FRENCH FIXER UPPER
|Posted on November 12, 2017 at 3:20 PM||comments (2)|
By Cyn Terese Foyer Redo
Some things are just meant to be, no matter how hard you try otherwise.
I’m talking about focal points. Any interior designer will tell you that a room’s focal point should enhance the room’s most important feature, because that is where you want to draw the eye.
Take this room, for example.
The first thing that attracted my attention was the staircase. With its rich wood tones and winding stair treads, it clearly screams, “I should be the focal point of this room.”
So, I decided that the mural I wanted to paint in the foyer should be on the wall which is directly attached to the staircase so as one entered the room, the eye had no choice but to land on the stairs. (No pun intended)
But the long wall to the left had other ideas. I know you think that I’m merely anthropomorphizing but the wall truly has a mind of its own. You see, when I’m painting, I enter an alternative state of mind where time stands still, and all thoughts vanish. And when I’m finally done, the result’s a surprise to me as it’s to you seeing it for the first time.
I begin all my paintings with a complete white or black canvas. In this case, I painted over the brownish wall paper with a white primer.
The next step, is basically sketching out an image with burnt umber as I really can’t seem to draw more than stick people, so all of my sketches are done with paint and then I build up the images by layering in the color to create the dimension. Sadly, a result of being self-taught.
Remember that I said this wall had a mind of its own? Well this image you see here is really the third time I painted this wall. The first image was supposed to be a monotone light green image as seen through a haze. Instead, I painted a very detailed and busy image far remove from the bland, foggy, scene I had in mind.
So, I took some tan house paint I had in the storeroom and painted right over the image, so I could start again fresh the next morning.
But the following day, it happened again! So, I painted over it once again because it was not going to upstage the focal wall.
Finally, on the third day, I gave up fighting the wall. It wanted to be the focal point and nothing I did was going to change that.
One of the problems I needed to get rid of was all the brown in the room that made it look dark and oppressive. I decided to paint the baseboards and doors (except for my 400-year-old wooden entrance doors) to give the room a bright and airy feel.
My dear friend, Sophie, a very creative person refinishing furniture happened to come by just as I finished painting the baseboards and doors white. Her first words were, “what did you do”? Its ruined!
She says to me that the brown baseboards and doors brought out the dark colors in the mural and that it drew the eye around the room. Now I’m floored because she had a point. WHAT DO I DO??? I needed the brown to go away!!!!!
If brown is what draws the eye around the room, then faux wood trim might do the trick. I painted the door insets with the same tan color that I used to remove the two previous murals and then painted the edges around the insets to make them look like wood trim. In my eyes, it worked but I haven’t shown it to Sophie yet.
Then I decided to paint part of the baseboards with that same color to tie the doors in with the baseboards and to enhance the stripes on the floor. This, too, I’m happy with.
Now, I’m sure some of you are envisioning me as this chic, interior designer, artist guru or … Scratch that, like a needle across an LP.
Here I am on a rickety ladder painting the rest of the room the same sky-blue color to finish the look of the room. And, yes, that is a tiny brush for those hard to reach places.
One problem I encountered was painting the stairwell since the ceiling is about ten feet high. Being a person with strong self-preservation instincts, I wasn’t about to try and use a ladder on the stairs. So, with the help from a friend, I taped a paint brush to the end of a metal rod and that was what we used to do the cut ins. That’s painting the edges where the wall meets the ceiling.
And with a regular paint roller – again screwed to the end of a broom stick – painted the rest of the stair walls to finish the room.
Now, to the secondary focal point – the stairs. The mural on the stair wall is of the area where I live, including the church and my three-story house at the end of the street opposite the church.
Notice how there are two walls with the same image but separated by a perpendicular wall and a door. If you stand in just the right location in the room, these two walls line up to form a continuous image. And, no, it’s not from my height perspective. I achieved it by taking pictures and then lining them up as I went along.
People say you should write about what you know. Well, this mural is exactly that, It's a compulation of vignettes (if you could call a Castle a vignette) in the surrounding area near my home, Saint-Germain de Confolens, La Rochefoucauld, Saint Laurent de Ceris, view of the valley from Angouleme's highest peak, view of farmlands near Confolens, La Sonnette River, Moussac Stone Bridge, and the woods near my home. Oh, and the oldest tree in the surrounding area that is believed to be at least 500 yrs old. Hint, hint - this old tree is not the connifer tree you see towering over the houses on the back wall, which BTW happens to be my favorite tree of all.
Here are the rest of the pictures I took of the finished foyer. I hope you enjoyed my long-winded narratives as much as I enjoyed writing them. Now, off to go soak my finger tips. Kidding!!
Until next time,