Monday, January 30, 2012

Chalk Paint Makeover- Dining Room

Recently, right in the midst of my moving and unpacking, I decided to give my dining room set a face lift.  It is a pretty nice looking antique set with rush seats.  I never had the nerve to do anything with it, while it was in a separate dining room.  Now, in this beach house- it is pretty much the center of the house.  I just wasn't happy with all that dark wood constantly in my view.

I heard about this chalk paint (Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint) from a decorator in my weekly painting group. She told me how she had tried it and that -most importantly- NO stripping, sanding, or priming of the old finish.  This set is really old and has been stained more than once.  I decided to go for it.  What's the worst that could happen, other than completely ruining an antique dining set?  I wasn't happy with it the way it was, so I figured it was worth the possibility of having to strip it down to bare wood if it didn't work out!  I looked online at many blog posts about people using it and it seemed to be pretty popular already.

I had ordered 2 cans of the paint and the soft wax used to seal it.  The paint is pricey ($35 per quart) but goes a long way.  I used the same quart of Aubusson Blue to paint the whole dining room- that's a table, 6 chairs, china cabinet, AND a buffet.  All with one tiny quart and I actually have a little left in the can.  All that, and a soap and water clean up!

I started out by trying it on my dark wood wine racks- using Old White.  I quickly realized how much I liked the paint, and was brave enough to move on to the larger furniture pieces.  The painting was easy, and then you just brush on some of the soft wax and buff it off.  I did buy the Annie Sloan wax even though I had read that Johnson's paste wax worked just as well.  I have to say that I used both waxes and the Johnson's was less soft, but also worked.

I definitely will be using this paint again. I have some wicker patio chairs just calling out to be painted- and a pint of Old White ready to go.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scallop Shell Trio Watercolor

Scallop Shell Trio- 9X12 on 140 lb. cold press

I am in a beach painting state of mind lately, and the shells and beach glass are getting me back in practice.  I decided that the easiest way to get back to painting would be with the simple objects- and beach finds are something I have in abundant supply.  The variety of colors and all of the little details make for good practice without a lot of pressure to produce a perfect painting.
These scallop shells are from Long Island- Fire Island to be specific.  Walking the beach on Fire Island is amazing when you are a serious beachcomber.  One beach has mostly clam shells, and a mile down the sand, there are zillions of scallops.  If you are having a GREAT day, you find some beach glass to add to your sandy treasures.
I found a new beach today(new to me) that was beautiful, but not much in the way of shells.  Right in the shadow of Mugu Rock, next to Point Mugu Naval Base.  I found a few pretty little shells and 4 pieces of beach glass.  A little extra exercise to add to my 3 miles at sunrise- along with some nice photos made it a good trip.  Who knows? Maybe a future painting in one of those photos.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beach Glass Watercolor - 9X12

Beach Glass Watercolor
140 lb cold press- 9X12

beach glass detail

I am really trying to get back into a painting routine, and think I have finally gotten a start.  I haven't painted much at all since starting the moving/relocation process and I am definitely ready for some creativity!  About a week ago, I got out my palette, and a pad of watercolor paper and got nowhere.  Sometimes, I think the most difficult part of painting is thinking of WHAT to paint and getting focused.  Yesterday I sat down with a plan to just paint a few small watercolors and to paint things I enjoy painting.  Well, with a pile of beach glass and sea shells in front of me- it worked!  Sometimes, artistic mojo and too much thinking just don't mix.  After I relaxed and didn't worry about painting a masterpiece- I just had fun.  Now to find (and keep) my artistic mojo- wherever it may be.