Sunday, November 17, 2013

If I'm gonna be a real artist I guess I need a pretentious bio right?

Together with some super talented fellow Alpine High School graduates, I'm going to participate in Artwalk, in Hometown Gallery. If you go way back and have a halfway decent West Texas pedigree, we will be peddling our wares in the old Morrison's True Value Hardware, or, where Bob was before he build the new store. That's all I'm going to tell you because if you're from Alpine you know what I mean. Non-natives, please know we love you too. Hometown Gallery is next door to Reata. That should help everyone find us. 

Getting back to the point, since I'm going to exhibit some stuff in a gallery during Artwalk, and since Lisa Pollard already has one, and since some people call me an artist and all that, I decided it was probably time to have a bio. 

I bought this especially for Artwalk. This pic just doesn't do it justice.
Sami Harman Kuhn is a native West Texan and wearer of many hats: sister, daughter, wife, writer, artist and gluten-free feeder of hungry children. 

Born in Alpine to Sul Ross State University student parents, Sami inherited a love of learning and an adventurous spirit that has allowed her the freedom to explore many artistic paths. From a young age, she was dedicated to transformation and renewal of all things. She fed her spirit outdoors in the vast open spaces of the Big Bend, and was known to rearrange and decorate her house on June Street on an almost weekly basis. She bought ailing plants at Safeway and brought them back to life.  

After taking a journalism class by chance at Alpine High School, Sami learned from former AHS teacher Margaret Blackman that she had a way with words and soon turned her penchant for chatter to the printed page. She worked for many years as a writer in West Texas and Fort Worth, before discovering a passion for paint in San Antonio.

Over the past 15 years, Sami has become known for inspired painted finishes crafted upon ceilings, cabinetry, walls and furniture. Her faux finishing and decorative painting business, Painted Groove, has contributed the WOW-factor in well-designed interiors of really smart people throughout the state of Texas. As one of the exhibiting artists showcased in Hometown Gallery, Sami plans to display an eclectic mix of small- and medium-sized furniture pieces, mirrors, and anything else that strikes her fancy while loading the trailer. A crazed perfectionist in need of recovery, she promises to include at least one mixed media masterpiece on canvas.  

Sami and her merry band of dogs, cats and assorted children make their home in Seguin and Marathon. 

Enough about me. Here's some pictures of stuff I have painted. The captions will say whether it's a past project or a sneak peak of stuff coming to Alpine. And, stay tuned. I'll post more stuff here (hopefully) and for sure on facebook so find me there. 

I miss this piece. I painted it for the St. James Church Festival Auction, which is a rockin' good time by the way. I should have bought it back for myself.. 

Best project ever -- a ranch house in Texas. Cabinets and ventahood by me.

When this family moved and I was creeping online for a house to buy, I spied this dresser and tried to buy it back. Sigh. I was not successful. 

I painted the table. My very smart client added the chairs. See blog post
below to see how truly ugly this table used to be. 

Vicky B had better leave me this sofa in her will.

Love table but the big fat dog on the sofa in the background is more interesting.

This table is coming to Alpine for Artwalk, with a new 'do.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday inspiration for the weekend

No deep theme here, other than prettiness that appeals to me on this gorgeous Friday. It's mostly gorgeous because steamy warm air did not greet me when I opened the front door. It's glorious. I miss dry air. 

Maybe the theme here is a subconscious wish to spend my weekend in these transformed rooms. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The best of both worlds ...

Sometimes the groove hits a brick wall and I am forced to slow down. Today's forced shut-down was an 8-year-old who woke up with a horrible barking cough. I knew immediately her teacher and all the other kids and moms would be ever-thankful if she stayed home.

My next thought went immediately to my 9 a.m. appointment AND the perfectly prepped kitchen that is just waiting for me to do my thing. The owners of the house are just waiting for me to do my thing, too. I taped and cleaned and prepped (all the crap I hate) for a day and a half, and now it's time to do the fun part. An aside: Seeking obsessive-compulsive, really picky, possibly even neurotic very part-time assistant. Must love perfection, be willing to get dirty, sweat, and use a porta potty. It's a very glamorous gig.

Back to point: Initially I always freak when I get derailed and have to stay home. 

But hey ... guess what I'm doing now? I'm watching Hannah Montana!!! 

I got the best of both worlds ... come on, sing along with me!! For some reason, God always seems to insert Hannah Montana into my days when I am forced to sit still. Like one day, the girls and I endured at least four or five hours in the mechanic's waiting room, during which time the cell phone towers were down and we were forced to watch marathon episodes of Hannah Montana AND "That's So Random."

At the time I wanted to pluck my eyeballs out, but now that we remember back on that day it rates as one of our favorite best-memory days. Even today I am thoroughly enjoying these re-run episodes. Another bonus: Aren't kids so sweet when they're sick? 

Anyway, here's a handy tip: If you really want to be entertained and maybe even show your kids (and/or grandkids) how cool you are ... FIRST GET OFF PINTEREST!! (Ha!) And THEN ...  impress them with your knowledge of "Sicky Vicky" from That's so Random. Go ahead ... look it up on youtube ... it's classic. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Inspiration and Ray Wylie

It took me forever to figure out the name for my business. It finally "came" to me one night while listening to Ray Wylie Hubbard. What can I say: I am inspired by creative freaky people, mostly because I am from Alpine, Texas.

In case you are not a fan, I included a video of Ray Wylie for your enjoyment. So anyway, tonight I am listening and watching a Ray Wylie concert on youtube on our fancy new TV that all you other people have had for years (we are behind the times). Feeling inspired, I decided to post a few pics of gorgeousness I have stumbled upon while organizing the photos on my laptop.  

My little baby sleeping on the sofa.  

Really interesting sculpture on the doors of a cathedral in Rome. So much there.
What does it say to you? I should research its meaning. I totally loved it. 

Tiled stairway at the McNay art museum in San Antonio. 

Sunset in West Texas. 

Night y'all. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Explaining the groove ...

I promised a blog post to explain where I have been for the past year or so and why I decided to return. Like everything else I say or do, it's rather complicated but I promise to provide the abbreviated version. Plus, leaving something to the imagination is always a good idea. 

A long, long time ago, I used to be a writer. Then one day I grew tired of working as a writer and went off on a tangent to make lots of money in the mortgage industry. I do not advise doing something for the money. Life is too short. The end.

Still, my inner obsession with transformation and beautification always kept me connected in some way to creative ventures. I worked part-time for an interior designer doing faux painting and installs, and eventually began to work on my own. I took painting classes and became more confident in myself and my own abilities and eventually me and mortgage just had to break up.

One day my friend Debi started to blog, and because she is our trendsetter and we all want to be her when we grow up, I started to blog as well. All kidding aside, I initially saw blogging as a way to promote my business but didn't give it much more thought than that. I began to doubt: Was I trying to be a blog personality girl and get famous, hang out with Nate and get a book deal? No. I didn't have the time or motivation to become that vision of a blogger and besides: I was too busy working! 

What was the purpose of blogging and who cared? What service was I providing? Who knows? I wandered off into "I don't have anything to say" mode -- again. 

And then there's the negative voice thing. I'll save that for another post because this is so long I can sense cobwebs forming already. If I forget, please remind me. It's good. 

And facebook. That damn facebook is a huge time sucker and zapped all the time I had for blogging. Go ahead: consider it amongst yourselves right now. I am so right on this. 

From time to time, people would tell me they missed my blog. The other day I must have had 39 seconds available to think about business development and I began to consider my lack of web presence. I had/have a website but I don't have time for finding a website geek person, keeping it current, making sure the stupid web hosting contract stays paid and all that nonsense. During my recent life simplification crusade, let's just say all that godaddy crap was one of the casualties. Good riddance. 

Lightbulb moment: What if my handy blog became my totally free, user-friendly web presence? I put up pictures of my work, but also gorgeous pics to inspire. And along the way we discover the world and solve all the big issues in life. It's perfect!

So there you have it. I guess I'll have a blog again. But I don't want it to be all about me, me, me. Hopefully we can have a little back and forth, this and that. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New pics ... I'll explain later.

How I spent my summer. Wow do I have a lot to be thankful for!

Sexy red Venetian plaster.

Dark brown cabinetry finds new life. 

Savoring the sight of my hubby having some fun.

Seeing my two little ninas looking for dolphins in Galveston Bay at sunset.  

Seeing this smile on my oldest. 

And a little more work ... bringing new life to this bench. The back story is this bench lives at one of the happiest, good-energy homes I have ever had the pleasure to work in for the past . 12+ years. It had been dark green and dreary for a while. No mas!

Friday, March 11, 2011

A transformational tale of the pitiful pine table

Everybody loves a love story, especially tales of transformation. Think the Ugly Duckling, Beauty and the Beast, Pretty Woman. Now while I have officially given up on men as "projects" and highly discourage it far and wide, my obsession with all other kinds of tranformation remains the key guiding force in my groovy life.

With that in mind, I want to help everybody get some vision and see past the ugly ducklings in your own lives: garage sale furniture, parental hand-me-downs, and maybe even your house you've given up on. All of these just may need some paint and inspiration!

OK, it's not so bad. But it's really not inspired either, is it?

My really cool client Susan had a feeling something could be done with this table. She really needed an outdoor dining table. Enter the transformation-obsessed person who wants to paint everything that isn't moving. Years earlier, I had painted a brand-new potting bench to look old and crusty for her powder room. She's so clever she used a bucket for the sink. I sure wish my computer guy would backup my old laptop that died so I could show you a picture of it. You'll just have to take my word for it. It's super cute.

Anyway, after putting our heads together, we came up with a hammered copper top and painted legs, with some stenciling. I saw this design somewhere and had to make the stencil but it wasn't hard. All you have to do is go to Hobby Lobby and get the clear sheet of stencil plastic. Trace your design using a Sharpie and then cut it out with an X-Acto knife. 

These candlesticks were an inspiration.

And, I had just finished working in this bank.
That's hammered copper wrapped around the bottom.
So anyway, this is how the table turned out. When Susan emailed me a picture last night, if I had had on a skirt, it would have not just blown up, it would have blown off. I delivered it in the dark and never got a chance to see it on her patio, in good light. I think it's even prettier at her house than it was at mine while I was painting it.

It's my new favorite thing.
 Now I am seriously on the prowl for an old pitiful table to paint for myself. You can so do this. And if you have any questions, just ask!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mondays are not all bad

After an inspiring weekend day trip seeing beautiful things with the beautiful people in the beautiful Hill Country, and after an awful back-to-reality Monday morning, I prayed my way through my day well enough to put together this metallic plaster ceiling.  Maintaining the creative groove isn't always easy when the realities of life like dirty dishes and crabby kids crash into my chi. 

Thank God for my work!!! Yes, my scaffold gave me fits, but made the job much easier than moving a ladder around, at least once I adjusted it to the right height. That isn't real easy when you're working alone. There were a few times when I was tempted to say screw-it and go get my ladder.

But the end result made me really, really happy. It was exactly what this dining room needed, just as I suspected (and suggested). I love it when people are open to my big ideas and then I get to put them into action. It happens just every so often ... not near enough, but just enough to keep me going.

If only I could implement some of these big ideas at my house ....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ahhhh romance … with a faux flair of course!

Ahhhh, Valentine's Day. That day we remember our lives are supposed to be infused with peace and love, and mostly aren't. With kids and work and the everyday hectic pace of life, some of us forget to surround ourselves with romantic touches that can comfort our souls and make our hearts feel good, regardless of whether we have anyone to romance. As a decorative painter and faux finisher, much of the romance I create is, alas, for other people.

Here's a look at some beautiful interiors I've just come across on the web. These beautiful images are courtesy of House Beautiful for MSN Lifestyle. I picked my favorites, let me know what you think! 

 We all spend so much time in the kitchen, why not make it the most romantic room in your house? Here, artist Michael Duté uses a blue-and-white design to create a light-hearted, almost whimsical sophistication to a kitchen. A much-coveted farmhouse sink, below casement windows and marble counters make it justcountry enough, but not too much. Although it might take me a while to find my way, I think I could get used to hidden appliances like the Sub-Zero drawer refrigerator, which lets the super sexy stove and decorative walls get all the attention.

The blue on the walls reminds me of a beautiful French blue glaze I applied over StucoLux in a teeny tiny powder room. It was gorgeous (and the client's idea!) I have the smartest clients.

 In this fancy French-inspired living room, what gets me excited are the faux finishes! Now I can't be certain, but I'm almost 100% that the fireplace is a faux limestone. It just doesn't look real enough to me. And though it's certainly excellent work, the grout lines seem a bit too neat and flat. Of course, it could be real, who knows? I would mess it up a little and make it more "real."

Antiqued cabinetry is another favorite of mine. See the doors to the left of the fireplace? I bet they hide entertainment components. And this could be done to any old armoire. Right up front, I love how the gold makes the lamp so much more fabulous. According to the article, designer Erin Martin had the sofa is upholstered in Provence Hay, a Dintiman Design Associates hand-painted linen. I love it, especially with the furry pillow. Relaxed romance is always best, if you ask me. 

While on the subject of romance, where's a bedroom we can all dream of? 

Ok,this one may be a little too fussy and orderly for me, but I'm including it for the dreamy walls! Think shimmery custom-mixed Lusterstone, or a gorgeous Venetian plaster in blue. Even a lime-washed treatment would be fabulous – and romantic.

Here again, designer Erin Martin used a hand-stitched French needlepoint headboard from a French flea market and combined it with a new canopy bed from Ironies. I especially love the wood finish on the settee. So doable.

After a night in this dreamy bedroom, it's only right to have breakfast here:


I selected this picture because I love the subtle tones in what I'm pretty sure is gorgeous pricey wallpaper. I would propose a similar color scheme, but with a stencil design. The pattern could be raised, or subtly obscured with plaster. And with a stencil and paint, there's hardly the commitment to love it for the rest of your life (after it goes out of style) based on what it cost you. Once you're ready to move on, all I would need to do is paint over it with whatever has become your new favorite faux inspiration! J

 To read the entire article, and see many more images from the online article, click here:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Change is good! Or, one transformation leads to another ...

Change is good, for people and our spaces. In this particular case, my client (and friend) wanted her living room to feel warm and comfortable. She wanted people to want to come into her already beautiful home, sit down and stay awhile. A previous remodel had improved upon "builder white" flat walls with a three-color glaze. Everyday sheetrocked columns had been covered in tumbled marble tile.

Ten years later, my client wanted to warm it up. She had purchased new, comfy furniture, and built-in shelves on either side of the fireplace had been replaced. There was a new mantel and a generously sized TV over the fireplace. Yet, the frosty walls and cool gray tones of the columns were killing the comfy vibe.

New oversized furniture and rustic lamp
with a linen shade are much more casual.

To begin the transformation, I suggested we bring down the 12-foot ceiling with a warm-toned metallic plaster. A new scaffold I bought myself for Christmas amazingly straddled this enormous sofa so I was able to work on the ceiling without moving the furniture out.

New ceiling is Antique Parchment Lusterstone,
a product from Faux Effects.

But as you might imagine, one project leads to another. And for me, that's not a bad thing. The ceiling turned out so warm and wonderful that my client wondered whether the walls were crying out for a warmer paint color. No problem. We needed to work with the new sofa, and the new ceiling. I didn't even flinch when I painted over my original 10-year-old glaze job with plain old vanilla paint in an eggshell finish. It's Sherwin Williams Basket Beige, to be exact. It blends beautifully with the Antique Parchment Lusterstone, and the sofa, but isn't matchy-matchy. Beautiful white crown moulding defines both perfectly.

After all this beautiful toasty transformation, the columns that had been wrapped in tumbled marble tile stuck out like ... well let's just say they needed a little help, in the form of a wash.

The columns before. Nice, but too cool.

A tinted Lime Wash solved the problem.
It dries lighter.  

The columns now blend in beautifully. And yes,
the white ceiling fan is on its way out. 

The change has been amazing and provides a perfect example of what I love most about what I do ... a completely transformed space and a finite sense of accomplishment. Although, from what I understand, the blue walls in the kitchen are now screaming for something warmer ...

(to be continued)