Some Kind of Wonderful

Some Kind of Wonderful

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It is wonderful fun to create these “Artissima Lumens

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These (plastic!)  light switch plates become tiny canvasses, ready for adornment (including the tiny metal screws).

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Each one is carefully sanded, primed and base painted with waterborne paint.

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The surface is then ‘textured” with semi-transparent, waterborne glaze.

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The glaze is manipulated over the dry,  base painted surface with tools such as sponges, rags and specialty brushes.

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Because the glaze is semi-sheer, the base paint shows through, but as an altered hue, with added depth and complexity.

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When dry, the glaze treatment provides an evocative  surface to paint, stencil, stamp and further embellish on.

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Next, pattern, imagery more texture and color are added, often with stencils artfully arranged.

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Finally, the whole surface is varnished, sealed with a clear coat of acrylic (again, waterborne), to add sheen and durability.

Some kind of wonderful experience…this process, and the satisfaction in creating “Artissima Lumens“!

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Life Lessons from Lillian

 Life Lessons from Lillian

Last week I had an amazing experience.

While grocery shopping, I had an exchange with a lady named Lillian who was doing her shopping from a motorized cart. She shared with me that she was 91 years old (plus one month), and had all her “marbles”. She certainly does, and then some.

I was shocked.  Her eyes were bright and clear, her voice strong, and she had a wicked sense of humor.  She exuded life force.

What is the secret, I asked her, to being so vital at that age?

Her answer blew me away in its forthrightness, clarity and simplicity.  I paraphrase:

“When I was in my 80’s,” she said, “I identified three things that must be done daily, and after I turned 90, I added a fourth.”

Wow. What were these things that could help to sustain such energy, such engagement, such vitality, at such an age.  I wanted to know.

So, I asked her, and  this is what she said:

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“Every day you have to learn something new.”

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“Every day, and the most important one, you have to have humor, and you have to spread humor.”

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“Every day you have to do a good deed, even if you only pick up a piece of trash and throw it away.”

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“And then I added a fourth one; every day you have to be thankful for something.”

And she added…

“Now, if you can do all four of those before 9:00 in the morning, then you can screw up for the rest of the day.”

(Like I said, this lady  packs in a wicked sense of humor…)

Thank you Lillian, for doing the good deed of teaching me something new, with great humor, and endowing me with the spirit of thankfulness.  I won’t forget you, nor your life lessons. May you live long, and prosper, practicing your four  maxims every day, and inspiring us to do the same.

Contemplating Work – Three Year Round Up

Contemplating Work – Three Year Round Up

In the spirit of the process of the necessity of the…well…updating, overhauling, revamping, refurbishing, and just re-ing the online presence of ArtiFactory Studio, and Artissima ventures….and, about to add/subtract/move around work from my site, I thought I would share some of the work completed since my last site update (yikes, was it really three years ago?), and look at some of the media, processes, forms and approaches that are part of the wide world of decorative painting.

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I created a line of hand-painted light switch plates which I call, “Artissima Lumens“, which though small, do take a lot of work and focus to complete! Sanding the plastic or wooden surface, as well as screws/hardware, priming it, base painting it, and then…the embellishment, adornment, decoration (hmm…not a good word in art school!), whatever you want to call it. This can include hand painting images, gradating color, stenciling  a design, pattern, image or scene, adding layers of semi-transparent glaze, and most often, a combination of some, many, or even all of these!

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Mid-Century design, style, decor and imagery can be rich fodder for decorative painting on the wall, as evidenced by these bedroom accent walls. The dawn of the atomic age, coupled with star-bursts, floral imagery, and geometric shapes and patterns can be inspirational. These treatments, based on a sketch (above with mirror), made by, and a re-imagined image, (immediately above), found by the Client constitute a creative collaboration that bore Mid-C fruit in both a guest and master bedroom.

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There is nothing quite like custom,  hand painted imagery on a wall, or ceiling.  Above, the Fightin’Irish and Michigan State logos find a home in the room of a young boy, with an avid avian interest. Custom-designed stenciled and hand-painted birds fly across his ceiling and desk wall, and perch above the entrance to his bath.

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Stenciling, and the art of repeated pattern is an effective and beautiful way to create a border. Especially effective in a room, such as this bath, with no crown molding.  The bright color ties the room together with the strong artwork displayed there, and connects to the vibrant colors seen throughout the rest of the house.

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Exterior  decorative painting on the wall, any wall, can go a long way towards brightening up an area that is often dark, and shrouded in fog, as many decks, patios, yards and porches are in the vast and often overcast Sunset District neighborhood of San Francisco. The painting of a colorful wall mural on the rough textured shingled siding of this deck not only brightened the area, and extended the adjoining living space to the outdoors, it also gave the inhabitants a colorful “garden” to look at through their kitchen window.  Doing dishes is going to be a lot more fun now in that house!

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“MINDS HEARTS HANDS VOICES” is the motto for  Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco. The painting of the motto so that is can be seen through the front windows communicated the basic approach and philosophy of the school. Samples of blue hues, and font styles were presented to the Headmaster and Development Director, who chose which to use. The intent was to keep the image and the message clean, clear and simple, albeit elegant, and let the words do the talking!

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House numbers  for HGTV Curb Appeal, “It’s All in the Details” episode were created with customized, hand-cut stencils, based on a font chosen by the host, John Gidding. Gradated shading using highlight and shadow was added to give the illusion of depth.

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The Flying Cranes project at The Briggs Residence (a historic residence in the West Adams District of Los Angeles) was the brainchild of architect Kaitlin Drisko, of Drisko Studio Architects, who wanted to transform the living room TV cabinet into a work of art . In conjunction with the Owner, and Owner’s rep Paul Davidson, designs and imagery for both the interior and exterior were developed collaboratively.  The exterior sides of the cabinet doors are gilded with composition gold leaf, or schlag metal, then painted with the cranes composition.

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The interior of the doors are stippled with  layers of gold, blue and red paint hues, then stenciled with a custom motif adapted especially for the project. When open, the articulated doors frame the TV screen.  The piece is designed to be a focal point in the room whether the doors are open or closed, the television on or off.

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It is fascinating to look back over a three year span of work, and contemplate all the uses of decorative painting.  It is a form that marries function and beauty, usefulness and aesthetics, craft, visual art, architecture and design.  Playing at once subtly and powerfully through our visual landscape, decorative painting makes its mark!

E-Lumen-8 Part 1 Take 2

E-Lumen-8 Part 1 Take 2

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E-LUMEN-8 Your Life! 

The story of “Artissima Lumens”…painted light switch plates for your e-lumen-8-ed pleasure!

Nov072012_7170 The adventure begins  with prepping: sanding and priming the front surface of the nascent “Lumens”…making a tiny white canvass to frame the light switch aperture.

Nov072012_7157The “Lumen” prepared “canvasses” begin to stack up. Their tiny screws get the same treatment. Each is sanded, primed with a white-tinted primer, painted, and treated in the same manner as the rest of the piece. The entire surface is treated as one composition.

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  It is fun to play with the aperture, and use it as part of the composition.

Nov072012_7160Pattern rules. Words can express dreams, hopes, even prayers.

The possibilities are endless…the size restrictions a creative stimulant….as opposed to a limitation.

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Nov102012_7145  The interplay of textures, (built up through the application of  layer upon layer of stippled paint), and pattern, color and image, only become more fascinating to manipulate and explore.

Nov152012_7228Metallic paints provide glow and glimmer, sheen and shimmer, adding luster and elegance, or perhaps a celestial quality.

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Nov152012_7225The addition of paint, texture and color add depth…while sanding between the layers with wet-dry sandpaper makes the pieces smooth and sleek, creating a tactile experience to match the visual. Layering imagery over texture, then softening, or slightly obscuring it, can suggest an air of mystery, softness, and complexity.

Nov152012_7229The elements are engaging to play with, mix, and and match.

I hope that the addition of “Artissima Lumens” will add an element of detail, joy or  artistry to a room and make turning on the light not only an illuminating, but fun!

E-LUMEN-8 Your Life!

Turn it On!

May Your Holidays be filled with light, joy, and FUN!

E-Lumen-8: Part 2 Take 1

E-Lumen-8:  Part 2 Take 1

Leaf Love

I recently participated in a holiday gift show, and created a collection of my “Artissima Lumens” (painted light switch covers) to show and sell.

In that spirit, I decided to document the process, and also create a sort of show and tell.

In posting, I decided to move “backwards” in time…starting with the finished creations, and then showing how they were made, start to finish, er,  finish to start.

Star Burst

Both the fascination and the frustration, ah-challenge, of painting on such a small canvas is, just that. Light switch plates  are such a small canvas, especially the “rocker” style light switch plate.

No, we are not talking Mick Jagger here…we are talking the type of frame-like light switch plate that has a rectangular opening designed to surround  a rocker style light switch.  The “canvas” area exists in just that small frame.

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So why do it?

Why take on such a potentially frustratingly limited space for creativity?

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Well…the challenge and allure of  creating a miniature, for one thing.   It is fascinating to see what can be done on a limited surface space…with the limitations imposed both by the form and the function of the object.

How does one “use’ the opening as part of the composition?  Knowing, of course, that the light switch itself will change position continually as it is used for what it is designed to be used for: let there be light!

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Do the “Lumens”  then become tiny pieces of performance art? “E-Lumen-8-ed’ not only by the burst of light when the switch is flicked, but also by the intentional movement of the client/owner/user when they reach out, and press, push, flick or rock that light switch?

Does the user become an unwitting collaborator in the “performance’ when they complete the action necessary to get use from an essentially utilitarian object?

An object that is surrounded by the embellished work that remains stationary, and yet is enlivened by the action it surrounds, like a miniature theater?

Does the user then become the performer?

Does the “Artissima Lumen” function merely as a frame for the utilitarian light switch, or does it employ the switch itself as a moving part of the whole? Does it employ the user as performer by engaging him or her to complete a necessary action?

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Such questions of form and function, concept and adornment, use and decor, object and action, creator and performer…may underlie some of our very motivation to create.

They won’t be answered in or by this post…but they are fascinating to contemplate!

Glimmer, Glamor, Glow and Glitter

Glimmer, Glamor, Glow and Glitter

Glow and glimmer, sheen and shimmer…the holidays are almost upon us…with their pressure, their joy, their longing, and their brilliance.

Stenciled  light switch covers, metallic  bathroom stripes, gilded stairway banisters, and golden ceilings created with layers of glaze are just a few of the unending treatments which can add shine, glitter and glamor to the space of the  built environment.

Dutch metal enhances a floret, and tinted wax a medallion…applications creating the illusion of precious metal are limitless.

Gilded furniture details spring to life against black, creating an elegant and festive air. Black tie optional, anyone?

       

Gold is not the only star…silver and copper have exciting roles to play for all ages, , both inside and out.

So…wish upon a star this holiday season…and, glow for it!

Lumens for Humans II

Lumens for Humans II

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.  What we surround ourselves with can make us feel more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor.

They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

The unadorned plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”.  This readies  the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are then manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture. Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our surroundings and our state of mind.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro, contemporary or even mysterious.  The tiny pieces function as both art and decor;  frame and focus.

The necessary hardware is treated as part of the whole, and receives each successive application.  It becomes part of the total composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with layers of water-borne varnish. The “LUMEN” is now is ready to enhance, beautify and transform the deceptively simple act of eLUMENation.

“Artissima Lumens”  can be designed to integrate with murals, wallpaper, artworks, and anything else which is part of the wall, or “built environment“.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

Shine on…Believe, Create, Succeed, Have Gratitude…

Here’s to YOUR e-LUMEN-ated Life

Lumens for Humans

Lumens for Humans

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor.

They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

Typically, the plain plastic, or wooden plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”.  This readies  the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.

The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment. Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture.

Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our feelings and surroundings.What we surround ourselves with can make us feel more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro,  nostalgic or contemporary.

“Artissima Lumens”  can be designed to work with other art works.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

Success

Gratitude

E-LUMEN-Eight

E-LUMEN-Eight

In an increasingly technological world, there is a corresponding need for work created by hand.  As humans, we respond to useful objects of wonder and beauty.

“Artissima Lumens”  are hand-adorned light switch plates created custom, one at a time  as art, celebration and decor. They are created of water-borne primers, paints, semi-transparent glazes, stencils, metallic media, and varnish.

Typically, the plain plastic, or wooden plate is sanded to create texture or “tooth”, readying the surface to receive the primer which creates a bondable surface for the painted base coat.  The surface is thus  prepared for more intricate layers of adornment.

Paints, semi-sheer glaze or other media are manipulated across the surface to create visual interest and an interplay of color and texture.

Gold, silver, copper and bronze metallic media add luminescence, glow, and glimmer which  catch the light and animate the surface.

Stenciled or hand-painted pattern and imagery establish a composition which can become playful, elegant, whimsical, retro,  nostalgic or contemporary.

The obligatory hardware or screws are treated as part of the whole, and treated to each successive application.  They become part of the visual composition, as does the aperture for the switch itself.

When at last complete, the work is sealed and protected with  water-borne varnish. The “Lumen” is now is ready to iLUMENate its chosen light switch, and give the user a jolt of light energy.

Experience shows that we can become more calm, energetic, stimulated, peaceful and alive through interaction with our visual surroundings.  Color, texture, pattern and imagery can enhance, beautify, communicate, and  transform our feelings and surroundings, and thus both our interior and exterior landscape.

If YOU are interested in ordering or commissioning an “Artissima Lumen” please email: debra@artifactorystudio.com

Believe

Create Success

Have Gratitude