A Fish Out of Water

Growing up in Pacific Palisades, California, avid surfer Morgan Bricca has always had an affinity for the ocean. In fact, the Southern California native even honeymooned while on a surfing expedition, bunking it with 12 other surfers on a boat in the South Pacific. Little did Bricca know, however, that her love for water would one day help fuel a whole new passion: painting murals.

Bricca, who now lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two children, specializes in hand-painted wall murals, encompassing trompe l’oeil murals, Italian landscapes, beach murals, underwater murals, and children’s murals for homes, businesses, and public spaces all over the San Francisco Bay Area and California.

“I specialize in custom hand-painted wall murals, which means the client takes part in the creative process,” says Bricca, who donates 10 percent of her profits to Trickle Up, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the poorest of the poor become self-sufficient. “Those who are looking for an artist frequently already have a vision of what they want. My job is to take that inspiration and turn it in to something beautiful.”

Coming up with ideas for murals is no challenge for Bricca. She usually asks her clients if they have a favorite vacation or a honeymoon locale that they would enjoy looking at on a regular basis. She also looks around their homes and sees what they cherish and what colors they like, allowing her to capture the essence of her clients’ inspiration.

In the case of Scott and Jill Henderson, two big channel swimmers, the assignment was capturing their love for the Hawaiian Islands. Bricca converted a huge hallway in the Henderson’s Los Altos bungalow home into a faux ocean, highlighted by a 15-foot humpback whale diving into the water along with her baby.

The Maui-inspired scene also features several monk seals, turtles, a big coral reef, and a collection of colorful fish. It was such a hit that the Hendersons decided to add a “Hawaiian Island getaway” on all four walls of their baby girl’s room at the end of the hallway, including a little girl in a canoe and a girl relaxing on a hammock with her yellow lab.

Jill Henderson says she was somewhat hesitant prior to embarking on the mural project because many murals are “so cheesy.” That wasn’t the case with Bricca’s latest beauty. “I can’t say enough for her work,” adds Henderson, who views her hallway mural as a way to commemorate the special Maui-to-Lanai channel swim she and her husband have experienced.

“She is insightful, talented, creative, and has an amazing level of professionalism,” Henderson says of Bricca. 650-814-1490, morganmurals.com.