MURALS: Rock-It Science



Rock-It Science office mural - full panorama
Rock-It Science office mural - full panorama

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The office manager wanted a 4-wall wraparound mural that recreated the feeling of the idyllic Elven paradise from "The Lord of the Rings," complete with waterfall and lots of sun. I instantly pictured standing under a canopy, looking out at the cliffs, trees and fantasy architecture on all sides. I also saw the 3-D "trompe l'oeil" quality that would lead the eye into the facing wall as one enters the front door.

One of the fun challenges was making this scene work within the structure of the room itself. There was a large window and door that took up most of the front wall, and on the right wall, the entrance into the main shop, where science lessons are taught.

I rough-sketched the arches first, then the railing and where it would recede into the scene ahead (far wall), having placed the angle of the sun. I blocked in the ends of the cliff ranges and drew the "birdcage" rotunda, where romantic moments might be enjoyed (left wall). Finally I defined the dimensions of the "veranda" to the right under the roof, through which one enters the workshop (right wall). Then I mixed a LOT of brown paint and filled in those cliffs!

The cliffs, descending foliage and waterfalls took a bit of time, because I kept building up the layer tones, and inserted them wherever they looked needed. Often, natural patterns followed the decidedly uneven texture of the walls-- not a painter's friend. The most time was spent probably on the buildings in the distance, particularly the blue one at the front left corner. Blocking in the nearest structural shapes (ahead view) was pretty easy. I couldn't wait to get to the railing and the ceiling!

First was all the foliage around the base of the landing, and some winding walkways/ bridges that stretch great distances. Then mixing up a big batch of the magenta/plum that covers the right wall and railing. The proprietor decided to remove the interior door from its frame, which allowed the whole painting to be seen and opened up the room completely.

Rock-It Science mural: left wall
Left wall upon entering (with part of front wall)

Rock-It Science mural: left wall
Left wall, different angle

Rock-It Science mural: ahead (main) view
Facing wall ahead, view from front door

Rock-It Science mural: right wall
Right wall & entrance to workshop

Rock-It Science mural: detail 1
Detail 1
Rock-It Science mural: detail 2
Detail 2
Rock-It Science mural: detail 3
Detail 3

The gold gilding around the doorway and window went on next. Needless to say, the railing was fun because of the many shadows that help sell the illusion, and the arched ceiling was satisfying because it finally completed the room!
Finally, a good amount of retouching, fill-in work and last-minute detailing before the Clear Coat sealed it all up. A full month's work, but the result is worth the oohs and ahs that come from students and parents alike!

All images 1990-2014 Larry Jakubecz. Pictures may be used in reviews and/or links back to this site, as long as they are approprately credited to me. All other uses require written permission from me. Please be sure to let me know where these are utilized, so that I may link back to you.