Sunday, February 15, 2009

In Search of Chairs

During my artistic career I have painted a number of chairs. "Aunt Mim's Chair" was a sunny gold upholstered chair sitting in the corner of my aunt's home. "Out of the Weather" was a beat up relic left on the front porch of a shack somewhere in Montana. There was my girl friend's chair complete with her antique doll house. There were wicker chairs on the porch of Stoneledge Farm and a red chair for my son to hang in his dorm room. After all how could he get through school without one of my chairs? But never any people. "Why don't you put someone in the chair?" my cousin asked. That just wasn't a part of my artistic vision. The only people I have ever painted were my family, because they are not allowed to complain. Besides how could I have gotten them to pose in Aunt Mim's chair or somewhere in Montana?
But I do have a vested interest in chairs, not only to paint, but for my own use.

After years in a tiny Tampa condo, we moved to Pensacola. A large part of the incentive to move was that I would have my own studio. A whole room with just my stuff - everything but the kitchen sink. I wasn't in Pensacola to make the final purchase decision, but that studio sold me on the whole place sight unseen. I started collecting paint cards because my studio would definitely be decorated. A series of shelves were added to the closet. A drying rack was placed along one wall. I would also have a television and stereo. Time went on, color choices made and I was painting canvases again, not just walls.
But I didn't have an easy chair. This condo was much larger than the last and our furniture just didn't stretch as far. So down I went to the local furniture store where they just happened to have a sale. I chose a buff colored tub chair that swiveled. We hauled it home and it fit perfectly.

As fate would have it, we were to move again, this time back to my home in NH. We put on an addition for a larger studio this time. It was and still is a "pinch me" experience. What was an old outside deck area is now a hardwood floor, soaring ceilings, a sky light and plenty of shelves, racks, cupboards and drawers. My Pensacola chair would look just right.
But my husband didn't have a chair for his downstairs den. The budget was tight and it seemed only right to give him my studio chair. So I just dragged in a kitchen chair when the sun was perfect to sit and read. Prices were so high I just stopped looking.
My girlfriend and her brother were in charge of emptying an aunt's house after she had passed on. There, in the cool aisle of the barn among many yard sale items, sat a unique upholstered chair. It was a soft green, had a modest skirt and four buttons marching along the curving back. It had probably been a boudoir chair but it didn't matter to me. It "sat" good. How much would they want? I set a top price of $50. in my head - no higher than that. It was only FIVE DOLLARS and they offered to deliver! Sold. We trucked it home, hauled it up the stairs and it now sits in my sunny window. I may even paint it someday.

So this is about perseverance and maintaining your artistic vision. In my paintings there will always be space available for you to "sit" down in your imagination. Should you venture to my studio, you are also welcome to sit in my $5 chair.