Thursday, March 21, 2013

Painting in mosaic.

I like to paint walls. It's a predilection I picked up in childhood from watching my mother. She was the original DIY girl when it came to welding paint brush and transforming the environment. The walls in our house were forever changing color. It was something you couldn't help but notice, the way a gallon of liquid could magically change the nature of things. I passed my childhood in a pretty shade of periwinkle, looking out from under my canopy bed on wall paper sprinkled with yellow centered daisies. Adolescence came as a surprise, along with my mother's wall to wall shag rug in fashionable avocado. I traded in my canopy bed for a cool pull-out sleeper sofa. My walls turned a noxious yellow, but hey, we were styling with the times.

I took up my mother's tools with enthusiasm and aplomb when I left home. The first walls I ever painted solo, I convinced the landlord I knew exactly what I was doing. I spred out an old bed sheet with careful expertise, popped the paint can open and rolled the walls with a new coat of rental unit Navajo white. Dull and unattractive as colors go, but it freshened things up. No charge. Mutual benefit. 

By the time I got married, my painting skills advanced to trickier things like crown molding and baseboards. My husband and I bought and sold homes in between having babies. Years passed with ample opportunity to practice. I approached the wall as an art form and worked through various aesthetics...stencils, wall paper borders, sponges and faux finishes. We moved so often on the way to Northern California it took a while for me to notice that resale value went hand in hand with my color choices; that I was forever considering walls from a potential buyer's viewpoint instead of my own. Until, at last, we got to the end of the rainbow and I realized with certainty we weren't going to be moving anymore. Then an interesting thing happened: I finally felt free to really do what I liked.

Now it could be that this was somewhat of a maturation process on my part, having reached close to my own half century mark, but it occurred, coincidentally, about the same time I discovered mosaics. Color seduced me with a punch to the more tip toeing around in neutrals or pastels. No more painting with someone else's possible preferences in mind. Like a woman on fire, I came home with reams of cheese cloth and spent months swirling golds and corals and turquoise on the walls of our house. 

Down at the studio, I dreamed of San Miguel de Allende in neon and painted pure south of the border. 

   And when all that painting was done, I recognized there was no end to embellishment and started mosaicing the walls.


Anonymous said...

Your life...a self made Alice in a wonderland,. How lovely your Mum has fostered such an artist. Always your fan always your friend. Aren't I lucky to have found you.
Love Carmen xxxxx

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing woman, Julie! So much fun to imprint your wall with my life motifs. Love you,, Robyn

Anonymous said...

Holy Moly!! You have inspired me.