Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Storm Pirate Ship Mural by Mural Artist Nicole McClain

A red sky is sailor's sky, right? I wasn't even anticipating a red sky when I started this project, but red was my inspiring color of the day so it landed on the canvas. We don't see many red skies in Cleveland which is unfortunate, but the cotton candy colored sunsets in Cleveland can be pretty breathtaking. The pirate ship was drawn on canvas first with pencil and then outlined with ink to preserve the ship detail while the sunset was painted.

Pirate ship mural by Cleveland artist Nicole McClain

The waves under the pirate ship are given a blue wash to later be detailed with specific lines, whitecaps, and crashing against the ship. The waters behind the pirate ship were blended in as well with a hint of purple. The masts of the ship and pirate ship deck are also given some color.The red seemed a little harsh the following day, so I lightened it with some yellow acrylic paint (which turned a little too yellow and you will see I went back to a red sunset in the later pictures).

Pirate ship mural by Cleveland muralist Nicole McClain

The red sunset is emphasized again and the sunset is softened and blended together more thoroughly. The next step is to bring the masts, ropes, pirates, and base of the ship.

Storm ship mural painted by Cleveland artist Nicole McClain
Below the ship mural begins to really come together. Still a mural in progress but certainly moving along. I'm excited to see how the waves turn out and of course of all of fancy details (I love details).

Ship mural in progress from Cleveland painter Nicole McClain

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Steam Train Mural Completed by Cleveland Artist Nicole McClain

A few changes and additions were made to the steam train mural. The railroad cars in the middle were completed, more snow was added to the mountains, and the railroad ties and trees were more defined.

Steam train mural by Cleveland artist Nicole McClain

The trestles supporting the bridge were painted in and highlighted.

Vintage train mural by Cleveland muralist Nicole McClain

Fasteners for the train track to the railroad ties were added.

Train tracks of steam train mural by Nicole McClain

Per the client's request, a "72" was added to the front of the steam train as the company was founded in 1972. The grill of the train and curves of the steel on the front of the train were highlighted also.

Cleveland Ohio artist Nicole McClain's train mural

The bolts and cables that fasten the bridge to the rock cliff were emphasized.

Some lowlights were added to the steam of the train and the second steam spout now pipes out hot steam.

The only piece left is to 'sign' my name in the corner, prime it for protection, and deliver it with a smile to the client.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Steam Train Mural by Artist Nicole McClain

The canvas measures 48" x 40" done with acrylic paint. The client was looking for a "train through the mountains motif" featuring water, trees and all the colors of nature. The painting will be displayed in the front lobby of their office building upon completion.

Any mural I create begins with a pencil sketch directly on the canvas or wall where the mural is to be located. The next step is to begin painting in some of the background scenery such as the grass and trees shown below.

I outlined the mountains to be sure where I wanted them to reside before painting the sunset sky. Add a little blue for the lake and suddenly the painting quickly starts coming to life.

Detailing more of the mountains and hills of the grass is shown below.

One key to this mural is the depth of each piece including the trees, mountains, train and lake. I have filled in more of the water below and will later add more shading to show the reflection of the sunset in the water and to show the water in the foreground.

A base layer for the sunset sky is dropped in behind the mountains.

Shades of blue are added to the sunset to show the gradient of sunset to the nighttime sky above. White is also added to tone down the yellow for a more natural look.

Here the sunset is softened behind the mountains with hues of orange and the detail of the mountain range and train begins.

Mountains with a dusting of snow are added way off in the distance to give depth and additional character to the painting. The foreground rocks and railroad ties begin coming into focus with earth tones for a faded, rustic look.

The mountain lines are further defined to make each peak and valley "pop," as well as the water near the cliff's edge.

Refined details of the train are shown below keeping in mind the angle of each curve, line, and light reflection.

The cliff on the right side of mural is added with brush and rocks.

The train cars and mountain valley are painted to come out of the mountain once again keeping in mind each curve, line, and angle of the train.

The bridge, track and train wheels begin coming to life.

The grill of the train is added as well as the beginning of the train tracks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chinese Landscape Mural by Nicole McClain

This chinese landscape mural was inspired not only by my love for chinese culture but also to have a painting to "escape and walk into." Using a more horizontal canvas creates a wider angle and allows the imagination to travel across and through the painting.

Stay tuned for this work in progress to be completed.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Family Crest Mural by Nicole McClain

The canvas measures 18" x 24" done with acrylic paint. The details in this are nearly as complex as the panda mural because this painting represents a family code of arms dated back to the 1500's - each leaf, color, shape has a specific meaning to the family.

Finished Family Crest Mural (scroll, name, sword, details finished)

I was given a very rough black and white outline of what the final piece should look like and what colors should be used where.

It was not easy to decipher, but the soon to be owner of this piece was ecstatic with the results!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nicole McClain Found "Muralized" On the Wall

Was it muralized or mesmerized? The results of this mural were uncanny and everyone that passed was pointing saying, "I saw your mural on the wall. It looks just like you. Even down to the highlights, it's you." I would laugh, smile and say thank you.

I forgot to sign the wall while I was there, but no worries Mitch, I'll be back to do that soon.

To check it out for yourself, visit Saddleridge in Pittsburgh. You can't miss it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chinese "Fall" Mural by Nicole McClain

It's ironic that the name of this mural is "Fall." It was drawn and painted while leaning more than 3 feet over a 25 foot stairwell. There wasn't a convenient place for a ladder on the stairs and the balcony was the only way to access this wall - which made the accuracy of the lines difficult. But this is where it had to go and I was determined to make it look like I painted it in the studio.

One of the Four Seasons Collection: Fall
This mural was painted with acrylic paint and measures 3 feet high by 4 feet wide.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Large "Love" Chinese Mural by Nicole McClain

I've painted this symbol before, but not one of this size for this symbol. This was a residential painting for a bedroom wall using acrylic paint and measures 66 inches high (approx 5.5 feet) by 66 inches wide. It is certain to grab the attention of anyone who enters the room.

Chinese "Love"

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Panda-monium Mural Finished, artist Nicole McClain

Finally, after what seemed to be a million miniture brush strokes and layers of acrylic paint, the Panda mural is finished.

The mural began with a basic pencil sketch (what I refer to as the "possible") and lightly colored in with colored pencils. The next step was to wash the background with a sunset finish and then "place" the panda in a comfy spot.

This is where the millions of brush strokes came into play. I wanted to make the panda look realistic by showing his individual hairs on his entire body. The trick was to be sure I was overlapping the colors at the right time in the right direction.

In the picture below, you can see the detail of these hairs for his ears.

At this point, I decided this guy needed more than just a sunset, but some plants to choose from for lunch. I began washing the background with some green tones and painted in a few plants. I also added in more orange tones to the yellow sky.

With his paws appearing to be clinging to something, I added a few plants coming out from underneath his paws.

I didn't like the results of the first attempt for the plants that we coming out of his mouth, so with some black paint I "erased" them and would eventually paint in some new ones. Notice there are more plants in the foreground on the right as well.

Originally, there were going to be chinese symbols on the left hand side of the painting, but after discussing the idea, we settled on the idea of more plants. So I picked up my green paints again . . .

Something still wasn't right. The top left hand side was missing something, but something too dramatic might take away from the main focus of the painting - the panda. The missing piece was cranes flying overhead far in the background with the sunset shining on their wings.

With a few more plants on the left in the foreground, the mural is "finished" (although none of my work is ever finished in my eyes).