The Art & Drama of Handpainted Furniture

I love handpainted furniture. At least I think I do. I love it until I actually confront having a commission and then I panic. I used to paint furniture and all sorts of other pieces (floorcloths, shadowboxes, et cetera) for my store, and as previously mentioned, by commission. But then I grew tired of it. Really tired of it, so I stopped. But lately…

I was scrolling through some old images of pieces I painted long ago and actually felt a desire to take it up again. For me, the pendulum swings between attempting a refined, traditional handpainted style or trying for a more primitive, stylized look. And sometimes I like to go for something altogether more contemporary (read: trendy), when taking on a handpainting project.

It’s been impossible for me to settle on a single style. In fact, feeling as though I should develop a single style, a painter’s identity, so to speak (such as repeatedly painting florals on white bureaus), is what killed the love for me a few years ago.

So now I’m just going with the flow. Feel like attempting a Fitz Henry Lane-style meticulous marine scene? Okay! I’ll try that! Would I rather paint stylized trees rendered against an acid green? Sounds great! So while my ability to brand myself as a decorative painter with an identifiable style suffers (no small thing if I’m going to market my stuff), at least I don’t get so bored and frustrated that I want to crush my paints with my forehead and snap all my paintbrushes into tiny pieces. And that’s worth something, right?

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Blue & White

Last year I painted a set of chairs an electric sort of blue, the kind you see in places like Mykonos, set against blinding white houses and sparkling water. Not exactly a New England sort of blue.  One day in early Spring of this year I woke up to our cold-climate version of a blinding white: a swirl of snow settling on all the dark trees and spindly branches.  Before it could devolve into our state color, grey, I ran outside with one of my Mykonos chairs and took a photo of it in the snow.  I still haven’t found the right spot in my house for my blue chairs.  They sit, unused, in storage.  Maybe I should put them back outside in the woods, where they can live juxtaposed against blue’s favorite color, an icy pure white, just in time for the first real snowfall of winter.