Painting with life and depth


July 04, 2004|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,Sun Staff

Muralist Ezra Berger had been a house painter. A fine one, in fact. But he wasn't content. He knew in his heart that he needed more. He needed to use that painting degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art to express himself artistically and to make people's walls come alive. But most of all, he needed a push.

It was a former college professor who finally urged him to take the leap. For a year and a half now, Berger, 28, has been living his dream. A successful muralist and faux finisher, the Aberdeen-based artist has been kept plenty busy by word-of-mouth and repeat customers. Traveling near and far, Berger paints walls in kitchens, foyers, bathrooms, bedrooms and basements with murals of city scenes, small towns, mythical lands, exotic locales, historical figures, seascapes, vineyards or anything his customers like.

"I love ... turning something as flat as a wall into a space with great depth," the artist says.

Berger charges about $300 to $400 a day. On average, his murals take about four or five days to complete. For more information, to schedule an appointment or for a free DVD showcasing some of his works, call 410-272-3906 or 443-207-3533.

Zero-tolerance policy for weeds

They're out of control. Overtaking your yard. Sprouting up everywhere. Multiplying. Yes, your weeds are growing like weeds, taunting you and challenging you to control them.

You're ready to reclaim your lawn. Forget the harsh chemicals. The new UpRoot weed and root remover from Fiskars can do the job with ease.

A gardener, remaining upright, simply places the lightweight UpRoot over the weed, pushes the claws into the ground with a step and draws the aluminum shaft toward herself. The stainless steel claws will grip the root and pull it out easily.

UpRoot is available for $29.99 at Target stores or online at Call 800-500-4849 for information.

A decade of ugly couches

It's atrocious. A jaw-dropper. A real humdinger. Your sofa is simply revolting. It's old and decrepit. Torn and tattered. And Sure Fit thinks that's just fine. The slipcover manufacturer is presenting its 10th annual "Ugly Couch Contest" now through Aug. 6.

If you think you qualify -- and you know who you are -- submit a photo of your unsightly sofa to or mail to Sure Fit Inc., "Ugly Couch Contest," 58 W. 40th St., Second Floor, New York, NY 10018, with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address on a separate paper.

Your sofa will be judged on ugliness of design, offensiveness of color and inappropriateness of fabric. Three finalists will be selected and will appear on Live With Regis and Kelly in September for the final vote. Winner will receive $5,000 and a couch makeover from Sure Fit.

Pictured below is last year's winner, Camille Hempel (second from left) of Brooklyn, N.Y., with (from left) Sure Fit reps Liz Mandracchia and Marisa Thalberg and Kelly Ripa and Regis Philbin.

Visit for details or call 800-517-7480.


* See the exhibits Brilliant Textiles by Janis Jagodzinski and Vivid Paintings by Murray Goodsett through July 15 at the Beveled Edge Gallery, 5909 Falls Road. Pictured is Jagodzinski's "Rose Man," a fabric portrait. Call 410-435-1427 for hours.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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