If you are just now dropping by, this is the second part of a tutorial of sorts. I am working on an art chair that is to be auctioned off at a fundraising event for our local domestic violence shelter. You can check out the beginning steps from last week’s post here.
So far so good. Step one I painted the entire chair with the off white flat paint. It took two coats to give it a reasonably solid color. The original fabric has some texture so it is not going to look completely smooth.
Step two – The hardest part. Trying to decide what to actually paint on the chair. I was struggling with this. Did I want something bright, cheerful and funky? A local landscape? Something simple and geometric? A blank canvas is a daunting thing! I have six buttons on the back of the chair and two on the inside of each arm. There was no good way to disguise the buttons so they had to be incorporated into the design. That was my only guideline. Then I remembered that if the chair is not sold it comes back home with me. So, guideline #2, I better make something I really like!
Many times it just comes down to jumping in and getting it done. With no real idea of what I was going to do, I just took my pencil and started drawing daisies around the buttons. Daisies are my favorite flower. With the rough texture I knew any painting I did would have to be loose so I just decided that this would have to be a whimsical drawing and more like a doodle.
Step three – Adding color. I don’t work in a orderly fashion. After drawing a few shapes on the back and side buttons I liked the loose look that was happening. It reminded me of the Zentangle drawings, so I whipped out a Sharpie marker. Nothing like jumping in with a permanent marker to get the adrenaline flowing!
I moved on to some paisley shapes on the arm and tassels on the skirt. At this point I needed to see some color so I started adding the pale yellow paint in places. It is very subtle but enough difference to still show up. As I added the paint the rest of the design began to form in my brain. I wanted the chair to be a place of peacefulness and safety.
Peace and tranquility often show up in my work. My art is my safe place. I can retreat from all the violence and turmoil that surrounds us in the media. I have no desire to make in-your-face political statements or dark, disturbing images. There is often private symbolism in what I do, but I much prefer to offer someone an image they can enjoy than to confront them with something the media will happily throw at them every evening.
Doves began to find their way onto the chair. A symbol of peace and just beautiful birds, they seemed fitting. This is one of three doves on the chair. Once again, I did not want to get fussy with details because of the rough texture of the chair. I want them to be loose and ethereal.
I am keeping the color palette soft and limited to the off-white background, pale yellow, green and blue. I have a possible surprise element, but I will wait until the painting is done to see if it will work.
Here is a little of where I am so far. The doves are on each side and the back. It looks like this will turn into a three part series since I need to finish the painting then wax everything before the big reveal. Check back next week and see if I am finished. September 10th is my deadline to turn in the chair and the auction is on September 26th. I’m feeling the deadline pressure now.