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Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
Kim Edwards painted horses in her daughter's bedroom. Edwards also paints murals in businesses.

AMERICAN FORK — Painting the walls has turned into more than a hobby for artist Kimberly Edwards.

She's making a business out of putting art murals on the walls of private homes and medical facilities.

One of the first paintings she did was in her niece's bedroom. She created a beach sunset scene that brightened the room and brought it alive, Edwards said. The scene depicts towering palm trees in the foreground with the sun approaching the ocean in the background. Like many of her Trompe l'oeil wall murals, the scene blends into adjoining walls.

Murals can raise the value of a home, she said, or the new owner can paint over them, which happened to one of her paintings. (She keeps a photographic record of each painting.)

After painting murals in several relatives' and friends' homes, word-of-mouth started bringing her business, she said.

One of her first clients was the Dream Castle Toy Store in Lehi where Edwards painted a scene that included the owner, her husband and her children. Edwards did another mural for Carla Hardcastle at her Bountiful toy store.

"It gives (the store) a little more spunk," said Reanna Glover, a clerk at the story. "I personally think it completes the store."

"I've has lots of comments on it," Hardcastle said. "Some people are amazed at the detail. Little kids look at it in awe."

Edwards moved on to "Jump On It," a gymnasium in Lindon with a roomful of trampolines. Not only did she paint fun scenes on the walls there, she also painted murals in the party rooms.

"My father is my best critic," she said of artist Ron Johnson, who helped restore the murals in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her mother, Joyce Johnson, is an illustrator.

Another of her paintings decorates the walls of the University of Utah Diabetic Center in the pediatric department. That one was for an Eagle Scout project to honor the Scout's grandmother, who was dying of diabetes, Edwards said.

Pulling from photographs taken when family members were youngsters, she depicted a park scene with children playing.

She has also painted murals in dentist and chiropractor offices, hospitals and upscale private homes.

"Every one is different," she said. "I pull it out of the client's head."

She meets with clients for an initial consultation, then sketches what they describe before starting the work. Each mural takes as much as 40 hours and can be completed in a week. Prices can range from $400 for a simple painting to $2,000 for a fully detailed mural. She never prices a mural until she meets with the client and completes a sketch.

Best of all, she said, she gets to work around her four children's schedules "so I get to be a stay-at-home mom" when they are not in school.

Her work ranges from cartoon characters to detailed portraits and classic, faux Tuscany landscapes as though looking through a window. Customers who want to take the paintings with them when they move can have them painted on a large canvas, she said.

While her work fulfills the decorating dreams of her clients, "this is a dream come true for me," she said.


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