Master Suite Slogan Wall

Always Kiss Me Goodnight

Hours: 8
Location: Oakville

I had a long ways to go and a short time to get there.  After spending almost 2 hours doing nothing but taping, I was exhausted.  Up and down the ladder, dragging it around the room, tearing off bits of tape for impossibly sharp corners and so many electrical face plates (I’m thinking they may be the pop off sort because there were no screws, but I didn’t want to take the chance), I began to feel defeated.  OK, so taping isn’t my favourite activity.  But a good prep yields great results.

Master Suite Wall Texture

There were 5 architectural panels on the walls, making the room look grand.  The trim had been painted a gloss white and the framed spaces were filled in with a brown a few shades darker than the rest of the walls walls.  The darker brown served as my base coat.  For the soft, simplified marble texture (inspired by the second step in another marbling project) I mixed a glaze from the lighter wall colour and sponged in texture with the  barker brown.  The glaze is semi transparent, so the panels are still a wee bit darker, but tied in nicely because there’s no jarring colour changes.

2 larger panels 5’x7′ (35 square feet x 2 = 70 square feet) and 3 smaller panels 2.5’x7 (17.5 square feet x 3 = 52.5 square feet)… That’s a tonne of wall space!  And to keep it consistent from one corner to the next… never mind the whole room!  Yeah, I panicked a bit.

Master Suite Texture Before

I started with the large panel behind the bed.  “This will give me a good idea about how long all the panels will take.  I know this technique goes fast, but there’s just so much!” I confided with the home owner.  40 minutes.  That’s it?  40 minutes for the big panels, 20 for the small… I had the whole room texturized in 2.5 hours.  Whew!  No where near as daunting as I thought it would be.  Still, the lettering would take time and I would need a steady hand for it.  Get a good nights rest and comeback fresh the next day.

Master Suite Slogan

Hours: 3.5 just for the text.

It looks simple enough, right?  But I’m not a calligrapher with years and years of practice doing nothing but decorative writing. There are actually a lot of steps that go into custom lettering.

First, I would need a template, which I created in Illustrator using a decorative font and then manipulating it with the kind of line work I wanted, like the heart shaped flourishes on the “Always”. This was printed out actual size on multiple sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper (I know right?  doesn’t every artist have their own large format printer?) and then taped together.

Secondly, now I need to transfer it to the wall.  On location I covered the back with coloured chalk then positioned it so that it was centred on the wall, floating comfortably above the high headboard.  I used a pencil with a hard point to trace it and ensure that I pressed enough chalk to the wall that it would be readable for me.

Step three: painting.  I filled it in with a light base coat using the leftover glaze from the texturing – again it’s semi transparent so, silly me, it needed at least 2 coats; quick sloppy coats seeings as it matched the faux texture and would be covered up anyway. I then applied 2 coats of gold metallic paint.  It too is a semi-transparent medium, so to avoid the appearance of too many brush marks… Normally I would like the brush marks, but because this was over texture, it needed to be more consistent.  Finally, I edged the text here and there with a fine chocolate brown line like a drop shadow.  It anchored the gold and made the whole thing easier to read.

Gold is a funny colour because it shifts in the light as you move around the room.  I some places it seems to disappear into the texture, but then take a step to the right and it’s completely lit up – a rather nice effect for a dreamy sentiment.  The home owner actually hand a black, store bought wall decal of this slogan, but with all the other hand painted details in her home, she thought the sticker would look cheep.  Good call!

Wow!! It looks amazing! I LOVE IT!!! You’re the best! Thank you sooooooo much! It looks a million times better than I expected!!! (5 love emojies)” – Rosaria

Faux Marble Pillars in Dining Room

Faux Marble Pillars in Dining Room

Hours: 8
Location: Oakville

In this client’s home there are two pillars that flank an arched entrance way that separates the dining room from the main hall. The pillars are decorative metal coverings for load bearing posts in a mostly open concept home. At 8′ tall, they go floor to ceiling, about 3″ away from neighbouring walls and are roughly 12″ in diameter, with a 15″ cap and base.

Faux Marble Pillars Texture

The pillars started out stark white – not a bad look, considering all the white trim in the home, but the home owner wanted a softer, more interesting look. To achieve the impression of marble applied several layers and painting techniques.

Layer one was a beige a couple shades darker than the champagne beige of the rest of the walls. It was brushed on loosely with lots of sloppy brush marks.

For step two I used the same beige, but then randomly sponged coffee brown into the wet paint, sometimes blending with the sponge, sometimes dragging my brush through the darker colour to soften and lighten it. The home owner loved the look at this stage ten though for marble, it was incomplete. We’ll be filling some architectural panels in her bedroom with this texture at t a later date.

Faux Marble Pillars

Step three was to lighten the pillars again, using the lighter wall colour of the room. I mixed it half and half with glaze, brushed it over the the darker beiges then pressed sheets of plastic over it, making sure there lots of wrinkles for and interesting large crackle texture where portions of the dark showed through the broken colour layer.

Initially I intended to leave the cap and bace of the pillars bright white to coordinate with the rest of the home’s baseboards and crown moulding, but the home owner vetoed that idea. She wanted them to look like they were made of marble top to bottom.  The client is always right.

When you are on the main floor, you can’t see it, but there’s an awkward 2″ space at the top and the bottom of the pillars. Applying the texture to these gaps would have made a terrible mess of the floor and ceiling. Painting them white wouldn’t feel comfortable because the gaps were so much smaller than the surrounding white details of the room. I opted to paint them dark coffee brown, a colour I picked up from some of the rooms furniture. The dark bands look great when coming down the main stair case or coming up from the basement. Eventually someone would have noticed the ragged edges and pointed out the pointed out the mess. That would have been embarrassing!

Step four was to decorate the rough mess with marble / granite like details. For a bit of glam I sprayed mirror silver spray paint into a baggy out side on the street (I wouldn’t want to smell up the client’s home with aerosol. Using a goose feather, I dragged veins over the the pillars, not too many but constantly all around. Using a toothbrush I flicked a fine random mist over the pillars. When you are right close to the pillars you can see the tiny dots of paint but it doesn’t look like in-your-face silver. It was a bit of a gamble going for silver bling on a conservative light beige. It was worth it. The home owners has a lot of sparkle in her home, including a 3′ round / 3′ high crystal chandelier that casts shimmering soft light on the pillars. I also used the toothbrush to flick a coffee brown mist of tiny dots over the pillars to balance the shine with a stone feel. Finally, back to the feather – I dragged white marble veins over the pillars close to and occasionally overlapping the sliver veins resulting in a more natural look with more depth.

Finally, a layer of diamond hard, gloss clear coat for a protection, easy cleaning and to make it look more like polished marble.

Sleepy Winnie and Friends Close-up

Sleepy Winnie

Hours: 12
Location: Oakville

I’m very happy with this painting, as is the home owner.  I had estimated about 4 hours for the project based on the simple illustration she had shown me, but then we added piglet to the composition.  When that happened she decided, since there were now 3 characters, there should be more!  She found a picture of Owl with a balloon online and I added Roo and Eeyore with balloons too.  We put piglet in a blue onesy because the baby is a boy.  I like to keep colour pallets simple and tied together so that the whole room has unity, therefore the balloons are reflective of the main mural: yellow like Pooh, red like his shirt and blue like piglets outfit.

Sleepy Winnie and Friends Close-up

Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet snoozing on a cloud under the stars and moon. This painting was rendered over the baby’s crib in a soft grey nursery. Just this wall took about 7.5 hours. The drawing probably took an hour: 15 minutes per character, and another 15 for the cloud, moon and star details. The Painting took about 5.5 hours and an hour for the line work. I intentionally make the lines wibbely-wobbely so there is more of a hand-painted feeling. A perfectly crisp line is near impossible to render, and even if I did the smallest imperfection would show up. That and if the owner wanted perfection – no brush marks / no line breaks, I’d suggest they buy stickers instead. This home owner agrees. She loves the authenticity of original wall art.

Sleepy Winnie, Friends Close-up

Here is a close-up of Owl, Eeyore and Roo.  At roughly 3′ tall including the balloon and trailing string, individually each of these characters took about an hour and a half to paint: 15 minutes for the drawing, an hour to paint and another 15 minutes to outline.

Industrial Building Crane

Tonka Truck and Crane Room

Hours: 11 hours
Location: King City

This room is super cute with it’s “Tonka Truck” theme on one wall and a floor to ceiling construction crane on the opposite wall.  The crane’s arm reaches across the wall to suspend two “book shelves”.  For now the shelves are just painted on because they hover above the change table and would interfere with Mommy/Daddy activities.

Shown below is an image the homeowners found online that inspired this room, a white, vinyl sticker wall application that was applied to a dark blue wall.  They had already purchased a rug with a construction zone theme, so that’s where I drew my colour pallet from: soft buttery yellows, light greys, splashes of orange and black accents.

The trucks include a cement mixer, a dozer, an excavator and a dump truck; all in a row above where the crib.  The pylon and work signs are a few floating elements, randomly placed around the room to tie it all together.

Big Trucks Heavy Equipment

I love it when down the road home owners are still thinking of me and the fabulous job I did for them.  They very often recommend me, singing my praises and enthusiastically try to get their friends and family to buy a mural of their own.  That makes me feel real great, not just because of the referral thing which is good for business, but because they are so moved!  Original, custom art makes people very happy.

Too often when I’m working it’s in an empty shell of a room after having discussed what furniture will be brought in and its placement.  A floating mural thing can look odd in an empty room.  Even Photoshopping furniture into  my images… it just doesn’t look natural, so I tend not to.  I love when clients send me photos after their rooms after they’ve been staged.

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