A mural is a large painting. It can be on any number of surfaces and locations like a ceiling, a wall, a door or a floor. It can be inside or outside. It can be on a construction fence or a backyard fence or a parking garage. It can be made of many materials, tiles, glass, collage, acrylic, latex or oil paint, metal, plastic, tiles or fresco. It can be done on a variety of surfaces such as plaster, wallboard, wood, tile, metal, brick, cement block or canvas. Nothing has the ability to transform reality more dramatically than a mural.

There are several different types of murals:

1. Trompe l'oeil- this type of mural was named for it's ability to "Trick the eye." Traditionally, it creates a feature in the room to make it look real. From a distance, and sometimes from close-up, it is difficult to tell where reality stops and the mural begins. The Trompe l'oeil technique can create a door or window where there is nothing but a blank wall, extend a hallway, create an entire "fake" room, make an alcove with a vase of permanent flowers, put a horse into a barn door on your garage, or any number of imaginative fake realities.

2. Faux Finishes- a faux, or "fake" finish can also be used to trick the viewer into believing that they are seeing the real thing. However, faux finishes use existing structures, changing them to appear to be made of different materials. A plain wooden door, for instance, can become a stone wall and the trim can appear to be made of concrete. A metal door can become a wood, raised panel door. Plain drywall pillars can become marble pillars or a plain wooden fireplace mantel can become an antique marble one. A dry walled basement can look like old brick work. Brand new drywall work can look hundred's of years old with glazes and texturing techniques.

3. Realism- Realistic murals are very dramatic, but the closer they are to reality, the harder they are to render. Like the "Trompe l'oeil technique, realistic murals require great skill. If done correctly, vines can cascade down a wall, a tiger will sit perched on top of a boulder in a bathroom, an entire wall or an entire room can becomes a jungle or an ocean, or a mountain landscape, or a forest. Realism's goal is not to trick you but to transport you to another realistic place.

4. Fantasy- Fantasy murals can be done in a number of styles and still retain their charm. The intent is not to fool the viewer into reality but to pull them from reality into fantasy. Examples might be a children's room painted with fantasy characters, a bird's eye view of a city done with whimsically painted buildings and landmarks, a map of the world rendered to suit the owner's idealistic views, giant fruits and vegetables in a produce store, colorful, whimsical animals doing human tasks.

5. Multi-Dimensional- A mural is not restricted to just paint. A mural can be done in glass or tile or any number of materials. Or three-dimensional materials can be combined with paint to create a very dramatic effect.

6. Famous Styles- A talented muralist can emulate nearly any other artist's style. Examples would be murals in Van Gogh's wild masterful style, impressionistic works like Monet's or decorative expressive styles like Matisse. (NOTE: I take care not to infringe on artist's copyrights. If the work is a reproduction of all or part of another artist's work, it is considered plagiarism unless the artist's work has become part of the public domain. Working in a particular artist's style is allowed and is not considered a violation, as long as you are not copying any part of an existing work. Most artist's works become common property and can be reproduced after the artist's death, once they become public domain, provided that the artist's descendants do not continue to hold the rights).


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