My Latest Painting

I finished my latest painting and sent in my application for the local abstract art exhibition coming up next month. It’s 3′ x 3′ and I’m happy with how it turned out. The stripe paintings are fun to do because I don’t know what they will look like until the last pass is complete.

Stripes No. 6 acrylic on canvas 36" x 36" Chris Weigand, 2014

Stripes No. 6
acrylic on canvas
36″ x 36″
Chris Weigand, 2014

I won’t know if my piece got in for a few weeks. I hope so; tired of always being the bridesmaid to the wife. ūüôā

We’re always looking for people who like art, so visit us at http://www.littlegreycatstudio.com

If you like, please share, share, share with your peeps.

Peace.

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Studio Entry Bench and Coat Rack

You don’t need me to tell you today was freezing cold outside. I awoke early to take the car in to get the inside cleaned…detailed I guess is the fancy term. See, we noticed mouse droppings in the RAV4 the other day and that’s all it took for us to decide to hire a professional. The car was filthy and the guys at Wheely Clean did a great job restoring it to like new condition. ¬†With all the cold I guess the mice had enough of living in the cold garage and ventured into friendly confines, replete with old french fries under the seats and a half drunk juice box in the door. ¬†I pray that they are gone now though.

Anyway, it was a pain getting up and going outside in -8 degree weather. ¬†There, that’s my complaint for today. Otherwise it was a decent day. Got to spend some time working on a new home dec design project for my brother. If you ever need a cabinet-maker, he’s the guy to call. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside him on a few projects at our house and we even wrapped up a fireplace surround at a friend’s house. I’m even learning a few tricks of the trade which is always good.

Speaking of projects around our place, I wrapped up a fun, quick project in the studio. ¬†I installed the coat hooks, reinstalled the switch and out plate plates and put hinges on the bench. Now we can enter the house on frozen days like today, through my studio and kick off wet boots and hang up heavy winter coats, and avoid trashing the front hall entry. Remember, you always want to try to have just one entry to your house for various reasons, but if you have two make sure they’re delightful or at least there’s a good reason. I like the studio entry for the above reasons. The cement floor and abundant space in the studio means we can shed snow laden clothing and let it drip dry with no worries or fuss.

It took me three tries before I found coat hooks I liked. ¬†I went to, and bought hooks from, Hartville Hardware, Home Depot and Lowe’s before I found the perfect ones.

Here are the three styles I bought:

Third time is the charm. Here are the three styles of coat hooks I bought.

Third time is the charm. Here are the three styles of coat hooks I bought.

I like the one’s I ended up using (far left in the photo) because they match the drawer pulls and look contemporary and old-fashioned at the same time. Below the hooks we have an entry bench. The bench is designed, by yours truly, to fold up so that the second entry door can be opened up all the way. I attached two oil rubbed bronze door hinges to the bench and a drop down latch to retain the bench panel in the raised position. I kept everything quick and easy by simply surface mounting the hinges and latch. I could have over thought it but for once I decided just do the simplest, easiest thing and that’s what I did. Everything functions and looks great. It all adds a bit of rustic charm and detail to my studio space. ¬†I like it very much.

Here are the coat hooks I went with, Gate House hooks from Lowe's in oil rubbed bronze.

Here are the coat hooks I went with, Gate House hooks from Lowe’s in oil rubbed bronze.

Here is a bench hinge installed, I just surface mounted the hinge. It looks and works fine.

Here is a bench hinge installed, I just surface mounted the hinge. It looks and works fine.

Image of the finished studio entrance bench and coat hooks.

Image of the finished studio entrance bench and coat hooks.

This latch holds up the bench when I need to open both doors.

This latch holds up the bench when I need to open both doors.

latch in the "holding" position.

latch in the “holding” position.

Here you can see the bench in the "up" position. On another note, I wish we didn't have a vent in the floor right below the bench. Takes up shoe space.

Here you can see the bench in the “up” position. On another note, I wish we didn’t have a vent in the floor right below the bench. Takes up shoe space.

Hardware for the hinge included one really long screw. I'm not sure why but I used it in the top center hole to fasten the hinge to the back wall of the bench area.

Hardware for the hinge included one really long screw. I’m not sure why but I used it in the top center hole to fasten the hinge to the back wall of the bench area.

One other fun thing today, Christine made me a Scrapimal (TM) of Dixon for above my studio sink. I love it; and I hung it up already. ¬†To help pay for all these projects of mine, you should check out her Etsy store and buy yourself, or a loved one, an original Scrapimal (TM) as well. They’ll make your day as they did mine.

Dixon is a Scrapimal!  Weee!

Dixon is a Scrapimal! Weee!

One bit of housekeeping, I went ahead and purchased http://www.nineappletrees.com for eighteen bucks so from now on that’s where you’ll find the blog. The old address should redirect there anyway, but just in case. That makes the blog a little more official (and I think more appealing to advertisers….not that’s why we do it but hey, if I can someday earn a penny that’d be good….homeless home projects would be much less compelling I suspect.)

Studio Decorating and Ottoman Storage Boxes

Today was kind of a waste. Frigid cold outside kept us inside. Being the indecisive twit that I am, I spent most of my Sunday arranging pictures on the wall of my studio. First off I hung up my mounted deer head, much to the chagrin of my wife, but I wanted it up in my studio. It had been sitting in the basement with all the other junk for some time now; in fact even at the old house it had been in storage when my office got turned into the nursery. It looks nice in the reading nook of my studio, and generally speaking only I can see it on any given day; which is to say it is not in plain sight of the general public, ‘less one looks though the porch window.

My deer head finally has a home, three years in storage.

My deer head finally has a home, three years in storage.

I then spent the better part of the day turning the simple task of hanging a collage of pictures on the wall into an act of great labor and internal mental strife. ¬†Just after lunch I had this, which was good except a lot of pictures didn’t make it on the wall:

The studio wall hallway through today.

The studio wall hallway through today.

So I decided “what the hell” and put more pictures up until I arrived at this, which is how it looks now:

The studio wall in its current state with my memorabilia on the wall. There is still more to come or rather not all of it is on the wall.

The studio wall in its current state with my memorabilia on the wall. There is still more to come or rather not all of it is on the wall.

I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I still have more pictures to put up, but not too many. ¬†I also have a mounted fish to hang above the door. I don’t know if guests will be taken aback by it all or not. I probably don’t really care. It’s my studio. I can do what I want, even if it meant to be for public consumption on an invited case by case basis.

This afternoon and evening I made three storage ottomans per the wife’s request. The lids come off so you can store crap inside, and put your feet up when not accessing your crap. I had the sheet of 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood sitting in the garage since July. I was able to cut all three 14″ x 14″ x 16″ units from one sheet, using the guidelines here on the sawdustgirl.com website.¬†A glued, nailed and screwed everything together. I like that “Saw Dust Girl” recommends Spax screws, which I would have used anyway as they are the best wood screws known to mankind. The assembled ottomans look like this, waiting for the spousal unit to put fabric around them:

I made these nifty ottomans today out of a sheet of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood.

I made these nifty ottomans today out of a sheet of 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood.

I also took the time to put the last few pieces of trim and the two missing floor boards down in my office area. Some caulk and paint and the studio will be done, save for the track lighting, rug and my TBD conference table / chair solution.

Well tomorrow starts a new work week. Maybe I’ll start taking my redecorated studio for a test drive…painting, drawing or whatnot. ¬†Hope your week starts off in grand fashion.

 

-Chris

 

Studio Decor And Half Bath Wallpaper

I’ve been steadily moving back into my studio. I’ve filled most of the shelves with my books, magazines and knick knacks. ¬†With the help of the wife, I think we unloaded about a dozen boxes from the basement. While this isn’t much it does start to make a dent. I had been keeping all of my old car magazines, and now I have a fairly complete set of ‘Automobile’ and ‘Car & Driver’ issues form the last two and a half decades. I put a special set of ‘Road & Track’ issues in my reading nook, to look at next time I have some free time. ¬†It was really nice to finally get these out of the box after so many years. I love looking at all of the cars from the 80’s and 90’s as well as the ads. Kind of like a time machine to escape from the realities of contemporary times. Even if it’s just for the turn of a page or two.

The over all look of the studio is cluttered again, not really like the clean orderly rendering, but it’s functional and that’s all one can ask for really. ¬†As time passes I can work on streamlining the organization here and there as I live with the space. The key is boxes are getting unpacked and treasures are seeing the light of day again. ¬†I need to get a rug for my reading space, some track lighting above and hang memorabilia on the wall. As for a meeting space, I think it will be interesting to say the least. The room will probably have more self-indulgent mementos that I would have thought necessary – I abhor going into offices that are temples to their owners – but in fact that’s what my studio will be most likely, if only because I have all this stuff that 1) I hate to throw out, and 2) the artifacts reflect my journey and share the story of who I am after 40 years. While I am not defined by the things around me, I am a visual person; maybe through the viewing of the artifacts we keep around us, one can glean more meaning of who the person is.

Yesterday we had the half bath wallpapered. It looks fantastic. The floral pattern makes us feel like grown-ups, or at least I do. We’ve never had wallpaper before, nor have we ever had a finished half bath in all of our years. The paper adds a touch of visual texture, and whimsy; which is a nice surprise in an otherwise subdued contemporary interior. ¬†The only down side is that now my striped painting doesn’t fit in anymore in the front hall. We definitely need a large painting or pair of paintings there, just not stripes that clash with the floral pattern. If anyone wants to buy the stripe painting I’d love to sell it. Otherwise I think it will go in the basement when we finish that off.

Let us know what you think about the wallpaper.

Oh My God If I Have To Paint Another Thing…

If I have to paint a coat of anything on my studio shelves ever again I’m going to scream. ¬†I’ve now “painted” the shelves and bookcases six times, or more accurately, six coats of liquid that dries to form a finish on the built ins. One coat of primer, two coats of paint and now three coats of polyurethane. I’m so tired of painting corners, I could use a good cry. I still have to finish the last two coats of poly on the adjustable shelves, and bench. But at least I’m done with all the built-ins. Now I just have to wait the prescribed “week” for the clear coat to set before I can move into my new shelves and get onto phase II of my studio decor project. Left on my “to-do” list include finishing the office trim and floor boards, and run through the entire studio with my touch up paint to clean up a few spots here and there.

Note, before I put the third coat of poly on the shelves today I attempted to “wet sand” then with an extra fine sandpaper block. Well I decided that was not the right course of action. The poly says it doesn’t require sanding, and all sanding did was cut through the paint wherever there was a high spot or bump in the surface, so now three shelves have white “specks” all over them where I sanded right through to the primer. ¬†Also I hate using a foam brush for the poly. I was leaving black specs everywhere as the rough wood shelves tore up the brush. Next time, or I would recommend, a 2″ nylon artist’s brush. ¬†Of course being an artist maybe that’s just because of what I’m used to using. I have to imagine it would be easier using the nylon brush though. Plus a brush can be washed out. The foam “brush” ends up in the trash and replaced with every subsequent coat.

The white specs are actually where I sanded right through to the primer when I attempted to wet sand before the final poly coat. For rough shelves like mine, skip the sanding part during the clear coat phase.

The white specs are actually where I sanded right through to the primer when I attempted to wet sand before the final poly coat. For rough shelves like mine, skip the sanding part during the clear coat phase.

Since I had the painting tools out today I also painted the insides of the kitchen cabinets. As you may recall we got new plates, which we may or may not keep, which meant that we had to do something with the open cabinets in the kitchen. The wife wasn’t digging the white interiors, the color of which would be fine if we ever had the aluminum framed, frosted panel doors that we were supposed to have on the cabinets. Once it became apparent we were are going to leave the cabinets open (until we can outright replace all the wall cabinets with new ones), we decided to paint the insides to knock off some of the contrast. ¬†I went down to the basement and there was just enough Resort Tan color left over from painting the Family Room walls. I cracked open the can, whose contents smelled rather foul, and started painting the cabinet interiors. After the first one I figured I’d better sand them to make the paint stick better. Three coats later they are looking good. I’ll put polyurethane on the horizontal surfaces as well to keep plates and glasses from sticking. The one cabinet over the coffee bar will get a black interior; today I just painted the ones by the range.

The doorless kitchen cabinets before with their white interiors.

The doorless kitchen cabinets before with their white interiors.

 

The kitchen cabinets after, with Resort Tan interiors.

The kitchen cabinets after, with Resort Tan interiors.

Once clear coated, the shelves will have to sit for a week too, to cure and be able to resist sticking to items placed upon them. Whoever thought that was a good idea has never been to an OCD designer’s house where everything is strewn about by one’s family – waiting to be put away when the time is right. My nerves are already shot as it is. I’m fairly certain looking at glasses and dishes randomly scattered across the kitchen counters for a week will drive me unbelievably insane.

And the new plates are just sitting there as well, waiting for an executive decision from the boss. I’m sure they will sit unused well past the point where we can return them anyway. Making a decision on life’s simple little choices is not to be taken lightly in our household. I will trip over half-opened boxes in the hallway and gingerly work around unused plates for the next eight months. There is a special circle in heaven (or hell?) for my wife and I because we saved a couple unsuspecting, otherwise high potential, members of society from accidentally being subjected to either of us for eternity, or at least what seems like an eternity. We took one for the team by marrying each other. Some mornings I think to myself “Maybe today I won’t push the pillow away” when I wake up with her trying to smother me to death. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. Then I won’t have to drive the plates back to the mall. Or put two more coats on the shelves.

Here are the new plates. We're not allowed to use them until we decide we like them.  That will be in 2056. Until then they will sit here. And their boxes will sit in the foyer.

Here are the new plates. We’re not allowed to use them until we decide we like them. That will be in 2056. Until then they will sit here. And their boxes will sit in the foyer.

 

Our kitty makes a rare daytime appearance outside my office today.

Our kitty makes a rare daytime appearance outside my office today.

 

 

Studio Day 8 – Painting Shelves

Today was my day set aside to put two coats of SW 6124 Cardboard on all the new shelves / bookcases in my art studio. I woke up at 4am and proceeded to stare at the ceiling until 6:30am this morning. I don’t really sleep anymore or at least not in any sort of pattern that is suitable for human consumption. I scampered into my studio and taped off all the shelving units where they met the freshly painted walls.

I was leery of the “cardboard” color because the first coat went on looking like something our baby’s would leave in their diapers after eating something that didn’t agree with their digestive systems. ¬†Luckily the color lost some of its yellow when it dried, saving my shelves from looking like baby poop for eternity. The color looks nice, in a tone on tone way, compared to the walls. Also name “cardboard” is a nice art studio nod to what my first job out of school, I designed temporary corrugated (i.e. cardboard) displays.

I finished up at 10pm, with a few hour break in the middle to go dinnerware shopping with the family. I did two coats total and used just over a gallon. I still have to paint the shelves and bench but for now it’s done. ¬†And certainly done enough to let it dry then clear coat the horizontal surfaces. ¬†Clear coating will keep items from sticking to the shelves as water based interior based paint never really “dries”. We could have used oil based paint but then the fumes would have been awful. For the record oil based would be more durable as well, but I’d rather trade durability for not having chemicals off gassing into my home. Personal preference.

As for dinnerware, we finally bought our first set of plates in the last 13 years. ¬†The old one that cost like a buck a piece at IKEA were just downright old, scratched up and even moldy, eek! ¬†The time had come to buy “grown-up” plates. ¬†We got them from Pottery Barn and they’re pretty neat. I should take a photo for you. The wife put them in our open cabinets in the kitchen. The plate sticks out so it’s a good thing we never got doors for our cabinets; if we had doors the plates wouldn’t fit. Now that open cabinets are all the rage, the plan is to have me paint the insides of the cabinets “Resort Tan” to match the family room / Kitchen wall. The white plates should “pop” off of the mushroom colored backdrop. ¬† Another painting chore added to my list.

Well it’s late and I’m tired. Here are tonight’s pics.

Other shelves painted.

Other shelves painted.

Today's artsy mug shot.

Today’s artsy mug shot.

Bookcase painted. By the way the wall paint peeled off when I took the tape off on the one side so I'll have to touch some things up.

Bookcase painted. By the way the wall paint peeled off when I took the tape off on the one side so I’ll have to touch some things up.

I cut down this cheap brush I got at Sherwin Williams. The stick part was way too long and annoyed the bejesus out of me.

I cut down this cheap brush I got at Sherwin Williams. The stick part was way too long and annoyed the bejesus out of me.

Shelves with two coats of Carboard paint.

Shelves with two coats of Carboard paint.

 

Studio Day 7-ish….Painting The Walls

After three days of working the wife’s weekend art show, Monday and Tuesday found me with no active projects to work on. Despite being destitute and borderline broke, I made the executive decision to take the opportunity to get my studio whipped back into shape this week. I rationalize it this way, once my studio is presentable to the world, I can use it for hosting work meetings and clients. ¬† If that’s not rationale enough for you, I did sell a painting on Monday so that helps pay the bills during my few days “off” this week.

Yesterday I “cut-in” the edges of the walls in my office space, using Sherwin Williams SW 6121 Whole Wheat. ¬†In the afternoon we ran out to the Sherwin Williams store to take advantage of a 40% off sale they were having; picking up some green paint for one of the kids’ bedrooms, and I bought some masking tape since I was without any by mid day. I’m not sure what else I accomplished yesterday….it doesn’t seem like much but I guess that was it. I did write-up some meeting notes, so not all was painting, I did do some work….oh and I delivered that painting, and even treated the family to Zoup for dinner (yummy lobster bisque).

Cutting in the corners, then roll on the paint.

Cutting in the corners, then roll on the paint.

I woke up and got to painting by 7am this morning. My goal was to get the entire office and studio painted so I could begin the shelves on Wednesday. ¬†And I accomplished my goal. ¬†My studio is the largest room in the house, and with all the bookcases / shelves there are a lot of corners to tape off. I used about one and a half gallons of Emerald satin paint to cover all the walls. ¬†Oh, by the way, I checked with the helpful folks at my local Sherwin Williams store and the Emerald paint is in fact zero-VOC paint so we’re good on that front.

The shelves are primed and the trim is taped, ready for the wall color to be applied.

The shelves are primed and the trim is taped, ready for the wall color to be applied.

 

Sherwin Williams SW 6121 Whole Wheat in the can, ready for our walls.

Sherwin Williams SW 6121 Whole Wheat in the can, ready for our walls.

 

Coffee break while painting. The sun came out in between snow flakes.

Coffee break while painting. The sun came out in between snow flakes.

 

The shelves are strong enough to hold my weight.

The shelves are strong enough to hold my weight.

We really like the color. It visually warmed up the space quite a bit and it’s not too dark. I know most artist studios are white but I’ve never been one to follow the “rules“. I want my studio to be homey and comfortable. I also love that it is off our palette that we’re using for the interior of the house. It looks very similar to the hallway and kitchen colors but is different enough to add a whole new dimension to the interior space of the house. When looking through the open office pocket door the studio now beckons with a degree of mystery or discovery that was not present when the walls were just plain white. And as I look from my office to the front hall, all the colors layer upon each other and remind me of being out in the “real world” so to speak, with various textures, hues and visual geometry. There isn’t anything designer-ly about the composition, rather I find it to work because it evokes such natural feelings. The sense of being home because we are human beings and home to us is the earth. It’s in our soul. The color scheme, and dimension of details such as the deep windows, brings that marriage of man and earth. ¬†I guess you have to live with it to understand. ¬†However you describe it, it works most definitely. I don’t think I would ever change any of the colors we’ve painted the walls; at least not in the main living spaces. The more I live with the palette the more it becomes woven into me. And it is only reinforced when I go outside to see the natural world around the house.

The wheat color looks great and really warmed up the studio visually.

The wheat color looks great and really warmed up the studio visually.

I have a lot of great ideas for my studio space and will share those…lighting, furniture, decor… in subsequent installments. ¬†For now the walls are done. Bookcases get painted tomorrow. I enlisted the wife to use a razor blade to get the paint off the cabinet trim where is seeped through, due to my crappy taping job. ¬†She has the patience for that kind of work, I most certainly do not.

What colors inspire you? What do you think of how the studio is shaping up? What room do you want to makeover in your house? ¬†Let’s get more interactive here….share your thoughts and comments. ūüôā

-Chris