This project started with a call from the talented Matthew Willinger of Doyle Herman Design Associates of Greenwich. A senior landscape designer with the firm, Matthew had need of my services for a project he has been involved with for a decade. He didn’t know, but he had me at “there’s a trompe l’oeil chicken involved”. How could I not say yes?
The property had a sign that had seen its better days years ago.
I couldn’t estimate how many years old it might have been, but what was clear that it was well beyond the point or repair.
This allowed for an opportunity to fine tune the design and come up with a panel that would echo the elegant streamlined architecture of the home. A few alterations to copy let me add the address to make it easier for guests to find and I was on my way.
The new sign was made of medium density overlay exterior wood. All the molding and raw edges were sealed with West system two part epoxy. The molding, simple squared steps mimics the residence. The background color for the sign and the post also matches the home. And then it was time to paint?
Here is the panel being blocked in.
And at last, the fun part, painting the aforementioned chicken. On the original sign, this part was actually a carved piece, attached to both sides of the double-sided sign. This carved area was an area of great deterioration. Painting it in trompe l’oeil style (French for literally “to fool the eye”) preserved the look but made the sign much stronger.
I have to admit, even though I had been a commercial sign painter for over thirty years, this lettering was slightly different and more challenging.. Even though most have been replaced by vinyl letters and graphics, actual free hand lettering is done in lettering enamel, a marvelous fluid paint. Its drawback in this case, the lettering would be glossy and look too new. So I lettered it in Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint, the sturdiest paint I know in the realm of water-based paints, but not as user friendly for a small artist’s brush to render the letters. But so totally worth it for the end effect.
My part was technically completed at this point, but who could say no to watch the last steps as the sign and post were installed? Despite the install date arriving in a deep freeze of Connecticut weather, Juan of Stamford’s J&J Fence Service was undaunted in getting the post installed. Had to giggle in this this modern age of technology, Juan went old school. See the equipment being heated to facilitate the digging and shortly after, post ready to battle whatever the elements might throw at it.
And so, without further ado, the finished project, viewed from either side.
A thank you to my husband, Hans, always at the ready to build whatever wood panels I need. We laugh when such projects arise. Sharon the Signpainter thought she’d retired her sign brushes over twenty years ago. The brushes, perhaps, but those skills come into play every day in mural painting. It was lovely to mix trompe l’oeil with sign writing.
So thank you, Matthew, for reaching out to me on this project and for the opportunity to add my skills to this lovely property.
Thinking of a project and not sure how to make it come alive, call me. I promise we will find the perfect solution.