Behind the Scenes: The Hollands Theater Mural

***This post originally published November 25th, 2014***

Here’s the latest mural completed!

Size: Approximately 4 square feet

Medium: Acrylic paint

Time to complete: 4 hours! It’s unusual for me to complete any piece of art in an afternoon, especially a mural!

History behind the piece: My friend Cheryl and her family are finishing up a spare room and turning it into a home theater room. Once the walls in the room were up, there was this strip of wall right when you entered the room that Cheryl thought would be perfect for a sign. As we’ve been designing another mural to go in that room, I was asked to design a theater mural sign as well.

Thought process: While discussing the project, Cheryl mentioned the possibility of a marquee sign, which I thought was brilliant! I ended up doing four different designs, but the marquee one was by far my favorite. That was the final choice for them as well, with only one minor change: change the color of the lettering. Easy!

Problems with the piece: This one was actually fairly simple, but I had to change how I went about painting it. Originally I was going to go over for an hour and paint in the red border and then  go back after a couple days, put down tape on the border, and then roll paint the gray background in, giving me nice crisp lines. However, because we live in western New York and had all that snow, we had to keep postponing my painting sessions. I didn’t want to leave them with a partially painted mural for a really long time, so I hand painted everything in. It’s not as crisp, but it’s not too bad 🙂

Another thing that was difficult is this mural is like 10 feet off the ground, so I had to be on a ladder the whole time. As I told my husband, this was my conquering fear as I hate being close to the ceiling as it makes me feel claustrophobic. However, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, and when I went back to put the sealer on the mural, I wasn’t nervous at all!

Favorite part: Everything! I think it turned out great. I really do like the lights, though. It really makes the whole thing pop!

Least favorite part: The ‘L’s in Hollands. I think the vertical parts should be thicker to balance with the other letters.

Fun facts:

– Not only is Cheryl the mother of my daughter’s best friend, she also graduated high school with my husband! What a small world 🙂

– The letters were yellow in the original design. Cheryl’s husband asked for them to be changed to black, and I thought he was crazy. I thought they’d be too dark and it would look awkward, but as soon as I started putting them in, I fell in love with them. I think it lets the other areas of the mural have their part and the letters aren’t as over powering when they’re black. Great choice, Dan!

Once the room is finished, I’ll be able to get in and do the second mural. Look for progress updates on my Facebook page and then the final reveal here on the blog!

Hollands Vault Mural Reveal!

This project has just been amazing. All the planning, designing, tweaking, more planning and designing, and waiting has all paid off, and I think all the work and wait was definitely worth it!


Time to complete: Approximately 32 hours over 8 working days in exactly one month’s time, but that’s just for me doing the actual mural. I think we started planning this about a year ago!

Primed, end of Day 1

Problems with this piece: Getting Jiminy Cricket’s face just right was hard! Also I’m not familiar at all with Eilonwy, so I really struggled with trying to get her likeness.

Favorite part: Seriously, I don’t know. I love how it looks now that it’s sealed; the characters just pop and all the colors are more vibrant. I love how both Merida and the Up house balloons turned out; both of those were two things I was most concerned about. Oh, and how excited the Hollands family was about each stage in the process!

Least favorite part: Finishing it. It was so much fun, and I’m sorry to see it done (even though it’s really exciting seeing about a year’s worth of designing and planning pay off!). But as for the actual mural, I think that there are parts I’m not as satisfied with, but I really think it turned out well.

Fun tidbits:

– There was no green paint actually used on this mural. I’m sure I just confused everyone! But I was silly and when I was buying supplies, there was no big thing of green paint. By the time I went to look at smaller green paints, I had forgotten all about my need for green. I had to hand mix all the greens!

– Mike Wazowski is the only character that did not change his pose or placement on the mural. Cheryl wanted him on the mural, and thought it’d be fun to cover him up, just like he’s always covered up on a commercial or magazine cover in Monsters, Inc. 

– Merida and Lightning McQueen are the two characters which inspired me to make a scene for the mural instead of having the characters just float around. The Flying Carpet with Alice and Eilonwy having a picnic using Mrs. Potts and Chip idea sealed the deal 🙂

– Getting this mural started was tricky; as with the other mural I did for their theater room, the first couple days I tried to get over to work had to be cancelled due to a snow storm!

– This may not be the last you see of this mural! There’s still some space for future Disney characters to get featured 🙂

– I totally cheated when doing the “Disney Vault 264” sign on the mural! I made a template, traced it, and then filled in the background color. To get the inside shapes, I just cut them out of the template and used it as a stencil!

– This was the biggest project Cheryl and I have worked together on. I’ve done various little projects for her, and then the two murals for the family. She is one of the most creative people I know, and I just get to come along and make her dreams a reality!

Characters included, with their movies:

Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio

The house with balloons from Up

Rapunzel and Pascal from Tangled

The Three Fairies from Sleeping Beauty

Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University

Woody and Bullseye from the Toy Story movies

Merida from Brave

Lightning McQueen from the Cars movies

Alice from Alice in Wonderland

Eilonwy and Gurgi from The Black Cauldron

Mrs. Potts and Chip from Beauty and the Beast

The Flying Carpet from Aladdin

Pongo and Perdita from 101 Dalmations

And finally, the big reveal….

Missed an update post? Click here to see them all!

What is your favorite part of the mural? Which Disney characters would you have included?

Hollands Vault Mural, Part 5

The mural is finished!

I spent about 6 hours working on it today; most of the work had me crouched down pretty low or even laying on the floor 🙂 I will be heading back next week to finish erasing pencil marks and then seal it. I think my youngest will miss this project; he loves getting to watch movies in their theater room!

Before doing the final reveal, here are some more progress images. Today I…

painted a rock wall while laying on the floor…

added a couple cute doggies…

blocked in a couple pretty ladies…

finished a Wonderful girl (I’m sorry the pic is blurry)…


and a princess…


and a cowboy…


and added some fun details that I’ll share in the full reveal next week!

 To see the other progress updates, click here.

I can’t wait to reveal the entire mural next week! What is your favorite part so far?

Hollands Vault Mural, Part 4

I really really really don’t want to write this blog post. Because if I write this blog post, I’m admitting I’m getting close to being finished with this mural, and I don’t want to finish.
Yes, I’m being dramatic.
I’m having too much fun working on this project. The Hollands family is so enthusiastic and just super great people to hang out with, and hey, painting Disney characters on a gun cabinet? That’s like a once in a lifetime kind of project!
On Sunday I put in about four hours of painting, and man, did I get a lot done! The entire top half of the mural is done, and here is what else I was able to accomplish:
I added a house…
Started a cowboy…
Painted three fairies…
Finished a race car…
Added a shadow…
And finished a princess and her companion!
I still have seven more characters to put in (including two princess, a mother and son duo, and a couple four legged creatures), but it’s in the final stretch now. I’m back working on it on Friday, and may even finish it then if things go smoothly.
What is your favorite character so far? Who are you hoping is still yet to come?

Behind the Scenes: The Shire Mural

And here it is, finally completed!

Finished mural

Size: Approximately 18 1/2 square feet

Medium: Acrylic paint, some colored pencil

Time to complete: About 40 hours of actual painting time; much longer than I anticipated, and even more than the library mural!

History behind the piece:

Remember the flower mural from a Throwback Thursday post not too long ago? It was damaged a couple years ago, and my in-laws had mentioned commissioning me to do a new mural in it’s place after the wall was repaired. They had tossed around a few ideas, and the most popular one was doing hot air balloons. I had mentioned that I wanted to do the mural over the summer so it wouldn’t interfere with my babysitting or the kid’s school schedules, and if they definitely wanted hot air balloons, we’d need to talk about design. My father-in-law said he didn’t want balloons, and then I asked for them to think about ideas again and we’d talk soon.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and we’re having dinner over at their house and the mural topic comes up again. Come to find out, my father-in-law was just joking about not wanting balloons (I think he likes keeping me on my toes!), and that they would be fine. We then got talking about Lord of the Rings and Hobbit holes (I think I was talking about how I wanted a Hobbit hole chicken coop?), and my father-in-law mentioned doing the Shire as a mural. My mother-in-law said “Yes!”, and I thought they were joking.

They weren’t, and here’s the end result!

Thought process:

I was sooo excited to work on this that I drew up the design in one, maybe two days. I got to get my geek on, and how cool is it that I could watch the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies for research? Woo hoo!

Bilbo's house
Bilbo’s house

This design is basically bits and pieces from the movies, J.R.R. Tolkien’s drawings, and other fan art, as well as my own interpretation from reading the books. It includes some of my favorite pieces (the No Admittance sign! And Sam’s house!), and soooo much detail was put into this piece.

No admittance except on party business!
No admittance except on party business!

There are some things that were added towards the end of the painting process that we just didn’t know would be needed. When you do a small design sketch on a regular sized piece of paper, and then blow it up to almost 20 square feet, there is definitely going to be some need for adjustment. Some additions were more flowers and trees by Bilbo’s house and the swans and blue heron by the lake. Although it took me longer to complete the mural due to the changes, they make the mural look so much better!

Swans on the lake

Problems with the piece:

It is so hard to paint under a cupboard. You have to bend over, but because of the counter, you have to stand at these odd angles and it feels awkward. What makes it even more awkward is when your husband, brothers-in-law and father-in-law are all out shooting shot guns and every they shoot, you jump and hit your head on the cupboard. I lost count of how many times I hit my head before I got the brilliant idea to go paint another area that didn’t have the cupboard overhead 😉

Hobbit laundry!
Hobbit laundry!

A huge issue was that everything is soooo small. Gandalf and his cart are about one inch high and two inches wide, Pippin and Merry are about an inch high as well. My tiniest brush is too big for that, so I had to incorporate colored pencil in for some of the smaller details. I have since purchased a couple super tiny paintbrushes for the next mural I do, and hopefully small details won’t be as frustrating. Also, having everything be small means so much more time spent on executing each area, which was something I didn’t anticipate.

Gandalf; the streaks are actually wall texture!

THE ROCK WALL. Oh man, some of you know how much trouble that gave me, but oh was I so glad when that was done! It originally was going to be stacked stone, but it just was not looking right. Sam’s chimney had already been completed, and it was easy to do and looked great, so I thought just doing a rock wall similar to that would make life so much easier! I figured it would take 20 minutes, maybe 30, to finish. It took upwards of THREE HOURS to do! Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, it helps break up the green, but oh was it trouble!

Favorite part:

Gosh, I don’t know, it’s hard to pick what would have to be my favorite when I love it all. I love the lights around the party tents, the No Admittance sign, Pippin and Merry, Gandalf….I guess I love all the little bits and pieces that make the story come alive.


Oh, and all the little details in it, too, like the different varieties of flowers, the barrels, the reflection of the swans on the lake…

Blue door house

Oh!!! And the light switch!!!! I thought that was going to end up being an awful and horrible part to do, but after some minor tweaking of where things would be on the wall, it turned out awesome!

Sam house
Sam’s house…can you find the light switch?

Least favorite part:

Proportions are off with the smaller two Hobbit holes and the Hobbits in the corn field. But trying to get everything proportionally correct was a nightmare when working at that small of a scale and still have it be recognizable. Over all I’m really happy with it, and the proportions being off actually doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.

Setting up for Bilbo's birthday party
Setting up for Bilbo’s birthday party

Questions I’ve been asked:

Was working for your in-laws difficult?

Not really. I’m blessed with awesome in-laws, and they’re very flexible and accommodating. They were very patient with me taking over their kitchen, and had great input during the whole process. It’s actually going to be difficult with the mural being done as we won’t see them as often anymore! They were joking the other day that they’d have to commission me again to do another mural just so we can see each other on a regular basis 🙂

Did knowing that you’d be seeing the mural a lot make it harder to paint?

Yes, yes, and yes. I always try to do my best, no matter what I’m creating. But knowing that I’m going to be seeing this mural often, and even doing dishes in this sink or looking at it from my spot at the table during meal time put more stress on me as a perfectionist. I wanted to make sure that every little thing that bugged me was taken care of so I wouldn’t stress and pull my hair out when I looked at it.

Which was more difficult to complete: the library mural or the Shire mural?

They were both difficult, but in different ways. The library mural was hard in that it was so big, it was hard to work on certain parts as I’d have to be on the chair and then down again, or I had to include so much detail in areas (like the wrinkles in the dinosaur skin) in order for it to look realistic. There’s a lot of detail in the Shire mural as well, but I could cheat a little bit and leave detail out without compromising how it looks, like I don’t have to put every hair in Gandalf’s beard for you to know that he has a beard. I think executing the Shire mural was harder as it was so much detail, but the library one was more difficult mentally as so many people are going to see it, and I wanted to make it worthy of the subjects depicted as well as being displayed so prominently.

Finished mural 2

What is your favorite detail in the mural? If you’ve read the books or watched the movies, what would you have included?

Wyoming Library Mural Reveal!

Drum roll please!

Here she is:

The main mural
The Wyoming mural

Medium: Mixed media; primarily acrylic paint, but there is some marker and colored pencil.

Size: The main mural is 64 square feet and the Wyoming mural is 20 square feet.

When: July and August 2014

Purpose: To brighten up the library and to promote my art.

Time to complete: Preparing the wall was about 10 hours. Painting the mural was between 30-35 hours.

Thought process: Once I had the library board’s approval for doing this mural and which wall they wanted it on, I began browsing the internet to see what other libraries had done for murals. I knew I wanted something with books and various characters, but couldn’t exactly use licensed characters due to copyright infringement. One mural I saw had various sections, and dividing two of the sections was this really cool swirly design. It made me think of book pages flipping, which is how the big book part of the mural came to be.

Originally I had four sections of the mural: children’s books, nonfiction, and classics, but the fourth section was blank and I couldn’t think of anything else to go in there. Nothing seemed right, so I changed the design to the three sections that you see today.

Also, in the first concept design for the children’s section, I had a lamp post in there for the Chronicles of Narnia. I was afraid that people may confuse that with the gaslights in the Wyoming village (we’re known for our gaslights, which have been retrofitted for electricity). I sadly had to take that part out, but when I was measuring the wall for dimensions, the librarian said I could use the little patch of wall next to the big wall if I wanted. I mentioned the gaslight to her, and then all these other ideas started popping into my head: what about an owl as our library is part of the OWWL system? Oh, and the AppleUmpkin festival every September! We’re known for that! I have to include that somehow! And that’s how the Wyoming mural was born 🙂 I was afraid that no one would make the connections between the apples and pumpkins or even the owl, but when I took the kids in this morning for story hour and to finish touch ups, there was a group of people admiring the mural who knew what everything stood for right away 🙂

In the children’s section, we have the fox and gingerbread man from The Gingerbread Man, Humpty Dumpty, a caterpillar referring to The Hungry Caterpillar, a hidden garden door for The Secret Garden, a tree house for The Magic Treehouse series, the beanstalk and castle in the clouds for Jack and the Beanstalk, Mary Poppins sitting in the clouds, and Peter Pan with the Darling children.

The Secret Garden door is hiding behind the fox :)
The Secret Garden door is hiding behind the fox 🙂

In the nonfiction section we have a dinosaur, the Titanic, the Eiffel tower, a NASA space shuttle, a toucan, and a biplane.



In the classics section, there is Sherlock Holmes, a deserted island for Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, or any of the many classics that have a deserted island), Gandalf riding an eagle from The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings books, a hot air balloon from Around the World in 80 Days, Moby Dick, and a windmill from Don Quixote.


Problems I encountered: The original design called for a wall wider than it was tall; there were more characters in each section as I could make the book bigger, but unfortunately the wall is a square. I had to go back to the drawing board and rework the design.

Another problem was getting enough light into the space. The overhead light isn’t reliable, so I ended up having to bring in my own light and move it around as needed.

Overall, I’m really happy with how little difficulties I had. For a piece this size, a lot could have gone wrong, especially as I worked a lot while patrons were coming in and out of the library. It was pretty smooth sailing!

Fun tidbits: I am in need of a new tiny tiny tiny paintbrush, so all the tiny lines (on the biplane, the fox’s whiskers, the ropes on the hot air balloon) are all done in colored pencil. The caterpillar’s eyes are done in paint and permanent marker!

Favorite part: Everyone’s excitement about the piece! I’ve had people almost in tears seeing their favorite characters on the wall, I’ve had kids jumping up and down excited about the dinosaur and space shuttle, and one library patron almost begged me to do murals around the rest of the library. Everyone loves it, and just seeing people get excited about these characters from their books is exactly what I was looking for.

Least favorite part: There are some parts that I wish turned out better, but I don’t think there’s any part I really hate. I do wish the pumpkins and grass weren’t so flat looking, but I spent over an hour trying to fix them with no success.


Where is Jack? You have the beanstalk and castle, but no Jack!

I think I’ve lost count as to how many times I was asked this question! I honestly didn’t feel like the mural needed Jack for viewers to understand what the beanstalk and castle were from. However, because I’ve been asked so much, Jack is inside the castle, hiding from the giant 🙂

Did you design this yourself, or are you copying someone else’s idea/art/mural?

I did design this myself. Most of the murals/designs online are characters all interacting together or coming up out of a single closed or open book, almost like a genie coming out of his magic lamp, but from what I can tell, this take on the characters in a book is unique 🙂

Anything else?

I did not include all the pictures of each individual character here. The post would have been too long. I will be posting a link later to my Facebook album where the more in depth pictures will be 🙂

And we can’t forget the before and after shots!

Mural area, before
Big wall, before


Big wall, after!
Small wall
Wyoming mural wall before
Wyoming mural wall after


What would you have included in the mural? What do you think of the before and after shots?

Throwback Thursday: Flower Garden Mural

This week’s throwback is a piece that a lot of people loved and remember…and unfortunately my computer has eaten the finished picture! Once I find it again, I’ll post it right here. For now, here’s an almost finished picture of it:

This is the completed back row; in front went daisies, daffodils, and johnny jump ups. The hummingbird went in above the two purpley-blue irises.

Title: Mom’s Flower Garden

Medium: Acrylic paint on wall

Size: About 4 feet wide and 3 feet high, maybe a little bit bigger than that.

When: Summer 2003

Purpose and History: At that time, I was in my summer vacation between freshman and sophomore years of college. I’d only had one art class under my belt, and it was just my Intro to Art class. My boyfriend’s mom didn’t have a window over her kitchen sink, and she always wanted to look at flowers while washing her dishes. I was commissioned to do a flower garden mural on the wall above the sink that summer!

Mural in progress!
Mural in progress!

Time to complete: I stayed at their house for about a week; I think it took about 40 or so hours of painting. I think it would have gone quicker if I knew what I was doing, but I hadn’t taken any painting classes yet, so I didn’t know how to paint properly.

Problems I encountered: Not knowing some painting tips and tricks for mixing colors, painting quickly, or even shading properly was a challenge. Also, leaning over a counter was awkward at times.

Fun tidbits: The hummingbird was not part of the original design. I thought the space above the flowers was looking empty, and I knew my boyfriend’s mom loved hummingbirds, so I put that in as a surprise for her 🙂


My boyfriend’s mom is now my mother-in-law, hence the title saying Mom 😀

Looking at these pictures is like a blast from the past in many ways: the cupboards and counters are different colors now, the cups are no longer hanging from the cupboard, and the light has changed as well! The look of the mural changed with the changes of the kitchen; I’m sad I don’t have a picture of it after they redid their kitchen.

Favorite part: I loved how bright the mural made the kitchen! Just those pops of color was a big impact.

Least favorite part: How flat each flower looked. I didn’t mix the colors, with the exception of the irises. Flowers should have more colors in them, and if I were to repaint the garden, the colors would be the first thing I would change!

Here you can see how flat the gladioli looked (upper left), and the daisies and daffodils at the bottom.

Anything else?

This mural is no longer around. When the counter top was replaced, the wall was damaged. Although my father-in-law tried to fix it, the wall ended up needing to be fully repaired in such a way that the mural had to come down 😦

The awesome and amazing news about that is that this month I will be painting a brand new mural for them! It’s going to take up the entire space from before, plus go all the way to the wall (not pictured). It’s going to be over 18 square feet (much smaller than the library mural), but it’s going to be awesome. Look for those pictures and posts soon!


What would you paint over your kitchen sink?

Wyoming Library Mural, Part 2

If you’re new to this project, Part 1 can be viewed here 🙂


Once we had the furniture moved to other parts of the library, it was time to take the shelf down. I needed my husband for that project, and let’s just say it wasn’t easy. We basically destroyed part of the shelf and a good couple chunks of the wall (unintentionally!) because in order to take the shelf off the wall, you had to dismantle the shelf brackets. We didn’t know that, so we basically had to pry and eventually rip the brackets off the wall, and as they were lag bolted in, huge holes were made in the wall. I knew it would be a pain to patch, but we found some awesome self-stick drywall patches at Home Depot that worked amazingly!

The wall all patched up!

I’m crazy, and love to patch walls. I like taking things that look awful and make them look pretty again. However, the whole sanding the patches are not my favorite. I always think they’re smooth like the wall, but they aren’t. Thankfully, the parts that aren’t super smooth are going to be covered with various parts of the mural and it won’t be super easy to see them (or at least I can hope!).

Priming the wall was super easy, and painting was pretty uneventful. However, it’s important when you go to paint a wall that you remember to bring your roller covers. If you happen to forget them, you’ll have to go back home, search for them, find them where they fell off and behind table where they were supposed to be, and then drive back to the library, wasting a good 30 minutes of painting time. Also, it was humid that day, so the paint was taking forever to dry between coats.

One coat of primer on!
One coat of primer on!

Problems I’m encountering:

The lighting doesn’t exactly work very well in the entryway of the library. The overhead light will be on for about 15 minutes, and then it’ll shut off for 15. It makes seeing what I’m sanding, painting, or drawing pretty difficult. Thankfully there’s a floor lamp that I can move over to help, and I’ll be bringing in another lamp when I go to paint.

One coat of paint done, one to go…

I don’t know about you, but so far I think the change in the entryway is huge! I love how big the space feels. Now I just hope this mural turns out as well as I hope it will!


What do you think of the progress so far?

Wyoming Library Mural, Part 1

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll have noticed a lot of pictures over the past few weeks of a mural that I’ve been working on. I’ve been putting in a lot of hours patching, sanding, washing, painting, and sketching, all to get ready for this upcoming week when I finally get to start painting the actual mural. Yay!

A couple days ago I was thinking about how frustrated I was that I have all these projects going on, but I haven’t been able to post any blog posts on them as they’re all very time consuming pieces. That’s when an idea popped into my head: if DIY blogs post in progress posts when they’re redoing a room or a big project, then why can’t I do the same thing for this mural piece?

Mural area, before
The library entry, where the mural will be

How did this project come to be?

I love our local library. It’s small, but wonderful. I remember the first time we went to it, the librarian, Cheryl, was getting ready to close up, but she stayed open for us. She was extremely helpful, was willing to place holds on books through other libraries for us, and even said if there was a specific author we loved and she didn’t have it there, she’d actually order their books so we could take them out whenever we wanted. We left feeling awesome, and she was so personable that we knew we’d love our new library.

Fast forward a bit, and it’s January of 2012. We’d been getting to know Cheryl for a couple years now, and I was asked to join the library board. It was scary and intimidating and so exciting to be asked! My mom used to be a librarian’s assistant in my home town’s elementary school library, so I grew up volunteering there. When I went to college, I worked at the circulation desk or shelving at the campus’s library. Getting involved in a library again felt like I was coming home.

Big wall
The big wall

Like I mentioned before, our library is small. It has an even smaller budget. How our treasurer can pay all the bills on our tiny budget is a miracle. We’ve mentioned over the past couple years that we wanted to spruce up the library so it’s more up to date, has more color, and is just more welcoming to the public. We haven’t had the money to do that, so all those projects have just been set to the side.

When I started the process of making Back to the Drawing Board a business, I was on Pinterest one day looking at things, and I saw a quote hanging in a library. It was cute, colorful, and just awesome. Then it was almost like someone whispered in my ear “You should design and paint a mural for the library! For free! Donate your time!” And I was all like, noooooo, I don’t think so.

Small wall
The little wall

But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. So I pitched it to the librarian and the library board in such a way that they didn’t know I was going to do the painting. I didn’t want to be dishonest, but I wanted them to make sure they wanted it for the library, not just because I was going to do the mural.

They all seemed really excited about it, and here I am, working on a mural.

Furniture is moved, just waiting for the shelf to come down. The space looks so much bigger and brighter already!

What is the mural going to look like? How big is it?

The two walls combined will be a total of 84 square feet. The big wall is 64 square feet, and that will have a big book opening up to  children’s book characters, classical book characters, and some nonfiction items. The smaller wall is 20 square feet, and will have some objects important to either our town or the library. It’s going to be so colorful, and people are all ready getting excited about it, just from the drawings!


Part 2 can be viewed here.

Behind the Scenes: S family’s nursery

I don’t know about you, but I love watching the bonus features after I finish a movie. I want to see how stunts are done, how they chose costumes, interviews with the cast, all that fun stuff. This blog is going to be kind of like that: my thought process, any special details of a piece, and any other fun tidbits that I think you might find interesting. I’ll probably add more features as I go along because, well, I get bored easy and like to stay on my toes 🙂

The first piece I’ll share with you was done over five years ago! Please forgive the horrible photos; they were taken with a dying camera very quickly.

Medium: Acrylic paint on walls

Size: An entire bedroom!

Time to complete: I think we did this over the span of two days, but it may have been three. It was a time saver that the walls were already blue; after I drew in the water lines, my friend painted the top white. It was fun working together!

History behind the piece: My friend was pregnant with her second child, and they were playing the switch the bedrooms around game to make room for their expanding family. This had been the master bedroom, and now would be their daughter’s room and future joint kid’s room. They wanted something fun, colorful, and that the kids could grow with. Once the under water theme was decided upon, we had so much fun designing all the creatures and fun details.

anchor fish
Happy fish in a corner 🙂

Thought process: Knowing it was going to be a kid’s room, we had to do something fun and cartoonish. I used inspiration from some of my kid’s books, and movies such as ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Finding Nemo’. You’ll notice that we did a submarine, and we didn’t intentionally choose yellow for it, but honestly it was the only color that looked right for it!

yellow submarine
I looove the sub! The fish are really super cute, too 🙂

Problems I encountered: I don’t remember exactly any problems. I do remember that painting the treasure box was difficult; who knew the perspective on those things was so awkward?

octopus treasure chest
I loved the octopus! It distracts from the awkward treasure box.

Fun tidbits: We named some of the fish! There was a little orange fish that looked like a football, and we named him Manny after Peyton Manning.


The sailboat was in the original design, but when I do a mural, I try to put in a little something special, almost like a little gift from me to the person the mural is for. I ended up naming the boat after the family, and then we made a fish family underneath to represent the family members.

Sailboat and the fish family

There also is a fish that I thought was pretty cute, but apparently when it’s dark she looks like a scorpion. Oops!


This was, and still is, the largest mural I’ve done. It was a super fun experience, and I know her kids all enjoyed having such a fun bedroom.

What creature or object from the mural do you like best?