Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Painting Myrna Green

A lot of painting progress was made yesterday however - unfortunately - I discovered some "opportunities" in the hallway that my carpenter created for me that needed fixing and filling  as well as the upper edge of the bathtub which now needs patching after carving out the non-paintable silicon with a razor blade. After that, I'm done the colors and have "only" the white trim left... including all the doors... because I've been putting them off for two years... and now it's time to be finished and stop having this task hanging over me. Thankfully, I need the finishing carpenter to put up the trim first so I can take a break in-between.

Any creative work is made by many small steps. The steps themselves are rarely great leaps. It is the faith to begin that we must cultivate and act upon
. - Julia Cameron, The Prosperous Heart. 

What were you sewing this time last year? When I looked back, I discovered that I was working with mixing fabrics and perfecting a blouse pattern. I remember spending a lot of time focused on the fit of the armhole and making two fabulous discoveries. The first was to square the shoulder by 1/4" and the second was to work with my front shoulder and back shoulder widths to get the correct shape to the armhole. I've used those two discoveries in numerous projects over the past year and have built on that learning and taken it further. The time invested wasn't glitzy but it was well worth the effort. It's not only saved me more time since but has greatly increased my success ratio.

Exercising our creativity is an act of faith. On every level, in every situation, the act of making something where something did not exist before is in many ways the very definition of faith. We dare to imagine what could be - and trusting our vision, we take steps toward realizing it. We simply move ahead, doing one "next right thing" after another. This is how all art is made
- Julia Cameron, The Prosperous Heart. 

While painting yesterday, I thought about learning new things. The cabinet above was in the kitchen of our last house. In this house, it's been in the downstairs hallway. I bought it unfinished, painted it with primer, dotted it all over with different colors of paint, layered on crackle paint, and covered it with blue which then crackled and showed through the colors. I had no idea how to work with crackle paint and had only a vague idea of the look I was trying to achieve. I knew enough to get started. Starting is the hardest part. Sometimes - often - I need to stop think and simply begin. Beginning can lead you on much greater adventures than not beginning ever will.

Last February, I painted the hallway beige although I wrote Let's Not Call it Beige in an attempt to convince myself the color was cream. I had this idea of a cream hallway with family photos in black frames. Elegant. Sophisticated. It didn't work out at all. ALL of my children said it was beige not cream. My daughter said it was definitely not me... and it wasn't.. and they all wanted it painted some color... please... soon. Now I have a new idea of a brighter color as a background and transferring black and white photography to gallery wrapped canvas. I need to research if that's possible. New ideas are so important. We can get trapped in old ideas that didn't work out or worse old ideas that did. We can feel we don't have permission to change when change is so vital to living fully.

My daughter painted her house in several shades of grey which look lovely with her style. For a while now, I've been tired with my house and wondered if it was the colors. Did I have too many? Was I overdoing the color thing? Did I need to revert to something more normal, more beige? No.

When I got home, I realized it wasn't the colors; it's the furniture. Some of the pieces are thirty-two years old and frankly, I'm bored with them and want new shapes, styles, and colors. They are nice, solid pieces made to last and unfortunately they've lasted forever. I've started looking at furniture to get an idea of what I want and I still gravitate toward similar elements... the same as I do with clothing... and so it's the same journey of finding new ways to fill familiar lines.

I'm not beige. I'm not sophisticated and elegant. I'm eccentric and colorful and vibrant. I love color.

Yesterday, the beige hallway became a green hallway. My favourite shade of green, the one Howard calls Myrna Green and is really Benjamin Moore 543 Woodland Green. It's not nearly as neon as you see here. I wish I could get a true picture of the color. Eventually.

It's the fourth time I've painted that end wall in two years.And that's okay. It's okay to experiment and see what happens. It's okay to explore ideas that don't work out. It's okay to change our minds. It's okay to buy the wrong fabric or start the wrong craft or sew the wrong pattern. Doing something is better than doing nothing. It's okay to change our minds. These are all part of the learning process. We don't have to know exactly what we want all the time. We don't have to start perfect. Starting perfect makes starting difficult. We can experiment, grow, learn, change, and evolve. It's good. And we can get bored and move on.

Color has not always been part of my life. It started showing up about seventeen years ago when life took a radical shift. First it came in little bits and then big bursts and it was - I think - the pendulum swing thing from not enough to way too much that is now settling back to a level that really works. With the downstairs bedroom, the walls are the charcoal grey color copied from my daughter and the inside of the closets are turquoise for a fun surprising moment when you open the doors. I'm waiting to see if my son is moving back home. If not, this will become the guest bedroom and I'll add turquoise to the decor around the room. If I wanted...

... to work with a complimentary color scheme I'd add orange. For an analogous color scheme I'd add blue-green, aqua green, aqua blue, cerulean blue, blue, and blue-violet. For a triadic color scheme I'd add magenta and yellow. Color schemes, especially ones that contain elements of the compliment, can create a punch and energy. They're not just for decorating. Color can be a fabulous starting point for a garment or a way to pull an ensemble together or add energy as I did with the hand painted twirl by pulling in elements of the opposite. It's something I want to work with more. What could you do with a color scheme? How could it expand your work?

This morning, I'm off to journal write and then a coat of primer on the railing. This afternoon is my creativity get together. LOL - my show and tell will have to be my fabric and my painting outfit. I'm not a messy painter in that I can neatly get the paint on the wall. I'm a terribly messy painter in that I'm forever wiping paint off my hands onto my pants... my very colorful pants. They tell a story.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - finished painting the walls downstairs


  1. I can so identify with many aspects of your post. In this new house, I am tolerating the existing wall colors while trying to decide what I would like to change them to be. Fearful of choosing a color that I like less than whatis here is almost paralysing! However, I dont want to end up with boring beige, either! But at the old house, BEIGE is the choice as we prepare it for the sales market! Boring...

    1. Interestingly enough my colorful houses sold faster than my beige ones only it seemed that most people bought the decor and I packed it up and moved it.

      I used to get uptight about the phrase it's only paint because it's not just paint, it's the money for the paint and the time to paint but in reality, it's only paint which is a lot less expensive than carpet or cabinets or tile or counters to replace. Be brave. Try some things. As Mary Glenn said, Pintrest has some great ideas.

  2. I have found great ideas for home decor on Pinterest. It's my new obsession .
    Happy painting.

    1. I'm on white trim. This is good. My daughter really likes Pinterest and sends me some really great photos. I'm limiting my exposure - LOL - or it'll be my new obsession too.

      LOVED reading about your trip to New York. It's something I really want to do some time soon.

  3. Lots of good meat in here. I especially like "We don't have to start perfect. Starting perfect makes starting difficult." Keep on painting and sewing:)

    1. Glad it was useful. Lessons learned. I'd LOVE to sew. So far, I've managed to rip three lengths of fabric since January 17th. I'm hopeful I can sew pockets and elastic soon. Sheets. Something soothingly simple.

  4. I'd be painting as much of the trim as possible before putting it up, then just touch up where needed after it's up. I love the colors in your house, someday I'll get up the courage. I'm still debating if I'm afraid of such colors, or if I like too many colors and fear I'll pick the "wrong" one. About 16 years ago, I painted the bottom part of DS's room bright green - getting started wasn't a problem, but I did keep repeating "don't wimp out!" to myself to finish....it was way brighter than anything I'd ever had on walls before. Then 10 years ago, I had no problem painting his ceiling bright yellow, with red/yellow/green/blue strips (went with the Nascar border). The rest of the walls are almost-white. I'm not sure if the difference was doing a different paint combination once before, or if it was that I don't have to look at his room much :-)

    And the color chart I asked you about a few weeks ago - I DID find it in my stash!

    1. I'll definitely pre-paint the trim before it goes up. I wish the railing upstairs could be easily snapped in and out but I'm going to have to paint it in place. I do hope you get up the courage for colors in your home. It changes the feeling of a home and IMHO makes it more personalized. I loved the colors my daughter chose for her but when I came home and walked into my green, it felt like me and home.

      YEAH - I'm so glad you found the chart. It's fabulous. Enjoy.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.