E-LUMEN-Eight

E-LUMEN-Eight

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”, 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 or contemporary.

The obligatory 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 iLUMENate 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

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.

Mockups and Murals

Mockups and Murals

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…

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 neighbor’s  fence?

Well, through the mockup process, namely, creation of a to scale, model, version, or prototype of the intended mural.  It is a great way to present ideas for approval, and catch potential aesthetic, functional or structural problems before they become actual ones!  Please see below a gallery of assorted mockups, and the murals they spawned. 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, (shh, bad for the environment) press a spray can button. The following images give a sense of scale from mockup to mural, and the various environments murals can exist in. Future posts will explore this subject in greater depth,  so hold on to your ladder (or scaffold), and enjoy the ride!

Mockup for The Land of Oshun”

“The Land of Oshun”, Turk and Taylor Street, San Francisco

Sketches and mockup for “The Donor Tree”

“The Donor Tree”,  Planning for Elders in the Central City,  San Francisco

Mockup for “Window Mural”

“Window Mural”  seen through kitchen window

“Window Mural” seen from below, San Francisco

Mockup  of “Garden Mural”, seen with full-scale mural in process

“Garden Mural”, patio level, San Francisco

Mockup for “Life Journey”,  seen with full-scale mural in process

“Life Journey”,  living room wall, Burlingame, CA

Mockup for “Obi-Cat”

Lower part of “Obi-Cat” on door

“Obi-Cat” on music room door, Palo Alto, CA

Stay tuned for more on murals….

What intriguing murals have YOU seen, or created recently??  

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

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all mocking up this thing called Life, together.

Ceilings: No Limits for 2011!

Ceilings:  No Limits for 2011!

As we  enter the new year, let’s take a minute to consider not limitations, but possibilities!

The ceiling, or  “fifth wall”,  imposes limitations of height, size and shape upon the room it covers.  A defining factor of any interior space, the color and treatment of a room’s ceiling can profoundly affect its ambiance.

Whether you wish to warm up or cool down your interior spaces this year, create more spaciousness or intimacy, or add formality or whimsy, try taking a  fresh look at your ceilings, and pondering their creative  potential.   Consider the ceiling a blank canvass with unlimited possibilities.  After all, the ceiling is our interior sky…and you know the old adage…”the sky’s the limit!”

Here are a few ideas to get you going…

Some folks like it hot…hot color, that is.  Like washes of strong hues on all the walls , and gradated color glazed on the stairway ceiling to express the warmth of a luminous sunset!

The gradated sunset colors overhead flow from yellow to orange to red to violet, as we climb the stairs and turn left into the second floor hallway.  Adjacent is a yellow and black deco bathroom, with a  glazed ceiling that matches the walls.

The theme of sunset also inspired this ceiling treatment.  The young girl who lives here requested a purple sunset cloud and sky treatment.   Five glazes in hues of blue, purple, plum, pink and fuchsia are blended in several layers over a ceiling surface  that curves down to meet the wall’s crown molding.

This kitchen tray ceiling seems made for a multi-color glaze treatment that enhances and accentuates it, adds warmth, depth and interest, and reflects the copper accents throughout the room. The folks  who cook here also appreciate the appetite-stimulating effect of the treatment’s tones of coppery-orange.

Baths and powder rooms are ideal for imaginative, mood-setting ceiling treatments.  The only rules: prepare the surface to be treated properly, and protect it with the appropriate varnish upon completion.  On the recessed ceiling of this bath, blue and pearl glazes are blended together to create a dreamy evening sky punctuated by stenciled silver stars.

The light fixture was the inspiration for the ceiling design in this colorful entry.  The stencil  based on it is set off by sponged and stippled glazes which wrap the entire room.  Mysterious decorative shadows are cast by the light shining through the ornate fixture, adding to the effect!

How about a little gleam and glimmer?  Three successive applications of gold and silver glazes lend depth, shimmer and texture to the entry ceiling of this designer showcase home.  The treatment adds elegance and glamor, and doesn’t compete with the light fixture.

This octagonal domed breakfast room is treated to successive applications of custom metallic gold and silver glazes which  create an effect of both subtlety and richness. If metallic finishes are  applied with a light touch in the right room, they add a bit of magic, and don’t overwhelm the space.

In another domed breakfast room,  the ceiling’s architectural details  are brought out by the application of three soft-colored glazes, applied and blended with sea sponges.  The treatment also warms up this fanciful room, one of many jewels in a magnificent Spanish Revival home.

Two young brothers inhabit this room where rockets zoom, and stars and planets glow from the ceiling above.  Two glaze colors are color washed over the ceiling’s surface, and custom stencils based on the boy’s bedding design are used create a fantasy tableau of outer space.

Have you been moved to create a fun and fabulous ceiling treatment, color choice, texture or application? If you feel so inspired, share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.  Remember, we are all in this thing called Life, together.

All the best for 2011!

Featured Work: A Niche Greater then the Sum of its Parts

Featured Work: A Niche Greater then the Sum of its Parts

The Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “niche” as:

  • a recess in a wall especially for a statue b: something (as a sheltered or private space) that resembles a recess in a wall
  • a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted
  • a habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species
  • the ecological role of an organism in a community especially in regard to food consumption
  • a specialized market

What is the connective tissue between the various definitions above? It seems to me that the term “niche” indicates a unique space specific to an individual, species or thing.

Those of us in the fields of decorative painting, carpentry, wood working, design, architecture and building most likely have designed, created, built, painted or adorned a niche or two at one point or another.

Those of us in our own businesses, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, creative-preneurs, creators, and those of us training, schooling, learning, job-searching,  job creating , or job holding,  have at least one thing in common: we want, need, or are compelled to “find our niche“, our “place” in our respective fields, professions, markets, companies, schools, programs, jobs, or careers. We are moved to find that  elusive (and sometimes colorful!)  unique space which seems to defines us authentically,  in our worlds of work, family, society, and community.

Abby Kerr, copywriter,  blogger, niche marketer, and owner of Abby Kerr Ink says of her work: “It’s about nichifying your offerings to meet your right people right where they are.” .  Within the “niche” business model, the proposition of uniqueness in gifts, talents, voice, sensibilities, skills, and offerings would seem to be a given.

So it is with Clients, who wish to express themselves by making something even more unique of their architectural niche space, at home.

Beloved Clients of mine purchased a “dream” retirement home…well, a house they planned to transform with color, design, furnishings, and decorative painting INTO their dream home, with the skilled assistance of various vendors.

Their realtor suggested a mural application for the hitherto unadorned wine bar niche, and the game was on!

Niche before "niche-y" adornment

My Clients had spent decades living in Southern California, and were enchanted by the Sonoma Wine Country in which their new house was situated.  They were  thrilled about making the Wine Country a theme in their new home.

We chatted about vineyard scenes, and determined we didn’t want a “prototypical” one.  We looked at photos, colors, applications and mock-ups.  We determined that a softly rendered scene of lines of vines gently receding to meet misty hills under a golden sky would be best.  I applied the mural with semi-transparent washes of glaze, as opposed to opaque paints, (an unusual approach) to the back wall of the niche, and glazed its side walls and ceiling in layers of red wine-y colors.  Involved with the whole process from start to finish, my Clients were delighted with the outcome. which reflected THEM, and the unique place they were at in their lives, right at that moment.

"Niche-y" adornment reflects Them

The entire wall into which the “niche-y” Wine Bar niche was placed was treated in concert with its “niche-y” focal point, the Vineyard mural.  The walls were painted a strong red, mitigated by an application of three deeper  red “wine-y” hued glazes applied simultaneously.  An original “adage” penned by the Clients was lettered in “grapey” purple, and sparkling metallic colors.  The built-in cabinetry and bottle storage were base painted and wood grained (treated with “faux bois”) in tones of “sweet rosy brown” , which worked beautifully with the bar’s countertop.

The Niche is part of the Whole

My Clients were pleased with a result which reflected Them, and their unique take on where they felt themselves to be, right at that moment.  The process of developing a “niche-y” design of artful applications in their Wine Bar niche, and throughout their new home during a time of transition helped them through that transition, and eased their way into a new phase of life. You might say that they “niched” their new home to reflect the people they had become, and created a “niche” of the entire house which would  support them in their adaptation to retirement, containing and expressing both the effects of their “old” life, and expressing their excitement about the new.

In this way, “nich-ing” can not only become an expression of our deepest selves, our uniqueness, offerings and worth, it can also help us to embrace our lives and experiences as they are now, and move more confidently, and happily, into the future.

When have you used your art or craft to create or enhance a niche, for yourself, or for others?  What was the quality of the process and its outcome?  If you feel so inspired, please share your unique, “niche-y” experience with us. We love to hear from you. Remember, we are all  in this thing called Life, together.

 

 

 


Featured Work- Soulful Journey

Featured Work: Soulful Journey

Soulful Pilates Studio recently opened its red doors  in the Haight-Ashbury / Cole Valley neighborhoods of San Francisco.  It  is  owned and operated by Veronique and Walter Thoma.  I had the privilege,  referred by beloved vendor,  Creative Paint,  to take a soulful journey with Veronique and Walter and help them select paint colors for the interior of the Studio.

The Challenge:

To create a serene, yet energizing atmosphere of warmth, support, and intimacy in a somewhat cavernous space with high ceilings, punctuated by a pole.   To create a space which is soothing and cheerful, yet energetic and alive.

Veronique knew she wanted Soulful’s color journey to start with yellow.  But how to find a yellow that would work over such a large surface area, yet not be overpowering, jaundiced, blinding, distracting, too bright, too drab, too gold, or too muddy?  We sampled a number of hues, but none were right. When the Thomas showed me a tiny color swatch they had found at a small boutique paint company,  I was able translate that vision into the 2154 strip of colors found in the Benjamin Moore Color Preview fan deck.  By using a system of colors that were inter-related, we were able to create interest, variety, and subtle accents in the large space, without the complications of choosing other hues, which could busy the space, creating distraction for the students.  A strong, vital red on the doors (points of entry and passage) and the bench (place of rest and changing shoes) animated the space, providing contrast and energy.

Soulful Door

The exterior of the front door was already painted in an earthy red, and we took that idea to the interior.  The door now functions as an accent which can energize a foggy day,  of which there are many in our fair City!

Not Ketchup and Mustard

“Ketchup and Mustard”?   No…. Benjamin Moore  Spanish Red” 1301, and “Straw”  2154-50.

Front Accent Wall Contrast

Three tones of a soft ochre-yellow warm the tall space without cluttering it.  The warmth  is delivered by Benjamin Moore  “Straw” 2154-50 on the walls, (and pole), and “Filtered Sunlight” 2154-60 on the trim. What a dream job it would be to concoct the names for these colors!

Back Accent Wall Moves it Forward

The accent wall in the back of the Studio is Benjamin Moore “York Harbor Yellow” 2154-40,  providing just that slight bump up in color saturation, which adds subtle interest but not clutter to the space, as they are in the same hue family.

Royal Compliments of Gold and Purple

The golden tones of “Straw”, “Filtered Sunlight”, and “York Harbor Yellow” are offset by the complimentary purple mat, a royal combination…

Energetic Entry

The red door, clothed in Benjamin Moore “Spanish Red” 1301,  pops, creating an energetic entry into the bathroom, which is

Soulful Bath

painted in  Benjamin Moore,”Semolina” 2155-40, on the walls, and “Cottontail”  2155-70 on the trim.  Again,  the use of two related hues, less earthy and more orange then those of the main studio space, varying in degrees of saturation and intensity and thus, value.

Colors Support the Function of the Space

Using a unified set of hues unified the unwieldy space, and made it welcoming and accessible to both the Clients, and their Clients: the students and practitioners of Pilates that would come to this studio to study, learn, and grow, taking their own soulful journeys here.  Red, with its associations with blood, fire, love, and life force is the perfect foil and energizer for the harmonious “yellow””.

Says Walter Thoma:
“The colors look better up than we imagined….the darker…color on the two walls looks really good”

Sometimes, what color can do for a space can come as a (happy) surprise!  The results may be…Soulful!