I have a handful of consistent clients that help keep me in business. I call them “Hall of Fame” clients. The regulars. As in, “I don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but put me down in your schedule for March” regulars. Okay, technically that only happened once, but it did make me feel like a rock star. There are only a handful of regulars at the “Hall of Fame” level, and the Ilfeld family is one of them.
Jo and Jeff first hired me ten years ago to paint every inch of their son’s bedroom in a safari theme. I know exactly when it was because my daughter was only two months old, and I brought her along with me and painted with her strapped to my back. A few years later, I painted a four-wall mural for their second son with a firehouse and emergency vehicles theme. Then they had a daughter, Miri, and we covered her room in frolicking fairies, flowers, toadstools and a few elves.
A few years back, Miri’s fairyland was sacrificed in a remodel, so last month they had me back to start from scratch in her new room. Miri, now 7, wanted an underwater theme, and gave me a clear directive: Penguins! On icebergs! Whales too! And a couple sharks… Everything on the wall came from Miri’s direction. She will make an excellent movie director someday.
On the opposite corner of the room we created a kelp forest where the sharks could hang out and be far enough away so they don’t pose a threat to our happy penguin scene.
It is awesome to walk through their Ilfeld bedrooms and see my handiwork still being enjoyed, albeit with a few additional Giants posters to accompany the artwork. On this project, I was essentially a facilitator for Miri’s creative ideas; her walls became the canvas of her imagination. I hope her new mural reminds her to dream big and also that she is so very loved. Thank you, Jo and Jeff for being “Hall of Fame” clients!
Senanque Abbey Paintings
Annelise was my first friend when I moved to the Bay Area in 2003. She found our first rental for us, a beautiful home in Palo Alto that was a steal (yes, this was a long time ago). One of a few reasons I am forever in her debt! Both of my kid’s birthdays are only a day apart from her kids and we would share birthday party strategies. Although we are no longer neighbors, we still find ways to stay connected which, most recently, was through a painting project!
The Mora’s first commissioned me in 2005 to create a painting for the space above their hearth that celebrated their wedding location and honeymoon in Italy. I customized it for the space, and it still works perfectly in their living room. This time, they wanted a painting for their bedroom that captured a blissful family vacation they spent in Southern France, specifically the Senanque Abbey, a visual highlight of their trip.
For my commissioned paintings I always paint two pieces and let the client pick their favorite. In this case, the breathtaking view we wanted to capture was set. In the first painting I tried a pulled back view with softer colors. Peaceful, idylic. For the second painting I used stronger colors with the Abbey taking center stage, for a little more drama. I called the softer painting “Annelise’s View” and the more dramatic painting “Jeff’s View.” When I brought them over to the house for the “choosing moment”, Jeff threw open then door and said, “We won’t keep you in suspense: We want them both!” Comment dites-vous “awesome”?!?!
Call for Artists (Volunteer)
Bubb Elementary School is hosting a school-wide beautification day on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday April 26. They have hired me to create an ambitious design that includes two murals, five vignettes, and a “rainbow trail” weaving through the whole playground with six interactive stops along the way, including a walkable map of the United States. The good news is, I don’t have to do all the painting myself: YOU can help me! We are specifically looking for volunteers who have experience with acrylic paints or murals to act as leads for each mural area for a three hour shift. Please e-mail me if you would like to volunteer to help paint a mural for Bubb Elementary.
Spring is in full force right now. Life feels grand inside and out. It’s hard not to use hyperboles when I talk about my projects, but I am thrilled with my work right now. I am painting a sixty-foot long landscape that is adjacent to a beautiful garden with a fountain and pond. It is incredibly peaceful work, listening to the birds, the fountain, no hurry, no worry, just relishing. It is more meditation than work, and a blessed way to spend a beautiful spring day.
Enjoy your spring!