Carin has painted a number of murals in Honduras and Guatemala at schools, mostly requested by the teachers or community members. The theme is usually chosen in agreement with community members, teachers or students and sometimes with the sponsors. In some cases, the artist organizes a series of workshops about the theme (for example a workshop on the history and cultural significance of mural painting) and involves the participants in the painting of the mural. The method depends completely on the wishes of the community and the circumstances, because sometimes painting a mural can be a risky business (inaccessible walls, rickety ladders etc.), unsuitable for young assistants.
Even if the situation isn’t ideal for direct participation of children in the actual painting, they can be involved in the process by discussing the theme and exploring ways how to visualize the idea they want to express. Working as a team is also important, which can be encouraged by painting a mural on big sheets of paper or making a collage together.
After a thorough exploration of the theme with community members, the artist makes a design in Photoshop in which she tries to steer away from the more traditional and stereotyped symbolism of rural murals but instead use unexpected but recognizable elements with direct links to the community, for example a portrait of a community member against a background that refers to the community and its history, problems or traditions, of course incorporating the results of the previously conducted workshops.
The design is then printed and drawn on the wall using a chalk grid. Once the design is sketched, the actual painting is almost like “painting by numbers”, ideal for young artists to help out with.
The murals are painted with high quality latex paint (Comex) that is washable, long lasting and doesn’t require a protective varnsh, on top of a coat of primer.
If possible, Carin likes to celebrate the completion of the mural with a little ceremony so the community will feel involved, to give the mural added value and explain people how to take care of it (not playing soccer against the murals, throwing rocks etc.).