Whitewashing brick with milk paint by Lara Periut

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On my previous post about finishing the vent hood with a two year slaked lime plaster, I alluded to the brick veneer applied to the wall around it. It was very pretty, but a little too colorful (read: pink) for a very white kitchen. We all loved the texture, but thought it would be better suited with a wash over it so that it became an aspect of the whole and not the forceful spotlight that it had become. I looked at several options that appealed to me over acrylic paint: in my experience acrylic paint, even watered down to a wash, dries too quickly on such a porous surface as brick. There are all kinds of issues that could arise: runs that would only get darker (thicker?) once I was able to get down to that area, brush strokes that I didn't want, too many light vs. dark areas, and the list goes on. So I knew that I wanted something I could control just a little more, but with less elbow grease required later applying a sanding pad to bring back a little of the brick color. Since I have become enamored by lime plaster I began to look into lime whitewash, only to decide that the chemical reaction that takes place where the white became stronger as it dries was something I couldn't control on the first try. While looking into this process, I noticed a lady using Miss Mustard Seed milk paint on brick. In her description the milk paint got lighter as it dried and soaked into the porous brick surface, which was interesting because what I experienced was the opposite to that: the wash went on almost translucent and dried for a more solid look. I ran a test on some excess pieces of the brick veneer and I realized that of the 5 ingredients combined to make milk paint, lime was included. I knew then that Milk Paint creates a similar chemical reaction that a lime wash would create: when exposed to oxygen it bonds with the substrate and solidifies. However, I was able to control the milk paint on brick for a wash affect without having to sand down the excess by adding more water to the mix than it required. When all was said and done, I also sealed everything with a water based sealer so that my client A) wouldn't be vexed with excess sand turning her counter tops into a beach, B) food splatter would be easier to remove and C) with only one coat we could retain the desired matte finish we were looking for.  Overall, I think the finished look flows beautifully!

Kitchen designed by Brooke Phillips Design and finish work for vent hood and whitewashed brick veneer completed by Lara Periut.

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Lime plaster and milk paint whitewash by Lara Periut

I have a very creative friend in designer Brooke Phillips - thankfully - who dreams big and then asks me if I'd like to be a part of the actual finish work. Glutton for knowledge and experience as I am, I rarely say no! Currently my parents are living in my home while we renovate almost every square inch of their house. About a month ago when we went to order kitchen cabinets my father was amazed at how expensive the range hoods cost, yet that was something he really wanted to have instead of a microwave at eye level. Brooke merely mentioned that she loved the look of the plaster hoods as opposed to the painted wood, and since the house is under her creative direction I agreed to do the necessary research and make a plaster vent hood possible. What I did not expect was for my first attempt to be in a customers house instead of my parents - GASP! My nerves were frazzled not in fear that I wouldn't be able to accomplish said task, but the possibility that the products I chose weren't the best option possible for long term use. But hey, if the Romans could use slaked lime plaster on the wonder that is the Pantheon and it's still around to be admired, how wrong could I be to use it on a couple vent hoods?!

There is shockingly little information online about plaster vent hoods (as opposed to the plethora of images of such on Pinterest) and how to go about building and finishing them, so I decided to document my process for anyone else who may have the same desire. This blog site only allows me to add a few images, so a full viewing will be on my Facebook page, please check it out! I apologize if I end up wordy, it is only my intention to cover as many aspects of my experience as I possibly can, and believe you me, I felt like I was floundering there for a bit!

YouTube was the easiest place I could think to begin understanding the application of plaster. My only problem was that where there are several DIY vent hood builders allowing viewers to experience their work, there was only one single vent hood with a plaster application from a design company NeilWWilliamsStudios. His vent hood was pre-existing and needed to be stripped down to the substrate and built back with a more elegant look in mind. Unlike my vent hood, his was outdoors which needed special preparation that mine did not. I did note and keep in mind the process he used for filling all voids, sanding edges and generally making sure the substrate was as smooth as the finish coat needed to be.

So then the only question was how to make lime putty, and where in the world should I go to purchase it?! I first looked into art supplies: artists have used lime plaster and lime wash for centuries and there are several still in existence to this day. Considering that particular putty was not as descriptive to a novice as I needed and did not have the finish options I was looking for, I moved on to the general suppliers. I ended up at Benjamin Moore, they have always been helpful when I have projects and I am trying to understand the actions and reactions of products...only this time the fella was anything but helpful. He laughed at me when I asked about Venetian Plaster. It seems that both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore stopped carrying their ready-made product once the mad craze for faux finishes died down. He informed me (with his nose in the air) that it was a devil to get the colors to mix. Lowe's, however, does still carry a ready-mixed Venetian Plaster for about $50/gallon only here's the rub: they only allow you to purchase it in about 7 colors and if you're wanting white (like I was) they absolutely will not let you buy it that way. Believe me, I ragged the guy for about 5 minutes just to see if he'd relent...he didn't. As much as I dislike ordering online, it looked like that was the only way availible.  

At first I was made aware of the difference between European and American products. I can understand and appreciate the superior knowledge Europeans have gained over hundreds of years of manipulating many mediums, but I didn't want shipping to knock me out of the running. I did, however, glean some amazing background information on Roman specifications, how Lime Plaster works on a chemical level and was enthralled by everything I discovered. I will never be the Chemical Engineer my father is, but one tiny gene must have passed my way in relation to understanding how natural pigments, sizing, etc. combine for artistic use. It was on one of these sites that I began to understand that the Romans preferred a three year slaked lime putty for longevity: when combined with water, the lime and marble dust begin to create a crystal chain (around the second year I believe) that produces a stronger bond in the finished product. Traditionally hair can also be used for strength, sold in perfect length bundles that I didn't feel that it would add to my project. After tucking this new knowledge under my belt, when I looked back to the product page I realized that all the two and three year slaked lime was completely SOLD OUT.

Not one to be easily daunted, I began to search for information on three year putty and landed on a blog that was extremely helpful to me.  Where I didn't need to use a few precautions Alex took to complete his plaster repair, I loved how well he documented his process and descriptions of his American made premixed plaster of choice: Master of Plaster. He too was a novice and the finish work was very close to what I was looking for, just a few more questions needed to be addressed and I would be out of the woods! 

I stumbled around the website and found a spec page for Master of Plaster's Venetian line which contains marble dust from France. It was more expensive than what they call 'veneer', but with the marble dust it would create the crystal chain I was looking for.  I also made a phone call to the rep for Master of Plaster, what questions I couldn't answer from the spec page Lauren easily answered and was so very helpful! She walked me through the steps recommended for a vent hood application with plywood substrate (she preferred hardibacker, but this one was already complete), from the bonding agent, to which self adhesive fiberglass mesh they liked best and possible finishes she had seen used before with positive results.

Last, but not least, I needed to address how I should finish plaster that will be above a cook top with moisture and grease. My search led me to another site with Earth Pigments and natural finishes. I learned about Roman Beeswax Plaster Cream, how to apply it and also that one can mix pigment directly into the wax for a subtle addition of color. Being a girl who loves a little bit of bling, I picked up a 3.5 oz container of Silver Pearl mica and thought it was completely beautiful even in the container! 

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This vent hood was about 42" wide and 54" tall. The customer requested a very textured finish and more matte than high gloss as Venetian Plaster can be. I began by filling voids, sanding edges, removing a temporary block of wood between the beam and the hood that absolutely did not want to cooperate, and dusted everything from top to bottom. I did tape off the edges, but it was unnecessary since a brick veneer was going to be applied on the entire wall at the end of the week. Next I applied a thin layer of Larsen Plaster-Weld Bonding Agent directly to the wood substrate, I only needed a quart size and didn't even use half of that. It is pink and did garner a lot of ribbing from other contractors working around the house, but I was happy to be able to track my progress and cover any places I might have missed otherwise. Once that layer is tacky you have up to 10 days to apply your finish - mine was the following afternoon when I rolled on and formed the self adhesive fiberglass mesh with a 3" overlap. I was initially worried about height differences where the mesh overlapped, but that turned out beautifully with the float coat. I began every step of this vent hood up in the top left because there was only about 3" between the hood top and the beam running across the ceiling = quite a tight fit! The second coat of plaster went on a lot thicker than the first and was very easy to smooth out, even though I was requested to leave a textured finish I knew that that could be done better with the finer grains of the top coat. The finish coat looks very much like well mixed sour cream and is applied in a thin layer. As it dried I spritzed water on the surface and smoothed out any obvious bumps, but at the very end I dipped a putty knife in the finish and ran it over the top quickly for a knock-down look. Once this was allowed to dry for 24 hours, I came back and began to burnish everything with a putty knife. It was simple to knock down the highest places, but again I was aiming for a matte finish so I didn't spend too much time on this. I did spend some time sculpting the edges just a little and touched everything up that was not to my liking. After dusting the surface, I mixed some of my Roman Beeswax 3:1 with the mica powder. We decided that it had just enough pearl to it to warm up the white and give it a subtle shimmer as well. With a damp cloth I began to alternately apply plain Beeswax and the mica mix until the surface wouldn't accept any more wax. Then I burnished it all off with a dry cloth to a slight sheen. Pictures don't do the texture or the shimmer justice, so I truly wish you all could see this vent hood in person. It was quite fun to do and I can't wait to get to try the process again in my parents house! 

This is a list of what I ordered to cover two vent hoods, my parents hood will be half the size of the one shown above:

* One 5 gallon bucket Master of Plaster Venetian base coat - covers 140 - 160 square feet

*One 1 gallon pail Venetian Finish Coat - covers 94 - 103 square feet (I did use about 2/3 of the finish coat on the large vent hood due to texture requirements)

* 36" x 75' roll of self adhesive wall and plaster repair fabric

* 3.5 oz Silver Pearl Mica powder (way more than I'll ever use I'm sure)

* Roman Beeswax Plaster Cream 1 quart

* Larsen Plaster-Weld Bonding Agent 1 quart (I might have used 1/4 of the container, maybe less)

* new bucket, trowel and two sizes of putty knives

Overall I spent about $433.00 on supplies including shipping. Not bad really when you split that between two work orders.  

 

 

I realize the title implies whitewashing brick veneer with milk paint, but I feel like I've written a lot already, so I will be kind and only allude to my next post. The veneer applied to the wall behind the vent hood I plastered turned out lovely, but a little too pink. I was asked to add a whitewash over everything to tone down that overbearing color and I can't wait to show you what that looks like! 

Launching a new ship: Art Classes by Lara Periut

Launching a new ship: Art classes by Lara

My goal in teaching art is not geared towards a one time effort, but for the exploration and sheer science (theory, execution and observation included) and understanding of each medium so the 'student' can expand and create at will. In order to create anything, one must first understand what is available, the limits of the medium of choice, and what instance each will work best for their design. Art supplies and their chemical make up have come a long way in the last 100 years alone, so I will try my very best to help you understand the origins and current alterations for each as we approach them. That may sound like esoteric knowledge to some, but I prefer to work smarter not harder!

Drawing: I believe drawing is the strongest foundation for any artist. This includes learning generic art terms such as Chiaroscuro, use of line, perspective, crosshatching and many more that will provide an excellent basis for all other mediums. Sub-context: charcoal, graphite, lighting, negative and positive space, surface choices, etc.

Watercolor: This medium is not as easy as one would think to manipulate. Admittedly it frustrates me (I like to dive in and move forward quickly, this one requires drying time) but the end results are absolutely beautiful. Sketching a layout can often reinforce watercolor or even masking out certain areas to preserve white from the original paper surface. Sub-context: guache, watercolor sticks or pencils, watercolor pens, resists, salt, masking fluid, dry vs wet, hot press paper vs cold press, paper weight, etc.

Painting: Oil or acrylic...which to choose? For the past 15 years I have used acrylic simply because I have been raising two children and didn't want to follow the trail of one tiny little dab all through my house. That thought aside, oil paint can be used by both children and adults as long as they understand just how messy it can be. Acrylic can be found in a simi-solid state for a thicker application, or a more liquid state for thin layers. Again, my aim is to help you learn to explore your medium of choice so that you can elaborate in your own way. Sub-context: use of thinners or thickeners, layering, oil and water, drying agents, drawing vs painting, linen- canvas- or wood, stretching and priming, etc.

Mixed Media: Oil and water don't mix, so which do I choose? Logic is the basis for exploring mixed media and the sky is the limit. My advice? Try it and see what happens, that way you'll never forget! Sub-context: to paint- draw- or both, metal, sculpture, balance, proportion, layering, wood, paper, canvas, etc.

Summer Class Schedule 2017 by Lara Periut

Ready to explore the world of art this summer? Here are a few weeks and age groups to choose from:

June 5th, 6th, 8th & 9th two sessions 10am-11:30am K-3rd grade and 1pm-2:30pm 4th-7th grade

June 19th, 20th, 22nd & 23rd two sessions 10am-11:30am K-3rd grade and 1pm-2:30pm 4th-7th grade

July 3rd, 4th, 6th & 7th two sessions 10am-11:30am K-3rd grade and 1pm-2:30pm 4th-7th grade

July 17th, 18th, 20th & 21st two sessions 10am-11:30am K-3rd grade and 1pm-2:30pm 4th-7th grade

For rising 8th graders up to any age adult, if you would like to enter into a two day per week extended lesson every Wednesday and Saturday from 11am-2pm, there will be two sessions totaling 4 classes each. 3 hours is necessary for set up, exploration and clean up.  June 14th, 17th, 28th & 30th   or   July 12th, 15th,  26th & 29th

The 4 day child level art classes are $125 which includes all supplies. **Please note: currently Wednesdays are a "break" day so that I can regroup, buy more supplies as needed and complete my own commission work. If this doesn't suit most schedules, I am very flexible with time. I thought it would be best to get my feet wet with a break in between so this isn't set in stone.

The 4 day 8th-adult classes are $180 which includes basic supplies for each lesson. I encourage each person to expound on what I choose to teach, so the sky is the limit on what you wish to explore in addition to our regular class time.

The first layer

The first layer

Pat Summitt Luncheon February 2017 by Lara Periut

An ombre of color

It is a pleasure to have an idea and actually see it come to fruition. Leah - of Whimsical Gatherings - was asked to design the Pat Summitt fundraiser held in downtown Knoxville, TN in late February, and she took inspiration from the ombre colors on the invitation (it's the tiny image on the top left of the 4 smallest pictures). The flowers were absolutely amazing and I wish I could attach more photos for everyone to see, including the oversized gold sequin table covers and black napkins topped with a stick of rock candy to match the arrangements on each table. I was asked to recreate the quote on the back of the invitation and also chose to continue the ombre geometric pattern in nail & string art. Yes, the 70's are back! I started all the way from scratch by selecting and routing a 7" wide piece of raw wood, primed & painted, gold leafed (largest image on the left) and laid out the pattern (barely visible in the top right) that begins with a soft yellow and ends in a dark purple. I can honestly say that it is far more impressive in person. I always enjoy setting up and breaking down these events, especially when I get to take one of the arrangements back to my shop to admire for days.

Pat Summitt fundraiser luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Knoxville, TN

Pat Summitt fundraiser luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Knoxville, TN

Coco Chanel Storefront December 2016 by Lara Periut

Chanel Christmas at Deborah Franklin's home

"In order for one to be irreplaceable one must always be different"  Coco Chanel

I was asked to help coordinate and execute ideas for a Coco inspired Christmas party at Leah and my sister's friend Deb's house. There was so much to do, so we each took on projects according to our talents and what we could accomplish within the time frame.  Three small tasks of mine were to pen two Coco quotes onto gold framed blackboards and cut out a silhouette (back-lit in an upstairs window) for all to see as they drove by Deb's house. If you know me personally, my handwriting is deplorable so the chalkboards were a true trial LOL! My largest task, however, was inspired by a watercolor sketch of the Paris Chanel store front. The original couldn't have been larger than 8" x 10", if even that. My version was 12' tall x 8' wide and this is where the perfectionist inside of me rears it's ugly head: had the top piece been about 6" wider, the proportions would have been perfect! It's pretty impressive as is though and set the mood for the entire party as guests arrived through the front door. Always one for classy drama, Coco would have been duly impressed with Deb's efforts.

Joyeux Noel!

Watercolor inspired by the Chanel storefront in Paris - for Whimsical Gatherings

Watercolor inspired by the Chanel storefront in Paris - for Whimsical Gatherings

Other things I do...in my free time LOL! by Lara Periut

Custom Creations

Early last summer I began working with Leah Kidd for her business Whimsical Gatherings, a floral event design company. The creativity has been a breath of fresh air that I sorely needed an outlet for. While the fast paced, ever changing requirements keep us all on our toes, it's a blessing for me as I work best under pressure. Below are the most recent events I have participated in and where I will not always claim inspiration for the work that I completed, I will claim the finished product as illustration of my handiwork.

If you would like to see more of each of these projects, please feel free to look on my Facebook page Karns Frame & Art in Knoxville, TN as I have posted the best pics I have of each event. 

 I can't give enough thanks to Leah and all the people I have met since my very first involvement in a major event: a 4 day birthday party at Blackberry Farms with multiple floral and interior/exterior designs overlapping one another. Talk about a way to jump headfirst into organized chaos!

Winding path to the tree where the couple would be married. It's difficult to see, but the leaves are lightly painted gold and gold leafing is scattered along the walkway.  Townsend wedding in November  This was the absolute perfect afternoon for a wedding in early November! I arrived very late to the scene, so my usual task (to hang anything at astounding heights requiring a mechanical lift) was taken by Leah herself. So I was on the ground telling her where the next lantern should be hung and how high. It was truly a delightful change for me, although I'm positive Leah has a different interpretation LOL! Always a multi-tasker, I helped Charity of Honeybee Events set up the chairs to outline a winding path towards the tree where the couple would be married. The bride's father stopped by with a truck load of fall leaves to emphasize the curvature of the path, I lightly sprayed them with gold paint, and sprinkled gold leafing down the center of the path. Unfortunately the wind was quite brisk, so I was lucky enough to keep the leaves in place till guests began to arrive. I'm positive the event was a success, the family was wonderful and the event set up was the smoothest we have worked on in a while.   Please note: I am merely showing my handiwork on this event as I was not involved with inspiration in any way. I usually have a hand in production, only this time I arrived at set-up and merely executed orders.

Winding path to the tree where the couple would be married. It's difficult to see, but the leaves are lightly painted gold and gold leafing is scattered along the walkway.

Townsend wedding in November

This was the absolute perfect afternoon for a wedding in early November! I arrived very late to the scene, so my usual task (to hang anything at astounding heights requiring a mechanical lift) was taken by Leah herself. So I was on the ground telling her where the next lantern should be hung and how high. It was truly a delightful change for me, although I'm positive Leah has a different interpretation LOL! Always a multi-tasker, I helped Charity of Honeybee Events set up the chairs to outline a winding path towards the tree where the couple would be married. The bride's father stopped by with a truck load of fall leaves to emphasize the curvature of the path, I lightly sprayed them with gold paint, and sprinkled gold leafing down the center of the path. Unfortunately the wind was quite brisk, so I was lucky enough to keep the leaves in place till guests began to arrive. I'm positive the event was a success, the family was wonderful and the event set up was the smoothest we have worked on in a while. 

Please note: I am merely showing my handiwork on this event as I was not involved with inspiration in any way. I usually have a hand in production, only this time I arrived at set-up and merely executed orders.

Art Chat — Karns custom art & framing by Lara Periut

Thank you notes.

I openly admit that I have not been painting consistently for years. Anyone with children would agree with me that there is precious little time left in a day after chasing, driving, feeding, modifying behavior and all the various and sundry tasks a Mom must tackle. When my daughter was a baby I began calling my creative time "nap time projects" which were hit or miss at best. Oil paint was taboo, any cutting apparatus was squirreled away and colored pencils became the norm - oddly, both of my children snubbed crayons from a very early age. I began to realize that the only time of year I could do something for myself and others was at Christmas time, thus my handmade cards began. It's a pleasure for me to open something directed to me via snail-mail, enjoy the sentiment and illustrations and display them for the season, and I LOVE doing the same for my friends and family. 

About a year ago I realized that my children were finally at an age where I could trust them not to make a mess with my mess. There really is method to my madness. Promise. So my creativity is once again fruitful and I have had the absolute pleasure of receiving notes thanking me for what I do.

I cry, seriously. Every. Time.

It's one thing to fill an order, it's another to be appreciated for a gift that God gave me. So to all my clients out there, thank you for trusting in me.

May God bless each and every one of you,

Lara