Newsletter | May/Jun 2003

Orit Yanai – Special Effects in Painting

by Orit Yanai
OWA member Lavina visited my studio a few years ago and encouraged me to join OWA. At first, I was hesitant, because I am not an architect or designer, but she kept sending me invitations to the different presentations and events. Since I am very drawn to the architecture/design world, I decided to attend, and, soon after, I became a Steering Committee member. It is an honor for me to be a part of this lovely organization, and I hope I can offer some of my humble knowledge to other members.

The primary purpose of this notice tell you more about my early painting days. When I was trying to come up with a name for my business, I quickly realized that all the good names related to faux finish companies were already taken. Since my own name is very distinct in this country, I decided to use it. And since what I do is broader than just faux finishes, I thought I should choose a name that captures exactly what I do. So, in 1994, when I started my own business, I decided to call it "Orit Yanai--Special Effects in Painting."

After working for a few years as a "regular"’ house painter for a couple of companies, I decided to become independent. A very good friend of mine studied faux finishes in Kenya, Africa, and she taught me a few basic principles of the trade. We planned on starting a business together, combining her experience in faux finishes and my experience as a licensed house painting contractor. However, shortly thereafter, she left the country--and she left me with her studio, a few professional painting books, and some fancy brushes. From that point on, I’ve been on my own.

I learnes some faux finishing techniqes ( like marble and granite imitation, wood graining, and some wall washers), but I mostly "played" at my newfound studio with different techniques and materials. In each technique I learn, I always aim to find the most subtle way of expressing it, and I always tell my clients that in faux, "less is more."

My jobs so far include wall finishes; different techniques of glaze application, plaster application and manipulation, murals for children’s rooms, kitchen cabinet finishes, floor painting, as well as some furniture finishes. I also do color consultation for both interiors and exteriors. My work has taken me to new and old residences, all over the Bay Area. Best of all, I still have the studio that I ‘inherited’ from my friend nine years ago, which is located in the Artists Community at Hunters Point in San Francisco.

Since 99% of my work is on-location, I use the studio to experiment with different techniques, as well as a gallery of my special effects in painting. I created what I call my "Gallery of Walls," by dividing the studio with panels. Each panel has a different effect on it: glaze washes, plaster applications, and some children's murals.

On Monday, May 5, I plan to host OWA members at my studio for a presentation of my work, as well as my portfolio, which includes pictures of homes I've painted. I will talk in detail about my work from a technical point of view as well as business point of view. I also plan to openly discuss the advantages (and disadvantages) of using special effects in painting. The presentation will take about 40 minutes, plus a brief question and answer period thereafter. Hot tea and goodies will be provided.

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