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.

Web sourced inspiration

RhinoInk Mural Artist

Woo-Hoo! Website is Done!

I had set up most of my website over Christmas, but not the most important part: the text content.  Without words there is nothing for the web spiders to search.  For each and every painting in my portfolio I added a description, a location and the hours it took to paint.  There was a bit of shuffling around to make the home page just right – nailed it.  One could say a template is just a template, but in reality there is a tone of behind the scenes tinkering.  Anyone who’s ever worked with WordPress will attest to that!

RhinoInk Mural Artist

Project Deposits


It’s not always the client feeling weird about a deposit. Sometimes it’s the artist. Here are some of the scenarios:

THE ARTIST DOESN’T REQUIRE IT BECAUSE THEY ARE DESPERATE FOR THE WORK: If you are desperate for work, than you surely cannot afford to spend time on something that you’ll never get paid for. A deposit weeds out the payers from the non-payers. The people who most likely will never pay you are the ones who won’t give a deposit. The people willing to give a deposit are the ones that are serious. See how this works?!

THE CLIENT REFUSES TO PAY A DEPOSIT: If a client won’t pay a deposit, they just aren’t ready to commit. If that’s the case, than you shouldn’t commit your time to their project.

Don’t get mad. Just let them know that you are happy to start the work after they pay. Tell them to call you when they are ready. Be friendly and professional.

THEY DON’T HAVE THE MONEY: I’ve run into this many times: When I tell someone that they have to pay a deposit, and then they say “Oh, I don’t have the money right now.” This tells me that they may never have it. So I say “When you do, let me know. We are looking forward to working with you.”

YOU FEEL YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU CAN DEMAND A DEPOSIT: If you’ve been at it for less than 2 years you may still have to prove yourself before you can require a 30% – 50% deposit. Maybe the client isn’t sure of your abilities and they are nervous to trust you. In this case, lower the amount you ask for to 20% instead.

YOUR CLIENT IS A HUGE 5 BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY AND THEY TAKE 3 WEEKS TO CUT CHECKS BUT NEED YOU TO FINISH IN 2 WEEKS: I’ve been faced with this scenario a few times. Here’s what I do: I ask the client to write me a personal check and they can bill their company for it later. Some people laugh at that, but the serious ones send me their personal check.

THEY FLAT OUT REFUSE: If they just refuse to pay a deposit, than most likely you’ll never get paid, no matter what you do, because of a lack of commitment on their part. So walk away. You’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time and frustration.

IF YOU’VE BEEN A PROFESSIONAL AT YOUR TRADE FOR OVER FIVE YEARS: You can STOP proving yourself. No one should question you at this point. You have good references that the client can call if they doubt your abilities.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULES: Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. We made an exception when we did a deal with Converse – Drew started the work before we got our deposit. They took 6 weeks to cut us a check. But we have a good relationship with our people there, and I knew they would take care of us. I very rarely make the exception, because of being burned in the past.

Author: Maria Brophy

RhinoInk Mural Artist

10 Murals Facts

1.) Murals are so much more than pretty pictures; they have a much deeper meaning. The artwork in a mural is very well thought out. It is designed to represent a specific community at a specific point in history. It is often designed to make a political and / or social statement. The details in the murals add up to a bigger message.

2.) Murals are not designed by one person; they get input from a whole community. One person might head the project and one artist might even do all of the work but designing a mural usually involves groups of people.

3.) San Francisco has over 1000 murals. There are 200 – 300 murals in the Mission neighbourhood alone. As far as I am able to tell that’s the most number of murals in a single neighbourhood anywhere in the world.

4.) There are many different styles of murals. These styles include cartoons, fine art, mixed media, mosaics, 3d cutouts and graffiti art.

5.) The main difference between graffiti and murals is that people who do murals have permission from the property owner to do them.

6.) Graffiti artists almost never tag on murals. This is because the murals are part of the community and they respect that. Tagging on murals does happen of course but the social message of murals and their ties to the community tend to prevent this problem from happening on a grand scale.

7.) There are three muralists from Mexico who played an important role in bringing murals to the U.S. They were called Los Tres Grandes. They are Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros and Jose Orozco. These are guys to learn more about!

8.) Many murals change over time. They may represent a specific time in history but they decay and are repainted and change a little bit. There’s actually a community mural in the Mission that features a bunch of portraits of people who live in the neighbourhood. It was done in the 1970’s. When it was updated in the 90s there was one man pictured who still lived in the neighbourhood and they changed his image so that he looked the way he did twenty years after the original image was painted.

9.) Murals may be painted indoors or outdoors. They may be big or small.

10.) Murals date back to the caveman era. Some eras have been particularly important in certain areas. For example there were a lot of San Francisco murals made in the 1930s and again in the 1970s. Murals can be found all around the world today.

Author: Kathryn Vercillo

RhinoInk Mural Artist

How Low-VOC Paint Works

Ahhhh. Breathe deeply. Smells good, right? For some people, the smell of a new coat of paint ranks up there with fresh cut grass and gasoline. Maybe cosmetic companies could distill that scent, package it and sell it as perfume. What would they call it? Eau de carcinogen? Parfum de respiratory problems?

On second thought, maybe selling it isn’t such a good idea. Typical household paint contains up to 10,000 chemicals, of which 300 are known toxins and 150 have been linked to cancer. Some of the most harmful chemicals found in paint are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals aren’t something you want to spray on your body or potentially even keep inside your house.

VOCs are unstable, carbon-containing compounds that readily vaporize into the air. When they enter the air, they react with other elements to produce ozone, which causes air pollution and a host of health issues including breathing problems, headache, burning, watery eyes and nausea. Some VOCs also have been linked to cancer, as well as kidney and liver damage.

As paint dries, these harmful VOCs are released into the air at high levels. Indoor VOC levels are routinely 10 times higher than outdoor levels, and up to 1,000 times higher immediately after painting. Although VOC levels are highest during and soon after painting, they continue seeping out for several years. In fact, only 50 percent of the VOCs may be released in the first year.

So perhaps it’s not so hard to believe that paint-related products are one of the worst environmental offenders. They’re the second largest source of VOC emissions into the atmosphere after automobiles, responsible for roughly 11 billion pounds every year. Painters regularly exposed to paint vapours have an increased incidence of several types of cancers, impaired brain function, renal dysfunction and other health problems.

Armed with this information, consumers have begun to demand safer alternatives. Enter low-VOC and no-VOC paints, which are now widely available and sold by most major paint manufacturers.

Author Jennifer Horton