Fleurs Series: ROSE SPIRALS

Fleurs Series: ROSE SPIRALS

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Fleurs Series: PERIWINKLE

Fleurs Series: Periwinkle

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May142015_9375Meadow Land

Fleurs Series: MULTIHUED

Fleurs Series: Multihued

Mar102012_8049Gracing la Table

WEBAFlower Bed

WEB6Spring Blooms

20121226_155810Spring Holidays

Fleurs Series: PURPLE

Fleurs Series: PURPLE

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Fleurs Series: RED

Fleurs Series: RED

WEB5aTo the Sun

Sep012012_4432Ground Cover

WEB5Luminescent

WEB7Seeing Red

20130312_153441Enticement

Fleurs Series: ORANGE

Fleurs Series: ORANGE

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Everything in the Garden: A Short Saga of Color and Light

Everything in the Garden: A Short Saga of Color and Light

WEB2Starting with a journey from the Inside Out…one extraordinarily light-filled early evening.  Sunlight beckons.

WEB3Sunlight floods the garden, causing my camera to capture what just might be a mini-UFO, standing out rad against the green.

WEB4Catching the roses blushing against stucco.  Compliments green and pink (“light red”) create old world charm.

WEB5Yellow windblown roses explode out of luxuriant green bushes. They seem to be reaching for something…moisture?

WEB6Red and white stripes hover shyly behind leaves.

WEB8A  twist of tendrils around a solo pink blossom.

WEB7Pièce de résistance du jardin…perhaps its highlight….this perfect peach rose.

WEB9Fresh and cool, these beautiful whites light our way home like stars when the sun sets.

WEB9aTo the purple side of pink.  These keep us in the Pink…and strike us pink at the same time.

WEB9cLines of moire…and shadow of palm fronds create optics on the wall…a trick of light, shadow, and the distance between things.

WEB9bA natural mural composition.  This arresting composition yearns to be painted.

 

Crawling the Wall: The Making of a Mural

Crawling the Wall: The Making of a Mural

Lest you think that only smooth interior walls or whitewashed exterior ones can provide the surface for mural magic…let me set you straight.

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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…WALL!  And…there are so many kinds of walls…

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Some sport a trellis, such as the wall I was to paint for my client, Maureen.

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This was her view through her kitchen window, in a neighborhood that is often permeated in dense fog.

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Well, picturesque though it might be…the trellis had to go.

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Underneath, the corrugated texture of the wooden siding posed another painting challenge.

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Maureen’s contractor and landscaper, Greg Spry of  Spryscapes had designed a bench for the deck, so the mural needed to work with it.

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The deck opened out directly from the living/dining area, which informed the mural’s color palette.

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I also took inspiration from the colors, textures and patterns of pillows, textiles, artwork, and other details inside,

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as well as from Maureen’s business card.

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She loves flowers and plants, and with that fog,  they can be challenging to grow and maintain on the deck.

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Taking a cue from the wall’s trellis “history”, I designed a composition of curving vines, punctuated by big splashes of brightly colored blossoms, and made it to-scale.

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On a rare lovely, sunny day, I set up a little outdoor studio right on the deck , and set to work.

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The essentials: mockup, palette, and rags.  Oh yes…the paints are out there too.

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I began with a rough chalk outline on the wall, closely following the design depicted in the mockup.

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I laid in the underpainting for the leaves , “vines”, and and stems, over which the other colors would go, in a cool green hue.  I had cut stencils (incredibly useful!) in varied sizes for the leaves, and adhered them to the side wall with blue painters tape in-between color applications.

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Next came the underpainting of the flower blossoms in a brilliant yellow.

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All the paints used are artist’s  acrylic designed for mural painting, which I bought at the Precita Eyes Muralists Community Art Store in San Francisco.

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Next, I laid in the other colors, and added details, complexity and depth with layers of color that shifted in value from dark to light and back again.

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I used sets of strongly contrasting complementary colors to add energy, intensity, “pop” and vigor to the design.

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I disregarded the edges of the strips of siding, and its corrugated texture, and painted right over it and into its texture, applying layers of slightly watered down paint to the painted surface to fill each area, and give the sense of unbroken blossoms of color dancing across the wall.

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Maureen’s painter had base painted the wall in a neutral color, which made the technicalities of my task easier, as his efforts helped to unify the surface.

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The idea was to create a rhythm, and feeling of movement, color and pattern across the wall.

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The colors would change with the light, but always add a

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sense of whimsy, magic and joi de vivre to the deck and to the home,and to animate it,

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all the way to the end.

(Of course the painting is varnished to protect it from those foggy elements.)

  Now Maureen has a magical, motion-filled garden to look at when she raises her eyes from the kitchen sink, and looks out the window to  the deck. These are flowers that don’t require watering!

Here’s to the bon vivant, Maureen, Cheers!

 

 

Looking Up: Griffith Observatory Murals

Looking Up: Griffith Observatory Murals

20130317_144158Heaven may be right there on the ceiling…or a bit of it, anyway!

A trip into LA’s  Griffith Park, with the express intent of seeing the Hugo Ballin Murals in the W. M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda  of the amazing Griffith Observatory  yields immediate results.  If you would like to do this yourself…here are the instructions:

Walk into the W. M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda  of the  Griffith Observatory, stand still, and look up.  This is what you will see…

20130317_142353Turn your head slightly, and you will see a whole new view, and details that may have escaped your initial glance!

20130317_142411No delayed gratification here!

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“On the vaulted ceiling and upper walls of the W. M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda are Griffith Observatory’s greatest artistic treasure: the Hugo Ballin Murals. Workers have carefully and completely restored the murals so that they appear as they did when first painted by muralist, film producer, and author Hugo Ballin (1879-1956) in 1934-35.

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Medieval cathedrals told stories in stone. The Ballin ceiling mural celebrates classical celestial mythology, with images of Atlas, the four winds, the planets as gods, and the twelve constellations of the zodiac. The eight rectangular Ballin wall murals depict the “Advancement of Science” with panels on astronomy, aeronautics, navigation, civil engineering, metallurgy and electricity, time, geology and biology, and mathematics and physics.

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In addition to Griffith Observatory, Hugo Ballin’s murals also appear throughout Los Angeles in such noted buildings as the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the Los Angeles Times Building, and Los Angeles City Hall Council Chambers.” —http://www.griffithobservatory.org/exhibits/brotunda.html

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The joy is in the soft range of hues used, and the details, which combine to create a harmonious, yet thrilling whole, and complete the narrative.

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The nearby fluidly shaped recessed ceiling is also highly ornamental, treated to what looks to be meticulously applied painted texture, or “paint effects“, a magnificent central floral/sunburst style image,

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bands of architectural details gracing its curves, gold surfaced “dentils” , and repeated lines and shapes which, in concert with the color palette, tie it all together.

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If all things Griffith fascinate you,  may enjoy seeing this video on the Park, the Observatory, the Murals, and the man who started it all, Griffith J. Griffith.

Enjoy the view!

Color Blossoms

Color Blossoms

Floral Inspiration for Color Palettes, Choices, and Combinations


Red, yellow and blue…the classic primary palette with a twist…the colors are warmer and lighter than “true” primaries…with the blue leaning towards the turquoise, the red to the orange, and the yellow a paler tint.

Red and black together can signify hatred, but not here.  The illuminated orangey-red flower hue,  the addition of green in the background and calming quality of the surrounding earth make this an energizing, and somehow ethereal combination.

Analogous colors  are next to each other on the color wheel, such as, yellow (a primary color) and orange (a secondary color). Because yellow is a part of orange, and red is a part of both orange and purple, there is an immediate harmony and relationship  between these colors.

Purple and orange are both secondary colors, which as mentioned above, share red as a “parent”.  With the surrounding green leaves, all three secondaries are represented, providing both balance, and visual interest.

We don’t speak of a “pale” red.  When red becomes lighter in value, tinted with white, it becomes pink. The strong intensity of  the  pink rose swathed in not quite complimentary green leaves is softened by the dots of yellow to one side of it, which relieves both our mental attention and our physical eyes.

  The yellow and orange “bouquet”, analogous colors again adjacent on the color wheel, rise out of a mass of green.  All three of which hues share yellow in common. The parchment and brick colors of the building serve as a harmonious backdrop, and do not compete with nature…


Blue, white, green…the colors of nature. Sky, clouds, and plants, with a slight yellow center in view.  Sunlight?  Think Greece, the Aegean Isles……the sea, the sky, white buildings in the distance, and a bright yellow sunflower flaunted by green pines.


Here, “black” earth surrounds brilliant yet tender hues of yellow, pink, red, and purple. Red and green are compliments, as are yellow and purple…thus providing the tension and the attraction of opposites.


Yellow has a direct relationship with green, being one of its “parent” colors, along with blue. The lighter value and greater intensity of the yellow above makes it pop, amidst the green.


A group of related colors, (hues of orange, including the brick wall) all have yellow in common, as do the green leaves.  The variation in value, intensity and tone of the colors, (and differences in texture of the natural, and made-made surfaces)  creates  visual interest, and  their inter-relatedness creates harmony,  thus a pleasing balance is achieved.

Tints of warm, edible-looking orange contrast with green leaves, which reflect the warmth and ruffly quality of the flower!

Our eye is led around the white on red table top, up the bright red vase, and into the glories of burgundy, violet, yellow and white, with some refreshing yellowing-green blossoms thrown in for good measure.  White softens the scheme, and relieves the richness of these very saturated colors. The red, burgundy and violet share red in common, the yellow and green, have yellow in common, the green and violet have blue in common, thus there is both contrast, and relatedness among the colors. The bright red is  the strongest in chroma, and draws our eye in and up to the floral arrangement.  The combination enlivens and energizes the table, the space, our appetites, and our minds, without overwhelming.

What color palettes for Your home, business or other spaces have been inspired by the glories and the subtleties, of nature?

Where  and how does color blossom for YOU?