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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Repurposing Seaside Cottage Garden Art

Finding Inspiration . . . .

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One of my personal goals for the year is to simplify and redecorate my home and studio using furniture and accessories (and art) that I already have. Since I am fortunate to live near the Newport Bay and Pacific Ocean I wanted to give my home an updated coastal feel at the same time keeping the cottage garden look I love. . . and at the same time . . . staying on a very tight budget. I had my sofa, side chair and ottoman slip covered in white cotton denim at a 30% off sale and moved furniture and accessories around from other rooms in my home. I added lots of blue sky and water to some of my existing paintings - and at the same time left the flowers to give them the new coastal cottage garden look.

Let's take a look around and I will show you what I have been up to!

In keeping with "it's not what you don't have - it's what you do with what you do with what you do have" philosophy of decorator and author Kitty Barhlomew - I decided to re purpose another one of my garden paintings to give it a coastal feel.

First, I painted out the white bistro chair and began painting in the blue sky and blue ocean.

I moved the yellow wicker chair from my office to the living room and wanted to add more yellow to the painting to pick up the color in the chair. I sketched in a white wicker chair using my own chair and throw cushions as inspiration.

I felt the floral design on my yellow pillow was too much and competed with the flowers on the table and also that the angle of the chair was not right.

I changed the angle of the chair and painted out the flowers on the pillow and painted the pillow a solid yellow.

I paint outside as weather permits so I can really see the colors in daylight. Now that the painting is complete - let's take it inside and hang it over the fire place to see how it looks.

Bentley, my Studio Assistant has been patiently waiting to get a first hand look!

Looks like Bentley approves and is waiting for our next project!

Thank you for visiting. I love to hear from you and it really means a lot to me that you have taken time to leave me a comment and to follow my blog. If you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.
Wishing you and your family a joyous and blessed Easter and Passover season.
Blessings, Erin

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Flowers and a Stencil Project

Welcome and Happy Spring

Recently I received a number of e-mails and comments asking me to blog about easy stenciling and painting projects. Since I am not very good at stenciling I asked my sister, Leslie, if she would give us a simple lesson in stenciling. Leslie, lives in Florida and is a flea-market and fabulous finds extraordinaire and is also an artist. She paints on furniture in a whimsical style similar to Victoria MacKenzie- Child. We are both inspired by the simple beauty of God's creations and the colors of Mother Nature - especially the colors of flowers.

As children growing up in North Carolina we spent hours in the Cottage Style playhouse our father built for us -my time was spent picking flowers to arrange on the table in our playhouse and Leslie spent hours re purposing the furniture and turning our playhouse into a "cafeteria" where we served blueberry mud pies made from berries and roast beef made from tree bark. I suppose it was only natural that Leslie would end up painting her flowers on re purposed furniture and I would end up painting my flowers on canvas. It didn't hurt that our creative Mother loved "re purposing" our bedroom furniture by painting it a different color every summer and painting flowers, birds and butterfly's on our furniture. She even painted sea shells and tropical fish inside our bathroom cupboard one summer.

Let's leave my garden and take a little tour of the inspirations behind Leslie's painted furniture and afterwards she will give us a beginning lesson in furniture painting and stenciling furniture.

Bentley, my studio assistant, waiting to leave our garden to look for Leslie's inspiraiton.

Finding Inspiration

Leslie finds a wonderful palette for her furniture by using her favorite colors of flowers and leaves - pink, fuchsia, yellow, soft gold lavender and apple green.

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The old round table was a gift from Leslie's daughter-in-law. The table had been in her family and she wanted Leslie to bring new life to the table by drenching it with the soft colors in Leslie's palette.
She stenciled a floral design on the top.

Sometimes she likes to paint furniture in richer and deeper colors:

Deep fuchsias



A thrift shop table picked up for under $5.00

Let's get started. Leslie is going to paint and stencil a $10.00 chest she purchased at a garage sale.
The first step in painting furniture is to remove hardware, drawers, doors etc. Lightly sand and wipe down with a clean cloth -next base coat with a good quality primer - such as Kilz or Zinzer 1-2-3. If you want to add appliques do so at this time.

After priming -paint with paint of your choice - she used an off white enamel for the drawer and accents (left over paint trim from her house) and also uses latex indoor house paint. Then she painted the rest of the chest with lavender latex paint.

Now for the fun part - the stenciling. The side and was stenciled with a stencil that came as three different patterns all on the same stencil. Tape the entire stencil with painters tape. TIPS - always tape the stencil down - this will prevent running and keep your design neat - apply a very small amount of paint to your brush and lightly dab the brush over the stencil. Too much paint on the brush causes blotchy designs. Remember - stenciling is a "dry brush" technique. It is best to build up your color gradually.

Hold the stencil down as you brush to prevent paint from getting under stencil. Take the stencil off as soon as you finish painting. Joannes and Michael's sell stencils like this by Plaid and they are easy to use because they are big.

For corners, you can cut a large stencil with three patterns, and use one of the patterns on the corner and the other patterns on top and in the middle. This way you can have three different patterns from one stencil and you can stencil the corner with ease as you will have a smaller stencil to work with. The diamond pattern on the drawer was made by using a small stencil with a diamond pattern - if the stencil is too big simply cut around the diamond and make a smaller stencil.

The last step is to seal the entire project with a sealer to make sure the paint does not rub off.

I think it is time for me to pass the "Fabulous Finds" Award on to Leslie. She believes that flawed is fabulous and it is a lot more fun to turn someone else's timeworn furniture into something beautiful than to buy something new and perfect. You can read more about the "Fabulous Finds Award on one of my previous blog post.

If you want to stencil on a canvas to create your own canvas work of art follow the same basic directions for stenciling on furniture. First base coat your canvas. Then tape the stencil to your canvas and apply paint in a dabbing motion. Immediately remove the stencil.

You will have the outline of the stenciled object on your canvas. This is a good way for beginners to have a completed drawing on canvas. Next you can follow the outline of the stencil and enhance it with your paints to create your own work of art. Tip for beginners - you can use the stencil to learn about the shapes and form of roses or other flowers and this will help you get the confidence to draw your own flowers. After stenciling a few times, try and sketch your flowers free hand to create your very own work of art.Samples of little works of art created using a stencil to give you an idea of how to create your own. Happy stenciling! Leslie and Erin

Thank you for visiting my blog. I love to hear from you and really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment and to visit my blog. If you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. Blessings, Erin

Friday, March 13, 2009

Geraniums - Geraniums

I have two geranium rugs and use one in this little patio off my kitchen which is decorated to match my kitchen with Provencal style in mind. The sunny spot is one of my favorite places to paint as well as grow herbs in pots.

The other geranium rug is in my office. I love the cottage garden style of the rugs with the cheery geranium flowers and red check border.

I decided to do a post on geraniums since I have received so many phone calls and e-mails asking me where I purchased the geranium rug shown in the Country Sampler Home Tours magazine and asking if I painted geraniums. I purchased the rugs at the Orange Mercantile in Old Town Orange, California and unfortunately the adorable shop closed early this year. My friend Kathy at the Vintage Lady,434 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780 - 714 731-0422 can order the rug for you. She does not have a website, however, she will be happy to order the rug and you can pick it up if you live in the area. For those of you who do not live in the area, I did a Google search and found the rug on the web site at Posh Living -http://poshliving.com/ - telephone - 866 767-4584.

Let's take walk around the neighborhood and my garden looking for some geranium inspiration for a geranium painting.

Finding inspiration . . . . .

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My client wants a garden painting with red geraniums and lots of bright primary colors. Let's go back into my garden with my studio assistant, Bentley, and see what we can find for inspiration.

" This certainly smells like a geranium"

"I think we should keep looking for the perfect color"

"I found the perfect geranium for the painting "!

"Let's get started"!

Now that Bentley found the perfect geranium it is time to start designing the painting by putting colors together . My client wants red, yellow, purple and white flowers in the painting.

A garden hat, seed packets and flowers make up the composition of the painting. Our next step is to paint.

The finished painting.

The last step is to compare the finished painting to the set up for color and from.

Thank you for visiting my blog. It really means a lot to me that you have taken the time to leave me a comment and follow my blog. If you have any questions or would like to see my paint something special, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. Have a lovely week.