Contemporary Mural DIY

Hola Brujas, 

It’s been a while since my last blog post. Sometimes I get anxious about posting and it makes me neglect it even more. Especially now with all that’s happening in the world and the election looming (tomorrow!) anxiety has been high!

Self consistency is something I’ve always struggled with. Maybe it’s the Sagittarius in me. I get excited by an idea. I have the plans all laid out, the whole thing ready to go and then somewhere along the way I feel myself shrinking back. I look at my work and compare myself and my progress to others and then I shut down. 

As an employee, I always get the job done. I’ll be there on time and I make sure I always do my best. But when it comes to my own personal endeavors, that voice in the back of my head starts shouting loud and clear. 

This is dumb. Who do you think you are? You’re not an artist, you’re not a good enough writer. Just stop now while you still can.

It’s an ugly voice and a persistent one. Oftentimes it prevents me from creating and taking action. And I watch the days and weeks pass by without writing or making a thing. Even when I know I should and can.

I’m working on it, and whenever I do push that noise aside and get stuff done— I feel amazing. Energized for more and excited for what comes next. 

It’s expectations. My own expectations, that get in my way. 

Do I NEED to put up a whole new video every week in order to post on my blog? Absolutely not! 

Do I need to be branding and throwing myself into social media marketing all day? Nope. 

That’s all in my own messy head.

It’s so easy to focus on what I’m not doing when in reality I’ve done so much, especially during and despite quarantine. 

From March until October I’ve learned a lot. 

I learned WordPress (which was MUCHO) and created a blog. 

I taught myself to embroider and actually sell my work fairly consistently. 

I’ve been learning Procreate digital design and video editing.

I moved to a new city I have no ties to.

I’ve decorated and painted my entire apartment and made some awesome DIY work. 

That’s a lot. And it’s what I Should focus on.

I’ve had a few projects I’ve been working on. Some are finished. Some are a work in progress. So I told that ratchet gremlin to zip it 🤐 and just write the next blog post. Just put it up. 

Recently I painted a mural in my bathroom. A fun project that I had been meaning to do for a while.

The bathroom in my new apartment is the biggest I’ve ever had, so thank you Philly. What passes for a bathroom in New York City is usually a box with (hopefully) running water. So having a bathroom as big as this one was super exciting and really lux for me. It’s almost perfect.

I say almost because the bathroom is lacking a window, which is a big bummer for me. 

I’ve never had a bathroom that doesn’t get at least some natural light. Without a window it sometimes can feel like stepping into a void instead of the peaceful oasis I need it to be. 

I had been pondering ways to brighten the room and give it a sense of openness that the rest of the apartment has.

 While on my daily scrolling I came across this instagram account called @Maus_House. The artist creates these beautiful and colorful landscape pieces that are a little modern and little abstract. I couldn’t stop looking at them. You kind of lose yourself in thought, imagining yourself wandering those colorful mountain landscapes. 

 I thought to myself, this is exactly what this bathroom needs. A little mental escape, albeit abstractly. 

I was on a mission to now paint a “window” mural. 

I knew I wanted to paint the landscape scene in an arch. I’ve been seeing lots of arched color block painting all over Pinterest and Insta and really loved the dimension they create in a space. 

Here’s How to make your own mural:

-A landscape design of your choice. 

-A ruler

-Pencil and piece of string or twine about a foot long

-Painters tape 

-A few small artist’s paint brushes

-Small paint rollers 

-Paint tray, & drop cloth

-A set of paint samples in the colors of your choice.

*I used Behr paints in matte for everything. I know, you’re not supposed to use matte paints in a bathroom, but I really really don’t like paint with any sort of gloss so I made a personal choice here. Behr also has an anti mildew version of their matte paints and that’s what I went with. 

Here are the exact colors I used:

For the landscape I used-

Moroccan Sky, Moroccan Spice, Tsunami, Malted (Pink) and a little leftover Yellow from my living room walls for the sun called Little Sundress. For the arch I used Cascade Beige. 

And for the wall color itself I used a light gray color with a blue tint to it. Unfortunately I forgot to write down the color name and tossed the can so I don’t have that info for you (dumb I know, sorry).

All of the Paint samples ran me about $5.00 each. I also had a two of them from previous projects.

Total Cost Including painters tape this mural was around $50 on the higher scale including what I needed to paint the bathroom walls.

How I did it:

My first step was to clean the bathroom thoroughly. This is kind of a key component of painting anything. Make sure your walls are as clean and dry as they can be before you get started. No one wants dust bunnies painted onto your walls. 

No one. 

Then I had to give the walls a base color and say goodbye to the white (finally). 

After masking off the walls I got to it and painted the gray. The room got fairly warm after a while so I ended up popping my shirt off and that’s how I filmed my video tutorial. So there’s a little shitless action for ya. Take that mommy bloggers! 

Once the walls were dry, it was time to get that arch painted. 

This was fairly easy but did require some ingenuity.

I figured out where I wanted the arch to go and roughly how big I wanted it to be. 

From the ceiling, I used my ruler to determine the top center point of the arch and marked it with a pencil. 

I grabbed that piece of string and attached it to the tip end of my pencil to create a compass. 

Following the center marking point I went about 8 inches down and held the tail end of the string down extending the string taut. I played with how wide I wanted the arch to be before putting the pencil to the wall. Once I was satisfied with the width I drew a half circle on the wall for the top of my arch. This is better explained visually so definitely watch the video if these instructions don’t make any sense to you.

From the two sides of the half circle I used the ruler’s straightedge to draw the sides and bottom half of the arch. 

Now I had the penciled outline of my arch. 

I would go ahead and use your painters tape to line up the straight edged sides before you begin painting. 

Unfortunately the only way to paint the rounded area of the arch itself is to go at it very slowly with a small paint brush so that’s what I did. This part probably took the longest but it was well worth it. My advice is to not rush, make sure you have a straight edged paint brush and try your hardest to paint within the lines. Good luck! 

Once the outline was painted I took my small roller and filled in the entire space giving it two coats in Cascade Beige. The Behr paint is great for this because you don’t need to prime the area first since the primer is already mixed into the paints. 

Once I had painted two coats and I had let the wall dry it was time to draw the landscape scene. 

I started in pencil and noted that the roll of painters tape I had was just the right size I wanted for the sun, so I used the roll as a stencil to make a perfect circle.

The rest was done freehand. Mountain scapes are nice because there’s no exact science to drawing them. Just let your hand guide you and don’t worry too much about it looking perfect. 

Once I had the landscape drawn out it was painting time. This definitely took me a while to do since it required me to slowly outline each formation with a small paint brush and then fill in the areas with a small roller and flat brush. 

I had some odd drying issues with the pink. I’m not sure why but it got a little rough looking. I think perhaps my paint sample was drying out but I went with it anyway. 

I ended up giving the whole mural two coats letting it dry in between each paint. 

Once it was done I pulled back my painters tape and marveled at my work. 

It turned out so much better than I expected! 

The landscape scene had the depth that I was looking for and it definitely feels like you’re looking out into some other worldly space. 

This plant is purely for staging, I wouldn’t let it die in a windowless room. Promise

I still need to add some finishing styling touches to the bathroom for sure. I really wish I could put some plants in there but the lack of light is an issue. I did think up some remedies for this which I might share in another post to come.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in ways to bring “plant life” into a windowless space and I’ll make a post about that.  

Hope you enjoyed this DIY! 

Stay strong out there and remember you’re awesome and doing all you can. Also don’t forget to VOTE! Tomorrow is our last chance to make a change! 

See you on the other side Brujas.

Thanks for reading. 

~Richie Wilde Lopez 

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