Tightrope for Toyota

Most of the paintings I design via We Talk Chalk turn into hand painted 3D street paintings which are amazing and beautiful and super fun, and sometimes exhausting, to create!  But over the last few years, I’ve created several digital 3D paintings that I paint in photoshop and then have printed on vinyl via our own vinyl printer or the client’s local vendor. Though they are much less ‘hands on’, they still provide the same impact and effect to viewers.

2017 has brought forth several opportunities for digital projects and I’m having a blast!!  The first of the year was the expansion of the Shark painting at the Monte Carlo which I talked about in my last blog post.  The second…An incredible display for Toyota and Bass Pro Shops (via MC2exhibits) and the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.  This project was a dream come true.  To design and paint something for such an incredible client at such an amazing venue was exhilarating to see brought to life!  A 16 x 60 foot billboard and 35 x 40 foot floor painting coming together to create the backdrop for two Toyota Vehicles.  Awesome!!

I started out by building a layout of the space and where the cars would be parked, and once canyon sketch was approved, I started painting via Wacom Cintiq and Photoshop.  I think it took me about 7 days total to complete the image once I started painting.  That includes test prints and adjustments. I created the files full size at 100dpi.

I sent the files off to the client for printing and was on pins and needles.  The anticipation was unbelievable.  When you create something in such a small space (your computer screen) you just hope and pray that all your calculations and tests were accurate when it is finally full size and ENORMOUS!!!!  I was so nervous traveling to Daytona…what if I measured wrong?  What if the viewpoint is blocked by something I didn’t know about (which is almost was…There was a pole about 4 feet away that could have been a huge problem, but thank goodness it wasn’t.  phew), what if my math is off? (by the way…I’m terrible at math.  Anything with numbers scares the crap out of me, but hey…you get passed the fear, check everything triple, quadruple times, and then say a lot of prayers that you nailed it.  :).  In the end, everything turned out perfectly!  HALLELUJAH!!!  I was sooooo happy.  So, you can see the results below.  The hot air balloon was a digital I added a few days before the Daytona 500.  Toyota wanted more branding in the shot so I created that in a few hours and sent it over.  They printed and stuck it up on the billbaord just in time.

Painting should be up for several months fairing good weather.

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30 inch test print of painting.
Addition of Toyota Branded Balloon!
The morning after install it rained. The vinyl was steadfast…it held on tight!
Panarama shot of the painting with the vehicles parked.


Water, water, everywhere!

Since my last post, I had the opportunity to expand the Shark painting at the Monte Carlo by creating a digital addition around the existing painting.  We wanted to make sure that people were drawn into the space to view and pose with the shark – really transform the space as a whole.  Monte Carlo’s Marketing team had the idea of using printed vinyl to cover the entire cement space around it.  – Brilliant!

I digitally created an expanse of water with a dock that runs from the Shark painting to the sidewalk, life preserver, and floating planks for people to pose on. The trick was creating something large enough to cover such a huge space but not detract from the painting itself. Here are some fun pics of how it all turned out. The marketing team, who you can see posing on the first pic, create a fun ‘SHARK – NO SWIMMING’ sign!  Love it.

If you’re in the Vegas area, the ‘Shark’, along with ‘Desert or Dessert’ will be on display through 2017.

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Trick-Eye Experience

New projects are always exciting and in all the time that I worked as a free lance artist my favorite projects were always the ones that required international travel.  Painting in a Country you’ve never visited before or one that you really love and experiencing the culture and peoples reaction to your work is an unforgettable experience.  But in the 5 years since our company We Talk Chalk has been in business, I’ve accumulated quite a few favorites because of the projects themselves…either because of the imagery, the scope, or the client themselves.

Our current collaboration with the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas has been a dream project for me for several reasons.  I have the opportunity to design several anamorphic / 3D paintings for the property as semi permanent installations during their 2 year revitalization and rebranding…and, I essentially had an open theme for all the designs…AWESOME.

So, we (Myself, WTC Studio Artist Lyndsey Anne Morel, and my assistant Jarred Mendoza) just completed 3 paintings, live on site, to kick off the Monte Carlo’s  ‘Trick-Eye Experience’.  (Actually, Trick Eye was kicked off in December with two Holiday paintings of Polar Bears I created digitally.  It was a last minute decision since we were already scheduled to create the live paintings in January.  So the Polar Bears were a quick turn around and lots of fun to create.)  The first two were titled “Desert or Dessert’ and sit prominently framing the Plaza Blvd Entrance of the Monte Carlo Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.  The whole Idea is for people to pose as if they are inside the bell jars…The Desert Jar has succulents inside like a giant terrarium and scorpions scaling the outer glass walls.  The second is our favorite… ‘Dessert’ features a tower of Macaroons that you have to keep from falling over.  It’s bright and colorful and fun.

The third live painting we did was a hungry ‘Shark’.  Because who doesn’t love sharks these days? – from a distance, of course.  Now that the live paintings are complete I will be creating a few large scale digitals to be sprinkled throughout the interior of the Casino for a total of 6 Trick-Eye Paintings at the Monte Carlo – for now 🙂

Here’s how things got started…


Concept sketch and mock-up for Desert or Dessert painting.  Simple pencil sketches within a photo of the location.  Once Ideas were given the green light by the Monte Carlo team I moved forward with full color renderings.

Tools – Strathmore drawing paper, Strathmore Grid paper, tracing paper, mechanical pencils, Mac, Wacom Cintiq, Photoshop, Illustrator.

MacaronJarFinal ScorpionJarFinal BackCasinoFinal

Paper to Canvas

Since starting We Talk Chalk in 2012, I’ve designed almost every painting that we’ve produced.  On average we’ve been creating about 100 paintings per year with our incredible team.  So, I usually design 2-3 paintings a week. And considering I sketch 2-3 designs for the client to choose from, that’s over 300 sketches a year. lol…I didn’t actually realize that until now.  Most sketches start out with a simple pencil or digital sketch and turn into full color renderings.  This is nice because it lets the client know exactly what they will get.  No surprises.  It also allows our studio artists and assistants to see what I’m thinking for each and every inch of the painting.  I can’t always spend a full day painting so I rely on my amazing artists and assistants to get things going while I’m creating sketches for the next painting.

My favorite designs are usually the ones where the clients allow us free reign (or close to it) on concepts. Of course, it’s always important to make sure our clients are happy and we convey their message in an intriguing way but it doesn’t mean we always ‘love’ the designs 🙂   And more often then not, the client won’t choose our favorite sketch…which means I have a ton of sketches that are just waiting to be used for another cool project.  Here are a few sketches from 2016 that weren’t chosen!

All my sketches end up in Photoshop, even if started in pencil, for finishing touches and sending off to client.  I’m using a Mac Pro, Wacom Cintiq 27 HD (which I LOVE), and an Epson 1400 Printer.  When I’m traveling I use the Wacom Cintiq Companion.  They make my work so much easier. Can’t live without them 🙂

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New Mural and Memories made

Since my last post in April, I held our first Montross Mural Studio workshop and created 7 new murals in the neighboring town of Colonial Beach! It’s been a long summer of street painting and murals but the workshop was a highlight 🙂

So, the July Mural Workshop went really well and I had a great group of students. As mentioned in a previous post, I had an artist from Guatemala, 2 from Arizona, 3 local artists and our scholarship winner from Washington and Lee High School.  3 students were able to stay in our dorm style rooms which was really fun.  It was great to have a house full of talented artists!  And the fact that Remco, Luc, and Lyndsey were there made it even more fun!

We all had a great time together exploring the murals, the area, and our design skills.  What started out as a wildlife theme ended up as a bucolic farmland scene featuring Wild Turkey, stag, and farm-house. Bridget of Bridget’s Bouquet where we painted the mural, lives on Nomini Farm and really wanted us to represent the wild turkey in the painting.  And, of course, we gave it some 3D flare with the big turkey flying out of the top of the image.  What really made this workshop special was the great teamwork the students displayed throughout the class.  Though each student designed some part of the mural separately, we were able to pull together each element to create on cohesive design.  Then when it came to painting, everyone helped everyone. It was Wonderful!

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Montross Mural Studio is my ‘YES’

When the idea of Montross Mural Studio popped into my head Remco and I had a vision of it growing into a place that would host students and artists from around the globe.  ‘Dream big’ right?  I certainly did not expect to have that be the case for our first workshop or even within the first few years.  What I did expect was a few artists from the Northern Neck area to sign up for the inaugural 7 day workshop (this July) and see what it was all about.  Word would spread, and, hopefully, we would become a creative hub in what I consider a most magical and historic area.

We are exactly 3 months from the Grand Opening of Montross Mural Studio on July 6th and we have a ‘Few’ local artists signed up as well as an artist from across the country. Arizona to be exact. And pinch me, because we do, indeed, have our first international student.  She will travel all the way from Guatemala to Montross to learn, from me!  I am so honored to have anyone sign up at all this first round to be honest.  Remco says it’s the insecure artist in me but really…you never know what you willl succeed or fail at until you  try.  There are no guarantees…but in the words from my last post…Every ‘no’, gets you closer to the ‘yes’ that will change your life.  I think I just found my ‘YES’.

Montross Mural Studio Scholarship

On April 1st we announced the Montross Mural Studio Scholarship winner!  The incredible recipient, Kayla Payne from Washington & Lee H.S. in Montross, VA, will join my week long Mural Workshop this July.  I’m so happy to have her…She is bright, talented, ambitious, and has some wonderful goals for her future as a creator.

In choosing Kayla, I did have the unfortunate responsibility of rejecting the other aspiring young artists who applied for that same scholarship.  To them I say, It was an incredibly difficult decision for me to make.  You are all wonderfully talented.  One of my great professors at Art Center once told me…’It doesn’t matter how many ‘NO’ responses you receive – each one brings you closer to the one ‘YES’!!!  that will change your life.  I believe this 100%  

New Revitalization & Renovation!

It has been several weeks since announcing our new business, Montross Mural Studio (A division of We Talk Chalk), and a lot has happened.   Remco and I have purchased a property with an incredible workshop in Montross where we will host our Montross Mural Studio workshops.  After a little TLC, the house will be an incredible place for us right in the village.  We will start renovations this April!  The workshop, however, is in great condition.  Just needs a little paint and has a ton of space for us to hold classes, have a gallery space, and even paint a 3D street painting.

Since we now have a permanent Studio address, we have been graciously added to the Northern Neck Artisan Trail and will be on the new map that comes out this Spring!  Thank you Artisan Trail Network!

And, last but not least…I am so excited!  After seeing the Murals I created in Montross, the city of Colonial Beach, VA is commissioning me to create 5 murals for their town revitalization.  Pinch Me!  This is so thrilling as we move to start our new business in the Northern Neck.  A special Thank you to Holly Harman who is my liaison and promoter, and Terry Cosgrove, Montross Vice Mayer, for his incredible help in all things Montross!






Montross Mural Studio – July

Registration is open and I am so excited to see who will be joining me for our inaugural Mural Workshop.  Since I first announced our new venture, we have decided to expand our scope to include Faux Finishing, Street Painting, Plein Air, and Soft Pastel workshops. There are so many great things to try your hand at in this world.  Why settle for just one 🙂

Check out what we will be doing for the 7 day Mural Workshop this July…



Montross Mural Studio

Here is it! www.montrossmuralstudio.com

Will you join me on my new adventure?  This is going to be so much fun. 7 days learning and creating murals, visiting historic sites, sketching, and picnics in a creative and inspirational environment.  Sign up to be the first to receive updates on schedule and pricing the first of the year.  Space will be limited to ensure one on one attention and the charming setting Montross is known for.



Happy 2016

Happy New Year! What a great 2015 it has been. We Talk Chalk had a very successful year and we created a lot of really exciting projects and had several repeat clients! I had a great time creating a few personal projects in The Netherlands last July for the World Street Painting Festival and another in Houston for the Via Colori Street Painting Festival. But as this year comes to a close I thought it was time for some revamping! So, I’m excited to start 2016 with a new look and feel for my personal website. The most exciting part of this is that everything I do can be found via MelanieStimmell.com My Street Painting, We Talk Chalk, Fine Art, Street Painting Academy, and new Blog are all accessible via my main menu and makes things so much easier! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

To make 2016 even more exciting, Remco and I are embarking on a new adventure…Montross Mural Studio! After returning from an amazing trip to Montross for the final stage of their revitalization project where 10 of my (We Talk Chalk) original murals grace the walls of the small town, population 320, we found we missed it dearly. It is such an incredible town and the people make it truly special so I can’t wait to return this summer to lead a mural workshop and retreat. It will be 7 days of creativity and inspirational scenery!


Please sign up if you are interested and I’ll be sending out info via email once we lock in dates and pricing.

Street Painting Festivals…


As our young Company revs up for what will be our busiest and most profitable month yet, I am reminded of all the time I spent volunteering my time as an artist.  Whether for a street painting festival for charity, or creating a painting for a friend or acquaintance for mere pennies.  Certainly, every one of those projects, and there were many, prepared me for what we are doing today and I am grateful for the opportunities to hone my skills and become the artist I am today.  I will say, however, that the trend that we’ve set (and I see ‘we’ because our community of street painters is many) is destroying the potential for artists to be appreciated and compensated for their talents.  The fact that we are willing to create an artwork for virtually no compensation is setting the standard for our own futures as creatives.  Not a day goes by that I do not see an artists struggling, being taken advantage of, and giving their talents away for free, only to wish they were able to make a living as an artist.

About 11 years ago, I visited a little town in Mantova, Italy, called Grazie.  This quaint little town has a church with a taxidermy alligator hanging from the ceiling, a lake with the biggest most stunning water lotus I’ve ever seen, and once a year, it is home to a little festival called Incontro Nazionale Madonnari –  The original street painting festival.  Irresistible for a young street painter who always dreamed of traveling the world, I had to go.  To enter this event, it was important to send a letter to the association of Madonnari, asking for a humble invitation to paint in their festival.  Once there I was instantly in love with not only the art form that I already had an affinity for, but also the amazing people and culture that keep it alive.  I can go into vivid detail about the magical 24 hours of this event and the even more magical moment I won a gold medal for my street painting, but for points sake, I will take you to the end of this most memorable event.  Following the festival’s awards ceremony, 200 hot, dirty, hungry, and exhausted Madonnari stood in line to receive their painting stipend.  Each and every artist!  Young, old, professional, amateur, winner, or looser, was handed a small white envelope containing compensation for their days work, from the city, and a velvet sachet with a souvenir bronze medallion marking your participation in the festival.  What I saw was an incredible amount of respect for these artists and their talents that spanned the entire village and country for that matter.
So…  What happened when this art form was brought to the U.S.?    I’ll tell you in my next post.  Off to paint!

We Talk Chalk Photo Shoot

The We Talk Chalk team had a really fun photo shoot with Pasedena Photographer Jessica Verma.  We took some group shots for our website and some professional individual which was great.  In the last few minutes of our shoot Ever and Lynn had a really cool idea for a semi-group shot.  You can see what I mean…



Here are some more of our favorites…







We Talk Chalk at Strada dell’Arte

3D Street Painting - We Talk Chalk

Come check out We Talk Chalk this weekend, April 20th & 21st, in Newport Beach, California.  We’ll be creating a 3D street painting for 2013 Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race launch party and Strada dell’Arte.  The event will draw huge crowds so we are excited to represent Lexus for this special event.  We will be creating a wall/ground painting using an 8 x 8 foot false wall built by our resident carpenter, Gerald Stimmell, and the painting will continue out 20 feet so that guests will be able to pose on the painting as if you’re sitting on their own personal yacht.  It’ll be fun.  Along with our piece there will be over 25 artists creating ‘Ocean’ inspired street paintings.

Historic Balboa Village is beautiful.  With two boardwalks, a pier, shopping, restaurants, and a ton of water sports to partake in, it’ll be a wonderful weekend!


N2E Painting


The new User Community

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