A Saga of Flying Cranes: Process

  A Saga of Flying Cranes: Process

I have had the opportunity, the honor, really, to work on a very special project for a historical residence, in the historical West Adams District of Los Angeles.  I was brought in by an architect specializing in the restoration and preservation of  historic buildings to transform a custom cabinet, designed to cover the living room television set, into a singular work of art.

I worked closely with the architectural firm, and project manager,  interfacing with the owner, interior designer, builders, and foreman, as we developed the design from concept to a specificity of  colors,textures,  materials and composition.

web1

Along the way, I amassed and created inspirational images, painted, gilded and stenciled mock-ups, to scale drawings, and numerous samples.

Once inspired by images, and with the design process determined, it was time to bring the rubber to the road…and take the concept to the surface!

motif1

The inside of the four cabinet doors were stenciled with a customized motif that was variously rotated, flipped and reversed into variations that were combined to create an  elegant,  complex, yet fluid composition.

motif2

The individual motifs, and the pattern they created when combined were designed to complement and reflect the pattern in the rug,

rug2

and the carved images of  a free-standing wooden cabinet in the room.

cab1jpg

Even the decorative heating grate cover is an inspiration, and is integrated into the overall design and feel of the room!

grate.

The architect’s office created a mock-up from copies made from the stencils themselves, and put together in the desired sequence for reference, to insure no mistakes were made.

webA

Due to virulent vigilance, none were.

motif3

Stencils based on the chosen designs were drawn out to scale on acetate, a clear plastic material often used for this purpose, and hand-cut using an xacto knife, on a “self-healing” cutting mat.

webB

Once the stencils were used, colorful paint residue made it easier to see their pattern, and also served as a color guide. The hand-cut stencils can be too delicate to wash off, so the paint stays on them.

webC

After careful measuring and positioning, the stencils were taped into place over the primed, latex base painted, gold painted and several times stippled door panels..and the colors were applied in a stippled (or pounced),and  layered fashion.

webD

Stenciling is truly the art of delayed gratification…the total effect can really only be seen when done.  You have to  love it.  If you do, the effort, the care,  the patience and the high wire act is worth it.  It is for me…I truly love the process, and how complex the results can become.One of my favorites is the extraordinary ceiling of the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room, housed in the Chicago Art institute.

web2

After the stenciling  was completed, three applications of composition gold leaf, also called dutch metal or schlag, were applied to the front side of the doors. Each surface was delicately sanded in-between, with a fine sandpaper of 400-600 grit.  Visual delineation of the  squares of gold leaf was the desired look. The  surfaces were  then sealed with a coat of  oil varnish designed for use over dutch metal, to prepare it for the painting.   Dutch metal will tarnish with any contact with water media, so this varnishing step is crucial.

web4

Finally, the initial painting of the “saga of flying cranes’ began…first in primer, as the paint is acrylic, and it would not stick to the oil-based varnished surface. Washes of color in acrylic were then built up over the surface, and detail laid in. The painted surfaces were lightly sanded between paint applications, to keep it smooth and satiny.

web6

More color details were added to give depth, dimension, and a bit of pop to the scene.

The colors were carefully chosen and designed to work with the room’s rug,

rug1

(glorious colors and patterns…found by the amazing architect and designer and their team.)

rug3

 fabrics, textiles and accessories…(some might say that pillows are necessities!),

pillow1

pillow2

as well as the wall colors and finishes in the room. The undertone of deep blue violet in the birds also provides pop against the complimentary gold background.

web7

It was important to the architect that the crane’s feet have personality!

web8

Inspired by the film, “Winged Migration“, these cranes have grit and determination…they are going somewhere, and they are going to get there!

web9

On-site in the residence,  I treated the sides of the cabinet in the same stippled fashion as the interior surfaces of the door…but no stenciling here. I applied layers of stippled color over the primed, them base painted, then gold-metallic painted surfaces, as was done with the inside of the cabinet doors above.

web90.

The room is handsome, serene, streamlined, and somehow both warm and inviting, and cool and elegant.

web91.

I am looking forward to gong to the site soon,  to see and photograph the doors installed and the cabinet as a whole.

web61

When I do, I think I  will be tempted to say…”You’ve come a long way, baby!  You’ve flown the coop!”

Are You looking forward to flying in this New Year?

I hope You are able to take flight in 2013.

As we know…time does fly…so let’s fly with it!

Advertisements

E-Lumen-8 Part 1 Take 2

E-Lumen-8 Part 1 Take 2

Nov102012_7141

E-LUMEN-8 Your Life! 

The story of “Artissima Lumens”…painted light switch plates for your e-lumen-8-ed pleasure!

Nov072012_7170 The adventure begins  with prepping: sanding and priming the front surface of the nascent “Lumens”…making a tiny white canvass to frame the light switch aperture.

Nov072012_7157The “Lumen” prepared “canvasses” begin to stack up. Their tiny screws get the same treatment. Each is sanded, primed with a white-tinted primer, painted, and treated in the same manner as the rest of the piece. The entire surface is treated as one composition.

Nov072012_7169

  It is fun to play with the aperture, and use it as part of the composition.

Nov072012_7160Pattern rules. Words can express dreams, hopes, even prayers.

The possibilities are endless…the size restrictions a creative stimulant….as opposed to a limitation.

Nov102012_7143

Nov102012_7145  The interplay of textures, (built up through the application of  layer upon layer of stippled paint), and pattern, color and image, only become more fascinating to manipulate and explore.

Nov152012_7228Metallic paints provide glow and glimmer, sheen and shimmer, adding luster and elegance, or perhaps a celestial quality.

Nov102012_7140

Nov152012_7225The addition of paint, texture and color add depth…while sanding between the layers with wet-dry sandpaper makes the pieces smooth and sleek, creating a tactile experience to match the visual. Layering imagery over texture, then softening, or slightly obscuring it, can suggest an air of mystery, softness, and complexity.

Nov152012_7229The elements are engaging to play with, mix, and and match.

I hope that the addition of “Artissima Lumens” will add an element of detail, joy or  artistry to a room and make turning on the light not only an illuminating, but fun!

E-LUMEN-8 Your Life!

Turn it On!

May Your Holidays be filled with light, joy, and FUN!

HeARTfull Stone

HeARTfull Stone

In a recent article published in the  Bay Area Women’s Journal called  “Faux Finishing…Get the Look of Marble and Stone“, I discuss the “faux” finishes of stone and marble (a kind of  rock).  I created this “sister” post to show more painted and glazed stone and marble faux (fake!) finishes, and to share a bit more about the process.

Stone blocking is a technique in which individual “blocks” of stone are depicted, as well as the grout between them. Below, the lower part of an exterior shed door is painted (stippled and pounced) to look like the actual stone blocks on either side of it.  The grout, of course, is also painted. The painted door meets the real flagstones underneath it.  Underfoot, as it were.

Careful match of color helps create the illusion, despite the obviousness of hinges.  The “Trompe L’Oeil” (‘tricking the eye”- to make us think something is there that actually isn’t) effect is broken when…

 the door is opened, which adds to the fun. The treatment satisfied the aesthetic yearning of the homeowner to have the eye perceive  a line of stone blocks  unmarred by the more prosaic brown-painted door.

Below we have an ornately detailed fireplace, with a lot of carved character.  It sits resplendent in its prepped glory, primed but not even base painted yet.  Looking white white, it is set off by a new marble surround and hearth.

Voila, here we have the same fireplace with a stippled “limestone look”  finish, which draws out its ornate detail, and works with the colors of the marble.

The carving plays with the light, both reflecting and absorbing it.  It is highlighted by the glazes (semi-transparent veils of color) that are stippled across its surface.  Details like  this can be coaxed out and showcased through the addition of color and texture!

The same “limestone-like” stippled technique can be used to add character to a one-of-a-kind table that already has plenty,  (again, the technique pulls out the carving),

or, a smooth, plastered, rather standard issue stove hood, which needs to be brought into line with the other splendid details of its Spanish Revival architectural setting.

Stone finishes can also be used in tandem with their sometimes showier cousin, marble finishes, also known as marbling, or marbleizing.  On the fireplace below, semi-transparent glazes were used to create the marble finish, and opaque paints in equivalent colors for the stone.  The marble and stone treatments are both set off by the classical detailing, which is in turn set off by the treatments!  At their best, architecture, decorative treatments and detailing work hand in hand, each strengthening the other.

The pillar below is treated in a subtle limestone finish, with the same glaze colors employed in a marble finish on its base.


In the same room and colors, the hearth below is marbled through the combination and simultaneous manipulation of several glaze colors over its smooth, base painted surface.

The same technique is employed on the fireplace mantel and pillars, unifying the piece.  The Clients wanted to enhance the architectural details of their white-walled living room in an elegant yet subtle way, and the paint and glaze colorways were designed accordingly.

The fanciful marble treatment designed for the white, latex-painted built-in below is enhanced by the addition of gold, not only in the veining, but also on the inset frames on the cabinet doors. The diamonds are created by a second application of marbleizing.

  The fantasy marble finish employing pink, gold, and antique white glazes adds sumptuousness. The marbleized diamond offsets the rectangular shapes that comprise the cabinets.

Whether the goal is to integrate, enhance, create elegance, luxury or history, the application of stone and marble faux finishes can add depth, character, mystery, and even fun and fantasy to a space. Take a look around your environment, and imagine the addition of finishes true to nature, to the imagination, or both! Consider drawing out classical or whimsical details,  harmonizing your color scheme, or adding a bit of eye trickery to where you live, work and play.  You’ll soon feel the benefit of the Magic of Decorative Painting.

Have YOU used Stone and Marble finishes in your Home, Business, or Community Spaces?

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

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