Vellum Restaurant Murals- Ann Arbor

Unfortunately, Vellum Restaurant is no longer in operation in Ann Arbor. Most of the painting I did for the restaurant was on canvas, so I’m hoping the work is around somewhere, possibly in another one of the owner’s restaurants. The space was two stories with the second story being more of an open event room. The lower level was a very quiet, elegant space with a long rich wooden bar. Classical, minimal design was the over arching theme. The large mural below was created on canvas and designed to fit in the center of the room. There was very little other art in the room, so the painting had to be colorful and dramatic.

Vellum Quartet-sm.jpg

This shows the mural in the context of the room. The painting included a portrait of Maestro Lipsky from the Ann Arbor Symphony, whom I have performed with on many occasions. The rest of the performers were designed to create an interaction in the composition to “trap the eye” into returning in a circular motion around the canvas. The dramatic colors were selected for the same reason with the cool arms on the harpist balanced by the same color in the suit of the woodwind player. The cellist’s arm bridges the warm and cool colors by making a transition from warm to cool as the viewer’s eye moves to the left. It’s a very peaceful painting but at the same time, very lively.

Vellum quartet on wall.jpg

The upstairs room presented a similar challenge in that there was no artwork at all on the second floor either. I decided to faux finish the entire wall in tones of gold with actual gold leaf applied at intervals on the wall. As you walked around the space, the gold would throw of sparks periodically. The effect was very beautiful. The art for the gold was selected by the client. They wanted a modern, abstract piece for the space with very little color. So I decided to create two paintings that were almost identical. I invented a technique for these works that involved blowing and dripping paint with great control. The base for the red branches was created by throwing solvent on the completed base coat and then carefully removing portions of the paint. It created a beautiful texture for the branches.

Final Vellum upstairs.jpg

Close up of one of the red branches paintings.


The front sitting area next to the bar also needed artwork on an exposed brick wall. I decided to mirror the shape of the tall narrow windows overlooking the street and to again restrict the colors to just two. I created each print in sepia tones with one feature on the print in bright red. The prints were of the historic building or items that reflected the history of the building. The frames were selected to match the rich wood of the bar.

Vellum Front seating area.jpg


Katherine Larson

Katherine Larson is a graphic artist, muralist and classical singer from Dexter, Michigan.

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