Hand-Painted Birds and Flowers

Hand-Painted Birds and Flowers

Mark Chamberlain
Apr 25, 2012

I meant for this little experiment to be completed in time for "Project Month" at Apartment Therapy last fall, but I bit off more than I could chew and, well, here we are. So let me now offer a few notes on painted ornament in the bedroom.

My project is painted in the spirit of 18 century Chinoiserie, from a period where Europe and especially the French were fascinated by the new imports from the East, and produced things like wallpaper and porcelain for their own consumption in a similar manner. The hand-painted wallpapers now available and Gracie and de Gournay require 110 man-hours per roll to create, and one can imagine them being prohibitively expensive. For this room, I tried to keep the style clean and contemporary, and lend it my own hand.

Whereas I've experimented with this before, this is my first full-on big room. My basic palette is tone-on-tone metallic over matte. As such, it's ephemeral and you don't see the painting directly in front of you as much as it's floating around in your peripheral vision.

Composition was everything — I spent hours moving blue tape around to locate my trees and branches. The furniture and mirrors were already in place, so I created my little vistas around them. Make thumb-nails and sketches! I found that metallic paint equals "prettiness," as it shimmers, and that this project wasn't finished until I added the birds. That's when I finally felt as if I was standing in the portal to another realm. Even then, there were six birds, and I painted out two of them. I suppose, as always, that less is more.

Paint used:
Benjamin Moore Philadelphia Cream HC-30
Ralph Lauren Regent Metallic Oyster RL-41

(Images: Mark Chamberlain)

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