Artist Russell Erwin: Bringing Ideas to Life
Since completing the Ballroom and Foyer murals for the renovation of Houston's historic Rice Hotel, Erwin has been working on murals and gilt work for a Texas art collector. The collector is building a private museum, at his residence, for his paintings including works by Gainsborough, Van Dyke, and Vigee-LeBrun. The private museum is modeled on a room that was once Napoleons apartment, now part of the Louvre Museum, in Paris, France.
In his largest commission to date, Erwin and his Company, Erwin Art, L.L.C., designed and executed 14 large paintings in oil on canvas. Ranging from 5 by 5 to 15 x 35, the highly detailed Master copies and adaptations grace the walls and ceiling of the Museum. The main gallery is in the grand Neo-Classical style, with 30 high ceilings, crystal chandeliers, twenty newly quarried Italian marble columns and over 3000 square feet of elaborate architectural ornament that was gilded by Erwin Art.
The ceiling painting, after a ceiling by 18th century Italian artist, Tiepolo, was done in Erwins studio on four 8 x 15 unstretched canvas panels. They were installed with glue and seamed together. Eight oval shaped paintings (each approximately 5 x 5) are after romantic scenes by French Roccoco Style artists, Boucher and Fragonard. Three large paintings after Jacques Louis David (10 to 12 wide) are placed in arch shaped spaces above doorways in the main gallery. Two fan-shaped murals stand just above eye-level in the adjoining Library of the Museum. Each library mural is 18 wide and a creative adaptation of Old Master imagery, one combining two different Masters paintings into one image.
Over the course of three months, Erwin Art, with a crew of six, gilded ornamental moldings, column capitals and bases for the Museum. Over three thousand square feet of molding ranging from straight board and chair rail to elaborate frames with cherub and ribbon were 'gold leafed' using a dry-gilding process with composition leaf.
Erwins other recent projects include an original WPA Style (1930s American) mural celebrating construction and home building for David Weekley Homes new offices on North Post Oak and an original religious history painting for the First Presbyterian Church of Kingwood. The religious painting features portraits of some of the Kingwood Congregation, clad in invented historical garb, taking Holy Communion from John Calvin (early Protestant leader) at Saint Peters Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland. Additionally, Erwin has also finished several large and original murals for a 16,000 square foot home in Kingwood. Erwin also trained and managed a crew to paint approximately 10,000 square feet of an old wall Faux Finish for this Kingwood residence.
Like the artists of the Italian Renaissance, Erwin runs his studio like a business. Since receiving his Masters Degree from Manhattans Graduate School of Figurative Art in 1991, Erwin has made his living as an artist. He frequently garners commissions from a national clientele including museums, corporations, religious institutions, design firms and individual collectors. The range of his work includes original murals, portraiture, Trompe LOeil, history paintings, master copies, gilding and faux finishes. With commissioned work, the ideas of the artist, the client, and/or design professionals all contribute to the final product. Art collectors need not search for years for artwork to complement their vision. With skill and versatility, Erwin specializes in bringing his clients ideas to life.
NOTE: All images on this Site are Copyrighted.
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