Camouflage Mural adds Grit to Company Gym

I enjoyed my time this past December working at the Wetlands Studies and Solutions office in Gainesville, VA. From what I was able to learn in my short time there- these guys do great work… and they are equally passionate about working out!

Step 1: was priming the entire cinder block wall. I was fortunate to be able to use a scissor lift in this space, rather than traditional scaffolding which takes a lot more energy to climb up and down.

Due to the nature of the aerial lift, I worked in 7-foot columns, finishing a vertical section before moving the scissor lift- this proved pretty efficient.

My view from the top!…

The end result was a fun, camouflage wall- ideal for a company that actually uses duck blinds and waiters in their daily work and studies. I’m sure it will inspire future boot camps as well!…

While we’re on the subject of camouflage, check out the Florida Gator blue & orange camouflage room I painted a few years back!:


Snowball Fight!

It’s the first day of winter!… and if you haven’t driven by Sterling Shell on Route 7- you should pop in, fill up on gas and enjoy this fun-filled wintry scene featuring some rowdy, out-of-control snowmen! I’ve been painting windows for this family-owned business off and on for years!!!

Wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Bright 2018 to come! I apologize that I didn’t get too many posts up this past year, but hope to do a better job in the New Year!…

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

Oh Baby!…. Adorable Nursery Accent Walls

Just wanted to share with you a couple fun nurseries I completed this fall. This first one- an adorable outdoor nature-inspired nursery looks amazing all decked out with the final touches. I don’t have too many photos of the process, however, but I’ll share what I have.

The mural painting began with a series of ragged taped lines. I’ve become a huge fan of Frog Tape for creating clean lines. One of the hardest parts of this mural was finding colors that looked good together, while blending into the light blue-gray background.

Inserting the trees was the final touch that gave the wall a fun, whimsical feel. But of course, adding the furniture gives it the real WOW effect!!…

Next nursery- started with a beige wall. The client and I really liked the white trim and navy blue, so we decided to keep that aspect of the room, and created the mural on the bottom 6 feet.

If you pop in on me working during the early stages, you might lose total confidence in me- ha ha ha!… that’s why I think it’s fun to show the progress in these blogs. You get instant before, during and after photos with none of the in between panic!

In the ‘7th inning,’ so to speak- dad decided he wanted to add a Louisville Slugger bat since he had one as a kid. So I begin re-creating the wood grain look on the bat while adding texture to the old leather glove. Notice too, I painted the electrical outlet face plate so there wasn’t a distracting white square in the mural. In the end, you barely noticed it.

The end result was bold- yet beautiful and soft at the same time. I really love how this turned out.

Not your grandma’s stencil

I’ve recently warmed up to the idea of using stencils. To me, they always felt like ‘cheating’ a bit in the custom painting world- but the fact remains- they look amazing! Stencils afford you the ability to create just about any intricate pattern in an endless array of color combinations. However- anyone trying to sell you a stencil kit will tell you ( and show you ) how easy it is… and the OTHER fact is- it’s not!

Sure, it’s faster than hand-painting this bad boy- but stenciling requires effort to perfectly align the design both horizontally and vertically. In addition, the right amount of paint must be applied and the stencils eventually fill with paint and must be cleaned. This particular one soaked for 45 minutes and then I carefully scraped off the soft paint with a credit card for another 45 minutes. You can see in this photo below that I had to individually stencil on each ‘loop’ of this ornate dining room design. The other difficult part is the corners- often I had to hand-paint the corners to get the pattern to line up perfectly.


This next nursery project kinda plays an optical illusion on you. If you didn’t see the blue on the other walls, you’d think the blue pattern was the stencil, when in fact, it’s the white paint that was applied over top. Either way it goes, it looks great!

I really like this next pattern- the marrakech trellis. I’ve done this several times by hand, but really liked how the stencil version of this turned out as well. I used metallic silvers on a light beige paint to create the desired effect.

And finally, I had a lot of fun creating this custom design on a stairwell using a medallion stencil. I used the same stencil to create 3 distinctly different medallions and alternated the paint colors for even more of a variation. The random layout makes this pattern super fun!



Cozy up with Burberry Plaid

One thing is for sure- a Burberry Plaid room- much like the iconic pattern itself- will never go out of style!…. I have to give it to my clients- they are some of the most creative people!… Always coming up with the coolest ideas for me to paint.

However, don’t be fooled- even us artistic painter types have to use MATH from time to time- particularly with this pattern. ‘Winging it’ is NOT an option!… So after carefully analyzing the pattern, I came up with my measurements for each line.

We opted to do this pattern extremely large- so that you’d get the essence of the iconic plaid in a bold statement- while not making the wall too busy with a smaller scale.

In order to create the look of feel fabric- I used tape to mask the lines, but then I cross-hatched the lines, rather than roll the color on flat. I think the effect would have been lost by using solid colors. After all, a plaid is NOT solid- rather a myriad of overlapping colors.

Once my ‘down lines’ were dry, it was time to start on the horizontals. Where the colors overlapped, I was sure to paint in those areas extra full. And in case you’re wondering about that crazy green tape- it’s Frog Tape- found in most paint stores. Love the stuff!!!… I should be a spokes model for them… but I’ll stick with my day job.

Next, it was time to add the white- so I had to block off the black lines with tape- unless, again, the white line overlapped with a black line. This really did feel like weaving with PAINT!

Lastly, the red lines went into place. We used a slightly more pinkish red to give the room a softer look. For that matter, the ‘black’ was really a dark grey.

Are you starting to see how much measuring, math and leveling was involved?!.. I didn’t mind it though, because I could see the end product- and it was fantastic!

The wall had a pitched ceiling- which is hard to see in the photos. But the added height of the room was complimented by this bold plaid pattern- a perfect fit!…

The final result- clean and classic!…

While we’re on the subject- side note- but my children’s book features a character named Mrs. Brrrberry. Get it?!… Love that scarf!

I am loving it.

I wish I could use the more casual expression of ‘I am loving it’ but McDonald’s has the trademark on that one!… Nevertheless, I AM loving this McDonald’s in historic Chatham Heights near Stafford and Fredericksburg, VA.


Because this particular McDonald’s was centrally located to so many local historic sites- including Chatham Manor, Fredericksburg and George Washington’s childhood home, it seemed the logical decor for this restaurant would highlight the region’s historical heritage.

Enjoy these great before, during, and after photos!


A tree seemed to be a great solution to hide the thermostat!



The lettering was the final touch- pulling the whole theme together.



The wall as you immediately came in showcased the scenic Rappahannock River nearby.




Last, the back corner of the dining area got a major makeover by removing an old light fixture and thus making my ‘canvas’ larger.






I really enjoyed my days working there- a shout out to Ashley and all the friendly staff. I will really miss my 3pm french fry breaks and all the McCafes!

School Spirit

I thought in honor of that Back-to-School time of year and the onset of fall- a SPECTACULAR season to live in Virginia…. I’d highlight some of my previous school mural projects.

Most recently, I completed this Success Pyramid for Lakeridge Middle School in Lakeridge, VA. What an inspiring wall for all these young athletes!

Gym-blank wall

Success Pyramid Mural

Success Pyramid close up of lettering


Next, is the cafeteria stage at Baldwin Elementary School in Manassas, VA.


This was painted during the summer, so needless to say there was a lot going on- it was difficult to get a good picture!


Here’s a close up of their logo:


For Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, VA, I painted their Stingray mascot to label the various areas in the hallway.



The gymnasium mural at Sycolin Creek Elementary in Leesburg, VA proved a little more challenging due to the acoustic boards that surrounded the gym.





For Congressional Schools of Virginia, I keep adding to the mural in the reception area. Here’s a before and after of the front desk area- showing the outside of the Early Childhood Program building.




Lastly, I had the privilege of painting the Senior Cafe at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, VA. It was a gift from the class of 2012. You can see from the before and after pictures- this added some much-needed color and excitement to the Senior-only area… afterall, they worked hard to be there!





A Tale of Two Fish

Once upon a time there was an awesome sport fishing mural that was loved by all. Several years later, the family welcomed a home remodeling project to add more space to the youngster’s bedroom. Hooray!… But as the builders tore down drywall and smells of sawdust and fresh primer permeated the air, everyone thought- “What will become of this wonderful mural?!” The old half of the room looked great… while the new half looked…. well… empty.


Fortunately for these fishing fans, help was on the way!.. It was great to see my old friend from 2008 again- one of my favorite murals to date!… And so I began the task of re-creating what the seas- or rather, the new plaster- had worn away!


Once the initial colors of sea and sky were painted, the main objective was to re-center the mural as it once looked in the smaller room. The Pottery Barn Boat bed was in the other room just WAITING to be docked here once again!.. And so began the copycat-painting of my own work!


First I needed to recreate the boat on the left- making it slightly bigger than the first time… then moving on to the fish.


I like to call this one, “Sycronized Sailfish.”


Ahhh, but the fish’s friend wasn’t there for long… soon it was out with the old, in with the new!…


Lastly, I needed to move the boat on the right to re-center the room. Beep beep!..



Finally, because there was more space then the first time, I added some fun new touches- like the lighthouse. And under the window I added a marlin chasing yellowfin tuna.



In the end- this fish tale ended up just as it began- a mural as wonderful as it was the first time.

Looking back on 2014

In honor of the (Happy!) New Year, I thought it would be fun to show you a few of my favorite projects from the past year- in this case, some creative baby nurseries. It is always my hope that nursery murals inspire joy and wonder in the little ones that grow up looking at them. It is truly a humbling experience to be invited to take part in this very special time- especially as each one of these nurseries was for the first born!

First off, we have a favorite Peter Rabbit nursery- complete with verses from the story itself.



Next- inspired by a popular Etsy artist, this mommy-to-be wanted an ‘Elephants on Parade’ themed mural for her Capitol Hill residence. SO CUTE!…



Next, these two travel themed nurseries have the same concept behind them, but are distinctively different. Both represent places the couple had traveled to, just painted in very different styles. This first one is a subtle collage mural of famous landmarks that will go above the crib.


Here are some close-ups of the beautiful detail of the Eiffel Tower, and Big Ben in London. The other landmarks depicted include the Coliseum in Rome, one of the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx in Egypt and the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.



Lastly, this nursery takes the same idea of travel, but I created a whimsical mural that spans the world- from New York to Napa to London, Paris, South Africa, Jordan, Israel- finally finishing up in DC- where the new life will begin his or her journey.




Now I just want to pack my bags and go on an adventure!… but lucky for you, I’m here with paintbrush in hand waiting to do the next great project!…. Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2015!