Nathan Wainscott

The quatrefoil pattern was custom sized to make a full revolution around the room with a seamless start and finish. This is almost impossible with stock wall paper.

I took the following off of Nathan's Linkedin page.  I think it says a lot about the type of person and artist he is.

"With a natural inclination toward the creative spirit, a unique approach has always been my preference to every experience and vocation. As an artist, horticulturist and lover of all natural beauty, I find my greatest strength realized in the decorative art of faux finishing.

By recognizing the natural beauty found in elements of stone, marble, wood and leather, we see a true artisan's handy work. I'm astonished, humbled and deeply moved by the opportunity to apply my talent in a way that imitates the divine in such a way.

We all seek beauty; in life, in love, in nature... I dare say it's the secret cry of a longing heart for it's maker. I pursue this beauty in my work and my life, and now offer this passion to you as an expression of the joy and meaning I've found in its pursuit."

How many people can say they are absolutely passionate about their work? Greensboro artisan Nathan Wainscott considers himself truly fortunate to be counted among that number. An expert in faux finishing, Nathan details his artistry each day in beautiful, multi-layered textures and finishes for designers, architects, homeowners and builders. Ceilings, cabinetry, walls and furniture become the canvasses upon which he expresses his colorful and creative talent.
As he collaborates with each client, Nathan is able to bring their vision to life. He believes that his decorative finishes not only enhance the interiors of his clients, they also inspire and influence the mood and atmosphere. Nathan is equally at ease creating the look and feel of distressed leather and Venetian plaster as well as other contemporary and old world finishes. He explains that faux finishing "is as much visual as it is textural.”
Each brushstroke, layer and color reflects Nathan’s love for his craft and his commitment to establishing the warmth and richness that his clients desire.

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Get the most out of your next classroom experience

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One of my favorite ways to increase my skill level is to take classes from excellent instructors. For me it’s part of my self-directed curriculum, and it gives me the camaraderie of studying the art of decorative finishing with like-minded people.
There is nothing worse for an excited eager to learn student than walking into a poor learning environment run by a mediocre instructor.  Too much standing around, art projects that fail…
I have wasted lots of time and money in the past by not having a good system for choosing a class.  The following is what has worked for me and given me the most bang for the buck.

1. Do you like the instructors work?
It’s important to like what your teacher does.
On the other hand, don’t judge an instructor only by his work. Teaching is not the same as doing, and some teachers are very good painters but terrible instructors.

2. Set goals for your classes
Choose classes that fit into your artistic goals, focusing on learning what you need to know rather than spending time and money on learning another technique that won’t get you anywhere.
You may need to spend some time to figure out on your own what you want to learn. If you’re not sure whether the workshop will help, study the instructor’s work. Try his/her methods as best you can before the class.
Talk to people who have taken the class.  Don’t just go by remarks or reviews you have seen posted.  Actually talk to people who have taken a class and get lots of opinions.  Even if you hear some bad reviews, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should not take a class with this instructor.   Do your research!

3. Research the products used
 Be sure the instructor is knowledgeable about the products he/she will be teaching with.  If you work with the product(s) after the class you may need some technical help and you want to feel confident you can get ready help when you need it.
Also, research the product.  Just because you saw a great finish with a “new” product don’t run and sign up without checking it out.  Remember that it is not the product that necessarily makes the finish, but the way the artist uses it that makes the finish.

4. Take notes and photos
 Go prepared. Take your notebook so you can take good notes. This is a good rule of thumb even if the instructor provides a handout. Take a camera in order to capture process shots, but ask permission first.  You should also blot colors in your notebook so you have the actual colors to reference when you need to.

Re-read your notes every evening, and note any questions.
Educators know that repetition is an important part of learning, and re-reading class notes frequently and immediately after the class will ensure that it’s embedded in your memory.

5. Practice the techniques after the class
 Set aside some time after you get home from the class to practice. This follow-through time is important for integrating what you’ve just learned into your own practice. Take each new skill and see what you can do to make it uniquely yours.

What do you look for?

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The Art of Michael Dillon

Michael Dillon was born in Co Louth, Ireland in 1957. His interest in painting started in childhood when he drew and painted many of the numerous species of wildfowl to be found on the River Boyne estuary. He subsequently farmed in Ireland, New Zealand, England and France before deciding to start his career as a decorative painter.
Whilst based in Dorset and Ireland, Michael has also travelled widely to undertake commissions in many other parts of Europe, North America, the West Indies and Africa. Most of his work is to be found in private residences but he has worked for the National Trust and a number of country house hotels.
Michael has carried out a wide variety of commissions, both large and small, which include fantasy murals, historical decorations, trompe l'oeil, theatre backdrops, hoardings, the design and decoration of furniture and luxury packaging. He particularly enjoys figurative painting and combining people, animals, landscape and architecture in "Excursions into Fantasy".

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Home Show Time!

Home Shows! I love them and I hate them!  There is the build up: "Can I really sell my business?" "How will I arrange my booth?" "Will I spend a small fortune?" "Will I create something outstanding?" There are the people: some new and some that I see only at these events. And then there is post show: "Did I perform to the best of my ability?" "Were connections made?" 

I have already written about my experiences of doing a home show (see this)  but this time every year I start to wonder if I should give it another go.  I love the challenge, coming up with ideas for the booth and creating some great finishes.  What I hate are the many hours of low event attendance and the repeated questions about what kind of wallpaper I am selling or the comments from some announcing how they also "do" "fox" finishing.  More about that later!
The first event I worked was in Minneapolis in 2002.  The booth wasn't mine, it belonged to a friend who was at the time working as an Interior Designer and she let me display a portfolio of some of my work for a small fee.  As a novice, I kept thinking "Would anyone hire me?" "Am I worthy?" As it turned out, this booth needed major improvements, to say the least! After part of the first day, I also realized that the booth was out of the main line of traffic.

From my experiences and those I have heard from others, I would like to share the following tips:

  • Home shows can be a great way to generate a presence in the community for your services because people can ask direct questions and see samples of your finishes.
  • Sharing a booth is an excellent way to cut down on costs or to increase the size of your booth.
  • Other exhibitors can be an excellent source of support, contacts and knowledge.
  • Home Shows can be an excellent source of leads and referrals for future business.

Things to avoid:
  • Not being prepared.
  • Too many different types of finishes can be confusing.
  • Not following up on leads.
  • Not having a professional-looking booth, too cluttered or
  • enough staff to work the show.

Most important?

Be Kind and talk to everyone. Don’t sit down. Don’t leave drinks and food around the booth.  Never be a jerk or act like someone can't afford to buy your services.  Looks can be deceiving and even if they can't afford to hire you or aren't interested, maybe they have a friend who can and is.  In todays age of social media one person’s disgruntled voice can carry far and wide.

My first home show I had a few people who made "I can do this myself" remarks.  Admittedly it did take a lot of tongue biting, but I just smiled, handed them my card and told them to give me a call if they needed help.  Several months later one of them did call and her call led to a several thousand dollar job.

Invite your clients!  Send out invitations to your past clients and invite them to come take a look at your latest finishes.  

Don't demo finishes!  I am retracting my advice for doing demos.  Several years ago I thought it was ingenious to have an easel at the home show and do demos all day.  What a great way to get people to visit my booth and help pass the time during the dead times.  WRONG  The only thing I really got was a LOT of people wanting to know how I was doing the finish so they could do it themselves at their own home.  Another thing I noticed, and maybe it is just for my area, but the ones who actually hire me to do finishes for them, really don't care how it is done, they just want it done.

Have you done a home show?  What has worked or not worked for you?

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Muralist Carves Art out of Concrete

David Seils’ master craft, wall relief sculpture, is an art form that dates back to ancient times, when civilizations carved designs into stone walls, buildings and columns. But instead of chiseling away material, the Asheville, N.C.-based Seils builds up his wall sculptures in layers using mortar, a mason’s hawk and a trowel.
Seils, who began his career making his own plaster and stucco mixes from scratch and now sticks to a bagged mortar mix manufactured by North Carolina-based Sakrete, has left his mark at numerous homes, businesses and public spaces across the country.
A native of West Salem, Wis., Seils began drawing in third grade and quickly took the path of an aspiring artist. He received formal art training at schools in Wisconsin and elsewhere, including Viterbo University, The Clearing folk school, The University of Kansas, and the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Fla.
A skilled sculptor, he took a steady position as a graphic designer for the Miami Herald while maintaining a side career as a freelance architectural renderer.
The after-hours work paid off for Seils in the late 1980s, when one of his freelance clients approached him about taking on a 5,000-square-foot plaster wall sculpture project inside a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., auditorium. While he says he approached that project — an intricate, tree-filled outdoor scene — with some fear and uncertainty, it would turn out to be the first of more than three decades worth of job invitations.
As word spread about Seils’ wall-relief sculpture work, he began landing assignments for a variety of clients, including universities, banks, hotels and car dealerships. One of his more notable jobs took place about 10 years ago at Appalachian State University’s Summit Trail Solarium in Boone, N.C. Using his own mix of plaster with pearlite and lime, he sculpted a scene that highlights two natural North Carolina landmarks — Grandfather Mountain and Linville Falls — on the 25-foot-high walls of the solarium, which functions as a study area and special events venue at the university.
His own plaster and stucco mixes served him well for a while, but about six years ago, Seils fell upon his current go-to product, Sakrete’s Type S High-Strength Mortar/Stucco Mix, while reviewing product descriptions at a Home Depot store.
“It seemed ideal to use their product instead of mixing my own,” Seils says. “It’s premixed, I can dampen it and add layers, and it won’t crack. I use it exclusively now.”
One of Seils’ Sakrete projects lies on an exterior wall of a pottery studio at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts in Black Mountain, N.C. Seeking a finished product that would hold up in harsh weather and an alternative to a painted mural, the arts center asked Seils to create a relief sculpture depicting a stream, trees, rocks and rhododendrons to reflect the natural environment that surrounds the buildings, says Gale Jackson, executive director for the Black Mountain Center for the Arts.
Jackson says Seils brought the creative vision of an artist along with the technical expertise of an artisan to the job and produced a work of art that continues to amaze the public.
“We were excited to see the art become a part of our building,” Jackson says. “It’s a piece that changes a lot at night because of its lighting features. The lights create a 3-D experience and allow the shadows to really pop. And the garden beside it blends right into the scene — the wall is like a background to its surroundings.”
Seils’ discovery of Sakrete also led him to form a business relationship with the company. About two and a half years ago, Seils contacted Sakrete, noting his exclusive use of their product in his work, and invited them to view his sculpture at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, says Eric Peterson, director of marketing and technical services for Sakrete.
Impressed, the company invited Seils to lead a live demonstration and discussion of their product at Sakrete’s booth at the 2012 World of Concrete event. The company also sponsors the material costs for some of Seils’ projects, including the second half of his Black Mountain Center for the Arts project — another relief sculpture on the opposite wall of the pottery studio — which is scheduled for completion this year.
The relief process
With 35 years of wall relief sculpture experience under his belt, the job process is second nature for Seils. After visiting a new client’s space and learning the theme or concept for the sculpture’s design, Seils sketches it out on paper, then draws the same design on the wall in charcoal, using a grid as a guide to bring the image up to scale. Working on a 2- or 3-square-foot area at a time and using a mason’s hawk and trowel, he applies and sculpts layers of material in a “quick and spontaneous” manner, he says. As they prefer a neutral, timeless look, not one of his clients has requested a topcoat or pigment for his sculptures, he adds.
“It’s very challenging, but it’s really rewarding once everything falls into place,” he says of the work. “It’s like giving a public talk. The first part is scary, and then I’ll start to loosen up.”
For inspiration, Seils says he likes to flip through magazines and peruse pictures online, but usually, the design is dictated by the client and the environment. (Think palm trees for a job in Florida and fir trees for a job in the mountains.)
In 2013, Seils will demonstrate the Type S High-Strength Mortar/Stucco Mix at Sakrete’s booth at the Concrete Decor Show in Charlotte as well as sculpt his second piece for an Asheville, N.C. Mercedes dealership — a scene that will depict an accelerating vehicle plunging through flying rocks.
“His ability to work with shadowing and layering of material to create a beautiful work of art is something I have watched and still can’t seem to put it into words well enough to describe,” Peterson says of Seils. “But from a pure art perspective, he can pretty much do any type of picture he wants with these materials, almost as if he were painting these sculptures on a canvas.”

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Vertical Artisans Hands On Training Event

Vertical Artisans Hands On Training Event In Oregon April 28th – May 2nd

Every Year Vertical Artisans throws a extreme training class in Lorane Oregon in an underground house. We get to the house that has been unearthed and we sculpt vertical decorative concrete through out various areas. This is our third year and we have an excellent training schedule for all who attend. 

This year we are featuring light-weight arches in a ceiling with Guest Instructor Steve Kornher from We are also fabricating Living Tree Art with Earl Senchuk in the main room with a special Bonzi Tree. We also are going to witness and perform the Art Work of David Seils. This low relief technique has dazzled onlookers for decades. Finally, Stone Facing and Positive Carving from Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans using a brand new foam build system from Joe Tran with the Foam Design Center. They will be fabricating a Moon Gate with Seat walls and other interesting elements.

There is limited seating and many have been all ready taken for this Event that will be held April 28th – May2nd. Details can be found at this link: West Coast Training Center Class #3

Price for the 5 day class is $1800 Each Student receives a (1) year subscription to Vertical Artisans Core Courses and a (1) subscription to all the courses that we created and filmed at the training event.

Special Bonus Speakers Include: Sean Maxwell --- Social Media and Networking Guru Herb Nordmeyer --- Owner of Herb Crete Carving Mix and Industry Professional

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