August 26th, 2009

Royal Thrones

Proof positive that any surface and be enhanced with design and decoration…


We recently had a drawing to encourage our customers to post photos of their projects using Royal Design Studio stencils or Modello Decorative Masking Patterns on our Facebook Fan Page. If there were a prize given for “most unusual surface”, these would have surely won. Kathy Wear is an incredibly creative and talented decorative artist from Tennessee, who has created a unique niche market for herself by offering custom decoration of new, high-end bath, um…fixtures. After applying Primetch through a Modello masking pattern, she then gilds and seals a custom design onto the porcelain surface to create a throne fit for a king, queen-or princess.

UPDATE: A lot of people asked about the process so I posted some basic steps in the Comments section…..

August 18th, 2009

Face Painting

This coming weekend, I will begin filming the instructional video portions for my upcoming Virtual Workshops. It’s been a good 5 years since I’ve done one, and besides worrying about all of the things I have to do to prepare tools, materials and backgrounds for this, my thoughts have inevitably turned to another important consideration: How am I going to look? Yes, OK, I have a healthy-sized vain vein running through my body! SO, I call on the makeup artist who did the makeup for me in my previous videos, Doris Lew Jensen, to give me a “lesson”. You see, I’m imagining that I will be doing many videos in the next year and that I can certainly wield a makeup brush or two on my own behalf. Well, a full hour and….


…12 specifically designed makeup brushes later….


….I had a blueprint for beauty, and…


..I’m ready for my extreme closeup.


I’m so thrilled with my eye-popping eyes that after everyone else leaves work I decide to play “model session”


Yeah, I’m not expecting that America’s Next Top Model will be calling me anytime soon either….I’ll get back to painting my samples for my workshops now….

August 17th, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action

Did you know that “the experts” are predicting that by 2011, 90% of web content will be video based?? That seems like a s-t-r-e-t-c-h to me but it certainly IS a medium that’s building a lot of momentum, and as small business owner, it sure got my attention. So when I got an email from an organization that I belong to called Ladies Who Launch with an offer of a very special deal on a “business profile video” by Turn Here video, I jumped on it. I plan to shoot one for both my stencil/pattern companies, Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio, but Modello got to go first.


Their deal is that they send an experienced, local videographer out to your company to shoot for a couple of hours. They interview the company spokesperson (that would be me) and then lay over appropriate footage that they shoot around your location.


I called on a couple of local friends/customers to add “testimonials”. My friend Karen Jorgenson took her role very seriously…


…as did Marcelino Da Silva..


…and they were both  great!

The edited video should be ready in a week or two, so look for the premier coming HERE soon!

August 14th, 2009

Modello Ceiling: Its a Process

I enjoy showing a lot of pretty final photos of work that our customers do with our Modello Decorative Masking patterns on this blog. You know, TA DA !! You may be wondering, though, “how do they DO that?” The short answer is, “it’s a process”. Recently, Pat Ganino of Creative Evolution chronicalled that process of doing a rather complex custom ceiling decoration on his fabulous message board in this Faux Forum message thread.


What you see above is the pattern “key” that outlines how the individual tiles of cut Modello masking pattern stencils are designed to fit together to cover a LARGE ceiling area. This particular design incorporates many different patterns that were laid out in a customized manner to fit perfectly in the space, and accomodate architectural features that were already in place. 


To assist with this large project, Pat called in Modello grand ceiling expert, Gina Wolfrum. I’ve posted here before about Gina’s fabulous ceilings, and Gina was one of the featured artists in our Modello by Design book. Gina worked with Marc Potocsky to get the pattern pieces installed and lined up perfectly. This is actually the hardest part!


Does this picture make YOU as nervous as it does me??? You can see most of the pattern in place here. The blue material used for this project is our lowest-tack material, and many artists prefer to use this on ceilings as there is less chance for surface damage when removing it later. You see, many times in new construction there are underlying surface issues due to improper prep and priming over dusty drywall. This issue is discussed under Surface Issues on our FAQ page, and sealing with Gardz is another good option.


After removing the transfer tape that holds all the pattern pieces together until they are transferred securely to the surface, Gina gives it all another hard burnish….


…and it’s ready for the fun part-decoration. Because they were using paint for the pattern decoration in this particular project, they also took the extra step to “seal” the pattern by rolling over it with a clear medium. Clear Setcoat from Faux Effects is good for this, but any water-based topcoat will do. This seals the edges of the pattern on the surface, ensuring that the paint to come will not find a way to seep under, and allows for a very clean final print of the design.


Different colors of paint were applied to different areas of the pattern…


…and gold, metallic accent to the banding. Once dry, the pattern is removed…


…and in the matter of a few days a grand, ornate ceiling design is revealed! I so appreciate Pat, Marc, and Gina sharing this with us!! All photos courtesy of The Faux Forum, a great source of information and inspiration-by and for decorative artists from all over the world.

FYI, Pat is now vlogging about his next BIG project-painting two twelve story buildings in Brookly, NY in 60 days.

Can I gloat? Just for a few minutes?!? Please? No, seriously, I recently received a long letter and a series of photos that really just “nails it” as to what I have tried to create and achieve for the decorative finishing and design communities as an artist/entrepreneur, and through our 6 year old company Modello Designs. The letter came the other day from Mia Pratt, principal of Old Pratt Studios….

“As the founder of Old Pratt Studios, an artistic services guild located in Scottsdale, Arizona, I have spent the past decade offering various artistic services to a unique local client base. Having delivered everything from production glazing to large-scale murals on canvas, I can identify two key factors contributing to increased profits and expanded market share for my business in the past few years: targeted marketing investments, and the ‘Melanie Royals factor’.”


“Much of our current success in the artistic services arena is the result of expanding our use of the Melanie Royals product and service offerings through her companies, Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio, as part of our survival and growth strategy.”


“Many local competitors can glaze walls, but few can compete with our more exotic creations. Many of these creations are dependent upon the production capabilities that Modello Designs provides to us for creating large-scale stencils and elaborate, multi-layered designs for our most challenging projects.”


“Until a few years ago I only offered original art and hand-painted design motifs to our clients, because I viewed stencils as something reserved for use by non-artists. But as the demand for larger-scale projects increased, it became apparent that we were not taking advantage of the most up-to-date design, production and application tools available – and that was costing us profits. ”


“At first we only placed small orders for border stencils we used in our model-home projects, but once we discovered the benefits of the Modello decorative masking method, we quickly realized its potential value. The artistic possibilities were endless! I had to correct my former limiting opinion of the role stencils could play in our studio, and re-define our service offering.”


“We now consider Melanie Royals’ Modello Designs studio as an outsourced extension of our own art studio, and we consult with her design and production team as a routine part of business. We forward our design concepts to them based on sketches, photos, tile or fabric samples, and the team responds with detailed black-and-white graphic representations of how those concepts translate into finished designs. We then use those graphics as visuals for our client presentations, helping us close the sale. ” 


“This design and production expertise has not only allowed us to expand our capabilities in decorative art, but has also enhanced our capabilities in the large-scale murals arena. In addition to offering original fine-art murals on canvas, we now create contemporary murals using a variety of stencil overlays and design components, including lettering and logos for commercial projects.”


“This is a tough time to be supporting ourselves as artists, but I believe the key to success in times of challenge is not to look at what has been lost to us, but to instead dig deeper within ourselves to discover what it is we have not yet found. When we do this, we push beyond our current limitations into the realm of who we are becoming, and our world changes to accommodate that new person. In that moment of transformation, whatever limitations existed in the past cease to exist and our world becomes a reflection of who we are right now, in the present – the realm in which all things are possible and our creativity flows freely into the world.”


“I just have to look at who we are and what we create as a community of artists, to remember that artists of all kinds have been at the forefront of societal transformation since the beginning of time. I never forget that we are continually teaching each other, serving each other and creating opportunity for each other, every time one of us is inspired by another’s beautiful work.”


“One of the ways Melanie has served our community is by providing a wonderful resource to help us create things we couldn’t possible create alone; hers is that magical paint-box of exciting tools and new ideas we can use to redefine our businesses and create a more prosperous tomorrow. This represents an important contribution to our community, by one of its most talented entrepreneurs. Thanks, Melanie!” -Mia Pratt

Thank YOU Mia!!! For your lovely words and even lovelier work! We basically “exist” to provide this service to the design community and your appreciation is sweet music to our ears!

Some time ago, Roman Raygoza came to my studio to take a class in mirror decoration using the mirror antiquing product that we carry. I remember him saying that he designed and worked with upholstery trim, which made me think of gimp and tassels….and I like a well-trimmed piece of upholstery as much as the next girl, but….then I recently received an email from Ramon with a link to an article on his company by Balustrade and Bitters that includes some of his gorgeous work on decorative mirrors AND his amazing custom-designed trims.


Ramon in his elegant design studio.


The patterned, patinated mirror tiles using a repetitive Modello pattern…


…reflecting on how beautiful this is…


…and what a way with nailheads!


Delightfully carved wooden tassels….

Ramon Raygoza

…and amazingly intricately detailed trimmings. I. want. to. use. this. somewhere.

Full article and more photos on Ballustrade and Bitters.

Roman Raygoza Design Studio
1080 S. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA. 90019
Phone 323-933-3921 Fax 323-933-9115
Email:[email protected]om

Have you been harboring a burning, yearning desire to take an extended journey to exotic Croatia? Yeah, me neither. That is, until I saw the website for the newly renovated Lesic Dimitri Palace turned boutique hotel  in Korcula, Croatia. You may be wondering how I stumbled upon this little coastal gem…well, actually, they just happened to have used yards and yards of our custom Modello Decorative Masking Patterns for the restoration of the 18th century Bishop’s Palace and 5 surrounding medeival cottages.




Each of the cottages has been turned into a 5-star guest house and each has a different design theme with interiors influenced by the different regions along Marco Polo’s “silk road” travels, including Venice, China, India, Arabia, and Ceylon.





Some of the artwork is difficult to see due to the nuanced tone-on-tone application, but it’s there if you look closely. If you wander through the website you will also see many inspiring examples of all sorts of architectural allover and stencil pattern applications, as well as breathtaking local scenery. Tempting, isn’t it……book your reservations here.

August 5th, 2009

Gilded Stone and ?

I was inspired by this post over on Fauxology to explore the Petra Antiqua website further. Now I am just inspired to gild, oh, shall we say……….everything! 





5 Final-Flower-Patch-Stencils

I thought I’d share a fun and easy stencil project that I worked up with one of our latest stencil designs, the Large Flower Patch, from Royal Design Studio. It combines both roller stenciling and brush stenciling, and features my favorite wall paint-Aura from Benjamin Moore. I like to use the Aura Paint  for stenciling in projects where I am looking for 100% opaque coverage. Not only does it cover beautifully, it dries FAST so you can do additional layers if need be very quickly. You need to get it mixed up in a minimum quart size, so it doesn’t make sense for small projects, obviously, but if you are doing some color blocking in your room, you can use the extra for stenciling. For instance, the pink color could go below a chairrail, in stripes, or even on the ceiling if you’re THAT daring!  The basecoat here is Tumeric and the pink color is Springtime Bloom. Aura paints come in their own special color range but you can have any color mixed in the Aura base from the Benjamin Moore color deck.

1 Roller-Stenciling

The Flower Patch stencil set consists of 5 different motifs. Each one comes in two layers: the large silhouette shape and the stitching detail. I started by laying out the silhouettes randomly in a pleasing arrangement. Note that this was done for a sample display board. On an actually wall or furniture project I would generally have them space further apart! I used a small, short-nap roller to roll on two coats of the Springtime Bloom. The paint dries very quickly, as I said, and I was able to do all five motifs, wait a few minutes and then go back to cover more fully with a second coat. In order to keep the paint from running under the stencil, I “offloaded” the roller a bit by rolling it over some paper towels before hitting the stencil. I also took care not to presss REALLY hard with the roller.

2 Detail-Stencil

I cleaned this paint off the silhouettes and replaced them in their original position before continuing. I detest using dirty stencils and cleaning them up right away makes the job SO MUCH easier. Click here for stencil cleaning tips from our Facebook page. With the silhouettes back in place I used our darling little Lacy Leaves stencil to stencil an allover pattern through the motifs, creating the look of fabric “patches”. For this, I used a dry brush stencil method with magenta colored acrylic paint.

3 Shading-stencil

I then used the same magenta paint to swirl a little color just at the edges of the silhouette shapes to give them some more definition. I didn’t try to shade these too much though, as I didn’t want them to look “puffy”!

4 Lusterstone-through-Stencil

For the stitching detail, you could use a dark brown or black paint to stencil, but I wanted to give the stitches a little dimension so used a dark brown plaster (Espresso Lusterstone) applied with a Colour Shaper tool. You could alternatively use a synthetic Venetian-type plaster for an embossed effect.


Here’s a detail. I think that this would be so adorable in a nursery or little girl’s room, and can imagine all sorts of fun color and pattern combinations with this Flower Patch design!

I just love the work of Raina Gentry of Raintree Studios, and not just because she has taken decorative finishing classes with me and also now uses our Modello Decorative Masking Patterns as a basis for most of her mixed media fine art. You see, she will often start with a Modello pattern to create a subtly textured background, upon which she addes paint, charcoal, and ink. It’s the colors, the compositions, the energy, the emotional response….


When Raina works on her canvases, she allows each piece to evolve naturally, without structure or expectation about the final outcome. Through this organic approach, Raina believes that she taps into, and expresses, universal themes that many people can identify with. She herself sometimes doesn’t discover the true meaning of the work to her until years later.


Raina will be teaching her techniques in a hands on workshop at the upcoming art retreat, Art Unraveled 2009 in Phoenix, AZ. Raina’s workshop at Art Unraveled is called “Controlled Chaos”. During this workshop students will learn her artmaking process that will help them tap into their creative subconscious, to work more intuitively, and to experiment as a way of developing new skills. This approach will help students overcome some of the roadblocks that many emerging artists experience in relation to “performance anxiety.” Students will learn a series of techniques that will keep them moving forward with their paintings, have more fun with their artwork, and get them more in touch with their intuition.


Raina sells her original work as well as archival prints of her mixed media canvases through her website Raintree Studios. You can also keep up with Raina’s studio work on her Facebook Page!