Pages

Saturday, August 09, 2008

On Being a Painter

I don't mean an artist. I mean a painter. As in a painter of walls.

That's what I've been doing for the past few weeks. Well, when I've not been working like a big dog or travelling to Texas during a heat wave. Other than THOSE things, I've been working on painting the dining room.

When we first bought this house, about 15 years ago, the interior was ... it was ... well, it was different. The house was built in the 70's and we were the third set of owners. The first set had left things much as they were in the early seventies, including fixtures and wallpaper. The second set of owners had stripped some of the wallpaper and replaced it with Laura Ashley prints, mostly in shades of blue and peach, and then painted the remaining GRASSCLOTH wallpaper a dark shade of Wedgwood blue. Different. Maybe that's why we got the house so cheap.

Fast forward two years or so. In the kitchen we have stripped off the gigantic head splitting print of strawberries and peaches and magnolia blossoms all growing off of the same curling blue vine and painted the walls a lovely non-busy white. (My FAVORITE white -- Benjamin Moore's Atrium White -- LOVELY). In the bathroom we have stripped off something and uncovered some holes in the wallboard that were PAPERED over. Jeez. We have re-painted bedrooms that were a nice little girl shade of hot pink and mauve to a calm light purple and beige, respectively. We've done several things. The entire time that we've done all of this, I have been scraping and peeling and steaming and pulling off lots of blue painted grasscloth. Lots. More than you can imagine. My neck is a mess, my shoulders are shot, I have no life other than work followed by hours of scraping off quarter sized pieces of wallpaper every single night.
Every. Single. Night.

You will understand why I quit for a while. I was tired. I needed a break from fixing things. I swore, however, that once I was rested, my next project would be the horrible dining room, papered in Laura Ashley (of course) stripes of pink and blue and icky gold and white. It looked like an ice-cream parlor on steroids. It was HORRIBLE.

I never got used to it, but I never actually got around to doing it either. For about 13 years, I muttered nasty things about Laura Ashley and ice cream parlors every time I had to walk through the dining room. But I didn't do anything ... not until about a month ago when I decided to replace the light fixture and pull off one little bit of wallpaper that was started to peel up at the seams. Finally! I had dreams of bright colors and clear light and something funky. I wanted something artistic. My sister had told me that the most interesting room in my house was my bathroom*. Somehow that just felt wrong. This was my big chance to make a huge change and express myself!!

This was my big chance...



Okay, so I ask you -- how can I feel perfectly comfortable choosing to mix cadmium red alongside cerulean blue, along with a shot of cobalt and yellow ochre and viridian to make wood planks, like on this unfinished bit of a painting, yet when it comes time to pick a color to paint the dining room, I spend THREE WEEKS before I finally settle on what could kindly be called beige. Huh?

Beige. The name of the color is actually Harmony (isn't that nice?) yet it looks a bit like burnt cream of mushroom soup. I wanted to be bold. I experimented with colors like pumpkin and red and peach and rich brown and funky grey... and after many trips to the paint store, after buying more little sample jars of paint and holding up chips of color, I chose beige. Excuse me, I meant to say Harmony.

I'm a wuss.


*My bathroom, which is painted orange and has a green rug and turquoise towels, along with things like a photograph of an old statue taken by a friend, a painting of the beach by me, a painting of a flamingo by Diahn, several figure drawing pieces by Janey, funky candle holders, etc., probably IS the most interesting room in the house.

18 comments:

annie said...

Man! You must have done something really offensive in another life to have to be punished by pulling off quarter size pieces of Wedgwood blue grasscloth wallpaper!! Bless your heart! I can understand why you had to take a break!

And maybe the beige needs to be on the dining room walls to provide a neutral backdrop for some stunning artwork!

Your bathroom does sound interesting!

It makes my neck and shoulders hurt just reading about all this work! But think how good it will look when it is all done. . .

Linda said...

Annie -- Hopefully I've made retribution by now! :-D
The beige, er, harmony, looks pretty good. You're right about fulling the room with some loverly art work, too!

Lin said...

OH LINNIE!! I DO THE SAME THING ---WHITE AND PALE YELLOW!! WUSSES UNITE!

Deb said...

Too funny! I'm so glad to know that I must not be a wuss....I painted my former pastel blue and white cottage style livingroom Cinnabar Red and Taupe. Gee...I had to get new furniture and curtains, too.*G*

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

I'm in the wussy group with you. When we built this house I painted EVERY room the same Pure White. Its a small house so I wanted it to look open, clean and as big as possible. Its a warm white with a few drops of yellow they tell me. I still love it, but I did venture out and paint three walls "cuppa cocoa" brown. I love it ... but, boy was it a hard decission.

Rita said...

Loved reading this--hehe! I guess I am a wuss, too. I figure you can add color with what you hang on the walls, furniture, and other decorative touches. :)

ujwala said...

lol! all rooms, all walls are egg shell white and have been in all the homes that we've been in in the last 15 years (9, i think)! a bigger wuss than everyone here :P the bathroom sounds exciting indeed. any possibilities of a pic of the bathroom?

Linda said...

Hee hee -- a photo of the bathroom, huh? We'll see!

janey said...

I'm in your bathroom, how sweet. You're in my bedroom :D

Linda said...

:-D Janey, you're also in the bedroom. You're all over the house!

gabi campanario said...

great post! love the painting

Jan Allsopp said...

I know what you mean about being unable to decide on a colour. I lived in a (nicely named) grey house for 8 years constantly looking at colours. Then in 2000 I decided to paint my rooms shapes, not walls and suddenly I could visualise the colours! We spent the 2 weeks of the Sydney olympics inside with the tv on painting red, green, indigo and marigold wall-shapes. It was only when we finished that we had painted the colours of the olympic rings all bar the black!!! We've overpainted slightly different shades of the same colours (for a wussy kind of variation) since as touch ups. I love living IN colour! I won't go back now!

Tami said...

Believe me, you're NOT alone in fear of choosing a WRONG color so end up sticking with the tried and trues. I went through the same thing in our remodel. Finally I decided that I could always repaint it if I didn't like the color so jumped off the edge in an upstairs room 1st. It was a soft spring green with white trim after that there was no more white or beige for me! Well, that's not entirely true the living room and hall ended up "Summer Haze" which was a soft beigey yellow. But I did spend literally months agonizing over color choices!

janey said...

Oh I don't think you're a wuss... well maybe a little bit :D I'm not a beige person myself. I like white walls. I think white might be my version of beige though.

I have one word of advise when someone tells me their renovating. MOVE! Never again, never, never, never. Well maybe next year for the 2nd bathroom.

Sioux said...

Sounds like the guys that previously owned your home also owned ours...and we've been here 23 year and have done all but our bedroom which our daughters are going to do for us for Christmas.

One room had bedsheets stabled to the wall!

simplyred said...

Add me to the list of wall color wusses. My rooms are either white, white or in some cases, white. And I have to admit it, right here in public, I like them that way!! Hmmm, maybe I should be brave and try a nice neutral "Harmony" on some of my walls.

Ernie
Gypsy Gold Studio

Toni said...

Hi Linda,
Well her we are almost a month after you made this post. We have lived in our home for nearly 12 years and I still have not ripped up the ugly brown carpet. Hopefully by now you have a freshly painted dinning room just beaming with light and pleasantries.

Karen at Pen in Hand said...

Oh, Linda - I haven't been here in SO LONG. You've been doing wonderful, delicious paintings (on paper, at least!)