Adding a Bit of Family to an Outside Porch

I love my front porch. Over the years that I have lived in my house, my front porch has been a gathering place for neighbors to come and chat, a contained place for my boys to play with their monster trucks when they were younger, the location for many weird and wonderful Halloween decorations.

The summer of one particular year, 2012 as a matter of fact, was a tough summer. My Mom was battling cancer and my boys (ages 12 and 7 at the time) just needed a happy experience. I put my older son, in charge of getting the porch ready for the season. He selected the outdoor rug, he chose the flowers for the planters. But, we were missing something. There’s a little section of the porch that is just the vinyl siding. It needed some attention.

I brought my boys down to my studio and we sat on the floor one hot afternoon. I showed them the blank canvas and I had a closed set of colors that they could use . My older son already knew why we were using those colors: they matched the colors he had chosen for the rug and for the flowers. We brainstormed about things and places that make us happy. Once the boys had a loose plan, I gave them the brushes (of course I had to remind them to wash the brushes when changing colors) and within 15 or so minutes I had their collaborative art piece. They were so proud of their accomplishment!

kids art
This is the collaborative painting made by my sons.

Every spring season, that canvas comes out of the garage, gets wiped off, and hung up on the porch. I see my boys smile when I hang it up.

I smile too.

Artworks by Marcine creates custom murals and specialty wall finishes. Please call Marcine at (908) 599-2129 or fill out the contact form here with any inquiries you might have.

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.


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

Art Wrap

I’ve always wondered how a work of art is prepared for shipping. I wish it was one of those practical things that they taught artists in school. As an artist and business owner, I’m always grateful to meet fellow business owners who are connected to art.

Joe Kuryla is one of those guys.

Joe, owner of The Shipping Grounds, prepares an artwork for shipping

Joe owns The Shipping Grounds in Denville, NJ (at 276 East Main Street, Suite #10) We chatted a while ago about what’s involved in shipping art. So, last week Joe called me and said, “I’ve got a work of art to ship out. Do you want to see the process?”

I’m sure you already know what I said.

I did a “Live” on my Facebook and on Joe’s Facebook, plus I did a “Live” on my Instagram. What was cool about that experience is that I was able to field questions to Joe while he was getting the piece prepared. (I decided I really like doing those Lives but that will be another discussion on another blog post.)

If you would like to see the FB Lives (there were 2 parts) please click on these links:

Part 1: The Shipping Grounds

Part 2: The Shipping Grounds

There are many steps to properly wrapping a work of art for shipping. I was amazed . First, Joe wrapped up the piece in layers of bubble wrap–different sizes–taking care that the wrapping is snug against the piece.

Joe, owner of The Shipping Grounds, wraps the artwork snugly in layers of differently sized bubble wrap

He protected the corners of the piece with cardboard corners. (In the case of ornate frames, Joe protects the edges with pipe insulation. ) Joe then added layers of cardboard over the glass. Everything is shrinkwrapped between layers.

Adding the cardboard layer over the glass

The artwork is then placed in larger cardboard sections.

(and this is even before the piece is placed in a box or crate for shipping! )

The artwork is then placed in cardboard “sections.”

This process was for a piece that was framed and had glass on it. The process for a painting is different and involves custom built crates (which Joe does too.)

I loved how Joe was so attentive to detail and took pride in his work. He really loves what he does and it shows.

I also learned that I am not going to pack my pieces if I need to ship them.

I’d rather just call Joe.

For additional information on your shipping needs, please contact The Shipping Grounds, 276 East Main Street, Suite 10, Denville, NJ (973) 625-7774.