archiTEXTUREal

archiTEXTUREal

homage to downtown los angeles

the many textures of frank gehry’s disney hall and environs…

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textural treasures revealed…

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Siting Santa Monica: Architectural Variety is the Splice of Life

Siting Santa Monica: Architectural Variety is the Splice of Life

An informal romp through  the Pico-Lincoln neighborhood of Southwest Santa Monica yields glimpses of  architectural treasures of all sorts.

WEBaAlleyways across the board in Santa Monica yield moments of contemplation and surprise, like this wall crawling with red blooms, reminding me for all the world, of Southern France.

WEBcFantastical decorative gates are another Los Angeles hallmark, and Santa Monica is no exception.Here an image that has become “au courrant” among the holistic set.

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WEBeGlass bricks, metal and stone flanked by green combine to elegant effect in this vertical structure.

WEBiI wondered if this brilliant yellow and white building was live work space.

WEBjIt looked to be designed with a nautical feel, appropriate to its location in the beach town of Santa Monica.

WEBgVariety is the spice of life, and here in Santa Monica, architectural styles run the gamut. Here we have a study in yellows: bright yellow on the modern, multi-unit building, and earthy ochre yellow on the small neighboring house.

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WEBfVoila, a beautiful ad hoc complimentary set up!  Starring the complimentary pair of purple and yellow hues, opposite each other on the color wheel.

WEBkFinally, another pastoral scene that one sees often in Santa Monica..an outdoor dining set up, in an enclosed area that is right off the street! Santa Monicans, and Angelenos in general love themselves some hedges, fences, plants and gates to create privacy, but true to theatrical form, often right off the busy sidewalks outside their homes! What else would you expect in this glowing and glittering home to the entertainment industry?

Lucky for us, the setting in these parts here has its pastoral side…and a great deal of variety, which makes for some rewarding walks for the  flaneur. Big Fun, and a visual feast…or is it a movable feast?

Let’s get walking!

Great Walls of Color

Great Walls of Color

I have been watching with interest the development of a magical mural being painted over the entire surface of an industrial-looking building  at Broadway and Cloverfield Streets in Santa Monica,, rising like a multi-hued phoenix over the gray pavement.

WEB1Intense gradations of color flow over the building, which look airbrushed…spray-painted. This looks like the color foundation. The windows are protected by taped plastic.

WEB2Detail painted in representational style goes up over the rich hues. The building stands in stark relief to its surroundings. Is that a little girl painting the Broadway side wall?

WEB3Close..an image of one…realistically rendered, yet with a certain comic book illustrative feel.

WEB5The look of drips, air brush painting, gradated color softly shifting in value, and graffiti art combine to create something striking, all rendered in stunning color.

WEB6Masterful use and blending of color creates a vista of skulls which seem to incorporate elements of urban art and graffiti and intensify the feeling of a “dreamscape”, or landscape of dreams.

This magnificently adorned structure is now the stuff of dreams and magic, lifting us out of our daily reverie, and shocking us out of ordinary reality, into another order of being.  Gratitudes to those that conceived of this gift, passed it through the powers that be, and made it happen.  Thank you for sharing with us a true example of art’s transformative power.

“Artissima Transitiona” I

“Artissima Transitiona” I

Three years ago, for a number of reasons. my husband and I moved to Los Angeles…Santa Monica to be exact.   Since that time, I  have become involved with the making, study and teaching of artist’s books. I teach bookmaking around Santa Monica and LA County, and am continuously  evolving my own expression of this unique art form. Bookmaking, creating handmade books, unique books, artist’s books, and the book arts overlap as activities. In essence, they employ the form of The Book as an expressive vehicle.

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I have been the principal of my own decorative painting company, ArtiFactory Studio, for many years, primarily in San Francisco, where I resided, also for many years. In this post, I begin to share how I am finding ways to put these two forms together, one, bookmaking, often associated with the small-scale and intimate, and the other, decorative painting, often large-scale, which includes mural painting, glazing, faux finishing, gilding, and a myriad of other ways of “treating” the built environment, IE, the environment created by us humans as the setting for our activities.

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I hope to approach this subject in a series of posts, each showing a slice of what I am doing, and hope to do. I am fascinated with notions of scale, with materials, texture, space and design, as well as with the expressive, provocative,  and multidisciplinary nature of handmade books. In this post,  I will share how I brought techniques and notions specific to the field of decorative painting to the form of The Book in my own work. This process has been part of a greater transition in my life, work, business and career on all fronts.  Hence the post’s title” Artissima Transitiona“. The transition continues…

WEBa1Gilding, or the act of adhering metallic leaf over a surface adds a bit of bling, depth and dimension to an already complex surface on this handmade book cover. The gold rectangle also provides a focal point for the eye to rest on, adding order, focus and coherence to the piece. A piece of board was gilded, then added to the surface collage.

web1Texture can be a huge part of decorative painting. The artist manipulates glazes, paints and other materials over a surface to create both visual and physical texture. Here crumpled tissue paper is adhered to the surface in layers, giving it a satisfying texture, variation of color, and contrast to the look, and feel of the other materials used, which include cloth, hemp cord, beads and paper media.

WEB2The covers of this book are made of boards that have been dragged or “Striéd“, a technique by which paint or glaze is applied to a surface, and a large stiff brush is used to drag through it while it is still wet, leaving a up and down stripe-like pattern/texture.

WEB4Here a “brown paper bag” feeling is created by using humble brown wrapping paper (and bags) to create an earthy  texture on the surface of this book’s covers. Individual pieces of hemp cord are used for the binding, adding to the homespun simplicity and feel.

WEB5This book is created from boards that were originally painted with metallic paint and glaze samples for a client. I loved how these samples looked together, and added the rust, iron and verdigris sample pieces above them.  The rest of the book is made of paper with plant material flowing through it.  It  is bound with linen thread in a  single signature  (gathering of folded pages).

WEBaFinally, here is a book with an accordion spine; a “found” spine…meaning that I happened upon a design brochure, and its size, weight and color worked perfectly the book I developed. The covers are made of paper that has been textured, painted and glazed, then glued onto boards. The contrasting “edge design” is created by the addition of another painted and glazed decorative painting sample, glued on the open edge, then folded over, and glued onto the inside of each cover, giving it more stability, integrity, and visual interest.

I hope you will join me as I journey through this time of creative transition, exploration, and discovery. Although the waters feel uncharted, there are plenty of inspirational and provocative artists, makers and craftspeople to help light the way.  Here’s to diving in!

Standing our Color Ground II

Standing our Color Ground II

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Having completed a rather large and multifaceted color consultation for a set of two buildings anchoring opposite corners of a block in the “The Valley”, I decided to disseminate the experience, and its results through a series of blog posts.

As I explore, express and evaluate this consultation over the course of several posts…there will be the time to contrast the colors that were to the colors that became, look at details, and compare the two buildings, one on either end of a median-sized block in Canoga Park, a district in the San Fernando Valley, about 25 miles northwest of Downtown LA.

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This building, called SONATA, sits on the same side of the Canoga Park block as its sibling “ARIA”, but at the other end of the block, caddy corner from a heavily trafficked intersection, and is composed of both stucco  and wood siding.

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The accent color Rosewood, a Dunn Edwards hue, reflects the same accent color down the street on ARIA.  As the visible foundation color is the greenish-gray “Bison Beige” in 200% formula, it creates a complimentary pop next to the reddish Rosewood.

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The field or “house body” color, Dunn Edwards “Hickory” , in 75% formula, providing lightness and calm to unify the assorted materials, and proliferation of balcony “bump-out”, which accent the exterior.

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The sides of the building take up part of a block, and thus must provide a pleasing visual, and visceral experinece for the passer by.  Here we can see how both the lower, darker foundation color, and the field or body color serve as a backdrop for green plants, and gray tree trunks, which almost give the sense of a promenade or boulevard.

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The boulevard feeling is carried through the inner courtyard, where each resident has their own door, sporting a rather intense 200% formula Rosewood.  The Euro-feel awnings amplify the effect!   At the end of the “boulevard” the far courtyard wall is accented by “Hickory” in 200% formula…just that slight intensification of the color to set it slightly apart from the field color.

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my favorite shot of this building and scheme…it reminds me of where I lived and walked n Southern France many years ago. The railing, and other ironwork is painted in Dunn Edwards “Chocolate Pudding” hue!

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Because of the unification of materials, which affects how the paint color is perceived, the back of the building, to my mind, may be even more aesthetically pleasing then the front!  Fewer cars, too!

It would be fun to look at the building sibs, ARIA and SONATA together, and muse about both their differences, and their similarities.

Shall we do that in the next post?

Great, its a date then.

Take care, and, until then, Be Well…

 

Decorative Painting: Leaving Our Mark

Decorative Painting; Leaving Our Mark

Encompassing a seemingly unlimited pantheon of forms, functions, mediums and media, the discipline of decorative painting goes everywhere.

A chosen vase provides colorways, pattern, and a touch of whimsy to the wall detailing over a living room fireplace for a creative client’s new home.

Custom stenciled butterflies flutter over the curved wall of the Dress for Success boutique. Architect: Justin Martinkovic of Martinkovic Milford.

Move over Nike  “swoosh”, Top 1 Oil‘s in town…and it’s all painted. Interior designer: Kelly Berg of Arte Styling.

Ceilings beg a variety of adornments…painted beams being one of them. Woodworker: Larry McCanse, Palmer Creek Hand-Hewn Wood Products.

Softly blended glaze colors tease out architectural nuances. Interior Designer: Anne Norton-Dingwall:   AND Interior Design Studio.

It takes a brave and bold client to live with strong color…a real treat to create with custom tinted, blended glazes.

Glazed stripes layered over a glazed wall create depth and character in The Polished Lounge nail salon.

The high ceiling and walls of a narrow powder room are dramatized by layers of glaze creating visual texture.

Glaze and paint create the effect of  marble and stone on a living room fireplace.

Once white latex, these tub cabinets have been transformed into wood…known in the business as “faux bois“, literally “fake wood”.

In the same bathroom, the closet door and cabinetry are also faux bois…inspired by the door to the room, which is “real” wood.

This cabinet sits at the top of a staircase, and serves as a focal point when ascending the stairs, or just passing by and looking up. It’s faux bois application matches that of the staircase banisters.

The wonder of decorative painting, and its myriad of applications is that it is are never-ending. Continually changing and evolving, and showing up in any and every nook and cranny, or open interior or exterior space, the glorious enhancement, beautification, communication and transformation of the built environment continues, and will continue, as long as humankind is willing and able to leave its mark.

More on Murals: Making Your Mark

MORE ON MURALS: Making Your Mark

What is a mural

Related to the French word “mur”, meaning “wall”, the term “mural” is derived from the Latin mūrālis, which means “of a wall”, derived from the Latin mūrus, or…you guessed it,

WALL!

Not surprisingly, the most literal meaning of the word “mural” is a painting on a wall. However, the term has expanded to encompass a wide range of both interior and exterior applications to the built environment, and a variety of architectural surfaces.

Murals can be painted on panels or canvas, and then affixed to a wall, fence, ceiling, floor, room divider, or roof!  They can be graphical, patterned, or design-oriented in nature,

     

or depict intricate scenes so real that we might find ourselves stooping to pick up what we thought was a feather on the floor, only to find that our hand brushes against its painted surface…

even if the scene is fantastical!

But, how does the artist get from the concept, or idea for a mural, of whatever sort, to the finished, often very large  image you might enjoy in your living room, local restaurant, non-profit organization, mall, or

patio fence?

Well, through the mockup process, namely the creation of a to scale model, or prototype of the intended mural.  This is a way to get a sense of what the completed mural could look like,  and catch potential aesthetic, functional or structural problems before they become actual ones!

From canvas to walls, to doors to exterior fences seen through a second story window, murals can happen anywhere their makers can wield a brush, adhere a tile, or make a mark,one of our most elemental human urges.  Think about the power and  wonder of  cave paintings…

Future posts will explore and expand upon the act of mural, and mark-making,  so hold on to your ladder (or scaffold), and enjoy the ride…

How do YOU “make your mark”?

If you feel so moved, please share about it with us here.

We love to hear from YOU.

Remember, we are all marking our way through this thing called Life, together.

Mysterium

Mysterium

It is easy to lose sight of the beauty and mystery that surround us continually, in every day, or every night, life.

No matter where we are, or what we are doing, something strange, mysterious, possibly marvelous, and hopefully wondrous is happening, that we can tap into, and feel once again, how amazing and magical the world can be…is.

It may just take looking at something familiar in a fresh new way….

Or, seeing new meanings in the not so mundane…making potentially poetic connections.

It may mean letting beauty light your fire for just a few moments…

Looking up….

Or down…

Out…

Or in…

Seeing the treasures of the exterior built environment,

Or the interior.

All, a testament to the extraordinary creativity and ingenuity which resides within us.  Don’t miss it.

Take a look.  No doubt, you’ll find yourself inspired.

What every day, or every night mystery has inspired YOU lately?

If you feel so moved, share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all in this thing called Life, together.

May the mysteries of 2011 unfold in the most marvelous way possible for all  this year!