A Masterful Chinoiserie Mural

Stunning Chinoiserie Wall Mural painted with the help of Modern Masters products | Artistry by Sylvia T. Designs

Chinoiserie is a gorgeous art that always seems to be on trend. We recently spied master artist Sylvia Thompson, of Sylvia T. Designs, sharing an intriguing Chinoiserie mural commission on her Instagram and we followed its progress faithfully. We’ve previously featured Sylvia on our Modern Mastery series and jumped at the opportunity to feature another one of her gorgeous projects created with the help of several Modern Masters products.

Sketch for a Chinoiserie Mural | Modern Masters | Artist: Sylvia T. Designs

It all starts with a sketch. Sylvia shares, “We were commissioned to do decorative finish work as part of a renovation of an 18th century residence in the French Quarter of New Orleans. One aspect of our work was to design and paint a Chinoiserie mural along the walls of the dining room. This challenging mural encompasses the room and then winds up the stair finishing in the 2nd floor stair hall.”

Chinoiserie Mural in Progress | Sylvia T. Designs project feature on the Modern Masters Cafe Blog

Following the approved sketch, Sylvia started with an very light off-white gray base and began the preliminary drawings and used a background leaf stencil as the filler. This important work would provide the base for the Chinoiserie mural.

Adding Metallic Paint glazes to an ongoing Chinoiserie Mural by Sylvia T. Designs | Modern Masters Cafe Blog project feature

The Creation of a Chinoiserie Mural | Modern Masters Cafe Blog Feature | Project by Sylvia Thompson of Sylvia T. Designs

Sylvia used the Metallic Paint Collection along with the Wall Glazing Cream to help handpaint and finish the mural. The walls were given a soft pearlescent glaze with Oyster Metallic Paint. In addition to the Oyster, she also glazed Metallic Paint on top in layers using Nickel, English Brown, and Smoke. Mixtures of Pale Gold, Green Gold, Venetian Blue, Copper, Sashay Red, and Hunter Green were also used.

Chinoiserie Mural Detail by Sylvia T. Designs | Modern Masters Metallic Paint Collection and Wall Glazing Cream were used to create the stunning mural | Modern Masters Cafe Blog feature

Chinoiserie Mural Close-up | Modern Masters Metallic Paint Collection and Wall Glazing Cream were used by artist Sylvia Thompson of Sylvia T. Designs to help paint and finish the mural | Cafe Blog feature

Sylvia says, “Chinoiserie is making a comeback in the decorative arts due to its classic and timeless beauty. It is an European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions and it first began appearing in Europe in the 17th century. Now, it is traditionally hand painted wallpaper, which can be cost prohibitive. On this project, there is great depth and a soft glow in this particular space without being too overpowering. Moreover, the cost was less than half per square yard versus wallpaper. The handpainted design ensures a permanent lifespan of the mural that can be easily touched up and maintained, which can be difficult with wallpaper.”

Maquette of a Chinoiserie Mural | Project by Sylvia T. Designs using Modern Masters Metallic Paint and Glazing Cream | Cafe Blog feature

Gorgeous Chinoiserie Mural created and painted with the help of Modern Masters Metallic Paint Collection and Glazing Cream | Stunning artistry by Sylvia Thompson of Sylvia T. Designs | Modern Masters Cafe Blog project feature

What stunning artistry! The mural has an elegant drama to it and creates incredible interest, all while connecting the dining room and adjacent stairwell. Sylvia concludes, “It was a pleasure to work with the designer and owner to capture the imagery, color, and overall feel of what was important to them. Modern Masters are “go-to” top quality products for me that helped produce the texture, feel, and depth that I desired in the mural.” Be sure to follow Sylvia’s artistic projects over on Instagram and if you’d like to read more on this project, head over to her blog. Thank you so much, Sylvia, for sharing your incredible project with us. If you’d like to find your local Modern Masters retailer, head to our Where To Buy page to find the products that will inspire your next project!

Modern Mastery: Casey and Vince Murray of Belle Arti

The Central Kentucky decorative painting and design studio, Belle Arti, has been successful for over 20 years and owners Vince and Casey Murray frequently use Modern Masters products in their beautiful projects. In fact, our jaws dropped when we first saw their extraordinary artistry and we reached out to them for a blog feature. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to share their work and a few words of wisdom as a part of the latest feature in our Modern Mastery series.

Modern Mastery Series: Belle Artiky | Modern Masters Blog

Casey and Vince Murray of Belle Arti. Photographed by Andrew Miller Photography of Wicklow, Ireland.

“Our company name, Belle Arti, is Italian for ‘fine art’ and we are a design and finishes studio located in central Kentucky. As a husband and wife team, we have been working together for over twenty years, both bringing unique skills to the table,” Vince says. Casey and Vince have also, by extension, incorporated a home’s overall design into their studio offerings. “We’ve had clients that want us to put together the wall finishes, any mural or trompe l’oeil work, glazing of any casework and cabinetry, as well as fabrics, etc., and we are happy to oblige them by being their go-to designers and artists for the whole process,” Vince explains. “We both come from design backgrounds. I literally designed, drew the blueprints, and decorated homes for my father who was a building contractor from the time I was sixteen years old, while studying drafting and specialized art in high school. When I decided to pursue my art and design full time, I attended the Miller Wagner School in Chicago to receive the needed training and credentials. My wife also grew up around design, working with her mother who is a licensed interior designer, doing everything from painting, wallpapering, and sewing, to installation of window treatments. So when we married, it seemed only natural for us to pursue art and design as our profession.” It’s an upbringing and partnership that has led to incredible work and success for their studio. Their passion for their art shines through clearly! Now about their work…

Coffered Ceiling Accented with Modern Masters Metallic Paints | Modern Mastery Series | Decorative Artists: Belle Arti

Coffered ceiling the Belle Arti Studio created and installed. The ceiling is a dark glazed finish accentes with several colors from the Metallic Paint Collection: Antique Bronze, Statuary Bronze, Olympic Gold, and Pale Gold.

 

What is your top finishing tip?

We both agreed that it is this: Do not be afraid to experiment! When you see a finish, or a pattern, or a color that either you or your client likes, dissect it in your mind and figure out how to replicate it. Use unconventional methods  and applications, and most of the time you will end up surprising yourself. We did this once on a project where a designer for a restaurant wanted molding to be painted to exactly match the counters and tabletops that were a solid surface. It took several tries, but we eventually got it perfect, and the client was delighted.

Modern Masters Metallic Paints accent a Glamorous Bath | Project by Belle Arti | Modern Mastery Series Feature

Golden and Glam Master Bath | Decorative Painting Project by Belle Arti | Modern Masters Blog Feature

Metallic gold accents in a glam bathroom. The moldings, rosettes and ceiling are layered with Olympic Gold, Pale Gold and Iridescent Gold Metallic Paints.

 

Dining Room Before Mural - Click Link to see Amazing After! Project by Belle Arti | Modern Mastery Series Feature

Before (top) and After (bottom)

Lush and Beautiful Dining Room Wall Mural by Decorative Painting Firm Belle Arti | Modern Masters | Modern Mastery Series Feature

This dining room features a French Rococo style pastoral scene mural. It adds an incredible amount of interest, as you can see by the before pic. There is a strié effect on the wainscoting and the crown molding using Oyster Metallic Paint. “We love the fact that the metallics show the brush strokes, and often we use that to our advantage, as with this effect,” THEY BOTH share. The pearly metallic blends perfectly with the silk draperies and elevates the space. As to the mural? “We protect our murals with Dead Flat Varnish.”

Rococo Pastoral Mural | Wainscoting and Crown Molding are painted with Oyster Metallic Paint by Modern Masters | Gorgeous Artristy by Belle Arti of Central Kentucky

Dining Room Mural by Belle Arti | Rococo Pastoral Scene | Wainscot, Trim and Crown Molding have Oyster Metallic Paint | Modern Masters Blog Feature

What is the most inspiring place or space you’ve visited?

We narrowed it down to two, but for different reasons. We really LOVE the Galerie d’Apollon in the Louvre because of all of the gilding and ornamentation combined with the stunning mural work. The cartouches and pediments over the doorways give inspiration that just goes on and on. The second place was a little shop in Florence, Italy on a small back street close to the Pitti palace. It was a studio that does exactly what we do right here in Kentucky! The shop was filled with gorgeous pieces of painted furniture and screens, as well as sample boards of wall finishes and frescoes. We both at that point realized what an awesome and time-honored profession we are engaged in, that definitely has a rich history attached to it.

Glam Accents in Bar with Modern Masters Metallic Paints | Project by Belle Arti | Modern Mastery Series Feature

Crown Molding and Architectural Details are accented by Metallic Paints by Modern Masters in the very capable hands of Kentucky decorative painting studio Belle Arti | Modern Mastery Studio Series

A gorgeous bar area painted for a client. All of the moldings and appliqués are painted with Olympic Gold, Pale Gold, and Iridescent Gold Metallic Paints.

 

Before Shot of incredible Theatre Room Makeover project by Belle Arti with Modern Masters products | Modern Mastery Series Blog Feature

Before (top) and After (bottom)

Theatre Room designed, created and painted by decorative painting firm Belle Arti out of Central Kentucky | Modern Masters Blog Feature

Metallic Paints and Glazes grace a faux Theatre Room Entrance | Project by Belle Arti from Central Kentucky | Modern Masters Studio Feature on Blog

The pics showcase the Before & After of a Theater Room entry. “Our studio fabricated and installed everything, including the lighted sign. All of the moldings as well as the ceiling are layered with Tequila Gold and Pale Gold Metallic Paints. The harlequin panels are glazed in Pale Gold as well. The theater sign is painted with Statuary Bronze Metallic Paint as well as having accents of the two golds.”

 

What is your go-to Modern Masters product and/or color?

We still are both totally enamored with your Metallic Paint Collection. We have, of course, come up with recipes to achieve looks we like. For example, to achieve to look of aged gold leaf that has worn over time, we start with a base of dark brown, then add a coat of Statuary Bronze Metallic Paint, then a layer of Tequila Gold Metallic Paint. On top of this, we do a sheer layer of Tequila Gold and Iridescent Gold with a 1:1 ratio. We finally gently dry-brush any raised details with a warm black. It truly does give the effect of a time-worn patina.

Croc Panels with Glazed Metallic Paints | Modern Masters | Project by Belle Arti

Gorgeous Paneled and Glazed Wall with a chic Crocodile Pattern | Beautiful decorative painting by Kentucky's Belle Arti | Modern Mastery Blog Series

The crocodile door panels are painted with Champagne Metallic Paint and the overall antiquing glaze is done with Tintable Glaze.

Such exceptional work, don’t you think? Vince and Casey have used Modern Masters products for years and have never been disappointed. “We love the metallics, and the clear coats for interior and exterior applications. Their durability is unsurpassed,” they say. “We both truly enjoy what we do, but we realize that it is fantastic products like the ones from Modern Masters that enable us to achieve those looks and finishes, which amaze our clients, and keeps them coming back for more.” We’d like to thank both Casey and Vince for their beautiful artisty with our products and the time they took to share their projects with us! Please make sure you head to their Belle Arti website for more and follow them on both the Belle Arti Houzz page and @belle_arti_studio on Instagram to keep on top of their decorative painting adventures. Until next time – stay inspired!

Modern Masters products can be found via local retailers across the US and the Modern Masters online shopping site.

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