What to expect when you hire an artist to paint a mural

What to expect when you hire an artist to paint a mural. Let me walk you through my process, what I'll bring to your home, and what you can expect day to day.

Kathy LaFollett

2/5/20243 min read

An interior mural underway with a ladder, paint bucket, rags, and tools in the kitchen.
An interior mural underway with a ladder, paint bucket, rags, and tools in the kitchen.
  • The clean smell of paint.

  • Your wall morphing through phases, some of which you'll wonder about.

  • The presence of an artist doing their best not to intrude.

  • A ladder, paint buckets, tarp, brushes, and the organized unorganized way it changes during the job.

  • How long all this happens in your home depends on your ideas.

The clean smell of paint.

I use low/no VOC Baer interior paint. Purchasing what I need for your mural to use the entire container. I never use paint from a prior job. Your mural starts with a fresh set of paints. While mindful of waste and recycling, my first goal is quality for you, second is thoughtfulness to the environment. I take empty paint containers to the Waste Management drop-off site in St. Petersburg.

Your wall mural will go through stages as I progress.

Every person has their own level of imagination and ability to 'see what's coming'. There may be days you look at your wall after I leave and think, "What is going on? That's not looking like anything we agreed on." That is normal to think, and that tightness in your gut is also normal. Allowing someone to come in and draw on your wall is a bit off-putting. Before we go through the stages to success, we'll first go through the stages to start.

1) A finished digital design featuring the idea on your wall via Procreate and Photoshop software. We'll get as close to what you see is what you get, and you'll have had time to change the idea along the creative way.

2) Based on your final digital preview, I'll gather the paint chip samples for a last conversation on the color scheme. Show me items in your home for color requirements, as well as photos, reference shots online, Pinterest pages ... anything that helps you clarify what you want to see. The paint chips will be your final say as to colors. I'll leave those with you and purchase our paints based on those preferences. I don't buy paint specific to all your paint chip color choices. I buy the colors necessary to mix to get all the colors you want. This approach gives us a vibrant finish, a less cluttered work area, and lowers the cost of paint.

A muralist's tools of the trade.

Multiple levels, laser level, white chalk, colored and lead pencils, a ladder, step stool, tarp, painter's tape (I use frog tape), artist's brushes, paint, rags, paper plates, and paper towels/painter's rags, and a neck pillow (looking up at a wall requires a little comfort sometimes).

Every muralist has their own handful of specialty tools as well. (like my neck pillow) I can bring my water source, and water recycling container. My goal: Make as little an impact as possible to your home while painting your mural. You let me know what you're comfortable with and we'll create that comfort level. I can break down and store my supplies in an extra-large rubber container end of day if you prefer or leave everything out clean and ready for the next day.

How long will this take?

The ultimate question. I won't be able to answer this until we have the final digital design and size. I'll give the answer in hours, and we can decide how many hours a day you can allow me on the wall.

A final thought.

This is my approach to your wall. Every artist has their own way, though. Two points to clarify are water source and handling, and tools. Don't be afraid to ask questions. A good muralist knows what has to happen, what would be nice to have happen, and what can be eliminated if necessary for your comfort.

Art has no rules. But an artist creating in your home should know your rules.