How I Got from There to Here
Children love to paint. And I love to paint for children. Dreaming up that perfect motif that appeals to their sense of color, design and whimsy is a fantastic challenge. My enjoyment of painting for children had its genesis many years ago. My first project: painting little white daisies on our first son’s yellow dresser. A few black-metal framed watercolors made it to the walls. The toy chest came next, perfect for huge black checkers. Because we were a mobile family, I decided to focus on decorating furniture rather than the walls. We inherited an OLD chest of drawers from my husband’s youth. That same dresser is in our current French-inspired guest room…it has been repainted at least 8 times. I like it best the way it is now, a cozy French Provencal feel. Painting furniture became a passion, spreading from bedroom to family patio. Scrounging curb-side garbage piles we found a discarded, gigantic galvanized tin feeding trough, presumably for cows. Now this was an amazing find (think cooler for summer drinks.) New England, legendary folk art artist, Peter Hunt’s whimsical style ended up on the cow trough! A fireplace box for wood was painted Pennsylvania Dutch. My parents were given old wooden chairs when they first married. You guessed it; these ended up in our home and changed colors many times. Okay, now there is a little trend going on here. So the logical progression: why not paint other people’s treasures and earn a little money? And with this brain-storm, a cottage business began. We made a move to Denver, Colorado and there I discovered Fripperys, a charming floral/antique shop in an old Victorian home. I quickly became friends with the owners, Paul and Diane. Before long they were piling their “not- sell-able” odds and ends of furniture into my car, to take home and work magic on. Permission was given to paint anything I wanted!! And I did. With all the unique oddments of “stuff,” my painting and imaginative skills were being honed. A year later we once again moved, this time to Chicago. But without too much effort, my cottage- art -furniture business flourished with new clients and a new floral/gift store to paint for. The timing was right and the inspiration was fantastic. It was soon time to step it up a notch and start painting on walls. Bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, ceilings, living rooms and dining rooms, I did it all. The era of faux finishes and mural painting was in its infancy, and burgeoned into adulthood very quickly. It was so exciting to be a part of that era. The ideas and enthusiasm were amazing. Suddenly people wanted an explosion of color and design on their walls not just furniture. It spoke to individualism and uniqueness, each job needed to be different from the previous. Along the way I met and worked with some really fantastic people from patron to nanny; wall paper hanger to interior designer; grumpy husbands, who wrote me the check to wives that tried to conceal what they had paid. Talk about public relations!! My cottage business grew. And with those very busy years came body-burn-out. A decade later I climbed my last scaffold, retired my ladders, put the photographs of work into permanent journals, and moved on. And here I am today, just doing what I always did; painting with strong color, abundant imagination, ideas galore and loving art. But this time the canvas isn’t a formidable wall, but a manageable piece of canvas. And that is how I got from there to here.