One of the many
advantages of retiring early while we still have our youth and vigor is
being able to take on challenging projects. When we were working we had no
time for such playful undertakings. Here Akaisha displays her artistic
talents while spending one month with her sisters. Amazing!
For years, my
sister and brother-in-law told me of their dream to have a
whimsical mural painted on the back of their house. Since they
spend a good deal of time out in their gardens and in their hot
tub, a scenic mural would add to their entertainment. Usually I
was reminded of this mural-painting-dream about 3 or 4 days
before I would leave to go traveling again.
However, this time the subject was brought up about 3 or 4
days into the beginning of my visit. Since I had never done such
a large painting before, I gave it a good deal of thought -
about 45 seconds - before I committed to such a boastful
would this be?!
Plain back wall of the
house before project started
This is the
back wall of their home taken from one of their many gardens
before we started 'The Wall' project.
The idea was
to utilize all the miscellaneous cans of house paint inside
their storage shed, along with the voluminous items my sister
had collected for her art projects over the years. But... what
were we going to paint? What would the scene look like?
The back wall with the
beginnings of a fantasy seaside village
It took a
couple of days to get all the paint cans out from the different
storage sheds, opening them to test the colors and then get them organized in a
corner of the back patio. We went through every coffee table
book in the house and looked for pictures of mountain scenes,
and Mediterranean villages. We coordinated all the mosaic tiles,
seashells, glass bubbles, miscellaneous jewelry and any kinds of
glues and craft paints we could find.
drop cloths, ladders, paintbrushes and any containers we could
use to mix colors. I drew sketches on typing paper to get an
idea if our fantasy seaside village coincided in any way, and if
not, the sketch was altered. Even though none of us had ever
done anything like this before, I stressed that it was 'just
paint.' If we didn't like it, the worst thing that could happen
is that we'd have to paint over it.
That calmed us all down. Besides, when was the fun going to
Family members get
an ocean horizon line were drawn in chalk on the back wall and
filled in with paint. We made this a family project so my other
sister and brother-in-law came over to help on the weekend too.
The #1 'rule' was to have fun. I figured if everyone wore these
furry horns that I brought back from Thailand, we would be too
busy laughing to be distracted by minor conflicts like the
imperfection of our collective artistic talents...
music speakers on either side of the sliding glass door. My
brother-in-law had salsa, jazz, old Motown hits and classical
music going on the CD disc changer to keep us all motivated!
Akaisha with fuzzy devil
horns in her artistic element
completely in my element. Give me something with color - fabric,
paint, beads, buttons, crayons or paper - and some place to play
and I'm in heaven.
cloth in the back corner of the patio held dozens of old paint
cans, tin foil mixing palettes, can openers, hammers, mosaic
tiles, and fractured teacups. Basically, a world of
possibilities! No wonder I'm smiling! The furry horns helped
My sister and her daughter
painting details on the back wall
Here is my
sister and her pregnant daughter. Everyone wants to get
in on the fun!
transparent white circle to the left of my sister's head was a
'do-over'. We drew everything in chalk and if it didn't work, we
simply wiped it off. How easy could it get?
My niece in fuzzy devil
horns and her husband both painting on the back wall
smooch break. Gotta make time for what's important in life.
niece's husband came over after work and painted a turtle. He
was nervous about his talent, but
everyone 'had' to contribute something! My brother-in-law
drew the treasure
chest and it's just now taking form. Each person chose the colors they
wanted for the fish, snail or fantasy creature they painted.
free-flow, semi-directed creativity! Who knew what the end
product would look like?
The back of the house
after a week
the scene a little over a week later. The Sun/Moon
in the sky was a metal sculpture that was bought on a vacation
trip to the wine country.
reach the top of the house to paint these high places even with
a tall ladder and and an extension to our paint rollers!
(the dog) is taking a break from the chaos and the refrigerator
was moved out of the way while the creativity was taking place.
Hot tub is to the right of the photo.
Viewing the back of the
house from the Koi pond
another view of the fantasy seaside towns from the Koi pond and
another garden area of their home. The poles and wires that you see in the
photo are a prevention for the giant herons who fly in from the
nearby ocean and eat the Koi in their pond.
Fantasy sea side village
is taking shape
closer look as we near 'completion.' The metal boat sculpture
and the metal and stone tile fish add a distinctive 3 dimensional
effect to the mural. We have schools of fish, a treasure chest,
sea weed, a turtle, a sea snail, starfish, waves in the ocean,
villages nestled in between mountains and a hot air balloon!
Lace-made snow capped
mountains and rainbow
A closer look
at the other side of the mural shows a better view of
the Sun/Moon. More seaweed, a seahorse, fish kissing and making
a heart with their tails, sailboats on the far horizon, a mountain stream and a rainbow. The 'snow'
on the mountains was made with lace.
A closer look at lacy
snow, waterfall and rainbow
A zoom-in look
at the mountain waterfall, a rainbow over a village in the
waterfall mist and the
lace-snow capped mountains.
Treasure chest with real
gold leaf, colorful fish and sea ferns
The metal and
stone tile fish was a beautiful addition. The treasure chest had real gold
leaf to fill it up, along with miscellaneous charms, turquoise
glass balls, and mosaic chips.
Closer view of sea and
you a better view of the metal boats and lighthouse sculpture,
school of fish, turtle, and hot air balloon. The bubbles that
the fish are 'blowing' are little glass pebbles. I could have
gone on and on with miscellaneous fantasy detail, and if I had
another week, I would have!
this is a fictional scene, so size and perspective was a minor
Three sisters with fuzzy
devil horns stand in front of fantasy seaside village mural
weeks later. Still glueing items onto the wall, held in place by
blue tape while they dry in the moist morning fog. Miscellaneous garden decorations in front of the wall
to complete the 3 dimensional effect.
A real group
Starfish, sea fern and our
signatures. Everyone who contributed signed their names or
initial. Gold leaf on the sand along with turquoise stones,
river rocks, shells and glass pebbles.
Overflowing treasure chest
The treasure chest with gold leaf and miscellaneous shells,
stones, charms, chains and glass pebbles.
Three dimensional project
ended way too soon, so after I left, the finishing touches of
clouds in the sky and more garden ornaments polished off the
The full view of the back
wall, fantasy seaside village
Here you see
the 'finished project' ... until next visit!
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