Bathroom Seascape Mural Renovation

Tideline and Shells Mural

Water Damage Renovation

Bathroom overlooking this view of Exe Estuary

Original sand and shells mural has water damage from roof to one wall corner at right of window blind: drip lines are seen behind paint. Customer had extensive damp repair carried out above ceiling and requested entire repaint of bathroom.

Renovation work: Repainting background tide lines.

Original mural ‘sand ripple’ lines were damaged from water stains behind emulsion paint, so the wall was re-rendered with a new emulsion coat. New outlines were painted as guidelines with a small decorating brush, copying from photos of original painting. The ocre colour dried darker than intended so was ‘knocked back’ paler with several more sponged layers of lighter tones, by blending the background emulsion with a paler ocre, and a pale grey.

Its a very small bathroom so only a few images were needed, copying the shells from the blind fabric print, against a textured ‘sand’ ground.

Marking out base lines: The original wall finish had been rough plastered and the edges of different depths of plaster surface were used as ‘tidelines’, which looked very natural due to the hand process of applying the plaster. However the new wall surface was not the same, so there was not the same guide.

To achieve the muted sand lines similar to the original effect, I used several applications of lighter and darker coloured cream and beige applied with a real coral reef sponge, for natural effect, until the wall appeared more like the original soft look. Some sections of ‘tide lines’ were painted out completely with background emulsion colour, to create a balanced texture.

Similar ideas with beach tide mark designs and shells can be commissioned at ameliajhoskins@gmail.com 

See more of my previous murals at http://heritagemurals.com (currently under reconstruction)


Repainting Wooden Shutters in centre ville olde Agde Southern France

Shutter painted (USE COVER), top bedroom, open, walls, greenery, roofs - 001 - annotated, smaller

Agde ville rooftops October 2015 - 003 - edited - annotated
View from the roof terrace with Agde Cathedral in black stone to the left.

In the shady, narrow streets of old Agde, the second oldest port town in France, glorious yellow honeysuckle and roses climb and cascade down the walls of the houses. These are the ‘garden’ views enjoyed by other houses through their shuttered windows.

Yellow Roses, Honeysuckle view from lower window - 001 - edited
Shutters, new paint, terrace evening light - 003 - edited - annotated
Shutters laid flat for preparation and painting, across large table and set of metal frames on roof terrace
VIDEO (click) – Sanding Prep Commentary

Shutter painting preparation

Shutters need preparing, to remove ingrained dirt after first cleaning, and stronger sanding where paint has become loose, due to heat and damp damage in the South of France.  Hand sanding commenced on some shutters, revealing previous colours.

Shutter, long hinge, rot damaged end - 003 - edited - annotated
The hinges of some shutters have a faux distressed wear affect; painted green ‘verdigris’ as a n undercoat (painted by others), covered loosely with dark grey or watered down black. They look effective from a distance and have ben left ‘as is’.
Shutter machine sanded, metal bar - 003 - annotated

When metal ‘door furniture’ becomes very tarnished, or even rusty, they can be painted black with Hammerite or patent outdoor paint for France.  Lay cloth around to avoid black splashes on new shutter coats.  Unscrewing and removal is recommended before painting, if time allows; but if not, and screws set in hard, have wet cloth ready to wipe off shutter paint, if the brush marks the black metal.

First Paint Coats

Twelve shutters in all, both sides, two coats each = 48 coat sides!  Ground floor shutters painted downstairs; bedroom balcony shutters left in situ; the others painted on the roof terrace.

  VIDEO (click) – Painting in process 
Shutter painted, terrace view of derelict shutters - 003 -edited - annotated
The sun terrace is a cut-out bedroom space, with great light for working under.  Succulents survive over winter in centre of terrace; moved to sill again during visits.

Finished Shutters

Views through the shutters, show why they are so important nicely painted.

VIDEO (click) View from top shutter windows.

VIDEO (Click) – How-to-do technique – curved window frame

Terrace, curved window painting

Ferns and Butterflies with Bronze Trellis ~ Patio Garden Art

Ferns with Flutterbys

Images for gardens and patio paintings can combine natural and geometric elements to create something akin to a garden ‘poem’.   Nature is full of symmetry which creates a balanced pattern to the eye. Patterns from nature combined with geometric elements and abstracted background can form a balanced design pleasing to the eye.

More Ideas for Designs with Ferns

Watch ferns unfurling in late Spring

Unfurling spirals were used in the above garden art board.

These purple flowers would make a good accompaniment to the lime green ferns; the red grasses also at the side.

The lilac and violet colours contrast fantastically with the lime green ferns, (lilac works well in top artwork). Colour combinations with pattern, are the music of decorative balanced design.

The tin frog ornament adds an animist element.  His rusty colouring with pale turquoise also compliments the ferns with their russet base stems.  Rust can therefore become an important colour combining element. The frog is playing a saxophone, as if the ferns are unfurling to the music.  This could become a new picture story theme in a new abstracted ‘musical frog with ferns’ design.

Paintings on recycled wood.  A trip to the city dump finds recyclable backing boards, drawers & door panels from old furniture discards ~ perfect for garden and patio artworks. 

Rose Hip Syrup Making

Rose hips picked in basket

_Rose hips (1) ready in August copy - 002 - cropped edited scaled
Rose hips ripe and red by September; pick in October at the latest.

Rose hips (2) - Wild dog roses, pale pink masses, sunny copy - 003 - cropped annotated scaled

From pink wild roses – to red rose hips – to red syrup

Rose hips (3) mashing rose hip pulp in little water, after straining - 001 - annotated scaled
Mashing second pulp boiling, with added water, after first straining

Collect rose hips and remove any stems.  They could be chopped but I did not: the hips soon disintegrate on heating.

  • Put two litres of water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Throw in the chopped rose hips, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for half an hour, stirring from time to time. (Note I didn’t chop them, but mashed after a while.)
  • Strain the mixture through a jelly bag. Alternatively, line a colander with a couple of layers of muslin and place over a large bowl. Tip in the rose hip mixture, and leave suspended over the bowl.

Rose hips (4) Muslin for draining
Muslin over a large bowl.

Rose hips (5) Pressing hip pulp through muslin
Ladle the boiled rose hip pulp onto the muslin strainer.  Press through, discard seeds and skin. 

Rose hips (6) Draining rosehip pulp, hung muslin
Note: the mixture is heavy, so the muslin bag needs suspending – I used a weighted bowl on a shelf .  Leave until drips stop.
Video of syrup draining    Rose hip juice drips slowly through the pulp.
  • Straining syrup through muslin
  • Muslin bag needs squeezing and twisting to force out syrup.

Pulp from straining will be boiled up again with water and the process repeated.

  • Set the strained juice aside and transfer the rose hip pulp back to the saucepan, along with another litre of boiling water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, infuse for another half an hour and strain as before.
  • Discard the pulp and combine the two lots of strained juice in a clean pan. Bring to the boil, and boil until the volume has decreased by half. Remove from the heat.

Rose hips (8) pulp syrup reboiling after straining
Adding water to pulp, yields more syrup again. Video: Pulp boiling again, reducing.

  • Add sugar (325gms per 500ml syrup) and stir until dissolved. Return to the stove, bring to the boil and boil hard for five minutes. Pour into warmed, sterilised jars or bottles and seal.

Recipe bullet points taken from River Cottage in Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2006/oct/21/recipes.dessert

Rose hip syrup keeps well in the fridge and the last bottle from last year’s crop is still tasting good.  Average quantity made is 2-3 jam jars.  Kilner bottle jars have also been used successfully.

Mine tasted a little like medicine so I probably didn’t use enough sugar.  I also added some echinacea drops to help ward off colds.




Wind Chimes ~ Hand painted wood with shell pendulums

Windchimes closer
Recycled wooden circles, with geometric acrylic varnished painting decoration.

Pendulum ‘chime’ shells hang on knotted leather cords tied to metal rings on lower edge of wooden circles.  Razor shells make a pleasant gentle mid-toned ‘clatter’ when moving.

Windchimes 4 designs, varnish drying ANNOTATED
Windchimes two geometric distressed designs drying on wall - 50% res. - ANNOTATED
Distressed layers of paint design, varnished over.
  • Paint circles black with emulsion (water based paint).
  • Paint acrylic colour over, leaving border for another colour.
  • Paint ‘crackle-glaze’ solution (purchased).
  • When just about dry (not to dry), paint over gently with a large soft artist’s brush in a contrasting colour.  Paint should not be too thick (i.e. not straight out of tubes), but mixed with water to a single cream consistency.   Move brush carefully, and in a slightly blobbing like fashion, in circles, to avoid unbalanced marks and encourage circular markings.  Water content and drying times, will determine how the crackle layer works.
  • Note:  Crackle-glaze is unpredictable: practice with drying times of the glaze and water content of covering paint mix helps.  If it does not crackle well, some sanding will produce a distressed surface, showing paint colour layers through.
  • Draw geometric designs in dark pencil: paint lines with ‘liner’ brush (a narrow and long brush head, which spreads to required width and holds the line evenly as paint is dragged along one side of pencil line. (no need for two pencil lines)
  • Spirals can be painted with just one stroke of an artist’s round brush, starting in the centre and sweeping in an ever increasing curve. (practice on paper before if needed)
  • Coat circles art in at least 3 layers of water based acrylic varnish for protection.  It dries in 20 mins, but leave 2 hours between coats.  Note: Long lasting oil based polyurethane varnish can be used as a fourth coat for outdoor protection.  (16 hours drying time)
Windchime tying on razor shells - 50% res
Fixing razor shells to wood circles with leather cord.
  • Screw metal ‘screw eyes’ into one edge of wooden circle.
  • Drill holes carefully into top of razor shells.
  • Lightly sand off any brown seaweed stuck to shells. (they are brittle and can break) Paint could also be rubbed into razor shell grain at this stage to tone in with wood.
  • Using thin leather cord (available in colours), attach to razor shells to screw eye rings.  Metal wind chimes can be included, to nestle in the concave side of the shells, to increase the wind noise: also smaller shells can be tied on at the tops.  Note:  I found a clearer sound resulted form purely the razor shells alone.
  • Experiment with shell length and positions for ‘sound making’.
  • Use thick leather/suede strips to make hanging loops to hang onto trees, or hooks outside.
Painting circles on wood scraps - 800 px
Circles painted in advance of cutting out on softwood

Circles are cut incrementally from squares; sawing and filing off 4 corner facets.