Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I do a lot of cabinet jobs. When I am painting or staining doors, I set them out on 2 parallel 2x4s. One day a client commented that my 2x4s looked like some cool art installation,what with all the streaks of various paints and stains on them.  It gave me an idea....
I've been sitting on this idea for a long time, but the perfect situation presented itself last week.
One of my clients has   accepted a transfer to another state (sadly, boo hoo!) . They have a very large, very beautiful home  in a very depressed real estate market. They enlisted my help to get their house in tip top shape for selling.
I noticed they have 2 alcoves on either side of their front door that were obviously designed to house some kind of artwork, but have been sitting empty as long as I've known them. 
"How about just some vertical strips of art for in there", I suggested. "Nothing too elaborate or pricey. Just a little kapow..."
"Where are we going to find that?"

"I'll make them."
"Well....You go, girl."

(I assure you, these pieces ARE centered within their alcoves.)

I found my local Big Box store has thin maple boards that come in pre- cut lengths, these were perfect for my purposes. Thick enough to screw in a  hook for hanging, but not so heavy to require heavy duty holes in the wall.

Sometimes our homes become kind of 'schizophrenic', especially if there have been a lot of moves in our pasts.  This particular client has moved many many times from a ranch in Texas to a more stately home in the deep the flat lands of Illinois.  I wanted to tie in all of her things which range from Tuscan to Texas Ranch...  and have them work together, so I just pulled colors from the adjoining rooms. I used only stripes of color and texture to create a truly 'transitional' piece of work.

Two years ago,I had the opportunity to change their built in book cases from a HIDEOUS yellow (SW Harvester. Sorry SW, that color is gross)  to a distressed and textured 'salvaged' look.  This built in faces the front door. The counter top sections were plain off white Formica. (egads!) I applied a crackled copper finish to those areas, so I knew I wanted to use the same copper plaster in the paintings.

Because I was working with Maple, I wanted to use the grain of the wood for some of my stripes. I started out by just painting on bands of gel stains in different colors.  After that was dry, I taped off areas for some heavy duty crackle paste. I added in copper plaster and areas of copper and silver foils and a tiny bit of a teal metallic. (I won't give away all my tricks!) 
Lastly I taped off some stripes and applied tiny gold beads and bronze mica flakes.  I have to have texture in my work. I could never sell something flat, I would just feel so WRONG.

Now that the pieces are installed, the client has ordered 3 more. HUGE ones for the stairwell wall.
Yay! (Here they are on the studio floor, in progress.)

UPDATE!!!! Here are the 3 additional 'Totems' installed !

**I wanted to share some other work I have done in this home.
These 3 armoirs were a pickled oak finish before I got hold of them.  Using Modello stencil stickers and four different colors of gel stains,  I created a faux, inlaid wood look which took a million years but looks like a million bucks. I am really proud of this project, it has to be one of my favorite furniture transformations.The clients were so happy too they overpaid me.

Here's an upclose of the completed door fronts.


  1. All the work is gorgeous. I love your art panels. I think that idea is definitely going to get copied!!!!