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The large living room
The sobriety and luminosity of the large living room really correspond to the atmosphere of a contemporary apartment, matching very well with the owners’ life style. It was essential to find a décor that took into account the classicism of the place as well as its modern aspect. By using drawings inspired by great Renaissance masters, and some sketches from Leonardo da Vinci’s study of hands, it seemed to bring an elegant solution to this apparent contradiction. The contemporary manner of treating the subject is reflected in the drawing’s disproportionate size, as well as the use of a collage of various types of paper on which the sketches were drawn.
Torn superimposed papers created relief and suggested temporal depth. The technique evokes the works of contemporary artists, whereas the subject links us to the past.
The central element, a hand that is full of life and intelligence, symbolizes the innovative spirit of the owners of this house.
I tried out various sketches of masters from the Renaissance or the Baroque period, in order to find a combination of motifs that would generate interesting contrasts of lines and forms.
When the position and size of both hands were decided, I was worried that they were out of proportion: the hands placed around the chimney seemed too big. Still, I thought that the project would lose its energy if I reduced their size. The addition of anemones, which are part of Leonardo da Vinci’s botanical drawings, was the determining factor in achieving ultimate balance. By making them bigger, I was able to provide contrast and make the hands look smaller.
The portraits and the small architectural drawing done in sanguine, placed at the top right and left, echo the sketchbooks of Italian Renaissance masters, and thus participate in the coherence of the whole.
The physical substrate of a work of art plays a decisive role in the overall effect it produces on the spectator.
For this living room’s décor, since the choices fell on a series of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, it made sense to use paper as substrate. The difficulty was in finding a variety of textures that would allow us to visually distinguish different parts of the composition.
I also had to make sure they were compatible with the installation procedure I was planning to use: the marouflage technique.
For a long time, I have been using lightweight paper marouflaged on to the canvas for various decorative treatments. I also wanted to create superimposed effects for this work; I wanted, for instance, to be able to glue two drawings one on top of the other, while letting some area overlap and then partially tear the one on top to reveal the one underneath. I therefore drew and painted directly on the paper.
I had to test several types of paper until I found one that would suit me, and that could be glued on to a wall.
The hands, which were executed in charcoal and then enhanced with chalk, where done on cartridge paper coated with pigment and vinyl binder. I therefore prepared a paper sample, as described above, and started to draw before the pigment and binder layer dried. As my work progressed, I was using my fingers in the place of a shading stump, to fix the charcoal and chalk in the vinyl glaze.
The anemones were painted with a thinned-down sepia brown. The substrate is a fine canvas that was primed in gesso and coated with a mixture of vinyl binder and natural pigments, in order to give it an aged paper look. The white highlights were painted in casein.
Before installation, I fixed all the drawings by spraying them with a vinyl binder.
I was now ready to proceed to the installation phase: I first installed the drawings of the anemones, then the architectural drawing, with torn edges. Finally, I glued the drawing of the hands, which also had torn edges.
Pascal’s much anticipated first book is here! Pascal Amblard remains one of the industry’s leaders as a muralist and instructor. Although, this is not a traditional “how-to” book, it is filled with practical lessons for decorative painters. This coffee table book will inspire you. Get into Pascal’s head and view his methods of design, conceptual drawings, and installation. If you’ve met Pascal, you will appreciate his humble and grounded approach. As to be expected, Pascal has an ability of pleasing his clients and offering a strong sense of balance and composition. For more information on Pascal, check out his blog.
Painted Homes by Pascal Amblard
- Get inspired by Pascal!
- full-page room views
- This book compliment Pascal’s DVD’s
- French and English text
- 297 pages