The Mural

When I originally designed the Harry Potter sets with the two windows, I wanted you to look out at the lake and surrounding mountains, I thought this would also give a sense of more space and make it interesting.

I looked for images of the lake in the Harry Potter  movies on the net and found some, but none were of the the lake at night. I managed to find something that I could play with in a simple editing program and turned it into a night time scene. Now that I had the image saved on my computer, that was all I needed.

I made two frames out of pine slightly larger than the window openings and stretched some old white sheets that we had brought from the thrift shop over the each frame. This basically gave me two large canvases.

The simplest way I know to transfer a image the size I needed is with an projector. I was fortunate that a friend of mine had one and I was able to use it to project the image on the screens.

Once I had the screens at the right distance, I simply turned the projector on and kept moving it back or forth until I had the image fill the the frames. I had to do this at night so I could see the outline clearly, then I just traced around the outline of the mountains and lake to give me reference points to work with.

Like any painting, I started with the background and worked my way to the foreground. The first thing I did was spray black and fade it slightly to a darker blue on the horizon to show that it was just starting to get dark. I really wanted that twilight look of the evening.

Once I was happy with that, it was time to add the stars to finish that part of the mural.

Before I started on the mountains, I needed to see if I was on the right track with my colors, so I attached the murals to the back of the window sets so I could get a good perspective. The color of the night sky and the color of the sand stone walls, worked beautifully together. I was really happy with how it was coming along.

Next I started painting the mountains, I found it easier to use a wide brush first as this gave me a defined line between the sky and the mountains.

The first color I used for the mountains was a watered down grey as a base coat, then it was just a matter of darkening it slightly as I wanted to add in shadow to show the lines of the valleys in the mountain.

I then sprayed some dark blackish brownish thingy color :p for some more detail and finished it off with some highlights on the tops of the mountains. This would look as if the moon was shining enough light to give the scene some detail and separate the mountains.

The next natural progression is to paint the lake with the moon reflecting on the water.

I used the same colors I had already mixed for the mountains, basically a dark grey, this doesn’t need a lot of work as there is no detail apart from the light shimmering on the water. I then added in my highlights on the lake and slowly worked my way forward.

When painting the forest area I found it easier to use a few different size brushes to get that look of trees and branches. I didn’t spend to much time on this mural as it was going behind the windows and was only a backdrop. I had planned a lot of interesting props that people were going to focus on instead.

After I had finished and the mural was dry, I needed to attach them to the back of the windows. I measured up from the bottom on both sets so my horizon line would be level, then I just screwed the two screens in place.

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