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Old 10-21-2002, 11:57 PM
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Murals

Our house is getting some major remodelling and when we move back in in a few months, I want to paint some indoor murals - kitchen and home theater walls, maybe others. However, I'm an oil painter and have only painted on canvas. Can someone give me some basic pointers on wall prep and materials to use? My contractor is about to start rebuilding walls and I need to know before it goes too far if I need to do something different for the mural walls.

I would like to paint in oil paints since I don't care for working with acrylic or water color, but if oil won't work, I can certainly use whatever is necessary.

So my main questions:

1. Can I use oil paints on a wall mural? If so, what kind of wall surface/prep is needed?

2. I've read about using regular latex house paint, but I can't imagine that being much fun unless I'm missing something. Wouldn't that be like painting watercolors on a vertical piece of paper?

Any other advice on getting started would be appreciated!
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Old 10-22-2002, 05:20 PM
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Hi Randy! Lucky you! All those nice new walls to paint on!
I don't know about using oils, but will be glad to share what I know about latex and acrylics.

First, ask the contractors if they can put electrical outlets, switches, thermostats, etc. on walls OTHER than the ones you want to paint.

Tell the contractor you plan to do murals and want a nice smooth surface, no seams or bumps, etc.

Contractors usually use flat paint on walls, because it's cheap and tends to hide seams and bumps. However, it's hard to paint on because it sucks up your paint and makes it look uneven, and you have to keep going back over it.

I prefer to paint on a wall that's been pre-painted with eggshell or satin latex.

You'll find when painting large that it's easier to block in big areas of flat color first, then go back in with shading and details. (see my thread on hotel mural in this forum) Latex is great for this. You can have it mixed to any color you want. I've painted whole murals with red, white, yellow, and blue latex paint, mixing the colors I needed from those primaries. Just have to make sure they mix them pure for you, without too much black!

Latex dries quickly, and a good quality paint will cover without too much going-over.

I use Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint, which is very thick and doesn't drip when you apply it. Don't use cheap, thin runny stuff!

Acrylics mix well with latex paint, so you can do shading and color variations easily.

And there's no long wait for it to dry, and no smelly solvents needed.

Did I convince you? If you do use oils, please post your progress pics and tell us what you learn from it!

Ruth
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Murals Plein Air Paintings Step-by-Step Mural Demo

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Old 10-22-2002, 09:31 PM
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Thanks for the great info, Ruth! I can't quite say that you convinced me, but at least I'm thinking about acrylics/latex now. Those are some good tips about the switches, outlets, etc. I guess that means I have to actually plan ahead and decide which walls!

I love oils, but I did figure that oil painting a mural would take a lot longer than if I used acrylics. But I've also always wanted to paint murals, so I may give the latex/acrylic method a try, since it seems this is the normal method for murals.

I'll have to rethink things. My view of wallpaint is thin runny pale stuff you roll on with a roller and it drips everywhere. I assume that the primary colors you painted from were nice vivid colors like artist paints?

If you didn't cover it in your hotel mural thread (I'm heading there next) can you tell me what you use for brushes and pallette? I have seen your murals in other threads and admire your work. It inspires me.

I use mostly sable brushes with oils so I like the smooth application of slightly thick paint as opposed to bristle and scumbling type application. How does the latex/acrylic go on?
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Old 10-22-2002, 10:31 PM
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Okay, let's see:

Palette - the top of one of those 10-gallon plastic drums, or an assortment of pie plates or plastic picnic plates, the ones with sections are nice.

2" and 3" Brushes - those $2 el-cheapo ones with blue handles and black bristles. I use those until they lose their shape, but even then they're great for making textures and foliage. If it gets down to where I need a smaller brush for details, I use a 1" el-cheapo. For really fine details, a 1" nylon artist's brush.

Paint - as I said, use a good quality. I've had good results with the Sherwin-Williams satin SuperPaint. It's very thick. You can pour it, but I have some that can be scooped out with a spoon. I had the primary colors mixed to my specifications, as close as I could get to pure colors. Most of their standard colors have white and/or black in them and you have to insist that they not use black. The red and blue have to use what they call a "deep" base, and they're more transparent than the lighter colors which use a white base.

If I'm going to have a large area of a particular color, say blue sky, I will have them mix a quart of that particular shade of blue, and then I can lighten it and add clouds as I go. It stays wet for a few minutes so you can do some blending. If you're a perfectionist, forget it. You gotta be loose. Scumbling is the way to go. (have you ever seen Sargent's paintings up close?) Acrylics can be applied the way you describe, but a wall gets awfully big after you start painting on it, and you will want to use the fastest, easiest way to get the effects you're after.

Now, it may be that you can paint over this with oils and make your perfect blends and shading if that's what you want. As I said, I haven't ever tried to do a mural with oil paints. I've used them as accents on one I did with oil base industrial enamel. But, peew, smelly solvents needed for clean-up!

The best thing you could do would be to get a piece of wallboard, prime it and paint it as if it were an ordinary wall, stand it up somewhere and paint on it. That will give you a better idea of the "feel" of it and the feel of the paints and the techniques.

Hope this helps!
R.
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Old 10-23-2002, 01:39 AM
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This may help you some. http://www.rexart.com/appmuralprep.html
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Old 10-26-2002, 02:33 PM
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Thanks, Olan. That's a good link and mentioned some other things I hadn't thought about.

It brings up a question. Apparently, acrylic paint is available in larger sizes, like the 500ml mamerei. What is the advantages of using Sherman Williams over Acrylic, or vice versa?

Thanks for the great info, Ruth. I'm going to give it a try. I'm going to try your idea of getting a piece of wallboard and trying some quick stuff on there to see how it works. But what's your opinion the my question above, acrylic vs. latex?

If I go with latex, how do you have them mix your colors? For instance, would I get the colors together that I'm going to use in a basic pallette, like raw sienna, cad yellow, etc, and have them match them? Then buy a quart of each?

I probably will paint the details with oil once I have a detailed 'underpainting' done with latex/acrylic. I hadn't thought about that. I have painted over several acrylic underpaintings before.
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Old 10-28-2002, 03:28 AM
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Once again, your best bet would be to try things out on a sample piece before attacking your actual wall. If you're going to do an underpainting to glaze over with oils, any color would do. It gets kind of expensive to buy lots of quarts of latex in every color you might use.

You could get two or three earth tones, light, medium and dark, for an underpainting. Or you could get a dark gray-green and white for a "grisaille" underpainting. I don't work this way, so don't have much advice in that category.

Or you could get three primary colors and white and mix them for a full color underpainting. Analyze your usual painting style and figure out the steps you use.

Or you could just go right in with your acrylics or oils in full color.
I have another mural thread on here somewhere that shows some step-by-step and closeups. I'll see if I can find it, it might help you see what I'm talking about.

Here it is:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...pagenu mber=1

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Old 09-05-2003, 07:39 AM
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Hi Randy

... Ruth it was nice to follow this thread, so many good informations.

I did some mural a 2 years ago and had no knowledge and experience. I wish I knew WC in those times. I had only some poor technological idea of classical fresco, which is too difficult, specialy for client who wants to have his mural as soon as possible and of course it should be for some people very expensive technique. Happily many friends helped me to research about technology.
Acrylic colors are really good choice. Please, I know oils are lovely colors, but it doesn't work on the wall. All the oils and mediums don't allow wall to breath, so it can crack soon. One my follow artist here who painted only with oils did it and it wasn't very good choice. Even technicaly. :-)
May be you will find something helpfull in the technology I used
I have used acrylic colors . Surface need to be well pripared, so if you have chance you have to speak with workers who will do it and may be add light layer with "mramor powder" (I dont know english name for that, but comonly it's used for pripering layers of fresco) Than I covered wall by papers and did all sketch directly on wall by natural coal, main lines perfored and put coal inside donts (so when I uncovered paper, I have dotted lines of main object) I left some parts of sketch, cut other and used that as mask, when I later took acrylic decorative sprays in cans and sprayed background as in airbrush. I remember I sadly bought one which wasn't mat but shinning and than area sprayed with that was too smooth. So it would be better to do some tests or just take big brush :-) and don't be a bit lazy like me. The rest of mural was painted by classical acrylic colors. I was mainly painting with watercolors or oils, so acrylic technique was a kind of challenge for me and it wasnt easy to work with that. Acryls always seemed to me a bit unfriendly medium, but for this it was only choice. I had to paint only during opening of Restaurant when they hired me and I couldn't imagine any other medium which would be so scentless, wall friendly and easy together, which I should easily use dancing between guests
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Old 10-15-2003, 04:06 PM
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I have a question?
I've heard about something called "Mural Board"
Does anyone know what it is? I asked at the local art supply store, but they just gave me a blank stare....

I'm wondering also--can you do a mural on pre-primed canvas and then attach it as though it was wallpaper? It seems to me that if I'm going to spend enough time painting a mural, I should make it so that it can be moved if needed in the future?
or do you think that's a bad idea?

I, too am more of a fan of oils than acrylics. I'm thinking that if it was painted on a canvas and then attached to the wall somehow, it would solve the problem? or am I way off base?
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Old 10-17-2003, 03:16 PM
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Hi Pink,

I have not heard of mural board. I have heard of a special grade plywood that can be used for outdoor murals, but not suitable for interiors. You can certainly paint murals on canvas, I am working on one right now infact. They way you go about it depends on the size. I am painting a trompe l'oeil stone archway, about 4x6ft, that will be contour cut and sealed when finished, then installed to the wall with heavy wallpaper paste. If you want to paint a full size mural on canvas there is a lot more invovled. You can staple plastic to your working wall, then your canvas over that and paint it. Installing it is another ballgame, getting it level, pushing out bubbles, and trimming the edges(sometimes they are covered with molding). Then the real kicker is that there is no garauntee that you will be able to get it down when you want to move it. There is a good chance you could damage the wall, even if the paste is strippable, but then it really all depends on the substrate. The biggest advantage to painting a mural on canvas is that it is less intrusive to the client, and you can paint when you want, in your pajamas at 2 am if you are so inclined! I use acrylics for all my murals. I have heard of others using oils with success for canvas murals though. Pre-primed canvas is fine, though I put another coat on to get it tight. There are some canvas distributors that cater to muralists who need 8ft+ widths. E-mail me if you need more info. Hope this helps!
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Old 10-28-2003, 04:26 PM
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Hi Randy...I have only a noe time experience with painting on brand new walls and using OILS.
I painted acrylic gesso (liquitex) that I applied with a roller over a wall that had been sheetrocked, skim coated and then painted with latex wall paint.

the gesso went right over the wall paint dried for several days... and the oil paint went on without a hitch!

It looks good and there was no separation from the wall at all.
I don't see a problem as long as all the coats (wall paint and gesso) are dried well between coats.
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:59 PM
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Thanks for the info on your experience, Joy! Sounds promising. Life has gotten in the way of my starting, but soon I hope to get to work on it and that sounds like a simple method to try. Painting on canvas and attaching it sounds interesting also. I would really like to avoid using acrylics if I can, but I'm not sure I'll be able to.

One good point is that if I get commissions for painting murals, the smell of the oils would definitely be a disadvantage, especially if it's a restaurant. The canvas idea would work well if the canvas can really be attached well to the wall. If I use this option, how would I find canvas big enough for a mural - say, 8x10 feet?

Everyone else had good information too. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and use acrylics. Decisions, decisions...
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Old 11-06-2003, 08:02 AM
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Hi Randy,
You can order mural canvas from art suppliers. You may have to go to the manufacturers or special-order from retailer. I can't remember now where I got mine, but I had mural canvas that was 12 x 60 feet, years ago when I was first starting out.

It wasn't primed. I put it on stretchers, I think the size of the mural was 10 x 20 feet. It felt like a sail, heavy and floppy, and I was scared to death. But I started rolling gesso on it, and it tightened up like a drum. Whew!

Ruth
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Old 11-08-2003, 02:26 PM
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The best price I have found on pre stretched gesso'd canvas is Dick Blicks. It was nice quality...I used it for floor cloths. I also found rolls of gesso'd canvas at Michael's craft store. They were about $70 and I think it was about 15' long, 6 ft wide (???).
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Old 11-09-2003, 11:45 PM
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Try www.IndianaCoatedFabrics.com, they have artist's chambric and polyflax canvas, and will customize to pretty much any size you need. If you're not sure what type you want, they can mail you some samples. Good Luck
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