May 21st, 2009

Painting at Casigliano

Wow! What a great group of people showed up in the Rome airport to participate in our little painting adventure at the Castello di Casigliano. I’ll share them with you in the next post but first wanted to show you what we DID. Here’s the thing: Modern day Italians seem to like to keep things on the clean and simple side with their decorating. Maybe growing up surrounded by all the extreme art and decoration of the Renaissance leaves them wanting something a little less “in your face’. No matter, it’s all good. Additionally, the space we were working in is used extensively for large wedding parties and what should be the focus in the room in that case? The bride, of course. So-our goal, as laid out by the man in charge, Romano, was to create an elegant, understated atmosphere that tied into the history of the building and the land surrounding it. The space is called The Granaio, and it was restored from a part of the Castello complex that  used to house grain.


We did a soft stone-texture finish on all the walls using the standard production method of rolling it on in high and low areas and then knocking it down slightly. This finish worked out really wall with the many different hands we had working on it (16). You really can’t see a difference from section to section.


We then did a random embossed stencil that was cut from the Granaio logo. Nancy Jones from our group gave Romano a quick lesson. This was his “first time”….see the smile?!


We did a soft, allover glaze and then lightly sanded back the tops of the wheat motif when dry to make it “pop” a little more.



Alison Wooley created a lovely original design for the pilasters that incorporates grain and bread, grapes and wine, and an olive trimmed cartouche to hold the painted family crests of the four families whose history is tied to the Castello, which dates back to the 16th century.

I created a stencil from Alison’s drawing and had it cut by my company Royal Design Studio so that we could more quickly block in the main shapes and shading. Alison custom-mixed a range of 5 values for the grisaille painting.


We did the stencil pattern on a series of 8 pilasters that ring the room.


Gary Lord helped to add some of the final hand painted touches.


Alison and me in front of one of the finished pilasters. One thing that was really cool was getting the chance to introduce Alison to using stenciling as a possible tool for laying in the groundwork for some of her beautiful handpainted pieces.

All in all, it was a very successful project. Everyone worked very hard and very well together, we finished, it looks beautiful, the client was happy-and we are now a part of the long, rich history of this beautiful Castello. Una molto buona esperienza!

All of my photos from this trip are now up on my Flickr photostream.

5 Responses to “Painting at Casigliano”

  1. amy christensen Says:

    Melanie–Gorgeous grisalle stencil series! Please tell me you are going to put together the series and sell it at RDS? I can already think of several clients where I could incorporate part or all of what you did. Beautimous!

  2. gary lord Says:

    Melanie and Alison truly came up with a beautiful deign that was just wanted the client wanted, and I am sure many other people will as well.

  3. grace wieber Says:

    Masterful as always. Bravo Bravo Bravissimo.

  4. Rhonda Canales Says:

    Oh Melanie, these pictures are beautiful. Makes me miss Italy and the hospitality that they shower. The work you all did there is gorgeous.

  5. Heather Bruno-Sears Says:

    Welcome home Melanie from another great adventure and stellar project! So excited for you, Gary, and everyone who participated.