Author: erikschlake

Using mural paints vs house paint | Mural paint

A question I get quite often is “What type of paint do you use?” Or ” How much money can we save by using house paint? “

To start, house paint is probably about 30% cheaper than mural paints. And in many circumstances they work quite nicely. They are exterior rated, can be mixed to any custom color and are widely available. And depending on location they can look great for up to about 10 years before a noticeable fading occurs.

But from an artist perspective I like mural paints, for a few reasons.

First off, the colors are more pure and vibrant. If I were to mix a purple color from red and blue and have that color mixed in a house paint, the mural paint may be the same color, but is more vibrant. The reason is this: my purple is mixed with red and blue only. A house paint probably has black, Brown and other colors mixed in to get that purple color. It may be the same color, but has a cloudiness to it. And it becomes difficult to get the vibrancy that is almost automatic in mural paints. I can tone down the vibrancy of I choose to, but keep it if I want a nice “pop” of color.

Second is durability. Mural paints are stronger than house paints. They contain a higher percentage of acrylic resins than house paint.

Third is fading. Paint companies like to offer “lifetime warranties” on their paint. But read the fine print. What they are guaranteeing is the binders in the paint, not the pigments that color it. So it will fade, especially in the Florida sun. The pigments they use, especially, reds and blues, don’t do well long term in the Florida sun. So the paint film itself is fine, but the pigments within it have deteriorated.

As a mural artist, there are certain pigments that are very sensitive to UV light. Colors like Cadmium Red and yellow, Ultramarine Blue and Dioxinine Purple are horrible colors for exterior. They begin to fade immediately and within a year are almost non existent on an exterior wall that receives direct sun. Pyrol red and yellow oxide are much better choices and can do 90% of the work of cadmium colors. To the typical viewer they don’t notice the difference.

Lastly is techniques. As mural artists we use and apply paint in a much different fashion than a painting contractor. We are blending, fading, applying thick, applying thin, pouncing, glazing and a variety of other techniques. We need products that are designed for all those applications and doesn’t affect the paints performance. House paint is limited to its “mil thickness”. It is designed to be applied at a certain thickness to perform it’s function. If thinned down or applied thinly it actually voids the warranty of the paint film. Mural paints, on the other hand, are formulated to be mixed with other products, thinned, blended and abused.

Mural paint

From an artist point of view, Golden Paints is my favorite line of products. Not only do they have superior products, but their technical support is outstanding. It’s very easy to get a chemist in the phone and say ” I’m about to paint a mural and am considering doing _______ “. Their tech support will go out of their way to walk through a solution that not only looks great but doesn’t interfere with the integrity of the paint.

NYC Skyline Mural | NYC skyline mural

NYC Skyline Mural

NYC skyline mural

I just finished a NYC skyline mural at Tony’s NY Pizza in Ft Myers. This project was alot of fun since it combined a few of my favorite things, NYC and pizza!

I did the majority before I left for Europe and since they were under construction at the time, we waited until they were almost open for some fine tuning and final varnish, Which worked out really well, because it gave me a chance to see it with fresh eyes after stepping away from it for a few weeks. Before I left there were a few areas I thought I would fix upon my return, but with fresh eyes it wasn’t necessary. That’s the funny part. Even after all these years of doing art, I still labor over very small details when they should probably be left alone. Sometimes the pursuit of perfection is nothing but a time waster. The little things I thought were imperfections actually looked really good with a fresh perspective.

Commercial jobs are really different from residential. This NYC skyline mural has a sense of whimsy about it. We wanted bright colors and a sense of fun. It probably wouldn’t have worked in a residential setting. But here I think it works quite well.

Painting outlet covers | painting outlet covers

One type of work I find really fun is painting outlet covers to match the backsplash tile.Its really satisfying to see how much I can get the outlets and switches to blend in.

Is it durable? Heck yea, with the proper priming and a kitchen quality varnish, they can be cleaned right along with the tile and hold up to hands and objects being plugged in.

The outlet blends right in!
Another outlet painted

I have lots more of these types of photos but posted the ones that were the most challenging.

Faux painting kitchen tile | faux painting kitchen tile

kitchen tile before
kitchen tile with faux granite

Faux painting kitchen tile

What do you do when you have kitchen tile that needs some updating? Replacing it is always an option. But so is faux painting to give it an updated and custom look.

The first question is always “Is it durable?” Yes, with the proper products, including an etching primer to grab the existing tile, it is a very durable option. And the best part is the colors can be completely custom, not like tile, which comes in limited color selection, unless you have an unlimited budget.

Faux painting kitchen tile should be considered if the existing tile is in good shape and properly adhered to the wall. There is no system that can fix falling tile or water issues behind the wall. But for a cosmetic remedy, faux painting tile is a great choice.

Naples Beach Brewery mural

I stopped in recently to check on a mural I did about three years ago to see how its holding up in a commercial environment. It still looks great and the decor surrounding it is a perfect fit!!!!

I couldnt be happier.

The design is for a brewery and if you look closely you will see references to all the ingredients of beer, water, barley hops and yeast.

Madonnari festival in Ruvo Di Puglia | Madonnari, chalk art

Last week we were in Ruvo Di Puglia, near Bari, on the other coast of Italy from Rome and Naples. We were there for the first annual Internationale Concorso di Madonnari.

The theme was ” Mary in the modern age” and I decided on an old cover of The Saturday Evening Post to add a flair of Americana to an Italian festival. While not modern, it does update the idea of Mary to another iconic, stylistic era.

The festival was quick. We arrived in the afternoon, had lunch, chalked till about 8pm, woke up early, finished by 5pm amd were on the 7pm bus to Naples. Quick but fun.

Chalking in Follina | Chalk art, madonnari

We were invited to participate in a madonnari festival in Follina, Italy.

Follina is an amazing village north of Venice. We were housed in a 13th Century building turned into a hostel that contained remnants of ancient frescoes, a courtyard and great views of the mountains.

We picked a challenging piece, Caravaggio’s “Paul on the Road to Damascus”. The night before the festival there was a hail storm, leaving about 2 inches of hail on the road.

Luckily, it was gone by Saturday but Sounds it rained all day. Most of worked late into Saturday night to complete our pieces.

The town, the people and the experience was a once in a lifetime.

Fresco at our hostel
Chalking late into the night
Our chalk piece. Not the best photo as the street light was bright

Salon in Chamonix France

We are on a tour of Europe that encompasses decorative art and chalk art.

We started this journey in Chamonix France to attend Salon, an annual meeting of decorative artists from over 30 countries.

For my exhibition panel, I created a trompe l’oeil piece uses objects of the area but painted in a 19th century American style.

Chamonix is beautiful, and we had an opportunity to visit the top of Mont Blanc, a glacier and the town of Gruyère, Switzerland. It was a great week before moving on to Italy.

My exhibition panel
Visiting a glacier

Naples Florida – Muralist – Mural Artist | Muralist, Naples, Mural artist

Naples Florida Mural detail

Living in SWL, Ive done alot of work as a mural artist in Naples, FL. Naples has a variety of art, with muralist of many styles finding their work in demand. I love the variety of mural projects I have done in Naples, from private homes to businesses.

One of my favorite mural projects was Naples Beach Brewery, in which we did a 10 x 30 mural that depicted the backwater areas of SWFL. As a muralist, I love these types of projects, as we were trying to create a scene that placed the viewer in something familiar, but different than a beach scene,

We had an opportunity to add many beer related elements, including water, yeast, hops and barley, which were hidden throughout the mural.



Naples Beach Muralist
Naples beach Mural



Mural artist, Muralist, Naples Florida

Another mural project  we did was a patio store. We used the immense space to create scenes of Florida throughout the store.  This was a great fit for a mural in Naples, FL.

Naples Mural

Naples muralist
Naples mural


Naples patio store mural


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