A few people posted and emailed to ask for a larger image of the screens, which, frankly is lovely. But see what happens when I post “more?” Sort of loses something, though it does look quite nice in person. It’s the light, maybe, or as someone pointed out recently, the photographer.
It’s one eight-panel screen hand-painted over silver leaf, likely 1920’s.
With some wear. Like its mistress.
There’s a plan for some reupholstery as well. While this charming image of Pauline de Rothschild turned up on pinterest yesterday did not inspire it, it certainly could have.
Thank you, to those who asked, for your interest.
I began at the paint store in the knowledgable hands of Vic, on whom I can always count for advice and a story or two. He assured me that Benjamin Moore Regal was the way to go and he was right; it covered dense and dark in one coat.
When I told him what I was doing he looked down and nodded his head. “You know, I can paint a steady, straight line,” he looked up from under his brow and finished, “with either hand.” I smiled back, “You know, I can, too. Pretty much.”
And I did. The lines waver slightly – you can see that they were not taped. I like it better. No pretense.
I made a quick guide and started at the center of the longest wall and moved toward the door. I was intent on getting the worst out of the way, the Catholic school girl in me still so deeply embedded that I felt the need to earn satisfaction through suffering. But I succumbed. Succumbed to the creamy temptation of the paint and the soft “shush” of the brush on the wall. The marking scrambled my brain, but the painting soothed my spirit and before the small space filled with the scent of the intoxicant I realized that this was what I sought from the beginning.
In no hurry, with my focus on what was right in front of me, I took it a little at a time. There was the bother of corners and plumbing, but even those, with patience, were managed. Standing back now, with pictures and props in place, it looks as if it all worked out as it should.
Math and measuring are a hateful and horrible business. I wonder at people who find comfort and security in numbers and order, while I am perpetually vexed. There are fifteen squares in the powder room and I did not execute the meander correctly once. Each time I had to reconnoiter the bit in the middle. Each time.
Beyond that, there are tricky parts both behind and beside the toilet and under the sink. In a perfect world, one would execute such a project free of such obstacles. It is not a perfect world. As I found myself lying on the floor wedged between the toilet and the wall maneuvering a yard stick with one hand and a pencil with another, I was reminded of an interlude in the lower berth of a bunk bed in Stillwater, Oklahoma my freshman year of college. This latest feat, at least, yielded satisfying results and left no lingering notion that looks foretell neither intelligence nor prowess.
Beyond the physical discomfort was the anxiety of making a mistake. Pencil, of course, can be erased, but inky, black paint on a flat, white wall is the sort of slip that is difficult to undo. This is where one needs to exercise forethought and caution. Regardless my focus and enthusiasm, slip I did. Today I face sealer and more dreaded calculations as I finally hang the silhouettes. At the moment, from a language perspective, it’s a bit of a PG-13 environment.
These silhouettes have rested against the wall of the overly-large powder room for the past two years. I mentioned it to someone once and she said, “I didn’t realize that wasn’t where they were supposed to be.” Yes, this can sometimes happen. They remained, happily at home, after I painted the top portion of the wall (and ceiling, which you cannot see here.)
I showed my eldest, who is both creative and good at math (which I do find admirable, if annoying), the picture of the Greek key and asked him, “Do you think it will be hard? I mean, for me. Do you think it will be hard for me?”
He studied the image briefly, never pausing the back-and-forth, back-and-forth of his lacrosse stick and said, “I think that if you think it will be hard, it will be hard, but if you think it will be fun, it will be fun.” Which was an admirable perspective. Still, slightly annoying.
So I started Sunday. Because, hard or not, fun or not, it is nothing if I don’t begin.
I’m not sure I can describe the visceral reaction that some have to color to one who simply, through no fault of his own, does not. It’s an electric reaction, a burst really, that I feel as the color, the color, the color comes in through my eyes, saturates my brain and lights in my chest like a firework. “Yes.” The strength of the ‘Y’ and the linger of the ‘S’ – in thought or in word – igniting the thrill of beginning.
Again, Benjamin Moore Galapagos Turquoise, which, with any luck and holiday sanity, will grace the walls of my powder room soon.
PS – reposting because of image errors; forgive me if you’ve seen this twice.