Thursday, August 3, 2017

Turning Furniture Into Art and My Love of Octopuses

During our “move to Florida that never happened,” 
my husband and I spent a lot of time looking at potential new homes and envisioning our perfect coastal interior. We wanted lots of whites and blues, of course, 
and… a recurring theme of octopuses.

As I looked at coastal home accessories, I became smitten by anything with an octopus on it. I found the twists and turns of an octopus’s arms just so visually cool. And, I loved that they could be so unusual looking and somehow at the same time cute in there own way.

This was the shower curtain I fell in love with for our boys' bathroom from the 
Etsy shop My Silly Pony.

Then, as quick as the opportunity to move south came, it disappeared and we decided to stay put in Maryland. We realized the were blessed to remain in our old Victorian Farmhouse and I embraced again the my clean farm look, 
but my fondness for tentacles remained.

As I thought about my next project, I found myself sketching octopuses and searching for a perfect piece of furniture to make one of the sketches come to life.  I had originally wanted to place the design sideways on a long piece of furniture, but I happened to find a beautiful tall mid century modern piece…so that become my canvas.

I believe every home needs a statement piece of furniture.
Something that is one of a kind and helps set the tone for the space. Furniture can be itself, a great piece of art.

To design my octopus, I looked at images of octopuses and then drew a rough sketch that would fit the piece of furniture I already had. But often, I have an idea or image and then need to find furniture that fits the picture best.

Tip, look for furniture with a mostly flat front, stay away from too many raised drawers and moldings. You want the front to become a smooth canvas.

Now, I am not a trained artist... at all and you don’t need to be.
 Practice drawing a sketch and you may be surprised what you can create. But, if that is not your thing, one of my favorite resources for images is the Graphics Fairy. For one of my favorite pieces, I used a beautiful bird image from there. 
Here are the steps I used to achieve this look.

If have also used countless French ephemera from the Graphics Fairy
which is my signature look! Follow the link here, to see my step by step process for a cream and gold french look.

Once I find an image to my liking, I print the image onto transparency paper (get that here.) For an image I draw, I simply take a picture of it with my phone and then print the picture onto transparency paper.

I like using a transparency, because I can shine up the picture and move the image in and out, making it larger or smaller, 
and find the perfect fit for the piece.

 I like an image to just fit or be larger and slightly off-center, 
creating unsymmetrical symmetry.

 Meaning, a balance of image and negative space which gives interest to a piece. I set my octopus off center slightly but see how it has balance.

hand painted octopus

For the octopus dresser, I based the dresser in Modern Masters warm silver (which is really a gold look) and followed with a white paint. This allows the gold to show through when I sand and distress the piece at the end. 

After drawing the outline of my octopus up, I based the outline in the warm silver and then painted him in a pallet of teals and blues.

Because I like my pieces to have a worn patina, I always sand the image at the end and sometimes I add a wash of white to soften the look when it is on white painted furniture.

When he was all painted, I sent him on his way to some wonderful customers in Florida...Lucky!!

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