Saturday, October 14, 2017

More Bird Houses!

I love weekends, don't you?! It's kind of rainy today and I am enjoying staying inside and dry.  So I decided it would be a good chance to work on my blog. I thought I would share some more bird houses that I did for my friend Pam. These are all little bird houses that her father in law built, and she had them sitting around the garage. She thought they would look cute with some color. 

This  little bird house was the smallest. Only about 6 inches by 5 inches. It was the last one I painted because I was thinking it was too small to do much that would be fun but it ended up being one of my favorites. Sometimes the simplest idea is the best.

I just didn't want to overpower it, and ended up loving the simple lines. 

What about you, do you like simple lines?

This bird house was bigger, and had a very rough textured roof. I actually loved the way the roof texture accented the paint. I like funky cats and thought this would be cute on a bird house.



This little bird house is more whimsical and free spirited. 

I love to do tiny flowers. It reminds me of a meadow of wild flowers and I always like to do the little birds flying in the distance too. 

This was the biggest bird house  and you can see the right had roof line is actually about an inch shorter than the other side. You don't have to start with a perfect piece for it to turn out really cute. 

All of these bird houses were just plain little houses, and looked really rough before I started on them. To see them, they would not be something that would even catch your eye or be special. You can do so much with paint, it is amazing. I can just hear you saying, "I wonder why she didn't post some before pictures?"  Of COURSE I wish that I had taken before pictures....but that would be too efficient now wouldn't it?? 

 I like to do variegated colors when I paint instead of just a  solid color, like the roof you see below. It gives it more depth and interest, and also ties in other colors that you are using for trim. Notice how the blue roof has a tinge of purple in it? That pulls the purple flowers below up and highlights them as your eye travels back and forth tying the purple together without you even realizing it.

I love dragon flies! 


So which one is your favorite? It is hard for me to choose, although I do like the simple little purple one. It took the most thought but was the easiest to complete. 

I hope your life is going well. I saw a quote I would like to share. 

"If you think you've blown God's plan for your life, rest in this. 
You, my beautiful friend are not that powerful."

If you like what you see, make sure you sign up with your email for updates when I post new things. I promise not to spam you or give out your email. The sign up link is on the upper right hand side. 
 Let me know which bird house is your favorite in the comments below. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mary Ann's Chair




Here's a fun little chair that my sister claimed as her own before I even finished it. She's kind of like like a spoiled kid, she whines around and I just can't tell her no....It was in pretty rough shape, so I started out like I always do..  by sanding it really well to get any shininess off  so that primer and paint will stick to it and be durable. It's all in the preparation. You can make it look good without prepping, but the paint will chip and scrape off if you bump it against anything hard. 

I wanted it to look really girly, and I think the polka dots, and red trim really did the trick. When I am planning a color scheme and can't decide what color.. I just start painting a base color, which in this case was the cream color. It's on the one lone brace that you see underneath the chair with some circle squiggles on it. That is all that was left of the base color after I got done painting the chair, because I covered it all up with the other colors- But it gets me started and then I can start visualizing what colors I want. How do I pick the base color??? Well,  I think I had a bottle of that color that I never use and it was getting old  so I used it, knowing that I would be covering it up anyway. It just gets me started putting paint on the chair. Otherwise I sit and look at it for hours!  


For the painting on the chair back I picked the little girl knobby legs I think, because I just saw it as a princess/dancer chair. I wanted something on the back, that was whimsical and free feeling. I love black and white striped legs, whether they are on stockings or bird legs, so that was a no brainier. 


I like the tuning on the chair legs. They really had a lot of detail for me to work with.


By the time I get to the back I have so much time invested in my pieces, but I still like to do something on the back that doesn't take real long and still adds interest. 
 Sooo.... Polka dots, of course! When in doubt just polka dot away!

I found the material for the seat and recovered it.. and the look was complete.  Before I put the seat back on, I applied 3 coats of sealer. I like to use Minwax or Varathane water based polyurethane. 
Minwax says to sand between coats but if you do, it messes up your paint job so I don't sand and I haven't had any problem with it. Varathane is the only poly that bonds to itself so it does not require you to sand in between coats. It is very durable too. Varathane is my favorite to use.

Mary Ann has a lot of my painted furniture so I really like to visit her home! I am thankful to have both my sisters, Mary Ann and Janet in my life. Mary Ann just begs for more of my painted furniture than Janet! Do you have sisters that you couldn't make it through life without?

 You know so many people say to me " I just am no good at painting but I would like to do it."  You need to remember that everyone started the same way...wondering if they could do it.  Just jump in and try, you an always paint over it if you don't like it. We don't grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges. 
Thanks for visiting my blog. If you would like to be notified when I post new things, just sign up to follow me with your email. It is at the upper right hand side of this page.  

"I do not burn bridges. I just loosen the bolts a little each day."


Friday, October 6, 2017

Birdhouses

How many of you like Birdhouses? I have been working on some for a friend of mine. Her father-in-law built these and she wanted to have some color on them. As usual, I forgot to take "before" pictures! You'll have to use your imagination --they were brown  and pretty plain before my paint brush got to work!  This particular one was a present to her daughter who she described as a hippy girl. 



The hippy girl likes beetle bug vans, so I found this image and painted it on one side. She loved it and talked about the new VW van that is coming out.




She also like sayings and this is one of my favorites so I had to put it on there.



This side has a decoupaged heart on it, with the words to Bobbi McGee on it.



Thanks for checking in! I will post more birdhouses shortly.  If you haven't done so, sign up to receive updates by email in the upper right hand corner of this page.. That way whenever I post something new you will get an email alert. 

 "I do not burn bridges. I just loosen the bolts a little bit each day."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fence mural

What to do,...the dogs are barking at everyone who walks in front of the house...And that disturbs the neighbors!   This was a fun project!
 My daughter and her husband have 5 dogs, yes 5 dogs. They love all of them like they were their kids. When the dogs are outside, they can see all the activity going on in front of the house, like people walking by.(or God forbid they are trying to walk their own dogs past the house!) and try to be a part of it from behind the fence, which adds up to a lot of barking. Sheri and Peter put a piece of plywood  8ft by 4ft, in front of the fence so the dogs couldn't see out, which worked pretty well. I always try to paint something when I visit my kids, I think it is my way of leaving a little piece of me there when I leave to go home.  When I arrived, we decided to paint a mural on the plywood. I thought they would want some funky dogs on it, but I had done a bench with a similar scene to the one below, and they wanted it for their fence. So this is how it turned out. 


I had lots of supervision to make sure I did it just right.



I started with painting the background. I primed it with some Interior/Exterior primer, and then started with the blues mixed in with some white and some red violet. 


At one point it started thundering really loud...and I had all kinds of visitors to my painting area. They are all scared of the thunder except for the Brittany Spaniel, George. He just kept pacing wanting to be in on any action, but the other 4 couldn't get close enough to me! This is exactly where I am standing to paint. I kept straightening out the sheet I put on the floor for a drop cloth and then just gave up. LOL





So this is how it all begins. Background first, and then just start with whatever trips your fancy..mine is always the sun.  


And then the tree. I seem to start to work from the outside in without really thinking about it.



Sheri had found this image of the little red bird and wanted it on there. It looks like some one is getting some instruction on life....



What a happy little guy, I love dragonflies.





Do you see the knothole in the tree? I incorporated one of the knotholes in the wood to make a knothole in the tree. I try to work with what ever surface imperfections there are, and make them into a part of the painting.  You can also see a rough sketch of the bluebird at the bottom of the painting. I sketch out a few of the things like that so that I am not getting the dimensions wrong and having to erase marks on the painting. It is a lot easier to change them on paper first if you are not sure of the size you want. 












And it is finished..almost.. I actually added a little worm and worm hole on the left side (you can see him in the picture above..), but forgot to take a picture of the whole thing again with him included. After it was all finished, I put 5 coats of  Minwax Marine poly acrylic on (outdoor/exterior), making sure to coat the edges and top good. It should stand up to several years of weathering, I am not too worried since this is in South Carolina, and they don't get snow and frigid temperatures. If they poly it in a few years that will really keep it from weathering also.
My daughter was going to flip it over and poly the back after I left. It would need to dry for several days before setting it outside on the fence,  So I do not have a picture of it nailed to the fence. 
I bet it is going to be cool though, what do you think?


And then it was off to my favorite spot to see every time I visit my daughter, The Angel Oak Tree. It is so magnificent. If you are ever in Charleston, make sure you visit this spot. It is so awesome, it just takes my breath away. 

 I hope you have enjoyed the mural creation. If you have any questions, you can contact me in the comments here or email me at  csoconnor1@gmail.com.  I am always happy to share any information. I can't promise it is always correct..but just what has worked for me.

Remember: The hardest part is always beginning.   
"BE FEARLESS IN THE PURSUIT OF WHAT SETS YOUR SOUL ON FIRE."

Be sure to sign up to follow me if you like what you see here, and share it with your friends too. I would love hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below. 
Have a fabulous weekend!!
Carolyn


Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Painted Chairs

How many of you like to paint chairs? I love to paint chairs.  I met a lady who loved color, so of course I had to show her some of my colorful things I had painted. She was so enamored that she decided to have me paint some chairs for her dining room table. She is having her husband make her a farm table for them to go around. This is part of a series of 4 chairs that I painted for her.  She wanted them all different. She is such a fun and vibrant person..


One of the questions I get a lot, is "Did they tell you what they wanted on them, or what colors to use?" Usually I visit with a customer about their interests, and colors they are drawn to. I then have them look at my blog and see if there is anything in particular they like or maybe even dislike. That gives me a pretty good idea of what to include or omit on their piece.  Most generally they tell me they want to be surprised, and to just use my imagination. In this particular instance, I went to her home and saw the room she was going to put the chairs in and we picked out some colors she  liked. As I toured her home, I got a very good sense of what she liked, and that she was a very colorful person. I saw things I knew had to be included on her chairs. She had already told me that she loved the big flowers I paint, and had talked about putting big flowers on all of them, but of course I had a little different idea after seeing her home. You will see what I did as you read through this post....



I keep thinking the thing that takes the longest is the spindles and the little knobs with all the details, but the truth is, it all takes a long time! Lol! The knobs do take a long time because every time I paint one color, I get it on the neighboring color, then I touch that up and I get it back on the first color..so frustrating!!! But eventually I get it right and ..perrrrfect, which is the way I like them. 


The easiest way to paint spindle legs is like on a table where you can remove them and just twirl them in your hand while you paint. Chairs are more challenging and I end up turning the chair upside down, sideways, and on the other side, then on the other side, then back again (to touch up what I just screwed up lol!) lot of lifting. 



I love doing big flowers, and what is interesting to me is the fact that each time I start a flower, I think "well this certainly isn't turning out as well as the last one. Wonder what else I can do to it...."  Then I walk away for a while, and when I come back and start layering colors, it starts taking shape.  As it turns out, I usually was only half done when I was dissatisfied because I completely paint over the original flower. The original flower becomes just a base.  Does that ever happen to you?


One tip that I will share is my table I work on. It is an old TV swivel stand that I put a larger piece of plywood on top of, then covered it with an old towel so that it is soft and won't scratch the piece I am working on. It turns so I can reach several angles without jumping up from my stool all the time. You see them lots of times at garage sales.  By the way, my stool also rolls. Most things in my studio are on wheels so that I can move them when I need to. The stool is a auto mechanic's stool that my brother had for bar stools. Now I wish I had bought 2 of them at his garage sale..... It's all about making things easier and more convenient when you paint.





And finally, the end.  I like to put something fun and sweet on the back.  These chairs will be around a table so the backs will be visible all of the time.

The Turquoise chair is done, and Linda loved it, which is the best part...the smile when they see it! 



One of the things I saw at Linda's house when I toured it, were owls..and owls, and more owls. So, I asked the obvious question, Do you like owls??!  Of course she did!  It was a no brainer that owls were something I would put on one of  her chairs. 

 What started out as a great idea for the back of the chair turned into tedious work trying to come up with all the different designs. Needless to say, I was glad to be done with that part.





And..of course the little something to make the back interesting.



Here is the other flower chair. It was really fun to work on. I can't wear yellow, but I love to paint it! When Linda asked me to paint the chairs for her, she only had a couple of chairs. I found 3 chairs like this at a Goodwill Store and picked them up for her. I kept one and we used 2 of them. We didn't want to have 3 alike, and one odd one, so we used 2 of her mismatched chairs to finish out the set. I like this style, it has a lot of great lines. 

 I couldn't get the color adjusted right on this picture, it was outside and a sunny day. But you get the idea. The flower is more brilliant than this in person.


 I loved the way the back turned out. It is my favorite back out of the four. I like the way the colors blend.


 To get this effect I use a yellow base, then go over it with the turquoise, and go back in with some of a bright purple wash. I really like the way these colors blend and layer.   I think I will do my remaining chair I kept in this color. 




And, something interesting on the back. 
I would like to get a picture of them all together, but alas, I delivered them at different times. 

Hope you have enjoyed this. If you want to see more of my posts, sign up with your email and then when I post something new you will get an alert. If you like to paint chairs too, I would love to see some of your projects. You can email them to me at  csoconnor1@gmail.com , or share them in your comments so we can all enjoy them!

Until later, remember " Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections."

TaTa for now. Carolyn