Welcome to my blog! My world of flying bunnies, illustration and contemporary fine art

Welcome to my blog! My world of flying bunnies,  illustration and contemporary fine art
Exploring Fine Art and Illustration while bunnies romp and fly

Monday, July 21, 2014

Creating a Butterfly Mural for a California Home

Monarch Migration
acrylic on canvas 48 x 72"
detail of the Butterfly Mural

I just got  back from completing a 75 square foot mural for a private  home in San Raphael, California. It was hot work but very gratifying. My intent in creating the butterfly mural was to extend the garden space  and expand the feeling of sky while bringing more vibrant  color to the enclosed garden space. It's a dialogue between art and setting, as now the garden is being redesigned with the mural's color palette in mind. Susan Amanda who commissioned the  mural told me that  it makes her happy to wake up and  look out her kitchen window each morning to view the mural. Since my other goal was to create a painting that would bring a feeling of joy and happiness to the owner for years to come, I consider the project a success.The butterfly images relate to my Monarch Migration series which call attention to the environmental challenges facing the monarch butterflies. My most recent piece Monarch Migration Flight seeks to give the viewer the feeling of being surrounded by the  flock of butterflies.  www.andreaklawson.com/gallery

The images in the mural  vary from large close up butterflies  to abstractions creating a sense of movement and space. After extensive research about monarchs, I definitely took artistic license in their execution to create interesting designs and color variations. Another challenging aspect of the project was that the mural was to be painted onto four doors.  Because of the doors, the surface was not flat.  I chose to deal with the space as one  and to incorporate some of the hinge shapes into the butterflies.
I thought it would be fun to share the process of creating Butterfly Mural:
One of the most time consuming  parts of the process was the surface cleaning and preparation.

 During the heat wave,  I had to work in the early morning before it got too hot!

I used Golden acrylic paint with GAC 200,  goldenpaints.com and did a lot of research to make the painting archival for outdoors. I selected the most color fast  pigments which included many earth tones but also lots of bright oranges and blues, for instance,  Phalo blue for the sky. First, I painted the entire   surface shades of sky blue. Each color had to be painted in two coats to make it color fast.The idea is that in the face of sunlight two coats are better than one!
 Next I created a grid to  translate my small painting design to full scale.
Luckily, my brother Jeremy dropped by to help me with the chalk line and level! He sneakily let me climb up and down the ladder multiple times before realizing that he was tall enough!

Me and Jeremy making a grid

 Drawing the design and honing it to go with the actual wall/door area.

Outdoor painting table

Detail of Completed mural with the Artist
(before final msa varnish to protect the  mural from weather and UVA)
This was an exciting project and I'd love to do more. Please contact me if you would like to commission a  mural or painting for your home or garden.


  1. Wowy, Andrea! What a wonderful transformation of those doors. Your butterflies are such fabulous fluttery flamboyant and festive fellows and gals (or whatever they are). Love the pic of you flying away with the fancy fliers. Great mural!

  2. I love the monarch series and think that this latest entry is magnificent. Well done!

    1. This is Patti, by the way. I couldn't figure out how to add my name...

  3. Thanks Patti, glad to know you aren't a blog ghost or anything. that's weird about the name. it asks to comment as: then you choose your account but maybe you have to sign up on an account like google or wordpress etc.Hmm we'll have to get to the bottom of this!

  4. Sometimes it says "choose an identity". I just tested it on another friend's blog.

  5. Just love this latest creation of yours. Very nice, Andrea.

  6. Thanks! Hope your textiles are going well!