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.

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!

A Vanity Makeover

bathroom vanity, handpainted, renovation

Occasionally, I will get a call from someone who is not sure what to do with a piece of furniture that they have and because of the furniture’s purpose and/or locale, there is no reason to replace it.

This was such a call.

I spoke with the person on the phone and told her I’d be happy to stop by to take a look.  The piece of furniture was a bathroom vanity.  It was a beautiful piece and structurally, there was nothing wrong with it.  The vanity had been custom fitted to fit the plumbing under the sink and the basin was new.  Cosmetically, the vanity needed some tlc and an update.

hand-painted, furniture, renovation
Bathroom Vanity before transformation by Artworks by Marcine, LLC

I can do that!

The client was happy that she didn’t have to start over looking for a new vanity.  She was also happy that I would be able to do the vanity while she was on vacation.

My client has an antique chair that essentially, she wanted the vanity to resemble.  I did a mockup of the piece including the color change and a particular motif that she liked on my computer.  I find this so helpful for my clients.  The mockup helps clients see how the finished product will look and it is easier for me to make the changes digitally than on location, especially when she wouldn’t be there to check it out.

Furniture in any way shape or form is done in layers and requires patience, patience, patience.  In this regard, a piece of furniture takes time to do; every step has to dry before the next step begins.  I promised my client I would send her daily texts with photos so she could see the progress.

I made the necessary repairs such as fixing dings, scrapes, etc.  There was a lot of wood putty and sanding, washing, wiping.  The surface had to be dust free and clean from greasy residue so that the subsequent primer and paint layers would bond properly.  I also swapped out the plastic tarps so that any dust particles would not be an issue.

Using a bonding primer and  Benjamin Moore Advance , I began transforming the vanity.  Once the layers were dry, I used Modern Masters metallic paint to hand-paint the motifs.  Once that layer was dry, it was time to seal the piece.  The Benjamin Moore water-based paint is very durable on its own, but I’m always concerned about the amount of traffic and exposure to water, etc., so I’d rather take the time and seal up the piece with a commercial quality sealer.

This is the finished vanity.  It was truly a transformation that better fit the client’s space and best of all, nothing had to be installed or replaced.

bathroom vanity, handpainted, renovation
Bathroom Vanity-AFTER by Artworks by Marcine, LLC

hand-painted , renovation, diy
A closeup of the hand-painted details by Artworks by Marcine, LLC

What do you think of the transformation?

Do you need a transformation in your home or business?  I can help you!  Murals, wall finishes, etc.  Feel free to call me via phone, 908-599-2129 or fill out your contact information here.

When you ordered a desk online and it’s the WRONG color

rustic chic, artworks by marcine, nj

“Marcine, can you help me?”

I love that question.

I have a client that ordered a desk online for her business.  She had someone assemble it and the color was just wrong for the space.  It wasn’t what she had expected, through no fault of her own.  Sometimes what you see online and what you get in reality are different.  It happens.  Usually, the company will take items back but since this piece had already been assembled, sending the desk back was not an option.

This is the back of the desk in its original color.

Quite often I will get asked to make something visually fit into a space.  At first, the client wanted the desk to really have contrast.  I took photos and superimposed different colors on them using my computer.

The initial results were not on point.

The decorating style of this commercial  location is “farm-chic.”  The desk had  had to be elegant, to stand out and yet fit in.

I figured making the desk look like it was created out of barnwood, but chic barnwood was the way to go.  I asked the client if I could use a metallic silver in the finish and she was excited.  My stipulation was that I had to keep it light.

Many layers of bonding primer, base paint, glaze. metallic paint, barrier coat, topcoats…

VOILA!

Farm Chic Desk

Detail

Problem solved.  The desk fits into the environment, continues the theme of the space, and the colors are just right.

Need help with your space?  I can help you!

Please call me at (908) 599-2129 or fill out the contact form and I will get back to you!

Accent Walls: Yes, yes, YES!!!!

Did you ever go to museum and step into a gallery where there was a large piece of art taking up the whole wall such as a Jackson Pollock or a  medieval tapestry?

BOOM.

That’s what accent walls do.  They make a statement.

This wall, created with various products creates a wall with a great deal of visual interest.

A wonderful way to hi-light an architectural feature on the ceiling.

A metal reactive technique really makes this wall a work of art.

They are an opportunity to create something really unique that is a portrait of you.  They also serve to set the “tone” or atmosphere of your space.  They are also a great way to make your space unique when you’re on a budget.  And, if you’re someone that is more neutral, accent walls are a great way to add a bit of color or texture without going overboard, (unless you want to 🙂 )  If you love imagery, consider doing something such as a mural or a visual graphic. The benefits far outweigh the negatives.  Suppose you decide you want to change that wall down the road?  In the case of textured applications, just skim coat the wall.

In my experience, accent walls are generally the first wall you see when you walk into a space.  It just makes sense to have your statement “heard” as soon as you enter a space.  Accent walls can also be part of a wall such as in the case of a fireplace wall.  Or, accent walls can hi-light an interesting piece of furniture.

Accent walls can also be a ceiling.  Oh, yes they can!  (I saw you shaking your head.)  Your ceiling is your 5th wall.  It will never be obscured by furniture, or hanging artwork, other than a light fixture.  Why not use it?

Still not sure?  Baby steps.  Paint the wall or ceiling a different color and live with it for a bit.

Isn’t it great when there are no rules to creating the space you want?  Accent it!

Let me help you create an accent wall by turning it into art!  Call me at (908) 599-2129 or send me an email.  

Finding The Right “Tool” For The Job

Recently, I visited a potential client who has  a tall wall in her entrance hallway.  This wall was narrow  but tall.  She was concerned about choosing a finish that would not only look great but was able to withstand the wear and tear of family traffic.

There are all kinds of products out there in the decorative painting world.  Want something to look like suede? Yes, we’ve got that.  Want something to look like metal? Yep, we’ve got that.  Want something to look like stone?  Yep, we’ve got that too.

The right “tool” for the job.

There’s an extremely durable plaster that would fit the bill and, it can be painted.  As a matter of fact, this stuff is magic.  I can manipulate it into brick, I can make a cracked old wall–all kinds of things.   The fact that I can hand paint it to further customize the project is an added bonus.  The paints will be wall paints.  It can also be top-coated for further protection, but honestly, it will dry to a hard  colorful finish that will be washable with mild soap and water.

I provided three samples to the client, all with the same colors and the same materials.  They were just executed differently.

Plaster finish option 1

Plaster finish option 2

Plaster finish option 3

I’m curious to see which one she chooses!

Is there a space you’d like to change or turn into a focal point?  Contact me at marcine@artworksbymarcine.com or (908) 599-2129 today!

Don’t be afraid to show your sparkle!

sparkle, artworksbymarcine, glitter, metallic

A decorator friend of mine asked if I could help her out on a powder room project.  This particular project was located in a new upscale lashbar business here in New Jersey.

I love this decorator friend.  She gives me carte blanche to do whatever as long as I stay within budget and adheres to a theme.  (Debi, you ROCK!!!)

Gold, black, sparkle, glam.  Those were my parameters.

The powder room size was quite small, 4×6.  There was going to be a mirrored vanity and the toilet.  That’s it.  The walls were going to be the canvas.  I suggested a metallic paint for the walls and then a random placement of stencils using glitter and stones.

I showed Debi the ideas I had and she showed them to the client.  The client was excited.  It was going to be a spin on the retro 50’s glam.

I used Modern Master’s Metallic paint in a matte finish.  I did a matte so the walls wouldn’t overpower or fight with the glittery stencils I was going to install. I went for a champagne instead of a gold.  I wanted the space to really read elegance.  Metallic walls look best sprayed.  I don’t know how to use a sprayer–yet–so I used the traditional roller method.  For those of you planning to do a metallic finish, I would highly recommend that you base coat the walls in a color extremely close to the metallic.  Metallic paints are expensive and if you can avoid doing multiple coats, all the better.  i added Modern Master’s extender to the metallic paint so the paint wouldn’t set up and dry quickly, reducing the chances of lap lines.  I would up doing multiple coats because the paint is semi-opaque.  Make sure when you roll a section, you back roll the paint in the same direction ceiling to floor.  This will point all of the mica particles in one direction for a smoother looking finish.

Once the paint was done, it was time for the fun stuff!!!!  I added glitter in both black and champagne.  Despite all the sweeping and vacuum cleaning, there was still glitter on the floor. And yes, I used disposable tarps plus covered the vanity and the toilet.  Unfortunately, if you remember doing holiday crafts as a kid, I’m sure you have memories of Mom complaining about glitter being everywhere.

It does happen.

Once the glitter was dry, I found stones in my local Hobby Lobby store.  I asked Debi if I could use the clear prism stones in addition to the black and gold stones.  She loved the idea! Those clear prisms went well with the mirror vanity.  Gorilla Glue helped adhere the stones onto the walls.  Use the glue sparingly because adding too much will cause the glue to run out from underneath the stones and drip down the wall.

craft, stones, sparkly
Gold stones from Hobby Lobby

The drop ceiling was painted a flat black.  The result is simple glam and elegance.

sparkle, artworksbymarcine, glitter, metallic
Here is the finished result: Simple. Glamorous. Elegant.

Differently sized stencils with alternating champagne and black glitter.

Letting that sparkle shine!!!

Don’t be afraid to add materials like glitter or stones to your walls.  A little sparkle is a good thing!

Questions?  Feel free to reach me at (908) 599-2129 or marcine@artworksbymarcine.com