Studio Visit: Jennifer Carrasco

Ship of Fools:   Chinosierie mural detail by Jennifer Carrasco*

So a couple of years ago, I get this email from my friend Jennifer Carrasco asking about canvas for a big job... I love talking shop with my fellow muralists and I was happy to dump all sorts of advice on her whether needed or not.  For the next year or so there was a lot of back and forth about the technical and physical challenges of this huge commission of Chinoiserie, which Jennifer designed in a highly personal style including many details that resonated with her client's personality and philosophy.  The 20 foot high mural panels were painted for a fabulous home on Vashon Island, creating a truly over-the-top fantasy rivaling anything you can find in Brighton or Drottningholm. 

Jennifer Carrasco in the fantastic Chinoiserie mural she created for her client on Vashon Island*

As I am a huge fan of Jennifer and her work I was very excited to get a chance to visit her Seattle garden studio after Salon 2014 was held in Seattle last May,  just after this stupendous mural had been installed.

Jennifer in her studio, scale drawing of her Chinosierie mural
Surrounded by her garden,  Jennifer's studio is a charming and compact creative space cleverly outfitted to her needs thanks in large part to the carpentry genius of her partner, Phil.

Large projects require enormous amounts of organization and planning, especially when being produced in smaller spaces.  The entire chinoiserie project was designed and laid out in a scale drawing overlaid with a carefully numbered grid, the staggered panels were measured and cut in a large sail loft, and then sent to a commercial paint shop to be spray painted with the gradated colors of the background, then the grid transferred to the canvas.

Phil designed an ingenious system to allow Jennifer to paint these 20+ foot high mural panels in this studio, by devising  two stations with "drafting table" style painting areas and  pairs of rollers to dispense and roll up the canvas.  This way Jennifer can paint seated at a large, angled table rather than standing on ladders, or sitting on the floor or any of the other difficult postures we  have to assume when doing large pieces   Jennifer bragged to me early on that this set up "has added years to my mural painting life."

Inside and outside, Jennifer Carrasco's garden studio in Seattle
This clever mural painting set-up allows for comfortable ergonomic painting while seated.*
behind the mural painting wall is beautifully organized storage 

I really loved the storage opportunity that was built into the back of the painting wall.  I'm afraid I am the type to get rather too excited about such things.

In addition to this charming style of Jenoiserie, as she calls it, Jennifer is well known for illustration work and for painting  fearlessly colorful murals and environments such as the famous ballroom of the Seattle restaurant The Ruins.   Her work is infused with humor, nature and pure joy.    You can see more of her paintings at her beautiful website.

Selected Jenoiserie is also available now via Spoonflower in fabric, wallpaper and other printed items!!

Chinoiserie peonies by Jennifer Carrasco*

color samples and sketches at Jennifer Carrasco's studio

Photos in this post by Lynne Rutter
and *courtesy Jennifer Carrasco

International Decorative Painters Salon


  1. So pleased and a tad jealous you got to visit Jennifer on this special project. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us!

  2. Jennifer does such gorgeous work... I love the translucency of her peonies and her color palette. Also great easel setup!


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