. Thanks for the cold one's Jerry! From one Ram's fan to another! GO RAMS!