From cave painting and Pompeian houses to the wallpaper scenery of a quarter-century ago, murals have come and gone from the home. These two books are evidence of a recent resurgence. Marvelous Murals is a good, straightforward manual for mountain scenes, woodlands, waterfalls, musical themes, underwater motifs, and farm scenes. Beginners will appreciate the progressive difficulty of the exercises, starting with room preparation and simple silhouettes and advancing to complex textures and perspectives. In Trompe l'Oeil Murals Using Stencils, Royals hopes to make it possible for the novice to achieve the heightened reality of the genre using the simplest of tools and methods. She begins with preliminary tryouts and small-scale projects for faux surfaces, like used brick, stone blocks, velvet drapery, and marble. Six major projects take on arched brick windows, lattice windows, limestone niches, etc. Both of these books are recommended for crafts collections. More advanced artists will also want Sarah Hocombe's challenging Fresco Painting for Home & Garden (LJ 7/99).
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