Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lions, Tigers, and a Bear of a Project!

My latest painting was a big one!  9' x 24' to be exact.  I painted a jungle/forest background for my little one's first grade play titled "Welcome to the Jungle."  I know what you are thinking.  At first, I was wondering who would get the role of Axl Rose but as it turned out, they used an entirely different "Welcome to the Jungle."  In spite of being a "bear of a project," I enjoyed every minute of it.  Painting for kids is the greatest honor.

I used approximately 10 cans of spray paint to create the background.  Since the kids were going to be dressed in warm colors such as monkey brown, giraffe gold, and lion bronze, I thought lots of cool blues and purples interspersed with sunrise colors would make the setting "pop."  2 heavy duty drop cloths from Home Depot served as the medium for this sizable project.  I cannot even begin to count the bottles of paint that went into the trees and assorted flora... let's just say I have a lot of bottles to recycle.

The biggest challenges involved space.  Ideally, I would have a huge wall with clamps for this type of project.  Alas, I do not.  I have a small table with clamps.  So, I did the best I could and took the canvas out after each painting session to get a true perspective of it in the driveway.

It took a few weeks to do this and the weather certainly did not help.  We had an unusual amount of snow for central Virginia, so it was often too wet to take the canvas out.  The play was also bumped back a couple of times because of all the snow days.  The music teacher in charge of this production has the patience of a saint, not to mention the energy of a hummingbird!

In the meantime, a handful of crafty, devoted moms were cutting felt, stitching lion manes, gluing feathers, and attaching monkey ears for dozens and dozens of little creatures.  The kids looked amazing and had no trouble getting into character with these adorable costumes.

Given the theme and the ages of the performers, the look I went for was kind of a "whimsical storybook edge-of-the-jungle" look.  The result was lots of very happy first graders who were proud to be "in the jungle!"  I would love to include a photo of the actual children dressed up for the play, but I have this weird thing about using children's images (other than my own) on my blog.  Trust me, it looks better with all the hippos, monkeys, and adorable faces in the foreground!

More images from the process...

painting the background on the first "dry" day


  1. That background is absolutely gorgeous! You have an enormous amount of dedication to your craft, and it shows in everything you do. Congratulations on accomplishing such a large project in very limited work space! What will the school do with your painting afterward? Would you consider selling various sizes of reprints? It really is beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Amanda! The school is keeping the backdrop to use for future plays and events. I know they will take good care of it and enjoy it for years to come. I was considering reprints to raise money for the school; however, getting a decent image of something that large was more of a challenge than I realized! I may eventually revisit that idea and see if the school is interested. Thanks again for visiting my blog, Amanda! :-)