An art project that had our neighbours worrying

painting the house

We were never going to paint but the cladding aged badly and my husband started talking about painting the house sky blue. I wasn’t so sure, I love colour but wanted a more complex blue, we couldn’t agree but as I was going to have to get rid of my plants against the wall that faces the road, I asked what he thought about me painting a life sized elephant and could see the sky blue working as a backdrop. He agreed!!!  He also carried it a step further, as he does, and suggested I painted scenes on the entire house. I had already painted a peacock behind the daybed but the last thing I had painted before that ,was about 20 years ago, ( I painted theatre sets as a volunteer then). I procrastinated as the wall by the road could be easily seen as people passed and I didn’t feel that confident about being watched. Time went by until autumn last year when my sister rang to tell me she had 2 cyclists from Quebec staying with her and they were keen to stop somewhere for a couple of weeks. They painted murals and were interested in our wall. We had no idea at the time what their style was like but loved the idea of more people joining in. I am a control freak and always have in mind exactly what I’m after so this was going to be a challenge of stepping back for me.

And so it begins. These two shamed me with their enthusiasm into making a start but my confidence was still low as I started.  I decided one of the smaller least seen walls was the place for me to begin. It was just around the corner and as I progressed, I gained more confidence but can see my initial flaws. It was a fun time and the two muralists stayed a month, painting about 3-4 hours a day


My husband did the background green, he had never painted before so I was surprised and impressed with how he did. I loved seeing the king fishers in India, much larger than our kingfishers, so that’s the scene I wanted to start with and then I came in front with palms, impatiens, gingers etc. This is how we continued for the next couple of walls with Brett painting background plants



This is an area we call the tree house and my step son really wanted to paint a Brugmansia but only managed a few leaves with a messy scrubbed out back drop. I got a mental block with that until my husband blued out all the green mess, leaving the best leaves and then while I was away, he proceeded to get on with a very detail background. He was also gaining confidence. I came home and got started on the flowers and foreground leaves, the agave leaves are Brett’s, he is continuing to impress me


this wall was done entirely by my non painter husband


cleaning up at the end of the day



My sister stayed for a couple of months so I got her onto background while I did a rough background for the tiger and prepared an outline for her to paint in a base colour. I decided while I waited for her to put the base coat on the tiger, I would paint a palm by the back door. At this stage, neighbours were coming up and saying things like ” Oh you’re painting the whole house??” with a certain amount of dismay and disbelief



This is my favourite. My sister wouldn’t do the background for the tiger, sadly she is only too aware what a control freak I am but it meant I could do what I wanted here


I popped a little orchid above the tiger


I have finished the hornbills and lose my sisters help at this stage so continue alone



the monkey meets with the elephant wall and the bamboo is on the other side of the door to the hornbills. Plants are growing back again which will give a more 3D look with the paintings as a backdrop. We now can’t imagine our house not painted.

Now I am meant to be finishing some paving in the area I call the glade but have been distracted by a mosaic paver at the top garden. Watch this space


6 thoughts on “An art project that had our neighbours worrying

    1. Thank you , I hope you do, somehow it really enhances the plants rather than detracts. It always used to be that we would colour our houses in NZ but now people are going with a fashion for dull grey, beige and other. A camper who arrives at the beach every year loved our house and told me she call the fashion the beiging down of Gisborne . I have updated my post as I seemed to have deleted the two lovely Quebec artists who kick started me

      Liked by 1 person

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