Wednesday, October 26, 2016

La Bella Vita

 The November issue of Phoenix Home and Garden features a beautiful home near Phoenix that I had the pleasure of  working in.  Here are a few pictures of the work in the finished home.  The panels below the bar were completed on canvas here in Kansas City, the Italian chairs were touched up and over glazed, to refresh them without changing the original vintage finish,  The large mural at the end of the great room took several weeks and help from a dear friend to finish before Thanksgiving last year.  On the final trip, we were graciously hosted in this magnificent home by the owners, a truly memorable experience!

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Horse is a horse?

I recently finished a horse sculpture for a new client out south on beautifully landscaped acreage.  The stallion will be placed in a fountain in the front courtyard of the home.  He (definitely a male, believe me) started out basic black, but the clients wanted to give him an aged metal look to fit in with the exterior of their home and give him some soul, substance and weight ( he was born hollow fiberglass )  The sculpture went through a couple transformations to find the perfect look for the placement.  I will be back to touch up a few seams and any damage upon installation in the
fountain and post more photos at that point.  The photos are in reverse order from finished to start.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A new season

Just returned from the southwest finishing up a large mural with help from my former business partner and great friend Mary Barnes.  We worked together for almost 20 years and had a reunion of sorts for a week down there.  So appreciate her help and company--- I know everyone is curious about the outcome. but can't post pictures yet.  In the meantime here is a terrible picture of us on the final day--we actually got some pleasure time driving up to Sedona that afternoon which was a much deserved saving grace!

Friday, October 16, 2015


I've been busy working on an out of town job, sketches and a mural on canvas to be sent and hung later, when I find some help finishing the huge mural on the main wall of the new home and a faux marble table top which will be shipped with my client's furnishings to their new home.  Sorry for not keeping up with my promise to post more frequently, such is life, mine anyway!  Here are a few pics of the current work in progress...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Restoration II

I recently acquired a set of four Italian chairs from the early 20th century that needed a slight color change and minor restoration and stabilization.  The color is  a bright cobalt blue, ranging to dark teal with gold leaf gilding on the ornate details.  The designer and client wanted the color toned down and a general restoration of the original finish, hiding the white, worn areas of the chairs without compromising the integrity of the original hand painted finish.  The first step was to clean them thoroughly to remove any wax or silicone based waxing/ dusting product for proper adhesion.

The chairs obviously couldn't be sanded, so, the saving grace was an oil glaze, which doesn't change the original, (rather uneven) hand painted finish, but masks the worn areas without making them "new" or obviously repainted.   They will then be sealed with a good quality oil varnish to prevent further peeling and cracking.

Friday, May 15, 2015


I recently had the pleasure of restoring a beautiful reproduction of a turn of the century sculpture.  Somewhere along in it's life, a cherubs arm was broken off and repaired.  I'm guessing that's when someone decided to coat it in thick white enamel or lacquer to cover the repair.  The sculpture is pot metal originally painted to look like bronze, which was very common in the past.  The sculptor is Jean Garnier,  A French artist know for huge sculptures in that country.  Assuming it's a copy of a maquette, (small study) for a much larger piece. the details are amazing right down to fingernails, ear canals, and anatomically correct male cherubs.  The stripping of the piece was therefore very labor intensive, but the results were worth it--the piece turned out beautifully in it's reconstructed original "bronzed' finish.  The title of the piece loosely translated  means covetousness, the cherubs are obviously going for something that at one point was in her hand--wasn't able to find pictures of what that was.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Black and White

I'm reposting a previous version, as I inadvertently deleted the original.  Not one to jump on any decorating trends, this one works for me. If you pay any attention to home decorating magazines and blogs, even retail home furnishing catalogs, you see a lot of black and white schemes.  I love the look because it's classic--from traditional through midcentury modern to contemporary, black and white will never date an interior as most trends do. (think Old World, Southwestern)  Personally, I have a very classical style in my 100+ year old home--but once in a while I get the feeling that I'm living in Grandma's house, a little too safe, and outdated.  Periodically, usually in the Spring, I get rid of a lot of the clutter to streamline and lighten the look.  Recently I've added a lot of black (every room needs black elements, a weighted neutral) to update the look of my home.  It's an inexpensive way to update and revive a room that is waiting for total renovation/ redesign.  I've painted my kitchen floor in black and white "tiles" which makes the smallest room in my home appear much more spacious.  I also painted the patio doors on the back black--by far the best update--which makes them totally disappear, and the view of the garden shine.  Just painting the interior of the front door black makes a big statement.  Note that I've kept all the trim the same off-white for consistency throughout, which also gives the areas the contrast needed for the focal points in the room.  I'm jumping on this "trend" with both feet because in my mind it's not a trend but a classic design move that will last for another century.   An added benefit to adding black is that it ties in the big screen TV, speakers, and electronic gadgets that we all find ourselves loving and loathing in this age!