Thursday, July 14, 2011

I want to paint it

white. Or why I haven't been drawing much lately. You see, last December I decided that this year was the year I was going to tackle our much neglected house with a few home improvement projects. Then the Professor added his own projects to the list and well, that has made for a pretty busy summer around here.

One of my projects was to refresh our living room. I had acquired these great end tables and a coffee table from a friend several years ago. (Hi Beth!) I had told her that if she were to ever get rid of them that I would like them. So when she replaced them with something new for her house, it was me or the donation pile and I gladly took them off her hands. We had talked about refinishing them but never seemed to get around to it. So last winter when I was brainstorming ideas for our living room I got out some magazine pictures I had saved over the years for inspiration. Looking through them I realized that a common theme to all of those saved photos of interiors was painted furniture. It turns out that I really like painted furniture. A little sanding, a couple coats of primer and paint later and I have new white tables for our living room.

Another big project has been some major de-cluttering. Bags and bags and bags of books have been donated to the library. It now feels like our book shelves can breathe. The bedroom closets and the attic are next. A dozen years in a house and so much stuff accumulates. Lately I have been reading about minimalism and find it a very attractive concept. But can two artists and a creative 12 year old come anywhere close to being minimalists? "Artist" and "minimalist" really do sound like opposing concepts. We are in the business of making stuff. Yet it seems like a worthy goal if for nothing else than the freedom of space for creativity to happen. Aside from the minimalist blogs listed in my side bar under 'Lifestyle', here are a couple more I have found that are also good reads.

miss minimalist
The Minimalist Woman
and this blogger, A Big Creative Yes,  recently had a great post on clutter and creativity


Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Your tables look great! That's the way I want to go. I'm always drooling over the Maine Cottage furniture catalog. Painted pieces loom so fresh and fun.

I'm happy to hear another artist wondering if we can be minimalists. Not only do we make a lot of stuff, we need a lot of stuff to create... I'd be happy if I could keep my project table cleaned off :)

marancat said...

Maybe the answer is in trying to be clutter-free rather that out and out minimalist? I do find it hard to feel like painting if there is a lot of clutter and mess around me - like I can't breathe. And my painting space is always coverd in stuff as I don't like the clearing up part!
However, I love to visit houses were there is lots of 'stuff' about - they always look more interesting than my house and have lots of things to inspire!

Sarah said...

Nice tables! I like painted furniture too.

I agree with Marancat on this - simply being free of clutter makes an enormous difference to how a space feels to occupy. I couldn't be a minimalist - too many tubes of paint and as you say what about the things we make! But I could certainly do with a LOT less clutter.

AutumnLeaves said...

I love the tables and I'll bet they brighten up the room beautifully! I'm not a clutter person myself and just can't settle down and relax when there is mayhem. At least you are squeezing in sketches this summer though. Sounds like otherwise it is a busy one for you!

kazumiwannabe said...

The white tables look beautiful! I love white in the house, too, because it's easier to add color when you have a maximum of white background - and I love color! I've been decluttering a lot recently, too, and not halfway through... But it's good to make place for new stuff, I feel my mind clears along with my place!
Thanks for the links, I'm going to have a look at them!

Cathy Holtom said...

I love painted furniture and I think any house needs a de-clutter every now and then, otherwise we would disappear under it all;)

freebird said...

I got rid of hundreds of books in my decluttering phase. Actually, it's not just a phase but a means to get hold of having too much stuff so I guess that can be called minimalism. As far as art supplies, I gave so many things to my grandkids that were taking up space and I realized I'd never use them such as all my Fimo, tools to use with it and the books too. Mosaic supplies went too. I kept my paints and beads. I even have my fabrics from quilting but if I found someone who'd want it, I'd give it up too. I find I don't like getting my hands dirty which is why I never got around to using Fimo and mosaics. By focusing on my favorites rather than everything, I think I am fulfilling my minimalist idea. It's not really about getting rid of everything although some people will take it that far. It's really about letting go of the need to hoard. It's about clarifying for yourself what you really need to be happy. For me it's turning out to be paper based art whether it's drawing, painting or some collage so I won't apologize for having stacks of papers, lots of paints and pencils. The hardest part is to not give in and buy the latest faddish craft and everything to go with it since its fun to do or think you'll do something with it.

I got a bit windy here but I've been reading the minimalist stuff so much I even have planned my ideal tiny (140sq.ft.) house! And it even includes a washer/dryer, microwave and oven. I don't see any sense in deprivation in order to simplify.

Ann said...

It sounds like we're all on the same page in the clutter department. I need some empty space around me too or I feel like with too much stuff I can't really see anything. I think that's one reason the white furniture appeals to me, it provides a negative space backdrop in order to better appreciate the other items in the room. Being an artist it's hard though, because there's always the thought that you just might need that thing or supply some day. And then there's all the household stuff that gets handed down from parents or simply is no longer useful. As Hubby said, we don't need to be in the storage business! We are now trying very hard to be more mindful about our possessions, which is a main point of minimalism. We do try to stay on top of it all but it easily gets out of hand, especially in our small house. Yet I don't think I could be happy in Freebird's 140 sq.ft. house - now that's ambitious!

Thanks everyone for your comments! Great discussion!

Jennifer Rose said...

i would love to get rid of more stuff, but find it so hard getting rid of books lol

Alex said...

Lovely table. And as for the discussion... hmmmm, I think everyone is everything to certain degree, one can be both an artist and a minimalist. I guess that totally depends on how a person defines the term art. To me, life itself is an art...nobody can live absolutely the same way as another... hmmmm, I think I am swaying away from the topic, I better shut myself up now :p

nanke's stuff said...

I would love to minimize a bit, but it's so hard to know where to start. Your tables look wonderful. What a great idea! nancy

Teresa Mallen said...

I don't like clutter so I keep things quite tidy but my decorating style definitely leans towards an English cottage county look - tons of plants, books, art, pottery, antiques (dark wood and some painted pieces) no minimalist here. Love the white painted tables!!! My studio has white walls and a white painted floor. I am thinking the tables would fit in nicely, you know should you ever get tired of them. :-)

Ann said...

Jennifer, it is hard to get rid of books! We kept all of our art, reference, and most of the history books. It was all the novels we no longer needed to keep and the books Kiddo had grown out of. Having an e-reader has also helped have a better perspective on what books we really need to keep.

Alex - I like the way you think!

Nanke, getting started is the hardest part! And it is an ongoing process.

Teresa, we would get along quite well! I like a cottage look too and am working towards that. When/if I tire of these tables I'll give you a call :-)


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