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22 Oct

Recipe for Rusted Pumpkins

Who wouldn’t love a recipe for Roasted Rusted Pumpkins?  Sounds delicious, right?  The Modern Masters Metal Effects® product collection is BY FAR my favorite line to create oxidized finishes such as Rust and Verdigris.  I was recently speaking with Monique Rogers of the Modern Masters line and she forwarded some images of her 6-year old son creating a rusted pumpkin for school, playfully called The Pumpkin in the Iron Mask.  Cute right?  I thought I’d share the images with you and give you a bit more info on the Rust finish effect.

It’s a 4-step system with a Metal Effects Primer, Iron Reactive Paint, a Rust Activator and the Permacoat Xtreme Topcoat.  They work together as a system to create the wanted metal patina and oxidized effects. (The other metal effects do not always require a topcoat, but the Rust finish does.)

First, you prime with the Metal Effects Primer and then go over that with the Iron Reactive Paint.  Here, you can see that both small and large faux rivets were embedded into the pumpkin before the painting began. You could use thumbtacks for this effect and it definitely adds a nice layer of realism! Make sure you have great coverage of both products.

 Spraying the pumpkin with the Rust Activator.  Notice the safety goggles and floor drops!

Voila! The Rust Activator will then work its own magic and you can frequently see the process before your eyes.  Love that!  Note that it will activate where you spray and so a nice even coat may be best but it also depends on the look you are going for.  Do note that, in addition to spraying, you can also brush on the Rust Activator or use another applicator.  Some areas may take longer than others — I always wait overnight and then I topcoat.  If you should have any questions on the Metal Effects® line, Modern Masters has a fantastic FAQ area with helpful information.

I do have to say the results are not a “painted” effect — the finish is quite incredible!

Modern Masters has wonderful recipes to create stylish rust finish surfaces for Interior Design.  Here’s two sample images:

On the left is the unique Rusted Finish recipe and on the right is the Rusted Iron recipe.  You can find the even more inspiring images of the oxidized metal effects in action in their Photo Gallery.  You might think these finishes are limited to small accessories and/or pots but it’s truly incredible to see the amount of surfaces this line can work on — from hospitality exteriors to fountains to light fixtures to gates to sculptures and more.  This is in addition to walls and ceilings!

Please do be sure to check out their Facebook page and fun Pinterest account as well.  Of course, you could also see all their incredible products, available globally, on their Modern Masters website.  Do let me know if you’ve used their Metal Effects® line and if you’ve liked the results!

HALLOWEEN DAY UPDATE: Wanted to share a wonderful post and tutorial on Metal Effects pumpkins by Chicago artist Bonnie Lecat.  Beautiful step-by-step action — she rocked it!  Enjoy!

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10 Sep

Ca’ d’Zan – Part Two

So, I think I might have mentioned that I went to Sarasota’s Ringling Museum recently. (As in this post on the incredible gardens and this first post on the Ca’ d’Zan interiors.) There’s a few more features yet to come as it’s wayyyyy too much yumminess to share on only one post.  Today, I’m going to show you the first floor Great Hall in the museum’s Ca’ d’Zan mansion but it does encompass the second floor as well.  It was the family’s main living room. Here’s the full shot…

Initially, I was like one of those puppies that couldn’t concentrate as there was so much artistry to take in.  It is a two-and-a-half storied interior court and it is approximately 40 feet long. There are several bedrooms that overlook the hall from a second floor balcony. The tapestries are from the 17th century and depict various scenes, including the life of Alexander the Great and the heroic career of Achilles.

I’ve noted arrows below where you can see the various areas of hand-painted ornamental works.

In case you’d like to pin this image without the arrows, click here.

Here are some close-ups for you.

Love the two-toned harlequins, the hand-painted design and the aging, too.  You?

The column below is made of a gorgeous onyx from Mexico.  To see a close-up, click here.

The furnishings all reflect the Italian and French Renaissance. Lovely gilding on the beautiful screen and furniture!

Thirty rooms spread out from this main living room and it’s the home’s unifying architectural feature.  The ceiling is coffered and made with Florida pecky cypress and frames an inner colored glass skylight.  The cypress has been hand-painted as well as the (previously-seen) ceilings surrounding three sides of the hall on both floor levels.

A truly amazing room.  In fact, if you’d like to take a virtual look at Ca’ d’Zan, the Ringling Museum has a fully interactive tour.  You can also read so much more in an extensive PDF about its architecture and design.  Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post — have an inspired day!

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13 Aug

Portrait of an Artist: Annabel Armstrong

There are certain artists you correspond with that you immediately feel a connection to and one of those, for me, is Annabel Armstrong of Surface.  I enjoy the way she perceives the world and once I saw her artistry, I also knew I had to share it on Fauxology.  She has a beautiful touch with her projects – they are both soft and strong at the same time.  She has strengths in decorative painting for many surfaces, including glass. We travel to Boise, Idaho to meet Annabel and chat about her work.

Artist Annabel Armstrong

Sometimes, our careers choose us. “I didn’t come to the decorative painting profession until my early thirties, after spending more than a decade floating around between various universities and continents,” Annabel explains. “At that point, I made use of a great opportunity to train under a few well-known decorative painters in the San Francisco area for a few years before moving to Boise, Idaho, to start my own studio.”  Annabel Armstrong founded her decorative painting studio, Surface, in 1997.  Even so, collaboration brings her quite a bit of joy. “Even after all these years of running my studio and working for myself,  I find that I always appreciate the chance to work for other decorative painters. There is always something you can learn from another artist, and the collaboration benefits everybody. Hence, I’m looking forward to a mural project in India later this year where I will be working alongside several artists, including Kaveri and TJ Singh of Los Angeles.”

(above) A painted motif with acanthus and oak leaves was designed to emphasize the architectural shape of the groined vault. Annabel shares (below) that all of a room’s finishes, colors, and textures are taken into consideration when creating a decorative painting concept.

Annabel, what are your favorite design and/or finish styles?

For a long time, my passion has been working with paint and gold or silver leaf on the back side of glass, a technique popularly known as verre églomisé. Ever since I naively tried to pick up a fragile leaf of gold over 15 years ago—and watched it crumble and disintegrate into nothing in my fingers—I have been in love with this delicate medium. Getting a crazy-thin leaf of gold to adhere to the slick surface of glass is a magical process that surprises me every time.

Verre églomisé is so-named because an 18th-century Parisian art dealer named Jean-Baptiste Glomy was known for selling prints with gilded and painted decorative borders on the back sides of the glass under which the prints were mounted. The term is a bit of a misnomer because it implies that the process was invented by Glomy, when in fact the technique is much older than the monsieur and not even French.

(above) Square columns in a restaurant were clad with glass for a verre églomisé project. Antiqued silver leaf and mica powders were used to incorporate the restaurant’s logo.  This project was in collaboration with Cathy Conner of Studio C in Seattle.

Verre églomisé, sometimes just called reverse painting and gilding on glass, has precedents in Roman glass, but it wasn’t until the medieval ages that Europe began to see a lot of reverse painted and gilded glass. Italian artisans seem to have been the first to work with this art form (at least in Europe—reverse painting and gilding also has traditions in Turkey, Syria, Persia and India).  Nuremberg and Augsburg in Germany also became real centers for reverse painting and gilding. A lot of glass-work came out of the Murnau area, near where my mother was born and raised in the Bavarian Alps, so I like to think that it’s in my blood. There’s a wonderful little museum called Schlossmuseum Murnau, which has a substantial collection of works on the reverse of glass.

(above) 23-karat and 12-karat gold leaf, aluminum leaf, collage, oil and acrylic paints, polyester plate lithography on the reverse of nine glass panels. To see them individually, please click here.

What are your favorite websites, blogs, and/or message forums on Internet?

The Textile Blog is a great resource and inspiration for decorative painters. The blog provides insight into not only textile design but all forms of design, decoration, and craft. This on-line resource has a massive yet consummately organized library of images with everything from examples of 16th century lace to 1890s wallpaper design. The video library is equally broad-based: if you look under Tile and Mosaic Design, you can view a video about Portuguese azulejos one moment and in the next you’ll be learning about Escher’s mathematical approach to design. “Like” the Textile Blog on Facebook, and you’ll never run out of interesting links.

What I appreciate about the Textile Blog is its broad-based approach to design, something that’s needed by today’s decorative painters. Too many of us are caught up in capturing a painted effect or in perfectly imitating something such as leather, without asking ourselves why we are painting that in the first place. Decorative painting has to interact with a space, and importantly, it also has a profound effect on anyone interacting with that space. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that. Decorative painters should be actively studying design and thinking about it in broad terms, not just about our little niche. Our work needs to be an integral part of the design process.

(above, below) Grottesca ceiling project completed on canvas with Nicola Vigini of Vigini Paint & Design. He let me do quite a bit of the design, but more importantly, I had the opportunity to work with a brighter palette than the one I gravitate towards on my own projects.

What are the most inspiring spaces you’ve seen that had decorative painting?

This spring in Germany I visited the Würzburg Residenz palace, famous for the Tiepolo frescoes but also for its Spiegelkabinett. A Spiegelkabinett is essentially a room of mirrors, usually consisting of panels with inset mirrors and carved stucco or wood ornamentation, and can be found in numerous German baroque and rococo palaces. The Würzburg Spiegelkabinett’s floor-to-ceiling mirrors on all four walls incorporate reverse painting and gilding in a Chinoiserie style. The room was built and decorated in the 1740s but was destroyed—along with most of the palace—during an air raid in 1945. Based on a late 19th century watercolor of the room, numerous photographs of the original interior, and just one surviving mirror fragment, the Spiegelkabinett was meticulously restored in the 1980s. The restoration of the gilded stucco ornamentation alone required 2.5 kilos (more than 5 pounds!) of gold leaf!

(above) Handpainted papers created by Annabel Armstrong and (below) is a detail of a powder room mural with the client’s favorite bird, the red-breasted nuthatch, in a tree, followed by a gorgeous crackled plaster finish in ochre.

If you could write a book about any subject, what would it be?

It would be about bacteria, if only for the chance to create the illustrations. Bacteria are such weird little things that come in wacky shapes. And bacteria fascinate me because they represent a vastness that—although literally right under our noses, covering both the insides and outsides of our bodies—goes by mostly unnoticed.

I’ve read that there are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a milliliter of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion (what does that even mean? is nonillion a real word? you can’t even wrap your head around this stuff) bacteria on Earth. I love the fact that they form much of the world’s biomass and can be found just about anywhere, including deep underneath the Earth’s crust.  They’ve evolved along with our digestive and immune systems for millions of years, and shaped their environment to create a better bacteria nirvana. That means: not only have bacteria evolved in order to adapt, but we have actually evolved to provide a better home for them. It makes you wonder who’s in charge here.

The mural in the image above was inspired by the frescoes in the Villa Livia in ancient Rome.  It’s the first work I saw of Annabel’s and it still thrills me.  I hope you have enjoyed today’s profile — please be sure to visit her website, Annabel Armstrong Surface, to see more of her artistry.  I thank Annabel so much for her time and for sharing her projects.  I hope they were a beautiful way to start your week!

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07 Aug

Bricks of Art

On my Pinterest account, a space with bricks of blue is one the most popular pinned images I have.  It was created by architect Coleman Coker for a ranch in Vegas.  Here’s another view.

Of course, you can also color the bricks in cool funky colors like the Green Avenue Bench Collection did…

The main thrust of this post, though, is to showcase bricks that have been enhanced with gorgeous typography or a mural — in some cases, both.  Starting with an image from Concept Blanc, here’s the rest of the eye candy!

(above) Cool painted bricks by decorative painter Kristen F. Davis and (below) a guest bath designed by the fab Beth Dotolo for her own home.

Love the restaurant design above!  The sign for “Cardui – A Woman’s Tonic” is original to the space and was kept as an overscale art element by designer by Jones Baker.  The space below is the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

SO beautiful, right?  Traditional brick colors are not the only option and I do hope these examples proved inspiring!  Do you have a favorite?

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01 Aug

Kitchen Week Giveaway Winners!

Hi, Everyone!  I’m excited that it’s time to announce the Kitchen Week Giveaway Winners!  Please note that the Winners were generated according to the number of eligible comments at the end of the giveaway deadline.  Without further ado…

Faux Design Studio

Faux Design Studio is an incredible decorative arts school in Chicago whose head instructor, Sheri Zeman, is continually introducing new, cutting-edge techniques and products in the field of faux finishing and decorative painting.  Faux Design Studio is a Certified Training Center and retail distributor of the complete Faux Effects International Gold and Silver label product line and offer a full lne of professional faux finishing supplies and tools.

Twisted Roller Giveaway Winner:  Celia Block

Robyn Story Designs

Robyn Story Designs is a 5,000 square foot destination of style, a place where anyone looking to add panache to their home or wardrobe can visit for inspiration.  She has a fab online boutique, too!

$50 Shopping Spree Giveaway Winner: Dollie

Giani Granite

Giani Granite began manufacturing pigment dispersions and specialty additives for paint companies nationwide.  Today, they have award-winning unique kitchen coatings products, such as faux granite countertops, stainless steel and cabinet refinishing kits, that are changing the way America remodels its kitchens!

Faux Granite or Stainless Steel Kit Winner: Monica Arrache

Star Scenic

Star Scenic is an international supplier of faux finish, scenic and decorative painting products.  They have both an physical location in Orlando, FL, as well as an online store.  It was founded in 1990 to meet the unique requirements of scenic artists working in the film industry and theme park projects and have since expanded to include set painters, muralists, faux finish artists, decorative painters, gilders, sign painters and wood finishers as clients.

Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations Kit Winner: Karen Warren

Royal Design Studio

Melanie Royals, owner of Royal Design Studio, is a lover of rich colors and patterns both historic and contemporary.  Royal Design Studio design and manufacture modern wall stencils, furniture stencils, Modello Designs vinyl stencils, stenciling supplies, decorative painting tools and techniques for faux painting in addition to stenciling educational resources for professional decorative painters, interior designers and home decorators.

Autographed Marrakesh by Design & Stencil Surprise Winner: Leigh

~  ~  ~  ~  ~ 

Congratulations to all the Winners and a very special Thank You to all who entered!  Big fireworks of appreciation to our fab Kitchen Week sponsors — please do visit their sites as their products are wonderful.  Winners: In addition to this post, please note that I will be contacting you via the e-mail provided to notify you of your giveaway win and prize.  Please respond by Thursday, August 9, 2012 to claim your prize otherwise another winner will be chosen. You may also contact me at ~  Thank You!

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24 Jul

C Mosaic Tilework

I had quite the time naming this post.  You see, I’m quite enamored with a pattern but I’ve no idea of the technical/proper name for it. I’ve spied it twice again recently.

The pattern I’m crushing on is the interlocking square C’s on the front of this furniture piece.  (Actually, I first featured this image on another post, Graphically Speaking, after spying it in Small Shop Studio. The beautiful space is the C Wonder store in SoHo. We love what we love, I guess.)

Then, here it is again at the Viceroy in Palm Springs. Love those alternating bands of color!

Actually, if you were to widen that shot you’d see it’s a big, beautiful optical illusion of a square.  That Kelly Wearstler — she always brings the unexpected.

I’m not quite sure of the technical term of this pattern — you should have seen me Googling for the right phrase that would lead me to more information.  “Interlocking C Square”, “Optical Illusion C”, “C Mosaic Tilework”, “Optical Illusion in Interior Design”, “C Labyrinth Pattern” and so on and so forth.  Do you know the proper term?  I would much appreciate it if you let me know because then I can stop going crazy thinking up new ways to find it the knowledge would be satisfying.

In the meantime, I found this interesting image of the labyrinth flooring at France’s Amiens Cathedral.  It was really wonderful to be reminded how optical illusions and labyrinths figure beautifully in creating the contemporary patterns we know and love today. That may be a post for another time.  Have a great day, gorgeous ones!

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20 Jul

Kitchen Week: Ashlie Bickford and Kindra Benge

Culled from submitted entries, Kitchen Week focuses on five artists with extraordinary projects.  For the first time ever, each artist and five readers are receiving prizes for their beautiful artworks. Look to the end for today’s sponsor and your chance to win! Our Kitchen Week concludes with yet another old friend of Fauxology, Texas-based Ashlie Bickford and Kindra Benge of Texas’ A Fabulous Finish.  They were previous featured during our Column Week series. Today, they showcase a beautiful traditional kitchen with cabinet refinishing, wonderful metallic faux finishes and stenciling.

This was a wonderful project in Houston, Texas. We did beautiful finishes in the entire home, but the kitchen was one of our favorites.  The walls were lightly textured and painted with a very soft cream tone and then glazed with color and cream.  The breakfast area had a round inset that was also created by layering Modern Masters metallics to coordinate with the groin ceiling.

Wall Glazing and a Layered Metallic Finish on round ceiling inset.

The cabinets were painted a few shades darker than the walls and glazed to create a deeper, richer effect.

Pitch-perfect cabinet refinishing that looks like it was created in a high-end factory!

(above) In addition to the cabinet refinishing, panels were stenciled with Modello Ornamental Panel (OrnPan118) vinyl stencils on the refrigerator to create dramatic interest. (below) The groin over the island was huge and layered with Modern Masters metallics. The bronze and gold tones were woven into each other to create a smooth, rich finish.  The four corner stencil designs were the Modello Ornamental Center pattern (OrnCen193) painted in with Champagne Lusterstone.

~ ~ ~

I hope you’ve enjoyed Ashlie and Kindra’s work.  Please do see their company site, A Fabulous Finish, which is based in The Woodlands in Texas.  Do also keep up with them on their Facebook fan page. There’s some great talent in Texas!  I also do hope you’ve enjoyed Kitchen Week!

For their winning submission for Kitchen Week, Ashlie & Kindra will receive a signed copy of the book Marrakesh by Design and a special stencil surprise from Royal Design Studio.  Would you like to win this prize as well? Scroll right below or click here!

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