I was wrong. I guessed that I have painted 40 pieces of furniture since last summer, but I just did a rough tally and it’s well over 60 pieces. My daughter called me a chair hoarder. She’s probably right.
Is it an obsession or is it therapy? The past year has been so difficult. I’m finding solace in paint.
Sometime last year I stumbled onto Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It’s incredible, environmentally safe paint with endless possibilities. I like endless possibilities. The paint has virtually no odor, it can be cleaned off brushes with ease, and it sticks to anything wood with almost zero prep work. And—never one to leave well enough alone—I’m constantly mixing my own colors and layering paint to create different effects. I don’t color inside the lines.
So I tried it and tried it again on pieces of furniture I owned that needed refreshing. Then I started prowling around thrift stores for more stuff. I bought chairs, painted them, and reupholstered the seats. I learned how to rebuild seats. I painted, glued, repaired, and scoured fabric stores for designer remnants for the seats. I started selling the pieces I did then turned around and bought more. The uglier, the better—I loved the transformation process. I’m fearless now, don’t hesitate to slap paint on anything paintable.
It may be an obsession but it’s soothing to me. I spend hours in my cramped laundry room. I sit on the basement floor beside the cat’s litter box, making a mess in my grubbiest clothes. I dream about paint. Through all the death and destruction of the past year I just keep painting furniture. Sort of a Madame Defarge with a paint brush. (Madame Defarge is a character in A Tale of Two Cities who knits while people are beheaded. Hopefully I’m not as evil as Madame Defarge.)
You may think I’m exaggerating or being silly when I say that painting furniture is my therapy. I’m serious. It fills my time with creativity. It distracts me from the sadness in my life and gives me a productive focus. I’ve learned to create something and let it go. Nothing is too wonderful that I feel I have to keep it forever. There will always be another piece of furniture. Let it go.