Shiplap isn’t for everyone

Everyone likes shiplap, right?

No.

You would think that Joanne and Chip of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” (which I am now reading may be over?) convinced everyone that it was the “must have” for everyone’s home.

Well, they certainly didn’t convince my client.  She had shiplap in her basement rec room area and it was grouped with a beautiful wood tone bar and nautical ship light sconces;  not the look she wanted.

shiplap, faux, barnwood
Before picture of shiplap

An interior designer friend of hers suggested barnwood.  My client showed me images from Pinterest of what she had in mind.  The images I saw were monotone and I feared the look wouldn’t get rid of that shiplap feel.  Both she and her husband like a somewhat contemporary  simple streamline look. But, there was the issue of the bar. There was beautiful dark wood molding and crown as well.  I wanted everything to look integrated as though all the pieces were intentional and belonged.  My idea was a little different.

As an artist, I have been fascinated with things eroding, revealing, decaying.  I used to wander the streets of Manhattan with my Dad as a kid and take in all the posters that were pasted up over other posters, signs half painted over other signs, graffiti, paint chipping, concrete crumbling.  Yeah, that stuff.  I just love it. (Hmmmmm….I’m thinking of another blog post to write now!)

Anywho, I thought of barnwood the same way.  Each piece is unique and different.

But, I couldn’t get too crazy.  I had to stay within the matrix of grays, keeping it light.  I suggested to the client that we do some wood tones too to match the bar.  She was receptive to the idea but cautious.  I get it.

We pulled grays out of the floor tile and pulled wood tones out of the bar.  I showed her each color on the Benjamin Moore deck and got a yay or nay.  Now I would begin samples.

As with anything I make, it is a rarity that the first pass is a success.  Art and being an artist is a learning process.  Add to that equation respecting a client’s aesthetics and the challenge becomes a little greater.  That said the first group of samples was mediocre,  just “meh.”

barnwood, faux
The first group of samples

But, she said, “We need more wood.”  BINGO!!!!!  That was my clue.

It’s all about listening.

The second set of samples had more wood tones revealed, some samples were basically dark wood that matched the crown and baseboard molding.  I had a feeling that these samples were going to be the winners.

Always see the samples in the space where the project will be installed.  Lighting does crazy things to color.  Everyone knows that.  I brought the samples over and watched her face for reactions.  Once I explained that there wouldn’t be too many dark pieces of wood, and I taped the samples on the wall, so she could get a sense of pattern, I got the smile.  Thumbs up.

The actual installation process was interesting; an analogy I think of when doing this type of random work is “creating a composition.”  The eye has to dance all around the space and the walls should look balanced but not in a contrived way.  there also should be areas that are calm for the eye to “rest.”  There should be unexpected pops here and there.

I started with one middle value board.  I created a random dance of different lengths of this one board.  Each board I made was slightly different.

barnwood, shiplap, faux
Beginning the process of creating the composition

Next came the lighter value boards.  Knowing my client wanted the total look light, I made sure I created boards like that.  Next came the little darkest boards, just here and there.

faux, barnwood, shiplap
Darkest board

Again, the dance.  I kept hearing the voice of a professor I had at Penn State who would constantly say, “Work all around the canvas at once.”

Lastly, like the highlights on a still life, were the lightest boards.   Some of the boards were grouped together according to their value, but not in a contrived way.  Again, I had to pull off that idea of randomness but there couldn’t be total chaos.  There had to be some semblance of order.

barnwood, shiplap, faux
Finished wall
barnwood, shiplap, faux
Finished walls

Of course, the project took longer than I thought.  I am a perfectionist and I naturally fiddle with things until they look right to me.  I freshened up the white paint here and there.  A contractor I worked with a long time ago always told me, “Leave the space cleaner than it was when you came in.”  I will never forget those words of wisdom.  (Thanks, Frank!)

The end result accomplished what I had set out to do.  The client absolutely loves it.

See ya later, shiplap.

 

Do you have any questions?  Ask away!  Want to schedule an appointment?  Give me a call, (908) 599-2129

 

Portable Nursery Decor — is it possible?

I had any inquiry from someone from my page on  Houzz.com.  This expectant mom wanted to add a bit of personality and uniqueness to her soon-to-be son’s nursery.  She wanted something transportable in the event that her family moved to another house.  Of course, this idea had to be within a budget.  (I’m going to discuss the topic of budget in another blog entry.)

Think outside the box.

First of all, canvas can be applied with wallpaper paste.  There is a certain technique that can be used which will allow you to remove the mural at a later date.  I googled temporary murals and there are directions and recipes that decorators use in The White House to put up murals and relocate them when necessary.

Secondly, a very thin piece of birch can be used as a surface and screwed into the wall.  You can purchase thicknesses of 1/4 inch.  Birch has a smooth surface and takes paint well.

MDF (medium density fiberboard) can also be used.  Thicknesses start at 1/4 inch.

Lastly, I want to show you a nifty surface I just happened to come across while at Lowe’s:  underlayment Plywood.  In the description card attached to the shelf, there was mention about this surface being ideal for craft projects.  The surface was smooth and light.

artist, materials, mural
Underlayment plywood. (Sorry about the triangle icon in the middle of the photo; I screen shot a frame from a video I took.)

I think this material was a winner.  Once I sent her the photo of the item, she also agreed.

The client sent me specs.  I needed to create a circular image, 30″ diameter with the Yankee pinstripes and Derek Jeter’s #2.  I have a carpenter friend who is able to cut circles nicely, so he was able to help me out.  Once cut, I knew this material was a winner; it was so light!

I primed both sides of the material and weighted the board down  after the material was dry, to prevent warping.  The painting went off without a hitch.  I matched a blue to the Yankee blue.  Easy-peasy.  I kept the board on the wall and made sure that there was a “level” piece of wood attached to the wall to serve as a support shelf.  Because i’m a perfectionist, I used a level to make straight lines and then figured out the proportion of the parts of the #2.  A few coats of protective topcoat and voila!

Here’s how it came out:

nursery decor, boy's room decor
Portable image for a nursery

To make things even more easy, industrial velcro can be used on the back of the piece to attach it to the wall.   Or, if the client preferred to attach it to the wall, I provided flat headed screws, with the heads painted blue so everything would blend in.

Bottom line: anything is possible; sometimes it takes a little more research but the time invested creates success!

Repairing a 44 year old mural

wall repair, mural,

I had received a phone call from a client last year about repairing an existing mural.  There was cracking and buckling of the wall surface.  Upon inspection of the mural and getting a little background by the client: age of home (around 100 years old) age of mural (completed in 1973) I knew that I had to do a little more research.  I pay great attention to detail and am thorough in every job because the end result will have my name on it.

mural, repair, wall
portion of wall before repair by Artworks by Marcine, LLC

I contacted Scott Haskins of Fine Art Conservation Lab in California ( www.fineartconservationlab.com )  He took the time and explained to me various options of what needed to be done.  I am very grateful to this gentleman for sharing his expertise with me.

Because the house was older, traditional plaster on wood laths was how the walls were constructed.   From close inspection of the photos, we both agreed that there was some kind of water damage.  Therefore, the origin of the damage should be found to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and then the wall needed to be stabilized: scraping away the loose layers of plaster and reapplying new plaster to stabilize the wall.  I took this information to the client and she had contractors come in to look at the damage.  Superstorm Sandy was to blame for the water.  Thank goodness there were no other water leakage issues.  A plasterer came in and then repaired the damage.  Last on the checklist was me to come in and repaint the areas of the mural that were gone.

Here’s a photo of one of the sections:

wall repair, mural,
Section of wall once plaster was completed.

This area was the largest of the repair areas that had to be done.  The other areas were smaller and were the result of necessary electrical work .   Once the area was clean of plaster dust,  I began with two coats of primer and then studied the mural work in the surrounding areas.  Because I only took small shots of the damage itself, I didn’t take whole wall shots.  My bad.  I had to look at the contextual clues of the surrounding areas to paint in the missing pieces of the puzzle.  I studied how the artist painted the sky, how the mountain range was done, the trees and the foreground .  There were different colors intermixed and my eye is pretty good with such things so  I honed in on doing the sky first.  I always work back to front, top down.  The sky was the most challenging area.  One has to account for fading of colors, etc.  Once I had addressed that area, sections began falling into place.  Upon closer observation, the original artist did a red underpainting in the mid to foreground area!  Consistency is the key, so in the repair, I did the same thing.  While I was working, I thought about when I was a child and I would spend hours copying works of art.  I always felt that in doing so, I had an understanding of how the artist worked and could understand his or her rationale in doing what he/she did.

Within 7 hours, this section was repaired:

mural, repair, wall
Section mural repair completed by Artworks by Marcine

The end result was to have everything look like it belonged.  It was as it should have been.

I’m glad I was able to reach out to Mr. Haskins for his expertise.  I’m glad that the client did the steps necessary to ensure a good result.  The effort was worth it because the end result  was seamless.

 

 

Welcome to my blog!

Hi there!

Glad you could stop by.  Grab a cup of coffee, and take a look through some of my entries.  Some of them are informative, some of them are cool (okay, I am A LITTLE biased) and some of them are just plain silly.

If you’re in need of a mural, or one of a kind wall finish, or just need an answer to an art-related question, please contact me.  My info is at the bottom of this page.

Enjoy!!!!  Save a cup for me!