Monthly Archives: November 2013


Interview with Nicole Atkins

Interview with Nicole Atkins

At the Clearwater music festival in NY!

Renegade Scenic Tools& Techniques Post 1

Scenic Art Home for tools, techniques, humor, and recent projects!

October found the Studio taking a break from our long term mural project to enjoy a Guest Artist position at High Point University in NC. Such great fun to work with such multitalented students! We rigged the Go-Pro camera to the paint bamboo and off we went for a step by step video journal. Based on the drawing style of Gris Grimly, this soft-goods filled show was packed with creepy trees, industrial backgrounds, and special black-light effects. One backdrop was repurposed, from a hard geometric graphic design into an eerie and misty night forest.




“Along the Hidden Highways…”

Along the Hidden Highways…intro

Along the Hidden Highways

“Along the Hidden Highways” …our tv/web series

Documenting great places, fresh local and artisan food, Americana culture, Arts and Crafts, Live performance, history and lore, and a deep seeded love of nature and the folks pioneering green lifestyles.

Off the beaten path, this boating journey follows canals and other waterways, that connected people to each other for transport, trade.  For years they have been an often unnoticed mode of transport, and have their own culture. The  canals reveal an insight into the pulse of the areas we travel through.

                                                                                                                               SEGMENT #1 – A Boating Journey Along the Canals of New York State

We are writing the story and researching the stops that our Production Company at will follow during our Spring shooting of our interactive television series with pod-casts,  “Along the Hidden Highways”.

We start our journey in Lake Chautauqua in beautiful western New York, follow the Eire Canal and offshoot waterways, turn onto the Hudson, and come into New York City area.

The production will begin Pre-Production in April 2013, with  a shooting schedule that begins in June, and wraps in  New York City.

We are Artists and Storytellers, who have worked in Theatre, Film, TV, and Private and Commercial Interiors for over 25 years. This year, we inherited the family boat, which sparked the idea for this creative journey.

“Along the Hidden Highways” is a series, with its first segmented season filmed along the canals of New York State in the Spring and Summer of 2014

Irish Bash Cake

Tasty Tidbits

This rich chocolate mousse cake was created by Geri  Gilliland, the Belfast-born chef-owner of Gilliland’s, a cafe with an Irish  accent in Santa Monica, California. On the inside of the dessert, chocolate  mousse spiked with Irish cream liqueur is layered with espresso sponge cake that  has been soaked in an Irish whiskey syrup. On the outside, the chocolate bands  and a mound of chocolate curls give this treat a straight-from-the-bakery look,  which we show you how to achieve at home. If it sounds too perfect, there is one  drawback: This grand finale is certain to overshadow any corned beef and cabbage  main course.



  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur


Whisk eggs and sugar in  large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom  of bowl to touch water) and whisk constantly until candy thermometer registers  60°F, about 5 minutes.

Remove bowl from over  water. Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until cool and very thick, about  10 minutes.

Place chocolate in top of  another bowl over simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl  from over water. Cool to lukewarm.

Combine cream and Irish  cream liqueur in medium bowl; beat to stiff peaks. Pour lukewarm melted  chocolate over egg mixture and fold together. Fold in cream mixture. Cover and  chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Cake                 6 large eggs

3/4 cup plus 2  tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons instant  espresso powder or coffee powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Line bottom  with parchment paper. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, espresso powder  and salt in large bowl until mixture thickens and slowly dissolving ribbon forms  when beaters are lifted, about 8 minutes. Sift 1/3 of flour over and gently fold  into egg mixture. Repeat 2 more times (do not overmix or batter may deflate).

Pour batter into prepared  pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Cool cake completely in pan on rack.

Run small sharp knife  around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. Turn out cake. Remove pan  bottom. Peel off parchment. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap cake in plastic  and chill.)

Syrup                 2/3 cup sugar

5 tablespoons water

5 tablespoons Irish  whiskey

Combine sugar and water  in small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and  bring to boil. Remove from heat. Mix in whiskey. Cool. (Can be prepared 1 day  ahead. Cover and let  stand at room temperature.)

Assembly                 Using  serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place bottom cake layer on  platter. Brush with 3 tablespoons syrup. Spread 2 cups mousse over. Top with  second cake layer. Brush with 3 tablespoons syrup. Spread 2 cups mousse over.  Top with third cake layer, cut side down. Brush with 3 tablespoons syrup. Spread  remaining mousse  over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate cake while preparing   chocolate bands.

Chocolate Bands                 2 14  1/2 x 3-inch waxed paper strips

4 ounces semisweet  chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon plus 1  teaspoon solid vegetable shortening

Line large basket sheet  with foil and set aside. Place another large sheet of foil on work surface; top  with waxed paper strips, spacing apart. Stir chopped semisweet chocolate and  vegetable shortening in heavy, small saucepan over low heat until melted and  smooth. Pour half of melted chocolate down center of each waxed paper strip.

Using metal icing  spatula, spread chocolate to cover strips evenly and completely, allowing some  chocolate to extend beyond edges of paper strips. Using fingertips, lift strips  and place on clean foil-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate just until chocolate  begins to set but is still very flexible, about 2 minutes.

Remove chocolate bands  from refrigerator. Using fingertips, lift 1 band from foil. With chocolate side  next to cake, place band around side of cake; press gently to adhere (band will  be taller than cake). Repeat with second chocolate band, pressing onto uncovered  side of cake so that ends of chocolate bands just meet (if ends overlap, use  scissors to trim any excess paper and chocolate). Refrigerate until chocolate  sets, about 5 minutes. Gently peel off paper. Refrigerate cake.

Chocolate Curls                 12  1-ounce squares semisweet baking chocolate

Powdered sugar

Line baking sheet with  foil. Unwrap 1 square of chocolate. Place chocolate on its paper wrapper in  microwave. Cook on High just until chocolate begins to soften slightly, about 1  minute (time will vary depending on power of microwave). Turn chocolate square  onto 1 side and hold in hand. Working over foil-lined sheet, pull vegetable  peeler along sides of chocolate, allowing chocolate curls to fall gently onto  foil. Form as many curls as possible. Repeat process with remaining chocolate  squares. Place curls decoratively atop cake, mounding slightly. (Can be prepared  1 day ahead. Refrigerate cake.) Sift powdered sugar over chocolate curls before  serving cake.

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us photo       Jim Keegan and Alisa Simonel-Keegan

For over 25 years we have worked in many different aspects of the arts, film, entertainment and  culinary,  industries. We are storytellers. We travel, create art, collaborate, and have a large family….our own, and many artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers who are considered our extended family.

We are Master Artists, and a successful studio that drives our business painting murals, backdrops, shows, commercials, and film projects.  Our portfolio ranges from whole creative designed and painted interiors to Theatrical and film painting. We often are hired to totally transform interiors. For 1.5 years we have been painting murals on a series of three estates for one family, over ten thousand feet of murals have been created so far. Subjects range from a full wall uv effects painting of Las Vegas ( the lights go “on”), to a thirty foot underwater scene, to a twenty-foot circus tent, and a deep space scene, and hundreds of familiar characters.

We work for the local historic villages providing  signage and decorative painting, and have worked on historic murals in their museums and visitors’ center. In our local minor league ball field,we have a 40′ nostalgic baseball themed triptych  entitled “Dreams”.

Our Production studio is shooting a travel series, ”Along the Hidden Highways…”. We have produced a collaboration horror film called “Sisters” which has a trailer on our website

We have worked shooting commercials, making sets for theatre, film, street art, parades, and toy fairs. No twojobshave evr been the same for us, and we thrive on that diversity!

For over ten years we have worked with the Shakori Hills Festival of Music and Dance in NC, and Virginia Key Grassroots festival in Miami. They feature roots and world music, bluegrass, zydeco and more, creating backdrops, stage trim, tent interiors, signs, banners and more as well as a sustainability and low footprint ideal.

Each day has brought a different artistic challenge.


Keegansmission- We want to encourage the arts to thrive, and bring the importance of art in everyday life to the forefront of this and future generations.

We want to expand our business and capabilities, expand production, endow our non-profit side, start grants for art, network and unite artists for collaboration and performance series, tell more stories, make more film….spread the art.


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