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Art and BeautyPinkYellow

How to Get the Perfect Piece of Art for Your Home; Before & After

By 09/27/2017April 15th, 201832 Comments

Last Fall, my sister Elizabeth and I walked into the Harvest Cafe in Chilliwack to have breakfast. The art that was displayed in the restaurant took my breath away!

James Wiens (price on the site)

If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you’ll know I really love large scale flower art!

I immediately called the phone number on the business card beside the artwork and James answered the phone.

I told him I absolutely loved his flowers but they weren’t the right colour for my living room. He said he could paint whatever I wanted.

James got his start 30 years ago in the world of commercial art. His ability to paint really anything, is extraordinary.

If you have a picture you love, or even a print, something that you would love to see come to life in a bigger piece (or it can be small) in an original oil painting, this is the perfect way to create a custom piece of art for your home.

Because I loved his peonies, he sent me a bunch of peonies he had photographed from his garden. I wanted something 7 feet wide and 5 feet tall to replace the $180 placeholder that had almost completely faded to turquoise (below). See those yellow splotches in the turquoise painting? I photoshopped them in two years ago when I photographed this room for the blog because it had faded so badly.

One reason it faded so bad was because it took about 18 months of living here before we had window coverings in this room. And obviously it was just a print and not an oil painting.

Before with my old art

I chose three peonies that I loved and just arranged them together like this (below):

Before they came to life in a painting

I sent him a picture of my living room and dropped by his studio with some colour chips from the paint store and told him I wanted lots of kelly green leaves.

And this is the stunning result! I especially love how James paints the light.

Custom art by James Wiens

And here it is installed in my living room:

After with my new art!

Along with my sunflower yellow sofa and colour blocking raspberry drapes!

Photography by Barry Calhoun 


It was installed just before my bathroom renovations started this summer and the living room was taped off with plastic and had drapes and accessories from the master bedroom all over it, so this post had to wait a few months.

Here is James Wiens at work on my custom art (below).

James Wiens

Here is another huge piece (it’s 8 feet wide) of stunning peonies you too could have in your house!

 (price on the site)

See the rest of his flower art here.

James original work on his website also extends to an underwater aquatic series, here.

He is also an avid outdoorsman and has some gorgeous wildlife paintings here.

Contact James if you are interested in his existing art or if you’d like to commission a custom piece.

PS. I’m in Chicago at the Bold Summit and here’s a pic of myself and True Colour Expert and Interior Design Business Strategist, Claire Jefford! Claire attended my Specify Colour with Confidence workshop back in 2010 at the beginning of her design business and she said it was one of the best investments for her business.

Maria Killam and Claire Jefford

We were at the Bold Masters dinner on the 94th floor of the Hancock Building last night! It’s been really fun to get a chance to bond with a fellow Canadian. She lives in Burlington, Ontario.

I’ve just checked into the W on Lakeshore Drive for my next conference which starts Friday night! Follow me on Instagram and my insta stories to see what’s happening.

Related posts:

Who Says You’re not Creative?

Do You Have Good Taste?

What do Symmetry and Nudity have in Common?




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  • Lorri says:

    Oh, Maria, your painting is beautiful!!! I love how it balances the pink curtains across the room.

    Mr. James Wiens is doing gorgeous work. Love large-scale art. His purple Hydrangea and his Buffalo paintings speak to me.

  • SusanM says:

    What a find! His work is really gorgeous and the painting you had commissioned is perfect.

  • Janet says:

    He is a master of light for sure! Beautiful!

  • Tina says:

    Wow Beautiful. They look so real.

  • Suzanne says:

    What beautiful art – I agree, he captures the light perfectly! It looks simply gorgeous in your room as a finishing touch.

  • OH, MY GOSH! THAT is INCREDIBLE! Takes MY breath away, too! Thanks for sharing – just amazingly beautiful!

  • Jennifer Johnson says:

    As I told Claire, you two haven’t aged in the past 5 years! You both look amazing! I absolutely LOVE this art. I have had a hard time finding anything like it. It is beautiful enough that I would finally take the plunge and buy something. Thank you for sharing his site!

  • Lesley Vandas says:

    His paintings are breathtaking! Here is another artist whose work I really love and is similar in style. Have a peek at her website.

  • Rife says:

    Peonies….be still my heart! Beautiful choice, Maria!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Your painting is stunning!!! It almost looks like it’s back-lit.
    I hope you’re enjoying your time in Chicago. I wish I was there so we could have met up again.

  • Oh my goodness, I wonder if he’s the same artist that paints angels. I saw a gorgeous large piece of artwork in Chilliwack and it was of a male angel with a little boy underneath his wings. I’ve always adored that photo.

    I absolutely love your art piece that is stunning!!

  • Great choice for your living room.. He does an awesome job…stunning!!!!!

  • I love the painting(s)!!! I need one (or more)! Large scale florals are one of my top faves, too!?

  • Elaine says:

    Ties all the blacks together so nicely…lovely.

  • Barbara says:

    Maria, get the UV blocking window film, it is amazing. Sheer drapes do not help much at all.

  • Diana McLean says:

    I know you must feel like you can smell the wonderful aroma of these beautiful peonies. Such a wonderful painting. Love Chicago, my favorite City.

  • Mid America Mom says:

    WOW! Art can be so fun and here you found a way to pull in the colors you wanted. Much like painting a piece of furniture.. it is custom to your needs. Love IT!!! And by the way we are having crazy weather for Chicago. Shorts or jeans LOL!

  • Lucy Haines says:

    Wow Maria that is a show stopper! I absolutely love peonies and most people in California hardly know what they are. I grew up in Illinois and had peonies all down the drive to the house. When we would pick them they were always full of big black ants. I was told that they helped the flower open. Don’t know if that is true but hated the ants!

    The artist certainly captures the light and they look so real that it looks like you could pick them. Have loads of fun in the “windy city”.

  • Kathy says:

    Very striking. Fits perfectly.

    If anyone is interested in trying to do something like this themselves, perhaps on a smaller scale, you can tone an entire canvas in burnt sienna paint and then transfer the outline of the flowers of your choice blown up to scale, via computer or on a copy machine or gridded out, drawn in graphite or transferred via graphite paper. Then use a combination of black and burnt umber to outline major features and pure white in the highlights and petals, allowing some of the ground color to show through, to create a grisalle (black and white) version. Then glaze on the color in layers. The underpainting in acrylic and the glazes in oil work well. This is a variation of the old masters techniques and creates wonderful luminosity. Grumbacher synthetic medium and orderless mineral spirits work well, as does Dorland’s Oil Medium. Traditional turpentine is too thin and can be smelly.

    Even beginners can get great results with this technique and it is a lot of fun to see your work come to life with color.

  • JoyceBinAtlanta says:

    Thanks for the introduction to James Wiens. Gorgeous work. I’ll wait for his eventual ‘fox’ painting.

  • Barbara Miller says:

    WOW! What an amazing artist! Stunning painting – it looks far better than the photos it was based on. And it’s the perfect piece for your beautiful rooms! Love that the background is black too. I’ve only been painting for a couple of years and admit I’m still a bit intimidated about painting peonies. What a gorgeous example! Thanks for sharing.

  • Fran W. says:

    Beautiful artwork! It really ‘makes’ the room!

  • Claire says:

    That piece of artwork is incredibly beautiful and it looks so stunning in your space Maria! It was so great to see you again and spend time with you in Chicago. So much fun and lots of laughs!! Looking forward to seeing you again soon my dear.

  • love love love this! I am crazy about large scale art of any kind, and flowers just make me happy…as I know makes you happy as well!

  • M says:

    OMG, how did I miss this post?!
    The painting you commissioned is absolutely gorgeous and looks wonderful in your space.
    Peonies are a favorite of mine, remind me of growing up in the Northeast USA where they grew as easily as weeds in our family yard, and are impossible where I live in S CA.
    Thank you for sharing and introducing me to James Wiens I’m off to check out his site and maybe I can satisfy my nostalgic side with some peonies after all 🙂

  • Ruth M. says:

    Maria, I like your neutral room with hits of vibrant color, especially the deep yellows. I don’t suppose you would divulge the paint colors for walls, moldings, and ceilings? The new art is perfect.

  • Taryn says:

    What a stunning painting! None of the links to his website work anymore. Do you have the updated link?

  • Annette P. says:

    Your peonies picture is amazing! Enjoy this beautiful piece and how amazing it looks in your home.

  • Judi Chevalier says:

    Thank you for that interesting tip!

  • Judi Chevalier says:

    Love the newly decorated rooms. Love the colours. I am a big fan of large flower art as well. Thank you to Kathy for her tip on how to create such art even though I probably will never attempt it. Still interesting to know. Finally love the picture of you and Claire. As I know you both I can say the photo is really great. I always learn new things when I read your posts or blog.

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