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by | Inspiration, The Lills

While we were in Colorado, we worked with a 420-friendly inn. We helped them revamp their website, helped man the front-desk and we learned a lot in the process. Out of everything we did, our favorite project that we worked on, was painting a huge mural on a bare wall in the activity room!

With just an idea in mind, we grabbed paint and let our brushes be our guides. It felt so good to get creative and have a large space to play with. One of the hotel managers, Dave, (who is also an artist) gave us the recommendation to stand back every once and a while to see it from a distance, which really helped the process. Our dog, Sunday, and our cat, Scotia, hung out with us the whole time we painted the mural and every now and again they’d get up to come see how it was going.

The Lills Dog and Cat

We weren’t 100% satisfied by the harshness of the strokes when painting the background, so we used a hand-pump spray bottle to wash diluted paint over the background design. The result was a really nice hazy and drippy effect that made our whimsical background really sink in.

Without any preliminary designs or sketches, we started with the shape of each island, by painting a silhouette in black paint. Then, we would go back in with dark brown paints to create definition on the bottoms of the islands. Lighter browns helped turn them 3-D.

We used a green spectrum from dark to light for the terrain, that brought forward the trees and mountain tops and sent others into the background. We did our best to channel the famous instructional painter, Bob Ross, and kept chanting “happy little trees”, like he used to do on his hit television show from back in the day.

When painting the rocks, we used black paint as the base and then layered shades of grey and brown, from dark to light. It was important to remember where we were considering the light source to be coming from, so each rock was being hit by light in a natural way. Details, like the caves, water, bridge, whimsical trees, flowers and clouds helped make each island come to life with a personality of their own.

It was so much fun waking up and going to sleep to this project. Each day, it spoke to us and fulfilled our creative yearnings. Sometimes, guests would come into the room and showed great enthusiasm for the artwork we were making. It brought us so much joy to know we were creating something that would put smiles on people’s faces for years to come.

Alex Lill | Lara Lill | Colorado Wall Mural | The Lills

Creating the mural awoke something inside of us. For the last 8 years we have run our little design business, which has had us at the computer, producing digital art. This experience gave us a newfound desire to attract more projects that allow us to use our hands, get crafty and produce other varieties of design.

The two of us can’t thank the owner of the inn enough, for letting us tackle the blank wall and for restoring our passion for hands-on art. We hope everyone enjoys the mural and time-lapse video!


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