Sunday, May 1, 2016

Peacock Chair

I'm not exactly who you would describe as a spiritual person and most of the time I get through life with a sense of pragmatism. It's not often that furniture speaks to me. Yes, you heard me right, this chair spoke to me. Now before you suggest that I'm having delusions or that I must have imagined it, let me tell you just a little bit more about this chair.

First, I have to say I have a thing for old chairs. Our dining room is an assortment of chairs that have either been rescued from the curb on a trash day, or have been "discovered" at a garage sale. I won't pay more than about 10 bucks when I discover them, unless they have already been refinished or have a lot of potential (character). I honestly don't remember which kind of find this particular chair was, just that I know I obtained it last summer and it sat around for a while as I tried to figure out what to do with it.

What interested me about this particular chair were the lines of the chair back. I liked the little cut out and I thought it had a little bit of grace to it. I knew it wouldn't be one of my dining room chairs (assorted pastel spray painted varieties without any added adornment). I just knew this one was going to get a little extra treatment and attention to really emphasize those curves and lines.

I waited until a fall day and went outside with a can of red spray paint. Wait, this chair is purple, what happened? That's when it spoke to me. . . I was halfway through painting it red, when I very clearly heard "I want to be purple". Hmmm, this was strange, but I put that can of spray paint down and reassessed this chair. And then I saw it, the cut out in the center of the chair back. . . right above it. . . there were a pair of angel wings. This chair deserved to be purple and I envisioned right then a pair of angel wings made of peacock feathers.

It's not often I have an epiphany when I paint or visualize my next project. Art to me is more of an organic process where the thoughts or vision come to me over time, or often while I'm painting, it gradually appears. The last significant epiphany that was this memorable took place during my master's project, circa 1998, so we are talking about 17 years or so. Because they are so rare, I really think of these as something to cherish and appreciate.

While the epiphany came last fall, and I certainly listened by putting down that can of spray paint and going out to get a new can in purple, the actual process of painting this chair took a lot longer. I would paint a section and then let it sit for a while in plain sight while I contemplated what to do to it next. I have also been working on other projects over the course of the past few months (as well as working and being a Mom) and took many breaks from this chair. Obviously those peacock angel wings came first, and then the stages of the moon with the silhouette of an old tree. Later came the full peacock on the seat of the chair and then the abstract Buddha symbol in the cut out. I played around with decorative dots, doodles and stars throughout the process.

This chair may have started out with an epiphany but it took  a very long time and was not an easy project to complete. However, I am really happy with how it came out and I am very glad that I didn't rush the process. After all, if a chair takes the time to speak to you, you should take the time to listen. . .