Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Returning from Marrakech


Hi all,I'm back from Morocco. This trip was beyond all expectations.

First off, this is a testimonial filled with gratitude to Melanie Royals. This woman is amazing. Melanie has built a successful international stencil and design company from scratch. She has built it on hard work and integrity and yet remains one of the kindest, giving women I've ever met. Beautiful inside and out. She has helped endless numbers of decorative painters/artists improve and enhance their skills and businesses by creating products and workshops that are incomparable. And if that isn't enough, she is able to organize and lead a trip of 10 women with different talents and lifestyles and ages for work and play and adventure without a lot of drama and a whole lot of fun. 
Working up the courage to finally take this trip with Melanie(she has lead at least 6 groups!) and her band of talented women started with my dream of going at least 4 years ago. The colors, patterns and architecture of North Africa has somehow been a presence in my work for the past few years. The decision to go at this time is one I will never regret. Besides some great goodies and wonderful memories, I brought home with me the inspiration and impetus to continue in some new, exciting directions. Thank you Melanie!

Our first day:

I love the parts of Morocco that we visited, from the luxe of Peacock Pavillions:

 to our final stay in the middle of Marrakesh and the Medina and our hours (and hours) spent in the Souks:

Art galleries and magnificent blue and yellow gardens:

Artwork by Lalla Essaydi, Galerie Tindouf, Marrakesh

Yves St.Laurent Gardens , Marrakesh

Stenciling projects and jump rope with the beautiful village girls:

Even goats in a tree:

Parties and dinners(with belly dancers):

And of course getting to know and work and play with the 9 other luckies of Melanie's band of talented painters seemed so natural: We all spoke the same language of the love of paint and process.

Yes, I worked!:

Our last night: 

I cannot wait to go back. Melanie is running another trip in November. I would be on that plane if I could. But I think there may be another one next year...hmmmm.

I will be writing shortly on the connection between one of our projects at Peacock Pavillions and my DIY event coming up at West Elm Wayside. Stay tuned!

Sigh. Thanks for looking. 

To all of our happy trails,



Monday, April 21, 2014

Contemplating Marrakach

In 12 days I am off to Morocco. It seemed so far away 6 months ago when I registered for this dream trip with Melanie Royals, the queen of just about everything, and a group of nine other artists.

I have one more job to finish before I leave which is painting the base of a kitchen island for a local designer. Of course, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint© to the rescue. Where else to buy it but at Maison Decor, home of the fabulous Amy Chalmers. Surprise. She now carries Royal Design Stencils and of course how can I leave without buying this:

I had just the piece finish up:

In Progress, "Circles", 2014 ©Susan Siefer

Finishing up :

Just about finished, ready for mounting:

New Title: "Circles: Contemplating Marrakach", 2013, ©Susan Siefer

Materials used (on canvas): venetian plaster, quartzstone, metallics,  tints, acrylic paint, gold leaf, tamise leaf, stencils, wax

This blog is more about connections than anything. I am always blown away at how small our creative community really is when we start connecting the dots. I am SO looking forward to expanding that circle come May 3rd.

Thank you all!!

Check out my portfolio page for recent studio work: www.susansiefer.blogspot.com

Follow me on Instagram during the trip!



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Art and Fabric

"Copper Chappy", ©Susan Siefer 2013 12"x12"
Last year I met architect and interior designer Amy Dutton of  Amy Dutton Home at the opening of the York Showhouse at which I had a couple of paintings and a large panel hanging. Both this painting and the large panel are discussed in my two previous blogs (written a while ago). I love the collaborations I have with the wonderful group of designers I have met over the years.

I met with Amy at her glorious studio/gallery/showroom in Kittery Maine and we started to talk about collaborating. Amy is one of those designers that really understands the importance of art and artisanship for her clients and their homes. After a visit to my studio, she took this painting and started playing with some ideas for fabric.

We met again on Friday. She asks: do you want to see the fabric? Oh my, I was blown away. This is what she had printed after her tech assistant got all of the placement, pixels and color right:

This is a full yard of fabric in a stripe repeat. I love the way it looks in a vertical stripe.

The painting has a lot of depth and texture and I think the interpretation was spot on.

Here is another piece of fabric as a window panel:

Or how about a dress?
Beautiful model Amy

A pillow:

We are excited and off and running. A few more tricks up our sleeve including some new panels I have been working on.  We meet again soon!

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, please visit Amy in Kittery especially if you are a designer looking for fresh, contemporary and artful pieces for your clients. Amy Dutton Home is a wonderful resource.

Amy Dutton Home
9 Walker Street
Kittery, ME
(207) 703-0696

Have a creative day!

Warm regards,


Monday, September 9, 2013

A New Approach to Projects

Here I am back from a summer break. A sabbatical of sorts, trying out new challenges including a part time job at West Elm and travel, spending time with family and friends. In my heart and soul, my art creating is still my main focus. It is where I feel whole, where frustrations are constant and welcome because it is worth working through, and where the mere act of creating art makes life worthwhile.

So, along with my job I have recently received a few calls from some of my favorite clients for decorative painting/design jobs. I have found that I am now approaching these jobs quite differently than I did when it was my primary business. It seems that I am freer now, more inclined to approach the process as artful rather than perfection in process. I have learned lots from the paintings I have done in the past year or so, just as back then I learned from the decorative finishes.
I am once again excited about the prospect of doing walls, because it's as if I am doing big paintings. And then layering my paintings on top of my painted walls.

From consultation visit, flooring inspiration:

Back at studio:

mmm, looking at this painting that I recently did of the Vineyard:

©Susan Siefer 2013, "Copper Vineyard"

I know the client as I have done several projects for her. She has always been open to new possibilities. I wanted to do something with artist materials mixed with some of the unusual decorative plasters I have used:

What you do not see, there are shimmers of quartzstone as well as plasters and Golden interference paints.

Here are the two together:

I just love when everything in life comes together!!! It doesn't always happen, but when it does, what a joy.

What have you created today?

Warm regards,



Sunday, June 30, 2013

Creating From An Idea...

Designers have visions for a space. Artists help enhance those visions.

I met Interior Designer Meredith Bohn at a seminar at the Boston Design Center a few weeks back. We got to talking and she asked if I would be interested in showing a few paintings in one of the rooms she is designing for The 2013 York Showhouse (link for all information) in Maine from July 13 to August 15. Meredith was looking for something different from the standard seascape themed artwork.

Visiting the studio, Meredith selected a couple of paintings and asked if I could do a large piece for the foyer. She showed me what she had in mind. as well as fabrics and the floor plan.

The wheels start turning.  Although I have done quite a few canvas commissions, this was a culmination of what I have been working on for the past year and I brought in many of the elements that I have been working with for many years before that.

The steps involved and a sneak peak follow.

Small Sketch:

Taping out flat canvas. 36 1/2" x 74" : (I'll explain hanging method later)

Work Table:

Rolled first layer of gray quartzstone ground:

First layer polished plaster and colorant:

 More layering of custom-color mixed polished plaster with some acrylic colorant:

Adding Silver Leaf (on roll):

Silver Leaf Squares and adding images:

Working on pattern:

Without the green tape! Not quite finished:


Finishing involves buffing and cold waxing  and working in some details.

A hot wax is applied to the back of the canvas

and the canvas is  burnished onto the wall directly. It is removable. Meredith has come up with a great idea as to framing it out.

If you live in the area, come see it in person with great lighting and the nuances of the texture, the pattern and the silver leaf.  I will post photos "in situ".

Get inspired with some great interior design, original art and a beautiful setting!

Warm regards,

ps. check out my portfolio by clinking the link at the top of the blog