Monday, July 23, 2012

North Carolina Dogwoods Arrive in Denver...New Adirondack Chairs

I paint because it is in my soul, it is the one medium that nomatter what is going on in my life, it soothes my soul. This is my first post in a little over a year, and my first creation. I cannot even begin to explain how important these pieces are to me. I hope that you can see part of my soul in the chairs, yes, I know they are just chairs.

My very first client, Kelly, wanted an original set of outdoor chairs for her patio. I had given her a sample of a porch chair I completed nearly ten years ago. The design could not have been simpler, one color base with a giant blown up flower. Although the design was simple, it is timeless and works with whatever color combination you like, bold and bright, soft and subtle, pastel, cool and classic.

When working with custom orders, I always have to find a way to make it personalized. It doesnt matter if I connect with the piece, the purpose is for you to connect with the piece. For the life of her, she could not come up with a flower she loved. She is originally from North Carolina now living in Denver, so I suggested the state flower for North Carolina. She just LOVED that idea. The dogwood flower is similar in shape to a cherry blossom, except traditionally it is a white flower.

Now for the "not so fun" stuff. Colorado is known for crazy storms. This is a photo of her "before" chairs. They dont look all that bad, solid wood, well made, great starting point...but...not quite. They were damaged in a hail storm a few years back, so there were these tiny indentations in the wood which needed to be evened out. Just a little wood putty and some extra sanding and a really good coat of primer and they were back in shape!

On a personal note, I have an aversion to doing white anything on red bases, it always reminds me of christmas, so to avoid that whole holiday look, I custom mixed a deep cranberry, almost purple color with a subtle brown to create the rusty terra cotta color. (granted in the light it looks rose, its actually a deep cranberry with a hint of brown).

After coating the bases of the chairs a few times, I decided to do some detailing on the arms of the chairs, so I created a custom stencil from an image online of cherry blossoms an tiny vines, and did some tiny tiny vined flowers. It took forever to create because they are so small but they added such a nice detail that I ended up doing it on both chairs.

Now the trick when it comes to doing outdoor furniture is to be realistic. You want the piece to be pretty and detailed but at the same time you know its going to be outdoors, so you dont have to be overly detailed in your paintings ( noone is really going to see those extra details). Big bold and simple is the way to go with outdoor pieces, some detailing to give it dimension, but nothing extraordinary, keeping that balance can take some time.

Both chairs came out fabulously! The first chair I put the dogwood smack dab in the center. The second chair, however, I did even larger than the first flower, but placed it a bit off center, so that the flower takes up the majority of the background of the chair, but is much longer.

Whether paired up as a set or separated out as individual chairs, these are a great way to add a little flair to you patio furniture!


  1. Did you cut the chairs backs down and also the arm rests? Because your before chairs look like a different shape. If you did then color me impressed cause that's a BIG job.

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