Thursday, November 29, 2012

Curtain Call.....

Theatre me, they are the most grand illusion and example of trompe l'oeil. Ravenswood Studios created this illusion.

Sande Chase of the blog, A Gift Wrapped Life,  just posted on Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows. Designer David Hoey also seems to appreciate the grandeur of trompe theater curtains.

This is the famed Opera Garnier in Paris. Most people would not know these are all trompe!

Sfumato Pintura Escenica excells at trompe theatre curtains! The scale of this project and detail keep me in awe...

Being able to study these step-by-step make it even better!

These curtains from Hillsborough, New Hampshire were sold at one time to another theater and are now restored and returned to their original home.
Never pass up an opportunity to tour an opera house or old theatre...the trompe is usually well worth it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Illusion of Sgraffito....

Have you ever been to Italy? Florence, more specifically. There are so many wonderful examples of sgraffito on building's exterior walls.

Sgraffito is a process of layering tinted plaster in contrasting colors and then scratched to produce an outline drawing.
I recently had the opportunity to create a little illusion of sgraffito on an exterior fountain wall.

Hardie board was used for the wall and then troweled over with tile mortar. The mortar was tinted three different shades of dusty pink, leaving the strongest band at the top for the design.

Some of the medium pink is seen through the main part of the wall as the last coat was skipped troweled to give partial coverage.
The lion head was an "as is" damaged piece with a large chunk missing from the mane. That was filled in and colored to match and made the lion look good as new for a steal of a price.

The sunlight is beautiful against the trim and lion creating nice shadows on the plaster.

Now for the fun part! I needed an authentic, intricate design to use on the top of the wall to imitate sgraffito. (Yes, true sgraffito was the first option, but when this stencil was found, plans changed) The stencil is from  the fabulous Helen Morris of  Stencil Library and is under the gothic and medieval stencils in the border stencil section.

I used marmorino plaster and pounced it on with a stencil brush due to the intricate stencil design.

Here is the completed project. The illusion is complete!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Postcards from Venice...

On my last trip to Venice, I wanted to find the Libreria Acqua Alta touted as "the most beautiful bookshop in the world".

I have a penchant for jumbled, chaotic bookshops that have stacks of books with a few stray cats roaming the aisles.....throwing a gondola in the middle of the room was just icing on the cake!
I picked an overcast day to find the shop. Located in the Castello sestiere, I wound through tiny calles , some so small that as the rain started, my umbrella scraped both sides of the stone walls.

And then I found it! The tables outside were covered with plastic due to the rain and the cats took refuge inside...a soft rain was falling....perfect book browsing weather!

Luigi Frizzo, owner of the shop, was very kind as he allowed me to dig freely in the two rooms of books. I found a rare book that caught my eye, some art prints and then I found the boxes of postcards!

I was fascinated. I bought way too many, but the artwork and writing on the back was intriguing.

The ones I bought had postmarks from 1910 -1925. They represented people just like me who traveled to Venice to see the same buildings I was seeing. Not much has changed in Venice for hundreds of years.

The postcards will be used for reference when I am painting. Some are photos and some are lovely artist's illustrations of gondolas and other iconic images of Venice.

What things do you gather on your journeys? If ever in Venice, I highly recommend visiting the Acqua Alta bookshop....the most beautiful bookshop in the world!

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