Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Glow in the Dark - Star Ceiling Murals

I have just finished painting the ceiling in our daughter's bedroom with glow in the dark galaxies & stars. I recently saw the effect on BBC1's DIY SOS (which I will soon be on) so decided to give it a try myself.

To my surprise the effect is quite astonishing but unfortunately my daughter will not appreciate the full effect until the nights draw in as it is still daylight when its her bedtime.
My wife & I did wake her late in the evening so she could see the stars but in the morning she could not recollect anything - oh well, roll on winter.

Our son is now very keen to have his ceiling painted - it was my intention to do a glowing star ceiling in his old room in which I painted a space/Dr Who theme but then we went & moved house.
At present he has Winnie-the-Pooh wallpaper which hardly bodes well with an eight year old boy's tastes in interior decor.
His ceiling is smooth as opposed to artexed like my daughter's so I am planning something a bit more ambitious and will keep you posted on how it goes - hopefully with some photographs.

Oh, and just a word of warning if you every get the chance to use these UV paints - keep them away from children !
They are non-toxic so no worries there but my son was curious about the paints and decided to open one to have a look. This fact was unbeknown to us until we tested the ceiling at night by charging the paint with a UV lamp and found that not only did the ceiling have stars & galaxies but so did the carpet, walls and our son's face & hands.

I believe that is known as a 'smoking gun'.

Monday, July 14, 2008

MiniBeast Mural

Over the last few days I have been helping a group of children from the Rettendon Primary School paint a backdrop for their school production of "Mini-Beast Madness".
The whole mural is about 12ft across and the children have also painted various bugs & creepy crawlies which have then been cut out and attached to the scene.
The mural was installed on the stage wall in the village hall.

For some reason lots of the children opted to paint ladybirds & snails and as all the snails, bar one, were facing the same direction I felt it appropriate for them to be racing each other (as snails do).

This backdrop was the second one the children painted - the first was started outside in the playground and, despite our weighing it down, the wind suddenly picked up & caused quite a mess with spilt paint.
Mark two was painted inside as soon as we managed to commandeer a suitable area to work - beng a small school of about 100 pupils space is scarce, especially when painting a 12ft mural.

I tend to help out at the school a couple of times each year with various artistic assignments from painting castle windows to garden design.
I am also keen to introduce the children to perspective drawing in due course - I just need to break it down into manageable chunks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Hello and welcome to my new Weblog.

My name is Chris Westall (or Christopher if you prefer) and I am a muralist and trompe l'oeil artist based in the commuter town of Wickford, Essex (UK).
I work on all kinds of large and small commissions for businesses, shopping centres and restaurants as well as for private homes. My website has an extensive portfolio of work so I'm sure you will find something that is to your taste.

If you care to indulge me I will tell you more about myself.
I was born in the County town of Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom in the year the Beatles split up.
I was passionately into art at an early age - I used to enjoy drawing my own comic strips and throughout my school years I delighted my friends and peers by drawing caricatures of the teachers. Fortunately, to the the best of my knowledge, the teachers concerned never traced the drawings back to me.

Although I loved drawing from a young age I kept clear of paint brush. Painting, as far as I was concerned, was very messy, difficult to correct and involved lots of tedious clearing up. I found the whole thing pointless and would avoid painting in my art classes with a vengeance.
Luckily my art teacher managed to twist my arm and showed me the light - otherwise I would not have got through my O' and A' Levels and more than likely would now be working as a retail manager or financial advisor which were two alternative career paths I ventured down.

There is loads more I could tell but it would take too long to put into words - and besides, it would mean I would have less to write about later on.

My intention with this weblog is to keep you all posted on what I am working on, maybe with insights into my painting techniques. I may even try some step-by-step projects as I did for my two books "Trompe L'Oeil Interiors" & "Trompe L'Oeil Bible". I'll have to see how the mood takes me.

But realistically this blog will probably be full of inconsistent ramblings intersected by the occasional rant and for that I would like to apologise now in advance :)