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Category: Color, Color, Color

15 Oct

October Book-of-the-Month: The Keys to Color by Dean Sickler

“All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.” ~ Marc Chagall

Leave it to Chagall to explain the color wheel in such an imaginative way. What he is talking about is that in a color wheel, colors relating closely to one another sit side by side while their perfect complement sits directly opposite. I like the way Chagall said it better.

I was very lucky when I started out. My first workshops were at Dundean Studios — I had no idea that Dean Sickler was a master colorist, a restoration specialist, had a degree in Art and Art History and a member of Salon. I just be-bopped my way into classes by a Master. Can you imagine the sheer luck? I still keep learning as I contact him from time to time for advice. (…and can I say? He is just so humble. If I were him, I’d be writing rap songs about my prowess, walking with a swagger and employing an umbrella holder.  But, I digress.)

Dean taught me, from the onset, that your decorative painting skills will require dedication and discipline. That your end result will directly come from your considered thought and exemplary preparation. That your finished product should be as precise and yet as artistic as it can be. That color — and the theories behind it — will be one of the most frustrating and yet satisfying disciplines to master. I thank him deeply for those lessons since they have helped shape the artist I am today.

I’ve not been disappointed in his book, The Keys To Color. In fact, it’s already dog-eared, post-it note filled and I’m sure I’ll read it several times over in the coming years. Thankfully, it’s been printed as a quality paperback so it’s taken the “abuse” beautifully. The book offers practical advice on color as it relates to interior design. It covers topics such as matching colors, making your own colors and — this one is important — correcting a color you have on hand. That last one is worth the price of the book alone. Seriously — how many times have we struggled to knock down the brightness without altering the color and warming or cooling a color? (raising hand) I know I have and I have a color theory class under my belt, too! Dean has always encouraged experimenting on your own and working with colors frequently to keep your skills sharp. Here’s a short video explaining more.

YouTube Preview Image

The book also touches upon the basics of understanding the color wheel, working with color and light sources (including the effects of metamerism) and the mechanics of coloring paints, glazes and other faux materials. It’s really hard to delve into all the subjects he touches upon — actually, the effort to organize and create this book must have been incredible. I, for one, am grateful for the resource. I hope you decide to check out The Keys To Color. Have a wonderful weekend!

28 Sep

Rerun – The Colors of Guatemala

We continue Rerun week with this post from early 2008. I hope you’re enjoying rediscovering the posts — or reading them for the first time. Hasta mañana!

TITLEThe Colors of Guatemala

ORIGINAL POST DATE – February 26, 2008

WHY I LOVE IT SO - In this post, I was inspired to talk a bit about my upbringing and my Mother’s country, Guatemala. I lived there for a short amount of time when I was young but the architecture, the people, the textiles, the history, the colors — I’ll remember those forever. It was a loving homage of sorts to my Mother as well and I do hope to take a trip back to Guatemala with her. I think we would both enjoy that immensely…and I hope you enjoy the post.


08 Sep

Roses are Gold…

We’ve been very busy here at Garay Artisans. At one point in August, my brother, Jason, and I were running three job sites at once and all of them full and luscious. We finally had to establish some time parameters. It’s hard to say “no” when the client is wonderful and keeps adding work, the finishes are fun and you’ve experienced some dry spells and would like to keep busy. I think most artists understand this situation, no?

One of the projects we’ve been working on is the Inn on the Lakes in Sebring, FL. Owner Christine Pavlo is an admirer of Kelly Wearstler’s work and so am I. We were perusing her latest book, Hue, and came upon this picture.

Photography by Grey Crawford

Although it has large abstract woodgrains on the ceiling, Christine wanted to use that idea with flowers instead for the public Ladies Room. She wanted the ladies to feel as if they were walking into a large bouquet of roses. It was decided to let the roses be the star of the space and the wall finish more neutral, with several layers of light Lusterstone and gold foil peeking through. We also pearlized the crown molding.

I tag-teamed with a separate artisan for each finish — Monica Arrache for the roses and Debbie Jackson joined me for the plasters and crown. Starting with the roses, we drew color inspiration from the Maya Romanoff Aphrodite wallcovering outside the entrance and the elements inside. I drew out the designs loosely with a graphite pencil, Monica came behind to start shaping them, we both shaded and she finessed them to completion. It’s all about teamwork and I couldn’t have done it without them. Thank you Monica and Debbie! :)

Monica getting her Michelangelo on...

Shot of the Ceiling

Below: During the plaster phase, we started with splotches of gold foil (left) and you can see how it’s all coming together with the first layer of plaster (right). The third pic shows a finished plaster area. Here’s a closeup. We were working to compliment the gorgeous onyx on the counter and Debbie and I worked layer upon layer to achieve it — a lot of Lusterstone!

Below: It was decided to also do the roses on accent walls in the three smaller stalls. You can see this particular stall closeup here but another one follows. The one large stall also had the designs placed on the ceiling.

To give you an idea of the transformation, the ceiling was plastered over, the doors were replaced and stained, crown molding added, the tile and countertops were changed, the flooring upgraded…well, here’s the only Before pic I have:



BTW, you know how I always talk about interiors following fashion? Like maybe this post, or this one and maybe this one. Check out a preview of some of the upcoming Fall 2010 collections. Cool, huh?

It’s hard to see but the pearlized moldings really added an elegant kick. We still have a few small details to attend to but I thought I’d share these images. Also to come, gorgeous light fixtures, decorative mirrors and beautiful accessories. Until tomorrow!

30 Aug

Natural Pigments

I stumbled onto the Natural Pigments website via my friend, Jeff Huckaby. When anything has the tag “rare artists colours and materials” — well, how can you resist? The company and site are based in California and their goal is to help artists acquire hard-to-find art materials. They provide supplies that have been used in “historical painting since pre-historic times up to and including the eighteenth century”. Amazing to find such a company, no? They go further to say that they obtain minerals from mines as far as Russia and resins and other materials from India, Kenya and Malaysia as well.

The reason Jeff called me about the site?  It’s because they offer an affordable and wonderful True Fresco Painting workshop.  The 3-day class runs $425 and teaches the historical technique “as practiced in medieval Byzantium and Italy”.  It really does look like an incredible workshop.

Their newsletters are always full of great information as well.  Just in the last three, I’ve learned about the metalpoint drawing technique and the use of oil colors and materials.  I enjoy them greatly.  If you are in the New York City area on September 14 – 15, they are also sponsoring a free lecture series open to the public at the Art Students League of New York.  The subjects include the Origins of Color: Secrets of the Old Masters and Color Theory & Practice.  They will last approximately an hour and George O’Hanlon, technical director of Natural Pigments, will follow his lecture with a digital presentation and a question and answer period.  I wish I could attend, I tell you what.  To find out more, check out the Events column on their site.

I find it fun to poke around their site and read about materials for disciplines such as encaustic painting, tempera, gilding and others.  The site also has cool articles (check under each category for “articles”) and a forum to talk about the materials and techniques. Until next time!

26 Aug

Going with Green

Green is a color that signifies life — growth, renewal, healthiness. It is a color that denotes nature and balance and can usually be found within a calm color scheme. Used well, it can help alleviate anxiety and relax both the mind and body. Many famous phrases revolve around the color, such as “going green”, “green with envy”, “green-lighting a project” or “it’s not easy being green”. Mmm…maybe that last one not so much. ;) In entertainment, there is even a “green room” — it is the area a performer can be found waiting until his or her time to go on stage. Interestingly, it is rarely painted green.

Sensational Color has wonderful further information on the color green. In the meantime, I found a few catalog and magazine images that showcase this beautiful color.

Wallpaper or Decorative Artwork

Venetian Plaster on Accent Walls

Unexpected Areas


I hope you’ve been inspired to Go Green! Until next time, dear Reader!

Image Sources: Architectural Digest, Interior Design, Benjamin Moore, Phoenix Home & Garden and Elle Decor

19 Aug

Design Your Site Using Interior Design Principles

Hey Fauxology readers!

Suzanne Rosales here, just dropping by to say hello and tell you about this great article I found. Many of you may design and work on your own website and if that is the case, this article is a must read!

Smashing Magazine (one of my FAV sites to read) featured an article regarding applying Interior Design principles to the Web. It talks about incorporating principles such as balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, color, texture, and lines to your site just like you would incorporate it into your interior design or while planning your finishes.

Below are examples of balance and emphasis applied to web design. They suggest to not only find balance symmetrically and asymmetrically but to find radial balance in your design elements. Another great tip: Having emphasis on a design piece. For instance, I love the example of the colorful dog on the website (fourth one in the series below). It instantly catches your visitor’s and brings them into your site to find out more. (Tip: You can zoom in on the pics by clicking on them.)

You can read the article from Smashing Magazine and see all their great examples by clicking here – Applying Interior Design Principles To The Web. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Suzanne Rosales

Global Swan

17 Aug

Blog Nibblers: The Ornamentalist

A few weeks ago, we profiled the wonderful artist Lynne Rutter. She writes an incredible blog, The Ornamentalist, and I look forward to reading each post she writes. The latest one, A House Inspired by a Jasperware Teapot, talks about how she took inspiration from an unusual source — and created an exterior masterpiece for her clients. Here’s the Before

…and you’ll have to click on the post link to see the results. You’ll love it, trust. (Jasperware certainly gets around since I’ve also found it to be inspirational.) BTW, in the post Lynne also includes information on how black can be a serious contender for the exterior of your home. I kid you not — I’d slather it on if the architecture of my house would allow it. (Sadly, no.) Have a great day!

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