When I first met with the client about painting their retaining wall, one of the things they mentioned being interested in is schools of fish. I originally discarded the idea as being overdone. What I liked about the buildings was their pattern and repetition. But the more I looked at the art the more I thought it lacked something. It seemed a little cold and lifeless. So I went back and thought about fish in terms of tessellations and patterns. Of course the first place I went to look for inspiration was M. C. Escher’s work. I didn’t want to steal directly from him even though Andy Warhol would have approved. I recalled my days studying fabric design and quilt block patterns. That’s when I found this simple fish repeat. I varied the scale and placement to build interest. I also chose to make cooler colors move to the right; changing from purple to maroon, and warm colors move to the left using burnt orange to yellow. Doing the design would be easy enough with a couple masking templates and a spray gun.


In the end, the client opted to stick with the buildings. They will now be altered and scaled down to look like they are smaller and more of them. The base of the buildings will have street level awnings and signs making a more complete city-scape. The same technique of cutting out window stencils and painting over blocked out colors will be used to speed up the process. Should be lots of fun. Check back in a few days for a new sample.

Retaining Wall Mural w/Fish – painting
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