Painted Pages: Reading Color I

Painted Pages: Reading Color I

Denim, acrylic paint, hemp cord, board.

Multiple signature binding, each signature composed of a single bifolium.

Cover imagery created by students unloading their paint brushes on to the denim surface, at the end of a class where they painted their own canvas book covers. The resulting painting was ‘captured”, adhered to boards, and used as the collaborative cover of this book.

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And a river ran through it. The End.

For now…

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“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!

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!

Standing our Color Ground I

Standing our Color Ground I

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.

Decorative Painting and Color can be all about sumptuousness…but it can also be about streamlining, revealing the lines, and getting down to the bones.

Taking a cue from marketing guru Seth Godin, and his concise, pith, and enormously popular blog, (called, pithily enough, “Seth’s Blog“), I am going to make these posts short, succinct, and see if I can let the images do the talking. (Well, Seth doesn’t use many images, but he is a model of succinctness, and easy to read and take in.

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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The entry of  the building called “ARIA”…made smoother and sleeker with addition of glass, a dark, grounding foundation, and lights that ass a bit of character. Notice the integration of the brown color in the tree branches which reach out to “touch” the building, with the brown of the foundation color. not the same, but related.

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“ARIA” en totale….pops of color in the bump-outs, or balconies, both accent and tie together the sandy body or field color, and the chocolatey “grounding”  foundation color. The door is painted in a 200% formula of the balcony color,  (meaning that the amount of tint added to create the paint color is doubled, increasing the intensity of the resulting hue.)

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Streamlined greenery provides another accent hue…even more so in complementary contrast to the red in the balcony color.

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The foundation color on the balconies, and strong door color add livable accent and interest to ARIA’s inner courtyard.   If the red-toned color on the exterior balconies was carried to all of the inner balconies here, it would have been too much: over-stimulating, and underwhelming. Instead, the doors punctuate the long walls, and reflect light from their semi-gloss surfaces.  The concrete floor is deeper, with a grey cast, making it easier on the eyes then a brighter hue.

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The contrast in colors, and the textures of the smooth, semi-gloss surfaces of the doors, and the flat sheen, rough texture of the stucco walls create a pleasing visual tension.  The proper amount of tension, paradoxically creates balance…though not necessarily symmetry.

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The sun’s white light transforms how we perceive the painted color, making it appear warm and earthy,

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as opposed to cooler and grayer when not in direct sunlight.  The window profiles are painted in 200% formula of the field color, bumping it up just slightly, adding interest without visual clutter.  The metal color of the sconces is reflected in the railings and other ironwork.

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Each resident adds their personal touch…above we have a grouping of three black “sculls’…and they fit right in!

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“Windowscape”?  “Curated” grouping?  Just plain fun?  Halloween leftovers?

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Portrait of a side door….resplendent  in its Rosewood hue, framed by the Teabag– colored foundation, flanked by Weathered Brown-painted iron railings, and shining below a 100%  Hickory house body color.

Next up…a romp through the “perfect palette” of ARIA’s sister property, SONATA…a very different building situated at the other end of the block.  Their color schemes are interrelated, but not the same…because no two buildings are the same.  Even if they claim the same blueprint parents, the  way a building sits on the earth, the way its surface reflects the light, the effect of its surroundings, whether they be flat or foliage, profoundly affects the color we see.  It  is an endlessly fascinating subject, and study

Well Seth, I am not sure if I truly stayed simple…but I h  expressed my passion for color, architecture, design, and the human spirit’s quest for beauty, joy, and perfection.  That last one will always elude us, but at least we can have fun trying!

Until the next…Be Well…

Celebrating Loved Things 1.

Celebrating Loved Things 1.

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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.

Seeing RED

Seeing RED

Green master bath and red master bedroom form a complimentary pair

Red door = energy

Rich red layers of glaze create a dining room “intime”

San Francisco’s Dress for Success Boutique uses the butterfly as a symbol of transformation

Benihana’s Restaurant in Cupertino, CA is transformed by bamboo imagery reflecting its interior wall coverings

More cream on white…this time wall covering in a Parisian-inspired San Francisco SOMA District interior

The Benihana mural transforms as it moves across the overhang

Red creates a luxuriant backdrop for dark wood, bright artwork, and mirrors

Red creates pop which animates the bar, and the room

Layers of glaze create lend depth and sensuality to a personal space

Red door = energy… in  The Soulful Pilates Studio, San Francisco

Green frames red…bringing the outside in

E-LUMEN-8 your life

E-LUMEN-8

Your Life…

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.

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 , contemporary or celebratory.

The necessary 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 eLUMENate 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

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