Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for the ‘Murals’ Category

Decorative Finishing: Goldleafing and Silverleafing


A five-foot high wall set on either side of an entry to the new Macy’s in Aventura Mall. Architectural specifications called for each wall to be covered with sheets of pure Silverleaf.


A decorative “leafing” artist was engaged to apply the delicate sheets. Originally from Shanghai, she followed the traditional method as she worked with each small square. Slowly, meticulously and patiently.


She demonstrated immense respect for, and understanding of the properties of those razor-thin sheets. Harvested from melted, then solidified, then thinly-sliced pure gold.


I watched her work, whenever I was prepping or finishing surfaces in the same general area.


Periodically, I noticed tiny clues of concern in her eyes. Also, controlled frustration..


At long last, she completed the painstaking project. The architect rejected the finished job. The problems were apparent, especially to the artist herself.

1. The area – two half walls – was too large for genuine leafing, without any flaws.

2. The Silverleaf sheets were too fragile to guarantee a perfect job.

3. The sheets, which tore very easily, had done so. Especially at certain corners.

4. Leafing was tedious-intensive work, that could not be rushed – eg. by a deadline.


Macy Stores’ executives opted for complete removal of the Silverleaf.


After removal of the Silverleafing…

…my job started.


First, I prepped the entire surface area to its original “new construction” condition.

Next, I primed both walls.

Last, I painted the walls in acrylic enamel. Very attractive. Not beautiful like the Silverleaf.


About my “Leafing”  experience… 


I’ve done small leafing applications – eg. silver, gold, copper. Examples: Columns, frames of murals, walls, furniture, mirror frames (small, large), trims, railings.


Each beautiful when completed. And, as each sheet and every section came out perfect, I was thrilled.




1. Use proper adhesive prep. – eg. Rabbit glue.

2. Use hair blow dryer to lay leaf down.

3. Make sure burnishing tools are polished.

4. Use Badger Hair mop or comb for brushing down leaf.

5. Make sure gilding pad stays firm, yet soft.

6. When applying a sealer or clear finish, use airbrush or detail spray cup gun.

7. Wear rubber-soled shoes to help eliminate static electricity.

8. Use an artificial leaf when speed and productivity are required – eg. commercial application.

9. When learning, compare application methods to see which one is easiest for you to perform.

10. Try leafing on ornamental object, with a smooth surface. This helps to diversify your capability.


Try these small “leafing” projects to get you started – and to learn the craft:


1. Wooden jewelry box

2. Candlesticks, or simple candelabra

3. Lamp base, or smaller mirror frame

4. Wood molding, chair rail, crown

5. Cabinetry molding – smooth surface, simple design and construction

6. Door or drawer knob or handle

7. Desk-top picture frame


“Leafing” is an art. A fantastic outlet for a painter’s finer creative aspirations.



No need to turn over a new leaf. Just cover a little surface of your life with Gold or Silver.


Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Creating and Painting: Murals by G.B.

A small group of boutique hotels (7) keeps a second painter on the payroll for one purpose. To paint “realism murals.”


G.B. sketches what he wants to re-create in a specific area, at a specific hotel. A graphic designer formalizes the painter’s sketches, including chip colors; textures and patterns; depths and reflections.


Then, the designer projects, or hand-draws the images onto the surfaces.


And, G.B. hand-paints and details the reproduced design. Ten years ago, he still handled every phase, from conception-to-completion. Today, at seventy, he’s content with what he can do.


The hotels’ owners keep G.B. very busy. It takes time to create an original mural. Sometimes months. Even when working at it full-time.


The finished effect is always captivating. Like his re-creation of the sandy Bal Harbour beach in South Florida. You have to watch where you walk (on the hotel’s sidewalk). That you do not step on a sea turtle, or a live crab, or a washed-up shell. The mural is that real.


One of my favorite “Scenics” depicts the tree-top scene from the 1992 film, Medicine Man, starring Sean Connery. The scene overlooks the Amazon jungle, and the winding, densely bordered river thousands of feet below. The hand-painted mural so real that you feel the mist gently pricking your cheeks, and the breeze brushing through your hair.


G.B. belongs to an elite group of painters. Commercial painters that sustain a good living as full-time muralists.


Sears, Roebuck and Company used to employ a painter to design and hand-paint graphics murals at their high-revenue stores. Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and others did the same.


Karen, an Indiana graphics and advertising artist, designed and hand-painted her first mural in the 1980s. A jungle/animal scene that “grew” along a long corridor in a pediatrician’s office. She applied a special-formulated clear coat over the finished mural. To protect the surfaces from all of the “touches.” By little and big people!


I’ve worked on a number of original murals. Mainly graphics, objects, and architectural structures. Each design concept was sold to, or conceived by, the client: hotel/resort, hospital, store, corporation, school, home owner, etc.


Artists like G.B. and Karen are the real pros, though. Gifted with the ability to re-create the finest details of any part of nature. A tiger’s coat and claws and a parrot’s feathers and beak. An acacia tree’s small, yellow, puff-ball-like clusters of flowers. A grape vine’s veins and nobs.


On Thanksgiving Day, G.B. called from the boutique hotel, where he just started painting a scene from the southwest section of the Florida Everglades.


The mural will measure 80 feet long. Wrapping around the lobby like years of “free living and un-tampered overgrowth.” G.B.’s little catch phrase to describe the design, based on his first visit to the Everglades. When he was only nine!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

“Free living and un-tampered growth…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Thank you, always, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Tag Cloud