Finishing Touch: A Golden Imagination
Sheri Hunt, owner of Surface Impressions in Monument, Colo., has been a professional decorative painting contractor for 11 years and has studied with some of the most highly regarded teachers in the United States, Canada and Italy. “Wood-graining, marbling, trompe l’oeil and mural painting ... I love it all!” she says.
by Len Hijuelos
Most of her work is residential, although she does take on commercial work once in awhile. “I enjoy working closely with builders, designers and homeowners to create one-of-a-kind, decorative art pieces that are custom-tailored to my client’s unique sensibilities,” Hunt says. “I am always amazed at how our different ideas combine to create incredible results.”
Hunt says she is best known for her work in designer showcase houses, creating “dramatic pieces that are unexpected with the hopes of letting people know that their options are only limited by their imaginations.”
One imaginative piece Hunt worked on was a gilded relief with trompe l’oeil molding.
“My customer had purchased a beautiful hand-carved stone sink,” she says. “It was gorgeous, but it was too tall for her to see into the mirror that she had planned to place behind it. Patti is one of my very favorite customers. She has an incredible sense of style and she’s not afraid to trust me to be the artist, giving me total freedom to run with the ideas and follow them where they take me.”
After a brainstorming session with her customer, they came up with one of the most breathtaking designs of her career, she says. “We decided to put the mirror on the opposite wall to reflect the sink, a full-length wall mirror surrounded by onyx blocks with grisaille ornamentation and ornamental moldings, both painted and real. The wall behind the sink contained the same onyx block work with gilded relief accentuated with trompe l’oeil moldings.”
First, Hunt painted the onyx block work on sealed plaster using Faux Effects Faux Crème Colors. The moldings were painted using traditional trompe l’oeil techniques, using the same acrylic paints for the shadows and highlights. The relief work behind the sink was a simple one-layer brocade stencil, using joint compound to create the relief, says Hunt. A good primer was followed by a red base coat, which was allowed to peek through. Next, schabin, or broken pieces of gold leaf, were applied and antiqued with a Faux Effects Antique Amber stain.