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On the wall art

Murals can add personal touch to any space

By: By Lucy Haines

  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 08, 2014 06:00 am

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  • BRANCHING OUT – St. Albert artist Kristine McGuinty likes to paint nature-inspired murals, and has a particular affinity for trees and branches. She feels that murals can be created to suit the tastes of any homeowner.
    BRANCHING OUT – St. Albert artist Kristine McGuinty likes to paint nature-inspired murals, and has a particular affinity for trees and branches. She feels that murals can be created to suit the tastes of any homeowner.
    LUCY HAINES/St. Albert Gazette
  • TREE DIMENSIONAL – A plaster tree in Kristine McGuinty's home creates a 3D relief mural in her family room, with spot lighting to draw focus to the art.
    TREE DIMENSIONAL – A plaster tree in Kristine McGuinty's home creates a 3D relief mural in her family room, with spot lighting to draw focus to the art.
  • MODERN LOOK – Two-toned images featuring leaves and branches suit the modern esthetics of many homeowners, says St. Albert mural artist Kristine McGuinty.
    MODERN LOOK – Two-toned images featuring leaves and branches suit the modern esthetics of many homeowners, says St. Albert mural artist Kristine McGuinty.

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Murals, often thought to be the domain of day-care centres and restaurants – or perhaps a historical mosaic on the outside of a city building – aren’t so much a thought for décor in the master bedroom, foyer or family room.

Local artist Kristine McGuinty wants to change that. The Heritage Lakes resident, whose talents include photography and commissioned abstract art paintings, had the notion to create hand-painted murals too, after moving to St. Albert and putting her personal stamp on the new family home with modern-style murals in bedrooms and hallways.

“I had done a wall mural in my youngest child’s bedroom years ago – fields, sheep, fences and hills – and since then I’ve seen a lot of peel-and-stick art that made me think, ‘I can do that,’” McGuinty said.

On her own walls, the painter favours the clean lines of bare tree branches or a cluster of straight, tall trees – even textured tree trunks and branches.

“I have an idea of a colour and subject and then it moves quickly, usually from two to eight hours until the painting is complete,” she said.

McGuinty said the nature-inspired focus is likely due to her background in forestry, but agrees the contemporary look of raw branches also suits today’s new homes and the modern esthetic of many homebuyers.

Task lighting can create added dimension and shadows on these clean-lined murals, but so can two-toned images and texture. McGuinty’s experiment with plaster resulted in a 3D relief sculpture for one lone white tree in her family room.

“I can see sculpted or larger wall murals in a big entryway or over a large fireplace – wherever a homeowner wants to make a personal statement,” McGuinty added. “They’re a unique artistic focal point for anywhere you want to create an artful transformation.”

Exciting canvas

Jayna Simpson has found a niche with her murals in new homes, where vast bare walls in media/entertainment rooms provide an exciting canvas for the artist to create a vignette on just one wall or all four. Doors and ceilings are also in play.

Simpson said she’s often called upon to create movie themes for such rooms –old black-and-white gangster images or stars and starlets, from Marilyn Monroe to Tom Hanks.

“People are spending more on art these days, and they appreciate original art,” she said, pointing to another mural she’s done for a home meditation space, complete with walls of flowers, greenery and waterfalls.

“A mural can give a room more life and energy, or a serene, Zen-like feel. It just makes the space happier.”

Simpson charges $50 an hour, with rooms running from about $400 for a simple one-wall abstract design, to a few thousand dollars for a more elaborate piece on several walls. As with most mural art, homeowners are asked to do the prep work –painting the wall with a base colour and patching any holes or cracks.

“You can get stickers, but it’s not the same as painting something special that’ll last for years,” she said. “A mural creates something of meaning to the child or homeowner.”


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