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Sketch Pad

Design ideas in the making

It is always a challenging assignment to paint an illustration of a furnished room that doesn’t exist. Often a designer needs a rendering for a client or for a showhouse publication that goes to press before the room is put together. The interior above, called Babe’s Boudoir, was done for the Rooms with a View showhouse in Southport. Designer Jane Ellsworth was inspired by the iconic style maven Babe Paley. Foremost, I think, it is very important to capture the proper mood, so I researched old photos to become familiar with Babe’s “look.” Then, provided with tiny fabric swatches, wallpaper samples, and photos of the furniture that Jane had chosen, I created the room in proper perspective and scale, keeping it all a bit loose and suggestive. I vary my style according to the ambience to be portrayed. Another of my favorites, at right, is the Lady’s Writing Room, done for designer Carey Karlan. Although the room is elegant and feminine, the painting was done in a playful style, capturing movement in the undulating lines of the desk and billowing window treatments. Carey wanted the drapes to have the mood of a swishing evening gown, yet for the room to be light and airy. We added the King Charles spaniel as a touch of whimsy. It’s enjoyable collaborating with the designers, who always seem delighted to see their visions come to life in drawings.

Russell Melzer, B. Russell Art, Westport, (203) 656-2651, 128  New England Home Connecticut  Winter 2015

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