Now for something a little different. This wooden file box was another fun commission. My assignment was simply bicycles. Of course I wanted a variety of bikes! I put a sweet one with a basket of flowers on the top and a tandem bicycle on the front. On the sides I painted a high wheeled penny-farthing and a mid century bike. The unicycle on the back is in tribute to my two granddaughters who ride their unicycles with aplomb! The mint green and cream background stripes unify the whole piece.
This was a fun commission! I was given the assignment of “lemons on a box” and I loved doing it! I painted the exterior of a new, unfinished, file box in a deep forest green which makes the lemons pop! I painted whole and cut lemons, slices and wedges, curls of rind, seeds and lemon tree blossoms. And of course a yellow bee for my signature bug!
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 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.