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.

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.

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.

 

Portable Nursery Decor — is it possible?

I had any inquiry from someone from my page on  Houzz.com.  This expectant mom wanted to add a bit of personality and uniqueness to her soon-to-be son’s nursery.  She wanted something transportable in the event that her family moved to another house.  Of course, this idea had to be within a budget.  (I’m going to discuss the topic of budget in another blog entry.)

Think outside the box.

First of all, canvas can be applied with wallpaper paste.  There is a certain technique that can be used which will allow you to remove the mural at a later date.  I googled temporary murals and there are directions and recipes that decorators use in The White House to put up murals and relocate them when necessary.

Secondly, a very thin piece of birch can be used as a surface and screwed into the wall.  You can purchase thicknesses of 1/4 inch.  Birch has a smooth surface and takes paint well.

MDF (medium density fiberboard) can also be used.  Thicknesses start at 1/4 inch.

Lastly, I want to show you a nifty surface I just happened to come across while at Lowe’s:  underlayment Plywood.  In the description card attached to the shelf, there was mention about this surface being ideal for craft projects.  The surface was smooth and light.

artist, materials, mural
Underlayment plywood. (Sorry about the triangle icon in the middle of the photo; I screen shot a frame from a video I took.)

I think this material was a winner.  Once I sent her the photo of the item, she also agreed.

The client sent me specs.  I needed to create a circular image, 30″ diameter with the Yankee pinstripes and Derek Jeter’s #2.  I have a carpenter friend who is able to cut circles nicely, so he was able to help me out.  Once cut, I knew this material was a winner; it was so light!

I primed both sides of the material and weighted the board down  after the material was dry, to prevent warping.  The painting went off without a hitch.  I matched a blue to the Yankee blue.  Easy-peasy.  I kept the board on the wall and made sure that there was a “level” piece of wood attached to the wall to serve as a support shelf.  Because i’m a perfectionist, I used a level to make straight lines and then figured out the proportion of the parts of the #2.  A few coats of protective topcoat and voila!

Here’s how it came out:

nursery decor, boy's room decor
Portable image for a nursery

To make things even more easy, industrial velcro can be used on the back of the piece to attach it to the wall.   Or, if the client preferred to attach it to the wall, I provided flat headed screws, with the heads painted blue so everything would blend in.

Bottom line: anything is possible; sometimes it takes a little more research but the time invested creates success!