This box was handmade by a man in the 1920’s as a gift for his new step daughter. He wanted it to be for her doll clothes. In the summer of 2017 I was asked to restore and brighten the box before it was presented as a holiday gift to the grandniece of the original maker. Although I was given free reign I did not want to ruin the integrity of the piece. I could see Pine trees and Native American influences in his precise geometric patterns. As you can see in the two “before” pictures, the gold colored edging was blackened or totally gone, and many areas of paint were also worn away. I matched and freshened the colors and put fresh gold paint on all the edges. The inside cover was lined with glued-on bright pink foil paper (not shown), and so too was the removable tray . Most of the foil paper was in bad shape and I removed it, but I chose to keep it inside the tray in tribute to the box’s history. A serious crack in the structure of the lid needed strong glue. I learned the box had been created in Oregon and I searched for images that would evoke its origins. I found multiple photos of a landscape attributed to the Pacific Northwest and used them to create a scene which pulls in the colors from the outside of the box. Sunflowers and Lupines are native to the area as is the California Dog Face butterfly.
This big eyed tortoise shell kitty is painted on a smooth stone which is about 8″ wide. She seems to be very possessive of the Christmas wrap she has claimed. The painting is based on one primary photo and two secondary photos supplied by the client.
This project began as a simple wooden box with no hardware. The flowers are painted life size. I wanted the Pansies to have all the varied attitudes of the real world. There are buds, seed pods and fading blossoms as well as wide open ‘faces’! Of course there is a visiting honey bee near one long edge. This is Trompe L’oeil; The marble is not real. The clasp is not real, nor are the hinges. The cover still lifts off to open! The photo of the ‘block’ of marble is the underside of the box.
This is Hopey the cat. This unique project began with a purchased cement garden ornament. I painted her from multiple photographs supplied by the family to resemble their beloved family pet. It was important to give some life to the face. I painted just a little eye peeking out from the sleeping face with which the cement was originally cast. I think it makes all the difference. When you come across Hopey ‘sleeping’ in the garden you have to look twice to see she isn’t going to wake up and meow at you! I have included a picture of what the cement cat looked like early in the painting process when I had just begun to add some color over my coats of white sealant.