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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hand Painted Parson Chairs and a Resurfaced Pine Table

There was a great deal on a pine table a few years ago that I couldn't pass up. Ditto some Parsons Dining Chairs I saw in a second hand shop. The chairs I knew to be valued at over $200.00 each as I'd seen them in magazines. And they were going for only $18.00 a piece! I bought the six they had. They were a linen cream color in dire need of cleaning. I washed them with bleach but unfortunately some dirt stains did not come out. The legs were cloth covered and were the most marked with dirt. So I ripped the fabric off the legs and underneath was rough looking wood that looked like pine. I left it as is for it went with the pine table. Then painted white stripes on only the front part of each chair. Lived with that for a couple of years.

Because I use this table in the kitchen frequently to work on art, and everything else, it has taken quite a beating. Lately I looked at it with new eyes and realized I wanted to have a tabletop that would wear well and look great for when clients come when I teach art and photography. So I resurfaced it with a cementitious product called aurastone. It binds to anything. Then I layered color upon color using acrylic and biocolor. While wet I sprinkled a lot of sparkles on it, clear, green and metallic, as well as pearlescence. When dry I taped all around underneath the table and also covered the iron bars that hold up the table inserts. This is vital as epoxy runs everywhere and it is deadly if you don't protect your floors, your walls, your hands, your eyes. The two inserts for the table that I've got were done on a plastic covered countertop and lifted so the epoxy can drip off the edges. It dried overnight and the following morning there was another pour of the epoxy. This made for a surface that will be very durable, and I love that you can 'see' into it and get the sparkles from different angles. Right now I like it shiny. Down the way, when there are any scratches on it, I'll probably just hone it down, sanding it to a matte finish. I love it that way too and it won't show scratches. But right now, shiny it is. Note: the dried epoxy drips must be sanded down on the underside of the table with a power sander or grinder so that the edges are smooth. Don't want people to bump their knees into those drips as they can be sharp.

The chairs were looking kinda mangy. But they are incredibly comfortable and solid, so they are worth saving. Recovering them in fresh fabric was not the direction where inspiration flowed.  Having lots of paint here right now, inspiration struck so off I went. From the first dab I was committed to complete it. All the while wondering, as it went through ugly stages, 'OMG what have I done?'.  The paint used was fluid acrylic and biocolor with fabric medium added. It was all done freehand, deliberately using inundating lines to impart an organic feel, with the nubbly texture of the linen coming through. This needed a couple of coats as the colors sunk in and became too light. Then a damp cotton cloth was used with a steam iron on the chair to heat set for durability so that it can withstand dry cleaning, or scrubbing. This is finished off with a spray of fabric guard. The chairs can be recovered later when I tire of this.

The legs were first painted in white primer with holes filled. And will be painted with white satin melamine paint later, as soon as the weather permits, so as to not have the paint fumes inside the condo.

Now, having done all this, I can say that some things can be done to make the process shorter, easier, or even for a different style. I think next time I'll try using a metal ruler with laundry markers to mark permanent lines where I want them. And then the lines can be filled with color. The straight lines will be more sophisticated than hand drawn so it may be a good thing for a wing chair that I can see done in this manner and it may just work. :) Adding black lines, then painting in with yellow on the blue will make it green, and adding white on some of the green will cool it lighter to an aqua. I must show this a bit later when I get to it.

There are permanent markers that may change color over time, but that may not matter. After all, if a black changes to a deep maroon, it may just be fabulous. But if you want to have colors that do not shift then fabric dyes, waterproof india inks and acrylic paints with fabric medium, are the way to go.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Impressionistic Bedroom Walls

Home decor continues to fascinate me. I am so wired to create order and beauty in my surroundings.  And I can't leave well enough alone. 

This bedroom had walls that were cream colored and the whole ambience was asthetically peaceful, breezy, light on light. Like a tropical room complete with mosquito netting over the bed. The time came for a change and a sense settled in me as to what direction to go. So got some latex paint and some rags and mostly my hands, and got at it to create an impressionistic ambience. Almost like stepping into an Old World Monet. 

The rule is, most of the time, to do dark over light. But I (mostly) prefer to do light over dark... it goes cloudy and cool, so you warm it up. With just three or four colors you can make it look like so many as the depth is amazing. It is more 'impressionistic' whereas the dark over light is more 'renaissance'.

This wall was created by starting with a dark olive that looked like something unmentionable :). I wanted light and airy and impressionistic but I needed an interesting dark color to come through all the successive light layers. Starting with the olive and lightening it with white and cream created a bluish tinge. Layered next a brick color and yellow ochre on that olive, then used lighter versions of both with the addition of cream paint and white to successive layers. Adding a touch of lightened magenta paint here and there completed the work.

The image on the wall is done with oil glazes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Very First Photo Negative?

Being a photographer it has come back to my remembrance a seminar I took in at Trinity Western University a few years ago. It was on the Shroud of Turin. Quite by chance a couple days ago, at Starbucks, I bumped into the professor, Dr. Phillip Wiebe, who teaches this at Trinity Western. I asked if I might photograph the copy of the shroud he has and graciously  he said yes. I went to his office and took in the lifesize replicas of the shroud. The front and the back. Goosebumps. Astonishing. And fascinating thinking that it may be the oldest and first negative ever in all of history.

I include here the simple shots I took of it. Not intended as art but as representing  fascinating photo negatives that challenges the viewer to really think through what they are seeing. There are so many scourging and cutting marks on the back and legs, actual blood drippings on the head, the arms, the hands and feet. Standing in front of them left me in awe.

For those who would like to read extensively about this ( I am not an expert) there are links online, books, and of course Dr. Phillip Wiebe, Professor of Philosophy at Trinity Western University.


Book:  The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence That the World's Most Sacred Relic Is Real
by Ian Wilson

Phillip H. Wiebe, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
SNC Center
Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Road
Langley, BC V2Y 1Y1
604-888-7511 Ext. 3334

The wheels are turning regarding ideas and images springing from this. Some images I've been thinking about creating are spiritual, or have spiritual longings of deep calling to deep. Some nebulous, mysterious, ethereal feelings and thoughts until they settle into something concrete. Thinking out loud ...

From a Cocoon

This image is part of my " Emerge " series. Mixed media - layers of epoxy with marble dust, plaster, stones, earth stains, acrylic, silver and pearlescent paint, mica flakes, on wood base.

Seems like all I can think about right now is transformation. Tranformation of the mind, of the soul. How it happens. How to get there from here, how to cross over. By an about face? By paradigm shifts? By rising from emotional constraints and baggage? Muscles forming from forceful thrusts into liberation? By a force of faith so strong you just believe souls can fly? How can a caterpillar 'see' when all around is darkness? What of the wind and light and colors beckoning forth?

I saw this 'poetic saying' online ... don't know who wrote it...

Along a dusty road in India there sat a beggar who sold cocoons. A young boy watched him day after day, and the beggar finally beckoned to him.

"Do you know what beauty lies within this chrysalis? I will give you one so you might see for yourself. But you must be careful not to handle the cocoon until the butterfly comes out."

The boy was enchanted with the gift and hurried home to await the butterfly. He laid the cocoon on the floor and became aware of a curious thing. The butterfly was beating its fragile wings against the hard wall of he chrysalis until it appeared it would surely perish, before it could break the unyielding prison. Wanting only to help, the boy swiftly pried the cocoon open.

Out flopped a wet, brown, ugly thing which quickly died. When the beggar discovered what had happened, he explained to the boy 'In order for the butterfly wings to grow strong enough to support him, it is necessary that he beat them against the walls of his cocoon. Only by this struggle can his wings become beautiful and durable. When you denied him that struggle, you took away from him his only chance of survival."

May the walls of your cocoon be just thick enough to allow you to struggle just long enough to emerge the beautiful person I know you to be.