I’d like to talk about how one of my most favorite projects came into fruition. It started with an idea- the idea wasn’t necessarily mine. I was just an artist addition to a vision.

There is a small patio in Texas. This patio is a gathering point for groups of happy people watching football, grilling, and celebrating. Due to the size of the groups that gathered there they developed it into a more comfortable space to sit and be jovial. The owners of that patio decided to make it into a football watching oasis with seating, a mounted T.V., and an overhanging roof. From the kitchen window you could see the expanse of the patio and it’s intricate carpentry.

The builder of the patio came across a friend who was renovating the windows in their old house. They were upgrading from their traditional four panel windows to different types and were practically giving away these traditional white trimmed windows.

The carpenter of the Patio Oasis saw this as an opportunity. Luckily, he had space to place this window glass trimming on his patio. The faux window was centered beautifully on the patio- however it was facing a rather bare fence with nothing much to show than wood grains.

This is where they thought, “Why not an image?” A picture behind the window, showcasing something beautiful? How about a piece of art? Something unique and special?
That’s where they thought of me. I had done large scale pieces before and painted family portraits prior to being assigned this project.

The crucial part of this project was pre planning all the different pieces. Also contracting the work and pricing out all the different pieces.

Step one was understanding my limits. What would make this special? How should the composition look? How much are the materials going to cost me? Another thing I should have considered (which I did not till the week of the deadline) shipping!

The specs of the project are on this file. This entire project had to be Approved and signed by the client(s). Any deviation from the original project plans were discussed and then applied. This project did have an altered plan by the end due to space constraints on the window.

We decided that I would paint a picture of the clients grandchildren staring out into the calm ocean. Also including a ‘starfish’ for the soon grandchild (who is/was due in May of 2017).

I decided that I was going to experiment with mixed media again with no clue on whether or not it was going to work out.

I don’t recommend this for anyone. I just like stressing myself out.

It worked out magically however.


  • Decorating Sand
  • ModPodge
  • Disposable Cup or Bucket or Bowl, Something.
  • Disposable Foam Brushes.


  • Mix two cups of Decorating Sand into the disposable cup with ½ cup of ModPodge. Mix well with disposable brush.
  • Add ModPodge till the paste is the consistency of smooth cake batter.
  • Spread all over desired surface.
  • The sand will look light and goopy and otherwise scary till dry.
  • Stick some sea shells into it. Sprinkle glitter on it. Do whatever you want to it.
  • Volia! Artistic Beach!

So experimentation is a huge part of creating art pieces that you enjoy. If the sand paste didn’t work out, I would have had to restart from scratch and rebuy materials on my own coin. That’s not the end of the world.

Keep that in mind while creating a large project. The worst that could happen is that you restart and create something that is 10x greater than you originally intended. I had to tell myself that repeatedly while creating this piece.

Using various blues and greens to make the ocean waves I mimicked the wispy clouds that many impressionists use in their artwork. While I appreciate photorealism- there is a time and place for it. With this piece I felt that it would present itself better with mystical elements applied (like… glitter(link) and…. pointillism(link)). Also- I know my strengths, photorealism is not one.
The entire piece came together when I finished the starfish. I found a starfish, printed it, glued it to a piece of cardboard. I painted it the same style as the entire piece. I did not mount it onto the canvas yet because I knew there was size restrictions where the piece was going to be mounted- I didn’t glue the starfish onto the finished project till I was mounting the picture behind the window frame. Remaining flexible was a huge factor in the success of this project.

Which brings me to my next point: Balancing the cost of driving to Texas vs trying to find a way to ship the painting. Because of how fragile the components were on the piece I decided that I would drive the painting to the location. I only had three days and a 32 hour drive there and back. It was a great reason to also visit family!


If it seems impossible- make it happen. Experiment. Have fun. Amplify your strengths but test your limits.

The finished project now resides on a Patio Oasis and I’m forever thankful for the opportunity.