mural (Hand Painted Walls with Artwork) is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

Some wall paintings are painted on large canvases, which are then attached to the wall (e.g., with ). Whether these works can be accurately called “murals” is a subject of some controversy in the art world, but the technique has been in common use since the late 19th century.

Modern mural techniques

Different muralists tend to become experts in their preferred medium and application, whether that be oil paints, emulsion or acrylic paints applied by brush, roller or airbrush/aerosols. Clients will often ask for a particular style and the artist may adjust to the appropriate technique.

A consultation usually leads to a detailed design and layout of the proposed mural with a price quote that the client approves before the muralist starts on the work. The area to be painted can be gridded to match the design allowing the image to be scaled accurately step by step. In some cases the design is projected straight onto the wall and traced with pencil before painting begins. Some muralists will paint directly without any prior sketching, preferring the spontaneous technique.

Once completed the mural can be given coats of varnish or protective acrylic glaze to protect the work from UV rays and surface damage.