My friend Marceline recently asked whether I'd ever blogged about my Mount Fuji mural. I answered that I was sure it would be back in my blog archives somewhere - then I had a look myself and realised that I had painted my mural almost a year before starting the blog! And I didn't join Flickr until the year after that, so it wasn't there either! At least I had the good sense to paint the date on the mural, so I could actually remember when it was painted!
In 2006, I had been living in my house for about 8 years. The wall at one end of the brick shed had been painted white by the previous owners of the house, and I found it really annoying to have to re-paint it every couple of years when it started looking grubby. So I came up with the bold idea to paint a mural, which I hoped would not look so obviously dirty after a couple of years. I had thought that it would maybe last for 5 years, but 9 years later it is still looking amazing, with only a few areas that need touched up.
Unfortunately there are no step-by-step photos of my mural - at the time I had no idea that I might want these sometime in the future for an un-dreamed-of blog! But the great thing is that I do still have the inital sketches and one of the inspiration pictures.
Here's one of my initial ideas. I knew that I wanted to have Mount Fuji, so I did this little watercolour as a first idea.
I wasn't entirely happy with the watercolour, so I searched online for woodblock prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai. I found this one by Hokusai, called The Inume Pass in Kai Province, which was just what I was looking for.
I did a small pencil sketch, taking my favourite part of the image and modifying it to fit the shape of the wall.
After giving the wall a fresh coat of white exterior masonry paint, I was ready to start. I think I drew the outline in pencil first, before starting to paint. As well as the white masonry paint, I used normal acrylic paints. Some of these I mixed with the white paint, and some I used straight out of the pot/tube. Some of the paints were Golden brand, but others were just cheap basic acrylic paints. There doesn't seem to be any difference in how the different paints have aged.
I have various acer trees in pots in the little seating area beside the mural, and I love how they look with the mural.
When I had my porch replaced last year, I had plain glass put in rather than the privacy glass that was there before, and was very moved when I realised that I could properly see my garden and mural from inside the porch!
Also last year, I painted the door and window frame a lovely teal colour, which ties in well with the mural, and this year I had the old corrugated asbestos roof (which leaked badly) removed and replaced, and I painted round the trim with the teal colour.
The mural makes a wonderful background for many of the self-portraits that I take in the garden. And it was also a fantastic setting for my Totoro snowmen!
I hope you've liked hearing about my mural. It was really fun revisiting an old project like this, and while looking for the drawings I found an abandoned comic drawing project that I hope to pick up again now, which will be interesting. I hope this post will give you the courage to try painting a mural of your own - it's one of the best home improvement projects I have ever done!