A friend living in Thailand is an avid admirer of Henri Matisse, particularly his wall-size drawings. He was unhappy with the large, barren entry wall in his house in the jungle of Kanchanaburi, north of Bangkok near the Myanmar border. He dreamed of a of wall mural to enliven the long corridor to surprise his wife returning soon from an extended Stateside visit. While reading Hilary Spurling’s biography, Matisse the Master, he recalled an ink drawing of a tree he’d seen in the Matisse Museum in Nice, and later again reproduced, much enlarged, on the wall of Matisse’s masterpiece, the Chapel in Vence, below. Why not do the same in Kanchanaburi?
Thai artisans are extremely skilled in recreating artworks in scrupulous detail, and after photographing the image from a book, he hired two talented artists to reproduce the ink drawing large enough to fill the entry wall. Scaffolding was cut from trees in the garden just outside the front door…
…Working from a photograph and a simple grid made of red string…
…the artists began painting freehand…
The team two completed the work in less than half a day. A Matisse-inspired tree sprouts in a Thai jungle! Total cost about $200.
When bare walls cry out for art, why buy it and hang it? Consider painting directly on the wall. Murals have been a staple wall treatment since antiquity, beginning with the bison herds in the caves at Lasceaux, barebreasted bull riders on white plaster in Knossos, colorful Egyptian temple friezes, and Pompeiian pleasure palace frescoes. Enlarging your favorite image isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think if you use the grid method used by ancient and modern day muralists.(Check out How to Grid from About’s Drawing Guide and The Grid Method by muralist Doug Myerscough.)
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