Contact Ellen Leigh for your mural painting needs in SE Michigan

The Creative Work Process

Each project that I undertake goes through the same creative work process from beginning to end, all described below:

Making the Decision:

With over 20 years of experience, I have built the skills and versatility that enable me to produce a large variety of murals and beautiful designer finishes. With mural styles as simple as cartoon characters for a child’s room, all the way to painterly landscape murals that make you want to walk right into them, I can bring the right mix of color, design and excitement to your walls.

I have painted murals as large as 1,800 square feet, down to ones the size of a family portrait. Since I work with both Commercial and Residential clients, I have painted them on all kinds of surfaces. Murals can be painted onto wood or canvas and then installed on site or, most often, painted directly onto a wall.

Murals transform the feel of a room more completely than any other art form. Combine the unique characteristics of a particular space, with the needs and preferences of the people who live there, and the room easily becomes the most popular space in the home.

Each client is unique- some know exactly what they want and others only have a strong sense of how they want the room to feel,  but don’t have any idea of how to get there. My extensive experience and loyalty to achieving the best possible look for each space helps ensure a successful and enjoyable client/artist endeavor.

Each mural is unique, as is the space each mural will beautify. For this reason, there are a variety of ways to place the mural in the space.  Painting the entire mural on muslin and/or panels to then be installed by the artist or other qualified artisan is one way. Painting the entire mural on site is the most common. The best option depends on the specifics of the job.

Please contact me for more information.

1-734-420-5393 or e-mail:

At the Consultation:

Each consultation begins with your input and suggestions. I work with you to develop a basic idea of your mural or artwork before the artwork is begun. I am willing to go to great lengths to ensure the work is uniquely yours and provides the atmosphere you are looking for. If you are not completely sure how best to use your wall space, Ellen is ready with suggestions and ideas to assist you.

After discussing ideas and roughly sketching out the size and scope of the project, most frequently I will figure out a mutually agreed upon price for the work at the initial consult. Occasionally a bit more research needs to be done before a price can be settled on, but this seldom takes more than a day or two. I pride myself in working within the client’s budget to provide the best result possible and strive to be fair to all of my clients.

To schedule the work, and start the more in depth design process, a prepayment is requested and can range from 25% to 50% of the contract, depending on the materials, scope of work and time required to complete the project. The balance is due on completion of the work. A starting date is agreed on, time schedule and finish date as well as access to the building (if necessary) and other details. If samples are needed, those are created before the work commences and are approved by the client.

The Creative Work Process:

I show up on time on the scheduled work days and provide everything I needs to complete the work in a timely and orderly fashion. This  includes all ladders, equipment, drop cloths, paints and brushes. At the end of my work day, I  leave a clean and tidy work site that can be used if needed. The drop cloths and tools are usually gathered together in a remote corner or a secure place. Plans are made for the next day’s work and discussed if needed, and any changes made.

Most murals and paintings develop over several day’s time and layers of paints and glazes are needed to achieve the final look. Frequently the initial steps look somewhat garish, poorly painted and sometimes just plain ugly. The magic happens on the final day when all of the layers and details are completed~ the results are gorgeous, the process is sometimes fascinating to watch. I sometimes will post works in process on her blog, you can get a feel for how the work changes from day to day by viewing previous projects on the blog. Search WIP for an idea of how the work can change from day to day.

If the work is going to be subject to frequent or necessary cleaning, or is in a high traffic area, I will seal it with a clear acrylic sealer to protect it from harm. The paints and sealers used are high quality acrylic, low VOC and fast drying.

On approval of the finished work and final payment, the work site is cleaned up, all tools, drop-cloths, equipment and ladders removed from the space, loaded up in the truck and I’m on to the next endeavor~ leaving behind a beautiful new room and some business cards to hand out to your friends, associates, relatives and neighbors. Referrals are always appreciated!

Ellen drives a Mariner around town as part of the creative work process