31 March 2013

Paris en Grisaille

"Les Monuments de Paris" mural by Lynne Rutter, photo by David Papas
Recently I got the opportunity to return to a client's home to photograph the mural I painted for them. How exciting to see this room finished!   The magnificent Saarinen table is surrounded with chairs upholstered in the most fantastic blue velvet,  and crowned with a vintage Italian chandelier in crystal and rose brass. The floors have a black cerused oak finish.
The interior design of this gorgeous room is the work of Gary Spain.  The shot was styled by Damian Alvarado and photographed by David Papas.  Of course I assisted in the shoot, mainly by looking through the camera now and then and saying "wow, you guys!"

The mural is painted en grisaille using dozens of shades of warm gray, and is patterned after  Les Monuments de Paris by Josef Dufour. It is painstakingly hand-painted in the style of the early 19th century block-printed scenic wallpapers, or papiers peints panoramiques. Unlike the original paper this mural is painted on canvas, and is quite durable, a necessity in a home with young children. I also added a few Paris monuments not found in the original paper and freely (re)arranged the design to best suit the room.

More about the creation of this mural here.
click on image to view larger


09 March 2013

Gustavian Bench

I dreamed of a little gray bench
For at least 20 years or more this small neoclassical bench has been kicked around my tiny home - I used it as a vanity stool,  and for a while as a piano bench - all the while it was begging to be reupholstered at least. With a few hours to spare in my studio, I finally got around to doing something about it.

before:  the sweet fluted legs attracted me to this piece
Dating from the 1910s, this nice little bench is blessed with carved fluted legs and is solidly built- but it had a bad break in one part of the frame and had been buried under magazines and finally wound up in my basement gathering even more neglect.  Once in my studio, I  gave my old friend a good dusting-off.

straightened and cleaned

I repaired the break with fish glue and some clamps. All of the joints tightened, the entire surface was then cleaned with fine steel wool and some alcohol.  I didn't bother repairing any dents or scratches.  A couple of layers of walnut crystal stain evened up the wood color and brought it back more to its original intent. I could have given this a nice French Polish this at this point,  but I decided that what I wanted was a simple, painted bench.

after:  the wee painted bench of my dreams

Two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint gave me the perfect Gustavian look.  This is really nice, easy to use paint for furniture. The color here is "French Linen."     I decided not to "distress" or artificially age the surface any further, as I am sure dings and scrapes will appear in time, quite naturally. The painted surface was burnished and polished with two coats of micro-cyrstalline wax, and finally the seat was re-covered with a bit of Belgian linen left over from one of my artists smocks.
I'm quite please with this little project.  What do you think?