LA Stories IV: Navigating the Venice Canals 1

LA Stories IV: Navigating the Venice Canals 1

The canal district of Venice is one of the most amazing urban areas I have ever seen.    Just for that reason…how extraordinary to have picturesque waterways crisscrossing the urban landscape of this beachfront district on the Westside of Los Angeles, lined with residences ranging from the charming to the spectacular.  The stone design  of the embankment is a unifying factor, framing the multitude of creative energies and architectural styles.

The canals were built in 1905 by tobacco millionaire, and developer Abbot Kinney, who  sought to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy in Southern California.

Did he succeed?

A color friend of mine likened this residence to a sherbert sundae! I love the color reflected in the water…

A “boulevard” of water…can create a feeling of such peace.

Reflection of a palm darkly…everybody uses that water, and crosses it.

Yes, that is a swimming pool, adjacent to the green wall, under the blue roof, and next to the orange post.

The perfect vista…a bridge over untroubled water.

From formal to funky, stately to sculptural, and shutters to shingles,  the whole district is architectural eye-candy.

Multitudes of watery reflections turn the world upside down…a California preoccupation.

Classic forms remain.

Holidays on the Canals, anyone?

Have You ever visited the Venice Canals?

If so, what was Your impression?

If you so choose, please share it with us here.

We Love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all navigating this thing called Life, together.




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The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

Once upon a time, after the New Year of 2011 had begun, and before 2010 taxes were due, I had the opportunity to collaborate with an esteemed Client and associate, to add that “finishing touch” (actually, the window treatments came afterwards) to a very special Guest Bath.

This Bath was in the process of being transformed, from a place of day to day use by his son, now gone off  to college, to a fresh and fun “new” space for his fiance, who tended towards a minimalist, Mid-Century,  New York sensibility.

My awesome Client, himself a long-time Berkeley, CA resident, has an eclectic design sense, informed by extensive travels around the globe,

art collected at home and abroad,

and a love of bright color,

rug patterns,


and funky furniture.

Indeed, he has done much of the interior painting in his home himself.

We discussed that bathroom in question, and I took a look…

It was freshly painted, with colorful artwork, of course,

and the green tile had to be taken into consideration.

I chose three repeating stencil designs, and made Samples for my Client and his Intended to look at on site, in the room. Taking my cue from the tile, the artwork, the colors in the adjacent hallway and throughout the home, I used cerulean blue and deep forest green, nature colors that would contrast beautifully with the base coat,  Benjamin Moore OC57, “White Heron”,  give a clean fresh feel to the room, and support its function.

I also wanted the design to reflect both a feminine and masculine sensibility, and be able to marry both eclectic-world beat-funky tastes with minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined preferences. Or, try, anyway.

I was thrilled that the Client chose a custom stencil that I had created from an existing source years ago, for a master bath suite  in another and very different East Bay city.  Happily, the design contained both geometric and organic elements, that created both a sense of movement and stability.

It was fun, it was crafty, it was elegant, yet funky, and the Client supported my idea of applying the paint color in a mottled, layered, and textural way.  Best of all, in the words of my Client’s fiance, “It complete(d)  the room!”.  As I was concerned that she be as happy with the result as he, this comment was music to my ears.

The repeated design pulls out colors in the artwork,

and creates a bower for the painted lovers.

The blue and green hues set off the strong red accents prevalent throughout the home.

The stenciled effect is multiplied through reflection.

A spot application of invisible clear varnish protects the stenciled border from the effects of moisture.

With careful planning, enhanced by Client collaboration, even a room already containing strong elements of art and color can be “completed” through the well-placed pattern, whether hand-painted, stenciled, printed or plastered. That extra addition of artful love and care to a space can really “pull it together”, and bring it to the next level of design and artistry.  A stenciled border can contain and express both feminine and masculine elements within its design.  Eclectic-world beat-funky can marry minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined. My Client/s, and our collaboration have proved that!

Have YOU ever “married” sensibilities, styles and approaches in Your projects?

If you feel so inspired,  please share about it with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all collaborating in this thing called Life,  together.   Cheers!



Color Muze Quarterly: Our View on Hue II

Color Muze Quarterly: Our View on Hue II

This post is based on an article written for  Cre8tive Compass Magazine, published 01/2011.

Color Muze” is a five-minute segment on Artistically Speaking, a popular talk show on blog talk radio which airs at 6:30pm EST, most Sundays.   Color Muze comes on the show each third Sunday (mostly) at 7:15-ish EST.  Please join us for Color Muze Hues, News and Views, on Artistically Speaking Blog Talk Radio.  The good news is, you can hear the shows on your computer…anytime!

And now…let the COLOR begin!

Here is a round-up of some of our favorite Color Muze tips and tidbits from September, October and November of 2010 on Artistically Speaking.

Spearheaded by Rebecca E. Parsons, creative entrepreneur extraordinaire, and master decorative artist, Lyna FarkasArtistically Speaking has undergone some transformations in the New Year, and we are excited about what 2011 has in store for its listeners, and the readers of Cre8tive Compass Magazine.

In the future, we look forward to enhancing our Color Muze offerings with a variety of Color-Full articles to enrich your know-how, experience and practice of color. We look forward to continued “Muzing” with you about the fascinating, and ever-unfolding world of Color!

In September, we continued our discussion of The Color Wheel with a focus on complementary colors, and their relationship to each other.  The complements are sets of colors opposite each other on the color wheel, and comprised of one primary color (red, blue, yellow), and one secondary color (secondary colors result from the mixing of two primaries: purple, green and orange). Note: we are talking about pigment-based color mixing in this article.

The primary hues of red, yellow and blue set each other off when juxtaposed, as in the layered look created by these three rooms. The red room opens to the blue, which opens to the yellow (gold), creating an intense, saturated effect.

Likewise, when sets of complements, (opposite each other on the color wheel), are placed next to each other, or overlaid without transparency, they will enhance each other. Try using sets of complements in a room, on a canvass, or in a garden planting, and watch each color take on new life!

Yellow ~ Purple

Red ~ Green

Blue ~ Orange

Even when sets of complements are toned down, or made less bright,  they will set each other off when placed next to each other.

In fact, one way to subdue, “neutralize”, or gray down a color is to add some of its complement to it, thus lowering its level of intensity and saturation.

On the ceiling below, a semi-transparent rusty-orange-is layered over complement cerulean blue, subduing the intensity of the blue in areas. The coppery-orange of the stencil design is more opaque (paint, as opposed the more sheer glaze medium), thus mixes less with the blue below it, and stands out in greater contrast to its blue background.

Color can have a tremendous effect on our psychology, and emotional lives. In October we talked about how painting a kitchen’s dark, light-absorbing wood a golden-ochre color changed the life of its inhabitant.  A testament to the power of color, the homeowner declared, “The final outcome of the project was transformational. What had been a dark and brooding kitchen area became a light and inviting space that perfectly wove into the accent colors already in place. The end product created a welcoming environment.”


Illustrating the symbiotic relationship of light and color, we discussed how color on a ceiling can look very different then the same hue on a wall, depending on how the light hits and is absorbed by each surface. This concept is discussed beautifully in the book Color and Light: Luminous Atmospheres for Painted Rooms., by artists and colorists Donald Kauffman and Taffy Dahl.

Although in many places, November is a bit too cold to do exterior projects, during Thanksgiving month we shared about how to deal with choosing colors for exterior surfaces that are constantly shifting hue in the changing light outdoors.

One way is to observe the surface you are trying to match, or work with, such as a patio’s expanse of multi-colored Mexican tile, determine which color stands out as the most dominant, and base your treatment on that hue. We shared, and laughed about, a helpful simple trick when doing this: if you wear glasses, take them off!  You may find that you can see the fields or areas of colors you are trying to work with more clearly, without the distraction of “clear” vision! (And, make sure you aren’t wearing your sunglasses when observing, planning, and choosing colors for your project!)

We chatted a bit about the challenges of changing paint formulas, as Benjamin Moore and other vendors create a whole new set of more environmentally friendly color specs that don’t necessarily exactly match the old!

Anyone specifying color will be affected by this, and though we all appreciate our vendor’s attempts to “green” their products, we caution you to be prepared for some confusion in the interim, and apprise your Clients accordingly!  I have been told that the old Benjamin Moore color specs will continue to be sold while supplies last…then it’s out with the old, and in with the new!

Remember, any change, even the most exciting and positive, can create a bit of stress, as our senses, hearts, minds and souls take their own time to make the necessary adjustments.

Finally, we completed our discussion with a toe dip into the intriguing concept of Synethesia, or “Unity of the Senses”.   As states Frank L. Mahnke, President of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, “Colors may evoke associations with odor and taste, appear heavy or light, give tactile impressions, be associated with sound, have volume, and temperature associations.”


We look forward to delving deeper into this fascinating material in further Color Muze segments!

What a luscious, luminous world we have as finishers, decorative painters, muralists, artists, artisans and humans, to explore! Please join our Color Muze on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, and Cre8tive Compass Magazine, “where we honor your passion, and your vision, in this community we are co-creating”

What Color-Full journeys have YOU taken lately?

If you feel so inspired, share them with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all journeying though this thing called Life, together.