BOOKED (4)

BOOKED (4)

“The world is so full of a number of things,
I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Robert Louis Stevenson

WEB3f“Only that which is truly old is forever young.” —Carl Larsson

About a week ago I serendipitously stumbled upon a sale at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) store.  What luck! Despite the fact that I had just reorganized our books to make room for them all, I found myself perusing the bins of books on sale, and choosing four at $5.00 each. It can take just but this kind of experience to make us feel rich. In this and my previous post, I share them with you…dear Readers and fellow Passionate Pursuers.

WEB3a Carl Larsson and Karin Bergoo Larsson were a Swedish husband and wife artist team who created an amazing home for themselves and their children, depicted in this book, Carl Larsson-garden, (Carl Larsson’s House”).  This book will light up anyone moved by color, decorative painting, art, interior, surface and  garden design, architecture, or just the concept and expression of “home”.

WEB3bEndpaper…depicting “the good life”…

WEB3cLooks like someone is drawing on the dining room table in this watercolor by Carl. Karin embroidered the family tree  depicted below it.

WEB3dA Day of Celebration“, watercolor by Carl Larsson. The Larsson family celebrated Names Days with gusto, and costuming to boot.

WEB3eKarin Larsson’s bedroom…Carl’s bed seen through the doorway. Carl painted the garland of flowers over the door, and the border around the ceiling as a name day present for Karin. Karin wove “Love’s Rose”, the drapery hanging between the two rooms.

WEB3gThe Reading Room…a watercolor of daughter Kersti …reading. Appropriate.

WEB4aWEB4cThis book, catalog  really, is copyrighted 1977.  That must have been when this show was mounted at LACMA. Intricate designs, whimsical figures of animals and people, and rows of heads with open mouths and earrings are some of the intriguing delights to be found within.  I wish I could have seen this exhibition curated by the late Mary Hunt Kahlenberg,  an authority on antique and ethnographic textiles and a former curator and head of the Department of Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The images above are of/from the front cover, and depict “Palepai“, Sumatran ship cloth.

WEB4dWEB4eKain Panjang“, Skirt Cloth, Jogjakarta, Central Java. Wonderful images integrated into a coherent design in this piece.

WEB4gWEB4fTapis”, Skirt cloth. Lampong, South Sumatra.

WEB4hLau“, Woman’s Skirt, Pao, East Sumba, late 1940s. The “Katipa” above is a beaded band that here contains bird and snake motifs.

WEB4iKain Panjang“, Skirt Cloth, Atelier of E. Van Zuylen, Pekalongan, North Coast, Java. A Javanese take on “Little Red Riding Hood”, shows the European influence on Javanese batik. Dutch and other European studios created “batiks blending local and imported motifs….”Mary Hunt Kahlenberg

WEB4kWEB4lPua“, Borneo.  I love the seemingly screaming moths, repeated patterns and dangling earrings here…

Two extraordinary documents, and extraordinary in their diversity, yet also also extraordinary in their pursuit of a passion. How lucky we are that the Larssons, and Mary Hunt Kalenberg remained in passionate pursuit of  what moved and motivated them so deeply to the very end, leaving behind for us their legacies. We can continue to become richer in soul and spirit, through their gifts and efforts

 Gratitudes to LACMA for making these works accessible…bravo.

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Secondary Colors are Primary Too

Secondary Colors are Primary Too

After posting last week about the Primary Colors (in the paint, print,  dye sense…as opposed to the “light” sense)…I had to give some color time to those marvelous combos of primary colors…the ever-loving, and equally important secondaries!

Web1Purple = Red + Blue

Web2Green= Blue + Yellow

Web3Orange = Yellow + Red

Color WheelInterestingly…the complimentary colors are comprised of colors that are directly opposite, or across from each other on the color wheel.  They are diametrically opposed…complete opposites. These dramatic duets are composed of the pairing of one primary color, and one secondary.  Since each secondary is composed of two primaries, complimentary pairs contain all three primaries between them, and effectually “cancel out” each other’s color properties (I.E.- “neutralize” each other), when mixed.

Web7On the contrary, when placed next or in proximity to each other, secondaries can create brilliant, arresting, and “can’t get enough of it’ color palettes. Seeing Green, orange and purple all together, adding brightness to a house exterior, well, it just wakes up your senses, ready or not!

Web5Purple and orange share a red “parent” color in common. The other two primaries, blue and yellow, are expressed within them as their other color “parents”. That brilliant, hot orange packs the proverbial palette punch as an unexpected accent and frame to the softer purple house body color.

Web6Here we have a pale orange (salmon), with a teal green, punctuated by bright purple flowers. Without the exuberant purple blooms nestled amongst their own green leaves, this exterior color palette might descend into the realm of the ho-hum.

Web8Orange (here with a rosy glow) and green share yellow as one half of each of their wholes.  It is almost impossible for yellow not to add warmth, relating, as it does, to the radiance and heat of the sun. The palette here is integrated with the green leaves of the foliage, which makes the warm rosy orange stand out all the more.

Have You designed solely with secondaries?  What have You come up with?  Working with secondaries, which express, but indirectly, the primaries they contain within them, can create strong, edgy color designs.  Perhaps not for the faint of color heart, but guaranteed to move your blood. A powerful way to tell a color story.

Green, Green, My Heart is Green

Green, Green, My Heart is Green

webEHere’s looking at You kid…with the greenest eye.

Inspired by a post on ORANGE, written by Anna Nahman of L’Essenziale Home Designs, and a little walk i took today, I decided to write about that most Life Affirming of all colors…Green.

It is the Fall season…Autumn…a time in many locales of oranges, rusts, sometimes brilliant reds, and greens that are fading into yellow…but here in Santa Monica, green, bursting at the seams and filled with blooms of color, abounds.

Fall is also a time of new beginnings…new school year…projects, growth and cycles of all kinds.

Therefore…join me please, as I celebrate the glory , growth, and greatness of Green!

3Cmkting13C Marketing Group gets Green Power!!

cc2Green gradations on exterior architecture can brighten even the San Francisco fog!

LAgreengradAnd the Los Angeles “version”…bright light, Chartreuse.

Green 0311Bulls eye…Kelly green seen between two buildings hits the visual mark!

blushThe tart, green apple “taste” of this yogurt shop, (in terms of Synesthesia) stirs up the appetite!

GreenDoorjambGreen paired with its opposite/compliment red (or in this case, pink) makes for a striking interior image.

lady_aThe complimentary red ladybugs stand out against the green background, making a strong statement.

green2Soft, weathered greens flow across wooden poles which form a fence, and blend naturally into the landscape.

green3Verdigris is  the natural patina which forms on the surface of  copper, bronze, or brass as it is exposed to air and water, wind and weather over time.  It’s aqua-green tints work well in natural settings.

WEBBGreens don’t have to be brilliant to be beautiful…a soft grey green exterior punctuated by a wooden door melds perfectly with the dark  green vines which trail over it.  There is a melancholy to Autumn…after all.

But…let us not end on a melancholy note…let’s end with the glory of green…WEBd

Oct122012_6378WBpushing its way through the grey pavement, a go-getter…growing…growth…grown…it just won’t stop, or give up.

And neither should we.

Happy Fall Everyone!

BOOKED! (1)

BOOKED! (1)

“The world is so full of a number of things,
I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” —Robert Louis Stevenson

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Today I celebrate an embarrassment of riches…a gaggle of glorious words and images exploring all manner of fascinating facets of the worlds of art, architecture, design, environmental art, maps and cartography, and more. And more to come.

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The arts and crafts movement, at its height towards the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, influenced painting. architecture, craft, the decorative arts, and the design of books, textiles, furniture, and gardens, to name a few. The next two images are from this book, which is filled with richly colored illustrations replete with pattern, design and image.

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Here is the magnificent main door at  Pownall Hall, Cheshire, 1886, set off by shots of floral color.  Though imposing, it manages to be warm and welcoming at the same time. What would it be like to come home to this door?!

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Above, William Morris bed hangings at Kelmscott Manor, Gloucestershire. Looks like a magical place to lay one’s head at night…

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A fascinating look at artists working “directly within the landscape”, and the groundbreaking (!) work they create/d. This volume contains images of earth/body/performance art by one of my long-time favorite artists….

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Ana Mendieta. Above we see “Birth”, from the “Silueta” series: self-portraits …“in which Mendieta literally inscribed her presence onto the landscape….” using earth, mud, gunpowder, rocks, plants, and her own body

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“The series encompassed an extensive spectrum of media, materials and method.”

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Maps, which  employ line, color, shape, create composition, words, numbers, and images, are rife with meaning  that can bridge to message. To many, cartography begs to play a role in artmaking. Which came first, the art or the cart?

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Above:  “Untitled”, by Guillermo Kuitca, made of acrylic on mattresses with wood and bronze legs..there are 20 beds which comprise this piece.

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A closer view reveals more detail.

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“Contingente”, by Adriana Varejao….unframed photograph, from an edition of 100.

Moving from the built to the natural environment…from the earth to maps of it, and back to the body and where we live. We begin to see how all is connected…did Ana Mendieta map the earth with her body as a form of art?

Stay tuned for part 2….as we delve into “bibliographics”, and art created from the book itself.  An embarrassment of riches indeed…just a book away.

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“!

Article from Arden: How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

 Article from Arden: How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

Recently, i was fortunate enough to have colleague, stylist, real estate professional, and “Color  & Hue” practitioner extraordinaire,  Arden T. Reece of Color & Hue, and The Rudy Group Real Estate, pen the article  below about my work as a decorative painter, and highlighting  and helping  to define it at the same time.

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 I met Arden through our studies at the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, (IACC), and have watched with admiration as she has created an amazing presence in the worlds of personal styling, color consultation for personal style,

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and  real estate in the Long Beach-based company of Geoff Rudy.   She is also a whimsical water-colorist, with a delightful children’s book idea up her sleeve!

Please enjoy Arden’s interview and article below, about the art and applications of Decorative Painting!

Thanks Arden!

How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

by Arden T. Reece

debra disman, artifactory studio“We sat down recently with Santa Monica based artist, Debra Disman, who recreates rooms and objects with her arsenal of painting techniques. Her company, ArtiFactory Studio, provides custom decorative painting, faux finishing, color consultation and murals to the Residential, Commercial, Institutional and Nonprofit customer. Her work has graced the walls, ceilings and objects of many residences and spaces along the California coastal region and beyond. 

First off, thanks for agreeing to sit down with us!  Your work is amazing and you’re one of those artists that most people don’t know exist but when they find out about you, they’re thrilled! What exactly is a decorative painter?
Well, decorative painting is a bit of a “catch-all” term. In fact, the way I use it, it covers much more than “just” painting! Decorative painters use their skills and artistry to transform the ‘built environment’ – usually the architectural environment, both interior and exterior, but more often interior. We work on walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, and architectural details such as fireplaces, columns and molding, using paints, glazes, metallic leaf, and more, to create the look and feel requested by our clients. We may create full-scale murals, the look of marble, stone or wood (faux finishing), or apply gold leaf. As I say on my site, “Our passion is to translate the Client’s inner vision into concrete visual form.” I might work in conjunction with interior designers, architects, contractors, painting companies or even graphic designers to develop the textures, color palettes, treatments, mural compositions, designs and patterns that will bring a space to life and give it that extra oomph that can translate into the “wow” factor.

Wow is right — you truly are an artist in visually transforming objects and homes through color and paint!  Many homeowners love to create unique spaces in their homes but don’t quite know what to do. How do you help them in conceptualizing something?
The key is really individualized customer service and the customization of every project. Every finish, mural, design and treatment is tailor-made to the client’s need, environment, interest, and inner vision. How is this achieved? From my complimentary first meeting, through the sampling process, to the finished project, the focus is on hearing what the client (and their team, if they are working with a designer, architect, contractor, or painting company) have to say, seeing what they respond to, and continuing to listen to, respond to and communicate with them to make sure their project is progressing in the desired direction.

So…what is the step-by-step process for working with you? How can a homeowner create a great relationship with you so they get your best work?
My process for much of my work includes several steps. Once I get a referral, or a potential client has reached out to me, we discuss what they are looking for over the phone, and then set up a complimentary first meeting to review job site and potential project, and further clarify their needs, interests, vision and expectations. This gives me the information I need to determine pricing, so that I can present a quote/make a bid. I consider this meeting my first collaboration with the client, and it also functions as a consultation of sorts.

I will then, in most cases, present a written bid based on time and materials, a time-line for the job based on the client’s needs and schedule, and the availability and workload of my studio, ArtiFactory Studio. If the bid is accepted, we sign a contract, and I invoice for a deposit which is usually 50% of the total price. Now the work, and the fun, can begin! Based on meetings with the client, designer or any other “players” involved, I produce samples or mock-ups and submit/present them for approval. I will incorporate feedback and requested changes so that the client and their team’s vision develops along with mine. I will conduct further client meetings and provide consultation as needed throughout the process. Once all plans have been approved, I complete the job on-site or in my studio continuing to be open to client feedback and concerns. When the job is complete, I provide any necessary instructions for maintenance, repair options, and product for touch-up, and go over any questions the client/team may have. The last step in most cases is to invoice for balance due and leave a happy client having exceeded her expectations!

One trend that we’re loving right now in the design space is the idea of reuse and re-purpose. What are some things that you’ve done in re-purposing furniture?
I am so glad you asked about re-purposing furniture through decorative painting as it is one of my favorite things to do! Not only is it incredibly fun and creative but it also helps to minimize the waste-stream and thus supports the health of our environment, to say nothing of saving money! I have both purchased furniture from garage and yard sales and recreated them with decorative painting techniques and I’ve also taken pieces that I or a client already owned and transformed them into custom items that are specifically designed to work in a particular space. In those instances I work with the client step-by-step to realize their vision, just as I would with any other job.

Although you make it look easy to do, I know it’s not! What are some things your clients need to be aware of when it comes to re-purposing their furniture or space?
One important thing is to give the process its due.  It does take time to clarify what look and feel the client is actually going for and discover the best way to achieve that. There are so many techniques, processes, applications and treatments that can be used…the options are endless! So, the dreaming, visualizing, planning and consultation process is really important, and in most cases should be collaborative, unless the client is willing to offer carte blanche and accept the results!

Next, I would say to any prospective client, as for any project, have fun with it! This is a process designed to put your vision into concrete visual form and it should be fun, exciting, enjoyable and creative for you as the client with gratifying results. Finally, in working with an artist/decorative painter/decorative artist, understand that you are working with a professional who has trained and practiced their art form or craft (just as your architect or designer has) and that there is a charge for the service. Work out the financial details ahead of time and get it all down on paper, so that everyone involved is apprised of the costs, and agrees to them, and then you can move forward and have a great, creative/collaborative experience.

To see more of Debra’s work, visit her at www.artifactorystudio.com or contact her at 310.920.4311 for a complimentary meeting.”

GRATITUDES for this lovely piece!!!

The Power of RED: Doors

The Power of RED: Doors

Why use red on a front door?

(Or a side, service or interior door, for that matter?!)

It seems that all can agree that RED is energizing.

Here we  explore why…and why red so often greets us as the port of entry into all sorts of spaces.

val_bAn earthy, pink-toned red works well on this door, which receives in strong sunlight, with the warm-toned earthy brown house body color.

soulA deep, strong red door offsets buttery yellow walls, and stands out in a large Pilates studio space without dominating it or taking away from its serenity.

gu_aNot a front door here, but strong bright red works just as well on this service door, providing contrast to the complex taupe field hue which dominates the exterior.

WEBaStrong red makes this door quite visible and shows us where to go,  even behind bars, albeit, decorative ones!

WEBbComplimentary greenery flanks this glistening red door, giving it even greater “pop”, and attracting us to the entrance, and the house.

WEBcThe red door leads our eye to the entry, and offsets the quite brown of the shingles, and potentially somber black shutters and trim.

WEBdA less brilliant red makes a quieter statement, but a strong one, nonetheless, the color offsetting the dark steps, and drawing our eye up to it..

WEBeNestled within the entrance alcove, this red door gives relieves the expanse of  ochre colored stucco surrounding it.

WEBfThe red of the door is picked up as an accent color in the trim, and Victorian detailing and ornamentation, adding a sense of fun and whimsy to the entry.

WEBiRed on the front door of a Santa Monica mortuary: life affirming, warming, comforting, path finding, getting us where we need to go…inside top face loss, establish ritual to move through it, and do what must be done.

WEBjRed side doors of the same mortuary…again, letting us know where we need to go. keeping us energized and focused, doing what we need to do.

WEBkAnother “cottage” beauty…this bright  red door fairly beams out its cheerful, inviting, life-affirming greeting, and seems to say…come in!

What do You think about Red Doors? Do you have a favorite? Please share about it with us in the comments, and your thoughts on why Red Doors persist as a theme in our architectural color culture!

Here’s to energizing entrances to all sorts of spaces!

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!

 

 

Contemplating Color – Three Year Round Up

Contemplating Color – 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 the ArtiFactory Studio, and Artissima ventures…and, about to add/subtract/move around work from my site, I thought I would share some of the color design work completed since my last site update…er, 2010…and spend a few happy moments contemplating color, and its magic.

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This Berkeley bungalow went from nondescript drab to warm and inviting, all due to a color shift. The owners were really ready for this, but finding the right colors which worked on the structure, integrated into the neighborhood, and didn’t get washed out by the strong sunlight, took awhile to find.

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The welcoming red door reflects the red in the plant, contrasting just enough from house body color to  become an accent. To me, this combo looks “good enough to eat”, and fits with the intimate and accessible bungalow style.

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The new colors, a chocolatey brown framed in cream, completely transformed the garage and made it clean, attractive and integrated. Color can do that.

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This modern condo building  graces the urban landscape in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks neighborhood. It’s quasi-industrial style called for a streamlined color scheme that made the most of its details: a wall of windows, large garage door, metal house numbers, and a  bright wood front entry door. Though urban, green trees flank the building.

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The green-gray body color is set off by a darker green-gray hue on the garage door and trim, which grounds the building. The many window sashes are called out by a deep burgundy red, relating to the bright entry. The palette emerges industrial yet elegant.

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The story of this quaint cottage-like house extends back through two paint jobs! The owners were not happy with colors original to the home when they purchased it, nor with a new palette designed by another consultant. They decided to keep the strong purple and green trim and accent colors, but tone them down with a deeper body hue which would tie to them, and thus minimize their visual impact. Red plantings in the window boxes add a splash of accent color that animates the scheme.

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The lower part of the house is painted in a stronger (more heavily tinted) concentration of the body color,  making it appear darker and more solid. This feeling of solidity makes the viewer feel reassured that this foundation can support the upper part of the house. The quiet field color makes an effective foil for the accent colors, plantings, foliage, and beautiful trees which grace the property.

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San Francisco is famous for its Victorian-style homes, and their multitude of decorative architectural details, can make designing a color palette both challenging and fun, to say nothing of gratifying.  The owners of this Victorian wanted an integrated scheme that highlighted its details and design, but in more subtle and retrained manner then some of the nearby “Painted Ladies“!

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Thus we chose paint “specs” (specifications, IE, the paint colors) within one color spectrum, including the pale trim, which, with its greenish undertone, related to the rest of the colors. The front and service doors, window sashes, undersides of the overhangs, and architectural details were painted in a total of seven colors.

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The front door, service door (shown above) and garage doors were each painted in a different, yet related hue. The colors range from the creamy trim, to the deep bronze-hued front door, and ornaments painted in metallic bronze. A great deal of effort, but worth it!

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This apartment building , called  ARIA, is in Canoga Park, in the San Fernando Valley Area of Los Angeles. The color scheme ideas, in coordination with the builders, operations manager and director of capitol improvements involved, ranged from brick and black colors, to earthy browns, ochers, greens and roses. Quite a process. Out of all this emerged an inviting palette which accentuated the clean lines of the building, and played a bit with its details, doors and balconies.

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The service door is painted in a more intense version of the balcony color.

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The inner courtyard serves a a central “boulevard” for the residents.

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The bright doors, and brown accents identify important areas, and assist in path finding.

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The devil is in the details!  Residents personalize their spaces.  Some like skulls, apparently.

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The play of light on the painted surface affects the way we see the colors. Warm light will make the color appear to be just that.

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The building on the other end of the block, SONATA, is a different style, but  color design of the two buildings, including their interior courtyards, was done as one integrated job.

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Using the same color on the exterior balconies on both buildings serves as a sort of “color connective” tissue.

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A “tri-play” of color: foundation, body and accents hues, set off by the white trim color..

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The green-toned hue on the stucco foundation of the building grounds it, as discussed above, and ties it to the surrounding plantings.

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Sonata’s inner courtyard. As I understand it, plants will be added. Awnings add a homey touch.

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My favorite image from the project- the back of SONATA. The muted colors on stucco, and the stairway,  railings, and balcony remind me of time spent as a student in Southern France.

Who knew?

Give me your color weary, your peeling paint, your faded siding and scuffed up stucco!  It is my pleasure, my joy, my challenge and my calling  to recreate your architectural color to as near perfection as I can and give new life to your buildings, your spaces, your environment, and maybe even your soul!

Color on…Cheers!

Color: A Balancing Act 2

Color: A Balancing Act 2

What is the “emotional loading of a space”?

Says Helen Gurura,  an internationally accredited colour design consultant,  and executive vice-president of the International Association of Color Consultants (IACC). “Feelings can be evoked through colour at even an unconscious level and this gives rise to the term “colour emotion”, defined as “an associated feeling or emotion induced in the brain during the colour perception process”. In architectural psychology terminology this is called “the emotional loading of a space”.  Achieving balance in colour design clearly remains a challenge though.”

spear_dFrench Cafe..anyone?

In last week’s post, we looked at a variety of exterior architectural color schemes through the lens of visual “unity” and “complexity”, exploring what creates both over and under-stimulation,  and ways of creating balance between these extremes.  The goal is to  avoid both extreme unity/monotony/sensory deprivation which results in under-stimulation, and extreme complexity/variety which can over-stimulate the senses.  As Ms. Gurura states, “The balance between unity and complexity is the first and most important rule in the design of user-supportive architectural environments.”

Essentially, we expect, and I extrapolate from  this want and need  our senses to be moderately stimulated at all times.  I must assume that  dreaming accomplishes this when sleeping…even when mediating, we are often instructed to concentrate on the breath, a sensory experience.

The built environment is a place where we may posit our dreams, our imaginations, even our breath.  When we have been “doing battle”, even if that means fighting the good fight, out there in the world, we may need our homes to return to, relax, recharge, regroup  and  catch our breath in.

Let’s relax now, take a deep breath, and enjoy looking at some interiors that were designed through placement of color, pattern, texture, and more, to not only meet the functional needs and wants of those who live and breath there, but also to express their innermost hopes, dreams, wishes and desires…and perhaps even fantasies about themselves and their lives.

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The owner of a charming home in  Berkeley, Ca, wanted to transform his son’s old bedroom into a guest room, that his fiance would claim as her own special space in the house. His love of strong color, bold artwork, rich, layered patterns and textures  is mitigated to accommodate  her taste for beige by the choice of a neutral wall color and creamy trim.

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The wall color is taken to the bookcases, which frame not only scores of colorful books, but also his son’s powerful painting. By keeping the bookcases “color neutral”, what is contained within and between them is kept front and center, and the multitude of colors and patterns do not overwhelm.

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Warmth, richness, depth,and elegance reign in this master bedroom, where the deep earthy golden-brown-with hints of persimmon wall color compliments the multi-hued wood floor, the heavy dark wood furniture, and fresh white trim.  The trim is needed to relieve the strength of the other colors, and because the room is spacious, filled with strong lines and architectural details, and  large pieces.

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Although this room doesn’t have the plethora of  color, pattern and texture in its details like the Berkeley guest room above, the complexity of its space, containing recesses, alcoves and a window seat, the variance in the texture and light reflectance of its surfaces, and the expanse of textiles on bed and chair, give it just as much visual variety and interest. The room is beautifully balanced and filled with light, comfort and calm, with enough accent to engage the senses.

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Here again pale “neutral” (read, “beige” ) walls and tile, and white ceiling contain,  frame and unify strong color and bursts of pattern,  just as the streamlined silver frames contain but do not restrain the beautiful, bright  watercolor paintings created by the owners’ children. The effect of the paintings and blue-patterned vase is amplified by their reflection in the mirror, which adds a sense of space to a smaller room. The varying colors and patterns are also on different planes: the paintings on the wall parallel to our line of sight, the counter top perpendicular to it,  the vase parallel, but below the paintings, creating a layered effect, adding complexity and variety to the space.

spear_bspear_cThe serenity of this bedroom is achieved not only with soothing neutrals on wall and ceiling, but carrying that over into large swathes of textiles such as the bedspread, pillows and throw. Layers of texture and intricacy are created  through the “distressed” mirror frame which adds a painted and reflected scene to the visual mix, and intricately detailed and tasseled window treatment which adds sheen, pattern, and a whole other level of visual interest, as well as framing the window.  Who couldn’t relax in this room?  R & R is exactly what it is for…and as unbroken as possible. As opposed to…

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the “boudoir”, in the same unit!  This room will keep you awake, though it does share the element of faux fur pillows with the bedroom. Needless to say, the owners are style Franophiles, at least with this space, which is a second dwelling for them, an urban “get-away” from their home in Napa County, CA. In this alcove, they had big  fun “papering’ the walls with a  fabulous, French-feeling fabric, placing a gold “sunburst” above the divan ( covered in the same pattern), and “peppering” it with black fur pillows.  Isn’t it wonderful to have a room where you can just go wild with the design and decor? Shouldn’t we all have that?  This room is just a little jewel box of color and pattern, and we found exactly the right paint color for the ceiling, to pull out the rich cream hue  in the fabric, and soften the pinky-red surrounding it.  Because the fabric is so all-encompassing, the walls, curtain, divan and pillows covered in it merge into one, and the complexity and visual variety is contained in that one pattern. The room is small, the room is warm, the room is happy, and the room sings…a totally different song then the bedroom,  and  another example of “securing unity in the midst of variety….”, and achieving balance, as Helen Gurura would say!