How to paint a chair…maybe Part 2

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 1

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 2

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! IMG_2346

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.

IMG_2341   IMG_2345

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. IMG_2339

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. IMG_2343 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.


How to paint a chair…maybe. Part 1

This is my first attempt at a tutorial.  Back on this post I announced my plans to do an art chair for a fundraising event for our local domestic violence shelter, Next Step Ministries.  The chairs are to be auctioned off (hopefully someone will want mine) on September 26th, 2015.

Old ChairThis is the chair I am working on.  As I explained in the earlier post, I had already attempted to paint this chair.  I followed (sort of) directions I found on a few websites where they had successfully painted upholstery on old seen-better-days chairs.  After this attempt I had my doubts about just how successful those chairs turned out.  Mine was stiff and rough after drying.  I had used bottle after bottle of fabric medium mixed with watered down latex paint, applied it in layers, letting the paint dry between layers as instructed.

You can see here what the upholstery originally looked like. original 1 This chair was a hand-me-down chair circa 1970’s is my guess.  I owned absolutely nothing that coordinated with it in all the 25 years I have hauled it from house to house.  It’s a solid chair except for this little problem.  IMG_2311I decided to leave it.  It gives it some human history.  I will share the story in the second part of this tutorial.

So, with nothing to lose except maybe the chair, I am attempting to turn this mess into something cool, or beautiful, funky, or a complete new mess.  I do not have a solid plan at the moment.  This is going to be spontaneous art. My only guide is that I have to like it in case it comes back to live with me again!

IMG_2309My tools – one can of off-white flat latex commercial grade paint I found for $9 on the reject shelf, two sample jars of a golden yellow and soft green paint for $3.50 each, one tub of chalk paint clear wax for a whopping $16 (this is supposed to be the savior of the project and for that price it better be) and various colors of acrylic paints as needed.

Step 1 – give the whole chair one or two (I hope just one) coating of the off white paint to get a solid background.

Check back for Part 2 and see how this all turns out.

Update on notecard sales

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. After our Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, the kids and I kicked off our Christmas season with a viewing of Christmas Vacation. The holiday craziness doesn’t seem too bad after watching what the Grizwald family went through!

A Candle for Nicholas - Fundraiser
A Candle for Nicholas – Fundraiser

The “A Candle for Nicholas” notecards are on sale at Kernersville Elementary School, Smiles By Design, Dr. Bruce Burns, DDS and in the past week, Upscale Living Consignment (on Kernersville Road across from Triad Salvage) as well as Center City Frame Gallery at the Studios at 625 (625 N. Trade Street, Winston-Salem).

Personally I have picked up and deposited to Nicholas’ account $442 from the sales and donations. Other folks have packages of the cards as well and are making deposits with their fundraising work. I can tell it’s going to be difficult to keep up with exactly amounts, but I know that I ordered 1000 cards. When all those are gone (and I hope I have to order more) it will be at least $1200 plus any donations made in the process.

Thanks to all those who have purchased them and please pass the information along. This is going to be an ongoing need for the family as they work through Nicholas’ recovery.

A Candle for Nicholas

A Candle for Nicholas - Fundraiser
A Candle for Nicholas – Fundraiser


Yes, if you go to my Home Page here you will see much of this same information.  I just don’t want it to get missed.  Below is what is on the back of the note cards I am selling as a fundraiser for Nicholas and his family.

Proceeds from the sale of this card will go to Nicholas Thornton and his family.  Nicholas has a rare blood disease known as Aplastic anemia and has undergone a bone marrow transplant.  His parents, Jon and Nancy, are both dedicated middle school teachers who have taught, tutored and mentored my children.  This is my small way of helping them in return. 

 For more information on Nicholas you can go to

Prayers for Nicholas Thornton on Facebook. 

 I am selling the 10 card package for $12.00 (plus shipping if I need to mail them to you).  Please email me at to order for now.  More details to come and I will be posting donation amounts on this site.