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

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

This week I am very grateful for the friends I've made here in Belle Plaine. I spent the last few days helping Melissa Schwartz paint her double living room. Nothing special, beyond a color so like fudgecicles that it makes you want to lick the walls, but I appreciate that she keeps me in mind this time of year, when decorating jobs are scarcer, as people get ready for the holidays. I especially appreciate the extra cash, as my van had a little fire under the hood this weekend, and is now down at John's Mobil...please, Kenny, tell me it isn't fried.

Last year, Melissa had me paint her daughter Janie's room to look as though she sleeps in the tack room of a horse stable, with her desperately wished-for horse, Snicker, looking in. I don't have any illusions that Janie likes this as much as she would like the real thing, but I do know that using visual symbols to help manifest a thing is quite powerful, so "hang onto the dream, Sweetheart!"
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Say whatever you want

This week I spent much of my time prepping for Nest Feathers November Edition, nestfeathersboutique.blogspot.com, so didn't do a lot of wall work. One project I did complete was for Carol Buszmann, here in Belle Plaine. They have a beautiful home overlooking the river, with a vaulted ceiling in the living room. Carol has had words stencilled on the high walls before, and has purchased vinyl rub-on lettering for another spot in her home, but this needed something custom.

As you can see, it takes up the whole wall, and the lettering and scroll work are stylized to mimic the bull rushes and river grasses visible from the window opposite. These are details you can't get with stencils or vinyl. There is also a warmth to hand-lettering that can't be matched.

Words are powerful things, and if there is a phrase that resonates with you, consider giving it a prominent place on a wall in your home. It doesn't have to be lettered this large. However, going big means you never have to try to figure out what kind of art to display in these sometimes awkward spots, and there's nothing to have to climb up and dust! Very practical, and you know I'm all about practicality!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Paint Like an Egyptian?

Sometimes, the simplest things take the longest. Rita's bath was one of those projects. She wanted something "simple, but different", so after a few experiments, we decided on a papyrus finish like that in her artwork, complete with the jagged edge. Overall, it looked good, but the edge looked unfinished, instead of interesting. We decided a more even fade to white might be better, so I feathered it out. Better, but still needing something.

I spent some time at the library and online, researching Egyptian art, and came up with the lotus blossom. It symbolizes the sun, rebirth, and new beginnings, and is feminine in nature. I used colors from her framed art, being sure to incorporate some of the deep rose, to emphasize the femininity and match the wall color in the adjoining room. The bands are painted gold to coordinate with the fixtures in the room, the gold in the papyrus finish, and even Rita's favorite toenail polish. The style is kept simple, so it won't compete with the art that hangs over it.

I don't get rich when jobs take extra time like this, but I don't mind doing it. I promise at the outset that the job isn't finished until the client is delighted, and I mean it. It's no fun for me to drive away wondering if I got it right, worrying that I somehow missed the mark. I can't promise to always finish as early as I estimate (which is why I usually won't say "yes" to painting your dining room three days before Thanksgiving), but I do promise to never leave you with less than you were expecting, for the price you expected to pay.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Divinity is in the Details

Those of you who read music just might recognize the score in the photo above. Yup, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, or as they call it at Hope Presbyterian in Richfield, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. Whatever you call it, it's one of my favorites. And this job, though a lot more work than I planned, was a joy to do.

This is one of five classrooms I did five years ago for this church. The walls are parchment glazed, with sheets of music scattered randomly. An unused bulletin board got a shadow box frame and a montage of retired music instruments, with the help of their uber-capable handyman, Reed. The music staff is made of sprinkler wire, suspended from the ceiling with mono filament, and occasionally screwed to the wall.

When it came time to add the notes, it suddenly occurred to me (give me a break, I was designing five different classrooms at the same time, and my brain was on overload) that people who read music would use this room. Randomly scattered notes would be, well, disrespectful. Ode to joy came immediately to mind, and I was delighted to hear that it is also sung as a hymn. My sincere gratitude to the women who helped cut all the foamcore notes.

This was such a fun project because they gave me a list of the classrooms, showed me the furnishings they had to work with, and then let me come up with the ideas. They supplied volunteers to help with some of the painting and faux finishing, and it was so rewarding, teaching them to do creative things they didn't believe they were capable of. It also gave me a chance to talk with some of the women who teach the "Rotation Model Sunday School" classes in these rooms, enabling me to tweak the details for better function.

When I did this job, I didn't yet have a digital camera, so when they called me back for touch-ups, I took the opportunity to re-shoot most of the rooms. Check the sidebar for photos of some of the others.

While you're checking out things, check out the work of George Bilak, an artist who recently visited Minneapolis, and quite bravely hung out with the Third Thursday Art Group, a band of wild women, if ever there was one! It's probably good I didn't know I was in the presence of such genius at the time, as I would have been so worried about offending him with our raucous humor that I wouldn't have gotten to know what a charming and witty man he is. His website, featuring carved wood miniatures and beautifully painted icons, is www.carvingart.com. Be sure to note the size on these pieces, as you appreciate the minute detail. Then go to www.carvingart.com/A0..htm (that's a zero after the A)to check out what happens when he works BIG. I am in awe!

While these icons are for The Orthodox Church, George says that the Catholic Church is bringing them back as well, and of course many churches and other public and private spaces incorporate fine wood carving. If you think anyone you know might be interested in George's work, please pass his info along, or direct them to this blog. We artists count on word of mouth to keep us in the business of creating beauty, so please feel free to talk about us!