Every three years the Junior League of Hartford (JLH) takes over a unique home or estate in the greater Hartford area, selects regional designers to makeover the interior spaces and surrounding grounds, and sells tickets to the public for viewing of the completed house. I have supported this for most of my career and donated work to 3 house and 5 designers. Here is one of my favorite paintings done for designer, Cynthia Hernandez.
The JLH has held 12 Decorator Show Houses over a 30-year span, and has raised more than $1.25 million for its programs and projects.
The Decorator Show House is the JLH’s largest event-based fundraiser. All proceeds support our mission of “promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”
The M.J. Petretto Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2009 as part of Retirement Planning Group’s commitment to give back time, talent and money to support the efforts of Connecticut not-for-profits. The Foundation’s mission is to fund organizations that support education health, and quality of life to build stronger Connecticut communities. The Foundation was also inspired by a 2008 automobile accident that nearly claimed the life of M.J.’s nephew, Jesse. He suffered a spinal cord injury that changed his life,and hers, forever. Each year The MJ Petretto Foundation Golf Classic will help fund Gaylord Hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury Program and other non-profit Connecticut Organizations. In 2011, they added Parkinson’s Disease Research and Programs to their list of charities and in 2013, they donated to Make A Wish® Connecticut. This year they are pleased to announce the addition of Shoreline Arts Alliance.
I was asked a few years ago from a fellow artist if i could do a painting for a charity that she has organized. When I asked her about the charity and her involvement I was overwhelmed and without a doubt I knew I was participating in this. Below is a blurb from this friend and a link to the site she started to support this cause. Please take the time to click on the link and explore the site. “Through The Canvas Peace Project artists learn about what women in South Sudan have endured for decades. The hope is that through the power of art we can educate the public about the ongoing conflicts in the region and provide opportunity for many of these women.”
Last year I was contacted about doing a painting for an elementary school. The staff called and told me of a boy named Ralphie who passed away too young, and that they wanted to create something special for the family to honor their son. This touched me hard being that I am a father of three. This was a project that I was eager to create and one that I would push off for months. Looking back I realize that it wasn’t my schedule getting in the way to complete this painting it was me. I needed this painting to be something amazing for this family who had to go thru something I could not even begin to imagine. Below is the painting, “Ralhie”.
CT mural artist Patrick Ganino: “Murals have been my passion as an artist my entire life. It has taken a career to hone my skills while painting murals in Connecticut. As an artist it was my goal to create an ideal working scenario where my main focus is painting murals on canvas and then installing them in homes. This is not always to case especially when I was commissioned to paint a mural on 2 twelve story building in new York a few years back. This was and still is the largest mural I have ever painted and to me was that final piece on my muralist bucket list.”
Murals in Connecticut and Personal Milestones
When I first starting painting murals in Connecticut professionally I had just moved back here after a spending a few years in Florida and was 22 years old. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to be and went after it with an unrelenting passion. I also would get excited after every artistic milestone was met. These milestones were self created and started simple and grew as each mural accomplishment was met. Starting with just getting a mural project was good but then it changed into the complexity of the mural. Next was the size of the mural and then of course the detail in the size of the mural. I was super excited when I painted my first mural on a ceiling and then came the dome mural with cherubs and clouds. This moved on all the way to goals of working on TV shows and working for celebrities. It was the ultimate goal for me to paint a mural on the side of a building. Once that was accomplished I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment. My main focus within the world of mural painting is now portraiture and creating scenes depicting people. I am working on learning new techniques that will hopefully bring me to a new level of painting people.
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Chinoiserie murals are slowly becoming my favorite style of painting. Although I tend to be quite hyper and love large scale murals because I can’t work across them with speed I am finding the patience that is needed for hand painted chinoiserie murals is a challenge that is welcomed. Once I calm myself and sit to paint it I find I am able to get into the mural painting zone needed and then it becomes almost therapeutic. This particular chinoiserie mural was painted for interior designer Amy Hirsch and as an added bonus is it was featured in Athome magazine. When Amy approached me to paint this mural I was super excited. This was the second chinoiserie mural I would be painting for her and I always love her sense of style. For this project she wanted to be bold and use these dark charcoal tones which I thought was fabulous. The darker the batter as far as I am concerned but I have a heavy hand to begin with. When designing this mural we wanted to stay pretty monochromatic with the colors but still have the design stand out and be the wow factor of the room. It was not hard to do that with the charcoal background as you can see with the pop of the trees in the pictures below. In the second picture you can see all the details that go into this style of painting ultimately explaining why it takes so long to paint. I hope you enjoyed this project, if you would like to see more of our works visit our gallery section and please feel free to follow us on facebook for up to date photos from projects as they are finished.
Athome Magazine: 5 Designers Homes’ September – October 2013 Chinoiserie mural created for Interior Designer Amy Hirsch.
Chinoiserie in Greenwich, CT
Speed painting Grammy Winner Melanie Fiona at Us Restaurant & Lounge was definitely a wonderful experience to be a part of. I love painting portraits live and even more than that I love painting portraits live when I am allotted only a certain amount of time. There is something so much fun about having a bunch of people watch you create a painting from start to finish.
Us Restaurant and Lounge hosted an amazing evening with Singer Melanie Fiona as the headliner. I had been excited all week prior to the event because I was asked to paint a painting of this lovely singer live at the show. This I could do! Walking into the event I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew where I was painting and what I was painting but what surprised me was the sheer energy in the room. Entering at 8 pm to set up the restaurant was already filled with over a hundred and fifty guests and they were still pouring in. Passing by the tables and seeing all the wonderful meals got me a little hungry so I had a pre-painting meal of Salmon Wellington cooked to perfection. I started painting around 1030pm, not too long after I could hear some commotion behind me and there she was in the flesh. Melanie Fiona was standing there with a huge smile on her face that was more than just contagious she was amazing. She was so nice and gracious. After a few words back and forth she had to go up on stage and do her thing. It was when she started singer that I was completely blow away. It was definitely a bit surreal painting a picture of this talented musical artist while she is on stage not to far from me singing. I have to say that if you are going to paint a live painting I recommend painting a singer while they are singing! Once she completed her set she made her way back to the painting and shot some pictures in front of it and was good enough to sign it. What really made my day was seeing later that she gave me a shout out on Twitter and Instagram. Now that is cool!
Lan Chi’s Vietnamese restaurant a memorable project in my portfolio for sure.
Having your father as a commercial insurance agent has its perks. After getting a referral from friend Carrie Corella, owner of Nora cupcakes my father gained Chu Nygo owner of Lan Chi’s Vietnamese restaurant as a client and with that my introduction as well! 🙂 The Lan Chi restaurant mural was a bit of a challenge but a welcome one to say the least. With difficulties on picking a composition for the mural and time running out with the opening of the restaurant around the corner I thought it was a good idea to move my studio into a new location. Almost from an episode of hoarders we moved 7 years worth of “stuff” 6 doors down into my new studio spot. Amid the chaos I was going back and forth with the wonderful Chu and her ever funny husband Lam on what we were actually going to paint! My initial design for Lan Chi’s Vietnamese restaurant was turned down. After going through three more designs I received an email from Chu stating that she just wasn’t excited about any of the new ideas I had shown her. Frankly I wasn’t either. She ask me what I thought and what I wanted to paint. I said that I really wanted to paint the original idea I had shown her and would love to take my design and project it on her wall so she and her husband can see why I wanted to paint it. That Sunday morning I was very excited as I knew once they saw this design blown up in there 11 foot tall by 14 foot wide wall they were going to go crazy, and in a good way. So that morning I projected it on the wall and stated why I wanted to paint it. I believe Lam felt my excitement and fed off my energy. He said what any artist wants their client to say. “If you are excited to paint this then i want you to paint it because your enthusiasm will be with in the painting and give us great finished product”. BINGO Back to the studio I went and with 6 days I needed to finish this large painting on canvas in my studio so it can be hung at the restaurant the day before the opening!
The finish piece I feel adds something to the restaurant that any central wall should, interest. Using a variety of elements I made sure that I used stone, sky and earth colors in my mural. With the majority of the mural being stone I was able to ensure the pop of color coming from the yellow in the Cambodian statues and the red from the temple in the background which is the The Temple of Literature, Van Mieu. The end product was well received and everyone was happy, which in turn made me very happy!
Creating the mural at Us Restaurant and Lounge in Middletown, CT was quite the honor since I had painted murals in this same address years earlier for the previous business Titanium. It was nice to create new murals and a new theme for a very large layout. Working with Earl and Kendra O’Garro, the owners was amazing as well. They brought an energy to the project that rivaled my own and that says a lot.
Originally this space was painted a charcoal almost black color from head to toe. Added elements of greys and silvers highlighted the black and then there was the lighting…everywhere. The NEW look was quite the opposite. This large space was opened up even more first by painting the entire space white. With this fresh palette to start a highlight color was added and that color was red.
There were two sets of murals being painted for Us Restaurant and Lounge. The first was a large scale mural the spanned over 16 feet in length and 3 feet in height. It was a monster painting in size and it was very evident to me the scale of this piece when the frame arrived in my studio before I started painting it. The premise was to create something that embodied family and friends. Being that the name of the restaurant was “Us” this was a good opportunity toe represent this. To prepare for this painting I held a photo shoot with all the players. 26 people gathered one night and we lit them in a very dramatic fashion. It was from these photos that I compiled the composition here. A modern day “Last Supper” except with a happier ending only at Us Restaurant and Lounge.
The second stage of paintings was very different. The idea was to create similar large murals like the last set for the previous business but more of them this time and with the idea of red being the dominant color. Using an R&B theme I had a blast painting these. (6) 8 foot by 4 foot paintings that needed to hang on the walls over 12 feet above the viewers heads. When we sat down Earl and Kendra O’Garro gave me 6 artists to paint including, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, Tracy Chapman, and Robin Thicke. Once completed I had my carpenter take on the dubious task of climbing the scaffold to hang them. This project is one that I am very fond of. I love that the owners created very personal pieces for the restaurant. It was not only a challenge but ultimately as an artist a great honor to paint. I have also had the opportunity to try the wonderful food of Chef Garfield Trout who is an artist in his own right and all I can say is if you get a chance stop by and order up because it is well worth it!