Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Siren Song of a Colorful Spring

Spring has come early here this year. March is usually dark and depressing and grey. This year, it's been sunny and flowery and warm. So instead of wishing I was somewhere else while staring at my sky blue kitchen ceiling, (which is how I usually get through March,) I decided to do a little something. I invited my mother to come out and take an art class with me.

It was a class in using color in soft pastel taught by Lou Gagnon of Lynn Vale Farms (Here's their site: ) in Gainesville, VA. I met him by chance through his wife, Andrea, who makes the most glorious flower bouquets at the Burke Farmer's market.  They had their own barn sale in December, and you know I am a sucker for a day trip, so Alynne and I went out to check it out. This what greeted us:

Pretty place, right? Well it IS a flower farm. How ugly could it be? (You gotta love hydrangeas. They are always lovely)

Here are a few of Lou's pieces, just to give you a feel for what this guy knows about color:

They are completely luminous in person. I was stunned. Here are a few more:

I wanted to add this last one, just to give you some idea how beautiful these pieces are in context. It nevet hurts to have a fabulous, original barn door as a backdrop.

So back to our class. I went with my mom and my friend Sharon. Lou taught us some really useful stuff about color theory and light theory, about blending with colors instead of just black and white. We even got to wear 3D glassed for an exercise on temperature. It was kind of like being at pastel color boot camp. I loved it! Plus he let us use all his pricey European pastels. Gotta love that.

And I got to see my mom as a fellow student and artist. She's much more concerned with doing it "right" than I am. It was fun to have a chance to tease her just a little bit about being a "front row seat" kind of girl. Sharon and I are definately the back row types. But once she relaxed and got into it, Mom impressed me with her sophisticated color combinations and thoughtful comments. Way to go Mom!

Here we all are in that amazing studio:

The same weekend brought other adventures with it. Originally, my mom had planned on coming out alone, but about 3 days before she left, my dad decided he wanted to come too! It was just what the doctor ordered. (No pun intended, Dad.) I had got myself into a situation that could use a little oversight and he was just the man to do it.

I have been refinishing and repairing this beautiful chest of drawers, but it has quite the laundry list of things that need doing. When I got it, it was really musty and needed to be bleached and aired out. The drawers were creaky and the base panels slid in and out at random. The top had old advesive from a mirror that was no longer with us and needed to be stripped. But the biggest problem was the bottom drawer. There was no bottom panel at all. Here's what it looked like the day I got it home.

Pretty, but daunting, right? I did a bunch of it, but with cutting the replacement piece of wood I was stuck.

So my dad helped out. Fortunately, I know a guy with a scroll saw and had the perfect piece of wood already in my shop. My dad made a template, recut the base of the drawer for me, and then helped me reglue the dovetails to strengthen each drawer base. Horrah for dads who know their way around a workshop!

He also helped me frame "A Shift in the Season", which was huge for me. It was a complicated install with very little margin for error. I got nauseous every time I thought about it. He wasn't even nervous. I suppose being a doctor where you are making decisions that affect whether people live or die might thicken your skin a bit. There really is something to working with someone that has complete and total confidence, both in you and themselves. In any case, it turned out beautifully. I would consider it my master work so far, both the piece and the framing job. (If you are so inclined, here's the entry I wrote about the developement and process of this piece)

Here it is in its new home:

And how could I claim "Daddy's Girl" status, if he didn't take me shopping for a bunch of stuff? I have to say, going thrift shopping with your dad is a blast. He found golf shoes and a putter for himself. I found my entire spring line of stuff to refinish for myself. (I promise before and after pics are coming, but that's another post)

In any case, I owe my dad a huge Thank you!!! You are the best!!!

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