If you’ve seen some of the other Adventureland inspired projects, you know that we have a little “tropical hideaway” in the backyard. I made an Alice in Wonderland mural that was back there for a while, but we really needed a mural that would fit the theme. I had previously made smaller paintings on wood rounds that were the different lands at Disneyland and I decided to recreate my Adventureland painting on a much larger scale. And this time, I added some tiki totems because we love the Tropical Hideaway at Disneyland so much.
How it Started
Our backyard fence was falling over…literally…so we needed a new fence. We asked the fence people if they could spare some of our old fence and they did. They left about a dozen redwood planks. After removing all of the nails that were left behind, I devised my plan.
My mom wanted the tikis so I came up with two perpendicular planks that would hold the horizontal planks together and serve as the totems.
I sanded each of the planks down using a coarse sandpaper on an electric sander.
The two vertical planks overhung the horizontal planks by about 7 inches on each end. Once everything was as square as possible, I screwed the planks down using short deck screws. Two screws per plank.
I started my tiki sketches using a white colored pencil. I didn’t want to copy existing tikis, so I made up my own story and designed them myself. On one side is the goddess of the land with her faithful servant carrying her. On the other is the god of the sea with his servant.
On the center planks, I sketched some hibiscus flowers and shrubbery. I also sketched out the entrance sign to Adventureland with the little hut (not pictured) plus a toucan that is basically a copy of the ceramic toucan I bought in Adventureland.
Painting the tikis was interesting on such a textured surface, but it kind of worked out. Tikis are carved from wood, but I couldn’t do that for this project. I had to use black and a variety of browns to make my tikis pop and appear more 3D. Other than that, I only used yellow, red, blue, and green as my colors. A wash of black over the paint added some age to the tiki.
I also started blocking out my toucan and the Jungle Cruise entrance.
To paint the foliage, I used two different greens and black. I roughly mixed them to get different values which gave depth to the painting. I also added my hibiscus and a bird of paradise.
I did the same to the other corner of foliage.
After some dry time (didn’t take long) I sketched out my Jungle Cruise entrance in yellow as an underpainting. I had to adjust the angle a bit from my initial sketch.
The panels of the building were painted a blue-green and I added a saffron yellow over top the lighter yellow sketch. Window shades and the ride entrance sign were finalized and the blocking of the toucan completed. Extra foliage was added for good measure.
Adventureland would not be complete without Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye so I sketched out where that was going to be.
It was painted in a variety of browns and blacks. A forest of bamboo was added to the right.
Once that was dry, I went in with a black paint pen to flesh out some cracks on the temple.
The temple was finished off with its signature snake statues and some stones on the footpath.
After filling in some of the negative space with a light blue sky and clouds, I focused on the Adventureland entrance sign. Using brown, cream, and black paint pens, I added details to the letters to make them appear like sticks held together with twine.
I completed my toucan with some much needed detail…
…including a gold hoop that the actual ceramic toucan sits on.
Last, but not least…the final details you might not even see from this view. A couple of palm trees, some warm light added to the temple and foliage, the sharpening of lines using a black paint pen, some things recolored.
This mural took about 10 hours to paint. I don’t know how long it took just to prep the boards. Overall, I’m happy with it besides certain things that I’d like to fix, but won’t. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be realistic–I’m not into realism anyway to be honest. I’m looking forward to it getting a little grungy out in the elements. I think that will add a lot of character.
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