‘MY’ Pacific Myth – Mural Painting

Many people who follow Disfusional Studios know me for my costuming/cosplay side of the studio. Not many people know that I am a traditionally trained artist. When I attended college; I obtained a degree in Art and Design. Sort of makes sense now; where I get my extensive pool of knowledge from (wise senpais of college years past).
Typically these ‘traditional art’ skills get pushed to the back burner and only come out for commercial use, personal commissions, freelance mural projects, and around the holiday/present time. With that being said; this last December I picked back up my paint brushes and a large slab of masonite.

Back story: You will need to know a little bit more, prior to diving into the good stuff. Years ago my husband’s brother approached me with a pinterest image. His ‘then’ girlfriend had been interested in something she saw online. He wondered if a recreation was, at all, possible.

Orig. Artist Unknown

**I was able to hunt back through my 2015 photo storage and find the original image/progress photos.**

Easy enough. I was able to get a large cut of masonite. During my lunch/after work I was able to gesso and prime two masonite boards. The original board was too large. Hindsight, I thought I would have time to paint myself something too.

(Yes, that second masonite board is still primed and leaning against a wall in my studio… 6 years later.)

[ABOVE] Two large masonite boards are laying out to dry; as they were just prepped with white gesso.

[RIGHT] A couple quick progress photos of the 2015 painting. Finished painting is located at top of collage.

I gifted the above (ugly) painting to my now-brother in law, and this then-girlfriend. Like many romances; it crashed and burned. When he moved back home, I “confiscated” the painting. She did not want it; and it was placed in a weird/inconvenient location at their mother’s house. I told him, I would paint over the original painting – in hopes to give back at a later date. After all, who wants a painting that was originally made for your ex… not me! The more time I spent looking at this painting, in my studio, the more I hated every bit of its ugly being.

Now we are all caught up. I have had this old/ugly painting in my studio hallway for almost 2 years now. He has on multiple occasions asked about it. The brother in law now has a new place with his current-girlfriend. So it was time give him something to hang back up on the wall(s). This time, I made sure the painting was specifically designed and created for Cameron.

Are you unfamiliar with/never heard of the Band
‘Protest the Hero’?

Protest the Hero is a Canadian progressive metal band from WhitbyOntario….
On October 15, 2015, the band announced that their next release would not be a conventional full-length album, but would instead be a subscription-based release of six tracks through the online music service 
Bandcamp. Each of the songs, including artwork, instrumental versions, and high-quality downloads, were released through Bandcamp once per month to paid subscribers until March 2016, forming an eventual EP entitled Pacific Myth. The first track, “Ragged Tooth,” was released to subscribers on the same day.”

The original artwork for Protest the Hero, Pacific Myth, album is by Jeff Jordan and Graham Curran.

  • Graham Curran — artwork for “Ragged Tooth,” “Tidal,” “Harbinger”
  • Jeff Jordan — artwork for “Cold Water,” “Cataract,” “Caravan”
[ABOVE} Original Protest the Hero, Pacific Myth album cover.

All the artwork that was released alongside the album is absolutely beautiful. We had also seen Protest the Hero, in concert, March 22, 2018 at St. Andrews Hall. With this being one of Cameron’s favorite bands, it seemed like a no-brainer. I would recreate their Pacific Myth album art on that stupid-oversized slab of masonite.

Here is what the full album cover looks like (RIGHT). It is absolutely breathtaking.
However, like every recreation – there definitely were some “artistic freedoms/liberties” taken here and there. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow; but, it always turns out good!

Shout out the the Joann Fabrics ’10 for $10.00′ sale, I was able to purchased A LOT of Folk Art paint for a fraction of the cost! With an extra coupon laying around; I picked up a plastic tub to assist in storing all my new paints. I ended up getting two of every color I matched/selected for this painting. I did not want to run out or have to compromise later on.

1. First, I took a palm-sander to the surface of the original painting.  Originally, there was an uneven texture from the previous painting.  After sanding and wiping down with a damp rag; I coated the masonite with two-layers of gesso (making sure to let it dry in between). You can still vaguely see the original painting under the white. This will not affect the finished product!
2. With the masonite prepped, I used cut up sponges to dab/paint a gradient of blues across the space-scape. After it had dried, I went back in and touched a few spots up. It is always important to paint from the background to the foreground.
3. After my sponge-layer was dry, it was time to do a controlled-splatter paint on top.  I had to make sure all the “speckles” were evenly dispersed across my space-scape! The ‘speckles’ really did pop against the dark blue backdrop.

4. Using my original drawing/guide; I cut-out the background and used the remainder as a stencil.  This tip/trick saved a bunch of time!
5. To make sure I did not lose the outline of my Manta Rays, I gave them a thin coat of paint prior to painting the planet’s surface/detail. This also prevented me from applying layers of paint on an area that will need to be cleaned up and painted over later.
6. The planet required an underpainting to hatch out the placement of land and sea. It was enjoyable layering so many different colors together. There were so many different colors of Folk Art painted used.

7. Once the paint on the planet had dried, it was time to use that fan brush and sweep in some “happy little” clouds. Thank you Bob Ross.
8. Lastly, the Manta Rays themselves! I definitely took some artistic liberties when it came to their overall color schemes.  I really wanted to use some reds and brighter blues.

A. Kalthoff
‘My’ Pacific Myth, 2019
Acrylic on Masonite
45 in x 33 in
I used Americana ‘DuraClear’ Satin Varnish to seal my mural painting.

To protect and seal my work, I tried something new. Americana has a ‘DuraClear’ Satin Varnish. I am in the market for something that is ‘odorless’ and safe to use inside. I love my polyurethane, but with Michigan weather and temperatures – it cannot hurt to have options.

I applied two thin layers of this [RIGHT] satin varnish. The first coat was fun to apply. You could see the paint brighten with the application. Pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to use. I will have to keep you updated with how will it holds up against UV light. Some varnishes like to yellow over time. Fingers crossed that is not the case her~

I am super pleased with how this all came together. If you liked this painting and want to see future content; please do not forget to subscribe and/or follow. Thank you!


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Until next time; I’m Ashlee Kalthoff of Disfusional Studios – don’t forget to ‘creatively unfold your imagination’. Bye!