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

 

Budgets: necessary in a creative project?

faux, metallic, artworksbymarcine

It all boils down to money.  Not my favorite topic, but something that must be addressed.  Yeah, I know–insert eyeball roll.

From my point of view,  the conversation is not only about dollars.  It is more about communication and education.  The client needs to tell me what he or she wants and then ideally, a budget is discussed.  (   What if the client is unsure of what he/she wants?  The artist can show a variety of samples from his/her portfolio as ideas.)  Then, I can see if there is a product that will accomplish the task using a reasonable amount of labor.

In other words, is the project doable for a certain price???

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the scenario.  I do, quite often, ask the clients if there is a budget in mind.  Sometimes I’m given a ballpark and sometimes not.  I’m not really one to engage in a numbers game.   Remember the communication and education thing I mentioned before?  I, as an artist, want to keep the communication lines open.  I need the client to tell me yes or no on a finish,  and how much they are willing to spend.  This way we aren’t wasting each other’s time.   For example, there are some metallic paint products out there that cost over $100 per gallon.  This is just the materials!  If the products are imported from overseas, there’s a good chance they are going to cost more money.  In terms of labor, my labor price is pretty average.  This is where I need to educate the client: it’s the labor involved with a particular process.  Some finishes require 5-7 passes, meaning that there are 5-7 times I’m applying products  around the room.   In terms of mural work,  if you are looking for something much more intricate and hyper-real, you can expect to be charged more. Why?  You are paying for someone’s time.  Everyone’s time is valuable, isn’t it?  Lastly, let’s not forget the artist’s “artistic vision, i.e. ability to see things creatively or creative problem solving, come into play .  All of these things hold value.  That value will be reflected in the final project result.

My advice is that as a client, be up front with the artist.  If there’s a strict budget, make that known.  Ask questions about products.  Ask if there are alternative products that can be used.  If you’re requesting a mural ask the artist if he/she can do what you’re asking within a monetary framework.  If you don’t ask, how will you know?  Communicate these concerns to someone you may hire to create a vision for you.  That person will in turn, appreciate the teamwork effort and will do his or her best to educate you on the most appropriate way to achieve your goals.

Have questions? Give me a call at 908-599-2129 or send an email to: marcine@artworksbymarcine.com

 

Wallpaper or Faux? YOU Decide!

faux finish, wall art

Years ago, I met someone who was extremely involved in the interior design industry.  She was quite frank and it was clear she had little patience for someone like me:  an artist who creates murals and wall finishes.   However, I appreciated and respected her honesty.  “Why wouldn’t I choose wallpaper?  I don’t have to go through all these steps like I would with someone like you.  I measure my space, look through a book, pick out the paper, order it and arrange to have it installed.”  I can have it done the next day if I chose to.”

Maybe years ago when I was young in this profession,  my feelings might have been hurt.  I think my training as a fine artist and having to endure numerous critiques in undergrad and grad school plus the feedback I received showing my work to gallery owners kind of helped me develop a hard shell about what I do.  I’m not bothered by what folks have to say about my art.  Like it, not like it—it’s a matter of YOUR preference and YOUR aesthetic.  I actually chuckled after my meeting with this person because the conversation got me thinking.   Oh this thinking thing: I tend to do it a lot!

IT IS YOUR PREFERENCE; that’s the bottom line.

But, how to figure that out?  Well, in my twenty years of being in business, I’ve done work for many a former wallpaper lover turned disliker and lover of faux finishes.  Yep, I could be partial to the questions and key points I’m going to direct your attention to, but I will do my best to be as neutral as possible.

1.  Are you a “I want it done YESTERDAY” kind of person?

If you answered, “Yes” then wallpaper may be for you.  Yes, you can go pick out a pattern from a book and order the wallpaper.  Just know that there is a delivery turnaround and hope that your pattern isn’t out of stock.  Also, make sure you order enough because paper is printed in “runs” (dye lot number) and you have may not match another roll from a different run.  Also keep in mind that you have to hire an installer unless you plan on doing it yourself.

Yes, there are limitations with hiring someone like me.  Unless you are hiring a crew of finishers, generally folks like me are a one person army.  And as my original critic said, there is a process.  Why?  Because we (collectively) want to make sure you get what you want.)

2.  Do you like a mechanical design or a more loose handmade look?

Orderly images that come in a repeat pattern actually can be done by both industries but to have something completely devoid of any personal touch, is usually left to the wallpaper industry.  Yes, as artists, we have wallpaper stencils at our disposal, but again, we do things by hand so there are instances where things beyond our control happen.  If you appreciate the look of things done by hand, then the faux-finish/unique wall finish  is for option is for you .  (De Gournay does sell hand-painted wallpaper and there are companies who will hand print wallpaper for you, provided you have the budget.)

3.  Is having something created for you completely custom of importance to you?

Remember the answer I gave  in question 1 about the process?  Please hear me out:  As I mentioned before, we want to make sure YOU get what YOU want.   I do have to note here that there are companies on the internet who offer “custom wallpaper” creations, as long as the art is provided by you.   As far as customizing minutae such as a tweak of a color, I have not yet heard of a company who can sit down with you and customize the repeats to your liking. Yes,  we meet with you, we show you samples, we look at your decor to offer creative options, we show you colors, we make colors, we tweak what ever needs to be tweaked so you get what you want.  The personal experience is of high importance when dealing with an artist or an artisan.  We want to develop a relationship with you and make you happy.

4.  Do you love the unique and have an appreciation for art?

Do you look for things or images that are out of the ordinary?  Something that  perhaps no one else has?  Something that you can’t do yourself but you can articulate to someone exactly what you want done?  Again, the personal one -on-one experience of dealing with a wall finisher will help you accomplish your goals.  We basically turn your walls into works of art.  Consider tour walls or ceiling:  shimmering foils,  sparkly glitter, or large mica flakes, or even Swarovski crystals attached to areas for special interest–how unique!  And just think, you are supporting the arts!!!!

5.  Are you concerned about durability?

Wallpaper has been known for its durability, expecially if you have commercial wallpaper installed.  That stuff is just indestructible.  However, in our industry, we work with plasters that are lime based and harden over time, we use concrete based plasters in addition to a wide array of protective topcoats.  Many products on the market today contain newer technology to provide additional protection.  In addition, many manufacturers have incorporated UV technology to prevent colors from fading quickly.

6. Cost effectiveness.

Cost effectiveness can be argued for either arena.  There are so many variables that can be thrown into this equation, that there really isn’t a definitive answer.  Some wallpaper rolls run upwards of a $1000 and that doesn’t include installation.  Some faux finishing products can cost a couple hundred dollars per gallon.

7.  Ease of removal.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog entry, many of my clients are former wallpaper people who just had a really hard time removing the wallpaper and they do not want to deal with that experience again.  Some wallpapers, such as the wallpaper was that foil/velvet flock from the 1970’s  (I’m chuckling because I’m thinking about the wallpaper my parents had in our kitchen–yikes!!!) was super difficult to remove.  If the wall wasn’t prepped properly to begin with and the client may remove large portions of sheetrock along with the wallpaper.  In addition, you have to make sure that all of the remaining wallpaper glue has been removed from the wall.  Painting on top of a surface with adhesive still on it will cause cracking of the newly painted surface.  On the other hand, some of my clients had no problem removing their wallpaper and were just looking to get away from the wallpaper look.

I’m going to throw a wrench in my entry here:  some faux finishes are a pain to “remove.”  Removing a faux finish is sort of a misnomer.  Why?  Unless it is a painted finish like a colorwash which may need a light sanding and then a primer to begin repainting, technically, you are adding texture to a wall.  If you’re adding texture, the only ways you can prevent that texture from telegraphing, i.e. showing through , in the future, is to sand, sand, sand, or skimcoat (applying a thin coat of plaster or mud to the wall to even out the surface), or re-sheetrock the wall.

No matter what choice you make, there is a level of commitment. You simply cannot repaint the walls if you decide you don’t like the way they look.  An immediate change in either wallpaper or faux finish would prove to be rather costly.

I’m sure there are additional points that I have overlooked.  But, I think if you look at what I’ve mentioned above and think about your responses to the questions and to the points, you will see what YOUR preference is a little more clearly.   I already know what my preference is 😉

What are your thoughts?

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to discuss your redecorating project, please contact me at (908) 599-2129 or fill out your contact information here.

 

 

 

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