Welcome to Tell Us Tuesday! Each week, I’ll have a guest artist answer a few questions and wow, I have a fantastic lineup for you! I hope that by hearing from such a diverse pool of creative people, we will take away interesting and different perspectives. This may help in your own endeavors, be it painting furniture for fun, working on your home and creating your own style, or starting a blog or business for profit. The questions range from the artistic to running a successful creative business.
I consider all of the participants to be my true friends. We may not have met face to face (yet) but I know that we all support and inspire each other.
This week we have the fabulous Diane from The Paint Factory! Diane’s furniture transformations are pure artistry. I love her interpretation of a piece and how she manages to bring it to life. Her use of color and technique are perfection and I am very excited to share her insights and brilliant humor.
Interspersed in the questions are pictures of Diane’s amazing work. Click on the picture for a link back to her original blog post on the piece. Links also at end of post.
When did you begin to paint furniture and/or create projects for the home?
I’ve always loved the arts. I actually remember a prized box of colored pencils that I won with my ‘interpretation’ of a Bengali Tiger, in Junior School. It was obviously during my ‘knees/joints are over-rated’ period. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, I became disconnected with the thrill of what color can bring to your life. Life got in the way. My painting was limited to walls; the bare essentials of making a home feel like a home. About three/four years ago, I started to venture out and started to attack furniture. Paint became my drug of choice. I rediscovered the joy of being creative. In terms of being able to ‘create projects for the home?’ I plead the Fifth.
When and how did you start your website/blog?
I’m not tech savvy. I’m old. I took typewriting classes in school, for cripes sake. Why did I start a website? Someone told me I should. I’ll admit it’s a very foreign landscape for me to navigate. I love to write, and it was becoming very apparent to most people that my Facebook pages were getting longer and longer. A website seemed to be the next step to jump to. It helps me connect with people (which is actually one of the great benefits of becoming actively involved: the meeting of minds). I think my website has been up for about 18 months. What I didn’t anticipate with a website/blog is how demanding it is. I run the worlds’ most unimpressive website. It’s filled with poor photography accompanied with text that can only be described as ‘pure drivel’ (and that’s on a good day). It’s inconsistently updated. It’s embarrassing. But I’m willing to graciously own that.
What would you consider to be your unique style and what inspires you?
Patina inspires me. I mean real patina. Not patina made with wax and sandpaper. Patina that shows years and years of fighting against the elements. I went to Italy a few years and came back feeling both inspired and intimidated; wondering ‘How can I ever recreate that?’. My style is a little all over the place. I jump from one thing to another. My favorite style is incorporating fine art images onto furniture. It’s a process that I find incredibly calming. I also like to go crazy with my staple gun and upholster chairs. It’s the only power tool I’m safe with.
How do you choose which type of paint or finish to use on a piece?
A lot depends on the style of the furniture. I try to use a finish that looks authentic to the piece. So in that respect, I have to work within certain parameters. I will have some pieces that I know instantly what I want it to look like, but then there will be a problematic piece that I’m clueless to how I should work it. These are the pieces that I keep in their original state, until inspiration hits. It can hit at any time of day (but most often during the middle of the night). It’s also not uncommon for me to start with one style in mind, and change halfway through and go in a completely different direction. Sometimes I am my own worse enemy! I do dabble a lot with my pieces. Going back and forth with glazes etc, to finally get it right. I usually try to make it as difficult as possible! The pieces generally take me way longer than I anticipate, probably because my creative process is really fluid. I need to work on that, reining it in and taking charge. Similar to being a parent, I have to try to figure out how to show that I am the boss. I am in charge. Ask my children, they’ll tell you I’m still working on that aspect.
Do you consider both writing your blog and working on a project to each be a creative process? Which do you prefer?
Sure, I think they’re both creative outlets – but very different in nature. Writing is easy for me,unless I’m writing on my blog. I can’t write under pressure, and I also find it really difficult to spend time doing 38 edits to a blog post. I am in awe of full-time bloggers. It is a huge commitment. I will never describe myself as a ‘serious blogger’. I just have a website. Clearly, from the last statement, you’ve guessed that I enjoy painting more!
What is your favorite part of the creative process? The initial brainstorming/inspiration, working on the piece, the finishing touches (staging/photography) or writing and publishing the blog post? Least favorite?
My favorite part is working on a piece. I love opening my paints (just like the kid with the colored pencils) and starting to create. Seeing your vision come to fruition: Seriously there’s nothing better. Least favorite part is staging. I’d rather stick a dull fork in my eye. And twist it. Slowly.
What do you believe to be the reason for the success of your blog and business?
I don’t think it’s down to one particular thing. But then again, how do you ever define ‘success’? If it’s being able to be financially secure because of my business, then I am anything but successful. If being successful means that I do something that I love, and I get to play every day – then, yes I am WILDLY successful. I’d like to think that I have a following because I have a ‘what you see is what you get’ stance on life. I’m English. I have a caustic sense of humor. I don’t sugar coat. I tell people I mess up. A lot. I have times of great self-doubt. A lot of my followers can relate to that. I also spend a lot of time on social media. I’ve been fortunate to be able to connect with a lot of fabulous women. It’s an amazing thing to have strong women, in the same field, having your back. In those moments of self-doubt they propel your forward. And you become stronger. And I’m pretty handy dandy with a paintbrush. That helps.
What advice do you give other creative people wishing to follow in your footsteps?
Know your goals.
Realize that you’ll never get rich. If you want to make lots of moolah, this is not the business for you. Ask my husband.
Develop thick skin. Trust me on this one.
Realize that it will take time to hone your craft. Don’t become intimidated by what other people are doing. Everyone started as a beginner. And everyone screws up, whether they admit it or not.
Develop your own style. This is a big one. Yes, become inspired by what’s out there. But don’t try and copy. You’re doing yourself a huge disservice. It will hinder your own personal creative process. You have your own style, deep inside. FIND IT. You don’t want to be successful using someone else’s take on something. Yours will be better. Authenticity is everything. Learn to trust your ability to create.
And drink wine.
Lots of it.
Up next week, Darrielle from DDs Cottage and Design! I cannot wait share her work and hear her story. I am very honored that so many of my amazing blogging friends have agreed to take part in Tell Us Tuesday!