RECENT WORK - SCHOOL MURAL - LOS CERRITOS MIDDLE SCHOOL LEOPARDS

At the Los Cerritos Middle School in Thousand Oaks CA, I finished up a stairwell mural project this week that I wrote about in this post a couple of weeks ago. I did one of the stairwell murals there about 7 months ago - the blog post on that project is at this link.

As I do from time to time, here's a step-by-step description with photos of the process. Starting after the previous post, then, here's how the mural was created… you can find details about the photo and steps in the process in the photo captions.

 The paper pattern… This is the design drawn full-size on a pen plotter and the lines traced with an electric stylus creating tiny holes. Those are GALLON paint cans being used as paperweights, which may demonstrate the size of this thing.   I'll be using oil-based enamel paints for this project -- it's a material I'm used to, works well with my brushes, and is slow-drying enough to blend colors together with techniques (again) I'm used to. There are many other combinations of materials and techniques available, but this works well for me.

The paper pattern… This is the design drawn full-size on a pen plotter and the lines traced with an electric stylus creating tiny holes. Those are GALLON paint cans being used as paperweights, which may demonstrate the size of this thing. 

I'll be using oil-based enamel paints for this project -- it's a material I'm used to, works well with my brushes, and is slow-drying enough to blend colors together with techniques (again) I'm used to. There are many other combinations of materials and techniques available, but this works well for me.

 Once on site, ladders set up, the paper patterns are taped up in place on the wall and charcoal is pushed through the perforated holes to transfer the design. 

Once on site, ladders set up, the paper patterns are taped up in place on the wall and charcoal is pushed through the perforated holes to transfer the design. 

 Since parts of the design will be white, to avoid the typical double-coating necessary I mask the white portions before painting. Even if small amounts of paint bleed under the tape (on this textured wall, it happened a bit) they can be painted over easily. 

Since parts of the design will be white, to avoid the typical double-coating necessary I mask the white portions before painting. Even if small amounts of paint bleed under the tape (on this textured wall, it happened a bit) they can be painted over easily. 

 Here is how the work looked at the end of the first day. The ribbons have a gradation from dark-to-light blue. For this I used rollers with light, medium, and dark paint. I worked one color into it's neighbor to create a smooth transition. I also used an old billboard painter's technique called a "roller blend". Two puddles of color are poured on a large card (or something similar) next to each other. The roller is rolled into both puddles, back and forth until the roller is charged with the two distinct colors and a smooth gradation between. 

Here is how the work looked at the end of the first day. The ribbons have a gradation from dark-to-light blue. For this I used rollers with light, medium, and dark paint. I worked one color into it's neighbor to create a smooth transition. I also used an old billboard painter's technique called a "roller blend". Two puddles of color are poured on a large card (or something similar) next to each other. The roller is rolled into both puddles, back and forth until the roller is charged with the two distinct colors and a smooth gradation between. 

 This is from the end of the second day. The white areas have been given one coat of white, black outlined on the ribbons painted, the gray for lettering to be done next has been painted in, and (probably most noticeable) the colors for the leopard's face have been blended in. Most of the blending was done with wet-paint-into-wet-paint, and other techniques. The eyes were masked then painted in the same way.

This is from the end of the second day. The white areas have been given one coat of white, black outlined on the ribbons painted, the gray for lettering to be done next has been painted in, and (probably most noticeable) the colors for the leopard's face have been blended in. Most of the blending was done with wet-paint-into-wet-paint, and other techniques. The eyes were masked then painted in the same way.

 Third day saw the final work being done. More blending on the eyes… cut-in the background color around the lettering… paint the leopard's infamous spots…

Third day saw the final work being done. More blending on the eyes… cut-in the background color around the lettering… paint the leopard's infamous spots…

 Third day work, continued. Paint in the background color, then a small transition area of roller-blend gradation from background blue to clear at the bottom of the leopard portion of the design. Also touched up those blue areas in the "C", little touchups throughout, aannnnnd… we're done! 

Third day work, continued. Paint in the background color, then a small transition area of roller-blend gradation from background blue to clear at the bottom of the leopard portion of the design. Also touched up those blue areas in the "C", little touchups throughout, aannnnnd… we're done! 

 It's hard to get back far enough to get photos in this stairwell, so this and the next two photos are detail shots using the panorama feature of my phone…

It's hard to get back far enough to get photos in this stairwell, so this and the next two photos are detail shots using the panorama feature of my phone…

SchoolMural-prog19.jpg
SchoolMural-prog20.jpg

 Here is the final completion photo.

Here is the final completion photo.


You might be thinking about getting this kind of project done, Do you know where to start? I can tell you - contact me, Paul Borne (president of Big City Signs) to find out more.

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