Adding a Bit of Family to an Outside Porch

I love my front porch. Over the years that I have lived in my house, my front porch has been a gathering place for neighbors to come and chat, a contained place for my boys to play with their monster trucks when they were younger, the location for many weird and wonderful Halloween decorations.

The summer of one particular year, 2012 as a matter of fact, was a tough summer. My Mom was battling cancer and my boys (ages 12 and 7 at the time) just needed a happy experience. I put my older son, in charge of getting the porch ready for the season. He selected the outdoor rug, he chose the flowers for the planters. But, we were missing something. There’s a little section of the porch that is just the vinyl siding. It needed some attention.

I brought my boys down to my studio and we sat on the floor one hot afternoon. I showed them the blank canvas and I had a closed set of colors that they could use . My older son already knew why we were using those colors: they matched the colors he had chosen for the rug and for the flowers. We brainstormed about things and places that make us happy. Once the boys had a loose plan, I gave them the brushes (of course I had to remind them to wash the brushes when changing colors) and within 15 or so minutes I had their collaborative art piece. They were so proud of their accomplishment!

kids art
This is the collaborative painting made by my sons.

Every spring season, that canvas comes out of the garage, gets wiped off, and hung up on the porch. I see my boys smile when I hang it up.

I smile too.

Artworks by Marcine creates custom murals and specialty wall finishes. Please call Marcine at (908) 599-2129 or fill out the contact form here with any inquiries you might have.

The Magnolia Tree

Highland Park in NJ is a neat place. It has a variety of charming homes, a diverse cultural community, an active business community, and a small hometown feel.

And, it has this one magnolia tree that my client absolutely loved.

A few years ago, a repeat client of mine became the proud owner of Edison Pack and Ship in Edison, NJ near Highland Park. I was humbled that she had this wall that she wanted me to create art on.

“Marcine, I want you to paint a tree on that wall. I have the exact tree I want you to paint. It is a magnolia tree in Highland Park. The tree trunk is beautiful. It twists and turns and is itself a work of art. I will let you know when it begins to bloom and I want you to go see the tree in person for your inspiration.”

So, on a perfect spring Sunday morning in early April, I drove over to Highland Park to see the tree. My client was right: the trunk twisted and turned and it was just perfect. And on that day, the sky was this brilliant cerulean blue and the magnolia blossoms were various tints of alizarin crimson.

I painted a mural that honored the awe and beauty of nature, the perfection of that tree and of that beautiful morning. In doing so, the mural also honored the beautiful person that my client is.

This mural can be seen at Edison Pack and Ship on Route 27 in Edison, NJ

Are you a commercial business owner? Are you in search of that something that will help your brick and mortar location stand out? I can help you! Let’s chat, 908-599-2129 or please fill out this contact form I am based in NJ and have done work in eastern PA but I’m always looking for an opportunity to travel!

Just a little help

“Mom, I don’t want to sleep in my room! Can I stay with you, please???”

I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before. And, I’m sure you’ve heard the the parent say she (or he) was at wit’s end.

What to do?

Such was the case with one of my clients. Her son was just not a fan of staying in his room. That’s when I got a call to come over for a meeting of the minds. I told Mom to include her son in this meeting. I was going to have him make some decisions.

I was pleasantly surprised! At the meeting, my client’s son was very prepared. He knew what he wanted in the room (jungle) and the particular color family (jungle/grassy green) he was also thinking of. Of course, the parents provided guidelines (and I’m chuckling as I write this story because I remember how prepared this munchkin was!)

We went with a rainforest/jungle theme and my little project manager told me specifically what types of monkeys he wanted, snakes, etc. I fanned out my color deck and he lead Mom and I to a group of greens. I further discussed with Mom furniture placement, etc and by the end of our discussion, we had a general game plan.

From my notes, I drew sketches in various scenarios so my client’s son could choose. Once the plan was finalized, I came in to do the artwork on the walls. This little guy was very curious and asked questions, which, in my opinion was a great thing. That means he was totally committed to this project and becoming more and more excited about it. Every day he would ask his Mom when his room was going to be done. (That in itself told me we would have no problem having him transition into his big boy room.)

On the last day of my project after I cleaned up and was in the middle of packing up, I had a discussion with this sweetie. I told him he was in charge of his room, and I was leaving him the job of taking care of the animals. I reminded him to keep the animals company at night and to keep his room clean. He agreed to the job.

jungle mural by artworks by marcine in nj

That week, I got an email from Mom. Success!!!! He was sleeping in his room.

A little bit of empowerment goes a long way.

Pleasant dreams.

Want your space to STAND OUT with something unique? Call Artworks by Marcine at 908-599-2129 or click here to fill out my contact form.

Ending on a Happy Note

Last Fall, I had gotten a call from one of my clients. She was very upset. A few years ago, I helped transform a space in her home into her dream music room. Recently, she had a water leak and the space had gotten a decent amount of water damage on one wall. The mural was affected. Her insurance company suggested I stop by to take a look at the damage. Sure, the sheetrock had bubbled and the mural would have to be redone in that section. I felt so terrible for her but no one was hurt and things can be replaced. It was going to be okay.

Since I was going to put the same section back up on the wall, I photographed the damaged area. That photo would be my reference.

This section of a mural sustained water damage

Essentially, the damage was far greater than originally thought. Water damage is rotten no matter how you look at it. Sheetrock and water are never a great combo. Add in flooring, the wires, etc., behind the wall and there could be potentially more issues. The pipes were fixed, sheetrock replaced, and flooring replaced. The space was primed and painted and ready for me.

With my notes from the original project, i.e. colors, etc. I got to work. Within one day, my client had her music room back and “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” was playing in full.

This story definitely ended on a good note ūüėČ

After repair

Interested in adding custom art to your residential or commercial space? Please give me a call at (908) 599-2129 or fill out the contact form here.

Under the Carousel Top

Back in the day (I’m thinking it was 2002), I was asked to convert a room into a carousel for a nursery. When I meet with my clients for the first time, I like to get an idea of their decorating taste–likes/dislikes etc. With this meeting, there was no doubt Mom was about simple elegance.

This nursery was going to be a celebration of her third child and completion of her family. Mom wanted the room to be girly, but meant for a little one. We talked about her love of carousel horses and I immediately had an idea: we would convert the whole room into a carousel, complete with a carousel/circus tent ceiling. The room itself was going to be the artwork. There would be really no other decor, except perhaps a carousel horse (which Mom mentioned she was thinking about getting.) I was going to create wide stripes around the room and hand paint carousel horses on them. The colors were all in a pastel primary color scheme, with the addition of pale lavender, which was Mom’s favorite.

The ceiling of this room had a ceiling fan that could not be taken down. Time for plan B. I took precise measurements of each wall length and checked the measurements of the fan’s diameter where it met with the ceiling. My husband constructed a template to go around the ceiling fan base for me and told me how far apart to make the tick marks on the walls. (I’m definitely dating this project; laser levels weren’t part of my budget back then.)

This was definitely a case of proper planning yields results. I snapped the lines and had my ceiling. Each stripe was the same width. Once the ceiling was done, the atmosphere of the room changed. It truly felt like an environment, and a happy one at that!

Here’s how the ceiling turned out, thanks again to my Hubs.
Here’s a portion of the whole room.

Remember, the ceiling is your fifth wall; don’t be afraid to decorate it. Also keep in mind that having some type of plan saves time, reduces product waste, reduces stress, and ensures a more successful outcome.

Happy Decorating!

If you’d like to set up an appointment with me to discuss a project you had in mind, please call (908) 599-2129 or click on this link to my contact page. Thanks!

When you need a little bit of home…

Many years ago, I painted murals in a nursery for a couple who were transplants to New Jersey and were from Colorado. The Mom-to-be was naturally happy to be meeting her baby soon, but she was sad at the same time. She missed the landscape of Colorado and she missed her family. I can understand that. When you’re in a new place that is more busy and congested and it is nothing you are used to, it can be overwhelming.

Both she and her husband recounted to me with pride, some of their favorite places in Colorado and described them to me in depth. Thank goodness the internet existed back then and I was able to research the beautiful landscapes that make up Colorado, because I had never been there.

We brainstormed together and decided that an approach would be to paint various key destinations in Colorado that Mom and Dad had been to. One destination would flow into another.

White paneling, about five feet high, was going to be installed around the room. The scenery would encompass the upper portion of the walls. So that the room wouldn’t look to choppy, I recommended that I paint a sky with clouds on the ceiling.

Mom didn’t want dark colors; she wanted a very light happy feel. This room was going to remain a nursery as the couple planned on having more children, so the end result had to look gender neutral.

Based upon these specifications, I created a room for the family that would serve as a home away from home. So, when Mom or Dad missed their home state, all they had to do was step into this very special space.

Paint storage in the cold weather

I often run into clients who store their leftover paint in an uninsulated garage. Interior latex paint, because it it water based, does not like the cold. According to, in the online article “25 Things to Know About Paint,” cans of paint should optimally be stored between 60-80 degrees F. Latex paint can freeze. Once the paint is frozen, is it usable? In an online article, “Using Frozen Paint” on The Family Handyman website, if the paint resembles cottage cheese once it has thawed, it is unusable and should be discarded. Oil based paint is more forgiving but as a rule of thumb, it is best to not leave paint exposed to wild weather fluctuations.

Should paint cans be placed on a concrete floor for storage? The authors of the BHG article suggest not storing the paint on a concrete floor as the cans are more prone to rusting. (This is true for oil based cans as well.) If you do need to store your latex paint in the garage temporarily, there are directions online to create a storage box and place a heater or even a light in the box to keep the paint from freezing. I found a video on YouTube to do just that here.

It is best to bring your leftover paint indoors and store them in a basement (provided it’s not damp) on a shelf, or, an attic (keeping in mind that it doesn’t get too hot up there.) Remember to label the cans with color info and what room it was used for with a permanent marker. Another idea would be to take a photo of the paint label for record keeping and store the info in a folder on your computer.

Hope you found this info helpful! Please let me know in the comments. Happy painting!

Interested in having a mural or a specialty wall finish installed? Contact me today! (908) 599-2129 or email:

A Niche with a Vista

Sometimes a room will have a little nook or niche that leaves homeowners bewildered as to what to do with it. This was such a space. It was no wider than 6 feet . But what really challenged the homeowners was what to do with it. One of the “walls” jutted out 2 feet while the other wall only projected out about 1 foot.

Other than having a custom built in made, the homeowners were in a quandry.

I met with the couple and we talked. We discovered that we were both in love with Italy-culture, art, food, fashion.


The homeowners were thinking about some kind of mural of Tuscany. I had to have those two uneven walls make sense somehow.

I envisioned creating some kind of balcony or a pergola with a walkout , columns, a little bit of a blue sky and a Tuscan vista painted in bright colors. I wanted to make an illusion so it looked like you could walk out into the space.

I presented the idea to the clients and suggested they could put a chair near the mural and it could serve as a visual getaway/ reading nook.

This project, as small as it was in size, was challenging. I had to use color theory and something called forced perspective to make this illusion work.
(Forced perspective is a visual manipulation of something to make it look 3-d. This technique is often done on the convergence of 2 planes.) Challenges are great; they force you to stay on your toes and to advance your skills and knowledge.

The project was a success. I brought a little bit of Tuscany to central NJ.

Tuscany, mural, NJ, NJ artist
Completed mural in a niche

Need help with a particular space in your home or business? Please give me a call to set up an appointment: 908-599-2129

Art Wrap

I’ve always wondered how a work of art is prepared for shipping. I wish it was one of those practical things that they taught artists in school. As an artist and business owner, I’m always grateful to meet fellow business owners who are connected to art.

Joe Kuryla is one of those guys.

Joe, owner of The Shipping Grounds, prepares an artwork for shipping

Joe owns The Shipping Grounds in Denville, NJ (at 276 East Main Street, Suite #10) We chatted a while ago about what’s involved in shipping art. So, last week Joe called me and said, “I’ve got a work of art to ship out. Do you want to see the process?”

I’m sure you already know what I said.

I did a “Live” on my Facebook and on Joe’s Facebook, plus I did a “Live” on my Instagram. What was cool about that experience is that I was able to field questions to Joe while he was getting the piece prepared. (I decided I really like doing those Lives but that will be another discussion on another blog post.)

If you would like to see the FB Lives (there were 2 parts) please click on these links:

Part 1: The Shipping Grounds

Part 2: The Shipping Grounds

There are many steps to properly wrapping a work of art for shipping. I was amazed . First, Joe wrapped up the piece in layers of bubble wrap–different sizes–taking care that the wrapping is snug against the piece.

Joe, owner of The Shipping Grounds, wraps the artwork snugly in layers of differently sized bubble wrap

He protected the corners of the piece with cardboard corners. (In the case of ornate frames, Joe protects the edges with pipe insulation. ) Joe then added layers of cardboard over the glass. Everything is shrinkwrapped between layers.

Adding the cardboard layer over the glass

The artwork is then placed in larger cardboard sections.

(and this is even before the piece is placed in a box or crate for shipping! )

The artwork is then placed in cardboard “sections.”

This process was for a piece that was framed and had glass on it. The process for a painting is different and involves custom built crates (which Joe does too.)

I loved how Joe was so attentive to detail and took pride in his work. He really loves what he does and it shows.

I also learned that I am not going to pack my pieces if I need to ship them.

I’d rather just call Joe.

For additional information on your shipping needs, please contact The Shipping Grounds, 276 East Main Street, Suite 10, Denville, NJ (973) 625-7774.

Three cheers for weirdness

“You’re weird,”¬† my parents would often say.¬† I never got insulted, nor were my feelings hurt.

It was true.

I never wanted to be like everyone else; I just wanted to be me.¬† I wasn’t going to change.

My poor parents sent me to ballet class in hopes that I’d learn to be graceful.¬† I think that grace and delicateness thing backfired; I was the only little girl who couldn’t jump rope forwards, only backwards , which I’m sure provided entertainment to the audience during the recital.¬† I’d break things that normally shouldn’t break, like keys in locks, for example.

My interests in things as a little kid were kind of “out there.”¬† I remember being fascinated with the macabre and reading magazines about people being attacked by sharks and in awe of them as they showed their huge bite marks.¬† At the age of 10 I was going through Stephen King books like no one’s business.¬† I’d often go to the library and¬† research things I had seen on “In Search of,” (Gosh, I loved that show; Stonehenge is one of my bucket list places to visit.)¬† I loved walking through old graveyards in NYC.¬† ( although I have to admit, the cemetary¬† I visited in Salem Massachusetts was pretty cool too)¬† I badgered my Father to take me to¬† the Ancient Egyptian wing at the MET when I was seven.¬† My Mom then questioned why I decided to mummify all my dolls in toilet paper and then decorate empty boxes as sarcophagi.

All I can say is, “My poor parents.”¬† And the art thing: I couldn’t get enough of it.¬† In the 70’s my Dad took me to the MoMA.¬† I think I was about 8 or so.¬† Minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art were at their heights.¬† Dad saw a pile of debris and a door on the floor in one of the exhibit galleries.¬† “You call that art?” he asked.¬† I’ll never forget that.¬† And, the color field paintings of¬† Mark Rothko and readymade sculptures of Marcel Duchamp- I think– blew his mind.¬† Thank goodness my¬† parents were open minded like that.¬† Quite often, they’d just shake their heads and say, “Marci, you are weird.”¬† To which I replied, “Thank you!”

I think by the time I graduated Penn State with my BFA, they embraced and supported my weirdness.¬† Dad would come with me to the museums and we’d walk about NYC looking for out-of-the-ordinary things.¬† He’d appease me and come with me to my favorite art store, Pearl Paint, where “the people with green hair worked.”¬† Little by little I was finding my tribe.¬† When it was time to have my MFA show, Dad was my assistant all the way.¬† He schlepped all of my pieces into NYC and helped me¬† install.¬† ¬†He was weird too, but in a geeky sciencey technology sort of way.

We just kind of understood each other.

Funny how that weirdness thing works.