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.

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

 

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!