the painted floors project   10 comments

Posted at 8:14 am in Art,Round Hill house

Zounds! Two posts in one month! Looks like I’m picking up some momentum in posting to the blog.

I’ve been busy around the old place. Each summer, I make a mental list of projects that I hope to see completed. Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan, but it’s good to set the odd goal. High on this year’s list was doing something about the old wooden floors. They’re in pretty bad shape – some slanting planks in the upstairs, and rolling or wavy hardwood strip flooring in the downstairs. Over the past couple of summers, I had done some experimenting with scraping, sanding and varnishing test sections of the floors. The results convinced me that attempting to take the wood back to a sanded state followed by varnish, would be too tedious and not really in line with what pleases me. Besides, when I bought this place, I had it in the back of my mind to try to find ways to incorporate artistic creation into the house. In a former life, I was quite a busy painter and carver of folk art pieces. I’ve been missing that work, so after deciding that painted floors might be a good route to explore, I began working up a plan. There’s no doubt that it is a time consuming project, but it greatly appeals to me. At this point in my life, I feel like this will probably be my last house, and if it pleases me to surround myself with my own or the art of others, then so be it. Anyhow, that’s how the idea for painted floors came into being.

Over the winter, I mused over possible designs for the floors. At first, I considered some type of painting inspired by patchwork quilt designs. However, that really isn’t me. I’m more inclined toward paintings of flora and fauna, so that seemed to be the way to take this project. From that point, I came up with a plan to choose different background colours for the floors and then add theme-based paintings. In the tower room, I put down an aqua base and painted several species of ocean fish — see above – click on image for a larger view. The resulting floor is bright, clean and, in my admittedly rather biased opinion, rather cool.

After the successful completion of the tower floor, I began work on the living room floor. It’s a goodly sized room of about 14 x 20 feet, with a projecting bay window section on one side. Large windows along one wall look out onto a forested hillside with a beautiful brook down below. This room begged to be painted with a Woodland theme. I began by putting down a base of parchment coloured paint to mimic the pages of a book of natural history illustrations. Then, I chose a soft mineral green to use as a wide border along the walls all the way around the room. Upon that background, I began painting woodland flora and fauna using mainly my own nature photos as reference material. The above image (click on it for a larger view) is the completed bay section of the floor. I’m now working on the larger rectangular section. As much as possible, I’ll be trying to represent the rich diversity of plants and animals that I’ve encountered over a lifetime of interest in the natural world.

Now, I’m beginning to think ahead to some of the other rooms of the house. The kitchen is probably next on the agenda — also a very large room. I’m not yet sure of the theme, but I expect that some idea will begin to grow by the time I’m finished the living room floor in a week or two.

Below is a fairly recent photo taken in the front garden. Unfortunately, Shelby managed to wander out of the scene once I had camera in hand, so it’s just Sage holding down the lawn. I’ll try for a photo of the two of them together in my next post. The house and gardens are looking good. Lots of wonderful rhododendrons, rose bushes and perennials in or coming into bloom. Larry has been visiting and putting his green thumb to good effect around the place. Much creative stuff happening here this summer. More about that in upcoming posts!

Written by bev wigney on June 28th, 2013