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Murals & Paintings
News:
Front-of-Store Mural (32 feet long x 5 1/2 feet tall)
Trader Joe's: Darien, Connecticut
  • Michael served as "artist-in-residence" at the Royle School.(March-May 2013) 
  • Painted mural based on student ideas.
  • Interacted with kids daily.
  • Welcomed student thoughts & feedback. 


Trader Joe's Darien, Connecticut
Farmstand Mural
1830 House 
Dining Room Mural
Watertown, Connecticut
Pet Sign
Trader Joe's: Darien, Connecticut
Produce Sign
Trader Joe's: Darien, Connecticut
Cheese Shop Sign 
Trader Joe's: Darien, CT
Meat Sign 
Trader Joe's: Darien, Connecticut
Beer Sign and Soup Sign (on reverse)
Trader Joe's: Darien, Connecticut
Monkey Value Message
Trader Joe's: Darien, Connecticut
Sky and Rainbow Ceiling Mural 
Private  Connecticut Client
Hot Air Balloon Value Message
Trader Joe's: Darien, Connecticut
Lake George, New York: Map for Bedroom
Private Client
A "Painted Lady"...Perfect for an Open-House or Antique Show! --She's painted on a 1/4 inch thick board, and can be adapted for any occasion and done in any form.
This client wanted to remember the old Yankees Stadium in his Sports Room. We researched the exact colors used by the New York Yankees and painted the room to match their uniforms. (Not pictured here is the Yankees-Blue stripe around the linen-white room.)
This client wanted to remember the old Yankees Stadium in his Sports Room. We researched the exact colors used by the New York Yankees and painted the room to match their uniforms. (Not pictured here is the Yankees-Blue stripe around the linen-white room.)
A close-up of the Old Yankees Stadium with "New York Yankees" painted in the EXACT color used by the Yankees on their uniforms.
New York
Yankees (R)
       Mural  for  a          "Man Cave"
Norwalk, CT
Tokeneke School Library Mural (Darien, CT)  -- for Darien Times article, click HERE.
-- The school receives ongoing praise for the mural's important educational value Read article HERE.
The dedication ceremony of the new library mural with all fifth-graders present. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Michael J. Kramer in front of the mural on Dedication Day. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
The Cat-in-the-Hat sniffs a purple flower picked from Harold-and-the-Purple-Crayon's flower garden as Snoopy flies overhead, carrying the Tokeneke School flag. This view is near the circulation desk. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
The Cat-in-the-Hat inhales the heavenly fragrance from Harold-and-the-Purple-Crayon's daffodil. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Dr. Seuss's elephant, Horton, warms an egg that has been nestled into a branch of "The Giving Tree".... Is this branch strong enough to hold Horton? Mr. Frog of the "Mr. Frog & Mr. Toad" series looks up, asking that very question. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Connecticut native, Maurice Sendak's creature from "Where the Wild Things Are" sleeps beneath a tree as other characters interact around him. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
At the middle of the mural, we see the focal point: the "Giving Tree", which is symbolic of the Fifth Grade Class's *giving* so much of their time to raise money for this mural through bake-sales, a bingo night, and other efforts in order to give this mural to their school. --Tokeneke School, Darien
Max (from "Where the Wild Things Are") makes mischief, having just carved an inscription onto the Giving Tree. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Wilbur is petted by the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) as he looks upward to see spider-friend, Charlotte, spinning a message to the school above. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Peter Rabbit sits on a hill savoring his carrots as a bird sings a lovely song, perched on a garden spade. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
The central figure group at the bottom of the mural. Note the falling book and the piece of paper (from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid") at the base of the Giving Tree. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Imprinted on Gold Leaf, an inscription to former-Principal Mary Lee Fisher rests on the back of "The Rainbow Fish" book: a picture-book she used to read to the Fifth-Grade students when they had just entered the school. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Michael J. Kramer's signature rests on a page from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". Painted in trompe l'oeil to "deceive the eye". --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Charlotte from "Charlotte's Web" spins a special message to all who enter The Tokeneke School. --Darien, Connecticut
Curious George hangs from the flagpole, ready to capture Harry Potter in his mit. The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) sits below this chaos, content to make friends with Wilbur from "Charlotte's Web". --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
The Very Hungry Caterpillar creeps away from the mural to enjoy some leaves at the other end of the room. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Harry Potter is knocked off-balance, distracted by Horton perched in the Giving Tree. Curious George is ready to catch the unsuspecting wizard in a baseball glove as he swings from a flagpole! --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
The mouse from "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" rests on the circulation desk corner, contented after a very large meal left for him by the librarians. --Tokeneke School, Darien, Connecticut
Wedding Portraits
Private Manhattan Collection
This antique paddle, designed to cut through  ocean-waves is perfect as a wall-ornament in this client's seaside home in Darien, CT.
The town, "Jamaica" (in Vermont) is a Native American word for "Beaver". Thus, two beavers (representing the husband and wife clients) interact on the ground as three Canada Geese (representing the three children) take flight in the sky.
Family-Pride Ornamental Paddles
Darien, CT  &  Jamaica, VT
This tiny painting attempts to capture the feeling of salt air upon rocking waves under the vast sky.
"Fishermen at Sea"
Oil on Canvas
"Cows Watering at Sunset"
Oil on Canvas in style of Hudson River School
Early in my career, I created this proposal to paint a mural at Fairfield Public Library's Children's Library...for free!... The proposal was rejected, but one can't win every time.
Page 1 -- Painted on real vellum, using paints made by hand, with real gold-leaf details. Few artists still know or practice these techniques.  --- At top, two cherubs hold a wreath around the Library's Logo.
Page 2 -- Note the image at top of the Fairfield Public Library as it appears from the historic Old Post Road. -- Painted with gold-leaf, paints made from scratch, and done on vellum in the manner of Illuminated-Manuscript artists of the Middle-Ages.
Illuminated ManuscriptFairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
Gold Leaf on Vellum with Egg-Tempera (paint made 'from scratch' by Michael Kramer with semi-precious stones, pigments, and beetles)
"Lady with Parrot"
 Oil on Canvas in the style of Tiepolo.
"Girl Looking over Shoulder" 
inspired by Leonardo da Vinci
Overall view of the mural. School mascot, "Sparky", the dragon, is featured prominently in the piece.
Being an international school, an antique world map hangs for children to show their friends where they have traveled or lived. Dr. Zimmerman, herself, traveled extensively with her family, lived in London and other parts of the globe.
A curious Yellow Lab puppy (Dr. Zimmerman's favorite dog) peeks up at the dragon. Note the dog's muddy footprints across the mural ledge.
A dove flies in the air, carrying a string of daisies (a flower planted by students in the school garden) with a lovely purple, blue, and gold Iris (Dr. Zimmerman's favorite flower).
Called a "moral compass" among her friends, Lisa is memorialized on the goldcompass: "Dedicated to Dr. Lisa Zimmerman, an ISD Friend Forever." -- ISD strives to instill strong character traits in its students, helping them appreciate diversity and live as good international citizens like Zimmerman.
In mornings around ISD (when children disembark their school buses), rabbits, like the one beneath the compass, can be seen hopping around the school.
A detail of Sparky, the school mascot: note the collar with his name inscribed.
The Dundee Woods around ISD are full of natural treasures. This mother duck and her flock of babies fits well into the ISD community.
Dr. Lisa Zimmerman took action in ways few of us do: she wanted the world to be a better place and worked hard to help those in need, especially children in her community. This inscription is painted (as if carved into the rock ledge) beneath the compass.
If you look closely, you may find a plant growing from the cracks of the faux-stone wall and a moth. --My intention was to remind those who felt Lisa's loss that something can always grow from hard situation. Lisa, like the moth, may not be immediately visible, but remains with us if we look.
Rabbits are a common sight around ISD, commonly found munching on clover or grass in mornings when children disembark their school-buses.
Another sight around ISD are squirrels who eat just about anything!
A robin (commonly found around ISD) carries the map, supported by a garland of daisies and irises (Lisa's favorite flower).
An overall view of the map, birds, and ISD school mascot: Sparky, the dragon.
Another view of the Yellow Lab puppy (Lisa's favorite dog). The young plant growing from out of cracks in the faux-stone wall is a reminder to those who felt Lisa's loss that, even in the most grave, dim, unmovable situations, somehow, life can begin again.
An overall view of the mural with an optional bench in front of the mural for special occasions.
With bench removed, the faux-stone wall is completely visible. This photograph reflects the current state of the mural, with a greater intensity of color added to the map.
Another view of the faux-stone ledge. Note the inscription on the ledge directly beneath the dragon's leg. My intention was to have it appear that someone sat down, thinking of Lisa, and carved it into the stone by hand. The lack of formality here makes the inscription more personable.
The Dr. Lisa Zimmerman Memorial Mural,  International School at Dundee, Riverside, CT  
Donated by friends to commemorate the life of Dr. Lisa Zimmerman (of Old Greenwich, CT)

In all my life, I've never met someone so universally loved and admired by her friends. Lisa was a model citizen and active volunteer at the International School of Dundee, where all three of her children attended. Zimmerman is warmly remembered by her community for acting as a pediatrician at Stamford's Firefly Urgent Care Clinic -- often donating her medical services to children and families in the area who could not afford healthcare.  September 2012
"If every school had this, everything would be so much better." 
                                                       -- parent Alicia Lyon (quoted in Darien Times)
(L to R) Principal Keith Margolus, Senator Bob Duff, Vice Principal Natasha Torre, Michael Kramer (on the night of the unveiling).
Library Entrance BEFORE (Feb.2013)
Library Hallway BEFORE (Feb. 2013)
A regal lion and unicorn hold a book open above the library entrance.
The star-spangled ceiling (modeled after a Medieval-era ceiling in Prague) guides students to the library door. (The "North Star" (the largest on the ceiling) is directly above the entrance.)
Remarkably, this stained-glass window was originally plain sheet-glass! Michael invented a secret technique to make it resemble real stained glass.
Regal crests (playing on the school's name "Royle") ornament the lower window.
A view of the star-spangled ceiling and windowed corridor leading to the library entrance.
The frame surrounding the windows was ornamented with gold, enhancing the light and color entering through the windows.
When light passes through the glass, diamond patterns are cast upon the floor.
Detail of the upper portion of the windows. -Done in a medieval style.
Pattern and color add excitement to the overall window theme. -- Kids (and adults) found inspiration in the bright patterns and light.
Wise owls (symbolic of wisdom) ornament another window frame. Note the alternating patterns of grain and color in the stained-glass panes.
Luckily for the project, gorgeous ivy had already grown over the outdoor walls. Visible through the windows, this natural feature added an appearance of Age --completing the appearance of an ancient, royal castle.
An unusual and detailed shield from medieval Hungary.
The sun's movement highlights new areas of the corridor throughout the school-day, making the hallway feel "new" and constantly-changing.
By design, I allowed the glass to appear as beautiful from the outside as from the inside. This helped to reclaim a long-neglected courtyard -- students couldn't help but flock there to sketch and study once the glass was complete.
The stained-glass windows help to frame natural views from the hallway. In a way, the arches and shrubs produce a meditative environment like a medieval cloister.
Lush ivy is framed by the stained-glass.
Stained glass adds color and excitement to the otherwise-monolithic brick building.
No two colors are reflected in the neighboring window's template. This adds variety and interest.
No two colors are reflected in the neighboring window's template. This adds variety and interest.
A self-portrait (in Medieval style) flanked by gargoyles holding the State Seals of Connecticut (left) and of Darien (right).
Numerous story-book characters (selected by students) hold-up a Chinese Dragon costume.
The Lorax points to one of the school's gargoyles which was donated by a local judge after World War II. They are fragments of London's House of Parliament, which was bombed in the war.
Across from the Lorax is another one of the gargoyles from London's Houses of Parliament. Jack trips over the magic beanstalk, distracted by the frightening gargoyle. (One of my jobs was to make these gargoyles appear less scary & more appropriate for the elementary school.)
Another view. King Midas counts his treasure in the corner.
Elmer, the multi-colored elephant holds his "flying fish". The kids adore this book-character for showing them that "it's okay to be different".
A monster from "Where the Wild Things Are" is perched above a showcase. The case is painted gold, like a royal reliquary. The color helps add a feeling of preciousness to the student artwork displayed within.
Another view of the showcase. The larger-than life-sized monster attempts to step onto the case after swinging from a branch.
The characters from Mo Willems'  "Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog" share the open-field with flowers and other book-characters.
The characters from Mo Willems'  "Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog".
Two parents were instrumental in helping to envision the school's mural. Their names are "carved" forever into a tree, giving the mouse (from "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" something to contemplate.
Two dancing mice from another children's book.
On the South-facing wall, another showcase is lined with gold, surrounded by book-characters. Curious George is carried away (in the direction of the library entrance).
The "Goodnight Gorilla" gorilla has pick-pocketed the keys from the flustered zoo-keeper.
Max (from "Where the Wild Things Are") is perched in a window and attempts to work his magic on the neighboring gargoyle (not pictured here).
"Ferdinand, the friendly bull" sniffs flowers from a popular book's rendition of Hansel & Gretel. The children sit on a quilt illustrated by Patricia Polacco (an author who had visited the school the previous year).
Puss-in-Boots stands on a bean-bag (the hallway, since completion, has been filled with similar bean-bags for kids to sit and read on-- the illusion of reality continues here into the mural); the cat holds a stake to prop-up the Chinese Dragon's tail.
Another close-up of the Lorax and his sign about the gargoyle's significance. -- After this addition to the mural, parents and longtime staff could not believe that they never learned about the relics earlier!
The Ultramarine-blue ceiling and a repeating, geometric pattern of gold stars (modeled after a medieval royal chapel in Prague).
The South-facing showcase with student artwork within.
Library Corridor
       Royle Elementary School,  Darien, Connecticut    (March - May 2013)
"I think we're really fortunate to live-where-we-live and people realize that education is really important." --parent Katie Stein, quoted in Darien Times.
Library Signage 
Tokeneke Elementary School Library (Darien, Connecticut)
"It's so important to have the kids have this experience of seeing an artist-in-residence [...] It lets them see that there are whole other worlds out there besides being a doctor or a lawyer or a lacrosse player." -parent, Alicia Lyon, quoted in Darien Times
Dairy Queen (R)  Training Headquarters  -- Meeting Room
 near Hartford, Connecticut
In the meeting room, a custom mural picturing an early Dairy Queen reminds people of the company's unique story.
Around the image of a 1940's Dairy Queen, the company's colors are used to proclaim: "I scream! You scream! We all scream for Ice Cream!"
A bit of nostalgia: two 1940s eskimo-girls holding frozen treats.
A 1940's florescent Dairy Queen sign.
A close-up of this 1940's shop reminds employees of the business' long history of friendly service.
An employee-of-the-month wall features the company colors and a cow with a tiara. (i.e. Dairy "Queen")
An employee-of-the-month wall features the company colors and a cow with a tiara. (i.e. Dairy "Queen") --Chalkboard paint (the black box area) allows the employee name to be written below a framed portrait of themselves.
An employee-of-the-month wall features the company colors and a cow with a tiara. (i.e. Dairy "Queen")
A variety of custom-painted stools for the headquarters' Ice Cream Bar!
One of the custom-painted stools for the headquarters' Ice Cream Bar, featuring a company logo: "The Cone with the Curl on Top".
One of the custom-painted stools for the headquarters' Ice Cream Bar, featuring the company's 'Blizzard'.
One of the custom-painted stools for the headquarters' Ice Cream Bar, featuring the mouth-watering soft-serve ice cream cones.
Silhouettes with Monograms
Darien, CT
The staircase of this 1890s Darien, CT home features silhouettes of the family's 4 children.
The simple, Black & White appearance of these silhouettes harmonize both with the home's 1890s details, but are contemporary-enough to please modern eyes.
Looking up the staircase, the family passes by their silhouettes every day.
Even the family dog "Carolina" gets her own portrait. :)
The oldest daughter with a 1890s-style monogram beneath (the date when the home was built).
The oldest son with a 1890s-style monogram beneath (the date when the home was built): this diamond-shaped monogram style was recommended in period etiquette books for young gentlemen.
The middle son with a 1890s-style monogram beneath (the date when the home was built): this diamond-shaped monogram style was recommended in period etiquette books for young gentlemen.
The silhouettes lend order and a custom "look" to the staircase.
The youngest son with a 1890s-style monogram beneath (the date when the home was built): this diamond-shaped monogram style was recommended in period etiquette books for young gentlemen.
This group of silhouettes leads one's eye up the staircase and makes a strong first impression for visitors.
Nursery with Owls 
Private Norwalk, CT Client
"Riley's Room" --Name emblazoned on wall, Stripe around room, Showcase-style closet walls.
Private Monroe, CT client
Always impressive to visitors and family, Riley Jean has her name painted on the pink walls with a custom stripe going around the room.
Riley Jean has her name painted on the pink walls with a custom stripe going around the room.
Riley Jean has moved into her room and loves the painting of her name so much, that she has moved her crib beneath her name!
Always impressive to visitors and family, Riley Jean has her name painted on the pink walls with a custom stripe going around the room.
An adorable little corner of the custom-painted room. One wall is pink, the other is white, but they are linked together by the pink and brown stripe.
The peony-colored stripe running around the room is feature in Riley-Jeans' closet, painted by Michael.
"Shane's Room" 
-- Name on wall with brown border
Private Monroe, CT client
"Shane" is painted on the walls of this boy's nursery.
Always impressive to visitors and family, Shane's name is painted above his crib.
The kids' playroom is enlivened by playful-colored walls and a banner of the alphabet.
The kids' playroom is enlivened by playful-colored walls and a banner of the alphabet.
The kids' playroom is enlivened by playful-colored walls and a banner of the alphabet.
At the end of the banner is my signature and the message "for Shane & Riley" (the children who play in the room).
Nursery with Alphabet banner
Private Monroe, CT client
(BEFORE)
(BEFORE)