I have a love affair with spray paint and its ability to breathe new life into formerly sad, beaten down objects. Given my recent need for chairs at my kitchen table, combined with the desire to revive something old rather than simply buy something new, I decided to undergo a little furniture refinishing adventure.
The first subject (or victim, depending on your perspective) is a formerly old and rickety dining chair that I found at a local thrift store. (Old and rickety were the exact adjectives used by the sales lady when I asked about its price). For a whopping three dollars I brought home this beauty:
I know, calm down, pick yourself up off the floor. She's just too much to behold with her lackluster finish and garish red (and stained!) cushion. BUT, she had a great shape, and I knew that new fabric and a coat of spray paint would free her inner fabulousness.
To start the process, I flipped the chair over to unscrew the seat, and it appeared that a former industrious chair-improver had filled the screw holes in with wood putty. I was incredibly disappointed, until I poked the putty with my screw driver and noted that it easily gave way. Elated, I gleefully scraped away the putty until I realized that it was actually some sort of cocoon and the biggest nastiest larva I had ever seen was now smushed all over my screw driver.
(My apologies for not recording that discovery with some National Geographic quality photography. I know you must be disappointed).
And guess what, this first larva had siblings in the three other holes I had yet to venture into. Sadly four little mystery larvae sacrificed their lives for the beauty of my dining room.
Once all my nasty little friends were removed from the chair, and I and my screwdriver were thoroughly disinfected, I rubbed the chair down with alcohol. Normally I would use mineral spirits, but I was out, and determined to move to the spray painting stage quickly. I also skipped the sanding stage because the chair's finish was so old and broken down and didn't really have any spots that needed smoothing over. (The other chair I purchased will need sanding, but that is for a different post!)
I primed the chair with a spray primer and then painted it with two thin coats of Valspar Golden Maize, and then a couple thin coats of a spray sealer. After recovering the chair with some lovely outdoor fabric I found at Joann Fabrics, this is the result:
I think she's a much happier chair after her rehab. Total price: less than $20 (and four larvae, but how can you put a price on them??). The chair was $3 at the thrift store, fabric was less than $5 plus two cans of spray paint around $5 each.
I could get used to this thrifting thing. Minus the bugs.
One last post about our recent show, Psalms for the City, at Houston's First. I wanted to share a few photos I took before the crowds arrived. This is a counterclockwise tour around the exhibition from where you enter the front of the lobby.
I unfortunately missed shots of a few of the panels due to crowds blocking the work. If any of my fellow artists provide me with their photos, I'll update the post. Missing below are John Robertson, Eric Hartley, Alicia Ashdown, Jeff Austin and Lori Latham.
Websites for the participating artists are linked after the jump.
This week we had our monthly meeting for our art community, Imago. One of our discussion topics was reflections on the show that just ended and how it affected us as artists and volunteers.
As far as the show as a whole goes, it was wonderful. Great art, glory to God, etc etc. But from my personal perspective, I'll be honest: I was a bit disappointed when I first looked back on it.
One of the things I love most about participating in this annual show is the opportunity to talk to the people who come to see the art. On Sunday mornings and on Meet the Artist Night, we as the artists stand by our paintings and discuss our inspiration, our process, and the challenges we encountered in completing our pieces. Hearing others' input on my paintings is a joy for me, especially since they often provide an outlook I never would have without speaking with them. This particular year, however, my painting was situated that there wasn't really a place for me to stand near it. I would have been smushed between artworks and would have felt as though I was on display as much as the artwork was! For this reason, I stood back from the artwork, and spent much more time simply observing the reactions of people rather than interacting with them. I'm a talker by nature, so quiet observation can be a challenge for me. So I was a little disappointed.
Most adults would casually walk up to peruse the art, spend the requisite amount of time reading the placard with the description of the piece and media, and then move on to the next display. However, most children I observed grabbed their parent's hand and dragged them to my painting to see the picture of the little boy. Children have a fascination with other children. I've seen it in my own kids when we read books, watch movies, or go to the playground. Kids connect with each other on a level that I think many adults have forgotten. Kids don't have walls built that prevent immediate connection, whereas many of us grown-ups have built fortresses around ourselves as we have aged.
I enjoyed watching the passion of these children as they ran up to the painting to look closer and ask their parents questions. And then it struck me: our Imago group is changing our church's culture. See, many of us raised in Protestant churches (especially Baptist, in my personal experience), didn't see art around the church as children. Sure there may have been a marketing poster for an upcoming sermon series or clip art with the projected song lyrics during worship, but no displays of art that really made you think, or that encouraged worship of God.
The presence of art in the church is still a foreign idea for many. But here's the thing, the first action God took in Genesis 1:1 was to create . He is our Creator God, and we are created in His image. It is in the very substance of our being to create, and He has blessed us with this drive to create, and yet as a group we have excluded this gift He has given us from the very place we built specifically to worship Him.
But now, after watching these children race up to the art over the past three weeks, I realize that this generation, my sons' generation, will no longer say that art wasn't present in the church. They will think about art, and ask questions inspired by the art, and through the process, I hope God will become a little more real to them. To be a part of that change is an honor.
Acrylic on Canvas
I'd like to introduce you to my completed piece for the Psalms in the City exhibition hanging currently at Houston's First Baptist Church.
Only one more week left for the exhibit! Come see me and the other artists Wednesday night at the Meet the Artists Reception from 7-9 pm. Details are here at the Imago website.
The show comes down after the last service Sunday evening, April 7th, so catch it while you still can.
Hope to see you there!
So here's a sneak peek of my piece for our upcoming show, Psalms for the City, at Houston's First Baptist Church. My painting is based on Psalm 91. (Yes, I know he's also the banner on my webpage right now. . . but you are still intrigued, right?!) I'm co-curating the show, so I know for a fact there are some really great pieces.
The show at HFBC is up from March 24th through April 7th, and we have a sister show at the Vineyard Church in Houston as well. Check out Imago Houston's website for more details about both shows.
Come see me, great art and share in the conversation (and really delicious snacks) on the evening of April 3rd for Meet the Artist night at HFBC!
I'm Allison. I love to challenge my viewers with the unexpected and make the world a more beautiful place with my art. Check out my art here.
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