Room with a View

February 29th, 2012


What better way to celebrate Leap Day than with a blog post- I know, it only FEELS like I update my blog every four years… I’m trying to get better though, I promise!


This dining room project was for a brand new home. I love getting started in an empty house… the ultimate blank canvas!


A few photos for inspiration and a rough sketch was all I needed to get started.


And as usual, I don’t waste much time drawing out the details- I just like to start slappin’ on the paint!


The first day was spent mostly blocking in the water, sky, and rolling hills.


The sides were a little tricky- creating an ending point for the bridge while keeping the scene in the proper perspective. Greenery often helps achieve this easily enough.


Next I had to focus on the details of the bridge.


Greenery in the foreground added to the dimensions of the vista and really gave the scenery some pop.


Lastly I added some splashes of color with flowers and rounded out the composition with some tree branches to draw your eye toward the center.


After three days, the beautiful dining room was complete….anxiously awaiting the furniture.


Wild about Wolves

November 18th, 2011


Perhaps it’s the onset of winter… or maybe the new Twilight saga coming to theatres… either way, I’m inspired to show this room.


As with every beginning, it started out as a few lines. The blue tape shows the area that will covered by the bed. The bed took up a sizeable space on the wall, so I had to be careful that the mural wouldn’t be covered up.


One of my favorite features about this design was the addition of the life-sized birch trees that seemed to grow out of the floor and right through the ceiling.


When painting with a more realistic slant, I often use pictures I find in books and online to help me paint more true-to-life.


What I especially love about this mural is how the scene conveyed this snowy wilderness habit, and yet, the overall color scheme for the room was very warm- with buttery yellows and rusty browns throughout.


Another thing I really like about this room is that it demonstrates how you can paint a scene in a room without re-painting an entire room. Rather than creating a literal division of sky and earth, the background and foreground simply emerge from the same color.


The final result is warm and wintry… and WILD….like something from a wilderness lodge!


And yes, all the wolves were given names.



Powder Room with Va Va Va Voom!

August 19th, 2011


This powder room began with gorgeous marble floors and this incredible custom-built vanity. The client wanted an antiqued vanity similar to one she’d seen in a magazine.


A close up photo shows the intricate detail that went into building this lovely piece of furniture. I’ll admit- I didn’t think there was anything I could do to make this piece better- I loved it the way it was!…


But after applying the antique glazes, the sculpted detail REALLY began to come out. It just kept getting better looking!


Next, the bathroom was painted a lipstick red to pile on the drama!


But the vanity still had more transformation to go. I added a sculpting compound to give the wood a look of erosion and age.


Close up views of the doors show the erosion effect. The joke was that in 3 days, it went from being brand new to looking like something pulled out of the bottom of the ocean.


The final step was adding the elegant crystal knobs.



Proud as a Peacock

November 20th, 2010


I’ve recently received a lot of comments about my peacock mural- a project I completed just before Thanksgiving 2010- so I thought I’d share the story of this incredible piece of art.


When I started working in this home, it was down to the bare drywall. Since before the floor tiles were put in place, a vision of a peacock at the top of the stairs had always been in the master plan.


And so the painting began!!…..



Once the blue fan of the peacock was blocked in, every feather had to be painted individually- a process that took several hours.


Next, a second peacock was added to the left.


The final step to the process was applying gold leaf, sequins and gemstones to EACH feather… this took DAYS to complete.


But all the work was worth it, as the creation SHIMMERED in the light of the chandelier.



Lastly, I wanted to show you the garden scene as you come up the stairs- it sets the tone for what lies ahead at the top.


This photo was taken at my first site visit- during the construction phase.


Now, a lovely palacial garden scene is just the beginning for what comes next.




Pet Portrait Helps Lend a Paw

August 3rd, 2010


Something I always wanted to try my hand at- dog portraits!.. A friend of mine very involved in her local Humane Society had asked me to donate a pet painting as a prize for one of their fundraisers. I was more than happy to help out. Although I had never painted a pet portrait before, the basic laws of color and composition applied just as they do for any work of art.


To begin with, I painted the canvas a medium brown color. That way I would ensure my portrait had the drama it needed to stand out and come to life. You can see the photograph I used as my reference- her name was Duchee.


Because animals are often very neutral in color- blacks, browns, greys and whites- it’s important to work in unexpected colors in your highlights and shadows. That’s what we call ‘artistic license’, but it’s also what distinguishes paintings from photographs. Yes, I want the painting to look like Duchess, but I also want the painting to be dramatic and beautiful. In this case, I used tones of orange, yellow and purple to give the painting dimension.


Lastly, just because I didn’t want the background to be too detailed, doesn’t mean it should be boring either. Shades of blue added texture and complimented the tones in the dog. The end result is a painting with soul.


All-American Tribute… for a limited time!

July 27th, 2010


Ok, it is SO not like me to actually write a blog post the day after I complete a project!… However, I wanted to share with everyone my latest public work- on Halfstreet just outside of Nationals Park baseball stadium in southeast Washington DC. The mural is located just a half block away from the stadium’s main gate. You will pass it on your right if you’re walking from the Metro station.

Here’s a view from the mural looking toward the metro:

A shot out to the fine folks at Akridge Real Estate for giving local artists a chance to showcase their skill in front of literally thousands of people! They rotate through artists- giving many people a chance to display their art on that wall- so the work only stays up for a limited time.

When trying to figure out what to paint, I looked at what other artists had done and decided on a good ole fashioned patriotic-themed mural… something that I thought would resonate well with Nationals fans and the regular metro users. I based the design on the expression “As American as baseball and apple pie.” Fitting considering its proximity to a MLB park. I was actually a little surprised at how many folks hadn’t heard that saying before, so consider this the official comeback!

I began my work on Friday, July 23rd during the Dave Matthews Band / Zach Brown Band concert. A great crowd, but WAY TOO HOT! Here’s a look at the work after Day One:

I came back last night when the temperatures dropped below 100. Beautiful night! My sister gave me the idea to add glitter to the fireworks for that extra sparkle- and that’s just what I did. So it has a little extra pizazz in the evening light.


Lastly, I added a special written tribute, “God Bless ALL those who have served.” I wanted to credit not just our outstanding military and veterans, but our police, firemen, teachers. To anyone who serves the public….. my hat goes off to you!

Paris in Pink

March 22nd, 2010


It starts out with a great bedspread you find at Pottery Barn!… from there, the inspiration is fun, girly and PINK!…



Because this room already has a chair rail, we decided a 2-tone color scheme was perfect. After applying the base coats, I began on the ceiling border to allow the lower color to dry before striping. The scalloped border along the ceiling was put in place to match the bedding and pillow shams- and to add a bit of whimsy as well.


Secondly, stripes were added in varying thicknesses and colors- a process that takes a LONG time… and a lot of tape!


The final touch was creating the ‘window’ with a view of Paris.




A Marshmallow Medium

March 17th, 2010

Peeps Art

Sometimes it’s fun to put down the paintbrush and create art in an entirely different way! Every year the Washington Post holds their annual PEEPS diorama contest and I can’t resist the quirky fun of such a competition.

This year, I modeled my diorama after Artomatic’s PEEPS display. It’s where they show all the finalists of the PEEPS contest so Artomatic attendees can see them up close and in person! So, in essence, I did a diorama of PEEPS looking at other PEEPS dioramas!.. pretty cute concept I thought, but sadly I did not make it to the finals again this year.


So, what does it take to MAKE a PEEPS diorama?… what DOESN’T it take? Glue, cardboard, fabric, balsa wood, old boxes, markers, marshmallows, foam core, wire, tape, manicure scissors for cutting out small shapes… you name it! Overall, the project took a weekend to create.


The bottom of each PEEP had to be trimmed so that they would stand up. The sticky exposed marshmallow helped a lot with that too!





Last year, my entry was the Marine Corps Marathon, otherwise known as the PEEPles’ Marathon. I thought that would score extra points with the judges, but I still fell short of glory.



Oh well, there’s always next year!

Ten Years… and counting!

September 19th, 2009


It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since I painted my first mural! I remember how it took me FOREVER to paint a fairly small 5 x 11 foot wall space. But a big thanks to my dear friend Barbara for launching me on my career path! I’m sure her son has well outgrown the nursery I painted for him… but hey, I’d like to think the room helped inspire and mold him into the creative intelligent youngster that he’s become.

Since then, I’ve painted DOZENS of nurseries and kids rooms as well as some more unexpected things: like a garage door, a church sanctuary and a 160-square foot canvas dance floor for a Simpsons-themed bar mitzvah.

I’ve had some wonderful experiences over the past decade – and some were just plain funny. Like the time I was locked out of a house and stranded on the second story balcony! I literally had to lasso a nearby ladder and climb down. Or the time I was called into a ‘mural emergency’ when a woman’s do-it-yourself project went awry and was left with what looked like a big dark blue hole in her ceiling. I fondly remember the lovely Indian woman who fed me the most unbelievable dishes every day and the new mother who cried the first time she saw her baby’s room.

I think what makes this job so great is that awesome feeling of when you’re a part of something big. A couples first- or fifth!- baby. A new home. A well-deserved splurge. Opening a new business. I’ve been a part of some really incredible moments in people’s lives, and for that I’m thankful and humbled.

These first 10 years have been a period of artistic growth for me as well- learning and getting better at my craft every day. And as the expression goes, yes, you DO learn things the hard way. Like why you should never leave an open paint can in the middle of a room. And why you should never tape along a ceiling ( I could swear that ceiling paint is nothing more than watered down toothpaste sometimes! )

It’s been a great journey thus far. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years has in store!