Wednesday, April 27, 2011

We Could Have Had It All

The Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men
do not see it. -Thomas or somebody.

In fact I'm pretty sure it's me. The quote above is mine. I said that, or rather something like it every time one of my clients misses the point of having it all that they fail to enjoy it. Look back into my past posts and you'll find a great example of this. We're approaching the one year anniversary of my Ojai project/non project. They could have it all.

Watercolor by Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc of Pierrefonds.

How about a country? Would you like your very own? HRH The Prince of Liechtenstein asked me for the world and I gladly gave it to him. Okay, so he didn't exactly asked me directly, in person but on behalf of the LGT Group of the princely House of Liechtenstein I painted a world map mural for  their stunning San Francisco offices high atop the Embarcadero Center. Enter the marble stair way and you can see my work and find the locations of Liechtenstein Global Trust world wide.

Studio shot of my map mural for LGT.

This is one of my favorite types of commissions. The general direction is know but it's up to me to chart the course. I get just enough input and there's room for quite a lot of creativity. Paint a map, sure, but which one? I chose the less well known Peters projection rather that the very common Mercator projection. Principalities may seem like anachronisms but LGT is a modern day investment firm and Peters map shows the world accurately. Where Mercator shows Greenland and China as having nearly the same mass Peters correctly portrays China at close to four times the size of Greenland. Let's get it right people.

Installed view detail of my map mural showing Liechtenstein coat of arms.

Do you know where you're going to?

Watch for sea serpents. Life's full of 'em.

Still I give thanks  to Mercator and others for their useful and inventive annotated cartography. I thank you. I used many antique references showing landmasses, navigation lines, and various storied creatures upon the seas. The antique style seemed better suited to the crest and coat of arms of Liechtenstein which I also incorporated into my mural. And I indicated the world wide offices in a font completely based on Mercator's beautiful script. Ironically the San Francisco office is no longer among those cities listed. The office is closed. The whereabouts if this map is unknown to me.

Ojai -no map. That's the way it is.

My "rough sketch" of a map mural for Ojai.

Just like LGT the people in Ojai came to me with the idea of map and I said great, I can do that for you. See my previous blog post for some charming photos of this beautiful property. Now I take you inside to show you my map composite. These days my rough sketches; my cocktail napkin drawings are more likely a Photoshop collage. It's easier in a way and gives a good idea of what the finished work will look like in the space. I take the rough and make it real which in this case would have meant substituting what's all around Ojai. I would added charming little images of the local flora and fauna and shown the terrain. It's beautiful and inspiring country and what a perfect installation for an odd little stairway landing. They asked for and I had planned two other painting projects for the house. "Had" is the operative word.

Adele in her video of "Rolling In The Deep"

Violette-le-Duc's mountain mural.

Violet-le-Duc's home La Vedette. He lived for just one year after completing these murals.

We could have had it all! -Adele. Do you know the song: Rolling In The Deep? The video? I captured a still from the video. Have you noticed that strange abandoned room where Adele sits in front of a mural of a mountain-scape. My only reference for such a thing is Violet-le-Duc. He painted a mural of mountains for his own place, La Vedette. Isn't it wonderful? He's such a fascinating character. I used his designs in an early project of mine. Historically we owe him some gratitude for showing us the beauty of Gothic in a time when it was not especially fashionable. He wasn't interested in fashionable.

Violette-le-Duc's mountain studies.

Violet-le-Duc's restoration project for Napolean: Pierrefonds.

Remember to claim your kingdom. It's all around you.

My job? It's to help you.

Now see my Tumblr


  1. Love the little sea serpent. Delightful.

  2. As always you deliver, here and otherwise. I am equally every time amazed at your work and dedication to it- I am always so frustrated when clients do not follow through- no they don't get it and that is their loss. Gaye

  3. I've read your posts all the way back, and I can only say that if I were your client, I'd hope to have the good sense to give you both latitude and longitude! The map is wonderful and the mountains are still to come.

  4. Wow. Nothing short of fascinating. Totally. I have many secret desires, and one of them has been a map mural. So, when I make the money, and have the wall....

  5. Mark, I've been at this painting business for some time and the Ojai project was a first, the first time someone paid me a deposit and then pulled the plug. In fact I think they really liked my work. I may be a little delusional but I actually think they may decide to go through with it one day.

    Brad, I grew up with antique school map on the wall so it's in my blood. My parents still have them hanging on their walls. They are so appealing.

  6. i love maps and the vocabulary of imagery that seems to have evolved just for map illustrations. how frustrating about the ojai job!
    i once showed up at a client's house ready to install a mural and found the owner had suddenly sold the house and was planning to move. he opened the door, looked at me and said, well, you can keep it" and i still have no idea wtf happened.
    thanks for sharing your amazing picture. the larger images at tumblr are really appreciated.

  7. Lynne, I think your story's even more strange and unusual than my own!

  8. I love maps so this was really a treat for me! __ The Devoted Classicist

  9. I love this post. I have stopped the video by Adele many times and looked at that wall....the room looks like a photography studio with different vignettes to pose in front of. Fabulous post Scott.

  10. Glad to deliver a treat John and thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

    And thanks for the love Theresa. I suppose it could be a photography studio but look at that ceiling. If it is a studio then I think it's housed in some sort of old building.

  11. I have discovered your blog , beautiful work!!! I love it.
    I had also seen these murals in Adele's video. I wonder where this can be, it immediately made me think of Viollet-le-Duc.
    I hope I will get a client to do something similar and I hope he will let me do...and have it all.

  12. Thank Pascal!

    I have seen your work and return the compliment. SO beautiful.

    Yes, I'd like to do the mountain idea myself!

  13. love le ducs murals! thank you for your comment :)


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