Safari is a classic nursery theme that I happily get requests for over and over. Gentle giraffes and adorable elephants are images many parents (and I!) love to see in children’s rooms. Traditionally, my work consists of carefully painted images complete with meticulous shading and detail, like my classic Safari landscape mural below. I love the tried-and-true hits, but as a designer I always try to push myself and give things a fresh new spin.
When legendary NYC furniture store Bellini approached me to design some wall art for their flagship store, I jumped at the chance to try some new styles. I always start with the composition. I created a digital sketch of a gallery style look that I thought would work well in the space. I used square, rectangular and circular shaped stretched canvases. The grey ovals in the image below reflect where the safari animals would be rendered.
Each background was washed in several tones of richly pigmented paint, creating a soft textural background. I drew the images in white pencil and then applied a brilliant layer of my super secret liquid silver paint.
Carefully choosing animals that all have very different silhouettes, like the Kudu Antelope above and the peacock below, creates a lot of visual interest.
When all of the silhouettes were painted silver, they looked great, but I wanted something magical! So, we gilded each of the paintings with genuine silver leaf. Below all of the pieces wait patiently for their adhesive to dry, after which they’ll have a good “exfoliation” to remove any extra silver leaf not thoroughly attached to the painting.
A gorgeous, multi-textural metallic silhouette is revealed, combining paint and the luster of silver leaf. As a finishing touch, all of the backgrounds were peppered with a myriad of shining silver stars. We can never have enough stars to wish upon.
Before: The walls of the space were painted a clean white, and three glittering crystal globe pendants were hung from the soaring eleven foot ceilings. The space was a grand blank canvas for me to work my paint magic.
After: I painted everything below the chair rail a rich navy, which adds instant dimension. The back wall became home to a pattern of smart stripes. The stripes and blue lower wall color create great contrast for the white furniture and globe pendant lighting. The silver safari prevails as a grand focal point, while complementing and completing the rest of the design.
This tried-and-true theme feels fresh, crisp and glorious!