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

 

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

 

Welcome to 2018!

change, artworksbymarcine, marcine, stars, lights, new year ,2018

I’m sitting on my couch (it’s a rarity, trust me) on December 30th in the afternoon.  The snow has stopped falling here in NJ and I was actually happy that it was snowing because I had nowhere to run to .  Two pots of coffee and a quick shovel of snow, I’m  here writing this blog entry.  I started to think about the year that has almost come to a finish.  I think the theme of “Change”  is a pretty good way to describe the year as a whole.

I’ve always liked changing.  Who wants to stay the same?  Not me.    I think that’s inherent in being an artist.  We’re all about change and embracing it.  That’s how we grow as creatives.   External  physical changes are easy to spot: different hair color (I think I’ve been every shade of red since I was 16) , different clothing styles, (as long as it comes in black–my fave.)   The real changes that are most important are the changes on the inside, in my opinion.  It’s those changes who help us grow and learn.

My son graduated high school this year and was off to college.  I had to deal with letting go.  He was my first one leaving the nest and since my mom passed away 5 years ago, he has been my rock.  Yeah, it was hard.  I had to grow up a little.  I think he was already grown up and ready to leave the nest, lol.  (There’s a saying I have that “We actually learn from our kids.”  )

My husband had Thyroid cancer, which he beat, but then developed lymphoma, and later Lyme  He has had two clean PET scans so no lymphoma but we are always watchful and stay  on top of bimonthly checkups.  The Lyme?  Well, that is another story.  We’ve become vigilant about our health and are proactive in addressing any concerns.

My younger son, who is in the sixth grade,  has had changes in school, which directly affects us at home.  We are trying to give him more responsibility to manage himself but in small increments so he doesn’t get frustrated.

And me?  Well, I’ve changed some of my habits, getting rid of not so good ones and replacing them with more good ones (still a work in progress.)  I’m making friends both online and offline with people who are more of my silly, sarcastic,  real, down to earth, creative ” tribe,” who are positive thinking, honest individuals which is a good thing, and I’m weeding out the toxic people.   Professionally, I have had the opportunity this year to work for  really wonderful clients who appreciate and see the value in what I do and trust my judgement. Yes: appreciation, value, trust.   Clients like that fuel my fire as an artist and a business person and for me, that has been super exciting.  The end result is some really cool projects I completed. This is one of my goals for the new year: to find more clients exactly like those people.  One of my other goals is to keep expanding my tribe.  In my personal artwork, I started getting back into making my art.  I have paintings in my studio that I feel are unfinished.  I just don’t have an ending for them now.  I tend to overthink my work and that has proved to be stifling.  That’s another thing I have to work on.

That’s just some of the changes here….I’m sure that 2018 will hold even more change.  I think the theme of 2018 will become (dare I say Change) Opportunities: opportunities to teach and be taught, opportunities to grow, opportunities to lead, opportunities to give,  opportunities to create.

I am so looking forward to it.

I hope you are too.

Happy New Year, everyone.  May 2018 bring us the most wonderful opportunities life has to offer!

 

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.