Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Make it Greeeennnaaahhhh!

    This post I'm naming "Make It greener" because Art in it's truest sense is totally subjective. When Whistler wrote the book "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies," (hehehe) he argued that art is not about right or wrong, nor good or bad. Art is subjective. Art is essentially about what you like or dislike. You say you like pink. I say I like blue or green or whatever. But Whistler's arguement was not about whether you liked "his" art or not. Just don't call it good or bad. It isn't about morality... it's about personal taste and preference. 
     You might like sunrises but I like sunsets. If you like it, well, it's ART to you. I never understood how a guy could get rich painting with sand and letting waves wash over his canvas and birds trample on it, but I can see that to him and others that it is ART. It is a style of ART. Today, I can imagine doing art while sitting on the beach and just wish a bird, a crab, a turtle would walk on it. lol  Today, I'm afraid oil is going to wash over it instead.
    So basically, I started this mural 2 months ago and suddenly there was a committee of 6 people trying to tell me what the mural should look like. How am I supposed to paint a mural and make 6 different people that view ART 6 different ways happy? What am I really to do. So I started with the basics. I knew that the wall itself needed to be painted a color so I painted it purple. I chose purple because I knew the owner of the motel, the one paying me, likes purple. Then I left for a month.
      After giving the owner some time to think. While attempting to block out the choir of people singing the mural tune, I started making suggestions, showing pictures, listening, until I came up with a simple mural idea that seemed to make the owner happy. I could feel it in my gut that it was right. I even had a picture. Then as an artist, I had to make a decision to just block out the committee and go for what I believed to be right. In doing so, I had to pick a style and also make it work in a tight budget, I picked a simple block style, almost like paper cutouts or graphics on a computer, with a few added stylized touches. So here it is from start to finish. I even had a blond female hang her head out her old black Cadillac Convertible and wave an arm and give a Whoohoo! I love it!
     I was in mural heaven! To me it is very simple. But in the end, it was just right!

    The basic idea is at the bottom of the page. It was 2 palm trees and a hammock that was stitched into a bedspread at the hotel. Very beachy and simple. It was all done freehand with no measuring tape.

I started with the tree trunks. I used a red and mixed in some black pigment. The other colors I picked from the oops pile of paints at the paint store. I knew I could mix up any color with lights and darks and a few raw pigments if necessary. They just needed to be exterior paint

     The next step I added the stylized palm leaves. The green I picked was a lighter green because I knew the owner didn't like dark colors. It did not stand out enough from the street, so I added a dark shadow line underneath and later a lighter line on top that in natural light would reflect sunlight. Then I added a light colored hammock and added shadow lines and lighter lines that reflect the sun on it as well, giving the hammock depth. In the end, I believe everybody was happy with the mural, especially the owner. I can always add a few more things later if I choose, a few birds or some seagrass, but for now it is done.


Finished Mural - A boring Wall Now Beachy and Fun

picture used for inspiration - Mural by Tom Talbert - Spring 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Old Abandoned Military Watch Tower at Sunset Topsail Island NC

   I thought this old Military watch tower was really interesting and enjoyed photographing it. It isn't necessarily faux painting but to me photography is art, and that is what this blog is about. This abandoned building is a bit sobering, reminding us of history and sadly our throwaway society. I hope you will appreciate it for it's antique qualities. If you were looking to create a mossy look or water marks with paint, this building definitely is a good example. I just like cool old unusual buildings and objects de Art. I hope you enjoy the Flickr Slideshow:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jesus Sacred Heart Italian Paperwork Restoration

This Catholic icon came from Florence, Italy and did not have a frame and was falling apart and completely molded. After at least 7 days of restoratoin and a new frame built, stained and glass added, I'd call this piece restored. Please watch the slideshow to see how it was taken apart, cleaned and then put back together. Questions and comments welcome. This is art restoration. Please watch the slideshow:


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Using Silver Gold and Copper Metal leaf

     Silver, Gold and Copper leafing is a very easy process once you know some of the basics. I would consider the leafing technique an art or a faux finishing technique. In years past, real gold was pressed into thin sheets and applied over an object for a permanent gold effect. Today composite leaf is made using various metals, which makes the leaf more affordable but the leaf also oxidizes or tarnishes. Any water-based or acrylic product with ammonia will oxidize the modern metals. If you want a permanent gold that doesn't tarnish or oxidize, you must use real gold leaf. It can be purchased for about $1 for 4inch x 4inch piece.
       Leaf is normally used on picture frames or ornamental Objects de Art. The gold you see on domes on government buildings outside is the real gold leaf because it doesn't oxidize in the weather. During the Renaissance, real gold was used because there wasn't another option. Normally ornamental pieces of wood were sanded and then a gesso(liquid ground marble) was applied over the object and then sanded to create a smooth effect. Then, depending on the leaf, a yellow or black(silver) or red(gold and copper) base color was applied over the gesso. Afterward, a glue-type product - size - was then applied over top of the entire object wherever the leaf will be applied. Once the size dries, it will remain tacky for a few days so that the leaf will stick to the size. With the modern day leafs, often a clear coat of an oil varnish must be applied to keep the leaf from aging or oxidizing.
    Today, the leafing technique doesn't have to be so complex. Here I simply applied the Mona Lisa Size that I purchased from a craft store, let the size dry overnight, then applied the silver leaf. The trick is keeping your hands dry. If your hands are sweaty. lol You might want to use a baby powder to keep them dry. Some people use a brush to tap the leaf down and in some situations, like leafing an entire ceiling, you should use a brush to place the leaf. But if you are just trying to create a quick effect on an old mirror and you don't have a huge budget, The mirror can be sanded so the size sticks well. Let size dry, Then apply the leaf. I didn't want the leaf to have a block-type pattern, so I applied the leaf in a irregular pattern. Once leaf was applied, I just pushed it down on the frame with a soft cloth and then burnished - rubbed hard - the leaf down until smooth. Then I applied a oil varnish to keep the metal from aging.
     Job was done with a reasonable budget and client was happy and old frame was turned into a modern frame. A water-based Mona Lisa Size was used with a composite metal silver leaf.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Faux Woodgraining a Front Door

     I intend to try to seperate painting and faux finishing into 2 seperate categories: Not that painting is not also an art... faux painting goes back to the 1500s, hence it is art. Faux is the French word for false. Therefore, when you are using a Faux technique, you are trying to create an illusion of something real. The true Faux techniques are used with Marblizing & Stone, Woodgraining and trompd'oiel (to fool or trick the eye.) I believe gold, silver and copper leafing is also considered faux.
     During the Renaissance, faux techniques were used in places where it wasn't realistic to have the real marble or wood: curved moldings or 40 foot tall columns were good examples of areas perfect for faux techniques. Today the term faux is used generally for some sort of decorative painting; it isn't always a true faux technique but some application on a surface to create something of beauty. There are faux (decorative)techniques where one should use a professional & there are faux (decorative) techniques that one can do-it-yourself. I will try to show you both, leaning more toward do-it-yourself but showing off a little of my art as well. This blog post is a little bit of DIY and a little of my art.

Here are the basic steps again:
1. prep work: sanding, priming, filling holes or repairing damaged areas with wood filler or sometimes drywall mud(spackle) or Chalk

2. Painting a base coat

3. Applying Faux Technique

4. Clear Coats of Varnish: Often but not always apply 1 or 2 clear coats of varnish for protection. Sometimes a wax is also added for extra protection.
     In this situation, the homeowner decided that her front door was beyond the point of stripping and staining, and she had purchased a pine storm door that she wanted to make match the existing door. We discussed several faux woodgraining techniques and colors and came up with a faux mahogany finish that was not too dark but a medium warm tone.
These are the doors before we started the project:

1. prep work: Both doors were sanded with 220 grit sandpaper and both required a primer, which allows all the other paint to stick properly.  The storm door wasn't damaged like the older door and didn't require much repair work. I like to prime my surfaces first because it helps wood filler and caulk to stick properly and then I prime the surface again before I base coat:

     The prep work is my least favorite part of the job, but if not done properly, the finished product will not last and the project looks sloppy. I spend whatever amount of time and energy to prepare the surface for the paint and allow all the necessary dry times required for each product. Dry times are listed on the products labels. With wood, I like to use nonshrinking woodfiller and not caulk because caulk will eventually crack and pop loose. Here I used a Minwax wood filler but Elmers makes a great wood filler as well. And if you are fast and can smooth your wood filler out efficiently and with quality, automoble bondo is the very best and I would recommend bondo for high moisture areas like at the beach and on lakefront property.  
     On this job I had a supervisor named Tucker and he made sure I didn't skip any essential steps.

Once the prep was finished, it was time to paint a base coat. Whenever possible, I try to use acrylic paints: the base coat for this job was a golden tan color.

Now I am ready for my faux woodgraining technique. With this project, I did a two part technique: The first technique was a stipple graining, and then I applied a mahogony grain on top. I had to let the first step dry for a day or overnight and then apply the second. Tucker wasn't sure what to think about me at first but he later was a good friend once he realized I was doing the job the right way, making his adopted Mom and Dad happy. 

The stipple woodgrain:

The next Coat is the Mahogany Woodgrain with 2 coats of an exterior Oil Varnish to add protection:

     I like to use Sherwin-Williams Wood Classics Stains, mixed with several other products to create a beautiful, long-lasting Faux Woodgrain, that holds up even in direct sunlight. By the end of the project Tucker was my friend and the clients had some great things to say as well!

    "Tom was so patient as I tried to communicate the look that I was trying to achieve on my doors. The color and woodgrain were better than I could have imagined. Job well done!!"
S. Jones Greensboro, NC

You can see other examples of my woodgraining @ http://www.fauxpaintingsystems.com/

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Faux Finish Table legs to look like Bamboo

With Faux finishing, There are a few basic steps to remember that will be repeated over and over again but with different colors and techniques: First there is the

1. prep work: sanding, priming, filling holes or repairing damaged areas with wood filler or sometimes drywall mud(spackle) or Chalk

2. Painting a base coat

3. Applying Faux Technique

4. Clear Coats of Varnish: Often but not always apply 1 or 2 clear coats of varnish for protection
     A few pictures are worth a thousand words: Someone painted this card table green and the client wanted it to look like bamboo, so 1st I prepped it for painting by sanding and cleaning anything oily or waxy off the surface to make sure that paint will stick properly. Sometimes I will wipe the surface with paint thinner or naptha to be certain any waxy residue is removed, but sanding is normally enough. Then, wipe all the dust from sanding off.

With this table, I just used a Rustoleum golden yellow spray 2. paint as a basecoat.
3rd Apply a Faux finishing technique. I used a Sherwin-Williams Wood Classics brown stain/glaze and applied it with 1 brush and dragged a 2nd brush threw the finish to create a streaky look.

While there wasn't enough highlights in the joints of the bamboo, I decided to add some black glaze to the joints and give the legs a more distinct look. Again I used 1 brush to apply the glaze and a 2nd brush to drag threw the glaze to give it a streaky look.  I finished the table by adding 1 clear coat of a oil varnish to add protection.

The finished table. The client was very happy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Staining an older Weathered Beach Deck

Most every person who owns a house, has a deck or some small porch that is made of wood. Some wood is newer and easier to maintain, some wood, like this beach decking at a motel, is very old and weathered by intense sun, salty air, wind, rain and sand. Wildew is also an issue with beach decks or decks that are around lakes. For this reason, we used an acrylic solid deck stain and added a mildewproofing product. The mildewproofing product is about $4 and helps keep the mildew off the stain.

     The hardest part of this job was having to spray an exterior clorox bleach product to kill all the existing mildew. Basically you have to buy a pump sprayer from your local Home Depot, Lowes or some other home improvement store. It is the same type of pump sprayer used for liquid fertilizer. All you need is a 2 gallon pump sprayer, nothing fancy. Mine cost less than $20. I mix my outdoor clorox bleach 1 part bleach to 4-5 parts water. This formula keeps your hands from getting burned and also doesn't hurt your plants. Expect to mess up the clothes you are wearing, so wear some old raggedy clothes you don't care about. I would also wear old shoes and a hat that you don't care about because the bleach will mess shoes and hat up too. I now have a designer looking baseball cap.  If you use gloves, make sure the bleach isn't runnung back into the gloves. This will burn you. Try to clean the deck on a day that it isn't windy. If you get the bleach on you, go rinse it off quickly. Once you have sprayed an area down with the bleach, let sit for 10-20 minutes and then rinse off with a garden hose. It is that simple.
     However, if your deck is coated with a weather sealer, it is most likely a wax product and you will have to hire someone to pressure wash your deck for you or scrub clean it with a cleaning product. If your deck beads up with water when it rains, it most likely has a wax sealer on it. There is a Sherwin-Williams downloadable instruction brochure link below.
     You will need to allow the deck time to dry. This depends on conditions. If hot and or windy, it should dry in a day or 2. Once dry, I used a latex brush and trimmed out the outside edges up against the wall or steps that I couldn't easily reach with a roller. After trimming out, I just rolled the middle area. I applied 2 coats for and even finish. If you use a roller pole to roll on the stain, it is a little easier on your back, but I had to get on my hands and knees to trim it out. If you have a project like this, don't be afraid to ask questions at your local paint store or home improvement store. They are professionals and they are there to help you get your job done the right way.  

We choose the Color Juniper Blue because it was very similar to the existing color that had been on the deck. We also choose an acrylic solid stain because of all the defects(mostly old paint spatters of white yellow pink and purple) Plus the acrylic stain should add more durability and mildew less than oil stain. Deckscapes from Sherwin-Williams only comes in flat but does have a very subtle sheen. It also only comes in stock colors. It is not slippery to walk on even when wet. I will have to get a photo of the stock colors and add the list as soon as I can. I included a downloadable adobe acrobat instructional brochure from Sherwin-Williams but they did not include color chips.