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, July 29, 2010

Isn't it Marbelous?

No matter what the mistake, it can always be fixed.  Well, when it comes to paint anyway...

Click to enlarge, click again to show detail...and I invite you to play a little game of "Find six things that are different" in these pictures of my own porch...answers next week!

The front porch columns in the first photo are pretty realistic, but with so much white in them, they don't really relate to the stone bases, and thus, not to anything on the porch.  Luckily, the weather has been cooperative this week, not counting the hideous soup known as Minnesota humidity that boiled over on Tuesday...really, you could swim in it, if only you had gills.  So, for the entertainment of the regulars at the Sparetime Tavern, just across the street, I re-marbled the columns to more closely match the color of the stone bases (sad that so many have nothing more interesting to do on lunch hour, than sit and watch paint dry...twice).

With the dark veins the columns are a bit more theatrical, but glazes aren't really an option for something that gets so much sun.  I actually don't mind that they aren't too realistic, because know how I know I got it right?  I asked three different passersby what they thought of the columns, and none realized at first that they had been painted!  Each had stopped to compliment me on the beautiful porch face lift (ego strokes are just one reason to work in such a public field of art! ;) ), but although the columns are the most obvious change, and although they have been white for over one hundred years, not one of the three realized they were different! 

Am I offended?  Not a bit!  To do something that fits so well that it seems like original architecture is usually what I'm aiming for.  I don't want people to say, "Oh, you painted!", I want them to say "This house is gorgeous, and so welcoming!"  That's my definition of success.  So, no, I don't always get it right on the first try, but that's the beauty of paint:  it's 100% custom.  And just so you know, when this happens on a paid job, the quoted price stands.  Figuring out the perfect solution for your house is just part of the service I offer.

Now, for something more realistic, here are three marbleized columns painted to identically match existing marble, with a little hand-sculpted plaster detail, to make up for the fact that they are standard issue fiberglass units.

Click to enlarge, click again for close-up detail

Have a perfect week, no matter how many tries it takes!  I'm headed over to keystonewomenscircle.blogspot.com next, to share what I learned about sleep (one of my favorite things), this week.  Join me!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Third? Fourth? Who's counting?

The Third Thursday Art Group met today.  Yes, we know it's the fourth Thursday, but the third one snuck in so early, all but Melody forgot.  Meet some of the members :

Cindy Heimerl, our ring leader, and birthday girl this week, paints abstract acrylics, sculpts bits of jewelry and other findings into masterpieces, and blank spaces into unique environments.  Owner of The Bohemian Barn, a semi-private party spot, for coffee socials, improv nights, and Glamour Camping (think fluffy antique beds beneath the arching rafters, lit by chandeliers...pure magic just for the girls).  On improv nights, you might meet her alter ego, Ruby LeFey, whose stories will make you laugh so hard you blow wine out your nose...not that I ever do anything so undignified.

This is Donna Faus, Cindy's mom.  I was so glad to see her at our meeting today, as she doesn't always make it.  She paints in watercolor, and gives great "mom hugs".   You know what I mean...you just know you're getting mama love, even if she doesn't say a thing. 

Melody Villars is primarily a sculptor in clay, though she paints, crafts, and makes the most exquisite collage cards.  See her work at melodyvillars.com.

Marci Halfmann loves all that glitters.  She makes crazy fun necklaces, which I affectionately call my magpie jewelry.  Surprisingly, none of us wore one today, though usually nearly all of us have on a Marci creation.  Anyway, Marci buys all her materials out of pocket, then donates every penny of her proceeds to Oasis, a parrot rescue organization.  She's always in pigtails, and full of giggles and the bawdiest jokes.

And yes, here's me.  Not nice to put all your girlfriends snapshots up and not brave one of your own.  Didn't recognize me in mascara and clean clothes, did you?

And what of job photos?

Promises, promises.  I can't seem to keep a one this week.  Last week, I promised to have pics of the marbled and plastered master bedroom I was working on, but half way through the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant on Sunday, I realized I had the camera case, but no camera, and no time to circle back home to grab it.  I'll pop back down there for photos after their new flooring is in and the furniture replaced. 

Next, I promised to have photos of Belle's new porch paint up here, and I thought I would complete that today, but due to uncooperative weather, I now have a lot of  soggy, freshly scraped bare wood, which will have to dry before I can finish the paint.  Perhaps next week...

And last, but not least, and on a respectfully serious note, I promised to be a Quinche til death, but after 15 years, I give up on keeping that promise, too.  Some of you won't be surprised to hear this.  To others, I apologize for not saying anything in person.   It's just a case of "oil and water" (candles and curtains?), and not the cheeriest of subjects on the job, so I've kept it low key.  The legalities, along with the name change, are in the works, but don't be surprised if you spot deLara cropping up on some things.  For those of you who would offer your prayers, please hold Wilson in them, as well.  I can't regret a day of my life, not even the hardest ones, as they've led me to today, and to knowing all of you.  

Endings and beginnings...blank pages, fresh pencils, new chapters...next week. 

For some sunnier news, check out our parade photos on keystonewomenscircle.blogspot.com.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Have I told you lately that...

I love my job.  Today while I worked, I listened to amazing live music, played by my client's teenage son.  His dad mentioned that he doesn't read music, plays by ear, and composes his own, so I think I was hearing something improvised...Rachmaninoff crossed with Vince Guaraldi?  A very hip classical jazz fusion?  Maybe it was just a practice session, and he was running one song into the next with flair.  This guy isn't just good for a kid, this guy made me beg for more!  Unfortunately, he had to go to work, so I had to settle for MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) the rest of the day.  His folks say he isn't on myspace, but keep your ears open for a group called "Lady in the Radiator".  

I've spent the week in Mankato, doing classic marbled walls in a dramatic gold and umber, with sculpted plaster detail.  It's going nicely, and should finish Sunday, so I'll show that next week.  Driving to Mankato, 35 miles south of Belle Plaine, is always good for a smile, first because it is a really pretty drive, and second, because it goes through The Valley of the Jolly Green Giant.  Yup, this is where that overgrown asparagus spear is from.  I find myself thinking up new ways to end the sentence,"Though I pass through the shadow of the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant, I will..."  Keeps me awake, amused and fearless!

Here's what's new at my place:

This is a floorcloth, painted for the living room.  It isn't hemmed yet in this shot, as I had to roll it out of the way to work on parade costumes for a merry band of super heroes, but I'll get back to it early next week.  Click to enlarge, click again for details.

I'm hoping to get a proper website up soon.  My favorite webguy isn't available, and since I'll be needing to do frequent updates, it may be just as well that I do it myself.  I need to find a template that gives me galleries for my portfolio, and preferably one that lets me use one of my own photos for the background.  If you know of something other than godaddy or weebly, let me know.  Also, if you have any favorite websites that are really easy to navigate, or really gorgeous to look at, let me know, either by comment on here, or email dmquinche@gmail.com .

If you're in the area this weekend, it's Bar-B-Q Days in Belle Plaine!  There are events starting Friday night, ending Sunday night with fireworks.  Mostly, it's a small town celebration with great food, carnival rides, and a parade on Saturday at noon.  Watch for the Keystone Women's Circle, along with my art students, as "Everyday Super Heroes".  Uh-huh, that'll be me in the ninja painter get-up.  See ya there!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Define Art

Every Monday I have the great joy of spending an hour and a half with at least one of three beautiful artists, all aged eight and younger, Jensen, Faith, and Kadence.  They come individually to take private art lessons, though I'm pretty sure I learn more than they do.  As a commercial artist, my work is very results driven, and though I always enjoy creating it, I wouldn't always call the process FUN.  Teaching kids forces me to have fun.

A few weeks ago, Jensen, trying to paint a parrot in acrylic on canvas, suddenly froze up and refused to try, with the words, "I don't know how.  I'm not a good artist."  I coaxed her through it, but as a teacher, the episode haunted me for most of two weeks, piling another worry on a small mountain of life's challenges.  Then, a few days ago, with a design deadline looming, I found myself circling repeatedly through the kitchen, opening the cupboards, as if something that wasn't there five minutes ago, some magic chocolate something that would cure my anxiety, would have appeared. 

Thanks to the work of Sarah Bran de Leon, CH, Calmwatershypnosis.com and a couple runs of hypnotherapy, I didn't actually eat the cupboards, nor their contents, and finally stopped to listen to the soundtrack in my head..."I don't know how.  I'm not a real artist."  Whoa.  Where did that come from?  Oh, yeah, an online forum, wherein the trippy drughead participants called their work true art, and the rest of us commercial sell-outs.  I shrugged it off at the time, but obviously it had gotten under my skin. 

Some deep breaths, a little EFT (google meridian tapping), and a conversation with God, and I remembered my truths:  Art is a form of the verb to be, as in "How art thou?"...You be, you be an artist...and all artists are fine artists, so long as they are happy.  Whatever one's mode, medium or level of technical skill, each has a place on this planet because every artistic voice is needed.  As an artistic translator, I happen to need (and like) a clear head to understand a client's concept and bring it into the light.  That's part of my purpose on the planet, and I wouldn't have been given the job if there was someone better suited.

So, this Monday, Jensen and I got out big platefuls of paint, a bunch of junk brushes, and painted ourselves silly, with only one rule:  It must not look like an object.  We painted pages of smells, sounds, oddball ideas. This is the one Jensen gave me. 

It includes squealing brakes, bunny farts, turtle burps, cheetahs tumbling down a staircase, and a lot of laughter.  I realized as I hung it on the refrigerator, that I actually really like this piece.  It looks to me like coming to the end of a tunnel, as you just start to see what the light is illuminating, but can't yet make out what the shapes are.   Bunny farts as art.  Who knew?

One other thing I know:  A house is not a home without refrigerator art.  Thanks to all the artists who contribute to the White Box Gallery, and to the parents who loan them to me.  Paint Happy!

Want to read more?  I am also the Thursday night blogger on keystonewomenscircle.blogspot.com , a blog with ideas and insights from a group of women business owners.  Check us out!

Friday, July 2, 2010

You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby...Room

Since I'm busy with a writing project this week, here's a shot from the archives.  Chinoiserie updated for a baby girl's room, with monkeys, hummingbirds, and even a pink ceiling.  The only bad thing about this one?  Within a few months of completion, the clients had an unexpected opportunity to move to a home better suited to their growing family and home-based business.  

The homeowner was heartbroken to leave behind this very personalized room, but I had a plan.  In the new house, we used the existing caramel wall color, added a harlequin diamond glaze, and "transplanted" four of the curly vines into pots painted on the walls.  One of the monkeys even came along, this time in a mural on one wall.   Little Gracie Quinn was right at home, once her beloved birds and monkey arrived.  I love a story with a happy ending.
Someday, when I invest the time in learning to shoot decent pictures, I'll get a good shot of the new version.  For now, I'm learning to write decent copy.  The photo below is where I've spent most of my week, on the living room sofa, clipboard on knees, struggling through revisions, rewrites, and seemingly contradictory directions, wishing I could walk out between the columns, and find myself on a Scottish riverbank...not just yet, I guess.
  The weather has not cooperated with dry skies on days I'm home and not writing, so no paint progress to report on the front porch.  Perhaps this Independence Day Weekend will be better, but the forecast isn't hopeful.  There's of course, a never ending list of other things I can do on this house,  so perhaps next week's blog will show something new. 

I hope your view of the fireworks this weekend is spectacular, and if you miss those, plan ahead to be in Belle Plaine on July 18th, when we do ours.  We're home base for a pyrotechnics company, so we get a really good show, we just have to wait til "Barbecue Days".