Being a big fan of Jane Austen, I recently re-read Pride and Prejudice… Then my sister gave me a copy of another entertaining tale, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. While working diligently on my table, a quote from that book stated by Miss Bingley in Chapter 10 keeps popping into my head (in a faux English accent, of course) – “Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her improvement on the harp, and pray let her know that I am quite in raptures with her beautiful little design for a table, and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley’s…”
We can assume it would have been a decoupage design that Darcy’s sister was creating on a table… The craft was then called the art of Japanning (a term that was derived from the Asian lacquer technique.) Whatever Ms. Austen was referring to in her classic tale, I am sure it was quite different than my table design. I confess, however, that I do hope it would also qualify as “superior to Miss Grantley’s”!
Coaxing the right colors from tubes of paint can be surprisingly time-consuming for a perfectionist! Color is usually more complicated than we realize, but I am really enjoying the process. All of the painting is done free hand – without the aid of taping edges or lines. Though I feel this technique enhances the organic feel of the design, it does take a steady hand and a great deal of concentration.
Slowly, as I apply more coats of paint, little details are added to enhance interest. The richness of color is revealed as layer after layer makes the blues, greens, yellows and reds more opaque. Many hours are spent perfecting the paint, the edges, the color…
It is a bit obsessive, but somehow also meditative and enjoyable. I really get drawn into the process and find it difficult to pull myself away, despite my aching neck and lower back!
Eventually I decide that the table looks complete and it’s time to stop. Occasionally I ask someone else to look and make suggestions, or tell me “It looks great! Stop now!”
The paints I’ve used to create my mandala table are rated outdoor acrylics and are UV and water resistant. It isn’t intended that it remain outside indefinitely, yet it can easily be folded and carried out to the porch to enjoy with your morning espresso and scone!
Posted in: Art, Decorative Arts, Design, Drawing, Personal History
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