Excited About Patterns

Over the holiday break I took some time to dig into some creative projects I had been wanting to try for a while. Setting aside time can be exciting and at times overwhelming because I get so amped I don't know where to start first. I don't know about you, but when I get an idea I want to drop what I'm doing and dive head first into it but this whole "adulting" thing has me on a pretty tight leash so I have to wait until I have completed my prior obligations before I can begin. And by that time I've got so many ideas its like I have ADD! One thing I did manage to accomplish is design a stencil for myself. One of my goals this year is to learn how to create a repeat pattern on the computer. This one I did by hand and then had Hugh Hoeger at The Mad Stencilist create the design in Adobe and cut it for me. With the mathematical accuracy of a computer I knew that it would be the best way to make the design line up and repeat as cleanly as possible.

Lenehan Studios, decorative painting, faux painting, murals, trompe l’oeil, ceiling mural, children’s mural, wall art, custom art, faux, faux finishing, Baltimore, Ellicott city, woodgraining, marbling, plaster, painting, artist, local, Dee Lenehan, cabinetry painting, furniture painting
Lenehan Studios, decorative painting, faux painting, murals, trompe l’oeil, ceiling mural, children’s mural, wall art, custom art, faux, faux finishing, Baltimore, Ellicott city, woodgraining, marbling, plaster, painting, artist, local, Dee Lenehan, cabinetry painting, furniture painting

My design came from a textile I found while internet surfing for inspiration. I took the general idea and had to work it into a design that would allow for stenciling. Creating the "bridges" to keep the design together was tricky at first but once I "saw" the positive and negative spaces in my mind I was able to draw it out.

Lenehan Studios, decorative painting, faux painting, murals, trompe l’oeil, ceiling mural, children’s mural, wall art, custom art, faux, faux finishing, Baltimore, Ellicott city, woodgraining, marbling, plaster, painting, artist, local, Dee Lenehan, cabinetry painting, furniture painting
Lenehan Studios, decorative painting, faux painting, murals, trompe l’oeil, ceiling mural, children’s mural, wall art, custom art, faux, faux finishing, Baltimore, Ellicott city, woodgraining, marbling, plaster, painting, artist, local, Dee Lenehan, cabinetry painting, furniture painting

I was so excited to receive my package from California that I immediately got to work trying out two different looks. I love this design and want to try more. I'm calling it "Imogen." I have a ton of ideas piling up so looks like I'll have to set aside more time to "play!"

img_7917.jpg
img_7797.jpg

Past, Present, and Future: Pete Pappas & Sons Corporate Mural

Earlier this summer I completed a large scale mural depicting the family business Pete Pappas and Sons in Jessup MD.

I was asked to show the history of the company from the first packing warehouse founded by their great grandfather in 1942 who immigrated from Greece to Washington D.C. Also shown is the current facility and in the center are the three generations of Pappas family owners. The two figures in the center are passing a crate of tomatoes, symbolizing the passing of the company's leadership from father to son.

The mural was completed on canvas in the studio and installed on site by Shelly Wilkins of Walls Etc. Learn more about how we create murals on canvas.

I love creating meaningful work and get such a joy out of bringing client's idea to life. Do you have a space that could use a special work of art?

Things Are Looking Up...

So lots of good things have been happening in my little world in the past few months and I wanted to tell you about some of it... First of all, THANK YOU to all of the folks who came to my show "Still Standing" hosted by Pure Wine Cafe and presented by HorseSpirit Arts Gallery in Ellicott City. What a thrill it was to be able to share with you my work and see all of my pieces hung together in one space. If you followed me in the process of creating my solo show, "Still Standing," you know how the last two years have been for me and the struggles I have overcome to make this happen.

This show, for me, was really a dream come true. Looking back at the work created, the opening reception, the love I received, I am overflowing with joy. I am grateful to have so many people in my life that love me and support my work. I never really considered myself a "fine artist," and never thought I would have the need for true self expression. I now have a desire to continue down this path and see what I can do with it. Perhaps I will enter into some juried exhibitions, and maybe approach some galleries in the region. I will also have prints of the works that were on display in my new eCommerce shop! You can also click "Shop" in the menu bar above. And both "Retired" and "Moved on are on display and available for purchase at HorseSpirit Arts Gallery. If you are interested in the other paintings that were in the show please contact me. Thank you to those of you who bought pieces!

I am planning to create some new works, having been inspired by my recent two-week solo trip to New Mexico this past April. I'll be sharing that in a following post. I am in love with the west, and there was so much inspiration for me that I know I'll be back.

IMG_5035

In addition, I have also begun to sell my jewelry. I've never considered it before but a close friend kept encouraging me and so I finally decided to go for it. Again, it's in my new eCommerce shop.   And if you are local, you can see some of my pieces in person at my friend Kelly's new shop "Made on Main" on Main Street Ellicott City (of course!)

Amber Cabochon

Speaking of jewelry, I have been ruminating on the idea of working that into my fine art. I am not really sure how yet, but thought I would put it out there and see what comes back to me in the form of inspiration. I just took a workshop at the Baltimore Jewelry Center with Robert Ebendorf, who happens to live in Santa Fe! More on that to come.

There are a few other things that are happening but I am not ready to share yet. They are big and exciting and scary and thrilling and I can't wait until they're more materialized so that I can tell you all about them!

So please keep in touch and find me on Instagram and Facebook.

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE ART TIP!

Save

Save

Jumping in Head First; An Art Piece Like No Other (for me at least)

When I proposed this project almost two years ago I had not a clue as to who what I was getting myself into. My client, referred to me by Wendy Appleby, has lived in this house for over 20 years and hadn't figured out what to do with the giant overmantle that loomed over the front room. She is a collector of great art and owns a few Picasso's, Chagall's, and Matisse's. She also collects glass and so when I proposed  that we do an abstract glass piece she was sold. "Great!" I thought, then "What the hell did I just say I would do??" Paper template for glass

The first thing was to figure out if the glass could be cut in the way we wanted. I went to several places but the only folks who could help me out were Sherry and Len Berkowitz from Great Panes in Old Ellicott City. They had the glass water jet cut to my template. I was stoked that they were able to help me out. Its also nice to be able to use the talents of friends.

IMG_2274

IMG_2276

So on to the next task of figuring out how to go about executing what was in my brain. Enter my friend Annie Lemarie, an expert at gilding. I took a trip out to her house in Sharpsburg and spent the day playing in her studio. She lives directly across the street from the Antietam Battlefield, a beautiful setting for a fun filled day. We figured out the method of application of colors and metals, an oil based paint would suffice.

Back to the studio and my friend Ewan Tulis constructed this easel that would serve to allow me to study the front as I was working along. I had to work on the back, a technique called "reverse painting" or "reverse gilding." I was essentially flying blind with the first layers of color. It looked so awful until the leaf and mica powders were applied. Then the whole thing came to life.

IMG_2319

IMG_2354

IMG_2356

IMG_2362

 

IMG_2398

Finally, the last task was mounting it. Bill Knapp, yet another friend, who works in found object metal sculpting, built an armature that would allow the glass to be suspended from the wall as if it were floating. It was heavy and would be hung on a travertine tiled wall. We couldn't really figure out where the studs were so we hoped that when the client decided she was going to replace the wood burning fireplace with a gas insert that we were going to be able to look up inside to see where we were going to tap in. Luck was not in our favor but thankfully the way Bill made the armature, our pilot holes would be covered over.

Ewan doing his thing

Finally! The day came for it to be installed. Ewan and his assistant Matt worked smoothly and professionally to place my work perfectly over the fireplace. It was such a treat to see it in its place after so much planning and work.

Ewan and Matt working on installing the final piece.

IMG_6716

IMG_6722

The best compliment came from my client when she said, "That's cool as S***!" I laughed out loud. The icing on the cake was an email she sent that evening. "[My husband] walked in the door and saw the painting and his comment was "spectacular"! He sat down on the sofa, stared at the painting and said to tell Dee the painting was well done. The funniest comment he had was that it is a lot more colorful and stands out more than what we had before. I laughed and told  him I sure hope so because there was nothing on the wall before. It is truly am amazing piece of art!"

That makes me happy.

Never Say Never

Yeah, well...so I said I'm done with painting cabinetry. Its tedious, difficult, smelly, sweaty, and dirty. BUT after figuring out the nuances of my new system I think I'm ready to go again.  I decided to try out a new sprayer and use lacquer after hosting the Faux Team's class at my studio. You can read about that here. IMG_2131

I hit a few hiccups along the way. The first was getting to know my new sprayer. With a little help from a friend I was able to get up and running. Then I didn't realize HOW MUCH paint you had to use just to get the hose primed! Then something went "fishy" with the paint on the doors. Turns out there was a certain cleaning product that was used on them and it repelled the paint. Mind you I had SCRUBBED these doors well with TSP and wiped them clean then sanded and wiped clean AGAIN but the problem persisted. The only solution was to keep layering thin coats of paint and sanding back between each coat followed by a wipe down each time with Xylol.

IMG_2380

After the doors and drawers were completed it was time to tackle the kitchen itself. It took about two days to fully mask everything off. My intern's back was out so I was on my own. But once that was finished the spraying was cake. Not as many issues on the boxes so thankfully this portion went much more smoothly.

IMG_2566

IMG_2568

Re-installation took about a half day and the results are stunning. I will never use anything else on cabinetry. The feel and durability of lacquer far outweighs the extra time and effort of setting up and spraying it, as well as the smell. It looks so professional.

IMG_6406

IMG_6404

IMG_6396

IMG_6395

So....the clients have asked me back to do some other areas of their home. Never say Never!