Towards the end of 2018 I got some work in that was exciting and different, but never have I had a commission that has caused me such an emotional rollercoaster.
Don’t get me wrong, the ultimate resulting emotion was one of joy and pride, particularly when my lovely client sent me lots of beautiful photos of the items in their newly decorated guest bedroom. But the commission itself had put me to the test, which was unusual as I’m generally pretty calm and in control of all my work.
It started with the initial brief as my client wanted a very specific gold, to match her gorgeous wallpaper. The furniture in question had a formica covering, as opposed to wood, so I needed to research out a suitable colour match, using chalk paint – which I don’t use very often.
I found a few different shades of gold chalk paints, although generally they were either too ‘silvery’ or just simply too GOLD, brassy yellow gold, which was just too much. I experimented mixing the shades until I mixed up an exact match for the wallpaper gold ascents. I was very much enjoying this commission, it was fun, exciting and different.
However, as I have mentioned, I don’t generally use chalk paint too much – for many personal preference reasons – and, after preparing the units, I started to paint the smooth formica surfaces. This was when I remembered precisely why I don’t like using chalk paint. The initial coat just didn’t sit nicely at all, it was streaky and patchy, although that sometimes happens, so no panic yet. I waited for it to dry before adding the second coat, which looked much better. The third, and polishing coat, also went on just perfectly, although the metallic of the paint showed up every single mark and brush stroke on the surfaces. Not worrying too much, I got myself a small roller out to smooth out those irritating brush strokes, only to find the roller left its own distinctive marks in that darn metallic finish. I got the brush out again to smooth away the roller marks, it was becoming slightly frustrating.
After several hours of fiddling around with the brushes, rollers, more paint….I achieved a natural wood effect in the paint and stepped aside to take a breather. But, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and these drying units wouldn’t leave my mind. I kept going back into my workshop to check on how they were drying, what was going on, how were they looking? Working myself up into a sweat with worry and concern, as I checked over the units from every angle and from millimetres away….the tears came, I simply wasn’t happy, but I just didn’t know what else to do.
Following a tearful phone call to my mother, I was given the best advice (as only mothers can!) – let them dry and wait until the morning. It was around 9.00 in the evening by then and I was using artificial light. Fresh eyes, daylight and a chance to let the units actually dry, would probably be all that was needed. I tried to relax.
The following morning I anxiously got up to check on those darn units….they looked absolutely fine! Fully dry and looking exactly as I wanted them to, I set to getting them waxed using clear and dark waxes.
But, I still didn’t know, I had this nagging doubt that they weren’t as perfect as I wanted them to be. I had several people look at them to give their honest opinion and everyone said they were fine…but those units had played with my brain and I had those doubts.
All finished and ready to be redelivered to my client, the delivery day was a nervous one for me. ‘What if my client didn’t like them?’ ‘What if they weren’t what she had been expecting?’ With the new paint, the wood grain effect and the dark wax shading, I’d aged the units considerably and I was concerned that the aging might not be what was originally discussed during the brief…
All loaded up in the van and heading over to my client, those nagging doubts just would not leave me.
We arrived at my client’s house and unloaded the units. My client opened the door – also nervous and excited to see her ‘new look’ furniture, which HAD to match that wallpaper!
……….She looked delighted!
She loved the colour match, the aging effect, the general results all over. There were smiles all round. That evening she sent me photos of the units in their new setting and I have to admit, they look sooo very beautiful.
As I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve never had such worries and concerns over what I’ve painted and done with people’s furniture before, there was just something about this commission that got under my skin and drove me to worry. As it turns out, needlessly, although I guess that just happens sometimes.