Decorative Painting to add Flair to remodeled Bathrooms

When I first met with my recent client Rose, she wasn’t completely certain what kind of paint finish she wanted in her recently remodeled bathrooms, but she knew she wanted something distinctive to add flair to the relatively small spaces.

 Both bathrooms were previously faux painted with a ragged technique, but the colors no longer worked with Rose’s new tile and vanities and the style looked a little outdated next to the more contemporary choices she made for the cabinetry, counter and sink.  To address this, she knew she wanted an updated decorative painting finish using gray as the main color.

 Working with Rose, we looked at multiple grays and a selection of faux finishes.  After looking at some of my previous work and the new tile in the bathrooms, Rose decided she wanted something that picked up on the texture of the tile and liked some of the “concrete-look” finishes I had done.

 To make sure we had everything dialed in just right, my next step was to do some test boards showing this finish in some of the color options Rose liked.  After looking through the options, Rose made her selection and I was ready to move forward with the project!

Since the rooms were small, it only took me a couple of days to make the transformation complete – and Rose was thrilled with the result!  Below are pictures showing the bathroom before and after this decorative painting project.

 Enjoy,

Jason

 Bathroom 1 before

Bathroom 1 before

 Bathroom 1 after

Bathroom 1 after

 Bathroom 1 before

Bathroom 1 before

 Bathroom 1 after

Bathroom 1 after

 Bathroom 2 before

Bathroom 2 before

 Bathroom 2 after

Bathroom 2 after

 Bathroom 2 before

Bathroom 2 before

 Bathroom 2 after

Bathroom 2 after


Mural on a Book Return Box

Typically when you think of a “mural”, you think of something painted on a wall – but this recent project is an example of how a mural can liven up just about any surface!

As the first step of the murals I am doing for the Wellesley Free Library Fells Branch, they had me spruce up the book return box to hint at what is coming on the inside of the library.

In addition to including buildings of Wellesley, the mural will have a nature theme, including some cut-out silhouettes of leafless trees.  To make a bold but appealing design for the box, I decided to pick up on this theme, using the same colors that will be used inside.  My goal was to make the shapes organic and natural, while also keeping the overall design clean and graphical – with the trees almost making stripes.  I also wanted to make sure the final piece would be an eye-catcher from any angle!

Below are some before and after shots of the box showing the different angles.

Enjoy,

Jason

 Before

Before

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Before

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After

 Back and top of box

Back and top of box

Murals to Re-Brand a Yoga Studio

As part of a re-brand and facelift for her yoga studio, my recent client Maria decided to use murals and hand-painted lettering add a special touch to her “new” space!

Formerly known as Bikram Yoga Natick, Maria’s 8-year-old business has grown and her offering has expanded, so she needed her name to better reflect what her studio is all about today.  In addition to the name, she also wanted the look of her space to better reflect the fun and casual mood that is part of the experience she has created.

With the name “Hometown Sweat” chosen and a fantastic logo designed, Maria then worked with interior designer Lysa Wilkins to come up with a color scheme and the extra touches they would bring me in for.

First, Maria wanted me to paint her new logo on the half-wall under the front desk to really set the stage for clients as they first walk in the door.  For the color scheme, we decided to use the color of the surrounding lobby walls and trim for the lettering and sweat drop to really tie the look of the space together.  The background behind the logo is then the same as the workout room that you can see through windows behind the desk

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To share the inspiration behind the studio and bolster the meaning behind the re-brand, Maria then wanted me to paint her vision statement on a main lobby wall that everyone will see before entering the actual workout room.  While there is certainly serious intent behind the vision, we chose a font that would add a light-hearted feel while also tying in with the logo.

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Finally, on a wall near the changing rooms, Maria had a vision for a big, colorful sweat drop that would be unique, memorable and fun.  For this, I decided to incorporate a lighter version of the green from the walls as well as purple to tie in to the adjacent women’s changing room.  As a fun detail touch, I made the reflections on the drop match the shape and pattern of the lights above (as if it were actually reflecting!)

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It was fun to see this all coming together and to share in Maria’s incredible excitement!

Enjoy,

Jason

Another Kitchen Transformation

Sometimes my painted cabinet work is part of a larger kitchen re-hab, but as with this recent project – sometimes painting the cabinets IS the re-hab!

My clients Terry and Mariana didn’t love their tired oak cabinets, but ripping them out and re-doing their kitchen just wasn’t a priority!  Rather than dealing with the time, cost and upheaval associated with remodeling, they called me to see if painting the cabinets would give them the face-lift they were looking for.

When I visited, I saw that the cabinets were in decent shape and a good candidate for painting – so we were on to a discussion of color.  Outside of the cabinets themselves, Terry and Mariana’s décor is modern and clean, with grays, black and deep brown.  We discussed going with white, but we ultimately felt this would look out of place and would accentuate the green counter-top.  Instead, we decided to go with a nice neutral gray to flow nicely with the adjacent spaces and work with the counter color.

From there, I was on to my normal process.  I removed the cabinet doors to work on back at my studio and proceeded to scrub and sand the cabinet frames to prepare them for a bonding primer to insure the paint would adhere.  With the primer applied, it was on to another round of sanding and the first coat of the cabinet paint.  After this dried overnight, I did a last round of sanding and applied a second coat of the cabinet paint for the final finish.

With this complete, I was back to my studio to do the same process with the doors.  After about a week, I returned to re-install the doors and the new hardware Terry and Mariana had chosen.  The “new” cabinets made a huge difference!

Most importantly, Terry and Mariana are enjoying their “new” kitchen!

Below are some pictures showing the before and after of this project

 

Enjoy,

Jason

 Before

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 After

After

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After

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Before

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After

Commissioned Painting to Celebrate a 10-Year Anniversary

I just finished my largest commissioned painting yet!  At 4 feet square, this landscape was commissioned to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of my clients Monique and Eric.

When Monique reached out to me, she mentioned that she has been looking at my work on Facebook and was waiting for the opportunity to have me do a piece for their home.  With their anniversary coming up, she and Eric decided now was that opportunity!

Monique and Eric were married at Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, New York and wanted the painting to be about this special spot.  Monique shared several pictures of the vista across the lake, but they also wanted to add some details in the foreground that were not in their pictures.  First, Monique and Eric love to paddle and wanted a kayak in the scene as that is how they most enjoy experiencing the lake. Second, Monique liked being able to see rocks through the water in some of my fine art paintings (particularly “Twilight”) and wanted to include this as well.  Since I love to paint the view through water and I am avid paddler myself – this was all music to my ears!

To start the collaboration process on how the final image would be compiled, I set out in my own kayak on a local lake to take some pictures.  Spending the first few hours of my “work” day paddling and taking pictures is about as good as it gets!!  When I got back to my studio, I did sketches showing how some of my photos would look as options for a foreground to combine with the background of Mirror Lake from their photos.  Below is the Mirror lake image we chose – and following that are my sketches together with the corresponding foreground photos.

 Monique and Eric's picture of Mirror Lake

Monique and Eric's picture of Mirror Lake

 Foreground option 1

Foreground option 1

 Sketch for option 1

Sketch for option 1

 Foreground option 2

Foreground option 2

 Sketch for option 2

Sketch for option 2

 Foreground option 3

Foreground option 3

 Sketch for option 3

Sketch for option 3

I met with Monique and Eric to review the options and all the photos, and we pretty quickly settled on the first option.  With this done, my next step was to do a small “sketch version of the painting before moving on the final big painting to make sure I was capturing everything they wanted.  Below is a picture of the 10”x10” “sketch” painting:

 10"x10" "sketch" painting

10"x10" "sketch" painting

Once this was done, we met again to review the painting and Monique and Eric were happy with the direction I was heading for their special piece!  With their approval, I was on to painting the final work. 

I thoroughly enjoyed painting this.  Working with water is right up my alley, but it was also fun to do some things that I don’t do as often, like the distant trees and mountains. Most importantly, when I delivered it, Monique and Eric were thrilled with the result!!

Enjoy, Jason

 The final painting!

The final painting!

Specialty Paint Repairs

In addition to some of my larger projects, I also enjoy when I get requests from my contractor, painter and interior designer friends to do unique paint repairs that tap into my color (and pattern) matching abilities.

I have done a few of these “paint fixes” recently that are good examples of the range of different things that can be done with paint to make problems disappear!

The first example was at a home up in Reading, MA.  In this case, one of my interior designer colleagues reached out to see if I could paint over patched holes in a stairwell to make them blend with the walls around them.  The challenge here is that the stairwell was painted with a faux finish, using multiple colors that were not recorded!  Re-painting the stairwell was not a great option, as it is continuous with the kitchen and great room – all of which have the same faux finish. So matching the faux finish was the only way to go! To do this, I made a first visit with my paint swatch books to find the colors that most closely matched what was used originally.  This is always a challenge, because with a faux finish, one or more of the colors is diluted with a glaze medium, so I have to deduce what the color would be if it were at 100% concentration. 

Once I had this information, I gathered the paint and headed back to take care of the job.  I always bring a range of colors similar to what I spec’d, because I find that I almost always have to do some mixing to get an exact match – which was definitely the case with this project!  There were 3 holes – but the one pictured was the largest.  When I was done, the homeowner couldn’t find the damaged spots – which is always the best compliment I can get for this kind of work!

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The second example was at a home on Brookline, MA.  In this case, water leaks stained two different sections of wallpaper.  Neither paper was still available to do replace the damaged section, so the contractor called me in to paint over the damaged sections and make them blend with the existing paper!

Like with the faux repair, my first step was to visit the home and see what colors would match the wallpaper.  Again, I returned with multiple colors to make sure I could mix if needed to get an exact match.

After cleaning and priming the stained spots, I was on to my color match. For the striped paper, my cream-color paint was perfect with no mixing!  The blue took a little mixing, but I was also able to get that to blend with the existing blue.  Some of the stripes I completely re-painted, while with others, I just painted along the trim where the staining happened. The grass paper was a little trickier!  The color I chose was great as the “base” color, but I also needed to mix a lighter and darker version to re-create the subtle streaking that happens in the fibers of the grass paper.  Below are before and after pictures of these 2 fixes.  In both set of pictures, I needed more light at the end of the day – so the “after” pictures look brighter, but that is just the lighting!

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The last example is a small and subtle one – but it was a lot of fun.  After doing some wall repairs as part of a kitchen re-model, a painter had filled gaps where the brick of a chimney met the wall.  The only problem was that the bright white of the caulk really stood out next to the brick, which the contractor and homeowner were not happy with.  To fix this one, I was called in to paint the caulk to look like the grout of the bricks. For this, I needed to match the many different colors in the grout and re-create the dappled look of the concrete.  When I was done, the homeowner no longer knew where the patches were!  Below is a before and after of this.

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Enjoy,

Jason

Mural Panel of Pets!

So, how do you take the word “loyalty” and combine it with images of 9 dogs and 2 horses to create a clean, bold mural panel? That is exactly the (fun!) challenge I was recently presented with!!

Working with artist agent Linda Sbrogna of Sbrogna’s Artistic Promotions, I went to visit my past client Debbie Seaman at Seaman Engineering in Millbury, MA.  For those who have been following my blog for a while, you may remember the collage mural panels I did using elements representing Seaman’s business of engineering for HVAC, plumbing and fire protection services.  Their business has since moved, and they are now in a fantastic new space that is a converted mill, with high ceilings and exposed brick and concrete.  My previous pieces are up in the new space and go perfectly in their conference room and work area.

As Debbie toured me and Linda through the office, we stopped and talked for a while in a room they set aside as an employee kitchen and lounge with clean light gray walls, modern black tables and industrial steel chairs. Here, Debbie talked about how she wanted something special for this employee space, but she was not sure exactly what.  I suggested working with simple, clean designs in grays, white and black to go with the look of the room and keep with basic design ideas of the other mural panels.

With that, Debbie quickly came up with the idea of using this design concept to represent the pets of her employees.  The team at Seaman has been together for a long time, and Debbie loved the idea of honoring her employee’s loyalty by bringing images of the pets they love into their lounge space.  As we talked through the idea, Debbie also liked the idea of integrating the word “loyalty” to play off of her employee’s loyalty to the company, the company’s loyalty to the employees – and of course the loyalty of the pets!  We settled on a size of 3 feet high by 4 feet wide on a panel to give them flexibility with hanging (and potentially moving!) it.

With this idea rolling, Debbie had each employee send her pictures of their pets for the special surprise.  As the pictures rolled in, I put together a scale design (below) and brought it up to Seaman for Debbie to review.  Debbie loved the design, but to be sure everyone was happy with how their pets looked – we also took the design around the shop for everyone to see – and happily, the whole group was pleased!

 The initial concept "sketch"

The initial concept "sketch"

Once I knew we were on the right path, I was on to painting the final panel.  I use the design as my basic guide, but with the larger scale, I can also add a little more detail.  This was also a great opportunity to update one of the dogs with a better picture.

Below is a picture of the final 3’x4’ panel. It was a pleasure to work again with Debbie and the Seaman team as well as Linda Sbrogna – and best of all, the entire team at Seaman is thrilled with the final result! 

Enjoy,

Jason

 The final mural panel

The final mural panel

Painting Furniture for a New Look

One of my interior design partners recently called me with a fun challenge.  Her clients had purchased a large armoire and they loved the piece – but unfortunately, the color was not working well with the room.  The armoire sits next to a beautiful old light-wood dining table in a white room, and the clients wanted a pop of color to prevent the armoire from blending in with the table and to pull out some of the color accents in the room.

Knowing her clients well, the designer suggested a “washed color” look in different blues to accomplish these goals.  After talking a bit about the look she wanted to accomplish and looking at some inspiration photos, I had a good sense of what we were shooting for.

My first step was to paint some concept boards – showing 3 different options from light to dark.  When doing custom finishes, this step is key to making sure everyone is happy with the final result.  This is also one of my favorite parts of the process because it is where I get to figure out how to translate the client’s vision into something that can be accomplished with paint! In this case, all of the options were painted a base color, then “washed” with a lighter color that is thinned down with water.  When this dried, I then did a light sand of the entire surface to soften the streakiness of the wash.

The designer and client were thrilled with all of the samples and ultimately chose the lightest option.  With this choice made, it was on to painting the piece!

As with my cabinet jobs, once I was on-site, the first step was to prepare the surface.  The key here is that paint won’t stick to shiny surfaces – so the existing finish needs to be dulled.  With this done, I moved on to painting the base color of a light grayish blue.  Once the base coat dried, I applied the wash of a slightly darker, greener blue-gray to create the streaky look.  Finally, as with the board – I did a light sand of the entire surface to give it a soft, smooth look.

In the end, thanks to the input from the designer and client, the armoire looks perfect in the room!  Most importantly, they are thrilled with the armoire and the completely new impact it has on the space.

I forgot to take “before” pictures of this project – but below are some of “after” shots along with the manufacturer’s pictures of what it used to look like.

Enjoy,

Jason

 The armoire with the dining table in front

The armoire with the dining table in front

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 What it looked like before!

What it looked like before!

Painting Bathroom Vanities in Holliston to make them look like new!

Similar to the work I have done painting kitchen cabinets, painting old bathroom vanities is a great way to make the cabinets look new and customize them to your tastes!

My client Charlene called me in to help with her bathrooms as part of a refresh she was doing to put her house on the market.  Since the vanities in her 2 upstairs bathrooms were high-quality wood (and in good shape!), Charlene knew she could save some money and get the benefits of customizing the color by having me paint them.

The first step was collaborating with Charlene on color.  She wanted both of the bathrooms to look fresh and modern, but she is not a fan of white cabinetry.  Of course, she knew the house was going on the market, so the color also needed to be somewhat neutral.  To address these concerns and also tie in to Charlene’s other décor decisions, we went with a taupe for the master bath and a light, warm grey for the second bath.

With these decisions made, I was on to my usual process of disassembling, scrubbing, sanding, priming, sanding, painting, sanding (again!) and finishing with the final coat of paint.  All of this scrubbing and sanding is essential in making sure the paint sticks and is durable – while also creating a nice even finish.

When I had everything reassembled, Charlene and her husband were thrilled with the results!  Here are some before and after shots.

Enjoy,

Jason

 Master bath before (right half)

Master bath before (right half)

 After

After

 Master bath before (left side)

Master bath before (left side)

 Master bath after

Master bath after

 Guest bath before

Guest bath before

 Guest bath after

Guest bath after

Painting Furniture to be a Centerpiece

Painting furniture can give an old, tired piece a new lease on life – but a specialty paint finish can take this a step further and turn a wallflower into a centerpiece!

My client Carol called me to help rejuvenate a writer’s desk to make it fit better with her recently re-done living room.  The desk is a high-quality piece that was in great shape, but its worn cherry finish just wasn’t working in a room decorated in greys, blues, blacks and naturals. 

When Carol and I discussed her goals for the look of the desk, we settled on a very dark grey/light black for the color to pick up on other accents in the room and fit with the overall color scheme. 

With this decided, we the collaborated on the finish.  After talking through some ideas, we settled on a distressed treatment with hand-rubbed wax finish to complement the early American style of the desk. 

Giving the desk this look also picked up on the light distressing of some other pieces in the room while also nicely complementing the clean lines of her couch and fireplace and millwork in the room.  With the hand-crafted finish in this rich color, the desk not only goes perfectly in the room, but it is now a centerpiece!

To complete the look, Carol also had me paint the chair used at this desk.  Again, the chair was in great shape and recently reupholstered, but the light finish didn’t ties it with either the desk or the room.  With the chair, I used the same color, but applied only tiny accents of distressing.  The goal was to tie it to the look of the desk without looking too cluttered with the pattern on the upholstery.

Most importantly, Carol was happy that we hit the nail on the head in creating something dynamic and new out her 20-year old desk!

Below are some pictures of the project

Enjoy!

Jason

 The desk before refinishing.  I forgot to take a "before" shot of the chair (!), but you can just see the frame behind the desk

The desk before refinishing.  I forgot to take a "before" shot of the chair (!), but you can just see the frame behind the desk

 The finished desk in my studio

The finished desk in my studio

 The desk and chair in Carol's home!

The desk and chair in Carol's home!

A Dog Portrait to Celebrate a Big Birthday

It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to do a project for friends or family – so I was thrilled when my sister in-law Becky reached out to have me do a drawing as a gift to celebrate my brother Matt’s 50th birthday!

After seeing my recent pencil drawing of a dog (and his owner!) done as a birthday gift for another client, Becky got the idea to give Matt a special keepsake of his beloved furry boys – a chocolate lab named Bruin and a Swiss Mountain Dog named Harvey.

The only challenge was finding a good picture of both the dogs in the same photo.  After recruiting their sons in the effort and digging through a bunch of options, we found a great snapshot - minus issues with shining eyes and Harvey’s paw being cropped off.  This is one of the great parts of doing a portrait, though!  By using other pictures, it was easy to address these issues and make a less-than-perfect picture into a piece of art that is exactly what they wanted!

Below are the original photo and the final drawing.

 The original photo

The original photo

 The final drawing!

The final drawing!

 

Enjoy,

Jason

Relaxing with Distressed Painted Cabinets

One of the best parts of painting cabinets is the ability to CUSTOMIZE!  My recent client Robin took advantage of this opportunity when she decided to go from her traditional dark wood kitchen cabinets to white (actually a very light gray).  Instead of a flat white finish, though, Robin wanted to change it up and create a more casual look with a lightly distressed finish. Which is all the more fun for me!

To create a distressed finish, I have a different process – using chalk paint instead of my usual cabinet paint.  Chalk paint dries super-hard, so when it is distressed with sandpaper, it doesn’t create any weak spots in the paint finish.  The only down-side to chalk paint is that it is porous, so it needs to be finished with wax or a clear polyurethane.  Since poly is way more durable, so it is the far better option for cabinets!  To go with the feel Robin was looking for, I used a matte-finish poly, which is great to the touch and is not too reflective.

Robin was thrilled with the results and is now relaxing in her distressed kitchen!

Enjoy,

Jason

 Before

Before

 After!

After!

 Close-up of distressed finish

Close-up of distressed finish

 Detail of cabinet door

Detail of cabinet door

Mural Tree

I am excited for my full-room mural project (!) coming up at the Fells Branch of the Wellesley Free Library this fall.  In the meantime, the library reached out to me to paint a tree on a plywood cut-out to help call attention to the project at the Library Gala taking place tonight!

The Fells Branch project will also include extensive carpentry, with cut-outs of buildings and trees – all of which will be provided by carpenter Sean Reidy.  For this project, Sean did the plywood cut-out so I could take care of the painting.  Using the color scheme selected for the library, I wanted this to be a teaser for the final mural.

The tree was a hit with the team, and hopefully with the Gala attendees as well!

Enjoy,

Jason

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 The tree being set up at the Gala!

The tree being set up at the Gala!

Faux Painting a Concrete Wall

I absolutely love challenges that start with the phrase “Can you paint….?” In this case, the question was: “Can you faux paint a plaster wall to look like concrete?”

Yes!

My client is opening a restaurant soon in Sutton, MA – and the designer had the concept of making the main wall of the space look like concrete with a section of exposed brick.  After lining up the mason and plasterer, the designer called me to see if faux-painting could make her vision a reality.

After visiting the space and talking with the designer and restaurant owner, I had a great sense of what they were looking for. I started by studying concrete wherever I went, looking at my color books and taking notes.  I then started the process of collaborating with the designer on the colors that would make up the concrete look (I ended up using 5 different colors!). To go with the floors and clearly read as “concrete”, we needed grays, but we also wanted to keep some warmth in the colors to help create the rustic (and realistic!) feel they were going for.

When the plaster work was complete, I was on to my painting!  I started with the lightest of my warmer colors as the base paint, and then added my first layer of texture/patterning in a darker warm tone.  When this was dry, I was able to go back through with the grays to make the mottled look you see here.

Between the mason doing the brick work, the plasterer and my faux painting – we were able to nail the look they were going for! Now I can’t wait to see the rest of the work completed and the space completed for the restaurant opening.

Enjoy,

Jason

 A section of the finished wall

A section of the finished wall

 Detail of final result

Detail of final result

 The first steps! (just base color at top right, adding first layer of texture)

The first steps! (just base color at top right, adding first layer of texture)

 With the grays added

With the grays added

 Table view!

Table view!

Painted Cabinets Help Transform Kitchen!

As they kick off their retirement years together, my clients Leonid and Maya wanted to update their kitchen.  Rather than ripping out the old kitchen and starting from scratch, however, they decided use paint to transform the existing cabinets – and even the floor!

The cabinet doors are laminated in white formica and were in great shape, but the cabinet frames, end panels and finger rails were dated in a dark brown and worn from years of use. After collaborating with Maya and Leonid, we settled on a nice neutral gray that would stand out against the white while cleaning up the overall look.  We also chose the wall color, a bluish gray, to go with the décor in their house and add a bit of color to the kitchen.  Finally, I suggested they paint the dark brown grout in their tile floor to go along with the rest of their changes!

While I was painting the cabinets, Leonid and Maya had another painter strip the wallpaper and paint the walls while also having the counter top replaced.  When all of that was complete, I got down to the final task of painting the grout – which had a huge impact on the overall look of the kitchen! 

The backsplash tile is yet to come, but you can still get a great sense of how things are turning out!

Below are some before and after pictures showing this big transformation

 Before

Before

 After

After

 Before

Before

 After

After

 The floor in progress

The floor in progress

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Dedham Public Library Mural of Quotes

The most recent of my mural painting projects with the Dedham Public Library was this mural of quotes!

As we started discussing this project, the original direction was loose.  The library team knew they wanted inspirational quotes on this particular wall, but from there we needed to collaborate on how to get it done.

To start, I suggested the team work together to come up with quotes, with the guideline to look at relatively short quotes.  I wanted to keep them short to give flexibility to make a more interesting design – but I also wanted to keep each quote brief to insure people would read them!

Once the library team had compiled a list of (fantastic!) quotes to work with, I went on to come up with a concept layout.  For the colors, I knew I definitely wanted to use some of the same blues and greens in my circuit board mural (which is in the same space), but I also wanted to pull in red and grey tones that are used in the room adjacent to this wall.

To keep the mural visually interesting, I chose to use 3 different fonts with different sizes – and then I worked up a layout to keep the look of the completed wall balanced.  I also needed to keep in mind the need to work around the fire alarm and step-down at the ceiling!

Once the team was able to review and approve my concept, it was on to painting the mural.

Below is a picture of the mural and also a long-view shot to show the quotes mural together with the circuit board mural.

Enjoy,

Jason

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BlackBeak Studios Awarded Best of Houzz 2018!!

BlackBeak Studios

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2018

 

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

Norfolk, MA February, 2018 – BlackBeak Studios of Norfolk, MA has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The custom mural and decorative painting firm was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2017. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2018” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by Houzz,” said Jason Sawtelle, Owner and Artist at BlackBeak Studios. “Collaboration with our partners and clients is the very core of our business, so we are delighted and inspired by this Customer Service honor.”

 "The Houzz community selected a phenomenal group of Best of Houzz 2018 award winners, so this year's recipients should be very proud,” said Liza Hausman, Vice President of Industry Marketing at Houzz. “Best of Houzz winners represent some of the most talented and customer-focused professionals in our industry, and we are extremely pleased to give them both this recognition and a platform on which to showcase their expertise."

 About BlackBeak Studios

BlackBeak Studios turns your vision into an inspiring reality.  Serving the greater Boston, MA area, BlackBeak Studios specializes in custom murals and decorative painting for residential and commercial spaces. BlackBeak’s focus on artistry and collaboration helps make clients’ ideas for a mural, statement wall or decorative painting finish come to life. For more information, visit blackbeakstudios.com

About Houzz

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Stairwell Mural at the Dedham Public Library

As part of my project with the Dedham Public Library, I recently completed this “circuit board” mural!

Just adjacent to this mural is a space dedicated to video games, so the interior designer, Anne Mueller, asked that I somehow incorporate a digital theme in my mural. To do this, Anne wanted something that would not be quickly dated, but instead was a bit more abstract.  To go with the rest of the space and the building itself, Anne also wanted the mural to incorporate historic colors, and very specifically a color called Buckland blue that is used in the room at the bottom of these stairs.

As I looked at the wall, I knew I wanted to work with the angle of the railing, rather than try to fight against it.  After running through various ideas in my head, I came the idea of using a circuit board as my base concept and decided to run with it!  Following Anne’s guidance, I didn’t want to quite do a literal depiction of a circuit board, but instead I went with this clean, graphic approach that builds off the angle of the stairs.  For the colors, we went with greens to go along with the circuit board idea, but tweaked them to historic greens to also flow with the area around the mural. 

Finally, I wanted to play with the fact that the mural was in a stairwell and also tie in a bit of the video game idea.  This is where my idea for the buttons came from.  Rather than just the circuits, I wanted them connected to something – in this case buttons like you would have on a game.  Here is where I tied in the historic blue colors and had fun with the idea that the stairs go up and down.

Below is the final result.  I hope it is enjoyed by library-goers for many years to come!

Enjoy,

Jason

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 Close-up of the buttons

Close-up of the buttons

Portrait Pencil Drawing

Most of my commissioned art work is done as oil paintings, so it was a fun change of pace to do this pencil drawing portrait for my client Jules!

To celebrate a good friend's birthday, Jules wanted to surprise her with the perfect gift .  After considering different options, Jules decided to really make the present special by having it custom-made, so she reached out to me to create art as the gift!

Knowing how much her friend Allison loves her dog, Jules decided to have me capture this in a portrait of her Allison with her dog.  To accomplish a cleaner, simpler look, she opted to have me do a pencil drawing instead of a full-blown oil painting.

When I delivered the drawing, Jules was thrilled -- but most importantly, Jules shared that Allison had received it and absolutely "LOVED" it!!

Below is the picture I worked from and my final drawing

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Enjoy!

Jason