January 31st, 2007

Oh, the Wonders

I’m sure you’ve heard that someone is running a contest for people to vote online for the new and improved, updated 7 Wonders of The World, (since man and time and destroyed all but one of the originals), and that Egypt is really, REALLY PO’d that they are asking people to vote if the Pyramids of Giza still deserve a spot. As if!!! OK this has nothing to do with that (interesting to take a look at the site though because these places are all pretty marvelous and worth learning more about) BUT it did start me to thinking….

What would the wonders of the decorative painting/surfaces world be? Of course there would have to be more than 7. Hundreds, thousands, maybe jillions. Just in Italy alone. I think that the last thing that I created in my studio that I really, really love is a wonder, SO, I’ve narrowed down my criteria-loosely. If some one offered you a trip around the world to see all of the most inspiring sites and buildings that feature surface decoration, where would you go? These sites must be visitable, or someone needs to have some really good pictures! This is the ultimate artist’s road trip.


The other thing that got me going on this was looking up information on the Caves of Lascaux, as I was referencing that as one of the first possible examples of stenciled art that we have in something I was writing. SOOO the Palaeolithic art at the caves of Lascoux, France is the beginning of the list. Discovered in 1940 by 4 teenage boys, it was actually open for tours until 1963, when they had to stop because the carbon dioxide produced from all that talking and breathing was destroying the caves. They have reproduced the two most significant spaces, the Painted Gallery and the Great Hall of the Bulls, EXACTLY as they really are. A “Faux” cave. Very appropriate, and in such a beatiful area of France.

I have already thought of many other sites that I want to list, and want to go, of course. I can certainly use some help though. If you have ideas, please email me at . Photos greatly appreciated!

January 26th, 2007

Art Over Concrete

Well I am just getting back and getting over the World of Concrete and whatever stomach flu/disease I got in Las Vegas. We had a nice little artsy booth amongst the MEGA booths and earth moving machinery. Actually, I saw a great upsurge in the interest and display of decorative concrete and there were lots of great artisans exhibiting and demoing outside in the Artistry in Concrete area. I WILL post pictures soon!


In the meantime, here is some work of one of our decorative concrete customers, John Carney of Art Over Concrete. John did this beautiful Shanghai Concrete Carpet design using our Modello Dye Stains to both layer on a textural background for this carpet as well as stenciling the design elements in metallic gold. You can see more of John’s work in our concrete Gallery. John is a lovely sounding man from Tennessee who got into decorative concrete about 4 years ago after “retiring” from his career as an optometrist and is now expanding into decorative wall finishes as well.

January 21st, 2007

Are you finished?



Here are some of the recipe card fronts (Signature Finishes by Melanie Royals). Lauren came up with the great idea, I think, to use half of the M shape from the Modern Masters logo to frame in the finish. On the back, there is the product list and photographed step by steps. Sorry, can’t show you those just yet! I also have to thank my friend and decorative artist Kari Caldwell, who assisted my in the studio on these finishes and was incredibly patient with me changing my mind and questioning myself almost hourly. We were SO glad to get to the last step on the 36th sample!!

January 20th, 2007

Cover Art

I referenced a good book on color combinations a couple of posts ago and though I would share what we used it for.


These are some of the cover sheet designs for the Modern Masters stencil collection. I decided to forego actually stenciling them out by hand and then scanning the art as I wanted a more clean, graphic look for the retail environment they will be sold in. After I put post it notes on the color schemes I thought would work, Lauren (my in-house graphic artist) used those colors and some Illustrator tricks to create a “stenciled” look and then we tweaked them from there. If only it were so quick and easy to edit other things in life!

January 17th, 2007

Immortal Geishas

I won’t be letting this kimono/Japanese design obsession go for awhile, so bear with me.


Aren’t these just SO lovely? Lots if good information on Geisha and Maiko and more beauty at Immortal Geisha.

January 10th, 2007

Color Your World

For this recent project we were looking for some good ideas for color schemes for some print material. While we have all the Pantone color decks, they can be a little cumbersome to work with, particularly when you are trying to see how colors from different parts of the deck look together. Lauren, my creative assistant/layout artist found a great book

book1.jpgGlobal Color: 750 Color Combinations in CMYK and RGB from Around the World

I really love how this book features designs for REAL things; wallpaper, rugs, tiles, prints, etc. and breaks down the possible color schemes from them.

While most color books geared toward the graphics market show color combos that would most likely work best for packaging or in a print ad, this book gives you some really pretty options that you can translate into color schemes for rooms, fine and decorative art, fabric and web design-you name it! It’s fun to just flip through and absorb….


If you are working on Photoshop or Illustrator this book provides the color formulas to simply enter. Viola, instant color genius!

January 8th, 2007

Inspiration from Iksell

I posted recently on the Art of Living site about an Elle Decor feature on the home of the housband and wife team that founded Iksell, a company that produces incredibly beautiful artwork panels out of India. In case you missed looking through their website, I am posting a couple of my favorites here.


I am thinking of digging into the Art Deco theme for one of the spaces in our new studio/office building and find this colorway extremely appealing.


My absolute favorite color, however, is the “dirty French blue” seen here, especially when paired with gold. Of course the designs are strictly protected, but their site is a great resource for color and design inspiration! They do even have a series of panels printed on watercolor paper that are quite reasonably priced and could be incorporated and sold with a coordinating decorative finish on the walls.

We have recently added quite a few trellis designs to the Modello Library and I can see them done beautifully in panel treatments, similar to the one shown above, with paint or embossing techniques.

January 7th, 2007

Many Thanks!

Continuing from the previous post-

I am happy to say that Modello Designs has grown into a successful, growing business. We started off slowly the first couple of years and were kind of learning and improvising as we went along. While there were a few companies, such as Say What, that had been cutting custom lettering from vinyl, no one had developed the idea of a business that would/could cut decorative patterns (either custom or from a catalog) from vinyl. In my initial research, all I could find as potential “business models” were some companies that cut designs for the etched glass industry and for concrete sandblasting.

Even though I thought Modellos were the best thing to come along since triple lattes, there was much more resistance than I expected at first, esp. to the “one-time-use” aspect. Thanks to the support, though, of the fabulous customer base I had from Royal Design Studio and many other close and supportive business associates in the decorative painting industry, Modello decorative masking patterns are now becoming an industry staple. BTW the word Modello translates in Italian to “pattern, or “I model”. Because it has become so commonly used and associated with the medium and application, we have just recently received notification that we have the official registration on the wordmark, as well as our logo!


While I have many people to thank for the success of the past three years, I have to put the great team of people that make up Modello Designs at the top of the list. We have such a dedicated and talented staff of people that work so well together I feel very blessed and thankful and appreciate the many customers who have gone out of their way to sing their praises to me!

From left to right: Elizabeth (custom design), Eric (operations manager), Aaron (graphics/customer service), Lauren (layout graphics, my creative assistant), Brandi (graphics/customer service), Dawn (graphics/customer service), Jerome (shipping/print manager), Tony (production manager) and Juan (production assistant)

I WOULD have liked to have gotten a good company photo at our recent Christmas wine tasting or Chargers tailgate party, but everyone was having a little too much fun to think about it :)

January 7th, 2007

Celebrating Three Years

This month we are celebrating finishing up our third year at Modello Designs. This business developed out of my desire to create and offer a new medium and new options for decorative painters to apply pattern and design in their projects-and a new creative “toy” for myself to play with. Expanding on the techniques and applications developed over the years through the traditional stenciling of Royal Design Studio, the Decorative Masking Pattern medium (as we have named it), has opened up a whole new world that keeps exponentially expanding! Cutting designs from one-time-use vinyl allows for many additional options: Working on the positive or negative space, incorporating designs not possible or practical with a traditional stencil, and producing patterns “on demand” to any size (including very LARGE scale).


This photo montage is from the Showcase area of the website and features some of the finishes that decorate our offices as well as the talents of our customers. It is really wonderfully fulfilling to see an idea transformed to a design that transforms a room or surface in the hands of a creative artisan. Please keep those pictures coming! I hope to get a whole new round of customer artwork up on the Modello site in the next week or so.

January 5th, 2007

One off the list

Like you, I have way more ideas for fabulous decorating/design projects to do around my house than time or energy. Actually the only time I seem to get down to it is when there is a deadline for a photo shoot for a book, magazine or video. Even THAT doesn’t always work. I used my bathroom for one of the projects in the Painted Illusions book. It was the last day of photography and I had time to do just enough stenciling on the wall to fill the frame that the camera caught. Four years later it remains in the same sad state. One half of one wall looks pretty cool. I DID remove the blue tape from around the ceiling line a few months ago though….pathetic!

Why am I sharing this shame? Well, they say that if you put things in writing they are more likely to happen. So, here is my must-do list (yes, there IS a book involved): “Kimono” walls and decorative concrete floor in office, Chinoiserie panels, kick-butt ceiling treatment and another decorative floor in bedroom, something spiffy to finish off the guest room walls and ceiling, two areas for more decorative concrete out on the patio, and, oh yes, that bathroom!! I have gotten one thing done recently-


I finally got to the hardscaping around the house this past year and had them leave several areas plain amongst the stamped “flagstone”. This first one was the smallest and easiest: A Concrete Carpet done with Modellos and SkimStone. There was a deadline for Concrete Expressions magazine, of course, or I’d still be looking at unfinished concrete out my breakfast room window. Do all creative people have these same issues?