I have a wall in my condo in Florida that was perfectly suited for a mural. Now, I’m not really a fan of murals—I’ve never seen any that I could imagine on my own walls—so I started thinking about what I might paint myself. The rug in that room is a needlepoint of parrots and palm trees, so I had to come up with something that wouldn’t conflict with it.
I was sitting on my patio, late one afternoon a year ago last May, just relaxing, playing word games on my iPad and listening to music, when I noticed the shadows of the palm trees in the yard on the building next to mine. The fronds were moving in the breeze, and it was somewhat soothing to watch the motion on the wall in front of me, a little hypnotic. I thought how cool it would be to have a palm tree inside, on my wall. The dimensions of the wall (9.5’ X 12.5’, then an arch over the bedroom doorway and another 9.5′ X 3′) wouldn’t allow for a painting of those palms that had inspired me, so I decided on a Bismarck palm, a variety of the fan palm with a short trunk and sage green fronds. I photographed one at my friend Judith’s house, because it was the perfect shape for my wall, then painted it last summer on a proportionately smaller canvas, as a sketch for my mural.
Last November, back in Florida, I was lucky enough to have one of my painting teachers, Alexis Baliotis, a young and very talented artist, come to stay with me for a week to help me paint my Bismarck palm on my wall. A few weeks after, I painted inside the arch of the doorway, then fiddled around with the background for some time, until I could call it done. It makes me smile every time I walk into my home, but it will be the only one of its kind, since I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever…paint another.