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.

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.

Hmmmmm……

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

Gratitude

art heals, healing tree, family tree, serenity, peace, family

I have always held in high regard those who defend our country.¬† My respect for them is beyond words.¬† I have extended family members who served in Korea,¬† my bestie’s husband served in the Army, and I know other folks in my circle who are veterans.¬† I can’t imagine what these people experienced while selflessly serving our country.

As an artist, I was always searching for some way to say “Thank You” to our vets.¬† ¬†I contacted an organization who helps vets two years ago and a representative called me back.¬† I explained how I could help a veteran family, even if it meant just painting a room.¬† ¬† The representative connected me with a family whose family member just returned from serving and was looking for some way to paint something to create a serene atmosphere with an emphasis on family.

I met with the family.  I was going to paint a tree that would become a family tree.   Photos of the family were going to be framed and displayed on each limb of the tree.

In one day, the family had the beginnings of their family tree in their dining room.   Serenity.  Family.

Thank you for your service.

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 ūüôā )¬† 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.  

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

 

Restaurant reno: quick and easy

A designer friend of mine contacted me a few weeks ago.¬† She was helping a restaurant owner do a low budget renovation in one area of his restaurant.¬† The reno didn’t involve tearing down anything or relocating booths.¬† ¬†This was strictly a cosmetic update.¬† The booths were a red orange in color and they were permanent.¬† So, how was I going to integrate that color into the new visual overhaul?

Being that this restaurant is Italian, we were going for an Italian appearance in the takeout area.  The designer chose a  Benjamin Moore warm honey wall color for the background in a matte finish.  She was also adding a few decorative hanging pieces that I had to work around.  Plus, I was to pick up the dark red and dark green colors from the dining room  So, I had red -orange booths, a warm honey background, some additional sculptural elements and dark red and dark green to incorporate into the final outcome.

After showing the restaurant owner my portfolio, he liked brick breakaways¬† (where walls look like they are cracking and revealing bricks) and grapes.¬† This would be the subject matter of my handpainted art.¬† The designer showed me where the sculptural elements were going to be installed.¬† I like when project elements like this create a matrix.¬† It’s a matter of fitting all the additional pieces into place to make the puzzle complete.

I drew grape vines and grapes on the upper portion  of the walls and had them cascade over strategically placed breakaways.  I measured where the sculptural elements were going to be installed and made sure the design fit accordingly.  I was going to incorporate the reddish orange and dark green  into the grape leaves and make the grapes dark red.  The designer wanted light bricks.  I chose neutral colors from Benjamin Moore that would work with everything else.

The interior of the takeout area of this Italian restaurant was given a new look with paint.

A closeup of the updated look by Artworks by Marcine

another view of the visual update by Artworks by Marcine

Voila!  It all fit into place, just like the pieces of a puzzle.  The result was a warm inviting space on a low budget.