|Les Monuments de Paris, detail of hand-painted scenic mural by Lynne Rutter|
Interior Designer Gary Spain commissioned me to paint an entire room mural in grisaille, or more specifically using an eau forte palette, which has a warm gray-brown asphaltum color that would compliment his design for the home. Our clients asked for something chic and urban, with scenes of Paris, but wanted to avoid anything too romantic or dramatic (many scenic papers depict battles and crowds of people), and that we make a personal view of Paris, rather than just the famous sights.
|Dufour's Monuments de Paris, detail in color|
|a 3d mock-up of the room helps me determine sightlines so I can fine-tune the composition of the mural|
|Les Invalides, in progress|
Using some digital images of the original paper from the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as some photos of actual structures in Paris, I began design work, tailoring the mural composition for the room, and creating a custom palette divided into the necessary values.
The original wallpaper was block-printed, so in painting in this style, there can be no blending, and colors must be opaquely painted and repeated. To preserve a flat, regular surface, there could be no touching up, no rubbing out of errors. Each stroke must be confident and committed. While this appears simple, it's actually far more work than using a "painterly" style. The effect is well worth the effort; the room looks rich, calm, and timeless.
|Yes, this is a COLOR photograph! the ceiling and dado were matched to colors in the mural|
|Dufour's paper was strangely lacking in bridges, so we designed the Pont Neuf into the mural - its architecture echos the shape of the archway in the room|
While the style of the mural is faithful to the Dufour paper, the composition and many elements in it are entirely original. The entire mural is scaled to the space and composed to work with the architecture of the room.
Thanks are due to the painters of my atelier - Melka, Shannon, David, and Michelina - without whom this mural might still be in pieces in my head.
Thanks also to Alan at Surface Fragments for his timely blog entry on this same reference, and for sharing his resource material with me.
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