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Category: Murals, Portraits & Drawings

13 Jan

A Bird in Hand

My goodness do I love birds. Watching them, hearing them, seeing them in Interior Design — it just never gets old for me. I think I would be quite content with traipsing the woods, super-cute outfit on, binoculars in hand, waiting to catch sight of one. Anyhoo. I spied these two images and just went all a-twitter.

From a Phyllis Morris ad (custom high-end furnishings). I love the birds in the wallcovering as well as the free-edged vertical coloration. I also like the decorative work on the trim and furniture.

Yeah, I just stopped in my tracks when I came upon this Architectural Digest pic. Not only do I love the stylized peacocks, but also the crackle-like finish on the beams. I’d like this house, yes I would. It was painted by Mimi Feldman for actress Patricia Heaton.

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Did you like these as well? I’m sure I’ll be sharing even more bird motifs in the future — and painting them for a project as well, I hope! Have a wonderful day, dear Readers!

31 Dec

Fauxology: Top Blog Posts of 2010

2010 brought many changes: an increasing circle of friends via social networks and the rise of social media as a solid marketing tool. Because of this, it’s been easy for me to find new and exciting things to “talk” to you about. There were many winning posts this year (and some that inspired…crickets) — it’s been fun to figure out what you like to read about. Based on comments, I’ve compiled our top posts in four categories — in the fifth one, I list my personal favorites regardless of popularity. Let’s relive The Best of 2010!

Most Colorful

These are the posts I put together with various finishes and images with the same color in common. Your favorites this year were 1) Red Hot; 2) The Very Pink of Perfection; and 3) Going with Green.

Most Popular

The Top Posts of 2010 (in order): 1) The Mural of the Story; 2) Portrait of an Artist: Jennifer Carrasco; and 3) Roses are Gold. Each of these posts elicited more than 20 comments each — amazing!

Best Hospitality Design

I like to profile hotels, boutiques and beautiful commercial spaces for you to see. The highlights this year were The Four Seasons in Florence, Italy, the Rough Luxe Hotel and San Francisco’s Hotel Des Arts. Each one received a wonderful reception!

Best Business Advice

Business advice specific to our industry was sprinkled in amidst the design posts. I once noted once that these posts did not receive the comment love the “pretty” ones did — and several of you wrote in to say something akin to “No, we love them — keep ‘em coming!” and I do aim to please! The most popular this year were 1) Using Facebook for your Business; 2) WordPress: A Fantastic Online Software for Your Business; and tied for 3) Press Releases and Adobe Photoshop Basics.

My Personal Favorites

To me, each and every post is like a baby I gave birth to. Picking favorites, oof — so hard. I will say that I am proud of Part Two and Part Three of my Washington, DC trip. It focuses on the incredible decorative painting sharing space with all the books in the Library of Congress. A sentimental favorite is What’s in the Window, since it reminds me of my time in NYC. Finally, the start of the week-long series — a week focused on one surface or technique — came about with Elevator Week. That first post contains further links to each day and project of that week.

I suppose the goal was to say: “Incredible. 2010 marked the beginning of so many good things!”. Did it all work out as planned? Was it one of the great years of your life? Are we ready for the New Year and all it brings? However it worked out, I’d like to take this time to THANK YOU, dearest Readers, for the wonderful year of suggestions, submissions and comments. All of you make the writing of this blog so much fun for me. Next year, many changes are coming and I hope you stay with us for the exciting times ahead. Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve – let’s welcome 2011 with a Bang!

29 Dec

Messages from the Wilderness

I am in Chicago on vacation — have been here since Christmas Eve and will return after the New Year. I’ve actually tried to make it to Chicago three times and something always prevents me from getting on the plane. So, I thought “Fourth Time’s the Charm!”. Up until flight day — nothing. My brother driving me to the airport — nothing. Checking in, security, on line to board the plane — nothing. They were doing spot checks on those in line and I am picked. (I always get picked.) Going through my carry-on they find my keychain — with the mace my sister gave me for protection attached. That shut it ALL down. I had actually forgotten about it and more security was not only called, they surrounded me. What were my intentions? Where was I going? Did I have a connecting flight? Was I traveling alone? My bag was taken apart, things were tested with litmus strips, I was the target of glares by those waiting for other flights (mine had already boarded) and when I said “Please, of course take the mace. I apologize — really had forgotten and I’m not sure how it made it past the scanners. Would you let me know what is going on?” They advised me that they were debating if I should be allowed to board the plane. Security finally let me board after speaking with me very sternly and I’ve never had such an attentive flight crew. But…I made it to Chicago. FINALLY!

There’s a lot of pictures I’ve taken and I’m going to have more (I haven’t even hit the art museum and architecture tours) but I did want to share this mural I came across serendipitously at The Field Museum. It was beautifully rendered and I took as many pics as I could. The images don’t capture how alive the trompe l’oeil mural seems and the incredible details the artist, Carol Christianson, painted. The more I looked, the more amazed I was at the special touches she added. She lives in Victoria British Columbia.

The work is 16′ high and a bit over 36′ wide and it is of the Serengeti Plain to the west of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. It is located in the Messages from the Wilderness exhibit. She painted alone for 15 months and frequently worked 14 – 16 hour days. She came in after the museum closed (5 pm) and left before they opened (9 am). Although she never visited the valley, most of the museum’s staff who had been could swear they knew the exact spot.

The sun shining between the trees. Takes great skill to paint the edges seamlessly.

Tree Trunk detail close-up

On the lower right, you'll see sunlight on the rock through the shadow of a tree. It's just so real in person -- this image doesn't quite capture that but I wanted to include it.

Even the rocks and pebbles on the ground received individual treatment.

They also have good murals peppered across the other exhibits but this work seems to glow from within — I stood entranced before it. I tried to find a website or other link to more artworks by Ms. Christianson, but could only find a mention in a book on Chicago’s Murals and an older blog post with respect to another commission. The museum uses her work as the backdrop for a video presentation (it’s a cool visual) so I’m sure they requested the wide expanse of sky she painted. If you are ever in the area, I hope you check it out. See you soon!

24 Dec

Enchanted Makeovers

When I spotted Terry Grahl on Facebook, I immediately knew I had to do a story on Enchanted Makeovers. Enchanted Makeovers is a nationwide, non-profit organization that transforms shelters for women and children into a place of beauty — an oasis in a sea of confusion and fear.

Terry Grahl

After reading her story, I realized that she closed down her interior decorating business to found Enchanted Makeovers because she felt she had been given an opportunity to transform lives. As President, she manages the day-to-day operations full-time. We had a nice e-chat about her beautiful organization, which, in addition to transforming spaces, also facilitates events for the shelters. They redecorate with handmade items and furnishings or organize inspirational activities such as gardening, yoga, sewing and cooking classes within individual shelters. You can either donate financially or send handcrafted items to be distributed. “We wanted handmade kittens and dolls for every single girl [in a 2009 makeover for a shelter for girls]. Many times children and women have their innocence taken away and we want to bring that back into their life.”

Q: Terry, how do you pick the shelters you work with?
Shelters are chosen not only on the great programs they provide for the women and children but most of the time it’s how I feel once I have visited their website. Your gut feeling is always a great compass.

Q: How many projects do you manage per year?
This year, Enchanted Makeovers did seven national events and we always have our national projects and programs on a on-going basis. Capes for Kids is one of five national programs. Don’t wait for a superhero. Be One!

Q: Since Fauxology’s readers are mostly design and professional artists, how do they get involved?
We’re very open to working with artists and crafters on a one-on-one basis with a special event or makeover. When Enchanted Makeovers needs a certain piece of artwork, I think it’s so important for us to collaborate on [not only] how the art will uplift the human spirit but also have the artists be able to shine their own light.

If interested in becoming involved, please contact Terry via Enchanted Makeovers or message Terry directly on Facebook. Enchanted Makeovers also has a Facebook group and recently launched a national program called “Stepping into the Dream”, which has JCPenney as a sponsor. A child shares their dreams with an artist they have been connected with. The artist then paints the child’s dreams onto a pair of donated Converse sneakers and the child can remember, wherever they are and whatever the circumstance, that they have power to put “footsteps” into their dreams. Isn’t that powerful?

Whenever I volunteer, my first choice is always a women’s shelter. It’s a subject close to my heart and one I feel I can truly empathize with — especially the children. In fact, I have toyed with the idea of starting a career program with the local women’s shelter — if any women were artistically inclined, I would have them join the team during projects (if interested, of course) and show them how to manage their own creative business. They would get experience and a paycheck and I would have an enthusiastic team member until they were ready to fly on their own. I would love to explore that idea further at some point. Many abused women do not leave their situation permanently because of many reasons — one is the fear of being the sole provider for not only themselves but their children as well. It’s heartbreaking. I’m so happy that there are wonderful people and organizations such as Terry Grahl and Enchanted Makeovers making a difference. It’s what Love is all about.

22 Dec

Architectural Digest

So, I received the January 2011 Architectural Digest issue. Why is this significant? Because it hails a colossal changing of the guard. Paige Rense recently retired as Editor and Margaret Russell, formerly of Elle Decor, was tapped to fill the position. January 2011 is her first issue and it felt very strange to see a new name, in bold, as the Editor at Large. I’m excited to see her fresh sense of style permeate the pages. The Curbed blog had this take on it. Some fave images:

Love the ornamental ceiling and the pattern going over the jib door (above) and the chinoiserie paper and trim detail (below). The New York apartment was designed by Friederike Kemp Biggs and photographed by Derry Moore.

In the same apartment, there are “cabinets with a rubbed finish of black over Chinese blue, lined in gold”. It must be even more striking in person, especially those columns!

Faux Bois walls in the library of a Parisian home. It was designed by Timothy Corrigan and photographed by Marina Faust.

Pillows by Ann Gish. I’m including them because I like the concept of showing positive and negative colorations available with one pattern. I’m going to start showcasing that in our portfolio for our clients to explore. Just thought I’d share!

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I can already see the terrific changes Ms. Russell and her talented team have instilled in the magazine. Bursts of color, emerging design talents, less of a focus on celebrity and more on design and yes, architecture. Not to say that Ms. Rense was not incredibly talented and driven — she took the subscription base from 50,000 to 850,000 and made AD a dominant force in interior design magazines during her 35-year tenure. (In fact, she once stated that “I have a network the CIA would envy”. I bet!) The first issue is smaller with fewer profiles and a large amount of ads (but, then again, I do enjoy ads). I’m sure future issues will get even better as the team continues to find their stride. I, for one, will be avidly watching. :)

17 Dec

San Francisco’s Hotel Des Arts

I find a lot of inspiration on Facebook. Artists share links I come to love and post pics of projects I want to applaud and share. Recently, I found both by Carmen Benoita unique project and a cool link, which led to today’s post. (Thank you, Carmen — you rocketh!)

Hotel Des Arts is a boutique hotel in San Francisco which called upon local artistic talent to transform the rooms. Each chosen artist was given free reign in their designated rooms — they could paint murals, add installations and some even incorporated the furniture!

Artist: Apex

Artist: Kelly Tunstall

Artist: Jet Martinez

Artist: Casey O'Connell

Artist: Sam Flores

You know what I think is incredibly cool? On the hotel’s site, they give a listing of each artist and the room they created. Potential guests and clients have the opportunity to not only see the images but also to learn about each artist and visit their website (when available). Don’t you just love that?

P.S. I have to include this plumpy bird…plus I love the shading and color harmony…

Mural Element in the Courtyard ~ Artist: Chor Boogie

16 Dec

Book Crush: The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World

So, I have book crushes. Major book crushes. Buying all my coveted books will not be kind to ye olde bank account so I have a Book Crush Queue going and make a dent in it whenever possible. For example, this one is coming up. I discovered it when I strolled through an old issue of House & Garden at the doc’s office. [A pleasant surprise to see the issue underneath all the other mags. I was allowed to take it by pointing to the year and saying "Seriously. Who'd want this? It's OLD!". ;) ]  Here’s a little blurb in that issue:

I mean, c’mon! “There are 23 knockouts here.” Whaaat?!? Libraries + Beautiful Interiors = Serious Heart Palpitations. Someone could literally complete a hit on me by showing me this book. So, I looked up The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World and saw this pic:

Cover featuring the Library of Congress

So yeah, I need* the book. By the way, if you want to see some pics of the Library of Congress try this link or this one. It’s a beauty. Do you have book crushes like I do? I’m betting you do, dear Readers. Dare I ask: Any I should add to my queue?

* There are needs and there are needs. I once saw a gorgeous yellow purse at a boutique and backed away. When I couldn’t forget the purse, I came back to snap it up. The Hubs asked “Do you really need that purse?”. I said “Yes. Yes, I do.”. That night, we went to a restaurant and I received four (4!) compliments between the reception area and our table. I get compliments everywhere I go with it and I love it so. Same with books. Buy the right ones and there’ll be a mutual love affair forever.
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