Yesterday I had the pleasure of being invited to have lunch south of Portland near the charming antique-filled town of Aurora. One of my customers wanted me to come out and see some of the furniture she had painted as well as her beautiful country property where she and her husband have lived for some time now. I was astounded by the beauty of the gardens and the manner in which they had kept and maintained their land and home. To me it was idyllic, away from the noises of the city and the congestion of traffic.
This is their beautiful garden room, just off the dining room. It used to be an outdoor patio that they enclosed. All the doors and windows were selected from a store that carries old and recycled building materials. Magically they managed to fit all of the findings into this perfectly designed space.
Paula has been painting furniture for many, many years, and she has the most amazing eye for authenticity and character. It was such a treat to be invited to her lovely home, meet her husband, three dogs, and her beloved horse. It is easy to see that Paula does not live life halfway. She is passionate about everything she does and cares for whether it is her home or her animals.
It was hard for me to not photograph everything in her home. I found myself going from one room to the next trying to decide what to photograph that would best profile her artistic expression.
Years ago she painted this wonderful cabinet. If you hear Paula describe her entry into the world of art and painting she is quite modest. What comes across is her sincerity, dedication, and love of color and texture.
I love the detail of this piece, the way the paint, in all its variation, looks so authentic and soft.
I have a shelf in my shop with similar lines and design, but I am not sure I could master the beauty of this piece.
If you met Paula you would love the way she invites you into her home and makes you feel like you are a natural part of her life. Comfort is key and pretense is a moot point. It is funny, but I am always a little reluctant to accept an invitation to a meal because I am a vegan. Sometimes this tends to be a point of difficulty, but Paula never skipped a beat. She graciously served a comforting soup, salad, and bread and made me feel absolutely accepted. This bench above was done in Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® Arles.
This is another beautiful chair in her bedroom that Paula painted. I love the tenderness of the arm of this chair, as if someone really used it with appreciation and caring.
A little bedside table….
a gem of a cabinet that used to be a wash stand in the bathroom…
and this little bedroom table in the guest room is what makes my business so fascinating when I see pieces as this. Paula bought this at some generic store, a new inexpensive table and proceeded to give it character with a few tools and distressing and paint. One would never know it is brand new.
Paula and I share a love of beautiful toiles. She painted this piece with Old White Chalk Paint® and then applied dark wax after distressing.
I took so many more photos of pieces that I could not publish here because the quality of the light was not good. What was a big disappointment was that the photos I took of her beautiful winter garden simply did not do justice to the design and the originality that was so evident.
And as I was driving back to Portland and my shop, I realized one of the photographs I did not take was of the floral arrangement that Paula had on her dining room table. So I called her and asked her to send me a photo of her arrangement. Everything in this arrangement was selected from her winter garden. It is just the sort of thing I love on a table, natural, well-chosen with texture and color, and soft in its own display of beauty, something that needs to be studied and appreciated for its subtlety and character, just like Paula’s painted furniture.
Last but not least, I will tell you a little story about Paula and me. I used to deliver Chalk Paint® and wax to a retail partner in Salem, Oregon about thirty miles past Paula’s home near Aurora. Sometimes Paula would call me on the phone and ask me if I would be making a paint delivery to Salem soon. In most cases I would be planning a trip, so we would agree to meet near I-5, a exit that would be easily accessed on and off the freeway. I would bring her paint and wax and, invariably, she would bring me some wonderful succulent strawberries or tomatoes from her garden. I would often drive away towards Salem thinking I was the luckiest retailer on the west coast to be rewarded with such generosity and thoughtfulness. I must thank Paula for allowing me to share the wealth of her artistic spirit and talent!