I’ve dabbled in what I call my birds and flowers phase for a few years now, but this is my most adventurous project to date.
For me, these projects always start with the composition, finding little vistas and tableaux to place around the room and on which to rest the eye in a completed room. And in terms of color, I started pulling hues directly out of the Chinese prints on the walls — harvest gold, the right greens and that mysterious blue for the bamboo.
But these projects are really just an excuse to paint birds. The theme here was Chinese pheasants (Tragopans), and once I started digging around I found them represented in all manner of Chinese painting.
You can’t really see it here, but my basecoat painting is actually a strié , just to give the walls texture and make it more like a fabric base. I made samples as I went along, but flew on instinct. We added the cranes, then there had to be a bonsai, and then my peonies started intermingling with my bamboo but I rather enjoyed it. Perhaps we can call this a pan-Asian Chionoiserie, but that’s part of the fun.
I must say, I found old art catalogues to be very helpful inspiration in terms of color and gesture, and if I’m moving around in historic forms, I try to lend them my own hand and a little bit of whimsy.
Benjamin Moore Amulet AF-365
A Silver Chinoiserie
(Image credits: Mark Chamberlain)