Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Super Hide Silver and Super Hide Gold: Random Samples

Silver and Gold-It's not just for Christmas, Burl Ives.
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Rankin/Bass Productions

Seriously, I love Burl Ives-I even have a cabinet finished called "Burled Ives" but that is off topic. I had requests from 2 different finishers to help them out with some random samples. Although one was a paneling finish and the other a wall finish both artists needed something with some silver and gold. It so happens that I have been testing the new Super-Hide Metallics (my last blog post) and decided to work with these products to create the samples.

Sample One: The Paneling Project
Nieman Marcus, 2009
This photograph is from a Nieman Marcus Catalogue and the designer would like the client's library paneling to match the paneling in this picture. The finish should include the red and gold on the molding but needs to be in the same shade as this fabric swatch:
The Marge Carson Silk Shantung has a gun metal cast with an antique gold print and brighter gold and silver textured embroidery. This will be made into drapes.

I always start by breaking down the picture-background to foreground.  In this case, there is a gold and silver wash over a red/brown wood base. The molding is a Chinese Red with gold leaf broken over the top. The entire surface is lime-washed and antiqued.

My base is a custom mix of Brown and Royal Taupe Setcoat.  I mixed Finishing Paste separately with Super Hide Silver and Super Hide Gold.  This was brushed on the surface and softened with cheesecloth.  The Finishing Paste give me sheerness but the right amount of drag to create a worn look.  I like that this dries fast and to a pretty low luster.  I mixed Fire Red and Red Setcoat and painted the molding. When this was dry, I applied Bright Gold Foil in a broken manner over the red.

To finish the look, I mixed white with the Finishing Paste and added a small amount of the Silver Super-Hide Metallic.  I brushed this over the entire piece and rubbed through areas with cheesecloth.  To age, I brushed thinned American Walnut Stain and Seal 100% over the sample.

I did two versions, with one being a shade lighter then the other.  Here is the sample with the fabric swatch:

The client and designer loved the sample. I do too and have decided to use this finish (minus the red) for the doors in my blue and gold guest room, plus I need to practice this finish on a "real" project.  I am working on a door in the studio and will post that story when done.

Sample Two:  The Powder Bath Project

For this project, the finisher pulled on old sample I did using Dutch Metal.  I never did this actual sample on a wall because the Dutch Metal tarnished in spots and other metallic colorants became gooey in the RS Low Viscosity Glaze.  But now I had the Super-Hides so I gave it another go.

The sample started on Black Sharkskin which gives the surface extra bite. I mixed the Super Hide Gold and a Gold/Silver Mix into the RS Low Viscosity Glazes.  I love how this stuff flows and blends but doesn't mix.
Right away, I could tell that the weight of the Super Hide Metallic was a good one for the glaze as the colors didn't sag as much they had with other colorants.

Using a metal trowel, held flat to the surface, I compressed the glazes and lightly blended them.  When I was happy with the colors, I flicked the surface with the activator and let it "bubble."
You can see the tiny bubbles on the surface.  I use cheesecloth to pull out little pieces of the metallic.  As I work, I continue to compress the finish.

 The finish will look scary and that is a good thing-like a Calico Cat.

At this stage, I gently add in more of the metallic to soften areas and create more color build. I let the sample hang over-night so it could sag and in the morning I can smooth those sags with my trowel-if only ttechnique worked on thighs!In the morning, I sealed the piece and then used Lusterstone over Wallovers Branching Out stencil.  When the stencil dried, I glazed the sample with a caramel brown.

This is an intricate project and all the products are Gold Label. Our finisher had used the products just not in this way.  She sold the finish but to a different client then she intended.  She started this week and so far so good.  I can't wait to see the finished room.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Faux with a Midas Touch: Super-Hide Metallics

(The Wizard of OZ, MGM 1939)
Let's blow off some steam about the new Super-Hide Metallics

Metallics are big again this year and this is Faux Effects latest offering in the metallic product line. These real metal materials provide a dense mid-luster metallic shine with great light reflection.  Super-Hide is available in Silver, Rich Gold, Pale Gold, Copper, and Bronze with tones being similar to the new Metallic Sharkskin paint and the FauxMetals. The sizes range from 8oz tubes at $18.95 to $119.75 for gallons. So we ordered every color and started making samples and completing projects.  The last Contemporary Lux class included several finishes with the product. So what do we think?

 Super-Hide is both a stand alone product and and an additive to create dense metallic plasters and glazes.
As a stand alone product, we love it for stenciling.  The dry texture and heavy nature of the Super-Hides means it won't bleed under stencils and covers in one pass.
Royal Design Damask Stencil in Silver and Rich Gold Super-Hide Metallic
I have used it straight out of the tube to tip furniture giving pieces the look of Dutch Metal without the tarnishing issues. Super-Hide doesn't spread far in this method but I've applied it at the same time as my cabinet stains and the two blend well without becoming mush.
Pale Gold Super-Hide Metallic and Faux Creme Concentrate Stain
Because the Super-Hide dries fast, you can go to your next step usually when you have finished one wall.  In this sample, I used the Rich Gold for the stencil and then went over it in 20 minutes with wet metallic fresco:

Royal Design Damask Stencil
The thing that makes this product different from, say the FauxMetal, is the ability to mix it with water-based products. FauxMetal will tarnish whereas the Super-Hide Metallic will not.  For the most part this has held true.  This is what you will see if the mixed product is left over-night even in an airtight container:
It will become a pale turquoise and you will freak out thinking that it has turned. But surprise! When you poke it with the brush, there is the color.  When I have brushed, rolled, or troweled the product in this state it has still dried true-to-metallic color even after mixed for a week. So far, Venetian Gem Tinting Base is the only product that tarnished when mixed with the Super-Hide Metallic. It continued to turn on the board even after glazing.  Although the colors went slightly verdigris and I didn't mind the results, it should be noted if you don't want a tarnished look.

Palette Deco with Super-Hide mixed with Venetian Gem Tinting Base
We did find that by mixing the Super-Hide Metallics with a variety of products we were able to get a range of coverage from very dense:
Super Hide Silver and Rich Gold on Sandstone Bark finish

Medium Build:

Super-Hide Silver and Rich Gold over our Taffeta Paper Finish
Sheer Build
Royal Design Studio Ribbon Stencil in Super Hide Copper and Rich Gold with Super-Hide Silver pulled over entire finish.

The Super-Hides work equally well under a finish as they do on top of a finish:
Pale Gold Super-Hide under custom tinted Luna

Super-hide custom tinted Copper over custom tinted Luna.

The sample above also demonstrates another quality of the Super-Hide Metallics. You may mix them together for custom colors or you may tint with your Faux Color or Faux Creme Colors. Stain tends to deaden the metallic qualities of the product.

Finally, if you want a solid metallic plaster with a low luster sheen the Super-Hides are an appropriate choice.  I troweled over this sample board of Brown Suede Lusterstone with Lusterstone Tint Base + Super-Hide Silver and the other half with Super-Hide Silver + Aquawax:


Because of the cost, I find the tubes to be an economical way to use this product which does go a long way.  I use a Tablespoon per 8oz of product when mixing.  Later this week I will post some completed projects using the product with coverage rates listed.

I still prefer the Faux Metals if I want a vibrant metallic with the most depth and was relieved that both products would be available.  Make sure and vigorously shake the tubes before using.  The liquid and solid tend to separate and you will just get "juice"-think about when you first squeeze out ketchup. The only other product that (so far) didn't work with the Super-Hide was the RS Glaze.  The mixed glaze wouldn't activate with the RS Activator. So I tried to use this glaze without activation on my own door project.  At first it looked great but as it dried, the color wasn't even. Top coating made it more pronounced.  I'm sure as we work more with the Super-Hides we will find things we love, things we don't, and sometimes reactions that we can't explain at all.

This is a Gold Label product. We teach with it in our Contemporary Lux class and the new Metallic Furniture Class.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Red, White, Blue...and Lots of Yellow

Let's get back to what we all really enjoy talking about-Decorative Painting. A past client called to let me know their house that we completed 5 years ago will be featured in a homes tour this month.  Could I come and do some touch-up before the tour?  The faux finishes have held up great but the house has settled due to construction in another area of the home and the hallway finish has a few cracks.

This home was always a favorite. A classic stone cottage style in an older neighborhood in Kansas City. We've worked in several homes in this area and the norm is a dark and traditional interior so this one was a treat. A red, white, and blue palette.  What keeps this from a patriotic cliche?  The red is a raspberry shade, the blue is dusty, the white is creamy, and large doses of clean orange based yellow enliven all the rooms.  Jennifer Quinn, the Interior Designer, knows how to mix lost of pattern and color to create a happy and inviting home.

The interior colors are all pulled from this lively Chinese Wallpaper.  I know wallpaper is Kryptonite to a Faux Finisher but I love this paper with it's dancing men and monkeys!  We selected a Farrow and Ball paint-Farrow Cream-for the base of the hallway.  At the time, Surfaces was the only direct supplier of Farrow and Ball paint to the public. Now you may only purchase through Design Centers, sigh...

Anyhoo...this hallway is why people would spend $65 on a gallon of paint.  The yellow had held up really well in the only hallway in a house with 3 kids and a dog.  We applied a simple stripe using a satin topcoat. This happened to be one of those jobs where all the stripes matched evenly from every angle on every wall. And people say you never use math! (We just got lucky)

The painters had patched the cracks and sanded but didn't prime.  I was able to brush the Farrow and Ball paint right over the patch only and it blended perfectly. I was so happy that I didn't have to repaint any of the stripes from top to bottom.  When the paint was dry (I always take a blow dryer), I re-rolled the satin topcoat where needed.  Since we no longer carry the paint, I ordered a sample pot and after 5 years the color was a great match. Whew!

This is the living room that I did in a yellow scale starting with the darkest shade and building to the lightest.  I used FE Venetian Base Coat as my first troweled layer. This is a very under-used product IMHO.  It tints really well with Setcoat and may be fine tuned with Faux Cream Color, Faux Color, or Stains. I like the Venetian Base Coat because I get 1 coat opaque coverage to build a finish on. In this case I tinted the Venetian Base Coat with Chamois Setcoat (which I used to prep the walls) and added Ochre Yellow and Italian Sienna. The material is troweled with a steel blade leaving a high/low coat.  This layer is dry before proceeding to the next step.

The next layer is O'Villa Plaster tinted in two shades, Butter and Cream. These colors are applied at the same time and pulled tightly over the Venetian Base Coat. The finish is very soft and dries to a matte finish.
It is a nice background for the homeowners vibrant art and a collection of blue and white Pottery.
I love colorful art myself and never understood why so many modern homes fall back to using white walls when the art is bold. This home shows that colorful art can harmonize with bright interiors.
There is a small television room off this dining room that the client also wanted finished.  I elected to apply the same colors that I used in the living room but in glazes and starting with the lightest colors and working towards the darkest-a reverse of the other room.
I started with Neutral White Setcoat with a small amount of Chamois added. I brushed and padded two shades of yellow at the same time. When the first glaze colors were dry, I lightly added a Ochre/Sienna glaze on top.
When people question the use of Setcoat as a base paint, I always bring up this house. The walls are plaster lathe.  The painters rolled Setcoat for me in the rooms where I applied my faux finishes but rolled their own primer and paint everywhere else. It was purchased at a large chain paint store-not the cheap stuff. Guess what? My rooms were the only ones where the walls did not bubble. True story.

My final project was the range hood.  It is a light-weight cast stone and the designer wanted me to "warm it up."  I always roll Clear Setcoat over stone and concrete because it is porous and I want my glaze to go on evenly. I use Stain and Seal because I like the colors. The stain needs to be thinned with a glaze medium. Faux Creme Clear, Aquacreme, and FX Thinner will all work.
The kitchen walls are blue wallpaper. Did you know that people have blue kitchens in the Caribbean because it is supposed to repel flies? I didn't either until I read the back of the Farrow and Ball paint chips.  I really do miss that paint-I learned a lot from those color cards. Sigh, again.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Samples of Mass Distortion

"Just because your flipped the image-doesn't mean you fauxed it!"

Among my quirks, and there are many, I have a freakish photographic memory. It serves me well at parties-remembering names, faces, and other vital statistics. It also comes in handy when playing Trivial Pursuit, watching Jeopardy, and attempting to sound intelligent in an argument.

It also means I can recognize pictures taken from web-sites, magazines, newspapers, and other sources-especially when the sample pictured is my own-on my studio carpet!

Several company web-sites used this picture to show what their clients could do to their cabinets. And yes, these artists could do these samples if they had taken Surfaces Cabinetry I, Cabinetry II, and Cottage Cabinet Classes.

We provided the samples and source information for a Kansas City Star article on cabinet refinishing called "Born Again Cabinets." The article was picked up by AP and published in papers nation-wide. The it was "picked-off" by some faux finishers nation-wide.
This is a collage of our Cottage Class samples from our Surfaces web-site. I found this same picture of our samples (just flipped-again)being used to promote the web-site, Kitchen Cabinet Painting & Decorating.Com.

Their site was a little slippery-communicating only through emails but we finally found the studio owner.

I have seen "faux" stone and wood product samples in magazines and on other web-sites that looked just like the real thing. And it took me about 10 minutes on the web to find the real thing.

Rather then speculate on the motivation or make false accusations, I prefer going directly to the source and asking: “Hey, What’s Up?” Faced with evidence (and one mad Blondie), no-one denied using the downloaded images but there was plenty of justification.

Or as the brilliant Stephen Colbert coined, lots of “Truthiness” which is:
(Image: The Colbert Report, Comedy Central)

"The quality by which one purports to know something emotionally or instinctively, without regard to evidence or intellectual examination".

These are my favorite quotes of decorative painting "Truthiness"

Product Representative: “Yes, the image was sent to me by a supplier. But we do a sample that looks exactly like it.”

Product Representative: “The mailer is for a marble and wood graining class. We don’t state that images on the front (which are the real thing) are the sample you will do in class.”

Competing Studio Using a Different Product Line: “You can’t teach a cabinet class and not expect us to use your samples to sell our cabinet class?”

Competing Studio: “I took a class with you in Dallas and took pictures” although you didn't do those samples and the picture is on my web-site.

Artist: “I didn’t know those were your samples, I got the picture from Photo Bucket.”

Artist: “My web guy put pictures on my web-site. I don’t even know what is on it (his own web-site).

Artist: “I was there when you did the work.”

What I think of all this is best summed up by the Wisest Woman in American, Judge Judy:

(Image: Judge Judy, CBS Television)

“Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

There are 2 separate but related issues here. The first problem is manufactures and by extension their distribution or training centers using misleading pictures to promote their products and classes. The second is artists downloading work for their personal web-sites that they did not do themselves.

But it really comes down to one question for the Product Representatives: “Did you do the sample with your product?” and one for the Artist: “Did you do the sample?” Either one is a Yes or No question- no explanation needed.

I am in no way implying that a particular product line is inferior because of a misleading sample. On the contrary, many of these lines have stunning samples submitted by their distributors and students. That’s what makes this practice even more shady because it is so unnecessary. If a sample looks as good as the real thing-JUST USE IT!

We get promotional material from our manufacture Faux Effects. While I appreciate the gesture as both a time and money saver, I don’t use these promotions to advertise our classes. I don’t know the Who, What, or Where of the pictures or samples-again I am not assuming that something is “wrong.” But I do know this-those samples and room pictures were not done by anyone here at Surfaces.

(This is done by Surfaces-See Murray on the project)

Many of our sample pictures have a huge flash or you can see Ashley’s hands. You see us working on many projects (I confess this is to sell our clothes as well) and often one of our random dogs wanders through into the shot. Not always professional but at least you know we did the sample or project we are selling.

I am not implying that an Artist that uses a downloaded image lacks talent. I might imply that you are lazy, cheap (pay for the class and learn the sample), or presenting yourself as more skilled then you really are.
You are taking a short-cut and it is insulting to the Artists that do take classes and produce their own work.

I want to be clear. We want people that take our classes to post their samples and use them in any and all marketing to get jobs. And no, you don't have to list us as a source in any manner because YOU did the work and that is what you are showing.

(Image of Howard Beale, Network MGM 1976)

I'm not just "Mad as Hell"- I am Sad as Hell. We've always been generous with information and let people photograph samples in our studio.  Now I am rethinking practices. Watermarking an image interferes with the viewers enjoyment and I've always resisted it. I am re-thinking that as well. Now I find out that people are not just pretending to do the finish, they are pretending to be other faux finishers.

          That is WHACKADOODLE!

Come one people-we are better then this. I know times are tough but let's rise to the top rather then sink to the bottom. And that will end my rant. Thanks!