Tag Archives: artwork

rainbow themed

When I was in high school I started painting murals. It was the late eighties / early nineties, and that was a big thing – a more custom take on stenciled borders and wallpapered walls that everyone seemed to have. It kept me busy. I did a lot of nurseries and kid rooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, kitchens. I painted on larger walls in schools – lots of book themed murals in hallways and stairwells. I also did pen and ink renderings or watercolors of people’s homes, watercolor names of children for their rooms, a few painted mailboxes and flowerpots – I don’t think I ever turned down a job. Thinking back on that now, I really hustled in high school. I had places to go (Europe with my French class!), things to buy (Guess jeans!), events to attend (New Kids on the Block concerts!).

So it was kind of funny to have some flashbacks to this time over this past weekend.

I painted a lot of book themed murals in the elementary school where my mom taught third grade. I started painting them in high school, and added to the collection over summer breaks at home from college. Based on the date above, I must have done this one right before heading back to my sophomore year at Clemson. It’s a scene from Eric Carle’s Draw Me A Star, and I remember that it wasn’t that easy to paint something in thick paint that was originally rendered in painted tissue paper collages.

My first mural in that school was the cover of one of my favorite books – Tomie De Paulo’s The Art Lesson. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but that mural was ten feet tall and painted over a stair, so it was a pretty dicey ladder setup I worked from. Also, I had to use oil based paint on the painted concrete block walls, which wasn’t much fun. I don’t miss mineral spirits. I used to bathe in the stuff.


E is always drawing or painting something at home. A friend asked recently if she’d be willing to paint a mural on her daughter’s bedroom wall, and E was excited to do it. I offered to help her get started on this project because I know that it’s not as easy as it looks. You need good quality paint, you need a lot of supplies, and it’s easy to tell when you haven’t done your homework. Plus, someone’s got to drive her around to do all of this, so she didn’t have much of a choice on the partnership. Luckily she was on board.

We ended up having a really great time together, and split the work pretty evenly to be efficient. I gave her lots of pointers along the way, but let her make or weigh in on every single decision. (We used a push pin in the corner of the wall, and stretched twine tied to a pencil to make the perfect arcs for the rainbow stripes. And we hunted through the house for big circles – using a step stool and a metal toy bin for the fluffy clouds.) We made a good team, and when we were driving home on the third day, she thanked me for the opportunity to try it. She loved the process and really loved the end result. She wants to do more. I have a feeling she might have a mural business in the making.

“super” raffle posters

I haven’t been to bed before midnight in a week, and I’ve promised myself to be there by ten tonight. That’s in eleven minutes, so I’m typing at breakneck speed – I’ll do a quick edit in the morning and then post this. I’m just so excited to have a camera again, and so I’ve been playing around with it some this weekend. I shot some of these photos early this morning, and I was pretty rushed to get out the door to set up for the annual soiree at the girls’ elementary school. I’m glad I took the time to take the photographs though, I love to look back on these each year. There are a few process shots thrown in as well.


Raffle 9

This year’s theme was Super Soulard Soiree – it had a pop art / comic book / super hero kind of vibe to it. I decided to take this really bold, graphic approach with paper as my medium, which gave the posters a really nice handcrafted feel. The top poster above was the crowd favorite, and the last one that I completed. E punched green paper with a hole punch for an hour while I glued the dots on in a grid to form the planet. Then I used two shades of gray to make the buildings, assembling them around the globe. I wove curved rainbow streamers through the building, and this poster was called “Save the World”. It featured lots of civic and good citizen minded prizes, plus a large gift certificate to Peacemaker Lobster & Crab just around the corner from us.

Raffle 7

I loved this second poster – “Kryptonite”. The description asked “What’s your kryponite?” – carbs, beer, working out, etc. I drew inspiration for the background from Lichentstein’s Still Life with Crystal Bowl, and cut dozens of black strips of paper. Then I made dimensional green kryptonite exploding in the center. I love the way it turned out. A bird pooped on it at the end of the event, so maybe pigeon poop is your kryptonite!

Raffle 8

The idea I got most excited about was for this third poster, “What’s Your Super Power?” The prize was full of experiences – music, art, fitness – so many different things to try out and explore. I decided to take inspiration from Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans, and opened three of them, with some comic book bubbles asking the questions Could I? Should I? Maybe I Will. At one point I entertained the idea of doing the Campbell’s logo, but even I have my limits. I actually like the simplicity here.

Raffle 6

The last poster was “Lightning Power for a Rainy Day” – it had so many awesome things to do in the summer when it’s raining outside. I had plenty of inspiration for this one last week. The BAM! in the center is dimensional with gold and red sticking out, and I love how the white dot pattern – stretched out into raindrops – turned out. Lots of measuring and marking on these four posters to get them to turn out right.

Raffle 5

The afternoon was perfect – sunny, 70, with a light breeze. The decorations were so much fun – my friend Becky orchestrated all of that, and there was a great crew there Sunday morning setting everything up.

Raffle 13

Raffle 10

Raffle 11

Raffle 12

I’ve heard rumors it was the most successful soiree to date – which is really exciting to hear after all the hard work from everyone.


I “borrowed” a few of the centerpieces, and tucked them around the house. I was seriously worn out by dinner time, but rallied to do a few more things before bed. My goal this week is to be in bed by 10pm each night – we’ll see how that works out! It was nice to celebrate and visit with friends on such a beautiful afternoon.

portrait wall beginnings

Portraits 1

I’m not sure why I never posted this after the holidays, but I thought about it this weekend since Father’s Day is approaching. I find that buying gifts for my husband is tricky sometimes. He has lots of interests, but not the kind of hobbies that lend themselves to new gear purchases. He’s very tall and thin, and typically has to order clothing to fit, so it’s also not really easy to spot a nice shirt and pick it up for a gift. I’m actually excited this year about our Father’s Day gifts that the girls and I picked out, but I can’t talk about those here quite yet. But I thought I’d share what we gave him for Christmas this past year.

M spent a ton of time last year working on the stair hall that goes through the center of our house – painting, updating light fixtures, final fittings on the stair treads, etc. On the middle floor we have a great wall for hanging portraits, and once some of the other projects start wrapping up, I’d like to start building that. I thought a neat way to fill it would be to commission portrait work from different artists each year. I started with Paul Ferney last year, and commissioned these two pieces.

I chose a picture of each girl, and this time I focused on our favorite place – the beach – and two activities that make me think of M and the way he loves to play at the beach with each girl. The underwater shot of E is one that M took while goofing off in the pool, flipping and splashing and diving. I love the light and everything about it. (I also loved Ferney’s beach paintings, so I knew this was a good match.)

Ella-Underwater photo

Portraits 2

The one of F makes me think of the quieter moments at the beach – the way M gets the umbrellas positioned just right for shade, and the way we sit under them and relax. This particular photo of F is the start of a colossal city of sand that M helped her build all afternoon. It had roads and bridges and tunnels and towers. It was one of my favorite afternoons ever, just watching them work, chasing the shade as the sun moved through the sky.


Portraits 3

I’ve got plenty of ideas for future pieces – some local artists, some distant ones. (And maybe a few in our own house!) If you’ve got someone you’d recommend, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to take a look at their work.