VA

‘Stranger Things’

Well, it’s the first day of spring, and here we are in Virginia with this crazy winter storm!.. Pretty Strange… BUT- it inspired me to write this blog post just for fun. I often get asked by people, “What’s the strangest thing you ever painted?”

Below find my Top 15!… Not that I would say these things are ‘strange’… just unexpected for someone who typically paints on walls. Here we go:

Amy, What’s the strangest thing you ever painted?

Inside an elevator shaft!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The background for a model train set.

The inside of an old bank vault turned into a hair salon studio.

Tire cover for a Jeep:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large cable spool – turned into a fun kid’s table!

Inside a very small closet under the stairs- I painted it to look like a dollhouse:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simpson-themed dance floor on vinyl!

Russian nesting dolls.

A Monogram on a Driveway:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A canvas sailboat sail for a parade.

A fan and its blades to resemble an old propeller plane.

150 ft of canvas to look like a castle for a ‘Game of Thrones’ themed party:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tabletop to look like a pizza.

The floor of a small indoor basketball Court:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly, a huge metal storage container ( 2 actually! ):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my sometimes unexpected career!

Wanna make the list?… Use your imagination, and see what you can come up with that’s unusual, but fun!

Not your grandma’s stencil

I’ve recently become very fond of painting with stencils! The Type-A perfectionist side of me that loves striping and plaids- enjoys the same kind of precise repetitive work. And-  they look amazing! Stencils afford you the ability to create just about any intricate pattern in an endless array of color combinations- something you simply can’t get with wallpaper. Word of warning though- anyone trying to sell you a stencil kit will tell you ( and show you ) how easy it is… but in fact, they are not for the faint of heart. This recent powder room ( below ) took me close to 20 hours to complete- but the result looks like a million bucks! So keep your vacation days and leave this tedious work to me– I LOVE doing it!!!

Now, onto this dining room:

Sure, it’s faster than hand-painting this bad boy- but stenciling requires effort to perfectly align the design both horizontally and vertically. Otherwise, your pattern can get WAY off track!  In addition, the right amount of paint must be applied with light pressure or the paint runs and causes a mess. The stencils eventually fill with paint and must be cleaned- which I have to admit- I like peeling off the paint- but still, cleaning it can take an hour or more. 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 ( below ) using a medallion stencil- the Prosperity Mandala. 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!

Lastly, I gotta give a shout out to Cutting Edge Stencils and Royal Design Studios. Both companies make incredible quality products and have a HUGE selection to chose from. Check them out online and when you’re ready to get started, give me a call- pretty please!

 

 

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!

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

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

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

Baldwin_ES-after

Here’s a close up of their logo:

Baldwin_ES-mural

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

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

SycolinCreek_ES_gym-before

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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.

Congressional_Library_reception-before

Congressional_Library_right_side

Congressional_Library_reception-after

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!

MVHS-SeniorCafe-before

MVHS-SeniorCafe-after2

MVHS-left_wall-before

MVHS-left_wall-after

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.

SportFishing_mural-1

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!

SportFishing_mural-2

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!

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

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

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

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

Fishing_boating_mural_1

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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.

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

On Safari in Leesburg

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If you’re ever visiting Leesburg Sterling Family Practice on Riverside Parkway, you can see this adorable safari-themed waiting room for kids.

LSFP_mural_1

The entire African landscape centers around a gigantic baobob tree and miles of grassy plains. A few staff members even contributed their personal photos for my inspiration.

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One of the reasons we decided on this theme, as opposed to others, is the way the colors already complimented the earthtones throughout the medical center. And the carpet pattern is perfect!

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Complete with elephants, zebras, giraffes and even a pesky warthog, this fun, engaging mural really brightens the space and I hope brings a smile to everyone waiting to see the doctor!

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