Calling All Artists


Progress–I’m halfway around on the block wall. Half of the large open area is now painted. I’m laying in the ceiling materials this week. Please excuse the non-permanent furnishings in the room. This will eventually be a cute sitting area. I’ll be moving that chest of drawers to another location–and painting it. And the couch, it will have to go. I’m putting cafe curtains on the windows–the windows look out onto a not-so-cute view where we stack hay, so I put up cafe curtains that let the light in but keep the hay view out. As you can see, there is still much trim to be added. There is some trim down there, but it’s not complete.

I’m taking a break from block wall painting by painting the bathroom/utility room, which is all drywalled.

From this view, you can see into the unpainted side of the big open area, which still holds the younger batch of meat chicks. (The older batch has already moved to the chicken house.)

I was picking up a new shower curtain, and the cafe curtains, at Wal-Mart and came upon this cute rooster clock.

(That plastic in the center holds the hands. I haven’t put the clock together yet.) I wasn’t truly shopping for decor at this point, but this rooster clock was $8.00 and it just insisted on jumping into my cart. Since it wasn’t a budget-buster, I let it come home with me.

And! Here’s my latest greatest idea. I’ve been pondering the issue of decor and the block wall. You can’t just pound any old nail in there to hang stuff up. Decorating and a block wall is a STUMBLING BLOCK. I know, there are ways to hang stuff up, but…..

I have a vision!!

What I’d really love to do is have an artist come in and paint some scenes of my farm and my animals. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! I’m enamored with this idea. NOT a full-scale mural, just some creatively arranged/scattered art. Not bold primary colors. I don’t want this to look like a children’s playroom. More muted colors, in a primitive folk art style.

I wonder if there are any artists out there (in reasonable driving distance of West Virginia) who would trade a free farm stay with farm-fresh food and all the free one-on-one workshops (cheesemaking, breadbaking, soapmaking, candlemaking, preserving) they can stand…..for art? I could chronicle the whole process on my blog and it would be so much fun!

And rid me of my STUMBLING BLOCK.

If you’re an artist and you’re interested, email me at [email protected]!


  1. Evelyn says:

    oh my goodness, I just happend upon that same $8 clock at Walmart and could not pass it up! How funny

  2. Hrist says:

    If you don’t find anybody, another option that might work is to have some vinyl stickers printed of the artwork you’d like. There must be a kind that will stick to a textured wall. Maybe some of your favourite photographs with frames photoshopped on?

    Ah, thank you Google … something like these: And their website does say they’d stick to any surface.

  3. Granny Trace says:

    Im not the girl for the job..But I think its a wonderful idea. Can’t wait to see the finished project.
    Granny Trace

  4. Barbee says:

    Hope the perfect artist steps forward, because it is a good idea. I suspect painting block walls is slow going, so if you are that far along you are doing well. It is going to be so pretty!

  5. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Artist, or the wife or husband or good friend of a fan of yours who could give their time and talent so their loved one can get the visit?

    I think I’d rather have the art on some large wooden panels instead of directly on the block walls. I’m always sad when walls need repainted and any art or murals on them are unable to be saved.

  6. CindyP says:

    What a great idea! I can paint walls, but definitely not art!

    Command hooks are great for putting things up on blocks. It’s what they have to use at colleges, too. They’re not exactly cheap if you’re planning on moving things around all the time, but they work great!

  7. hollygee says:

    My mother was both an artist and decorator. She would ‘soften’ a room by painting a branch of leaves (in southern California, it was often eucalyptus leaves) hanging down in a corner, sometimes some flowers. The colors were muted so that they didn’t hit you in the eyes with “Oh look, leaves in the corner!” Perhaps a goat peaking around the door frame or the rooster’s tail showing beside the window frame.

    You certainly have the modeling agency available.

  8. Runningtrails says:

    WONDERFUL IDEA!!!!! If I lived nearby I would absolutely LOVE to paint that. I would go with full scale life size mural, however. One large wall and paint the other walls in a subtle matching colour with small stuff painted on them here and there, Tromp L’oeil stuff.

    Why not paint a life size door or window or both on an entire wall, with your own farm animals peeing in. The door, curtains and windowsill with a plant on it can all be painted to look real. Google tromp L’oeil. I have painted lifesize windows on dark walls a few times. I once painted an entire underwater bathroom with octopus sitting on light switch, shark above mirror, turtles swimming, jelly fish, a shipwreck and mermaids.

    It can be an amazing room and you have to show us the WIP !!

  9. lavenderblue says:

    Golly, first time I’m wishing I’d kept up with the art classes since I got out of it, oh, some thirty odd years ago. The hands shake too much, now, to be painting for others. But what a great idea.

    Yeah, BG, I had the same thought you did about having to paint over art later, but I think the problem is that masonry is really hard to put a neat tidy hole in to hang little things. It can wreck drill bits. Perhaps large painted panels of old barn lumber that can be placed against the walls and used as room dividers.

    It’s so much fun second guessing Suzanne on decorating HER house! 😉

  10. Liz Pike says:

    I did that in my daughter’s room many years ago (and I’m not an artist), but it sure added so much character. Without windows in that room hand painting is a great option! Maybe even replicate the view from your front porch!

    Couple thoughts though…

    I just helped my mom re-decorate her apt by rearranging her own things and finally hanging everything she’d not hung in the 3 years she’s lived there. She knew we’d get to this one day and with her 4 exterior walls of concrete block she’d stockpiled various types of picture hangers, some of those Command things that stick (those work great for light weight stuff like your clock!), and a plastic hanger with 4 pins like tiny nails that gets hammered in the wall.

    The next time I’m at her apt I’ll photograph what we were able to hang on concrete blocks using those simple plastic pin hangers and post in the forums for anyone else who may have the same issue. I was amazed at how strong they were and what weight they could manage. We even hung a wooden shelf unit for collectibles. My mom had ALOT of stuff she wanted hung so we got real good with working with concrete block! I never would have thought it possible til we used those little plastic hangers; oh, found a pic though the ones we used had 4 pins, these have 3:

    The other thought is you could do what the Victorian era decorators did…use picture molding. My first house had fragile plaster walls and picture molding and it worked great using fat ribbon or smaller decorative chain with which to hang things. Here’s a webpage with a pic to give you an idea:

    just throwing out some ideas…

  11. Liz Pike says:

    HAAAHAAA, Runningtrails!!!! “Why not paint a life size door or window or both on an entire wall, with your own farm animals peeing in.”

    LOLOL!!!!!!! Soo appropriate & I can just see the painting now though I’m sure you meant “peeking” in….omg, still laughing!!!!!

  12. Chicken Crossing says:

    I love the clock. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has thing just jump into the cart. I love a good deal. I love the idea of the mural on your block walls. I know you’ll find just the right person for the job. There are alot of talented people tuning into your posts.

  13. langela says:

    Liz~ I read right over that. I’d have to admit “peeing in” is quite funny. Probably not the look Suzanne is going for. Although, she could put a caution sign over the “door”—“NOTICE: THIS IS A WORKING FARM, ANIMALS MAY PEE ON YOU” I’d better quit now.

    Suzanne~ just looking at your clock, I had an idea, too. What about painting the (excuse my spelling) fleur d’lis in a cream color all over your walls. Then do your farm/ animal paintings on boards like was suggested. This way, the person doing your more detailed animal paintings wouldn’t have to live close and maybe could bring them to the retreat or to a farm visit. The fleur d’lis could be done by you pretty easily. That way your animal/ farm scenes could be done with slightly more color, maybe adding in your accent colors or put in painted frames or hung with a pretty colored ribbon. Just ideas.

  14. jan n tn says:

    Good job Suzanne, and so many ideas.
    A panel or two of lattes (from the hardware store)will give you hanging space and the look of a trellis. You can cut them in half long ways for a nice size 2×8 section.

  15. Ruthmarie says:

    Well, I LOVE the “door vignette” idea from Running Trails … lol! sub ‘peeking’ please, although I’m still mopping up around the key board, thanks! [coffee and snorting is a messy mix!]. I also had the same trigger as langela with the charming clock … love those fleur-de-lis!

    Here’s a combined idea: don’t paint directly on the wall but have the door image painted on heavy canvas [think painters’ tarp]. Easy to roll up and ship, distance won’t matter [pretty sure some exchange is workable! maybe even a free seat @ next year’s retreat]. Once at your house, reverse mount [stretch & staple] to the back of door molding to create the ‘door’ and screw/hang on the concrete blocks. While waiting for the canvas, mark off the door placement and use those fleur-de-lis forms and matching scrolls to accent around door and dotted around the room … might even work in a repeat pattern that uses the blocks.

    Wait, if enough folks are interested despite distance, you could have a GALLERY of “windows” of peeking creatures, just settle on a standard size ahead of time to mark locations … tsk, look what happens when you throw an idea into the cosmos …..

  16. lattelady says:

    On a farm, you also need some quilts. Painted on room dividers, on panels which can be moved/changed around as desired, etc.

  17. Miss Judy says:

    All good ideas!I think painting directly on the walls would look wonderful but problaby not the best way to go.
    I was just wondering if stick figure painting would be an option? No? Well, I had to ask 🙂

  18. Liz Pike says:

    I second quilts, lattelady! Alot of coverage, insulation to boot, and can be changed on a whim!

  19. manlovea says:

    I love the rooster clock! I must look at my local Walmart for it! Also, I love the shower curtain…did you get that at Walmart too?

    ~Amy in WI

  20. breezy2 says:

    I am not an artist but I know one who might LOVE to do this! I will pass it on.

  21. Linda Goble says:

    We have all seen running trails work and she is marvelous. I think it would look awesome. I saw the Peeing and started laughing too.
    Can’t wait to see when it is finish.

  22. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Ya know, our old kitchen clock has been losing time, at first I thought it just needed new batteries but that didn’t seem to help. Maybe I need a rooster clock too!

  23. artsjoy says:

    Hi, yes i do some decorative painting but haven’t tackled any type of wall project…sorry BUT i have an idea or two. First here’s a link to and, a picture they did Another point is that I believe it is painted on a roll of canvas and cut to where you want to hang it (particular wallspace, back of a door, etc) Stretched smooth and secured (hmmm, maybe velcro or double side tape) and now it can be moved when needed. If you cut the canvass to cover the entire wall it won’t even look like its painted on canvass.

  24. artsjoy says:

    OH regarding check out the SHED, particularly picture 09

  25. Runningtrails says:

    Thank you, Linda Goble! Yes, I did mean to say ‘peeking” LOL! I’m am so sorry for causing everyone to spit their coffee all over the keyboard! lol! Sorry Suzanne!

  26. kellynkaty says:

    I have never painted a wall . What about painting a quilt with each square depicting a different animal or aspect of your farm . Maybe , each square could be a sillouette . One of the house , one of a chicken , one of a cow …… get the idea .
    Anyway , I am a W.V. expat living inTexas (for the last 35 years) . I have family near Charleston . If you don’t get any better (professional) offers let me know . I had hopes at one point in my life of being an artist ……..I kind of let it go (hmmm, like my waistline ) : )

  27. kellynkaty says:

    So, sorry . I forgot to spell check . I really can create better than I can spell . : )

  28. wvhomecanner says:

    Oh the bedroom looks great! Love that bed 🙂


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