The month of April has brought plenty of variety with further work on the theater mural at the high school, a new stage to assist with, and new pets to paint! This large staricase mural was begun last year by a small group of students, myself serving as assistant and advisor, and continues this year with plans to be completed by the end of the school year.
Here are original student artists, Holly and Chris, brushing in a faded background up the second set of stairs – this scene will be finished around the doorway at the top of the stairs.
I also had the pleasure of helping student, Rachel, complete her junior project – a stage painted with her design for “Our Town.” Here it is in process – there is a camera mounted directly above the stage that projects the image onto a screen in the back, which makes for a pretty wonderful effect, both for the artists as we paint, and during performances.
Rachel paints her compass rose
Lastly, I met this nice doggie named Kiah, and did a little portrait for her owner.
This lovely bedroom was painted for a 4-year-old girl, the best sort of client of all, of course! She wanted to be surrounded by a dreamy undersea scene, so I started by painting layers of soft, flowing waves of blues and greens. I faded the tones from dark on the bottom to lighter as I moved toward the top, using lots of glazes and varying shades of cool, oceany colors.
Then I start adding details, like ribbony seaweed, ocean floor corals and plants, fish and seahorses, and the mermaid who stars in this fantasy seascape.
I even added some crystals into the jewelry and hair of the mermaid, just for some real sparkle.
The Community Warehouse amazing Table and Chair Affair was held Thursday evening at Castaway’s in NW Portland, where art-loving Portlanders came to enjoy and perhaps bid on the wonderful selection of paintings, furniture, quilts and table displays donated by local artists, yes, including a piece by me.
My trompe l’ oeil telephone chair
- The table settings were up for auction, too
Gorgeous Painting by Christopher Mooney
- Quilts and fabric art
Fun Furniture Art
Hundreds of Portlanders came to bid on amazing works by local artists, eat delicious food, imbibe a bit and have a lovely evening. The lucky ones left with new art for their homes, and everyone left with the warm feeling that comes from sharing time with such a great group of hardworking people, tirelessly giving their time to help local families in need of some community support. Thank you, Community Warehouse – see you next year at the Table and Chair Affair, and throughout the year with my donations!
Chair for art and cat lovers
A wonderful event for a great cause
I had fun last week with my friend Hana Adamko, as we presented our painted furniture to the fabulous Community Warehouse for their 2013 Table and Chair Affair fundraiser.
Mary from Community Warehouse welcomes Betsy from Cracked Pots with her Crab Chair donation.
The event is in March – check out their website and attend the auction to support this valuable organization!
The piece I chose to paint was an old telephone chair, and I loved just the idea of a chair designed for us to use while we talked on the phone, so had fun playing around with retro-themed trompe l’ oeil images. Here is how my Telephone Chair turned out!
I am also finishing up the backdrops for the Artisans Cup of Portland show coming up next October. Danielle came to visit the workshop and we talked about bonsai art and paint. Here she is with the last set of boards.
After removing the painted boards (96 in all), I have been left with a number of lovely abstract impressions on the plastic tarps that have been protecting the floors.
Last summer, I began working on a project that required ninety-six 4′ x 8′ sheets of wood to serve as an exhibit backdrop for a show featuring the best curated bonsai examples from around the world. This immediately sounded like a very exciting project, as bonsai is so visually exquisite, and so spiritually evocative – I was instantly drawn in. You can learn more about the exhibit itself, and even become involved if the idea intrigues you – the show will be in October at the Portland Art Museum, and is called The Artisans Cup of Portland. Check it out!
Anyway, my task was to come up with the wood material, and the mix of stains and/or paints that would bring about the desired effect – one of color gradations fading in and out, a sort of ombre effect, that would run the 64 foot length of each display row, of which there are 6. So I began by putting various color combinations together on sample boards of wood, and showing them to the clients. I also started playing with different fade patterns on the computer to see how they would look running the entire 64 feet. After we settled on the boards, and 3 different palettes (one drawn from ocean and sky, one from forest and sun, and one from earth and fire), I then had to set up a temporary studio that would hold a project of this size. I rented some space at the Academy Building in downtown Vancouver, Washington, and got busy tarping off an entire room (thank you, Hana Adamko!).
I am in the process of staining and painting the boards now – there are 16 boards in each set, and because the colors fade gradually from one board to the next, I need to paint all 16 at the same time, keeping the paint wet as I go. Then I move them out when they are dry, and bring in the next set. It has been a fun and meditative process, rolling and brushing the colors across such a long expanse of boards – I am really looking forward to seeing them with the bonsai exhibit on display.
I’ve been doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that during this transition from 2012 to 2013. 2013! Imagine that.
Cute canoe bed for kids
The Lewis and Clark room at Ronald McDonald House is nearly finished – the mural has been touched up, and all fresh paint in the rest of the room, as well as new furniture, featuring a custom-built window seat with custom cushion and pillows (thank you, amazing Whole 9 Yards and In-Ex Upholstery). After the addition of new artwork and lighting, the room will be ready for families!
The very first job of the new year was to paint a beautiful cloudy blue sky in the living room skylights of a lovely client who wanted to bring as much outside into her home as possible. She has decorated her home with all kinds of foresty elements, including moss, tree images, squirrels and birds, artwork depicting woodsy scenes, and needed some sky to remind her of days that aren’t gray and rainy.
Hailey plans the room makeover
I also had the privilege of getting to work with Hailey from the fabulous Goodnight Room, to come up with this modern, bold and graphic bedroom for 2 little boys. Its a fun space – the colors really pop, and the wide horizontal stripes are a great way to add dramatic, contemporary style to any room. This was transformed from a sweet pink and green girl’s room.
I obviously have been having lots of paint fun in the new year, with several other new, exciting projects in development. I consider myself fortunate to be able to work with some of the nicest clients in the Portland area!
While I was painting these dogs last week, it reminded me that there are a lot of pet-lovers among us, and it has remained timelessly popular to include painted portraits of favorite family pets in my work. Sometimes, as here, they are included directly in the mural, or frequently they are painted as stand-alone images on a wall. Here are some examples of little critters that I have painted over the years.
Acrylic on canvas
Following are examples of portraits on canvas, or wood panels.
Acrylic, digital image transfer and collage on canvas
Acrylic, colored pencil, digital image transfer and collage on wood
Backyard pets! Digital image transfer and acrylic on wood
Digital image transfer and acrylic on wood
Sometimes the painted pets are just imaginary, on the wish-list of a hopeful child….
This week, I painted a lovely spring-colored room for a little girl in Portland. Her parents are painting and putting together a rather fabulous castle-shaped bed (you can see part of it in the first photo), so we took it from there.
I painted trees, flowers, and little creatures to inhabit her fairytale land. The doggies are her beloved pets.
I began my week by visiting an old favorite friend and project, the Lake Oswego Library, to spend time with the amazing librarian, Jackie, and to see how things are holding up. I took a few photos of additions to the original mural, so thought I would share them here. Over the years, Jackie will get a new idea, and we will get to paint a new area – always fun. By now, it is pretty well filled up. A few years back, we added these hardboard cut-out pieces of Rainbow Fish characters to the tile walls in the children’s bathrooms. We also made a cloud-shaped sign that hangs over the story area, a very well-used space that is frequently filled up with awe-struck kids listening to favorite books read aloud. I have added painted wood cut-outs to lots of different mural projects for a variety of reasons: to add dimension, to put images on a surface too rough to paint nicely, or in case the client wants to move the painting. It’s a fun option.
Next, I checked out the new room that needs updating at Ronald McDonald House in Portland. It is called the Lewis and Clark room, and already has a wonderful mural and lodge-style theme, but as with everything, the years have taken a toll on the furniture, paint and accessories. We will preserve and re-touch the mural and attached canoe-bed, and re-do everything else with fresh, updated paint and furnishings. Keep an eye out for progress on this!
I also started painting in a little girl’s fairytale room, that, when finished, will have a castle-shaped bed (currently being painstakingly painted by her mama), and will be filled with flowers, rainbows, little critters, and even portraits of her doggies. Quite a special place for a 3-year-old who just moved. I will finish next week, and post pictures of the completed room – you can see part of the bed in this photo (it is a giant puzzle right now.)
That’s all for now! I’m having fun with paint and glaze, and will have more to share next week.
I thought it would be fun to show the whole process of painting this flag on the river side of a cabin on the Oregon Coast. I started last week by making a paper pattern of the image, and then made a pounce pattern out of it – pouncing is a long-used method of transferring an image to another surface by putting tiny holes along the drawing. In my case, I used an electric pounce machine, but this can also be done by hand with a pouncing tool.
After the pattern is taped to the wall, a fine black powder is rubbed through the holes, and voila! there is your image.
Having already painted a white basecoat, after the image is transferred again, I paint several coats of red and blue.
Next it is time to paint 50 stars.
After all the color fields are dry, I add shading and highlights, and a pole.
This bit of Americana is painted on a cabin facing the Nestucca River, and passed by multitudes of boats carrying fishermen out for a day of fishing, and everyone is in a happy mood.
It was quite a treat getting to work in this idyllic setting, surrounded by wonderful people and gifted with a lovely salmon!