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Lesson Plans

Wall Mural Questions

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sandra Hildreth (shildret)
Wed, 01 Jul 1998 15:24:12 -0400

I'm no expert, but a group of my students and I participated in a
contest to paint a mural on a wall at a shopping mall. It was probably
about 12 feet high by 20 feet long. We were only going to have one full
day to paint it (a school day), so we did all our planning ahead of
time. First a sketch combining our ideas. Then we figured out how large
each of the main subjects would have to be in order to look good on the
wall. We were doing a farm scene, so had a farmhouse, barn, tractor, and
cow to do, that we would then fit into a background based on photos of
local places. We wanted the cow to be life-size, so a couple of students
worked on that part, using a grid on a photo of a cow and then
enlarging that onto a large piece of white paper. Other students did the
same with each of the other main components, which would be smaller in
size because they were supposed to look like they were in the
background. We also planned our colors in advance, doing sample color
sketches on xeroxes of the main sketch. Once we got to the mall, we used
Michelangelo's technique to transfer our sketches to the primed wall.
There's probably a name for this, but it escapes me. We used a small
nail to punch holes along the main contour lines of each of our drawings
(the cow, the barn, the house, etc.). Then we taped the punched drawing
to the blank wall in the appropriate place and colored over the punched
lines with soft charcoal or chalk. When the paper was removed, there was
a dotted line drawing of our subject. Each group of students worked on
their own part of the overall design. I helped sketch in the landscape,
but then stepped back and more or less just directed the students. Being
on a very limited budget, we used latex house paints for the main colors
- areas of large, solid color. We brought along acrylic paints and used
them for detail work - like trim on the house and the wildflowers and
birds we painted in the foreground of the mural. If anyone is the least
bit interested in seeing this, it's on the internet at Please note, it is at the
very bottom of the page. The mural is still there, 3 years old now.
Sandra Hildreth
C.L.A.S.S. (Cultural Literacy through Art & Social Studies)
Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617