Colorful wall art is an unexpected way to liven up your living space. By Chris Caswell
Palm Beach, Florida-based artist and interior designer Rhea (like Cher or Madonna, no last name) never worries about finding the right-sized frame for her works. ThatÂ’s because entire walls are her empty canvas. Starting with the blank interior walls of waterfront homes in South Florida, Rhea creates surprising and often three-dimensional images that turn an entire room into a delightful piece of art.
Â“My clients may have a hobby or passion, such as snorkeling or ballooning, but often they just want something that is fun to look at, like clouds or castles,Â” she says. While she is more than happy to fulfill her clientsÂ’ wishes, Rhea also encourages everyone to become his or her own Â“wall artist.Â”
Of the ideal medium, Rhea says, Â“You donÂ’t need to worry about fancy paints because, after all, itÂ’s just a wall. Most of my paint comes from Home Depot, but you can also use acrylics or oils.Â” She recommends that clients or do-it-yourselfers start with a sketch of what they want, followed by pencil marks on the wall to get the size and position right.
Â“DonÂ’t be shy about adding three-dimensional objects to your wall, either,Â” she says. A hot-glue gun or clear silicone sealant will provide plenty of grip, which she used in one underwater scene to add a plastic Nemo toy, ceramic tropical fish, and shells from a local shop.
Â“I use flat glass stones or marbles for the bubbles above fish, and I like to add shells and brightly colored coral along the baseboard molding to create the effect of the sea bottom.Â” In a room with walls the exact color of the afternoon sky, she painted fluffy clouds that seem to be floating right out the window. As a finishing touch, she added a faint half-moon for children to discover.
But walls arenÂ’t RheaÂ’s only canvas: the artist turned the concrete floor of her own studio into the clear blues and greens of the Caribbean sea and then dotted the floor with brightly colored starfish that she applied using a hand-made stencil. Â“I have to laugh because visitors sometimes carefully step over the starfish until they realize theyÂ’re just paint!Â”
The best thing about wall art?Â Â“If you donÂ’t like it,Â” she says, Â“you can just paint over it!Â” gallarhea.com, 561-753-1382.