‘A Riot of Flowers’ – Mural Painting in Normandy

Over the course of four days, a collaboration for a mural painting for a bathroom in a 17th century Manoir, developed from the brief: ‘I picture a Riot of Flowers’. Working with Isabella Palin, the main bathroom was given some extra life.

This is how it was done.

1. A blank wall is presented. A discussion about what is expected throws up the phrase ‘a riot of flowers’ and time is spent in the room getting a feeling for the space.

a blank wall

A blank wall

2. A mood board is created – Pinterest comes in very handy at this stage! Ideas are thrown around.

3. Colour notes are collected using paint charts and paint samples. A group of compatible colours are chosen.


Preparing a colour palette.

A local paint merchant was very good in making up small pots of colour-matched samples – we selected the circled colours as the core palette.

4. Studies of flora around the garden and surrounding areas are made.

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5. Designs are created and mocked up in cut out shapes. These are attached to the wall with masking tape and moved about until the positions are agreed to be satisfactory.


6. Once the composition is agreed, a light chalk is used to mark in the main positions. Cutouts are rubbed in the back with chalk dust and used as transfers to mark the design onto the wall. Designs for smaller elements are made on paper and transferred in the same way by drawing over them onto the wall, the chalk on the back leaving the marks for painting in.

7. Paint!

painting a mural

Keep going until its done!

Finished work

We can go back and add more details later but its finished enough for now.

mural detail

Silver skipper butterfly

A Happy Ending

I never feel happy with the work I do, but this message was reassuring:

Every time we go into the bathroom we are awestruck! The wall is so beautiful, cannot imagine how we lived with it all bare before… The final touches, the little butterfly and the rosebuds are delicious. A huge thank you – it couldn’t be more successful.


A Garden Painting

A Barnes Garden in oils

A Barnes Garden

This garden painting was finished in January – slightly late for the Chirstmas present it was intended to be from my client to her husband.

I was pleased with the sky – how it glows which may or may not show up well on the photo.

The painting was later partly because it had to be changed – it had a horrible black octopus-tree in the middle of it and it didnt work so the octopus tree was removed and the painting came out better.

It is a garden in Barnes and I made photos and sketches outside then designed the layout in photoshop before transferring the design to the canvas and making the painting.

The canvas was hand-stretched. Sized with rabbit-skin glue and with a yellow ochre ground. I will soon be posting info on how to stretch canvas.