Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Out of the woods - a nursery mural for woodland friends and baby McClure

New Portland residents and blushing parents-to-be, the McClures and I sat down to talk murals.  They wanted their daughter, due in October, to be welcomed into her nursery by friendly animals and flora from their new stomping ground, the Pacific Northwest.  Our collaborative thoughts of mountains, trees and evergreen forests were enhanced by the idea of a flowering Cherry tree, an iconic Portland beauty.

A Kwanzan Cherry Tree beginning to blossom.

 Kwanza Cherry trees are radiant clouds of pink early in the spring and the McClures thought its splendor would be the perfect centerpiece for the mural.  Having an interest in the mural featuring watercolor-like imagery, we discussed the works of Beatrix Potter and I turned them onto a favorite illustrator of mine, Barbara Firth.  Her look was less whimsical than Potter's yet her terrific use of color, texture and pencil outline  was perfect inspiration, in my mind, for the baby's nursery.  The McClure's agreed.

I rendered several loose mockups to convey the idea of a blooming cherry tree mixed with Northwest flora and fauna.  The mural was to be executed in a similar styling to Firth's illustrations, with big washes of color, a framing composition and visible pencil outlines.  Short of my locating a gigantic pencil to render with, I chose to outline the mural in gray tone glazes to simulate the sketch of pencil lines.

A little bird will peer down at the crib.

The completed tree mural.

A friendly squirrel runs across the branch
to see what the baby will be up to.

The McClure's beautiful foursquare bungalow
frames the mural well.

I have to duck into the pictures now and then.

One of the best things about creating a mural, is that it becomes part of the family.  The proud parents and their new little one will enjoy this room for many years to come.  Its imagery will be engrained in their child's loving memory, a gift from me to her.

 Welcome baby McClure, your new painted friends are waiting your arrival.  Congratulations McClures and thank for for bringing me in on your special project!  


  1. Wow! I love this mural! This is Casey, a fellow artist, stopping by from Kidspired Creations I love your work!

    1. I am loving the chalkboard plack! So many places it could go in my house! M. kids wall decals