Project is COMPLETE! This mural was installed at the CHKD Hospital in Norfolk, VA – here is an overview of their stunning renovation.

17′ x 50′ Ceiling Mural, done on Tara-Cloth (a light weight poly-fiber canvas that resists stretching) each panel is 18’x 52″ and there are 11.5 in total. I paint two at a time, adhering them to the wall with a watered down wall paper paste mixture so that they are easy to remove. Once the two are completed, I take them both down and move the bottom canvas to the top and add a blank canvas on the bottom, this allows me to exactly match them as I go.

Also, I should mention that the colors are not going to be accurate, the camera hates to shoot blues and greens and there is a color shift between the two panels because the top panel is already clear coated and reflects light differently, they match up perfectly.

Final Update (November 2013)

Installed Mural
Installed Mural

The Mural is installed at CHKD and waiting for a final clear coat to even out the sheen.  Our thanks to the install team and many others that made this project happen.

It was a long project but in the end, the kids coming into the hospital will have a great distraction to keep their minds off of their illness or surgery or other medical problems.

We hope to have some more photos posted when the new lighting is installed and the final clear coat is sprayed.


– A composite photo of the completed mural –



June 2013: Mural easel has a fresh coat of paint and is ready for canvas


With panels hung, Cindy starts blocking in color for the background water.
Background water is complete and its time to start adding some of the mid-ground


Rocks and sand are blocked in, time to let it all dry and add the details next.


I started the seaweed… added some fish in the distance… next update will have fish playing in the kelp. It’s going to be an adjustment for me to paint fish sideways!
It looks small in the photos, it’s NOT 🙂


Seaweed is finished- I added more distant fish in silhouette, I think they look pretty cool! and I blocked in the little fish which will be yellow/orange. I first paint them in white so that the true color will “pop” I’ll be adding color to those in tomorrow/Friday night.


July 2013: The little white fish start turning into gold!… it’s like magic! 18 down, 8 to go, when these are finished, I will be ready to start the Manta Rays.


With the little yellow fished finished for now, I blocked the Manta Rays in. I took the original measurements and the final width… and made sure the Manta Rays fit around both pole positions (moved them up a foot and turned them a little)… hopefully, it works out. I don’t like making guesses like that. If you are concerned, now is the time to say something. (though I’m pretty sure it will be ok)


After a short holiday break, the Manta Rays start to take shape- should be done with these tomorrow, then I will be taking a look at the small detail stuff and switching canvas out.


Tomorrow I will look at everything that I have painted so far and will add shadows and highlights where needed. Then both of these panels come down and the one on the bottom gets moved to the top and a blank canvas will be hung on the bottom, after I blend the background to the new canvas, I will continues the detail. The next canvas has another Manta Ray, more seaweed and yellow fish, and rocks.


More shadows and highlights added to the seaweed to make it “pop”, I have another day of details then I will clear coat it and start the next panel.




With the canvas repositioned, I can start the 3rd panel… I’ll start by blending the water out, then adding the seaweed and rocks. This panel has another Manta Ray and more little fish.


I got a good start on the 3rd panel- Tomorrow I will be adding the green seaweed on the left… there is another manta ray on the right.


With the seaweed finished, I started blocking in the Manta Ray. I moved him away from the edge more so that he would be more visible and out from behind the soffit. We’ll see how far I get with him tomorrow, if I have time I’ll add some little fish in the seaweed and more larger fish in the distance. I don’t plan to put anything more on the rocks, as they will have a foot cut off of them and another foot behind the soffit. (I’m painting an extra foot or so on the right “just in-case”)

(side note= there is a color shift between the two panels because the top panel is already clear coated and reflects light differently, they match up perfectly.)


Well, I ALMOST got the Manta Ray finished today… He’ll be done tomorrow for sure. Then I’ll add color to the fish, add some other fish in the distance and be moving onto the next panel- the next set has dolphins, that should be fun.


Panel 3 is completed- Tomorrow I will clear coat it and let it dry. Then I’ll move canvas around and start the 4th- More water, more seaweed, more rocks, and 2 DOLPHINS!


I got the 4th panel started and tomorrow I will finish the rocks, seaweed and start blocking in the dolphins.

I still have a little to do on the seaweed. Thought it was a good time to start bringing in some coral since the next panel has a coral reef. Next I will add the dolphins.


Dolphins blocked in, now to add some color to them…


I’m working on the second dolphin. You’ll have something very different to look at on Monday, as he will be finished and I might be on to the next panel.


I thought that I would get the dolphins finished over the weekend, it didn’t happen, though I’m close. Tomorrow for sure I will be moving panels.


I have started Panel 5. This panel is supposed to have part of the boat on it, I’ll paint everything else and then when you get me the final placement of the projector, I’ll put the panel back up and paint the boat in. Tomorrow I will blend the water and finish the rocks and continue the coral. The other side will have fish… I’m thinking Angel Fish.


I decided to get carried away with coral… next update will have a LOT of color!


I am ALMOST finished with the coral and rocks. Tomorrow I will be blending the water and looking at the other side, it has some seaweed and a few fish. I added more coral than I was planning because I thought it looked better… so it’s taking longer than expected.


August 2013: I’m working 0n panel 5 and 6 right now- Our modem broke a few days ago, we got it somewhat fixed today, I don’t have email, but I now have limited internet access. SO, sorry for the delays in updates. I am working on the coral reef. I’ll post a new update of that soon. If you need to talk to me, you should call the studio or leave me a message here.


I’m liking the coral a lot, hope that you are as well! A couple of more layers and a Nemo and this panel will be complete. If anyone is watching- I need the boat/camera placement, ASAP.


I’m ready to move onto the next panel, number 7 of 11. I have decided to put Nemo on the next one. There is too much going on here and he will get lost.
If anyone is watching- I need the boat/camera placement, ASAP. The boat goes some where in the middle of these canvases.


Panels 7 and 8 I found Nemo! and Gill, they were hanging out in the coral… Moving onto Panel 9, more water, more seaweed and sand. And we’ll be getting a visit from Shamu.


I finished panels 8 and 9 and am starting #10. There is a lot going on with 9 and 10… continuing the big whale, starting the baby whale, there are turtles on the other side, lots of water more sand… I have a few outside business things going this week as well, so you won’t be seeing updates everyday.

Hopefully, I will have the last two panels done over the next 2 weeks (maybe week and a half), I will have to have the boat placement before then. Or this project will be on hold… or not have a boat painted into it.


Panels 9 and 10, I’m finished with the whales for now- On to the turtles!


The first of three turtles, ALMOST finished….


with the first turtle completed, the second one gets started….


Panels 9 and 10 are complete. I’m on to Panel 11, which is the last full panel, then I have a half panel to do, which is all background and should go very quickly.


September 2013: Panels 10 and 11 are ALMOST complete. I just have the sand to finish.
Panel 12 is a half panel, which is all background and should go very quickly.


Panels 11 and 12- 12 is actually a half panel, but I’m painting the whole canvas… just in-case. The only thing left to paint is the sand and some details in it. It will be finished Monday. Then it will come down, I’ll lay it all out in the gym and mark it for installation.  Then I will move onto something else until I have the measurements for the boat.
I have a mural pending in Vegas, I’d like to get the boat done before I leave… which will possibly be in the next week or so.
Or we’ll address it when I get back (I’ll be in Vegas for a couple of weeks).


Here is the final image of the completed mural- image from Innovate Architects

CHKD- Underwater Ceiling Mural

6 thoughts on “CHKD- Underwater Ceiling Mural

  • Pingback:9 Stunning Ideas for Ceiling Murals and Decals - Coastal Creative

    • July 12, 2013 at 1:45 am

      Thank you Dan, it’s just begun! I update frequently, so check back. Think that I will change canvases tomorrow/Friday, I want to let the clear coat dry overnight. Monday should be a very different picture.

  • June 27, 2013 at 10:18 am

    That looks fantastic! We are so thrilled to be able to see your progress and the mural come to life! Our client is going to love this!

    Keep up the good work!

    • June 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks, I try to update daily and I normally paint at night and sleep in the morning, posting update photos before I go to bed. So, mid to late morning would be a good time to check the page.

      I’m excited to add the Manta Rays!!!
      The big stuff is always fun to watch.

      Oh, and I have been recording a time lapse… that should be fun too! (I haven’t looked at it yet)

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