20 August 2013

Featured in Traditional Building Magazine

This month I am featured in Nancy A. Ruhling's article for Traditional Building Magazine entitled "The ABCs of Decorative Ornament: The experts agree Decorative ornament is a big plus in commercial buildings. "

A rooster mural by Lynne Rutter crows cockily at Gilberth's Rotisserie and Grill in San Francisco, CA. The hand-painted oil on copper leaf diptych adds down-home warmth to the industrial-chic interior of the restaurant, which is built in an old cannery in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood. Photo: David Papas
Clem Labine's Traditional Building Magazine is a trade publication which provides resources to architects, designers, and builders involved in preservation and design for public architecture.  It's an honor for me to be interviewed alongside such veteran studios as Canning Studios, EverGreene, and the brilliant muralist Russ Elliot. The article drives home the message that decorative painting is an intrinsic part of a commercial interior that adds to its interaction with the public as well as its overall value.

" ... San Francisco artist Lynne Rutter, who has made murals for restaurants, casinos and hotels, sees her work as art. "People think of decorative painting as being somehow less about expressing oneself and more about decoration, but this is not true of many of us in the field," she says.
The award-winning muralist and colorist is passionate about historic projects. "On the West Coast, there is a lot of creative reuse of our older buildings, so even if the project isn't a 'restoration' per se," she says, "the period detail of a building can be celebrated in its new incarnation, and decorative painting is an excellent way to achieve that sense of history."
Rutter, who is inspired by the works of masters like Vermeer, Fra Angelico and Max Beckmann, travels extensively, picking up ideas along the way. "I collect images of ornament, or moments of great old murals and beautiful surfaces," she says. "Recently, I submitted a design for a dome based on something I saw in a beautiful place I visited in Bulgaria."
Murals are an ideal medium for Rutter, who studied architecture and design at the University of California at Berkeley before she opened her boutique atelier in 1990. Typically, she paints the murals on canvas in her studio and installs them on site. "This process — marouflage — is an excellent technique for saving valuable time and allows for more detailed work to be done in advance," she says. In some projects, like the 900-sq.ft. ornamental ceiling mural created for the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, only the stenciling was done on site "instead of working weeks on site, my team and I were only there for four days."

Rutter points out that decorative painting serves no one style, and that's what makes the work interesting to her. "I have been doing this since the mid-1980s and the popularity of decorative painting has gone up and down over the years, but mainly what I see is a change in the design of the work," she says. "The skills and techniques used are similar even as the definition of 'contemporary' changes from year to year.  "

read the full article at Traditional Building Magazine


  1. This is absolutely gorgeous, Lynne, and I like how your work is at one with every other element in the room. I also enjoy a look that could be cross-cultural — I think you were very busy during Japan's Edo Period!

    1. Thanks, Mark. I did also choose the paint colors for this place so it is actually by design that all the elements work together!

  2. Beautiful work. Kudos to you for your recognition!


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