Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Monday, June 11, 2012

A little splasha happy...

Some jobs are pure fun.  Especially jobs for friends, and especially when they feed me lovely meals and take me on historic home tours, and most especially when they have an inspiration photo of something they like, but beyond that, they just want art.  I spent most of my weekend in St. Cloud, a couple of hours north of Belle Plaine, mostly in the bathroom.  No, not suffering gastric distress.  The food was divine.  I was painting the bathroom.

Before:  Wallpaper wainscoting was put in by the previous owner, as was the laminate counter.  My client stripped the wallpaper from the upper walls and painted them Behr "Peanut Butter", a shade we used in the adjacent kitchen.

Before:  Laminate counter in the pattern I call "Why Do They Even Bother?", as in, why do manufacturers even bother to make "faux-stone" patterned laminate that does not for one second stand a chance of being mistaken for stone? 

Not everyone will think this is real marble, but I have versions of this in my kitchen and bath, and most people think it's the real deal.  It's a not too expensive change, when tearing out and replacing a small but custom shaped counter may not be practical.  If you do it yourself, it will cost you under $50, and if you are the DIY type who has leftover stuff from other projects, it could be nearly free.

The basics of cheatie marble on laminate counters:
1. Squeaky clean and lightly sanded counter, with caulking trimmed neatly, crumbs of it removed.
2.  Bonding primer designed for laminate or plastics in general.
3.  Woolie blend a base color of latex wall paint with a few colors of art paint, using an art brush to create veins.
4.  When dry, buff smooth with a paper grocery bag (Yup! Just rip off a piece and gently rub in a circular motion, then feel how smooth it is!), and clean off the dust with a damp rag.
5.  (hardest step) Working quickly, brushing dry into wet, coat with a few coats of semi-gloss Minwax Polycrylic.  If you get brush strokes, do not try to perfect the wet stuff, no matter how tempting (don't say I didn't warn you), allow to dry, sand lightly, and re-coat.  Repeat numerous times until you achieve a perfect finish, or decide it's near-perfect enough.  Three light coats are ideal.
6.  Allow to cure a few days before letting water splash on it, and a couple of weeks before setting anything on it.

Folk art style tree of life mural.

I've done some one-stroke tole painting and even learned basic rosemaling years ago, but I chose to do this in a simpler style, without some of the blends.  I was thinking not only of the Scandinavian folk art popular here in the Midwest, but also of things like Zuni fetish animals, and those fantastical Oaxacan animals from Mexico, plus some of the other patterns found in old European needlepoints.

I can't help it.  I had to wrap onto the adjacent walls, and even let a dragonfly escape.  I'm betting a few readers will pick up on this as a repeat from another Tree of Life mural, of a completely different style, last month.  If you can't spot my style in the diversity of the stuff I paint, you might catch it in the compositional details.

Animals for this mural were chosen by the client, to represent family members, and the diversity of life on the planet.  I mixed styles from different cultures for the pure fun of it, and to represent the diversity of this extended family, though not exactly their precise ethnic backgrounds.

This one's pure Minnesota!  My first morning on the job, a cardinal came to the birdbath as I drank my morning coffee.  Good thing, 'cause I had forgotten quite how cardinal beaks look.  A crow inspected me from a rooftop next door, but while I enjoyed his visit, he didn't make it into the picture.

Wouldn't this make a happy fabric for curtains?  Or a sweet embroidery on a pillow?  Or maybe greeting cards!  Ah, something to do in my "free time"...

The Om symbol is carved into the base of the tree, and the roots are a joyful tangle.  Leo, with hearts in "ears that listen with love", stands to one side of the base.  The cat on the other side features the same ear detail, which I inserted to acknowledge this special trait, that I so admire in these dear friends.

Peacock is classic in Tree of Life depictions, though mine might be a bit more whimsical than classical.

And would it be my work if it included animals, but didn't include a rabbit?  Lucky for me, they listed it, or I mighta had to sneak it past them.

And, no, I'm not on a tortoise kick, nor a Tree of Life kick.  Don't you ever notice how certain words, pictures, or topics show up repeatedly in your life, sometimes?  Some call it coincidental, but I call it magical, and I'm happy to report, I've got a whole lotta this kind of magic happening lately! 
Check back often for updates on the happy magic in my little corner of the world, and in the meantime, if I can create some magic in your world, all the info for how to work with me is on my website, theartofthehome.com.

I love it when you leave comments below, but you can email me with questions or comments, too.  If you are a DIY sort, don't hesitate to ask how I do stuff.  I'm not at all secretive about products or processes, and I'm always happy to share whatever I know.  dawnmariedelara@gmail.com.

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