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

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.  

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.

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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.