“How To….” Painted Wall Patterns

August 24, 2009

My latest decorative painting client in Atlanta wanted a room to be painted in a fun way for her 6 year old daughter to use as a playroom.  The room was 16 ft x 10 ft with a 7 foot ceiling, so it was a good size.  There were no windows, so the colors would have to be bright and light at the same time.

Payroom before

Payroom before

The client had a picture from a magazine which showed a painted wall pattern in soft pastel colors.  She loved the patterns and also loved the purple ceiling.

I got to work choosing the purple first.  This can be tricky as purple is made up, as you know, of red and blue.  The more red, the warmer the color, which tends to “close” spaces in.  The more blue, the more open the space looks. (in fact, the industrial designers here in Atlanta, Georgia have started painting all the business and office ceilings a pale sky blue) You also want to avoid the “grape kool-aid” look.

I found a shade of purple from the Eddie Bauer collection which was perfect called “Hyacinth”.  Then I chose the rest of the colors based on that.

Pinks: Laura Ashley “Rosey” and “Raspberry”

Greens: Laura Ashley “Forest 6” and “Moss 3”

I also would make custom colors that I mixed using these colors.

After making a sample board for the client, and making sure she approved my ideas, I got to work.

I started on the wall that I was copying from the magazine first.  This consisted of an upper part with flowers, a middle checked area, and a bottom with a criss cross pattern.

The first thing I did was to tape out the areas. I would need to paint the top and bottom first, then  add the middle.

To paint the top, I cut large flower patterns onto basic brown wrapping paper and arranged them on the wall.  Then I painted a soft color wash over them using the “Moss 3” mixed 1:1 with water based Aquaglaze. This was brushed in a random squiggle pattern and gone over with a dry cheesecloth as if you are washing the wall.

after colorwash remove the flower patterns

after colorwash remove the flower patterns

Then I went over the flowers using first the lighter “Rosey” mixed 1:1 with glaze. I brushed it on and then “painted” the shape with a dry cheesecloth creating lights and darks and making a nice pastel pattern. I then went over it with the darker “raspberry” color full strength outlining it and adding some diemsion. The leaves were added using the “moss”.

detail of painted flower

detail of painted flower

The next thing was to make the criss cross pattern. there are many ways to do this using a level and tape measure.  Basically the pattern originates from equal spaces on the top and bottom of the area.  If you mark these spaces, equally staggered and then join the lines, these lines will intersect evenly.

The way I measured this out was to use a laser level.  if you do a lot of decorative painting, or even if you just hang pictures occasionally, I strongly recommend buying a laser level.  I have a basic hand-held one, but there are many types in all price ranges.  I used a tape measure to mark equal spaces on the upper row. Then holding my level in the 90 degree locked position, I traced the lines as I held the level at these marks along the top.  Once I had the first set of intersecting lines, I drew a level line all the way across and made sure all the intersecting lines were level.  That way all the lines would be at the correct angles.

Laser is in the 90 degree locked postion

Laser is in the 90 degree locked postion

Once I drew out all the lines, I went over them with the “forest 6” mixed 1:1 with the glaze. I painted straight down the line, and then went back over it with a dry cheesecloth.

The middle section was divided into 3 equal parts.  Then vertical lines were added that were the same size as the horizontal sections to create squares.  The squares were painted with basic pre-mixed black acrylic wall paint.  They were painted leaving some areas opaque giving it a free-form look.

The finished wall pattern

The finished wall pattern

Using the same painting technique tied all the different patterns together.

I then created a pattern that was in keeping with the style of the first wall.  I used the same colors and painting style

coordinating wall pattern

coordinating wall pattern

The back wall was created from a single pattern that was traced onto a transparency in different sizes.  I then used an overhead projector to see how all the patterns would look together. Once I had a design, I traced it onto the wall and painted over it using an artists brush and standard black acrylic paint.

I found this pattern to use on the back wall

I found this pattern to use on the back wall

By using different parts of the pattern and turning it different ways, I was able to create a fun and fluid pattern to draw you attention to the front of the room, which is where the play stage was constructed.

Here’s the final look:

Playroom before

Playroom before

painted playroom after

painted playroom after

right side before

right side before

After I painted the patterns

After I painted the patterns

ceiling corner before

ceiling corner before

A painted "Free-form" scroll highlights the corners

A painted "Free-form" scroll highlights the corners

Please call me at (678) 463-6648 for a free consultation.  I would love to transform an area in your home or business into something spectacular

Visit my web site


Atlanta Artist Honors Mothers

August 19, 2009

Here is my latest painting.

Moden Madonna

Moden Madonna

I painted it to honor the institution of “Motherhood”. We all know how a mother’s love can be seen in the simplest of places. This mom is probably not rich, but her baby is clean, fat, and his hair is neatly trimmed. I’ve shown her carrying her baby up a hill. (mother’s will be able to relate to this metaphor!)

I also wanted to show the softness of the mom and baby against the sharp coldness of the world.

If you live near Marietta Georgia, please come by Marietta Square on Friday September 4 from 6pm – 9pm for the “First Friday Art Walk”. You will be able to see this as well as my other work and see samples of my furniture and wall designs.

Please visit my web site for more painting ideas

How to Paint Cabinets Using Milk Paint

August 13, 2009

Here’s a great video I just produced showing how to use Milk Paint. Milk Paint is great for those who want a natural product as it is zero VOC, and very safe for children. This paint can be mixed and there are many different ways you can use it to achieve different looks.

Here is a list of things you will need:

1. SAfepaint primer
2. chip brush or other paintbrush
3. foam roller
4. milk paint in choice color
5. water
6. mixing containers (I use Gladware)
7. gloves
8. drop cloth
9. medium grit and fine grit sanding block

Let me know what you think of the video as I plan to make more

Thanks and please visit my web site for more information.

Painted Furniture Challenge

August 12, 2009

Painting furniture is always fun for me. I get to transform one piece of furniture into something totally new.

My last client was a sweet lady who was expecting her only grandchild to visit her during Christmas.  She wanted to decorate the “baby’s room” specially.  She had a crib that was blue and a chest of drawers that was yellow.

yellow chest of drawresblue crib

She also had an interesting old cabinet that she loved.  It had been previously painted by someone else and she found it at an antique store.  She loved the “folk art” style and colors of this piece and asked me if I could match the other two pieces to it.


This is the orignal cabinet design that the client wanted me to copy

I sketched out a few designs with color and placement, and the client had some ideas of her own as well. I love the challenge of trying to figure out what paints were used, and trying to mix up just the right shades and techniques.

After some close scrutiny,it appeared that this person painted the “frames” on the doors one color, then changed their mind and painted over with the light teal that you see. This created another color entirely.  So, I then had to re-create the mistake, so the colors would match.

The client also wanted the crib to be painted with all natural products since the baby would be exposed to it.  Luckily, I offer many natural paint products as health is very important to me.  I would have suggested non toxic paint for the crib in any case.

I ended up using AFM Safepaint transitional primer, then a mixture of milkpaint and acrylic.  I sealed it with a milkpaint product called Clear Coat that is recommended for children’s toys.

Here is a shot of the tops and sides of the existing cabinet and the chest that I re-painted:

chest of drawers painted

Existing cabinet on the right, with my copy on the left

When everything was put into the room, they all blended nicely.

painted cabinetspainted cribThe client was thrilled with the result.painted furniture

The products worked very well together and I was able to mix the colors to obtain and exact match.

Please visit my web site for more furniture ideas!

Suggestions for a Good Art/Craft Show

August 9, 2009

Being a faux artist and decorative painter in Marietta Georgia, I was honored to be a part of the “First Friday Art Walk”.  This is an event that combines, art, music, good food, and fun times.  Artists show their work around Marietta Square along with street musicians, and demonstrations.  The Friday that I displayed my work, there was a glass blowing demonstration.

I was told there was a cancellation, and I could be a part of this great  event.  However, I only had 5 days to get ready!!!This was my first experience with “showing” my work in a tent/fair atmosphere, so there was a lot to do! It was very fun, but also very exhausting!

There was a lot I learned from my own pictures of me and my tent set up and a lot I learned from other exhibitors.

Art Walk Marietta Square 2009

Art Walk Marietta Square 2009

First and foremost:  Consider the weather.

95 degrees in the shade + 2 hours of hard work to set up = one smelly sweaty artist!

By the time I was finished setting up, it was time to greet people and talk with them about my business etc. I was dripping wet with sweat, and I looked worn out and red faced! I was trying to interact with people without letting them get a whiff of me!

Also, I set up to get some work done on my current painting, but it was so hot that the paints were not setting up properly.  people really enjoyed watching me though, and I will probably set up my easel again even if I am not painting.   People liked seeing the process, and I liked talking with them about it.

I had also painted some small portable murals for people to see and buy, but the wax that I use for adhesive was melting in the sun!

My current painting "Modern Madonna"

My current painting "Modern Madonna"

Next time: I will set up as early as possible and then bring a change of clothes and some make up. I will also dress in more color to be more attractive ( my artist friend Carlos told me dressing in red will attract people)

Secondly: Have something in the booth that will draw people into the tent.

I had things arranged on the walls of the tent, but the things I had were not “attractive” in the way that would make you notice them.

Marietta Mural & Decorative Design's booth

Marietta Mural & Decorative Design's booth

Next time: I am planning on painting a large colorful mural on canvas to hang in the back of the tent.  That way, when people see it, they may see something else in the tent that they didn’t notice before.

Third: Use the space that you have to the maximum

I was lucky enough to have a corner space right in front of the main table near the Visitor’s Center.  I didn’t have anything on the outside of the tent or on the corners that people could look at.  I just had things inside the tent.

Also, I had my banner for my business on the corner of the tent, and there was another artist next to me, so half of it was blocked (the other artist was lat, so I thought it would be clear).

Corner of booth

Corner of booth

Next time: I am planning on getting some grid panels to place in an “L” shape on the outside corner of the tent. I will hang lots of colorful things on the outside of this structure so people will have to see them when they go to the main table. That may draw them into my tent.  My banner will be up top and laid out in a straight line above my work.

I am also planning to paint small portable murals to show and sell. Hopefully, it won’t be so hot!

Luckily, I will get two more chances to change things as I am exhibiting Sept 4 and October 2 as well.   I should be finished with the current painting and I will have a lot more to show-more cabinet finishes, more wall designs, and more techniques.

Please come by and say “hi”!

For ideas on mural designs please go to Marietta Mural & Decorative Design or contct me at (678) 463-6648

Art For a Good Cause

July 22, 2009

Being an artist in Atlanta, I was asked to participate in an art benefit for Soulshine. I could not think of a better cause to help than this wonderful program.  Any program that helps kids in the way that this one does deserves  all our help.

The benefit was an art auction with some of Georgia’s most talented artists.  I was honored to be among them.

Here I am in front of my two pieces

Here I am in front of my two pieces

The event was able to raise some well needed funds and we all had fun doing it.  There was great food, belly dancers, and exciting diverse artwork.  Among those showing their work was Carlos Solis.  Carlos paints surreal images that challenge the imagination.  His work is always fun and interesting.

Oil on Canvas by Carlos Solis

Oil on Canvas by Carlos Solis

Please visit his web site to see all of Carlos’s work.

Please e-mail me or visit my web site to see interesting ideas for your furniture or walls.

Is “Faux” the new “F” word?

July 18, 2009

Please call me a decorative painter!

The word “faux” doesn’t mean today what they meant 10 or 15 years ago.  Faux painting (pronounced “foe”) literally means “fake” in French.  Faux painting in the 1990’s meant using rags and sponges to layer paint in such a way to create texture when there was none.  Usually two or three colors were used at the most, and the only product used was a glaze that was mixed with the paint so the technique would work.

To some, faux painting is outdated.  However, recent developments with faux finishing products has breathed new life into this industry.

Today, faux can mean texture, color, sheen and design working together to create an amazing look on walls, ceilings or furniture.  Often many different products are used to create this look.  With the products available today, there are many new and exciting techniques that can enhance or highlight ones decor.

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This is one example of the new products that can be used to create a raised texture. This decorated area started out as flat finished cherry wood.   A stencil was used to create the flower design and the area was treated with various products to replicate a pewter look.  Metallic gold finished the area.

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Here is another angle.

There are many new products  that allow better adhesion to slick surfaces making it possible to paint virtually any surface including kitchen sinks!  Take, for example, some ugly green plastic tiles that were part of an outdated kitchen. The plastic tiles were painted and made to look like stainless steel tiles giving the kitchen a hip, modern functional look for just a few dollars.

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Many of my clients are amazed to find out that anything can be painted.  I am currently working on a project that includes painting a wine rack to look like aged copper patina.

So when you hear the word “faux” don’t think “rags”….think “riches”!

Please visit my web site for more ideas and info, or e-mail me for a free consultation.

A Faux Wood Inlay Painting Project

July 14, 2009

Painted furniture  is something I love to do. There are endless options and often you can completely transform a piece using just paint.

Other times, paint adds that certain detail that the furniture lacks.  Such was the case with my latest client.  A dealer of fine imported wood furniture, he had a table base copied for a client using a picture that the client had found in a magazine.  The style, type of wood, and coloring were matched completely.  However, when the client went to pick up the piece they were not happy.  Small inlay circles–dots really, had been omitted from the design.  To anyone else, this would seem insignificant, but to this client , it was what she loved about the design.

It would have taken several weeks and several thousand dollars to make another table base—that’s where I came in.

I was called to see if I could replicate the wood inlay and add the dots in between the flowers to look like it was made that way.

Wood inlay from the manufacturer

Wood inlay from the manufacturer

When painted wood, it’s important to remember that wood is made up of layers and layers or fibers and colors. Since the area that was to be paintedwas so small, I decided to use 3 colors with 3 or 4 layers.

The first thing I did was to measure the distance between the flowers to get the right size for the circle. Once that was determined, I had a sign shop make up 60  circles on adhesive backing for me to use as stencils and placement.

I peeled the dots off the backing and placed them where I wanted them.  Then I put the holes over the dots and removed the dots from the holes.

Placment of the stencil stickers

Placment of the stencil stickers

picking out the center of the stencil

picking out the center of the stencil

I  used my picking tool to roughen the centers of the circles taking care not to mar them in any way.

The first step is the base coat. When I look at the flowers, I see a lot of yellow. I used a cream Safe Coat primer base and added yellow ochre, and van dyke brown. I toned it down with a very small amount of burnt sienna. I used a mixture of Faux Creme Colors and Van Gogh acrylics with the primer.

I then mixed french red, burnt sienna, and bright yellow to get that orange/brown tone that I saw in the wood. that color was mixed with Aquacreme to give durability and extend open wet time. That gave me more time to work with the glazes as I manipulated them on the wood.

The second color was sky blue, yellow ochre, and french red mixed with van dyke brown. That gave me the darker brown shade I saw in the wood tone.

After the base coat was dry, I applied these two colors by applying, then wiping off with a q-tip. I did this several times until I achieved the look that matched the wood.

Once that was let to set for 24 hours, I mixed van dyke brown and black to get the color of the outlining of the inlay. This I applied with a fine #0 natural brush. I removed the stencil right away.

Painted wood inlay

Painted wood inlay

I finished with a stencil just a bit bigger than the one I used for the stencil and placed that over the circles one by one and applied a very light touch of Gloss polyurethane. This gave the circles a matching finish and also a bit of a top coat for durability (although this design is still delicate).

The proper way to finish this would be to give the whole area of the table leg a spray with the same gloss polyurethane that was used on the rest of the base.

The furniture company was very happy, as was the client.

Please visit my web site or call me at (678) 463-6648 or e-mail me for a free consultation.

Adding Detail to Older Furniture

July 3, 2009

As a decorative painter, it’s no surprise that I would paint anything (and sometimes everything!) but in certain situations, less is more.

I was presented with an old chair that a client gave to me to “add some detail” to.  This is a wonderful chair that looks like it was from about the 1930’s.  The client said it belonged to her husband’s mother and was part of a kitchen set.

The first thing I did was to reinforce the joints with some wood glue as needed.  Over time, these joints dry out and need attention.  These older chairs are put together with fitted joints, not screws or nails.  It’s best to repair older furniture in the way it was made.

This particular chair was very unstable, so I chose to reinforce the bottom legs with a dowel in between the legs.  I drilled into the legs and placed the dowel with some wood glue to set.

legs were reinforced with a dowel

legs were reinforced with a dowel

The dowel was painted to match the cherry colored wood.

To decorate this chair, I chose a stencil that was appropriate to the time period.  if you’re not sure which design to choose, you can google “1930 furniture” for example to see some authentic pieces and get some ideas.  this Ralph lauren stencil was perfect and it fit great.

Look for stencil designs online or at a craft store

Look for stencil designs online or at a craft store

Even thought this was an ordinary kitchen chair, I chose to use an antiqued gold paint for the design.  I used Faux Effects Dutch Metal gold, let dry, then went over it in spots with acrylic Van Dyke brown to age it.

chair after stenciling with gold and brown

chair after stenciling with gold and brown

When the paint was dry, a light sanding was given to the area using a fine grit sanding block.  This created a worn look on the stencil

 lightly sand

lightly sand

In order to seal the stencil paint, I gave the area a light wash with Durasheen mixed with a very little bit of water.  The wood, being old and having some residue on it, resisted the wash slightly giving it this wonderful lightly crackled effect which was perfect on this piece.

Light crackle without crackling product

Light crackle without crackling product

Please e-mail me with questions or visit my web site

Find Beauty

July 2, 2009

I don’t always have the time to work on my fine art.  I am finding I have to “make time” (wouldn’t that be neat) to paint on canvas.  However, when something inspires me, I just have to paint it.  This happened to me in the kitchen last week.  The colors and textures of a certain grouping of ordinary household items struck something in me and I found it very beautiful.

This happens to me a lot.  I will see something very ordinary, and I realize just how beautiful it is. We all gaze at sunsets,  rainbows.  No one has to tell us these things are inspiring.   But how about the grain in a piece of wood, or an oil slick in the road as the light reflects on it and you see all sorts of colors and shapes?

We are surrounded every day with beauty. Try to find it.

still life painting on canvas

I call this painting “Can’t Ketchup” because I feel like I’m always in the kitchen!

This original work is for sale at an upcoming show to benefit Soulshine-an inner city art program for children. The event is July 18, 2009 in Atlanta and offers food and music along with great people and wonderful original artwork. Please contact Haya Walton for details and tickets.

This painting is for sale as a print or giclee. Please contact me for details or see my web site for more info on me.