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

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Ornament of a Home...

Frank Lloyd Wright once said something to the effect of the true ornament of a home being the friends who visit it.  Not only have my friends visited, but some have contributed their art.  From my young art students, who keep my white box gallery (that's the refrigerator, in case you don't speak American Parent) updated, to my ever expanding circle of professional artist friends who kindly gift me their works, my home is ornamented with sparks of other souls. 

Ann Viveros had a meet the artist event at One Yoga, in Uptown Minneapolis on Saturday.  As it's a yoga studio, requiring shoes off at the door, Ann promised a prize for the best socks.  These were the winners:

So, who spends Saturday afternoon painting their socks, instead of installing their powder room toilet?  Hmmm? :)))  See Ann's beautiful painted mandala artwork at web.me.com/annviveros.  The prize for the socks was the painting The "I" in Meditation.  As they say, "Must enter to win!"...nice motto for life.

Cindy Faus Heimerl has gotten a fair bit of press on here, lately, and as promised, here are a few shots of her work currently on display at Mystic Journey, in downtown Belle Plaine: 

If you like these, stop in and meet her this Friday evening, when Mystic Journey hosts their first "Meet the Artist" event.  Directions:  yourmysticjourney.com You can't buy anything this precious at TJ Maxx, and you can't experience anything this authentic sitting on the sofa with your remote. 

There is so much happening out there that isn't advertised on TV, and life is so much richer when you make the time to seek out the truly unique, but artists and small businesses are struggling to compete with Netflix and the mega-malls for your time and attention, and of course your dollars.  If you think the idea of America being one big homogenized strip mall of chain stores selling cheap imported "art" is a bit creepy, then please quit buying crap made by child labor in third-world countries, and support your local artists.  Even if you aren't in the buying category, show up and say "hi".  Your interest and energy are valuable to the artist, too, and you never know who else will be there... Get off of facebook for a few hours, and go make some real contact! 

There are links to more artists on my website theartofthehome.com/links-to-other-artists.html.  I'll be adding to this, so check back once in awhile.  Remember, too, to make some art yourself.  Doesn't have to be "Art-with-a-capital-A".  Steal your kid's crayons, if you don't have supplies of your own.  The joy of life is truly in the making of it.  Make art, make artist-friends, make your home a soulful place, ornamented by the finest of art and friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Miscellaneous

Today is brought to you by the letter "M".  Marvelous Monday at Marion's Place, munching on M&M cookies, meeting with memorable mentors...mm, mm, good!  Okay, enough transgression to Sesame Street (yeah, I can sing the theme song, and I don't have kids.  I can recite The Cat in the Hat, too.  Wanna make somethin' of it?)

The Monday meeting is The Keystone Women's Circle, a group of female business owners from hamlets south of Minneapolis, with a shared commitment to helping each other grow our businesses in a community-minded manner.  We are currently planning our next "Gathering of the Goddesses" for Thursday, February24th.  Check out our blog for who we are, and scroll back to October to see highlights from our first gathering.  keystonewomenscircle.blogspot.com

This coming event will include saging/spiritual housecleaning, reiki energy healing, accessing your higher self through hypnosis, using pendulums as a tool for divination, and to fluff it up a bit, I'll team up with Lisa Fahey to give you a hands-on demo for creating beautiful buffets and tablescapes, including foods from Tastefully Simple.  Possibly the best part of the evening (aside from the exclusive Goddesses custom painted collectible wine glasses) is the location.  Last time we rotated the groups around a two block section of downtown Belle Plaine, where most of our businesses are located. 

salvaged mirror frame, sans glass, converted to chalkboard, enhanced with a gilded and black-rubbed frame, and Italian scrollwork.

This time, we're up the hill above town, at Marion's Place (check it out on facebook, website under construction), a beautiful 1920's farmhouse that can be rented out for weekend retreats, as well as weddings and other events.  If you need a wedding officiant, Cindy Faus Heimerl, the owner, just happens to be one.  She also happens to be a Keystone member, and the featured artist of the month at Mystic Journey, in downtown Belle Plaine. I'll try to remember both the camera and the batteries next weekend, and get a few shots of her abstract art up here.

Queen Lauren and King Adam, ready to go to lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Fogarty and Aunt Kate

The Keystone meeting was sandwiched between Artkids.  Faithie let me reschedule her class so that my carpenter, TC Fogarty, could bring his grandkids in for some fun.  We had a drawing lesson, mostly for the benefit of Grandpa TC, and then made crowns.  Lauren chose to be Queen of Animals, and Adam the King of the Bat Cave.  TC secretly wanted to make a crown of his own, but settled for helping Adam, who still isn't too sure what he thinks of the lady with the paint-covered clothes who acts kinda like a kid.  Hmmmmm, wonder if singing the theme song to Sesame Street would have helped him make up his mind.

Here are a couple of photos of last weeks work:

Do butterflies need houses???

Realistic wood graining, matching metal doors to oak trim.

I did a handful of small projects, like this butterfly house commissioned as a birthday gift, and returned to a house, where I had wood grained the door a year or so ago, to do a Woolie blend in the entry and staircase, and a trowelled and glazed plaster job in the kitchen.  That job went perfectly, and earned me a tip of homemade granola...I know this week will be full of equally nice folks.  Hope your week is, too!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Best Friday Night Fun a Girl Can Have

So, on Monday, I suggested you check back here Wednesday for powder room completion, and then I posted nothing on Wednesday.  I still have nothing to post about that project.  Life's been a bit...well...life-ish, and the work calendar a bit overloaded this week.   Tonight, I could have worked on the powder room, but here were my options:

1.Go to Maureen's and play with clay with an eight year old.
2.Come home from work and install a toilet.
toilet...play...toilet...play...hmm, what to choose?
I chose to take Kadence, one of my art students, to Maureen Carlson's Center for Creative Arts, in Jordan, for Open Studio.  Maureencarlson.com

Once we finally kicked out her mom, who clearly wanted to stay and play, too, and after a long exploration of all the shelves and tables and cases of amazing intricate creatures and characters, Kadence was inspired to make a fairy. 

Maureen kept us company, working on finishing old projects, while we worked.  Like Jensen and Faith, my other two art girls, Kadence has a long attention span, and a later bedtime than me.  Luckily, my job was easy:  just keep conditioning the next color of clay, while the sugarplum worked at perfecting the details.

Waaaay better than spending Friday night at home with a pipe wrench and a paint brush, don't you think?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ta-da! Okay, she's not done, but progress was made...

Before, pea-green "tile" wallboard, lovely lighted moderne medicine cabinet, and the floor destroyed by a leaky toilet, undetected beneath vinyl flooring, oh joy.

So far...Since this powder room connects to my garden mural kitchen, I decided to go all themey and do a "potting shed".  I showed you the "tile" on Friday.  Since then, I painted the upper walls in a very theatrical style "faux bois".  I wanted it to have the sense of being a shed, but although I often do very realistic wood graining on doors and trim for clients, that wasn't necessary here.  The playfulness of this is part of it's charm, as is the fact that it didn't take days to paint!

The ugly and unnecessary medicine cabinet was replaced with a yard sale mirror...

...and I altered a clearance bin brass chandelier with black paint, tiny clay flower pots. and a burlap cord scrunchie.

Now, all that's left to do is all that ever really had to be done in the first place:  finish the floor (It's repaired, but not pretty yet), and put the toilet back in.  Guess I'll be working some very early mornings this week.  Have a great week, and check back on Wednesday for a progress report, and maybe something yummy to cook.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Tile

Why would you, when you can have totally custom "tile" for a fraction of what they paid?  I put last month's powder room project on hold when McDog took a turn for the worse, and I'm just now getting back to it, but as usual, instead of just taking the road less traveled, doing something interesting, but quick (just get the toilet back in, already!), I'm off on another hike through the brambles.  See, as long as the toilet was out of the way to replace the ruined floor, I figured I might as well paint the walls, and really, if anything needed a face lift, it was the weird green fake tile wainscoting.  You can paint this stuff with a variety of easy techniques to look more like real tile, but why stop at paint, when ...Oh, crap, here I go again.  Please, God, don't let this take as long as the kitchen! (See May 16th post)

I have always loved Arts & Crafts era tiles, especially those glossy majolica looking ones, with leaves and frogs and pine cones, coated in gorgeous, glossy glazes.  Not exactly an easy find on the alley shopping circuit, and reproductions exist, but they're too spendy for a powder room that will probably be replaced with a 3/4 bath in a few years.  They're not that hard to mimic, though...just time-consuming.

Mask off all trim, prime with oil-based bonding primer, trowel joint compound on random tiles, and stamp with foam leaf stamps (from the craft store).  Let dry, and smooth the imprints with a damp rag.

Before painting, you want to rub down the edges of the square, and the lip around the stamp.  This is easier when the compound is just dry.

Roll a good coat of paint back over everything.  Hmmm...looks like the same weird green as the original.  I'm headed for nice mossy tones in the end, so this pale greenish gold is a good base.

Scumble raw umber glaze into the leaf imprints, then wipe across the top with the palm of your hand, to clean it off of the details and the border.  Next, apply glazes in the colors of your choice ( I used ocher, raw umber, and two shades of mossy green), using a paintbrush and a damp sponge.  Not quite like sponge painting, where you  use the sponge's texture to print, but smooshing the glazes together with the sponge, working them until they resemble your favorite vintage tile colors.  You can paint in the grout with a liner brush.  I tried classic white, but it didn't look right, so I decided my tile was dry-fit, with grungy joints.  As Bob Ross always said "It's your own little world, paint it how you like it!"

Now, I just have to finish the rest of it, give it a couple coats of Polycrylic to gloss it up and protect it, then decide what I want to do about the black band at the top, and the wall above, and replacing the lighted medicine cabinet with a chandelier and pretty mirror, and then I suppose I better finish fixing the floor so I can install the toilet.  If you need me this weekend, you know where to find me.

If you want to try this at your home, and need more detailed instruction, email me with any questions.  dawnmariedelara@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Journaling Class This Friday

Happy New Year!  If you are reaffirming old goals, or setting new ones, you might want to consider journaling.  Not a writer?  Not to worry.  First of all, you don't have to write for other people, and second  of all, you don't even have to write.  There are many forms of journaling, such as morning pages, visual or art journals, and even blogs like this one.  If you have thought about journaling, started journaling but stopped, or love to journal and would like to learn new techniques, there's a class for you, this Friday. 
Friday, January 7, 2011  7:00-9:00 p.m.
cost:  $15
Mystic Journey
109 N. Meridian St.
Belle Plaine
Call (952) 873-3364 to register
or email me: dawnmariedelara@gmail.com
Sue Krebbs, owner of Albums & Answers, will help you create a beautiful journal of your own, and both she and I will share our journaling experiences with you. We'll introduce a wide range of journaling ideas and methods, and talk about the benefits gained from this introspective process. Start your new year right by treating yourself to this inexpensive evening of play and discovery.
Pre-registration is important, as we will postpone the class if there are not enough participants signed up.

Now that the holidays are over, I can show you one of the elf projects I mentioned.  Some of the others went out the door before I could get photos, and some just didn't photograph all that well, but not only was this the most cooperative with the camera, it was the most challenging.

click on the pictures to enlarge.

I don't do a lot of portraits, unless they are within murals, and this is the first time I did them of people that I had never met. Interestingly, by the time I was finished, working from multiple photos of each person, I had distinct images of their personalities, and when I asked the client if these fit her grandparents, she laughed and said I had it right. Still, I've been nervously wondering since Christmas if I captured their essences...until today when I got an email saying the recipient wanted to commission one of his brother, as well. Whew!

I hope whatever you plan for 2011, you meet your challenges with courage, creativity, grace and humor...and much success!  Live Juicy!!!