Saturday, May 29, 2010

Farm Table Re-do

I found this table and chairs at a barn sale a few years ago.  Their size and shape were instantly appealing -- and, surprise, they were in good shape.  One of the supports for the drop leaf needed to be replaced, but other than that, the set was in tip-top condition, considering its age.   Of course being old and oft-used brought dings and dimples, but to me this just added character.

When I bought the set, it was painted yellow and organge ---think 1970's.  And where the paint had chipped, you could see a rainbow of previous colors, including turquoise and dark green.  Why did I forget to take a "before" photo? 

The set languished in my workshop for a long time, waiting for me to get an inspiration.  That moment came when my sister moved into her new home and casually mentioned that she needed a table for her kitchen.  Knowing her style - sort of whimsical but graphic, and always with a touch of black, I was able to dive into the project.

The entire set was painted a soft grey-green.
For amusement and inspiration, phrases were loosely lettered along each side of the table top, including this Irish blessing -- so appropriate because my sister has a great gift for hospitality:

Come in the evening, come in the morning
Come when expected, come without warning.
Thousands of welcomes, you'll find here before you
And the oftener you come, the more we'll adore you.

Each chair has a different piece of fruit.

Bon Appetit!

You might like to visit the Paint Party at

Sunday, May 23, 2010

No Jumping on the Bed!

As I finished up a nursery, the client's sister-in-law called to see if I could help with her daughter's room.  It was time to move from the crib into a "big girl" bed, and could I help choose a color  and a design for the walls.

Inspired by dreams of ball gowns and fairy tales, the pink and gold damask linens are an elegant mix of color and texture.  And the bed....well, let's just say that if this were mine, I'd never want to get up in the morning and paint!

Aren't these pillows scrumptious?

We decided to paint the walls gold rather than pink so the room would harmonize better with the rest of her home.  Given the sophistication of this room, I wondered what to offer that would complement the fabrics - not compete with them. 
In the end, I offered three concepts, each with their own personality. 

 The client preferred the deep wall color on the left.  And she especially liked the ribbon and roses motif drawn directly from the lace pattern on the bed skirting.  I added some antique gold to the ribbon and for extra sparkle, glued Swarovski crystals in the center of each rose.

The end result was delicate, airy with a little bit of glam. 
Quite a fancy room for a little girl, isn't it?

Let's see if I can get a closer view.

Oh, and no jumping on the bed!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Bit of Italy


On Friday morning, I installed a small mural
for a delightful client
 who has transformed her lakeside home
 into one with European flair.

My part of the project was to paint a vineyard scene
for a false window in the lower level game room. 

After pouring over photos from her trips to Italy ,
the client chose a very muted pastoral scene
as an inspiration for the mural. 
 While the carpenters and painters finished their jobs,
I painted the mural in my workshop.

Here's how it grew:

Not wanting to paint on a fresh, white canvas,
I first "dirtied" it up
with a rub of earthy browns and umbers. 
 This under-painting gives depth and texture 
to the colors that will be painted on top.

Using the client's photo as a guide,
 the colors and shapes were washed in.

At this stage, things are rough
 and I don't like anyone to see -
but I did promise to send e-mail photos to the client
so she could see the progress every step of the way....
I guess you can see them, too!

Little by little, the scene took shape. 
More buildings. 
 More greenery. 

I confess that when I'm painting,
there is always a point of discouragement 
when I feel no progress is being made. 
Things seem to be going very sl-o-o-wly. 
This picture is of that moment.
That's when I fidget,
brew yet another cup of tea
and scrounge the cupboard
for any morsel of forgotten chocolate. 
I'll distract myself by doing the most useless things -
sharpening all the colored pencils,
reorganizing the shelves of art books,
throwing out old paint,
and cleaning the studio's crusty sink.

After that burst of restless energy,
 I settle back to work.
Soon the mural is ready for the client's final approval. 
It didn't take long at all! 


The carpenter left a space in the wall to hang the mural. 
 Isn't the stacked brick beautiful?

The mural was dry-mounted onto a piece of 1/4" luan board
cut to the shape of the opening. 
Hoping for the best, I popped it into place. 
 Only a small adjustment was needed for a perfect fit.

Here's a close up of how the mural fit into ine brick opening.

So now, when family and friends gather in the game room,
they can enjoy a vacation scene.


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