Watercolor Wall Mural: a video tutorial

Enchanted Forest, Sophisticated Whimsy. That is the theme, if you can call it a theme, for our Lilly Kate's nursery.
With the advent of pinterest there is really no want for inspiration in my life. And as a very indecisive person, it is very hard for me to settle on one design idea, theme, or direction. So I have given myself free reign to put whatever I love in Lilly Kate's room, no holds barred. I am having so much fun decorating our little girl's nursery and this project is no exception.  Shout out to my cousin Terra Kerley, an amazingly talented interior designer here in Jacksonville, FL, as her work was the inspiration for this project. I saw a similar installation at one of her client's homes in a little girl's room and fell in love! There were little watercolor vignettes of woodland animals throughout the room. So precious.

I love watercolor paintings. There is something so sophisticated and ethereal about the layering of translucent color. And used as a wall mural, I think it adds just the touch of whimsy our little nursery needed.

Watercolor Wall Mural. Easier said than done. Think about it: water + paint + vertical surface = big drippy mess, or as my two year old son would say, 'eww'. Yes, little Matthew, so much eww. Which is why I decided to use acrylic paint and glazing medium instead of actual watercolor paints. This gives a similar watercolor effect with a lot less eww. Because, let's face it, as a mom of a chocolate-milk-spilling, poopy-diaper-filling toddler, I've got all the eww I need in my life right now. Okay, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you along if you ever decide to take on a "watercolor" wall mural yourself!

To complete this project, I used an overhead projector, sticky tac, acrylic paints, acrylic glazing medium, a variety of fine art acrylic paint brushes, and a little thing I call perseverance. I printed watercolor pictures I found online, and projected them onto the wall. I used the sticky tac to cover up the negative space (the white areas) in the picture. Then I outlined the wall projection with a little acrylic paint, thinned with the glazing medium. Once the entire picture was outlined, I turned off the projector and, using my original picture as a guide, I began filling in the rest of the picture on the wall.
The blue area in this picture is where the sticky tac has been applied. I added thin layers of paint in a somewhat haphazard manner to give the painting a layered, imperfect feel.

This is the result after layers and layers of paint and removing the sticky tac.

I am absolutely in love with my little bambina! But, all by her lonesome self, she looked a little, well, lonely...so I added some flowers and a little feathered friend to keep her company. For a more in-depth tutorial, check out the videos below.

Outlining with Sticky Tac
Mixing Paint & Glazing Medium
First Wash
Adding Dimension
Removing Sticky Tac
Adding Detail
Mixing Paint for Leaves
Mistakes and Finishing Touches

This was my inspiration for the little birdie. Ain't she cute!?

I projected the bird on the wall and used sticky tac to outline her body and separate the blue and yellow areas.
I did a light wash with the blue and yellow paint mixed with quite a bit of glazing medium.

Then I added more saturated color using small brush strokes, pressing into the wall to give an impression of feathers. It is important to wait for each layer to dry before adding more paint, or you will simply lift off the paint you have already applied. So, while I waited, I worked on the branches and leaves, free-handing and erasing with a damp cloth when I got it wrong...which was more times than I would like to admit.

Finally, I removed the sticky tac and added little details like the beak, the eye, fluffy little feathers, and teeny tiny bird legs.
I am really quite happy with how the project is turning out so far. It was intimidating at first, but once I got started, it was really fun! This is just one little vignette. I have a couple more to complete, so be sure to check them out when I post the nursery reveal soon!