Finishing Details on the Mural


Adding finishing details and final touches to this winter scene interior mural at 49 Degrees North Ski Resort in Chewelah Washington. My scaffold gets packed up and I use the ladders to work on the last parts of this project. With my smallest brushes, I paint, then backup to see how the whole wall looks to me. This little step-back-and-look habit, always really helps me to change my perspective making it possible to see things I do not notice when I am close to the wall. After repositioning myself, I usually see missing items better.


Watch Out

Mountaintops in the winter can easily become an addictive thing. This whole project is quite an enjoyable one for me as I am painting from my own memories on the hill. There is absolutely nothing like spending the day speeding down a powdery hill feeling the cold wind kissing your face. Your eyes take in some of the best views on the planet as your heart races similar to being on a rollercoaster. If you have not tried skiing yet, don’t miss out on this wonderful experience in your life. You may find that winter will become your favorite time of year!

I tell you the truth, skiing is just about as much fun as you can have without breaking any laws.


Finishing Touches

I carefully add scattered groups of detail in larch and birch between the evergreens bringing a little realism into the whole impressionistic view. Stepping back, lets me notice that I am missing majestic tamarack trees both in the background and upfront. Next, some shrubbery is added at the tree bases using a rigger brush with dark browns and then adding snow on some of them. Some of the closest snow mounds receive a stroke of white to finish them up.


Standing back to get a better look, another missing ingredient comes to mind. I can’t forget to add little clumps of snow resting on the branches of the trees. If you knew our family, you’d know why that snow is important! Especially Patrick, who is known for sharing those clumps of snow with unsuspecting fellows on the slope. Okay, remember now that payback is the patient dude!

Wall “A” is a twenty-foot-long space and all details are complete now.

Finished 49 Mural Wall A first half Finished 49 Mural Wall A second half

Wall “B” is a forty-foot wide wall in three sections, having 2 columns and a doorway in it. It also has a rather large storage cabinet built into the corner behind the cash register. It was kind of tricky to figure out where to put the finishing details and not cause confusion or competition with the door or columns, and use of the benches. People tend to hang out and examine the details in a mural, so I try not to interfere with the business by drawing attention to the placement of details to areas away from traffic patterns if possible.

finished 49 Mural Wall B1 Finished 49 Mural Wall B2 Finished 49 Mural Wall B3

Wall “C” is now finished as the shortest twelve-foot wall that divides the nursery from the children’s club. The cash register counter is on the right where parents check-in with their children dropping them off for lessons on the hill.



When you are all finished with something, then you are “all pau” with it in Hawaii. This is simply a scrap of trivia information for those of you who enjoy collecting those little bits of trivia. I can’t wait to start skiing this season! Hope you can come up to 49 Degrees North to see the mural and let me know what you think. Time to pray for snow everyone!

Trees in a Mural

Trees in a Winter Landscape

Wall C Horizon trees

Painting trees in a mural. First I must figure out what type of trees are wanted for this winter landscape. One of the things that used to throw me for a loop was not knowing, “What is the difference between a deciduous and coniferous tree? ”

I paint one type of tree at a time throughout the whole 52 feet before changing color pallets. This will save me time and energy. My color pallet is usually a paint can lid with pools of 3-5 different colors that I mix as I am painting. Words come to mind like productivity and work efficiency, you know, all those “foreign terms” to an artist’s soul.

Faded and short rows of trees are rendered in the distance using a very light blue, green, gray, and white to produce a horizon. Starting on wall “C” I put a line of light gray with a touch of teal small trees on a distant ridge just below the mountains.

Mid Range Frosty Whites

Wall B Mid Range Grays

In the mid-range area, I add overlapping frosty white trees. This step requires frequent cleaning of the brushes.
Wall B Mid Range Trees

Grayed greens are placed both overlapping the horizon line and are mixed in the middle area with the frosty whites. Cleaning the brushes again I grab grays with my primaries and begin mixing by dipping the brush in different colors and mixing it on the wall as I paint.

Up-Front Green Trees

wall B & C trees

I begin to render the large forest green trees close-up in the foreground.  They are only occasional characters in the image. As I finish all the trees on walls “B” & “C” I look back at the first wall “A”. I see an error. It becomes obvious that I have put way too many trees in the foreground on that wall.

There is a good reason to not have the trees come right down to the base of the wall where the bench and cubbies underneath are for the kids. Keeping the lower wall area clear allows the kids to be able to lean back without worrying against the wall.

My goal is to create a comforting and inviting area. With too many trees coming right down to the bench makes the sight is distractive and busy. I make a mental note to myself to change the first wall to have fewer upfront trees to remedy this.

Wall A Grays and White Trees

Leaving only a couple of green guys up front transforms the space. I add more gray, green, and frosty whites mid-range to finish it up.

Mural Painting Prep


Mural painting prep involves communication then coordination. The surface preparation, priming, painting and any modification to structure or trim has to be planned and executed at convenient times around the painting. This mural for the 49 Degrees North Ski Resort Kids Room is just beginning.

Mural prep left wall
Mural prep left wall

Lots of Workers

The talented carpenter dude came in and redesigned the benches adding more bench area and more cubby’s for the kids to use. A pro is always the best choice! This change makes the area more usable for the instructors and their students as they meet and get ready to go out on the hill each day.

Mural Prep

Others numerous trade workers spent hours priming and painting and repairing the walls, beams, and columns. I did not have to do this work for this room, this time. I have spent countless hours doing the priming and painting of other areas up at the resort before I could add my artistic flair to the surface. Honestly, getting a room ready for a mural to be painted can take much longer to do than the actual painting of the mural. Maybe, that is because I tend to paint in a more driven mode than most. I can start at sunrise and forget to stop at dusk if Max isn’t around to let me know it is time to stop.

Mural prep back wall
Mural prep back wall

It is time to come on in and get to work. I take paints, drop cloths, a small scaffold, ladders, buckets, brushes and my lunch box to get set up. Here is the background all primed and painted in medium gray before I begin.

Max, job supervisor
Max, job supervisor

This is Max, my helper or supervisor, always available to help me or remind me to take a break and give him a walk. 🙂 He helps me to go home on time too.


Make Mural Plans

Ben Short met with me to make mural plans for a new upgrade at 49 Degrees North Chewelah Basin Ski Resort.  A lot of time is spent during the summers getting everything ready for the winter season. This ski resort is a place I love to spend time at, in both summer and winter. What most people don’t realize is how beautiful this location is all summer long too. I bet that the wildlife in the area enjoy summer when they have a lot fewer people to worry about there.Children's Area Before

I go up on the mountain to meet with Ben and talk about doing a mural for the Children’s Area. Murals are another form of big and beautiful fun painting for the artistic spirit. For years, there have been bright red benches along the walls with great cartoon characters above the benches. The bright theme was great but now they want to provide a more mature decor for the older youngsters (teens) to relate to. Because they are the next generation on the hill of up-and-coming extreme riders and race champs.

before back wall
before back wall

Here are some before pictures of their walls, benches, and cartoon characters before the upgrade.

before left wall
before left wall
before entry wall
before entry wall
before signup checkin
before signup checkin