Friday, June 29, 2007

"Passed" Painter of the Day

It's Friday already and I haven't posted a "passed" painter in a few weeks. Seems our summer schedule (although, I don't think there is such a thing as a schedule during the summer!!), is busier than during the school year.
We've been remodeling that bathroom...volunteering in VBS at church and my older son has been taking an Art class and learning about shading, perspective, and watercolor. He has really been enjoying it, and I'll post a picture of his work next week. Now he will need to teach me what he's learned!
Today's painter is Winthrop Chandler (1747-1790). His father died and left his mother with 10 children, some were already grown and had families of their own. Winthrop, however, was young and when he was 15, he asked the courts to allow his wealthy brother-in-law to be his guardian. Most boys his age were becoming apprentices to learn a trade or receive further education. Winthrop must have been well cared for and encouraged to persue his talents during this 7 year guardianship, although there is no record of his attending an Art school, he painted his first portraits during this time.
He painted many members of his family (the Chandler's) as well as the Devotion family. Ebenezer Devotion was a clergyman (with a last name like "Devotion", his occupation was fitting!) Winthrop painted several members of this family over the years. He left the area for a brief time with his wife and family, but came back to Woodbury,CT after the death of his six year old son. Although his family was divided during the Revolutionary War,~ he painted his brother in his Colonial uniform, and carved a relief of the King for another family member~ there is no mention of his political leanings. The portrait of his brother hangs in the
National Gallery of Art.
He did paint a self-portrait, as well as one of his wife. Both died fairly young, his wife died of TB in 1790 Winthrop was 43 in 1793 when he died. Their children went to live with relatives.
Well, that is a rather sad thought to end on....but he did paint some amazing portraits, as well as, landscapes!

Hope everyone enjoys your weekend...we will probably be doing more remodeling!

References: "American Folk Painters of the Three Centuries" Jean Lipman and Tom Armstrong, editors..(1980). (Love this book!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Painted a Wall, Painted an Eagle and Barked

And not necessarily in that order....

The bath remodel is *s*l*o*w*l*y* coming along...the floor is up, and some of the wallboard that needs replacing has been removed. I guess the slower, the better...that way we aren't without plumbing all together!

Along with the bath remodel, I've added another home improvement project to the list! I'm repainting the front room and kitchen. Why not just make one big mess and get it over with?!
I loved my green walls, but I was just ready for a change. So, a few quarts of paint later....I found the color I like! The kids are calling it chocolate milk . Of course by changing the wall color I'm thinking I'd like to get slip covers for the brown sofa and chair. Hmmmmm??And wouldn't white ironstone pottery look nice against the walls?? And, oh I'd better stop...running out of money!

We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the landscapers for some bark and flagstone this weekend. This job is fairly easy and there is instant gratification. It makes the outside of the house look nice, even though the inside of the house looks like a bomb went off! Oh, if the neighbors only knew!

And the eagle....I painted the eagle this weekend for the Americana theme on American Folk Art
which is today...
(12:00 Eastern). Please click on over to see the offerings!

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Portrait Revisited

On June 25th American Folk Art
will be having an Americana-themed update. Many of the artists on AFA will be offering items they have created incorporating the Americana theme.

Here is one of my contributions to the update. I've painted this toddler before, (or at least his/her cousin !), but this time I painted a Colonial soldier on a horse as the pull toy and used more patriotic colors in the painting.
Please join us on the 25th at 12:00pm(EST).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Primitive Gathering

Birds of a Feather has been updated....several of the ladies who make and create handmade folk art through the online market, The Primitive Gathering also take turns posting on the blog. Well, today was my turn. These links will take you to the blog, as well as, the website which is updated on the 1st and the 15th of each month.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Mid-Week"end" Get-a-way

Some friends of ours graciously offered their cabin to our family for a few nights...and we spent Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday playing at the lake.
The "cabin" was more like a lake was big, roomy and right on Payette Lake in McCall Idaho . Here is a photo of the front, along the driveway and one of the back as I stand of the dock.

The weather was beautiful and we all got a little "sun-kissed". There was a paddle boat that the boys really enjoyed, (and really wore them out!). The scenery was beautiful, just sitting on the dock looking out was breath-taking. And of course, the boys had to fish. My husband had to remind the boys that it was called "fishing", not "catching". But I don't think they seemed to mind that they didn't catch anything.

The lake house was built in two parts and the oldest part was built in the 1930's. And the most interesting room in the house was a small half bath at the top of the stairs. Someone had used newspaper as wallpaper and it had held up these many years quite well.
The newspaper that was used was during the year 1938....and lots of history covered the walls. I took some photos of some I thought were interesting, but each time I went in there (and not just to do what you do in there)...I found myself reading for quite awhile! It was so interesting.

FDR was president and one article spoke about the "New Deal". The local radio programs were listed, just like our TV programs. There were local grocer ads,
woman's clothing on sale, and one thing I found really interesting was an article about the casting of "Gone With the Wind" (1939). It read that the parts were given to Clark Gable and Margaret Tallichet. Of course she didn't play the role, and several other women were screen tested before Vivian Leigh was chosen. But, that's a fun bit of trivia on the bathroom wall!

We had a great time, but it's always nice to be back in your own bed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The "Before"

This weekend we (Husband and I, with sons in agreement) decided it just HAS to be done....NOW!!! When we bought our home almost two years ago in Boise, we were looking for an affordable home near my husband's work. We found a "cottage", (more like a "well-loved".. and not in the "vintage-way", 1970's ranch). It's small, and that's okay, because it has a huge backyard where "someday" we hope to add on to the house. It has nice neighbors too. But it only has one bathroom. "What were we thinking?" will probably be your first thought...but we liked the home, it fit our budget, and it was close to work, it had LOTS of potential! AND we have always remodeled every home we've lived, we weren't afraid of giving it a face-lift.
So what's behind this curtain???...... NOT going to show you! Just know it would win the ugliest shower award!

Well, the face-lift is more like a restructuring. We've already knocked down a wall in the front room to open up the living area and put in wood flooring. We scraped (safely), primed and painted all of the ceilings in the house. It had that '70's popcorn stucco stuff on them. All the interior doors have been replaced. My husband has refaced all of the kitchen cabinets with beadboard doors and beadboard backsplash and replaced the laminate countertops in the kitchen...yes, soapstone would have been nice, but a bit pricey! The living area/ kitchen area is beautiful and cottage-y. And now it's time for the bathroom....

Now, in our last home, we had three bathrooms...and remodeled each one at a time. With just one bathroom to remodel, this has brought on a few concerns. And being the seasoned "do-it-your-selfers", we KNOW that things NEVER go as planned and you don't know what you are really dealing with until you start demolition.

So, this week is planning and ordering week...part of the planning will be to decide the best plan of attack so that we aren't left without a bathroom for too long while we are remodeling. Thank goodness our church is close by with running water, we will probably be there more than ever these coming weeks!

I am bravely posting photos of the "before". We've already started the demolition by ripping up the lovely vinyl flooring...(you think that's bad, you should have seen the indoor/outdoor carpet that was in the dining room)
One thing I did do in the bathroom when we moved in was to get rid of the build-in medicine cabinet, paint the cabinets and walls, knowing that we were going to remodel soon, so it wasn't a great job, but at least I could walk in there.

So far this weekend we've chosen and ordered flooring, it's a start....but a long few weeks ahead!

Friday, June 8, 2007

"Passed" Painter of the Day

It's Friday and I can't decide on a "passed" painter to tell you about. So, I think I'll focus on a group of painters, or "would be" painters. A school for "would be" painters and portraitists, called simply American School, offered painting instruction for those who had the time and means to attend. These students were taught by American painters rather than attending a European school of painting. The American style of painting was distinctively different than European painters. These "would be" painters were taught realism in their technique. And most painted portraits showed subjects with a favorite item to be remembered in oils for years to come. Some portraits depicted the subject in his or her profession, for example, a Minister would be painted with a Bible. This Little Girl in Red with Basket was painted by a student of the American School. Sadly, these artist were not recognized by name. They are simply known as "American School" painter. Here is one I painted...(and will probably paint again soon with more of a patriotic theme), using an American School artist's portrait for my inspiration.

~Have a wonderful weekend everyone~

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Floor Cloths~Part "B"

This post is a continuation of Floor Cloths~Part "A"

from my last post. Here is a list of supplies for part "B":

  • Acrylic paint (a variety of colors from the craft store)
  • French Grey Watercolor Pencil
  • Paint brush
  • Lint brush
  • Polyurethane
  • Wax
Some possible other supplies will be added in the steps, as needed.

Step 5~ was painting your design. I usually offer Period Designs, as in 18th and 19th century-style designs. But it's always fun to paint something fun and whimsical too. For my design I wanted to incorporate red, white and blue for a bit of a patriotic theme..but not too bold. So I painted red, white and blue fruits and flowers... daisies, strawberries, and blueberry branches.
I draw my design onto the canvas with a French Grey pencil, this way it can be washed off with a damp paper towel after you are done. (especially, if you don't color inside the me!) Any design or no design would be fine. Stencils are always fun to use...if you don't feel comfortable drawing something out free-hand, stencils are NOT cheating, lol. I'm a Certified Stenciler of fabric and walls through Stencilers Artisan League and beautiful artwork can be created using stencils, so give it a try.

Step 6~
After your painting is dry, use the lint brush to remove any threads, or fuzz and apply the first coat of polyurethane. Let dry, lightly sand, and after using the lint brush, apply another coat of sealant. And repeat... 3 to 5 coats of polyurethane should be applied.
I also apply one coat to the back, just to seal the paint.

Step 7~
Now apply the wax with a clean cloth and buff. Just the front don't want to have people slipping if you are making a floor cloth for the floor! I use a car wax buffer to buff.
This will keep your floor cloth protected. For maintenance, just reapply a coat of polyurethane when needed. (I made one for a store to use at their checkout counter and it didn't need a coat for about 2 yrs., with VERY heavy traffic every day).

All I've learned about floor cloths and how to make them has been through books. Here are two that have been very helpful:

Floor Decor: decorating techniques for beautiful floors and floorcloths by Susan Goans Driggers © 2000

Floorcloth Magic: how to paint floorcloths for decorative home use by Lisa Curry Mair © 2001
If you make one of your own...please email me a photo!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Floor Cloths~Part "A"

Hi, hope everyone had a great weekend. I was able to start on some painting projects that need to be finished soon!! One of the projects is a table runner. I make and offer floor cloths ( canvas rugs used on wood floors~ popular in the 18th century) on my website Pear Tree Primitives.

The table runner is made the same way as a floor cloth, the process is the same, just on a smaller scale, so I thought I would take you through the steps and perhaps inspire you to try one too!

(since I'm not quite done, I'm going to divide the steps into parts "A" and "B" and show you Part "B" later in the week)

  • Heavy weight canvas (they sell 10 weight at fabric stores, but 8 or lower is best. I've found heavy canvas at Fine Art supply stores). Michael's also sells a pre-primed canvas product by Fredrix©
  • Sponge and water
  • Yardstick, pencil
  • Plastic sheet
  • Lint brush
  • Paint brush
  • Primer
  • Sand paper
  • Acrylic Paint
Step 1~

First decide what size floor cloth you are making. I'm making a table runner that is 43" by 15".
If you are using the heavy canvas, you will need to measure your piece and add an extra inch and a half. The cloth will shrink and your hem will need to be about an inch, so keep that in mind as you measure.

Now the tricky part, find a flat area and lay out your piece onto a plastic sheet. Wet your sponge and wet your canvas. It's best to work from the middle out. This way there shouldn't be any creases...which you don't want!!! If you get a crease or wrinkle at this stage, you might as well start over. It's hard to get these out. Smaller ones like the table runner, I wet both sides...huge rugs, I just wet the front, but really get it wet! You are shrinking the canvas so that when you apply paint it doesn't shrink and buckle.
(I didn't take a photo of this.....kinda boring!)

Step 2~
After it is dry, you will use your ruler and measure an inch for the hem. Then crease this with an iron. At this point, if you did get a slight (not deep) wrinkle, you can iron it out as well. (Don't laugh at my ironing board's for crafts!)
Now sew your hem, mitering corners makes the piece lay flat when it is being used, and it looks better!

Step 3~
Now use the lint brush to remove any threads or fuzz from the cloth.
Depending on the intended purpose of the piece, you can give it a coat of primer before you base coat it. This also helps with a smooth application, especially if you are planning a faux finish as your base coat. Prime both sides, then dry. Lightly sand the sides and apply your base coat. (Didn't take a photo of this either)

Step 4~
I usually paint the backs of the floor cloths solid black. But for this one I painted it a taupe color. Two coats of color on the back, sanding in-between.
The base coat could be a simple solid color, or you could have fun and try a faux finish. Marbling looks beautiful on these floorcloths. For this one I sponged some taupe and varying shades of brown to give the background some depth.

(Don't tell my husband, but I used our house paint for this! A great and inexpensive way to buy paint for these projects is to look for returned paints at the hardware store...eggshell, flat or semi are fine.)

Step 5~
Have Fun! Now be creative and paint your design! I'll show photos of my design later this week, with the rest of the steps!

Friday, June 1, 2007

"Passed" Painter of the Day

This Friday's "Passed"portrait painter is Joseph Whiting Stock (1815-1855). He was only 40 when he died, but accomplished a great number of paintings in that time. Joseph took painting lessons and learned to paint from a student of one of the "leading American painters of the time, Chester Harding." (1) Although the subjects of his portraits didn't have the depth or show the skill of Chester Harding, Joseph did quite well filling the walls of 19th century homes. He kept a journal that documented his earnings. In one profitable year of his fourteen years of painting, he earned $740 in a nine-month period. He did this by having "painted to order 37 portraits and 18 miniatures besides several landscapes, etc." (1) Not sure if Joseph's tax man would approve of his unitemized way of record keeping.

He charged his clients according to how large a painting was and how many subjects would be in the portrait. Thirty by twenty-five inches seems to have been the most popular size, and was about $6.00! Here is an example of a larger portrait he painted of relatives: John and Louisa Stock.

My interpretation of Joseph's portrait of another brother and sister is in the upper right. I've named mine Charles and Olivia and no, it's not $6.00! (...but, if you are interested, I'd be happy to pay for shipping and insurance...I'm painting more portraits and could use the wall space!).

(1) Treasures of American Folk Art from The Abbey Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center
by Beatrix T. Rumford and Carolyn J. Weekley © 1989

~Have a great weekend!~

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Boy!

Today, June 1st is my younger son's birthday...he is 12 years old today! Wow, where did all the time go?
Ben has some developmental challenges in his life which make him wonderful, unique and Full of Life! He has come quite a long way and we are very proud of him.
Ben loves computers, video games, anything electronic and is quite good at it...he "practices" a lot!

(Ben and Dad being goofy in a photo booth.)

He is discovering his love of reading and sometimes when it's quiet (like most Mom's think, that's not always a good thing..."the kids must be up to something"), I will find him in his bed reading a book..or working on a puzzle book.

He is not afraid of asking questions when he doesn't understand something. He is inquisitive. . . (but so far hasn't taken apart the computer or the TV to see how it works), and I hope he continues questioning and always trying to figure things out. . .(even though his Dad and I can get exhausted answering them!).

~ Happy Birthday Ben! We love you.~