Started work on my 1930’s folding chair today!
I’m painting this chair as part of a joint fundraiser for the Pacific Art League and the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto. There will be a gala fundraiser in March where some 100 chairs all painted by different artists will be auctioned off.
So far my favorite part was adding real rose branches to the legs and stretchers of the chair. I love how it looks like they’re growing out of the wood, and even with the thorns they seem to soften the geometric look of the chair.
A chair is a great vehicle for the human form as it’s an easily anthropomorphized object. I decided to do a vanitas – you know, life and death, two sides of the same coin.
The front side will be about life in full bloom the reverse will depict the passing of that life. Still loads to do but I think I’m off to a good start. Stay tuned for the back- expect something dark!
The skeleton on the back corresponds with the torso on the front. I’m adding moths, with low light photography they look like vertebrae to me. They are thought to symbolize death. I’ve painted in a few thorny branches on the edges and will work some into the central panel. I’m trying out a metal rose on one of the holes from a brace I removed.
With assemblage you can try out different options before you commit to any one thing. The problem is I kinda like them all, including the restraint of paring things back a bit. The chair already has a lot going on and I don’t want my added elements to compete too much with those lovely thorns. The great thing is that I will file away the ideas I don’t use for a another time where they may just perfect.
The little butterfly I’ve added to the front symbolizes the soul and to have one land on you is considered to be good luck.
As you can see the chair is pretty dry, all but the rose hips on the side. I can now go ahead and drill into the sacrum for the final placement of my metal rose and leaves.
This was such a fun project, one that clearly relates to my work but is also a playful step into something new! Can’t wait to see all the chairs at the preview, Friday March 28 at the Woman’s Club. It’s a free public event with all the artists in attendance. The Silent Auction will follow on Saturday March 29 at the gala fundraiser which is $35 a ticket and can be ordered though this link: http://womansclubofpaloalto.org/painted/ where you can take a sneak peek at what the other artists have been up to.