Outdoor Living Mural Painting by Terry Klaaren
May 24, 2017
Let me introduce myself, I am Terry Klaaren, a mural artist and Plein air painter based in Florida and I enjoy creating amazing scenes for the enjoyment of all ages. I'm nearing the end of a great painting season in Florida. I always try to line up my exterior murals for the winter season due to low humidity levels, little rain, nice temperatures, and an active atmosphere all around with tourists and visitors arriving for fun and sun.
This year I've been using DecoArt's new Americana Decor Outdoor Living acrylic. The rich colors and durable formula makes it perfect for the kind of weather and surfaces I encounter in Florida. The 8oz. jars make it easy to dip my brush directly in and are easier to handle when on a ladder. It goes on thick, which is great for rough walls, and can be thinned to cover over base paint while holding color. Glass, metal and plastic are covered with ease. I use small rollers a lot and this paint works well for texture techniques and illustration. The colors line includes a true red and blue for accurate mixing, a natural sap green color for true foliage, and four metallics.
SHORELINE WALL PROJECT
I was faced with a complicated mural restoration project this past November. A 7 ft. concrete block wall stretched 250ft. to the shoreline of Tampa Bay was in need of a serious rejuvenation. The wall under the aged mural had deteriorated badly from humid summers, heavy rains, and various molds and mildew that had done a number on the paint. The previous artists had used spray equipment to apply a long running collage of colorful icons relating to Tampa along the entire length of the wall and my task was to retain as much of the original design as possible.
Before starting the prep part of my task, I photographed the original for reference. I was glad I did because most of the paint flaked away when I pressure-washed the wall and left large areas of exposed, blank wall. This time, I wanted to ensure the design lasted longer so I chose Americana Decor Outdoor Living for its thick, heavily-pigmented, fast-drying formula.
After applying a stain blocking, anti-mildew sealer, I mixed up a base paint of exterior white tinted with raw pigment and rolled on thick coats of base color. Using the photos as reference, I began to recreate the original mural using small rollers and brushes. The wall surface included many areas that were rough, cracked and pitted, so working the paint into these areas was necessary. The Americana Decor Outdoor Living paint is a thick consistency making it easy to work into the rough places. For deeper cracks, I added it to a thickening medium to achieve a caulk-like consistency. The paint covered the base coat well and I was able to thin it out for blending without losing the vibrant color.
The 8 ounce jars were a convenient size and the wide-mouth made it easy to dip my brush or scoop out some for my roller tray. Throughout the course of this project, I changed the viscosity of my paint many times and the Outdoor Living transitions from thick to a glaze with ease.
The essential colors are true and blend into solid secondary and tertiary colors making mixing quite simple. There is even a near sap green (Lily Pad) that makes believable foliage tones right out of the jar.
Whenever I came across a bit of plastic, metal or glass on the wall, the all-surface capabilities made priming unnecessary.
The whole project couldn't have gone better. The weather was beautiful, I was in a gorgeous park full of happy people doing what I love. It took the better part of a month, working weekdays for 4-6 hours at a time. I received constant compliments about the colorful improvements being made. I was actually sorry to see this job end.
If you're ever in Tampa, drop by Ballast Point Park on Jules Verne Drive for a look at this wall. Fun fact: in Jules Verne's book, "From the Earth to the Moon", the rocket ship launched from this spot.
STORM DRAIN PROJECT
With a grant from Thrivent and help from DecoArt, I worked with the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful organization on a project to discourage tossing garbage into storm drain receptacles. We chose a site in a neighborhood and then the local school provided us with some young artists to beautify the storm drains and remind people that these drains run into the bay.
We used DecoArt's Americana Outdoor Living acrylic. It was the ideal paint to use since we had to paint directly on the sidewalk and the work was being done by kids. The non-toxic, easy-to-clean paint formula took all the worry out of the kids using it. It's thick consistency gives young artists better control on rough surfaces and it dries fast and has true bright colors.