|Paris Café Mural by D.K. Pritchett|
This Paris Café mural project is a backdrop that I painted for a Valentine's Banquet at Cohutta Springs Conference Center in Crandall, Georgia. Later, it was installed in a private office there. The scene above shows it as it was set up for the Valentine's Banquet, with a café table and chairs in front of it.
The theme for the banquet was An Evening in Paris. Peggy, the organizer, wanted a street scene showing a Paris café. Most of the cafés that we saw looked more modern than what we wanted. We chose a little red, old-fashioned café as our inspiration. There was already a painting in existence. I didn't want to copy a painting, but it did inspire me, so I owe a debt to that artist for working out some of the details. We found quite a few photos of the original café and other similar restaurants to go by. I adapted the look of the storefront to the size and theme of our project.
Peggy wanted shutters, window boxes full of flowers, and lanterns (old-fashioned gas lamps). I feared that would be too much. The mural would be used as a backdrop for taking photographs of couples. I didn't think the whole mural would be visible in the portrait shots, anyway, and wanted to make sure she knew what would be visible in the picture. It didn't matter, she said, for she wanted the mural as much for atmosphere as for picture taking. She particularly likes the faux-glass look of my painted windows. We debated whether or not to add tables and things inside ~ once again, "busy-ness" being my artistic concern; but, in the end, I decided to make each window into a simple still-life painting, not just a glassy-looking color.
I'm happy with the finished mural. It has the antique look that I wanted, yet the red-and-cream details really pop (in a muted sort of way). The still lifes are simple and it's not too busy. Besides, I have it on good authority that it does look like an authentic French scene!