• Mary Lou Hurley

Creating a Staycation Destination: Part 2



Left to right: #1: Finished room; #2 & #3: Clouds; #4: Bar. Click to expand.

Above the ocean I had painted a vibrant blue sky. It needed a little detail and I envisioned a few fluffy clouds that would also add depth to the horizon. How to start? Google came to the rescue and I was able to find some direction on colour and how to paint all kinds of cloud scenarios. My favourite was a watercolour how-to that I hoped would translate onto my walls in layers of acrylic.


I painted small clouds on the horizon line and gradually they bloomed and increased in detail as I worked up to the ceiling to create depth. It was also important to decide where the light was coming from and to keep the light source the same as the ocean. Then I could highlight and brighten clouds where necessary. I started with a layer of blue-tinged grey working from dark to light. In hindsight, I suppose I could have worked the other way around and shaded my white clouds with darker colours. But this worked well and I was able to build up some depth and interesting shapes.


It was a fun process, and I realized I could easily get carried away and cover the walls in clouds! Over my years of creating art, I have learned that often, less is more, so I reined myself in and concentrated on trying to get some movement across the sky. I added a few cloud wisps flowing in the direction of an imagined wind pattern. After a few touch ups of bright sun-kissed areas, I thought, "Finally, I'm done."


Sometimes the hardest part of creating a work of art is knowing when to stop. This I found to be the biggest hurdle while painting both the ocean and the sky. Luckily, my lack of patience prevailed as I acquired a new appreciation for the medium. I enjoyed the challenge but also realized I have much to learn about painting technique. The whole experience gave me a new creative outlet and I looked forward to possibly taking instruction and evolving as a mixed media artist. My mosaic medium could only benefit!


And now I'm ready to install a tequila bar! Oh, did I not mention that? That was likely what had inspired the whole project in the first place! We are ready for a staycation!!