My dad gave me his footlocker from when he was a boy, which I painted a plain yellow and had used as a coffee table for the last 10 years. (Who remembers what that looked like?) But, recently buying my own home has inspired me to make my space more personal.
Those of you who are familiar with my creative process know that my end product rarely resembles my initial idea. My creative process is often riddled with mistakes, curse words, a sense of frustration, and even mini pity-parties. This is because I often go into my art, full-steam ahead, unaware that the process of my art itself is actually a cathartic, emotional journey I embark on. Each stroke and mistake is an opportunity for me to let go of my expectations and just see what happens; so, in other words, a lesson I need to accept and practice in my daily life.
So, in terms of this footlocker, I started off thinking that I would just paint on this cool, rubber-like resist where I wanted a tree.
The rubber totally gunked up a favorite paintbrush and I couldn’t get the light sumi-inspired stroke I was going for. But, I let it dry. Then, I had my husband spray paint a milk-chocolatey brown all over it. Once done, I then used a dry brush to gently lay in two different oranges on top of it. I then peeled off the resist to unveil the yellow tree below. When I looked at it outside, I loved it and reveled in my final product. But, then I brought it inside and sat it down beside my dark brown couch and chair. Oh my! That’s where the brown I had previously loved and adored, had instantly transformed into a poo-poo color reminiscent of a terrible night at a unknown hole-in-the-wall restaurant. I could not stare at it any more so had to change it.
So, onto layer 2, 3 and 4. Sprinkle in more curse words, slap on a little more paint, and then overwork it until even your 7 year old says it’s done, and Voilà! Eventually, good things come out of the bad. What I found to really help here was to succumb to the process, relinquish the need to make it perfect, and just let it unfold. In doing so, I got the idea to go back and add in the darker browns around the edges, then add in 4 reds as accents on top of the hardware, and top it off with about 7 layers of different yellows on the trees. Ultimately, I finally liked how it all went with the room and Rob hit it with a coat of polyurethane to really seal the deal.
Overall, it was a wild ride, but now I am really liking how it pulls the whole room together and am stoked that I took some time to just play in the process versus force something out.