One Murals Process-Start to Finish

I was going through some older photos of my work and came across these series of pics of a mural in progress, undoubtedly done as an update report to a client. the operative word here is 'old', I see the shortcomings (hopefully I've improved:), and I'm really not crazy about some of the things the client wanted in the mural, but its their call, and with that said, the photos may be helpful to beginning muralists.
I make it no secret that I'm a big fan of using a projector whenever possible......and albeit the method then not quite perfected, so did the master artists of the past.
The stage for this mural was loosely sketched in free hand, the players (the animals) were drawn in using the projector. One of my favorite books I use as my source for animal subjects is simply called ANIMALS 1419 copyright-free illustrations of mammals, birds, fish, insects, etc. from 19th century sources. It was put together by Jim Harter, and I love it, and use it all the time.
I try to remember to work background to foreground, but I will confess, I'm not one for rules, and sometimes I jump from one area to another when I'm bored. Here though, I'm being pretty disciplined. I started with putting in the bit of sky that will show and added the background trees. You can see I attempt to give the appearance of depth with the lightening of the trees furthest away and the color becomes more intense as it gets closer.
I've started putting in some trees in the background and defining the foliage with highlights. I'm also starting to work on the water. Painting water is a big issue for some of us artists, me included, but in a case like this, where its completely surrounded by dense foliage all thats really needed to give the illusion of water is to mirror the foliage (and the wee bit of sky).
Don't make the mistake of automatically painting water blue. Painting water is about whats beneath it, and whats reflected in it.
Continuing to move to the foreground I've started to paint in some of the ground, and out of shear boredom of working with the green paint, I turn my attention to painting the deer. You can see I also added a bit more detail in the background foliage with the suggestion of tree trunks.
Coming in even further I've defined my water's edge added the lily pads and another plant and started working on the foreground trees.
Now filling in the foreground and starting to work on more of the detail work.....adding and defining leaves, bringing more color in with flowers etc.
And finally, detailing the grass and the trees, finishing all the critters adding a raccoon, and as requested adding even more flowers. Now I know you might be asking 'whats up with the palm trees', but this was in a Florida home, and Florida actually does have all the animals you see here (well, maybe not the blue birds?).
I know its hard sometimes, but keep in mind part of your job is to have a happy client at the end.....
..... and so they were :-)

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