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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As with the inner, so with the outer

Last week it was the sanctuary walls and ceiling, this week, the wooden medallions on the exterior of St. John-Assumption Church got my attention.

Not quite my usual work, but friends are determined to keep me busy, and since it needed a color consult to match the yellow to the yellow bricks, and some skill with a brush to highlight the details in the gingerbread, I said "Sure, why not?"  Besides...

it was another chance to defy gravity.  We did use a lift, so it really wasn't difficult reaching the top medallions, and though the temperature was pushing 90 degrees, we were on the shady side of the church most of the time, with a light breeze, so it was a pleasant couple of days.

And here's how last week's sanctuary painting came out...

(Click to enlarge, click again for detail)

...and here's what the parish council wanted, but the diocese vetoed:

(Click to enlarge, click again to enlarge more)

I think if they had seen the actual sample, they might have approved the band of clouds, but they only saw the watercolor sketch, and I couldn't leave the sample until the next month's meeting, especially since I didn't exactly have permission to put it there.  It was Divine inspiration, I tell ya, and when an artist gets marching orders...well, what's a girl to do??? 

I think even the angels liked it better.

Ah, well, you can't always get what you want, but if you do the job they ordered, you can at least get paid.  Maybe next time it needs fresh paint, the diocese will give it the go ahead.  Thanks to my dear friends at St. John's who seem to be making a point of keeping me busy and out of trouble...or is it just that you figure that if I spend enough time there you'll eventually convert my heathen soul??? :)

No new photos of progress on this house again this week, since the few minutes I wasn't on jobs or running errands, I've been finishing the last non-photogenic kitchen bits.  That's about done, so I'm starting on the front porch and entryway Saturday.  I'll be working on her most of the weekend, but I will be taking breaks to do a few just-for-fun things.  Working on Belle Ami is my idea of fun, but one can get too much of a good thing... even chocolate loses it's appeal (or so I've heard), after a point. 

On Friday night I'm going to sit in the ditch and drink beer while watching cars drive by.  Really.  It's 'posta be fun.  Okay, the cars are classics, touring up to Henderson, and the ditch is actually the edge of my friend Beth's beautiful garden.  With enough mosquito dope to drown anything that isn't repelled, and a couple bottles of Leinenkeugel Honeyweiss (which I have no doubt spelled wrong, and spell check isn't classy enough to have this listed), it should be a great evening.

If you are in the area this weekend, don't miss the Jordan Art Festival, on Saturday and Sunday.  Because of my focus on finishing this place, I'm not participating this year (aside from painting the endless stream of sign orders!), but many of my dear friends are.  Try to catch Cindy Heimerl on stage Saturday, as storyteller Ruby LeFey...thought provoking and hysterically funny.  Maureen Carlson will also be doing storytelling, as well as having her polymer clay work on display, and her center open for you to check out.  Check JordanArtFestival.com for other features. 

There is wine tasting from local winery, Crofut, and the famous Pork in the Park, so I'm planning a lunch break there, while the caulking on Belle's not-quite vertical columns sets up.  Then I'm planning a lovely little nap.  Hey, I'll be starting work at 5:00 a.m., and it'll be in the 90's and possibly storming by late afternoon, so it's not like I'm slacking.  Okay, fine, I'll skip the wine.  Sheesh.

Have it good, and make something beautiful this week!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make each moment an occasion...

Here's one of last week's projects...

This is about 7 feet square.  click to enlarge.

If you want to see it in person, you might want to check it out at Mystic Journey's Yoga Open Houses, next Tuesday and Thursday, here in Belle Plaine, MN.  Both instructors will be there both nights, but only one will teach a sample class each night, so you may want to attend both.  More info is on Sarah's website, yourmysticjourney.com.   If yoga's a bit too sedate, I have it on good authority that belly dancing will be offered soon, and having done just a little of that years ago, I can promise you that it's both good exercise, and good fun!

This week, I'm getting my exercise playing on the monkey bars.  Okay, actually, I'm monkeying up and down two and a half decks of scaffolding, adding some color and stencils to the sanctuary at St. John/Assumption Catholic Church. 

Somehow, I enjoyed last week's sanctuary a little more.  It's tornado season in Minnesota, which means hot and humid, and the peak of this sanctuary gets steamy by the end of the day!  The best part of the job are my guardian angels, TC and Carol Fogarty, who stop in to check on me often throughout the day, and bring me home baked cookies and iced Frappucino every afternoon.  Trust me, I'm burning it off...and the paint is looking pretty good so far, too.

p.s. Carol, please don't worry so.  I grew up following my big brother "the billy goat" up every cliff and tree in Eastern Oregon.  This isn't even kid stuff!  Really.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sirens and Sanctuary

I'll tell you all about this week's project in a minute, but first, a note about something I love about Belle Plaine:  Tonight, someone's kid(s) had a moment they will remember all their lives.  I don't know who may have won the state baseball tournament, or maybe it was the spelling bee, but as happens about once a year, long slow sirens and the honking of horns were heard, and I, like all the neighbors, stepped out on my porch to watch a firetruck, waving kids hanging out the windows, leading a parade of honking vehicles through town to the schools.  It doesn't matter if the winners come home at 1:00 in the morning, if you're a kid in this town, and you achieve something big, there are grown-ups who will meet you at the city limits to make sure the whole town celebrates you.  Sometimes I think this town is as backwards as they come, but tonight I'm reminded that it's full of some really fine people.

(The gray is because it was still wet when I shot this photo.  Click to enlarge, click again to zoom)

I spent the week with some really fine people, sculpting this hummingbird vine over their dining room windows.  As fine as the people, their fine feathered friends really stole my heart.  Their home is on a peninsula of land between two creeks, and they have a backyard full of bird feeders.  In the last four days, I saw orioles, black-capped chickadees, ruby throated hummingbirds, rose breasted grosbeaks, cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, blue jays, mourning doves, house finches, purple finches, wild turkeys, white breasted nuthatches, yellow bellied sapsuckers, chipmunks, and four squirrels, two of which were so fat, they could be mistaken for small bears.  Okay, that last bit is an exaggeration, but the list is not. 

I have never seen so many birds of so many varieties at one time in my life, and to watch the different species interact, which ones played nice, which ones chased others away, was so distracting, I actually ended up working an extra day (okay, part of that was the usual "plan the job one way, then dream up a way it could look even cooler" thing that I do).  Still, to spend the last four days sculpting pretties, plus some other decorating, for these two gentle souls, in the refuge they have created was the very best way I could have spent the work week.  Heaven on Earth.  Sanctuary.  Ahhhhhh.

(click and click again)

And just to give you an idea of the endless options, here's another version of hummingbird plaster, done with Italian style scroll work, for the traditional home of one of my favorite customers and dear friend...

cell phone shots, better ones to come.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

posting postponed

Due to the ridiculously high volume of sign orders (yup, more sign orders), the Thursday night blog will likely happen around Saturday noon.  Sculpted hummingbird plaster job is going beautifully by day...I'm working at a window with a hummingbird feeder just a few feet from my ladder, so I have live models, not to mention great entertainment.  Second shift signwriting is going beautifully by night, with Belle's projects happening in small bits in the early mornings.  If you are awake at 3:45, send me some good thoughts... and a triple espresso!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Be careful what you ask for

Have you ever asked for a sign from the Divine, and gotten a billboard of an answer?  This actually happens to me fairly often, but I think the Universe is getting a good laugh this week. 
Click pictures to enlarge, click again for detail
(Just painted this one)

If you are a former sign writer, and wish to stay that way, I suggest you not ask for signs from God.  I just wanted a little hint that a project I have in the works is going to actually one day pay off.  "Could I please", I very specifically asked, "have a clear sign that this idea of mine will make money?" 

Um...got it. 

I am pleased to be busy, and I do enjoy lettering, but it's a bit like the pop machine that just keeps spitting out cans of cola.  Pretty much any order this past week that hasn't been a sign, and there have been ten of those, has at least included lettering.  Even my volunteer projects this week were signs.  Considering the fact that I have not been a commercial sign painter for many, many years, it's a little extraordinary to keep answering the door to people asking for them. 
Call it coincidence, if you like, but I know better than to ask for guidance and then ignore the answer.
These pictures are of last week's work.  Some Art Nouveau lettering with a Celtic flavor, and details from the same era in the adjoining kitchen.  I am grateful for everything, even the sign orders.  Especially the sign orders, though I do look forward to next week's sculpted plaster projects...nary a word involved!
As for progress on my own house this week, nothing photogenic to show off.  Some design sketches that may amount to something, a little primer, a little varnish...oh, and a great table I found on craigslist.org, which I have been searching for at an affordable price, since choosing to buy this house.  Seriously, I had a picture of the table (Jacobean Revival, popular from the turn of the century through the thirties in this part of the country), and was looking for the kind of house it would go in.   Found the house five years ago, found the table (for a song!)  five days ago...I'll show it on here one of these weeks.  An extra special thank you to Cathy Isles for her patronage, her joyful encouragement of big dreams, and the tip that paid for the table!