Mural Paintings in the DC Area by Artists Impacted by Autism
Starting earlier this year, I began working on art projects with a wonderful company in Ashburn called Zenaviv, which promotes and connects artists impacted by autism with businesses and individuals.
These artists have incredible natural talents that serve to beautify spaces. The positive feedback from the murals gives the artists validation of their talent and a meaningful boost in their confidence!
Recently, I collaborated with them on murals in the employee entrance at The Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC, a luxurious 5-star hotel.
Zenaviv’s mission is to empower artists impacted by autism by providing them with a means to earn income and boost their self-esteem. By the end of the year they expect to promote at least 25 artists with consistent income. Over the next five years their goal is to directly impact 2,000 artists and indirectly several more around the world!
Recently I had the enjoyment of painting enhancements to a residential mural in Leesburg. This mural was originally painted around 17 years ago! The homeowner wanted me to improve the appearance of the willow tree so that it resembled a willow tree more, and re-paint the cardinal bird up top. So the tricks were to keep the style of the original artist and mix the colors well enough to blend in with the original painting. Here is a ‘before’ photo:
This morning I started the prep work on a mural painting at the Lost Rhino Retreat Restaurant in Ashburn, Virginia. The interior of this restaurant is beautiful, as it is open and spacious with very high ceilings, locally milled wood installations, a fireplace, and natural light streaming through the tall windows. Perfect for illuminating a mural that I’ll be painting on an empty white wall, which will be a colorful outline of the Lost Rhino logo.
Here is a photo of the blank wall:
As part of the prep work, I cleaned the wall from scuffs and scratches:
and then added a fresh coat of white paint:
Next Thursday I’ll be going back to paint a colorful version of the rhino logo, and hope to finish up that day or on Friday!
This is a mural I actually completed a couple of months ago in my sons room, but haven’t gotten around to posting a completed picture of it yet!
It’s a “forest friends” themed mural, with evergreen trees, mountains, a stream with fish, and several different animals – deer, fox, squirrel, doves, owl, cardinal, a sparrow bird, butterflies, and a boy flying a kite.
Like my Dad did to me, you might ask “Won’t a kite get stuck in the trees?” Well, maybe in real life! But this is a childhood world of imagination, fun and freedom, where kites don’t get stuck in trees. Or if they do, you just climb up the tree and untangle it!
This mural has been challenging to photograph in a way that reflects its true colors and shading, what with the way light comes into the room, but I’ve tried to Photoshop this the best I could:
A few weeks ago I mostly finished the forest friends mural painting in my son’s bedroom, although I still plan on adding a stream of water in when I get a chance.
I took this picture a few weeks ago when my son was in the room with me and grabbed a paintbrush so that he could also paint!
Here are a couple of other shots of the mural, complete with smiling animals like an owl, cardinal bird, deer and fox, with a sparrow bird, squirrel, butterflies, a mother dove flying over to her 2 babies in a nest, and a little boy running with a kite in his hand. Right before my wife and I found out she was pregnant with our 2nd son, two doves had set up a nest outside of our kitchen door and laid eggs for 2 babies that hatched over the course of the next month! So I had to include that in the painting.
I’ll post a few more photos after I add in the stream of water, and hopefully get some better lighting to see the color and detail a bit better.
Here is a photo of further progress on the forest friends mural, which is nearing completion! I added in a deer, cardinal bird, smiling owl, evergreen trees, mountains and clouds. My one and a half year-old son loved to see the “tweet tweet” birdies and the “woof woof” deer, while pointing at the mural and saying “whoaaaaa”. Any four-legged animal is equivalent to a dog to him. More photos to come upon completion!
Are you ever enchanted by a beautiful forest? Does a red cardinal, or mystical owl, peek your curiosity? Or the beauty of a deer quietly walking through a grassy clearing in the forest?
Last night I was excited to start a ‘forest friends’ mural in my toddler son’s room, which we plan on having him share with our other son who is due in April. This mural has been quite the project in the making! Since I’m a married man, of course I had to consult my wife on the design, and we went through about 20 different sketches before finding common ground on a design! My wife is full of beautiful abstract ideas, and envisioned a ‘journey of the soul’ through an enchanted forest with subtle grays, greens and browns to match the sage green paint in the room. While describing her vision, she would dance and make movements with her arms (for an Accountant like me, this can be difficult to interpret at times!). While her vision was very mature, I had to keep in mind our 2 young boys that I am painting this for. So I wanted to make the animals fun and kid-friendly as well.
Here is what I was able to paint last night, and I’ll be continuing this mural over the next several days.
Painting upside down is a real workout! I hope Michelangelo had a really good chiropractor when he painted the Sistine Chapel. Today I started on the underside of the mural that I’m painting in a townhouse studio in Ashburn, while also painting in jumping whales and dolphins, a sea turtle, and colorful sea fish!
After talking with my client, I’ll be extending the painting down onto the wall below to add in a coral reef. Looking good so far!