Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rustic style ... a Bison for fun...

American Bison, 24 x 32, acrylic on old drawing board, "framed" with weathered wood - $185.

This is something I did for fun and for sale. I 've always had a longing to live in a rustic cabin in the wilderness. And if I ever end up there, my Bison would fit right in. Sometimes I think I could be content painting horses and western scenes and portraits of Native Americans. Ah, but then I would miss my contemporary work...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Most recent commission: Tippy

Tippy on the Windowsill, 36 x 48, acrylic on canvas, private collection

Monday, October 05, 2009

An unusual commission...

I'll be the first to say I'm no portrait painter. Painting portraits on commission (excepting the high, high dollar portrait artists) can be a frustrating task. Add to that the fact that I like expressive portraits rather than "painted photographs" (I mean - if you want an exact likeness with no brushstrokes and no "interpretation" - take a photograph!!) and it is clear why I usually turn down such work.

The small gallery where I am a resident hasn't any artists who do portraits. A couple of weeks ago there was a request from an older gentleman to have a portrait done from a photograph. That in itself was not a problem; although working from life is preferred, circumstances don't always allow for preferences. The problem was that he had a very limited budget and - the only photograph he had was a small snap-shot taken decades ago. The subject is now in her eighties and on life support. He wanted the painting done for the memorial service upon her death.

As one of the few painters there with formal training, I said I'd give it a shot.

The gentleman had had the snapshot enlarged to and 8 x 10 (shown above) - but there was very little detail and the outdoor setting put the woman in harsh sun and shade. Her mouth was open and one could not see the shape of her eyes at all - only that they were deep set. He had asked that I close the mouth and try my best to make her look her best.

After working for a few hours, I realized the eyes were impossible. I would either have to fake them - or leave them as dark blurs. And then it occurred to me to ask if she had children who looked like her! Yes!! I was able to obtain photographs of a son whose eyes were like his mother's. Ironically, the son had died many years before.

The final result is the 18 x 24 painting shown - with the lighting softened to show eye shape, and the lips brought together. It has a rather surreal "forties" quality that I like - though the stiffness of a portrait done from on photograph is rather obvious. I don't mind it much in this case though as it seems to work with the mood/style of the whole.

And best of all - the gentleman was pleased with the resulting portrait.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Before and After: fireplace mantel...

I should say: After and before... There are diehard fans of woodgrain finishes out there I know. They'll never paint over a wood surface no matter what. But many don't distinguish between fine and beautiful and unique grain - and just plain old cheap looking pine. And others don't pay attention to what works best with the overall color scheme, decoration, and balance to a room.
What I have done here is to highlight the panel edges and moldings by distressing or sanding away paint just enough to let some of the warmth of the wood color to show through. Then the entire mantel is sealed with two or three coats of urethane. It's a much more sophisticated look - and works well with the client's dark furniture and artwork.
Most new houses come with the blandest of finishes on woodwork and cabinetry. The orangey finish actually clashes with the brick - and much of the detail of the raised panels is lost due to the similarity of value.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fauxing, Fauxing... Decorating, Done!

This a "tween" bedroom for which I have worked on various projects over the past year or so. Helped the client choose colors and painted all the furniture and accessories to work with the bed linens, etc.
Painted the lamp base, and added beaded fringe to the shade - but it still lacked pizazz, so....

I painted designs on the shade fabric as well - and did the three paintings on the left.

Here are two of the custom paintings (her daughter studies ballet).

I love the hot, hot pink !

This is another client's house. Her wall were just boring beige. Carol and I ragged and cross-hatched them with two shades of golden yellow glaze and then fauxed them warm and cool taupe using plastic bags.

Here is her bath before. Very red, very flat.

To lighten it up some, and add interest, I ragged/color washed it with a brighter red first, then added touches of black - and a tiny bit of iridescent gold.
Sorry about the blue tape still being on. It was left so the homeowner could put a sealer coat (they saved $$ by doing it themselves and I just told them what to purchase and how to do it.)

This frosted stripe was added to liven up another bath. Very pretty!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Floor painting (is for the young of joints) Ha!

My friend Carol and I recently gave a face-lift to a porch. As you can see, paint was flaking and peeling from at least six layers of colors. I actually thought it rather pretty/interesting after sanding and scraping (below), but the homeowner wanted a fresh, clean look for an upcoming party. We gave it a cheery flagstone motif and then sealed it with two coats of an exterior urethane that has ultraviolet resistance.
A floor job like this requires a lot of preparation: scraping, sanding, scraping again - and then using a chemical deglosser to aid in paint adhesion. Special floor paint is used and then the entire floor sealed and allowed to cure. Ideally, no furniture should be place on the floor for at least two weeks, though foot traffic is okay after a couple of days.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The finished commission

After reviewing my notes from the client, I realized I'd left off one of the elements she mentioned: a red - traditional barn building. To balance the composition, I added a bit of red to each side.

I was unhappy with the trees in the foreground which I originally painted as they were, complete with the angled lower trunks. It appeared they had all started growing on a tilt and then straightened out. It was disconcerting in the painting, however, and I took advantage of my artistic license to straighten up the offending subjects.

The very heavy - and still sharp saw blade was delivered Friday along with a similarly painted cross-cut saw and a farm sign for their driveway.

My next commissioned work is a landscape to be painted on the retaining wall below. Due to wet and still too cold weather, I've had to postpone starting this job for several weeks. I'm eager to see it finished; the purpose of which is to camouflage it into the natural setting. Black bears, tree trucks and large rock outcroppings will be included in the mural.

The house is built into a steep slope above a river used for tubing and kayaking. The challenge for me is access - as the staging area is soft earth with only three or four feet of space for platforms and ladders.

I'll try to post my progress - and problems - as I go.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Finally!! a new commission...

I've never been much for painting saw blades which seems to be a sort of folk-art fad, but here goes. This sawmill blade is about 30 inches in diameter - and still sharp! I actually cut the upholstery on the sofa being careless.

This is not quite finished, but it's the client's home and a few of their prizewinning Boer goats. I have to work on the trees a bit more and one of the goats seems off-color. It's amazing how much easier it is to find flaws or problems once the photos are posted to the computer.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Screen for Public Library...

Every time I visit my local library, I get a little boost from seeing my screen adjacent to the entryway. Commissioned by Friends of the Library, its purpose is not just to offer a bit of privacy to the children's librarian, but to set a mood of calm and serenity to all those entering.

It's painted on four hollow-core doors which were then hinged together. The reverse side is finished also - with a crackled surface, striping and floral embellishment.

My favorite thing about where it sits, is the real plant to the right which seems to merge right into the painted Magnolia leaves on the far right panel.

I wanted a dreamlike garden setting with bright and yet - soft colors fading off into the distance.

The "Monet" bridge was added at the specific request of one of the librarians, who had always admired the paintings at Giverny.

The Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Sun Room, Ali-'V's

Here are the final large elements of the murals at Ali-V's Restaurant in Jefferson, Georgia.

The largest dining room featured large framed "picture" windows down one side. In order to balance the room and add warmth to what turned out to be a rather cool yellow, warm pumpkin/terracotta hues that echoed the color of the ceiling and the wood of the floor were incorporated into three framed landscapes. The soft, cool greens and the deep reds give strong enough values to balance the strong chocolate color of the frames.

As the front two dining rooms were perhaps a bit more on the feminine side, a more neutral to masculine look was emphasized in the SunRoom where many of the fraternal and civic organizations hold luncheons and meetings.

Scenes portray rolling land, ponds, streams and foliage native to, and evocative of, Jackson County and the surrounding area with out being any literal place.
Between each landscape, decorative accents were added to give softer focal points and interest; each retaining the outdoors theme. Potted geraniums , and Clematis and Morning Glory vines add a lively touch, as do the old fashioned wheel barrow, and a birdhouse complete with resident Bluebird.

It's likely a few more details will be added in future as this room could still use a bit more softness at either end. Also planned is a large triptych painting on canvas to help muffle conversation.

The owners are two wonderful ladies; great supporters of the arts and fabulous cooks! Kay Hardy makes the world's best fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and red velvet cake I've ever tasted - and that's just a small sample of the offerings there. She and Helena Dale offer great food, stylish decor and warm hospitality and they will cater almost any size event.

There is also a wonderful gift shop where customers can purchase home decor - and of course, mine and Carol's paintings and painted furniture.

Photo at left shows the room before.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New look for the dining set: A before and after...

With the new custom pieces in place, it was time to update the oak table and chairs circa 1980's. To reduce the excess of oak finish in the kitchen-dining area, we decided to do a distressed black on the table apron and chair backs, rungs and legs. The black helps anchor this side of the kitchen and offers a contemporary look that works well with the new kitchen/dining area colors and custom finishes.

The table top with its lovely grain and the chair seats were left in the original finish to coordinate with the tops on the custom cabinetry and kitchen cabinets.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Custom painted cabinetry...

The cabinets and sideboard pictured were custom finished to coordinate with furniture the clients purchased. The builder applied a pale cream base coat and I did the rest - applying paint and glazes
in succession

to build the complex textured and distressed look. It's labor intensive work - and can be a bit stressful while in process. But the results speak for themselves and the pieces are unique to the homeowners.