Where the Wild Things Are mural, Or, My Rumpus Room

A couple of busy days and I have mural number two done.  You may recognize the subject.

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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is in our top ten favorite children's books.  Boy child in particular identified hugely with Wild Things.  That probably goes without explanation.  I remember reading Wild Things with girl child when she was a toddler and we were both, 'What?  This doesn't even make sense,' but after boy child was born, I reread the book to him and thought, 'Yes, this is exactly it.' 

There are a couple of shelves in the middle of the mural that previously existed on the chosen wall space. I dithered for a bit on whether to keep them or not, but ultimately remembered that I live in a small house and the only real consideration is practicality.  I need to put stuff someplace; the shelves stayed. 

Here is girl child with the mural sans shelves for a bit of scale:

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The original illustration from Wild Things was a bit more intense than what I put on the wall. I simplified the scene, eliminating references to Max's room undergoing transformation into a forest.  It seems to me that I was already in a room, what I wanted to do was capture the transformation of the domestic into the wild.  That is, indeed, where we are going with our theme for the next year.

I also wanted to keep any colours I put on the wall in bright jewel tones, simply because I live in Canada and our winters tend to be long and dreary and a spot of cheerful colour on the wall is always welcome, even necessary, come January, for mental health reasons.The colours on the wall are both brighter and bolder than the copy of Wild Things that we have. 

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I didn't take many in progress pictures since, frankly, I had no idea what I was doing and the tentative nature of my work kept me from documenting too much.  I spent a lot of zen like time just experiencing brush strokes and colour.  Mural work is an entirely different beast than my usual medium.  I found it complicated in the sense that I was trying to see it both up close and far away at the same time.  Kind of like trying to see both the old woman and the young lady simultaneously in a certain well known optical illusion

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In the end, the mural looks much simpler than it felt to paint.  I love the clean cartoony elements of this illustration.  It puts me in mind of lavish Flintstone-esque illustrations of prehistoric times.  We try hard not to take ourselves too seriously around here. 

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As it turns out, much to my relief, once the shelves are on and the couch moved back into place the mural does not dominate the room but fits in like it was meant to be.  I was worried about taking on this second large piece that it would take over our small living room and limit our possibilities. As it is, it sits opposite of our large black chalkboard wall and the two together seem to balance the room quite well.

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"No, no. No photographs please without my agent's permission."

My favorite bit, of course, is Max.  Specifically, his wolf suit tail.  I must tell you that putting those first few strokes of paint on the wall to do this character took balls, for lack of a better phrase. It was scary.  I'm so pleased he turned out to display all the devilish mischief that he embodies and isn't an embarrassingly huge smeary black mark.  There was a time when I wasn't sure how he was going to turn out. 

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The next few projects on the list include some very boring wall painting of the hallway and bedroom but then I'm going to turn the paint brushes over to the childs so they can start putting their mark on our Into the Woods home. 

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  1. Surely, your house is now a work of art! I love your murals so much!

  2. So. In. Awe. Where The Wild Things Are is one of my all time favorite kids books. We haven't read it in a while, but I think I need to dig out our copy and read it today.

    Max came out fantastic! He looks like he might sneak off the wall and cause mischief of some sort or another in your home :0) I bet boy child would enjoy having a co-conspirator!

  3. I am so enjoying your murals! They are both fantastic!! Keep going!
    They look like they were always there. Very natural.

  4. I love it, incredible