Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mural Pricing

Murals, as we have mentioned, are fantastic forms of reflection and expression. Murals bring art into the public on such a tremendous scale. Utilizing obscure walls or ceilings to compliment an environment or standing main stage as a room's focal point or to accent a theme. Murals benefiting the artist(s) and critic(s) add life to any place by making a political stand, defining a current era, reflecting an individual personality or a group's collective thoughts, etc.

Murals are typically very detailed works of art painted on a large scale. Due to the skill level involved to paint a mural, these works of art are generally paid for by sponsorship or grants.

Typical mural pricing goes along a Tier Guideline. Usually, muralists offer 3 Tiers to define pricing and complexity of detail per square footage. This pricing is NOT inclusive of per diems, scaffolding, furniture removal, and wall preparation.

Each project always has a minimum charge regardless of size and detail, in this case, the minimum charge vacillates between artists.

Generally speaking, a basic mural of which one would select for a small child's room is considered a Tier 1 project. The complexity of detail is basic and somewhat rudimentary.

Tier 2 murals are the most popular in selection. These murals have more detail rendering recognizable characters. Tier 2 murals are more three dimensional with multi-toned shading. These murals are executed in children's rooms, dining rooms, formal foyers and parlors, and many commercial environments.

Tier3 is the top of the line mural. These murals encompass exquisite detail, precision perspective, multi-toned shading, and complex subject matter.

Tier 1 begins at a minimum charge plus $25.00/sqft
Tier 2 begins at a minimum charge plus $20.00/sqft
Tier 3 is a more intricate and formal bidding process usually involving multiple renderings and price options.

These are just basic parameters. Each artist owns differing talents than the other. As a guideline, this pricing may perform as a base when soliciting bids from muralists or as an artist's reference point when bidding their own work.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Selecting Specific Colors for Specific Domestic Rooms

Each of us has a favorite color, one that represents our personality. Observing my own children, each of them navigate their lives through their favorite colors. One loves red so he has red comforters, red shoes, red binders, red sweatshirts, red skis, red toothbrushes, etc....another favors pink and nearly every facet of her existence is saturated in hues of pink.

If you have been following any of my topics for discussion, you will note color to have a tremendous impact on our moods and psyche. But despite wearing a flash of happiness to uplift your day, we need to focus on painting environments with color that will last for multiple months and possible years. The color selection is extremely important. So, I thought I could assist with some proven research and concepts in painting your home and specific rooms in specific colors.

How Color Impacts our Lives

Knowing that white is a color associated with purity, we utilize white in domestic environments for sterility; bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Often times, white is utilized to merge two colorful rooms together since it is considered a neutral color.

Black is associated with power. Using black as accents or for a dominant piece of furniture brings a significant sense of drama and power to your room. Bachelors love using black in bathrooms, living rooms, bed rooms and offices. Too much black will offer emotions of depression and fatigue.

Blue is a calming color and a color associated with trust and honesty. This color is commonly used in spas, bathrooms, offices, bedrooms, and parlors. Complimented with contrasting colors, blue can be in every room of your home. It has been researched people working and studying in blue rooms are more productive than rooms of another color.

Orange and Yellow are bright and cheerful colors. To stimulate your appetite, it suggested to utilize hues of orange or yellow; i.e. melon colors in a dining room or kitchen.

Gray is a neutral color and offers itself as a great catalyst for any color. Utilize gray for large pieces of furniture enabling the room to change dramatically with colorful accent pillows or other accessories. Gray oftentimes depicts sadness or time for reflection. Like a rainy day, gray can offer intense productivity. Use gray in offices, perhaps in a black and white abstract painting showing movement. This will stimulate productivity and not depression.

Green is today's most hip color. Green is associated with natural and organic elements of life. It has been proven that green is an energy color and oftentimes associated with intelligence. Be careful, green can also cast an ill reflection while regarding your visage if painted in a bathroom. I suggest, if utilizing green, sage green in spas or rooms for relaxation. Kelly or grass green for rooms to invigorate. An entire room painted in green is a bit overwhelming. Utilize green in a faux finish where it is mottled or utilize green as an accent.

Red is the notorious color of passion, power, and Chinese Good Luck! When I think of my son being attracted to red, I believe he must have descended from an Asian background since he doesn't seem to encompass the traits of power and extreme passion. Red has been a very popular color over the many past years. We became bold and began painting red in our offices, dining rooms, and even boudoirs. Today, red is a fantastic accent wall in an area where you would like to have power. I suggest utilizing red in a home office.

Brown is a fantastic color for domestic environments. It is a color of grounding and humbleness. Brown has been associated with humanity since the beginning of time since it is a color of the earth/soil. I suggest brown glaze throughout the entire core of your home. Dressing rooms with hues of brown are terrific. For example, a dressing room with brown stained wood cabinets and shelves painted with a sand background offer a neutral background for selecting your daily attire.

Now, hire a contractor or do it yourself, but paint your world beautiful!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mural Examples

The internet enables all of us to peruse artists' work while sitting in the luxury of our own home in front of our computer-fabulous! Other artists inspire us to push the envelope and become more innovative. By observing and studying what others can do, we realize what is attainable and begin to think outside of the box.

I have collected a few mural examples for us to observe, study, and to become inspired by....please regard detailing, shadowing, color choices, and moods conveyed.

For other examples, please visit me on Facebook/Painted and Brushed, LLC and Facebook/Color Me Happy, Inc.


How to Paint a Mural

Murals are exciting hand-painted over sized images painted directly to the surface of a wall or a ceiling. There are a few methods of which you can utilize to assist in painting a mural.

Utilize a projector to cast the image onto your wall. There are many projectors on the market. Shop for price and clarity. Explain to the salespeople at the electronics store that you are looking for a high quality projector to cast images onto large surfaces at a fairly close range. Projectors range anywhere from $1000.00 to Tens of thousands.

The internet is chock full of ideas and images. By utilizing a projector, you can capture a photograph, cast the image onto your wall, outline the the picture and begin to render with paint.

By having the image up on the wall, you can create a paint by numbers reference or simply color block color onto the wall. Some people prefer to make a color photo copy of the image being painted as a tangible reference guide.

It is up to you, but drawing a grid onto the photocopy and replicating the grid onto the wall is a great way for beginners to successfully execute the image. Oftentimes, even highly experienced artists prefer this methodology when painting several feet in width and height. It is easy to get lost or overwork areas when challenged with super size dimensions.

Establish your palette. Prior to beginning, you will have already purchased your paints for the project. However, blending paints will clearly create more colors for your palette. I like to pre-mix all of my paints and keep in an air tight container. I utilize acrylic latex and add a bit of floetrol or glazing liquid to the pigment enabling a smooth flow. Play with your paint and mix to the consistency of which you like.

Once the paint is mixed and ready for the project, I organize according to color and hues, i.e, all greens from dark green to sage green, navy blue to sky blue, etc...I have a bucket of rinse water and towels for my brushes.

At this point, you will utilize a 2 to 3 inch painting brush and block out your color. Make certain to feather out or blend the lines eliminating hard and unprofessional lines while blocking in color.

There are a plethora of mural brushes out there to utilize in painting your image(s). I personally enjoy utilizing three different types of brushes. A round or oval brush is generally used for 90% of your mural. The oval or round brush is used for blending, blocking in color, shadows, and even for details. The flat brush is for filling in large expanses, shadows, and detail lines. Then there is the angled brush. The angled brush enables the muralist to achieve precision lines. In murals, lines and shadows are what interpret the believability of your painting.

Be certain to NOT utilize anything that is copyrighted. Trust your interpretive abilities to deliver and execute the image. This is the creativity which makes a mural an interesting image to regard.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Healing with Color

Color healing, known as Chromotherapy, has been an integral part of our civilization for as long as we have scribed. There are records dating back to ancient Egypt where the ill were escorted to the halls of color. These people who were suffering any type of malady were bathed in light which was filtered through various colored glass panels or windows.

Spiritual healers or Energy healers utilized color in many aspects of their healing rituals. Their technique utilized mental powers by directing specific colored rays of light into the patients' aura and physical realm.

With that being said, what is Chromotherapy? Chromotherapy is the science of using colors to keep the vibrations of the body in a frequency resulting in health, welfare and harmony.

Everyone I know speaks of all things are good provided they are kept in balance. I don't know if this is one hundred percent true but I like the concept. This then enables me to sustain some of my bad and enjoyed bad behaviors provided I keep them in check.

Dr. Laura De Giorgio, (www.deeptrancenow.com)speaks of "balancers" when discussing chromotherapy.

"Balancers: we administer the color(s) someone needs more of, or we give the opposite of the color someone has too much of."
Dr. De Giorgio explains we are attracted to certain colors due to our personalities (self-expression) and oftentimes are in need(completion) of specific colors for specific reasons. Your body craves color to balance out your mood. An example would be an angry person who is in a state of frenetic energy requires a pool of blue water or a soft blue/gray waterfall to sooth their mood.

The following is a chart of colors and their meanings researched and defined by Dr. Laura De Giorgio:


Healing properties: Brings warmth, energy and stimulation, therefore good for energy, fatigue, colds, chilly and passive people. Red energizes heart and blood circulation, it builds up the blood and heightens a low blood pressure. Energizes all organs and the senses hearing, smell, taste, vision and touch. Increases sexual desire and activity. Stimulates ovulation and menstruation. Never treat cancer with red, because this color will stimulate cell growth!

Red links with and stimulates the root chakra, at the base of the spine, causing the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This results in greater strength. Red causes hemoglobin to multiply, thus increasing energy and raising body temperature. It is excellent for anemia and blood-related conditions. It loosens, opens up clogs, releases stiffness and constrictions. It is excellent for areas that have become stiffened or constricted.

Esoteric: Deities of love, passion, sexuality and war (to stimulate a healthy portion of assertiveness). Great energy, courage, will-power, determination, speed, assertiveness, aggression, masculinity, independence, physical strength, sports, competition, conflicts, health, sexual attraction and potency, love and passion, fertility.

Preference for red: Red is associated with passionate love, sex, great energy, impulse, action and stimulation, assertiveness and aggression, courage, strength and power, adventure, danger, warnings, revolt and revolution. Temperamental and ambitious people with a need for personal freedom.

Aversion to red: A person who has an aversion to red may be over-active, too impulsive, hot-tempered, aggressive and egocentric, or have difficulties with people with such characteristics. It can also symbolize deeply hidden fears and rejection of his own assertiveness.


Healing properties: Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions. Orange shows new possibilities and other options in life. Stimulates creative thinking and enthusiasm, and helps assimilate new ideas.It is also helpful in dealing with excess sexual expression.

Orange stimulates the lungs, the respiration and the digestion. Increases the activity of the thyroid. Reliefs muscle cramps and spasms. Increases the amount of mother milk.

Finally, orange links very strongly with the sacral chakra.

Esoteric: Deities of good luck and fortune. Attraction, charm, kindness, encouragement, stimulation, optimism, success, abundance, prosperity, feast and celebration, energy, achieving business-goals, investments, success in legal matters.

Preference for orange: Orange represents the warmth of the fire. It brings even more energy than yellow, celebration and great abundance, comfort, enjoyment of the senses. Warm, sociable, dynamic and independent people who dedicate themselves to whatever they do.

Aversion to orange: A person who has an aversion to orange may have suppressed sexual feelings or other difficulties with sensual enjoyment of life. The attitude can also be over-sensual, indulgent, or too materialistic.


Healing properties: Yellow helps strengthen the nerves and the mind. It helps awaken mental inspiration and stimulates higher mentality. Thus, it is an excellent color for nervous or nerve-related conditions or ailments. It also energizes the muscles. Dark yellow soothes pains in the nerves (shooting pains)

Yellow can be used for conditions of the stomach, liver, and intestines. Speeds up the digestion and assimilation, and the stool.

It helps the pores of the skin and aids scarred tissue in healing itself.

Yellow links with and stimulates the solar plexus, or psychic center. It can be used for psychic burnout or other psychic-related conditions or ailments. Activates and cheers up depressed and melancholic people. Gives lust for life.

Esoteric/magical: Elemental air. Deities for trade, travel, knowledge and magick. Life-force, vitality, change, progress, contact, communication, trade, commerce, to persuade with confidence, joy, cheerfulness, learning, knowledge, mental clarity, concentration, memorizing, tests, speaking and writing, traveling, affirmation, visualization.

Preference for yellow: The color of the sun, life-force, vividness, vitality and energy. The color of cheerfulness, curiosity, alternation, flexibility, progress, amusement, contact through traveling and communication, learning and practical knowledge. A feeling for writing and speaking.

Aversion to yellow: A person who has aversion to yellow may be emotionally disappointed and bitter.May have tendency to rationalize feelings, or to avoid the depth of life by often changing relationships, many superficial relationships and/or constant changing activities.


Healing properties: Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body. It is neither relaxing nor astringent in its impact. Green can be used for just about any condition in need of healing.

Green rings psychological and emotional harmony and balance.

Green links with and stimulates the heart chakra. Green affects blood pressure and all conditions of the heart. It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing effect.

It cures hormonal imbalances. Stimulates growth hormone and rejuvenation. Cleans and purifies from germs, bacteria and rotting material. Harmonizes the digestion, stomach, liver, gall. Has a healing effect on kidneys. Increases immunity. Builds up muscles, bones and tissues. Stimulates inner peace. Strengthens the nervous system.

Esoteric: Elemental earth (dark green) and elemental water (blue-green). Nature, fertility, growth, rejuvenation, recovering, healing, harvest and abundance, prosperity, harmony, balance, peace, hope, mother earth, home, herbal magic, plants and animals, counteract greed and jealousy.

Preference for green: Green brings peace, rest, hope, comfort and nurturing, calmness and harmony. Interest in nature, plants, fellowmen, children and animals, health and healing, natural and plain life. Longing for a safe home and family-life. A dislike of conflicts.

Aversion to green: A person who has an aversion to green may be more interested in independence and self-development than in a warm family-life. May prefer to keep a certain distance in (sexual) relationships.


Healing properties: Blue is cooling, electric, astringent. Dr. Edwin Babbitt, in his classic, "The Principles of Light and Color," states that "The Blue Ray is one of the greatest antiseptics in the world."

Cools down inflammations (don't forget rheumatic inflammations), fever, high blood pressure, stops bleeding, reliefs the bursting headaches, calms strong emotions like anger, aggression or hysteria. Brings tranquility. Anti-itching. Anti-irritation (for instance redness of the skin), anti-stress. Soothes suffering.

Blue can be used for any type of ailments associated with speech, communication, or the throat. Excellent for laryngitis or inflammation of the larynx.

Blue links with and stimulates the throat chakra. The throat chakra is often referenced as the "power center" and "the greatest center in the body" because it is the primary center of expression and communication, through speech.

Esoteric: Elemental water and elemental air. Deities of the sea, truth and wisdom. Peace and tranquility, calmness, truth, wisdom, justice, counsel, guidance, understanding, patience, loyalty and honor, sincerity, devotion, healing, femininity, prophetic dreams, protection during sleep, astral projection.

Preference for blue: Cool and soothing, dreamy and magical. Peace and rest. For people who keep a certain distance, but give calm and practical help; they are faithful and loyal, have a sense for order, logic and rational thinking. Flying in day-dreaming, ideals or nostalgia when felt misunderstood. Dark blue is more severe and can be melancholic. Blue is also the color of truth.

Aversion to blue: A person who has an aversion to blue, may be very disciplined, strong career worker, with an aversion of commentary or restriction. He may have charted out a clear direction for his life.


Healing properties: Indigo is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also benefits mental problems. It is a freeing and purifying agent.

Indigo combines the deep blue of devotion with a trace of stabilizing and objective red. Indigo is cool, electric, and astringent.

Indigo links with and stimulates the brow chakra (third eye) and controls the pineal gland. It governs both physical and spiritual perception. It can be of great assistance in dealing with ailments of the eyes and ears.

Violet / Purple

Healing properties: These are colors of transformation. They heal melancholy, hysteria, delusions and alcohol addiction and bring spiritual insights and renewal. These colors slow down an over-active heart; stimulate the spleen and the white blood cells (immunity). Bring sleep. Soothe mental and emotional stress. Decrease sexual activity. Decrease sensitivity to pain. They help in detoxification.

Leonardo da Vinci proclaimed that you can increase the power of meditation ten-fold by meditating under the gentle rays of Violet, as found in Church windows.

Esoteric: Elemental spirit. Divination and prophecy. Angels. Psychic abilities, divination, counter-acting negativity/black magic, reversing curses, psychic healing, psychic power, inspiration, meditation, spirituality, spiritual power, astral projection, third eye, compassion, counter-acting depression.

Preference for violet/purple: Colors for meditation, contemplation, mysticism, spirituality and religion power. A longing to ascend and dissolve polarities (purple consists of the active red and passive blue), to improve the world. Reservation, mystery and dignity. Soft, sensitive people with often paranormal abilities.

Aversion to violet / purple: A person who has an aversion for violet / purple may have very serious attitude towards life; and may find it difficult to give dreams, fantasies, vague fears or memories a place in it. May have tendency to rejection everything he regards as unnatural or unrealistic.


Healing properties: White is the perfect color; for it is all colors, in perfect balance and harmony. It is the color of the awakened Spirit; the light of perfection; the light of the Cosmic Consciousness,the Divine Light.

Just about everyone has heard of surrounding people with the "White Light of Healing and Protection." White light raises the vibration of one's consciousness and the body, bringing harmony in all aspects of one's life. Directing white into to a part of the body that needs healing is one of the fastest ways to bring about healing.

Esoteric: Purification and cleaning on all levels, contact with higher self and spiritual helpers, (inner) peace, aura-healing, truth seeking, consecration, spiritual enlightenment, protection against negativity by raising your vibration, breaking curses, exorcism, meditation, divination, inspiration, clairvoyance, invoking spirits White can be a replacement for any other color your magic requires.

Preference for white: White points at innocence, purity, virginity, cleanliness, freshness, simplicity, nothingness, oneness and completion, truth. In certain cultures white is the color of death and mourning.

Aversion to white: A person who has an aversion to white color is foremost or solely interested in 'realistic' and tangible things, not in illusions or things that are beyond seeing or understanding. Knows and accepts the own imperfection and does not wish to achieve perfection.


Healing properties: Strengthens contact with your life purpose. Stimulates adrenaline and heart activity.

Esoteric: Scorpio-energy. Magnetism, to attract or speed up things, extra power, when immediate action and great spiritual power are needed, life purpose, life path.

Preference for magenta: Much energy and activity focused on achieving power and self-realization. Strong but controlled passions and emotions. Daring, ready to fight, willing to give everything for a goal. Can drive things too far and have fixed ideas.

Aversion to magenta: A person who has an aversion to magenta may feel overwhelmed by people with strong convictions or heavy emotions like jealousy; also may have difficulties with exposing deep emotions.


Healing properties: Heals grief and sadness. Restores youthfulness. Brings you in contact with your feelings.

Esoteric: Softness and tenderness, romance, caring, nurturing, for children, youth, peace, friendship, femininity, emotional love, emotional healing.

Preference for pink: Regarded as a feminine color. Pink symbolizes softness, sweetness, innocence, youthfulness and tenderness. Soft and kind people.

Aversion to pink: A person who has an aversion to pink may have a challenge with expressing soft, tender, female side.


Healing properties: Increases intuition and sensitivity. Works disinfecting and antiseptic. Tones the general system. Builds the skin. Relaxes sensations of stress.

Esoteric/magickal: Alterations, intellectual and intuitive insights, technique, inventions, originality, renewal, brotherhood, humanism.

Preference for turquoise: Just like the wide turquoise sea you don't want to feel restricted and you don't immediately bring to the surface what goes on in you; emotions can remain hidden. A color for non-triviality, renewal, innovation and inventions, alternative ways of living together, and humanity.

Aversion to turquoise: A person who has an aversion to turquoise may be looking for solidity and security in society, especially in marriage. Also, may be reluctant to think originally or to walk new paths.


Esoteric: Elemental earth. The planet-spirit Saturn. Stability, grounding, conservation, protection of household, family and pets, healing animals, finding lost objects, material constructions (buildings etc.), material increase, to make relationships solid, to increase decisiveness and concentration, attracting help in financial crisis.

Preference for brown: An earthly color for practical people with a preference for natural, tribal and primitive things, solidity and simplicity. Brown can be warm and cozy but also depressing. Family-life persons, stable people, loyal friends.

Aversion to brown: A person who has an aversion to brown may feel an aversion against normal, boring, trivial life; may not feel connected with his roots (home-land, family, etc); may experience instability in health and attitude.


Esoteric: Neutralizing negative influences, erasing or canceling situations, causing stalemates.

Preference for gray: Very neutral and indifferent, non-expressive. It can be deliberate, but also lifeless, fixed, depressed and apathetic. Reserved, cool people; unwilling to expose themselves or to have obligations. Grey can be refined and tactful.

Aversion to gray: A person who has an aversion to gray may prefers to be straight to the point, no time for political and tactical attitudes. Demands clarity, a knowing where one stands.


Esoteric: Elemental earth. Deities of the underworld. Repel/banish evil and negativity, protection, banishing, binding, breaking free from bad habits/addictions, deep meditation, opens up deep unconscious levels.

Preference for black: Symbolizes seriousness, darkness, depression, death, mourning, mystery, secrecy, occultism, a standing apart from or revolting against triviality, provocation, underground, underworld, things that have to remain hidden, nothingness as the great source of all creation, the need to keep your energy with you. Black is a color for extremes, everything and nothing. People who foremost trust themselves.

Aversion to black: A person who has an aversion to black may have fear for the unknown, or fear for the abuse of power. Desires to become free from all kinds of dependency, blockages, hindrances; to throw off shackles.


Esoteric: Absolute authority, (self)confidence, creativity, perfection, solar energies, male energy, financial riches, investments, luxury, winning, worldly power, magical power, overcoming bad habits/addictions.


Esoteric: Female energy, cycles, rebirth, reincarnation, healing of hormonal imbalances, emotional stability, remove or neutralize negativity, intuition, dreams, psychic abilities and psychic workings.


Esoteric: Love and passion, for positive relationships in love, friendship and business, career promotions, negotiations.

I encourage everyone to regard color in your daily life and observe color through today's marketing. While doing research, observe color through history's fashion, textiles, and rituals.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Color Therapy. What do colors mean?

We live a very colorful life in the physical sense and in our emotional sense. Color plays an integral part in our day to day....Black is slimming but also the color of which all presidential vehicles are painted advocating authority and power. We are soothed by sea foam greens and wish to cleanse ourselves when surrounded by whites, blues, and soft blue greens; seeing these colors, our bodies produce calming chemicals within.


Black is the color of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men which I disagree heavily! When I see women like, Donna Karan wearing her highly stylized black ensemble, I do NOT envision her pulling out a freshly baked apple pie and serving it to her hubby seated in a lazy boy. Just saying. Black is a popular color representing Halloween. With Dracula, witches, and omens appearing in black clothing and black hair, this suggests negative powers of authority and power.


White is pure, clean, bright, positive, angelic, celestial, ambiguous, and common. Brides wear white symbolizing innocence and purity. Reflecting light, white is considered a summer color. White is popular in decorating and in fashion because it is light, neutral, and goes with everything. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility. Throughout history, white was one of the most important colors to wear. Wearing white always had a social status definition whether it is implied or demanded. Even today, wearing true white...and presenting it as crisp and cared for white, this suggests pride and wealth.


The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color of love. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier. It has been stated that red is a power color. Many experts have suggested wearing red to meetings for negotiations and sales, however since it is an extreme color, red clothing might offend people in negotiations or confrontations. Red cars depict speed and affluence and are popular targets for thieves. In decorating, red is usually used as an accent. Interior designers utilize red furniture in living rooms and dining rooms. In the living room where you would engage in conversation, a red chair will get you noticed. In a dining room, red is known to stimulate your appetite.


Pink is innocence and ironically, romance. Pink is pure passion. Caucasian babies are referred to as pink. Clearly girls' rooms are painted pink accentuating pure and feminine innocence. Many sports teams will paint the guest lockers bright pink to suck the team players' energy. Pink is soft, warm, and fuzzy. Pink paired with green can be flash back preppy and also organically calming (depending on the tone).


Often used in bedrooms, blue is a calming color. Truly one of the most favored colors by humans across the world. Blue is the color of the ocean and our sky representing earth like no other color. Water is usually depicted in blue hence, water being calming, so is blue. I often wonder if the ocean was orange, then would orange be the calming color? Blue can also be cold and depressing when mixed with a bit of gray. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty, trustworthiness, and it has been proven that people working in sales have a higher closing rate while wearing blue. People are more productive in blue rooms. Statistically, weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.


Green, another color of our Earth. Green represents all things organic and is presently the most popular decorating color. It is the easiest color on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing color. People waiting to appear on TV sit in "green rooms" to relax. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to symbolize fertility. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth and high intellect. Green is the color of Ireland hence representing the luck of the Irish and St. Patrick's day. However, on the eve of a fashion show, seamstresses often refuse to use green thread fearing it will bring bad luck.


Yellow is the color of pineapples hence the color of hospitality. The color of the sun, which sustains life, yellow is considered cheery and a great attention getter. Yellow enhances concentration, hence we use it for legal pads.
While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms. Too much yellow can create anxiety. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused.


Purple is the color of royalty con notating wealth and opulence. It is feminine and romantic. Men should avoid both purple and pink as wardrobe choices to an interview. Both colors symbolize femininity. A male wearing pink or purple to an interview may seem to be undecided and unsure of himself. Purple may connect the mind with things artificial correlating negative images.


Another Earth color, brown. Perhaps it is because of UPS, but brown denotes a solid and reliable makeup. Again speaking organic, brown conjures images of wood, leather (or pelts), dirt; all raw and organic materials for survival. Brown can also be sad and wistful. Men are more apt to say brown is one of their favorite colors.


This fabulous color is often used for home furnishing accents or larger objects only to be accessorized by vibrant colors. Men and women wear gray suits when interviewing candidates suggesting they are neutral in their decision making processes. Gray can mean sorrow, maturity, and balance. When utilizing gray in a landscape painting, mist, fog, waterfalls, etc...these grays can conjure ideas of rest, tranquility, escape, avoidance, and retreat. Gray can be a very mystical color embodying the desire to meditate.


A vibrant color made by combining red and yellow. Orange suggests vitality and possibly aggression. It is not a hostile color but more so one of invigorating life!
Like red, orange is thought to stimulate your appetite. Many people naturally correlate an orange to the color orange connotating succulence and mouth watering goodness. Health, warmth, and vitality sum up this color.

Color impacts every moment of our lives in so many ways and on so many levels. The next blog will discuss colors that heal-How and Why.

In the meantime...color yourself happy....allow yourself to indulge in color to make your world a brighter place.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quality Tools and Materials equates professional finishes!

Successful Painting Projects begin with Quality tools and materials!
Don’t purchase cheap paint!:

Remember: You get what you pay for. This adage applies to everything including paint. Select high quality paint with more resin, premium pigments, and LESS water. Don’t cheap out on paint otherwise, you will find yourself replicating the same paint job within a year. The inexpensive paints do not contain enough resins or bonding agents to enable a long lasting finish. Another interesting fact, when trying to color match with inexpensive paints, the color will dry darker than that of higher quality paints. Why? The chemical compounds have more space inbetween each other, there are less bonding agents, and the pigment is not sufficiently ground as finely as in higher quality paints.

Better quality coatings will give more square footage per gallon due to the “clear” vehicle added to the higher end paint. Higher quality paints bond better to the substrates being painted, are easier to clean, and will last much longer than inexpensive paints.

What type of rollers and brushes do I need?
When determining which roller cover (nap) to purchase, you must understand the walls’ texture. Most naps are made from natural or synthetic fibers. Naps are available in various lengths and thickness; so use the one recommended for the surface you’re painting. The longer the nap, the more paint it will hold. Use the following as a general guideline.
• 1/4-inch nap for smooth or fine surfaces, such as new walls, ceilings, and wood
• 3/8-inch nap for smooth to light-textured walls
• 1/2-inch nap for most walls and medium rough surfaces, such as textured plaster, and concrete
• 3/4-inch nap for rough surfaces, such as textured walls and ceilings, heavily textured plaster, and concrete
• 3/8- or 1/2-inch nap is a good general-purpose roller cover.
In general, for those of you with little painting experience utilize a 9” roller frame and a 9” nap in the size specific to your walls being painted. To eliminate mess, I suggest you pour your gallons of paint into a 5 gallon bucket and use a grid attached to the bucket rather than using a tray.

For selecting brushes, it is important that you understand the distinctions between the various materials used to create the brush. The material generally comes in two forms: natural bristle and synthetic filament.
Usually you use a synthetic brush for latex paints and a natural bristle brush for oil (alkyd). You may use a synthetic brush for oil if you want, but you should not use a natural bristle brush with latex. Natural bristles, when used in water can damage and swell the bristles.
Synthetic brushes usually polyester, nylon, or a blend of both. The good quality brushes will retain the right balance of stiffness and flexibility.
Natural bristles tend to be made from hog or ox bristle.
Brush Selections:
Inexpensive paint brushes will shed bristles into your freshly painted surface, they will NOT hold a significant amount of paint, and do not have the firmness/softness balance to execute a professional finish. Below are the two top paint brush manufacturers, I suggest you make your selections from either of these companies.
Purdy Brushes
Purdy produces only the highest quality paint brushes and have been the choice of professionals for over 75 years. Each Purdy brush is an individually built instrument designed, formulated, and handcrafted for maximum painting performance. Their attention to detail in the manufacturing processes makes Purdy brushes the industry standard among paint tool manufacturers.

Wooster Brushes
The Wooster Brush Company is known as one of the most innovative manufacturers of paint equipment. During 155+ years in business, Wooster has established many milestones in the industry:
• Invention of popular paintbrush styles such as the angle sash and the Shasta
• Development of the "Foss-set" process to cement bristle into paintbrushes
• First to use nylon filaments to create brushes that performed in latex paints
• Creation of the Exploded-Tip® process to make soft flags on filament ends
• First to introduce synthetic fabrics for roller covers, now an industry standard

When deciding of what size for what project, follow these simple rules:
1—2 Inch is a good choice for small surfaces such as touch-up, trim, moldings and window sashes.
2—3 Inch work great for general cutting in of walls as well as exterior trim.
4—6 Inch brushes are for large areas such as back brushing behind an airless sprayer or applying stain to a deck floor.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Color Consulting making a small space seem larger.

I was asked by a friend to assess her newly acquired leased office space. It was a great find having 5 inch crown molding, three offices, a conference room, storage/breakfast room, and a fabulous reception area capped in granite. We were a little claustrophobic due to the color combination the former tenants had selected. They chose burgundy crown and pea brown walls. YUCK! They may have utilized left over paint from a prior job; they were in construction. But to service the environment of which you work daily, try not to cheap out 100%

We played with a color combination coming from the granite. The granite highlighted natural earth tones. In this case, salmon, grays, persimmon, black, and cream.

We primed the molding and walls. The walls were painted in a soft creamy peach accentuated with a satin cream on the molding. The walls behind the reception demands a bit of drama, therefore, the area was given a texture with a skip-pool trowel finish, color washed with peaches, butterscotch, and cream, then glazed with an umber/sienna glaze. The area underneath the reception area had raised 1970s panels. We primed and painted the panels in a complimenting color to the color wash behind the reception area. I took a plum bob and chalk lined diamonds painting them alternating colors, glazed the diamonds with the same glaze utilized on the reception fauxed wall and added architectural accents in the middle of the cross hairs.

Conference room: I skip-pool troweled the conference room and added colors of purple, burgundy, plum, green, blue, and golds. After blending all of the colors, glazed the wall with an umber glaze. The remaining walls in the conference area were painted a mushroom color.

The little offices were painted a cream paint with one accent wall. One office had a soft airy blue and the other a sage green. These are tiny offices that will accommodate one person and their computer, desk, and an opposing chair.

My friend's office: I pool troweled the walls, sanded, primed, and painted two coats of a soft airy blue/gray. Once the paint cured, I added a metallic dry brush application followed by an umber glaze. The room shimmered but was subdued due to the umber glaze. Behind her desk, I installed a checkerboard pattern utilizing 1x1 square luan tiles painted in opposing sheens of blue/gray and silver all glazed.

The storage/breakfast area was given a couple of coats of cheery sherbet orange. The cabinets are white which offers a clean and upbeat area for retrieving copies, collations, coffee, etc....

Just a bit of color, innovation, and elbow-grease and you can transform a mundane environment into one of which you are eager to enter daily. I will post pictures this week.

Happy painting!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Skip Pool Trowel

Recently, I have added over 500 pounds of plaster to my walls. The task is arduous but the end result is fabulous and well worth the painful and daunting efforts made throughout the process.

I wanted to approach my home with a somewhat soft, warm, and inviting overall decor. I am eclectic and enjoy mixing and matching furniture, accessories, and eras. For the whole concept to shape, it is imperative that we provide a cohesive base to work from. In this respect, I am alluding to the core walls throughout the house.

So...in came the skip pool trowel concept. Skip-pool troweling is a method used to establish deep nooks and crannies adjacent to soft pool troweled sweeps in the plaster. The over all look will lend itself to the old world classic look. Most people contemplate Tuscany when regarding skip-pool troweling. Since, in my home, we have many religious icons...i.e. a beautiful hand painted depiction of the San Jose Y San Miguel D Aguayo from Ben Carter, a variety of Santos picked up on visits to Mexico, and a plethora of different crosses...I leaned towards replicating a mission feel.

Here is the process:
Plaster (mud found in a hardware store...dry wall mud will suffice)
Pool Trowel (found in a hardware store like Lowe's or Home Depot. Smooth oval)
A Variety of different sized flat trowels which will offer the skip effect.
Masking paper
Roslin Paper (the red rolls found in hardware stores)
Scaffolding (depending on the height of the walls)
Sand Paper
Shop Vac
Base coat paint
Glaze...Use an oil based glaze....not..do NOT..use a water base...not the effect wanted.
Linseed oil
Japan Dryer
Oil base pigment

Begin from the top of the wall and work your way across and then down. If you don't like the pattern of which you are creating, then smooth it over and do it again. Working with plaster, you cannot mess up...even if it has dried...you can sand it and begin again.

The application is individualistic. I utilize the pool trowel loaded with mud and apply to the wall. Then taking a larger trowel, filled with mud and underneath the pool troweled mud, I apply a staccato of mud then quickly and lightly smooth it over. Play with this method and perhaps invent your own...Only you can define the rhythm that you will be able to produce and sustain throughout the entire area to be textured...day in and day out.

Next phase, once all of the mud is applied to the walls, you will sand lightly eliminating rough peaks on the staccato mudded surface. Clean seams in corners and where ceiling meets walls. Smooth roughed troweled areas. Envision what each raise will look like once glaze is applied. The glaze will accentuate any imperfection, nook and cranny, and lip established while having troweled on the mud. If you don't like what you see, now is the time to get rid of it by sanding it away.
*Make certain you are wearing a mask and all areas are viscuined. I usually use a heavy duty masking tape and a heavier gauged plastic. The dust will sift into every crevasse, every page on a book, every fibrous thread on your upholstery....EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!

Next, brush off all of the dust, vacuum, and eliminate. The dust is your enemy and is horribly toxic to have sifting into your lungs. This extracting of dust is a constant....but essential for maintaining a healthy working environment and sustaining a livable space for those residing in the home or working in the commercial environment.

Next, primer. Brush and Roll primer on every square inch of your textured surfaces. Please babysit your efforts...and look carefully for drips. Drips will ruin your hours and hours of laborious lathering of mud......Drips are easy to establish when dealing with heavily textured walls. You have a tendency to overload your brush and roller....since it is imperative to get into each nook and cranny....if not careful, you will have a wall filled with drips. UGLY and AWFUL! Once you have brushed and rolled....let it set for a couple of minutes and go back to double check for the inevitable drips.

Base painting is next. It is key to pick out a light color for your troweled walls. The glaze will darken the overall effect. In this example: we selected a very light cream base color. Carefully replicate the priming process utilizing your base color....again babysit the drips.

After two coats of base coat have been applied and have cured, you are ready to glaze! Glazing is fun and fast....and the wow factor while applying pushes you on to completion.

For the glaze:
Mix an oil base pigment...I chose burnt umber, burnt sienna, and a chocolate brown.
Mix in linseed oil
Japan Dryer

There is no exact formula for making a glaze. Play around with the consistency and take notes. You will want a glaze that is 1/2 oil and 1/2 turp with some Japan Dryer to expedite the drying time....just play around and see what you like. You can always apply samples onto your wall...then immediately erase with clear turpentine.

Voila! You have just given birth to a lovely Tuscan village or a mission style environment. The effect is warm, inviting, and awe inspiring.

Note: For those young entrepreneurs who would like to Faux finish for a living: this application should never be sold for less than $18.00/sqft no matter the size of the walls. This is a very labor intensive method and only skilled finishers can execute this to perfection.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Faux Burl Wood Graining

I am working on updating an older dining room set. The china hutch, table, and chairs are inexpensively made. In order for me to refurbish them, I must paint them to give them new life.

I have raised panels of which I will faux burl. In these panels, I will utilize oil based paints and oil glazes.

For the remaining furniture, I will utilize a combination of latex paints and oils.

Getting Started:
Chip brushes
Fan Brush
Short bristled artist brush
Blue tape
Cheese cloth, lint-free rag, or paper toweling

Artist Oils:
Burnt Umber
Raw Umber
Burnt Sienna

Base Coat:
Satin latex base paint. I chose a butterscotch which correlates with my home's other neighboring furniture and tones.

Oil Based Glaze
1 part linseed oil
1 part paint thinner and Japan drier (optional to speed drying)

Low luster or Satin finish varnish.

Let’s begin:
First degloss with liquid sander, the entire surface area to be painted. Secondly, paint the entire surface with our latex paint (two coats). Allow to cure for two days.

Once cured, we are ready to work the raised areas and develop our burl finish. Using a tray or empty can, pour in glazing liquid. Using a lint free rag or paper toweling, apply the surface with the glazing liquid. Dip your chip brush onto your palette into the pigments of burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, and a fraction of black. Pour a couple of drops of Japan Drier into the glazing liquid. With your coated chip brush, dip a bit of glazing liquid and apply in a cross hatching motion onto the surface being painted. Add a bit of dark for darker areas.

Taking cheese cloth, paper toweling, or lint free rag, scrunch it up into a ball and dab it all over the cross-hatched area. While you are dabbing, twist and turn creating a swirl pattern all over the surface. You may stipple for softer areas. Using a clean chip brush, lightly and softly blend the rough twirl lines.

Next, dip your fan brush into the black and burnt sienna and then into the glazing liquid. Take off excess pigment by brushing onto a clean paper toweling. Coat both back and front of fan brush. From corner to middle drag with a squiggly motion onto the softened “burl” surface. You may use this same method for defining some of the burl swirls for greater impact.

Again, soften desired areas with chip brush.

Next, take small artist brush and dip into black and burnt sienna. Paint small dots representing knots. Paint in darker areas and blend. For highlighting, tap small areas by pressing with a soft cloth or using your thumb (glove coated) onto the surface. Allow to dry overnight.

In some cases, you may feel that the surface needs to be darker. If this is the case, repeat the steps from the beginning for applying the initial coating of glazing liquid and pigment, criss-cross hatching and then dabbing off excess exposing the burl marks underneath. Go back into your surface with a chip brush creating softening motions and staccato marks while dragging downwards.

Allow to cure overnight or as long as needed. Varnish to seal and protect. Voila!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marbeling Prefabricated Fireplace Mantels and Surrounds

When working with today’s generic fireplace mantels and surrounds, many of us long for the decades past architectural elements. With production costs what they are and well….let’s just say, nothing is made in the same fashion as they fabricated in the past. Solid wood is obsolete. In fact, it is as though we live in “faux” houses with hefty price tags…everything is wood framed and plywood coated. Stuffed with insulation and boarded with gypsum, skim coated with mud, sprayed with knock-down, then mist primed and two coat sprayed….fascinating!

So, that is where we come in. The faux finishers or decorative painters of the world unite! We are able to take something hum drum, fabricated out of inexpensive material and transform it into a fabulous look! Let us focus on the generic fireplace. In order for this finish to work, we must work with an architectural base that offers some pleasing aesthetic lines. Most of today’s fireplace mantels or surrounds are fabricated out of resins or a lite concrete substrate combination. Many of these elements are offered with superb design.

This surround and mantel are from the company Lite Stone Concrete located in El Cajon, California. These elements are pre-cast and then shipped to your destination.

Once these elements are installed, many times, the designer needs to tweak the color or tone of the piece. I am going to discuss the simple basics in transforming a prefabricated mantel and or surround into a marbled look.

First, apply base coat and allow to cure for 24 hours with water base (latex) or 72 for oil base (alkyd). Select a base paint which is correct for your marble objective, i.e., cream for yellow sienna marble, white for carrara marble, and if going with a port’oro marble….then base in black.

From this point on, we will utilize only oil paints to render our marbling. It is only in this medium that we are able to achieve the true marbling effect. Pour approximately 2 to 3 Tbsp of pigment into a tray or cup, add japan drier. Add a bit of white, yellow ochre, and raw sienna onto your palette for most marbles except white marbles. (In creating carrara marble, statuario, arabescato vagli, or any other white based and gray veined marble….the same practices apply only different colors will be utilized. In some of the white and black marbles, some yellow veining does occur. Examine your sample and select pigments accordingly.)

Using a chip brush (an inexpensive brush located at any hardware and paint store) pick up some of each color and lightly mix onto your palette. Now, dip your chip brush into the oil glaze and pick up some of the mixed color. With a criss cross pattern, sporadically apply to the fireplace surround and mantel working in small areas at a time. Vary your depth of application. In some areas, apply darker shades and in others, apply lighter shades.

Next step is to soften your area with either the same brush or another unused chip. Gently sweep and blend the paint on the fireplace surround and mantel area until you have achieved the look you want.

Immediately following, take another chip brush and dip into the oil glaze then into the white and work into the lighter areas on the fireplace mantel and surround. Take your more saturated brush and work into the newly applied white area creating billowy cloud like effects. In this effort, you are to define a vein directional pattern.

Next, using an 3/8 inch round white bristle artist brush, dip into the glazing medium and then into the white, yellow ochre, and raw sienna mixture. Loosely paint in veins outlining the darker and lighter based areas. Along the darker areas, define with thicker and deeper or darker veins. The best way to achieve a light hand is to hold your brush down low on the handle caressing the handle with finger tips and a light grasp. While moving down in the same directional vein pattern that you have selected, you will create a wiggly effect and a soft wave effect. *Using oil, you really never make a mistake. If you do not like your veins, then erase them with a soft brush over.

Next, using a 19/64 or smaller round brush, repeat the paint application, but this time, run your veins off the main veins. You may run at opposing angles in various directions. Step back to regard your efforts.

Next, soften your veins with the more saturated chip brush using a sweep and stipple method. In areas of which you would like to establish more depth, use the chip brush and dip into the darker pigment. Take the coated brush and stipple into the surface area desiring the darker pigment. Again, softly brush the area blending into the surrounding pigment.

Again, using a smaller sized round brush, apply darker and more irregular veins. You could add a bit of black mixed with the raw umber and glazing medium. Add as many veins as you wish. After each application of veins, always soften with the chip brush.

For the last vein application, I always like to place some white veins on top. At this stage, I paint in some white areas and then vein over them. *Remember: Vein, soften, paint and stipple, vein, soften, paint and stipple….as many times as you like until you achieve the desired look.

Lastly, take a clean chip brush and dip into the white pigment and glazing medium. With this brush loaded, spatter paint onto your surface. Follow with a soft blending on the fireplace surround and mantel. Next, replicate the same method only this time using the darker pigment for spattering. Again soften and allow to dry completely.

Once completely cured, varnish your entire mantel and surround selecting what sheen best compliments the room’s décor. Personally, I enjoy a satin sheen. This offers a soft glow with low light.

And VOILA! You have now mastered the art of transforming a prefabricated façade into looking like a extremely expensive hand carved marble mantel and surround.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stenciling Traditional method and non-traditional

The history of stenciling is long for obvious reasons. Stenciling was an inexpensive and efficient form of replicating an image and decorating a wall, furniture, floors, or accessories. In the beginning, stencils were made out of organic materials, i.e., leaves, leather, treated linen. Today, most stencils are fabricated out of heavy gauged plastic or mylars (if you will).

To stencil:
Supply checklist stenciling supplies

Before you begin stenciling, be sure your supplies include the following:

* marking pencil
* low-tack masking tape or stencil adhesive
* level
* ruler
* stencil brushes
* stencil paint
* a saucer, plate or palette
* paper towels (preferably lint free)

All of the above supplies can be found in your local hardware or craft store.

Stencil Brushes:
The most common stencil brushes are flat tipped and domed brushes. Flat tipped brushes contain bristles that are all one length. Domed brushes have bristles that are slightly tapered near the ends. If you are just beginning, you may wish to start with the flat tipped brush. If you are more experienced, then you will find that domed brushes can be used to produce a larger variety of shaded effects, adding more depth and appeal to your stenciled designs.

Begin stenciling in an inconspicuous corner of your room. Every stencil has guide marks for you to perfectly repeat the pattern intended. To position your stencil: you can either utilize a green or blue or light adhesive masking tape to secure the corners...or utilize spray adhesive. If you are using spray adhesive, allow the spray to dry until tacky then secure to surface.

To Begin Stenciling:
I usually use a paper plate or paint tray to hold a small amount of pigment. Use a water based paint for fast drying capability. If you like, you can always add Japan dryer to escalate the drying time.

With your brush, dip the bristles into your paint. In a circular motion, dab and roll the excess paint onto a paper towel removing most of the paint. Repeat this process until the brush seems "dry". The objective is to imprint the surface underneath the stencil with a consistent amount of pigment establishing clean edges. Continue to blot the brush onto the stencil building up the color layer by layer.

There are two methods of stenciling:
One is stippling..an upward and downward dabbing motion. This method produces the most consistent and cohesive method for coverage. The second method is swirling of which utilizing this method, you press the brush down onto the surface and produce small circular motion. Utilizing this method, you are able to effectively achieve soft shading.

Stenciling is NOT just for the stereotypical little sweet lady who wishes to add creative hand touches to "stuff" about the house. It isn't just for the country gal who has a love for gingham checked bows and wood cut-outs...Stenciling is for fun and creativity. Stenciling began as an innovative tool and is used today as just that...a great tool for making innovative design.

More innovative approaches to stenciling, with today's technology can certainly be achieved. We can create digital images of anything we see and capture. Print these images out and use the traditional methods of cutting then voila....some crazy stencils can be made. As you can push the limits with your stencil concepts, you can push the limits in methods of laying down pigment. Utilizing airbrush and spray paint can create some fantastic and dramatic effects.

I will post some wonderful examples of some amazing artists' work...these people push limits and have fun with a simple tool creating unique and fun concepts!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Children's Murals

Children's murals are the most popular type of residential painting across the world. Every parent wishes to dote on their little pumpkin male or female accentuating their personality and personalizing the room as a result. Murals have become increasingly popular over the years for a variety of many reasons. My belief is people have endured financial and emotional roller coasters over the past few years. We attempt to establish control and truly focus on making our homes a safe haven for family and friends. This is mostly accomplished by adding color to our walls and decorating environments with accessories that represent our individual interests and personalities. In short, we wish to define our homes with detail establishing an environment conducive for our children to stay in rather than out and for family's to bond.

I am working on a non-profit with Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado. We are hoping to establish a system to execute a minimum of 4 murals weekly for children with on-going diseases. We plan to work inside the children's homes and do a room "makeover." Our belief is that environment weighs heavily on the emotional well-being of any individual. If a child requires at home care, the healing will take place in his or her bedroom. If you create an environment that reflects the child's interests and character in happy bright colors, this will enhance how the child projects his or her image. In short, picture your happy place or see yourself healthy frolicking about within this "happy place."...We can measure this hypothesis with biofeedback. And...that is what we intend to do. We are still waiting for the logistics of the non-profit to be established and for Children's to devise a plan on allocating the murals to specific children...how and why.

So...with that being said, let us talk about various murals and how to approach them for a child's room.

Each room will contain four walls. Some of these walls will have windows, closet doors, and an entrance exit door. Make certain you utilize the space optimally. If it is an outdoor scene, see if you cannot incorporate the tree outside the window into the mural...being creative and innovative is what makes murals most enjoyable. Understand your composition.

Base out your ceiling and walls. Many times, the mural can be incorporated onto the ceiling or simply a cloud scene can be the ceiling accentuating the feeling of outdoors. If you are painting a space scene, the ceiling can be a darker blue with flares and millions of stars. If you are painting an underwater scene, the ceiling can be the water with sun shining through. I like to paint the ceilings because it assists in the believability of the faux environment.

Materials: Basically the same for every painting assignment
Drop cloths
Blue tape
Green tape
Light masking tape with a 1/8 inch width
Paint brushes of various sizes
Purdy or equal in quality 4, 3, and 2 inch brushes
Paint trays
Rollers and naps
Air brush if necessary

Select a mural theme. In this case, we will discuss a very elementary mural, Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat.

This is one of those murals where painting the ceiling does not apply. We are not painting an elaborate scene but merely tattooing the wall with Dr. Seuss images in clever areas. I painted the room out in a sand color since this room is intended for an elementary school aged child. We are taking into consideration bangs against the walls and scuffing from chairs, shoes, or whatever. Use a flat paint for the base. This enables the parent to easily touch up the walls without having to worry about flashing. Many people will state that it is incorrect to paint a faux finish on a flat base due to the wall drinking the finish...this isn't really a faux finish but a drawing, if you will.

Once you have selected which images from Dr. Seuss you would like to place on the walls and where, you have two options. One, you can project the images onto the wall utilizing a computer projector or overhead or two, you can free hand. I prefer free handing with simplistic subject matter.

Just note, like in any rendering when utilizing a still life type subject matter, shading and shadows play an integral role in execution of your piece. In this case, soft and very simplistic shadow lines are laid down. These are cartoon drawings...not a challenge, but fun and whimsical. When enlarged and strategically placed, these cartoons can seem, to the child, that they are interacting with him or her.

Have fun and certainly feel free to inquire for assistance.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pricing and Estimates

I thought it might be fun to discuss pricing per hour, per square foot, and per day rather than another finish for the moment. Every Decorative Painter enters into an odd arena of guestimating and pricing his/her services. We all understand that pricing is competitive and in this industry, based on skill. But in each situation, variables truly configure the real estimate.

It is customary to offer a free consultation. It is most beneficial to meet with the client at the place of which the finish is to be rendered. With your professional eye, you are able to ascertain the walls' condition, what prep work will be needed, to assess the furniture and discuss how the furniture and accessories will be moved out of the area, and to pinpoint a color palette. Each of these considerations are necessary components for working out your bid.

After your consultation, you will have assessed what types of finishes your client is interested in having and the color palette. At this point, you will render some sample boards for your client to see in the area to be painted. I suggest not offering more than three boards with various intensities and color range, otherwise, it is overwhelming and decision making becomes difficult. While in your consultation, it imperative to pinpoint your client's desires. If not, you have wasted both your time and that of the prospective client and you have risked losing the bid. With sample boards, I utilize melamine 2 x 2 feet square. Everyone offers different pricing for their sample boards. The price range runs the gamut; free to $100.00 per board. I charge $40.00 a board. This price is derived from the cost of the board, paints, glaze, time to base and execute the finish, and prep the presentation boards for delivery. This fee is a small and reasonable. Ultimately, it is up to you to assess your charge.

When working up the estimate, square footage,technical difficulty, and product cost are variables to assess the bid. Color washes and stries are usually $3.50 per square foot. Murals range from $12.50 a sqft to $300.00 a sqft. The vast discrepancy in price is dictated by type of mural. With children's with fun whimsical themes, these murals are easy to execute and are priced in the lower range. With trompe l'oeils with shading and detailed elements, people, and perspective, these murals are charged at the higher end. Innovative finishes such as marbling, leather, crackling, stippling, moires, veining, stenciling, etc.. run approximately $6.50 a square foot. The finishes requiring plaster, venetian, bas relief, lusterstone, etc..where product ranges from $35.00 a gallon to $100.00 a gallon, these finishes are labor intensive and expensive to render. I charge anywhere from $12.50 to $18.00 a square foot.

Another approach to estimating a bid rather than offering a square footage price, is to assess a day rate. Each artist realizes what they are worth through years of experience, range of abilities, and stamina. I typically work a 6 hour day. My day rate is $600.00. This rate hasn't changed for years. I am comfortable earning this amount for rendering finishes otherwise you price yourself out of the competition.

Many artists struggle in assessing prices to charge for their services. The simple rule is to understand your competition and your abilities. Do not be afraid to charge what you are worth. I have GIVEN many renderings for little charge...some were favors and some were moments of weakness. Do NOT allow yourself to be taken advantage. There are many other artists who are willing to give their services for too little money and many clients who, of course, are willing to take advantage of this very opportunity.

Following these statements is the concern for not earning enough money to sustain your career and being productive. Network, advertise, and run your company like a major corporation. Your attitude and skill will become known and sought after with exposure and stamina. Good luck!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Modern or Contemporary faux fresco

When realizing fresco, a true fresco is painted into wet plaster creating a chemical bond between the lime/pigment mixture and the plaster. This method requires incredible stamina and a significant discipline.

A cheat or a faux fresco, if you will, is painting on dry plaster. This method is Secco or Fresco secco or dry fresco. Mix dry crushed pigment with egg white or egg yolk, or animal glue ore, or adhesive like casein or gum arabic establishing a tempera type medium. Make certain that your medium is more on the thin side. Remember, in traditional fresco painting, we glaze layer upon layer of pigment to establish a more saturated image.

To begin with, your wall will have been plastered and cured for a few days to a week. You can continue with a couple of possibilities.

One method is to prime your wall and base coat with an acrylic base paint. Paint two coats. Allow the wall to cure over night. Next forming a glaze out of an oil base, rub with a cotton non-linting rag in a circular motion to create the ground for your mural. Fold your rag in your hand tucking all edges inside the ball of the rag. Dab a little bit of glaze onto your rag. In a circular motion, rub the glaze onto the wall. Work in sections approximately 3 to 4 feet square. Within these sections, randomly add glaze and continue to render in a circular motion. Blend the edges of one circle into the edges of another. Be light on the touch and patiently move across the wall section by section. The result will be a soft glowing effect resembling that of a soft color wash.... Allow the wall to cure then paint your images with the above medium (the tempura type mixture) or simply a variety of glazes. You always have the option to either varnish or wax the wall once it has fully cured. The last finish is to seal the work and offer a simulated finish as seen in traditional frescoes.

Remember, in faux finishing, there is no definitive method for doing anything. It is always an innovative approach for replicating the real.


Fresco is a method of mural painting utilized ever since plaster was constructed on walls. We know the word fresco originated from the Italian word affresco meaning fresh. It seems as though our history's knowledge of frescoes is deeply rooted with Italian artists, i.e., Giotto, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Tiepolo.

In modern day, we utilize the fresco method of painting to offer a room a soft, warm glow. This finish is achieved by painting on "still-wet" plaster. What this means is: the plaster is put up on the wall wet. This initial stage is when we paint the background of the mural. This stage of the fresco enables us to utilize approximately six to eight hours for laying in the color on the "still-wet" plaster. Using a semi-dry brush or a rag, we paint in the background. If using the traditional method of a brush, utilize some lime and mix it with the pigment establishing enough body for modeling. This method of mixing pigment and lime is called verdaccio.

After you have painted in the background using verdaccio we then paint our image using many strokes of brush and many coats of glaze to build up our color; rendering with glaze. By using this method of painting, we are not over saturating the image but sustaining the softness of the fresco.

Towards the day's end, you will realize the plaster has begun to dry and when you apply a brush stroke, you must be delicate. At this point in time, this could be the most rewarding time of rendering your mural. The plaster is thirsty and you must change your method of painting. By using a more watery medium and watercolor brushes, you will find yourself more apt in detailing your images. Be careful not to disturb your ground work. If you happen to be heavy of hand and expose white spots, stop painting. A long ago used remedy to "fix" the pulled ground is to mix sugar water and milk and paint into the limed plaster.

Once the plaster dries, your fresco is permanent for the life of the wall.

Now for the worst part of any decorative painter's reality: The REPAIR:
The fresco will take approximately four weeks to completely cure. In some climates, this may be longer. DO NOT begin any touch-ups or repairs prior to a minimum of four weeks.

In order to touch-up or repair a fresco, we can utilize a few mediums.
Wax ammonia-or cera colla...paint by stippling onto the area requiring help. I will offer the recipe at the end of this blog.
Use Zinc white for white colors.

Cera colla: I suggest you use a diluted industrial strength ammonia. Dilute the ammonia with distilled water. 95% water and 5% ammonia is then heated just prior to boil. Melt an equal amount of wax per volume. (Bees Wax). Pour the heated ammonia/water mixture into the melted bees wax stirring constantly until cooled. This mixture will effervesce and expand to ten times. Stir until the reaction subsides and remove from heat. Keep stirring until cooler and creamy with the texture of whipped cream. This consistency is easy for storage and may be diluted with water when prepping for painting.

In order to paint with cera colla, allocate the amount of medium desired from storage, store the remaining mixture. Add dry crushed pigment to the cera colla and water mixing for desired consistency.

The Egyptians used this method on their walls and some hieroglyphs. This medium, once dried, can be buffed and offer a soft warm glow.

So....you have been given a true artist and old master method of painting a fresco. Keep in mind, this method of painting requires stamina. This isn't a painting of which you can begin and come back to in a couple of days. Once the plaster is put up on the wall, you are facing a marathon of painting....anywhere from 12 to 22 hours depending on how detailed your mural. Enjoy and happy creating!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wiping off glaze on a decorative relief

We love to accentuate decorative motifs in faux finishing. One of the best and easiest ways to make a fast and dramatic effect is glazing and wiping off glaze. Many people consider this finish, "aging". This finish can be used on any architectural element i.e., baseboards, moldings, decorative medallions, chair rails, etc..

In order to execute this finish with a soft and cohesive finish, stippling method is advised.
Apply the glaze to decorative element using a 1 or 2 inch brush. Paint the glaze into the cracks and crevasses of the element making certain the entire surface is fully coated.
Using a stipple brush or a stain brush, softly stipple the decorative element forward and then back over.
With Cheesecloth, form a soft pad. Use the cheesecloth to wipe off the decorative element. Use short strokes constantly folding over the cheesecloth keeping the cloth somewhat clean.
Make certain to wipe the edges of the decorative element. If glazing molding, make certain to stipple a fade onto the wall with a dry stipple brush establishing a shadow making the molding look more natural.

In order to paint this effect, first base out your decorative element with a solid color using two coats of paint. Let the paint cure until completely dry. Your next step is glazing.

To create a glaze: Use acrylic paint...an umber or burnt sienna if you are going for an antiqued look. The mixture should be 50/50 paint and glaze. Or if you are using oil based products, use 1 part oil paint to 1 part linseed oil and 2 to 3 parts turpentine.

With all glazes, play with the mixture and practice on a sample to see if the pigment depth is achieved.

Have fun! Be certain to check out pictures and more ideas on Facebook.com under Painted and Brushed, LLC. There you are able to interact with me and ask for specific advice. See you there.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trompe l'oeil

Trompe L'oeil is a french term for "trick the eye". In truth it is wonderfully imaginative and fun! Three dimensional renderings are always easy for the viewer to fall into. They capture our curiosity. Escher was a master of architectural illusions, study of infinity, and tessellations. The architectural illusions or architectural trompe l'oeil is known as quodlibet. This form of illusion features realistically rendered paintings of every day items such as ribbon, playing cards, pens, knives, brushes, etc...to make it look as though the items were haphazardly left on top of the painting.

Tricking the eye is best achieved when we have something to reference. In the case of quodlibet, the use of every day items assists in tricking the eye and bringing the otherwise flat image into a 3D proportion. We see wonderful trompe l'oeil murals all throughout the world. Some of the most fascinating utilize a person seemingly outside of the mural looking into the mural. A well known artist, John Pugh often executes this very example.

Trompe l'oeil is mostly associated with murals. We thrive when confronted with a mural. As Grhamam Rust states:
"From cottage to palace, there is always a place for a Mural Decoration; it can transform darkness into light, the humdrum into the exotic; it can lift the spirits of the meanest room and visually transport the occupants into another world."

Perhaps you would like to know how to execute a trompe l'oeil?

For beginners, start with something simple. I suggest you use an everyday. Lauren Cole Abrahams is an artist and a teacher. Below, she walks you through the basics:

I have my students use simple everyday items....like playing cards. There are a few hard and fast rules for choosing what to depict....

  • The items have to be the SAME SIZE as the real object....
  • they have to all have the SAME LIGHT SOURCE....
  • and SHADOW RENDERING is very important.....
  • the objects have to be STATIONARY, NOT MOVING to be convincing....the minute you try to capture movement, the illusion is broken.

You can't get a convincing illusion if you are painting something that comes away from the surface very far...choose objects that are low to the surface....cards, envelopes,keys, ribbon, fabrics are just a few of the many things that translate well into trompe l'oeil.....this pertains equally to vertical surfaces as well as horizontal ones....if you try to paint a tall glass of wine on top of a tabletop, it will be hard to convince someone that it is really there..if you have it on its side, with wine having been spilled, it works.....

Please visit this site for a fantastic HOW TO lesson!


Enjoy life and painting what you depict!

Contemporary trompe l'oeil artists are: Ellen Altfest, Julian Beever, Daniela Benedini, Henri Cadiou, Ronald Francis, Richard Haas, Ranier Maria Latzke, Istvan Orosz, Jacques Poirier, Susan Powers, John Pugh, Pierre-Marie Rudelle, Graham Rust, Anthony Waichulis, Sara Watson, Asha Zero, and Kurt Wenner.