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:

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

Friday, June 14, 2013

Getting started on a daily creative practice

It has been 2 months since I started my day to day small art pieces. I thought I would share a couple of tips with you to get started on your own. I find it to be a great exercise in putting into reality the internal creative conversations we have with ourselves.

First Day to Day, April 11, 2013 ©Susan Siefer

Getting started: this is the hardest part! My advice? Just get started. If you feel stuck, grab an index card, a piece of paper, a sticky, anything and take a marker or pen or pencil and make marks, doodles, let your mind wander.  No one is looking. Try this the first thing in the morning, set your alarm 15 minutes early and go!

You may want to use a sketch book or journal book, but I found that separate pieces of paper are a lot less daunting. You do not have to worry about looking at all of the blank pages. Try to find things you have laying around. This will begin to stretch your creative mind.

Find a place to work. If you have a spot that you can leave, great. If not, if you are sharing the dining room table or a work desk, no problem. Make a portable studio with plastic storage boxes.

Pick a size. This is what works for me so you may want to try it. I confined my size to fit into one of these which I found at the Paper Source in Boston. It keeps things neat and gives me a comforting parameter.
Mine are no larger than 3 1/2"x5":

Think about your past and present. These are about YOUR life experience and how you want to tell your story creatively.

PLAY WITH ABANDONMENT. Think movement, compostition, layering, color, texture. Try to expand beyond cutting out magazine photos. If it can be glued, use it! Even if it can't, try staplers, sewing, etc.

Think of these as small pieces of art rather than scrapbooking. Make it about the internal you.

Forget the Elmers and glue sticks. Try to make it more professional by using artists gel medium or Perfect Paper Adhesive. If you use more professional materials, you will take your work more serious.

I am finding that some days these are merely marks or letters on the paper or board, other times they are complex,  multi-dimensional assemblages.  These are remnants of our daily creative existence.

Whether you do these daily for a year (I know, a little  obsessive) or doing one or two to work things out in your mind, I warn may get hooked! If nothing else, it will take you away for a few minutes.

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."  Twyla Tharp

Hey, I have an idea:  send me a couple of your daily pieces and I will do a post on all of those I hear from! Accountability is a wonderful thing!
Warm regards,