I settled on acrylic paint for the puppy mural. I primarily used Golden fluid acrylic paints with some Daniel Smith tube acrylics. I love Daniel Smith’s “Moonglow” for shading, but unfortunately, Daniel Smith no longer makes acrylic paints. I contacted Golden (their tech support is OUTSTANDING) regarding wall prep and how to coat the final mural.
Wall prep is simple: make certain it is clean and free of residue. I will discuss final coating in another post.
With any project that I am not confident about, getting started is the most difficult part. My lack of confidence for this mural stemmed from the fact that I am not an acrylic painter. I sometimes use acrylics in mixed media projects, but not as my primary medium. I also struggle with color palettes. The previous post explained how I finally jumped into this project. This post explains the process that I used to move myself from sketches to painting.
As I mentioned in the previous post, art is all about showing up and doing the work; it is like any other job. I procrastinated by planning. I painted coat canvas boards with the actual wall color paint. I used an assortment of sizes at first and settled on 16" x 20", the largest canvas I could buy from AC Moore. This size was closest to the actual size of the pups. I also played with a variety of palettes to determine the colors I would use.
The practice canvases were done to test these palettes for each dog. I took the canvases on site to see if the color palette worked. The colors needed to work in both natural and artificial lighting. I also checked how the color worked at various times of day. Black dogs are very difficult and I needed to adjust the value and shading so they didn’t look like big black blobs on the wall.
As with the layout procedure, this was an iterative process. I flew a lot by the seat of my pants. Painting the test canvases was time consuming and often they were not finished prior to painting the walls. I would alter the palette on site. This worked well for me. The test canvases were very valuable. I found that some of my color choices simply did not work on site. Since most of the pups were done in “groups” I found my initial colors didn’t work together. I discovered that in my “studio” and made the necessary adjustments. This was an incredible learning process.