Friday, 29 July 2016

Sanity Space - Heni's birthday mural (Part 2)

I'm so glad that you could join me this week for the second part of Heni's 21st birthday "surprise project". As you have probably guessed by now, it's an outside mural which is going to brighten up a dreary deck and be an area in which Heni can go explore some of her toys and sensory bits and pieces.
 Last week in part 1, I showed you how Hubby and I made the huge picture frame that was to become the canvas, and I  also gave you a sneak peak of the flamingo  below...

This week I am going to show you some of the various stages and changes to the project so that you can see how it progressed and took shape throughout the 7 afternoons that it took to complete! 

(Note: you have to keep scrolling to get to the final version!)

I haven't done very much "creative" painting before.... (I dabbled in a bit of water colour about 25 years ago and then had another go just recently) and I have never worked with acrylic, so I was grateful to have the help of a talented friend from aqua class who has had plenty of experience in painting, and (among her list of achievements) has completed a number of murals.

It all started with a number of pictures of birds that I liked the look of from Pinterest... I had pinned a collection of them to my board ...together with some colourful flowers and foliage. I had a general idea of what I wanted the mural to look like..... but until Teresa and I got together (and started arranging the pictures on the board in the places we thought they would look good) we really didn't have a clue as to what it was going to turn out like. The process was ever evolving and we repainted over the top of a number of things that we didn't like the look of.  Being able to do this instilled in me a confidence to just give it a go....because if I messed up I could always cover it up and start again. I thought this was rather liberating and so my concerns about ability evaporated and it ended up being a really fun process as we saw how everything morphed and emerged.  

Below is one of my birds that I eventually painted over!

I tended to work on most of the birds and the the cat and squirrel etc (with the exception of the cheeky parakeets huddled together on a branch - you can see them a little later on).... and Teresa did a fabulous job working on most of the vegetation. 
Below are the various elements that make up the composition:-

I love the colours of the two kingfishers at the beginning of the post( and below).... together with the dragonfly and the beginnings of some lavender that I had an attempt at!
Here they are sitting amid the grasses being watched by the cat!

 In the next picture you can see the Humming bird... I think that this one is probably my best bird...
It's not exactly the same colours as the picture I was copying it from, but I feel like it fits in to the painting nicely and I am really pleased with it. You can also see the beginnings of the foxgloves and a tiny bit of "attempt number one" at a Peacock on the far right.

 Here is the cheeky squirrel who will later be hiding away in the vegetation....

 ....and In this picture you can see some of the flowers that we put at the bottom... but then had second thoughts about and removed them. Teresa worked on the wisteria vines, foxgloves and hollyhocks  and I worked on the background hedge. 

 In this next pic you can see the beginnings of the parrot and the little robin.... sitting among the wisteria flowers that are hanging down....

.... and the finished parrot, with more of the vine, wisteria and hedge hiding the pretty parakeets I mentioned earlier! The peacock head is looking good at this stage but we were still unhappy with the tail and had a number of attempts to try to get something that we liked better.

Here's is attempt number 1 at the peacock tail....

...which was painted over and covered up by tail attempt number 2....which we disliked even more!

...and then followed by an attempt at a different looking peacock ......attempt number 3!
Here it is surrounded by a clematis and sitting beneath a red admiral (clematis later removed)

In the end we both grew to dislike the idea of a peacock and (after one very frustrating afternoons efforts) I decided to paint over it with the dark green hedge.
Below you can see it half obliterated... and you can also see the mirror (with shutters) that we screwed on to the frame so Heni can sit and admire herself!

 ... and he has gone! (You may have also noticed that we took out the white daisies and a few more of the flowers at the bottom too).

For a while we was left wondering how to fill the space after the peacock's demise but
I found a  picture of a dove in flight that we both really loved and I had a go at replicating him in the middle of the hedge.

The branch was then left looking a bit redundant so I painted over that too! 

Unfortunately, for a lot of the project we were either boiling in the sun or being rained on, so we put up a temporary tarpaulin to cover us, protect the mural and allow us to work on even the wettest days.
You can see the blue tarp above... together with a bunch of towels we arranged on the top of the frame to stop all the drips of water running down the paint.

 quite a few times the canopy blew off and ripped...

... and added some interesting diversions to the painting as we tried to tie it all back up again!

Here are some close ups of some of the finished areas....

....and now for the macro view of the finished version...

I just love the colour and the feel of depth that the picture gives... but more importantly
the birthday girl is now enjoying it too...

In Part 3 I will be showing you some of the content of the activity bags that I've put together for her to use whilst in her new area and some more pictures of Heni enjoying her outdoor space. At some point, I also want to make the mural three dimensional.... with some branches coming out of the picture to hang some toys from... but I think that will  have to wait for now!

I had so much fun doing the project with Teresa and want to give her a special thank you.... as I know that the mural would look very different if I had been left to my own devises (and not for the better!)
I just love all the flowers and vegetation... particularly the foxgloves, hollyhocks, hanging vines, wisteria..... well all of it actually! I marvel at the way she was able to bring all the separate pieces of the picture together and make them become one.

I've learned a bit more about painting these last few months too... and more about creativity, achievement and just having a go. Sometimes we can be guilty of stopping ourselves from starting things because of fear of failure and fear of messing up and getting it wrong... but one thing that this project has taught me is that you can always paint your way out of your mistakes,  start a fresh....and eventually create the picture that you want. 

I Hope that you have enjoyed all the photos in this weeks post... if you have, why not come visit Henibean's Facebook page and let me know which of all the varying parts is your favourite?
.... or let me know below by leaving a comment. 

....Until part 3



  1. LOVE THEM! visiting from Crystal's.

  2. This is stunning Jade! That may be the coolest birthday present ever! As someone who is a lover of art and all things beautiful..I love this! Thank you for sharing your gift; it is amazing. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and may God richly bless you and yours in all your endeavors!

    1. Thank you Horace. I'm really glad you like it. It's always difficult to think up something Heni will be able to use and enjoy and it's great that she can have another piece of the garden to explore now.

  3. This is so beautiful and inspiring. I love to be able to enjoy the talents of amazing artists. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    1. Do you like painting or being creative Jaime? It's very therapeutic!

  4. What a beautiful piece of art filled with love and creativity. It looks amazing, you must feel very satisfied to have it turn out so lovely.

    Bloggers Pit Stop - the home of great posts

    1. Yes I'm very pleased with the results. It went through quite a few changes but things always turn out right in the end X

  5. Hi! Visiting from SITS Girls. This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing with the world :)

    1. Thank you. I hope it inspires others to just have a go at doing something a little creative

  6. Your mural is amazing! What a beautiful gift that will continue to give JOY and happiness for years and years! Thank you for sharing the beauty with us!

    1. I need to find a varnish before winter that will protect it a little more. I'm hoping it will wear well in our rainy climate!

  7. Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party this week. Have a great week!

    1. Thank you. Hope you hVe a great week too x

  8. Wow! Absolutely beautiful! What a gift of love!!

    1. Thanks for stopping in Deb. Have a blessed week.

  9. Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing at Together on Tuesdays :)

  10. That is beautiful! I love it.

    1. It brightens my day when I look out my kitchen window too X

  11. Your final version is so lovely and if I were to visit, I would love to lay back and stare for hours at each bird, flower and all the beautiful colors. I loved the kitty so interested in all the birds. Thank you for sharing your wonderful project for Heni and her 21st birthday with us here at Tell me a Story.

    1. Thank you Hazel. I may well just take up your suggestion and put a sun lounger in front of it!


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