Category Archives: Painting a mural

A Tall Order: Commissioned Painting

You may remember that I painted a mural at Three Chairs Co. a few months ago. A wonderful family saw the piece and commissioned me to do a large-scale painting for a two story wall in their living room.

My first question was what style they wanted the painting done in: they style they had seen in the store or more painterly with broken brushstrokes, like Matisse. Their request was to paint something really modern and clean, nature-themed and balanced to the eye. I came up with a few sketches and they chose Palette A.

Being heavily design oriented, I wanted the painting to have vibrant presence. I made a few suggestions and the family opted for a 48″ x 72″ canvas, which is exactly 6 inches taller than me. This was going to be fun! Once you go over 48 inches, everything arrives by freight and a truck delivers the goods. (Luckily N was home that day to be the brawn)!

I got started immediately and used graphite to replicate the motif freehand. Then I started blocking in colors using a myriad of Liquitex Professional heavy body acrylics. Not only do they have exceptional lightfastness and thick viscosity for consistent coverage,  they  hold up well in sunlight. (I don’t ever recommend hanging oils or prints in direct sunlight but acrylic can withstand it to a certain degree).

I took some liberties with the scale of the canvas once the painting started to take form. There were negative spaces that I wanted to balance so I strayed from the original design a bit. I allowed each layer to dry completely before moving on to the next one. Here’s the piece 99% done.

Voila! What do you think?

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Mini Mural Session: Playtime at Lexi’s Toy Box

Lexi’s Toy Box is an incredible toy store in downtown Ann Arbor. Not only does it have a beautifully curated and merchandised inventory, the logo is an adorable hedgehog that I was thrilled to paint. It’s part of a “find the hedgehog” game that the kids get to play when they visit for a prize. Crystal Metzger, is the gracious and personable owner and she’s become a friend through this process. The toys she carries offer a high value of play in each carefully picked piece with brands like Haba, Kimochis, Play Set and Mudpuppy.  If you have a gift to buy, Christmas shopping to do, I recommend doing it at Lexi’s Toy Box.

Can you spot the hedgehogs?


You can do all your "grocery shopping" right here. How cute is that??

The sweetest inspiration

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Sneak a Peek: Our Latest Commission

We’ve been working on a commission of a large painting over the last month. It’s a heavily design-oriented treatment on stretched canvas and we’re really excited about how it’s turning out. You can see the flourish (pencil marks) and the precision in the sharp lines – all done by hand, of course. We’ll share photos once it’s finished.

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Out + About: Murals, Tagging, Graffiti, Mosaics

When we lived in Chicago, one of my biggest gripes was the lack of public art. Much of it is relegated to Millenium and Grant Parks and Michigan Avenue, conservatively doled out to mainstream consumers and tourist explorers. The city’s buttoned-up demeanor goes hand in hand with the obliteration of spray paint within city limits by the Daley administration years ago. In 1992, Chicago City Council passed to ban the selling of the graffiti artists’ medium, waging a hefty war from artists and Federal Court Judge Marvin E. Aspen, who deemed it unconstitutional. They subsequently lost when it was fully enforced starting in 1995 under allowance by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. To this day, you still can’t buy spray paint within city limits but a few promising murals have popped up over the last couple years.

A mural endorsing Wicker Park, one block from where we used to live

Approved tagging at Milwaukee and Evergreen Aves.

Don’t get me wrong. There is art in Chicago, it’s just not as spontaneous as one might think for a city its size. I like to visit Philadelphia for many reasons but one of my favorite past times is walking along South Street and seeing what new pieces have popped up. It’s a vibrant art scene which started in the 1960s by a group of artists that moved into the area, but most notably Isaiah Zagar who started the movement of creating mosaics on every surface.

Philadelphia, South Street Corridor

Philly just has a flavor that’s all its own. Every year close to a hundred murals are created as part of the Mural Arts Program. Very impressive for a city its size, or any size, for that matter.

Riotsound Graffiti

Fine Art America

Murals are ubiquitous in Philly. AnmlHse

Artists: Jason Slowik and Keir Johnston, 2005 Urban Horsemen

For us, it’s nice to just see organic and creative things happening whether it’s graffiti, tagging, wall murals, window painting or an impromptu performance. The other night we met Summer Medel, an artist and muralist,  painting a new spring themed scene for a storefront. We were really happy to see creation happening, especially since it was a pretty damn cold out. That’s heart.

Cool, huh? What’s your favorite piece of public art – painting, sculpture, graffiti or otherwise?


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Got art?

It’s here! Our online shop offers original photography and art, which can be viewed here. Every piece is edition marked, hand signed and shipping is included in the price.

I’ve included travel shots from Taiwan, Italy’s Amalfi Coast and the ever-changing Chicago skyline, which I shot for almost two years from the same spot. There’s also a limited edition Enter the Dragon print in time for Chinese New Year. We’re really flexible and enjoy working on projects so if you have a combination or request for something larger, let us know. Thanks for the continued support!


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Sneak Preview: Painting of a Headboard

For a long time, I’ve been wanting to do a fabric headboard. Apparently if you saturate fabric and wall enough with spray starch, it’s supposed to adhere as temporary wallpaper. I’m going to finally get around to doing it, after I get the base of a peony-shaped headboard done. Here’s a sneak peek at the process so far.

First time around, in green.

I changed my mind to something more festive.


Hand drawn plans, 30 x 30 inches

I’m on to the messy part of cutting and tracing now but there will be more as we move furniture, block in the colors and sleep with paint fumes. Oh joy!


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Start to Finish: Painting A Wall Mural

I just finished a mural at Three Chairs Co., a prominent furniture store in downtown Ann Arbor (they have an additional showroom across the street as well). I was excited to do one here because my concept matches the mid-century aesthetic of their pieces with designers like Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi.

My design of the Modern Rorschach inkblot came easily as I was sketching in Adobe Illustrator and the owner thought it would be perfect for the front window during the Herman Miller winter sale.

After I printed it out, I labeled each color and shape by section and dimension.

Now comes the real work. I measured each section (or color) to scale and translated it to hand-drawn illustrations on paper.

Then I cut each section out and labeled it.

I laid out the area for the “canvas” and blocked it in using Behr primer and paint in one. Great stuff!

Then I could start taping and tracing. 

And cutting in the colors by hand.

And filling them in. Using vibrant colors together is always a gamble. But after double and some triple coats, I think it paid off nicely.


The white space is 6' wide by 5' height.

Thank you, Three Chairs Co. for your cooperation and wall space. Special thanks to Genui Forma for sponsoring the materials! And a big thank you to -N- for being a great partner in crime.

If you need a mural in your home or office, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email


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What’s she thinking?!?

Is this the untimely end of Y’s sanity?! Could she be  plotting some sinister, diabolical scheme? Or is she gifting mankind with a glimpse of the future of art?  Tune in tomorrow for the shocking reveal!

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