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  • Molly Keen

Cartagena, Colombia Mural

What a pleasure it’s been to spend three weeks painting in a house, not a hostel and alone! This piece is in the second story of an apartment home. It overlooks the sea, has great light and the wall was over 10 feet tall by 12 feet wide. This piece was on a flat surface and had some light structures to the left and right. I also did not have a ladder which made for some messy painting when trying to get to the high surfaces.


Location: Cartagena, Colombia. A rather small Spanish Colonial town located on the Carribbean Coast. The town has amazing energy that has large balconies with flowers pouring over the railings, artwork in form of statues and murals all over the city, and people constantly buzzing around the city.

Time to paint: 3 weeks, 3-4 hours a day

About the process: I went back to my old style from college and decided to do a Cartagena cityscape. The city was such an inspiration so I had to go for it. This process involves a couple of different layers. I start by painting the background one solid color. Often when the wall is white it can be overwhelming and I find myself thinking too much about what goes on top of it and what could go wrong. So instead I take white and a little dab of other colors and begin painting a solid background. That way it also makes the painting feel like there is depth to the piece as well. Then I start by sketching. That way if I mess up, I can always go over it with the same background color. The drawings go on top, then a couple layers of detail. Layer in spanish is called cuatromano. Cuatro which means four and mano which means hand. It makes sense as it usually takes four strokes with your hand to create one layer.

What I learned: This style was fairly familiar to me. I haven’t done a piece this large so it was difficult to fill the whole wall. I learned that I should never use a chair and a cooler again as a ladder and that a fan is a necessity when pairing in 90 degree weather.





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