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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

So What's With All the Color and Sloppy Paint?

Cherry Cabinetry in the Master Bath, L.W..Roth, designer
Because I used to be a designer, and now I'm just hanging loose.

I prefer to paint loosely,  because I spent a a couple of decades doing accurate concept/construction drawings  of interior architectural cabinetry without much color.  The following two concept drawings were sold, but the others were not. The cost of the built-in furnishings exceeded the clients' budget.  That was not unusual in our business. People's wish lists often exceeded their pocketbooks. Design fees were imperative.

 An elevation for storage cabinetry to be installed in a living room.
To respect the client's budget,it's made of white oak, primed and painted.Williamsburg White.
It has  five inch double crown moulding, dental moulding  nine flutes, a fluted facia, nine rosette blocks, 6" baseboard/OG edge flat panel doors with bead trim, pewter knobs, black glass door panels, halogen interior lighting,
TV face frame,audio/visual storage drawers. Interior adjustable shelves.3/8 th" glass shelves in the bookcase, each with a plate rout. It sold for $20,000.00 in 1999. It can be adjusted to accommodate a flat screen television.

Crafted and installed; it was primed at the shop and painted on site to match the rest
of the mouldings in the house.

The tallest fireplace I ever designed was sixteen feet tall.
The paneling consisted of 20 marble slabs inset in   cherry,
 raised panel mouldings. I would have liked a bigger firebox, but
space was limited. The fireplace was flanked by tall windows
that looked out on a river. I would have liked the client to okay a blue-of-the-river
granite slab, but she was a beige person-- and blue granite at that time sold for
$25.00 a square foot.  There's more to these pretty drawings than meets the eye.

The 16' - 0" Fireplace installed on the St. Clair River.
Sorry the photo is blurry. I was half photographer that day,
half lighting consultant.
A computer/dresser in the Memphis Style for a child's room. Parents loved
it,couldn't afford it. It was a tricky design to make.

A Headboard for a teenager's room also a bit Memphis. I mostly used Rapiograph   cartridge  pens,
markers and colored pencil for these type drawings--mostly my pens. It was extremely important to
store them standing upright or the points would clog.
This is the sitting room side of a banquet I designed for a kitchen I designed.
It would have been  made of cherry. The style was raised panel/bead.  Stools would be added so the kids could do their homework here. The client bought the designs, but it was never built.
This secretary never got made, so I never inked it. I sure could stroke it though
by the time I finished the drawing.  That was the joy . Knowing you had just created
something that could be made and could give someone a lot of pleasure.  I don't have that feeling with my
paintings yet because I really haven't put in enough effort. I'm still a bit sad, this part of life ended.
No wood on this 6'-0" x 4'-0" marble coffee table. The top drawing shows the underside;
the middle is the table in Plan; the bottom drawing is a perspective. It took six men to
move this baby into place. I imagine it's still where they set it down.

This was a garage conversion to expand the space of the lower level.
Another garage with two bedrooms, two baths and a laundry room
were added to the other side of the house.  This was the best job ever.
Well I've had a good time this morning John  (Gatepost Pictures), thanks to you. Looking back on that work, I felt a lot of pride. So strokable.  All of these  design drawings  came from drawings like this last one. It's a floor plan for a lower level remodel. The brown colored items indicate architectural cabinetry that had to be designed, specked, priced and approved. It all was.

When the real estate market went to hell, so did a lot of design, trade and construction jobs--as well as furniture dealerships and manufacturers. Sitting on the bench waiting to get into the game again, I turned to painting and blogging. I paint loosely, because I designed tight. If I drew it, it would fit together in the space allotted. Take away a part, the whole design didn't work. Joinery is everything like good composition is in painting. Using very little color those years, naturally I like a lot of it now.

The smallest fireplace I ever designed.  But it's mine and it's
the pencil drawings of my grandkids and one son as a boy
were drawn and framed to add to the width. I couldn't make the
fireplace wider. I was stopped by the windows are either side.
And that's how I got back to fine art drawing again.


  1. Thanks for the tour through some of your previous work. Interesting, especially seeing some of the work go from plan to reality.

    And I like that there's room for more drawings 'round your fireplace.

    1. I love that look too. I'd smother the wall with little hand drawn portraits in charming frames if I lived alone, but my partner's aesthetic isn't as art intensive as mine. We compromise sometimes in good spirits, sometimes with ugly words.

      It really is a thrill to design something and then to be able to stroke it. That third dimension of tactility and presence is extremely satisfying.

  2. Woo Hoo! Nice one, Linda ... loving this. Who needs CAD/CAM when good old orthographic projection rules!! Just loved that Cherry Cabinet - such a warm wood. The fireplaces: tall and elegant and the smaller one with the pencil sketches I've seen in your slideshow - brilliant.

    But that part of your life hasn't ended ... it will always be with you; you've just put it on hold to let whole lots of new stuff in. I mean, for example, that in being a Shipwright I had to work as much in metal as wood. I'm better in metal but there's no chance of that now...but ... the pattern development in metalwork isn't far off pattern making dressmaking ... so I do tailoring/drapes etc ... replacing spot welding with tack stitches.

    Work is only work when its work ... otherwise its fun. When I was writing software in the 90s, it was quite normal for me to go to work (play) at 3 in the morning if I woke up with a good idea - Pat was/is so understanding.

    The important thing here (for me at least) is that we both know exactly what the other one is feeling and meaning. Bless you for that ... brilliant post, Linda :0)

    1. It wasn't a brilliant post, it was a long reply to your post yesterday. You did give me a shove down memory lane.

      I think if you are blessed with vision and joinery talents, you can join any material together. I have stretched fabric and made drapes that hung straight and true. I have designed and sewn fabulous Halloween costumes that made the other moms not talk to me. I have built a weeping mortar brick wall for architectural interest in the garden. I have also sand-casted cement blocks for a stepping path. I'm an all over the place artisan--as are you. I've worked with plaster for plaster casting moulded paper bas-reliefs. I've woven rugs. I've built a vacume vat for making large sheets of homemade paper. I have owned good saws,clamps,levels, chisels, rasps you name it.

      I love every joinery adventure. But throughout it all, I have always drawn or painted. I have always wanted to weld, but Honey worries about my hands. He thinks I should keep them in tact. And with that, I'll take my hands into the kitchen and whip up a gourmet meal. We're having chicken salad. LOL

    2. You are all that ... and a whole lot more :0))

  3. Hello Linda. Definitely you must felt a lot of pride. You are a great artist. Your fireplace is so homey. My husband also likes his job.

  4. Replies
    1. It is nice Sonia when I think of all the people getting up in the morning going about their lives in comfortable surroundings designed by me. Everyone's home is their castle and all of us want certain creature comforts. It's universal.

  5. Linda you certainly created some fabulous stuff, exquisitely tasteful. I love your fireplace , simple and elegant .

    1. Thank you. It was great fun and very satisfying helping people make their castles their castles.

      The fireplace sort of looked like that when we moved in. It had an inexpensive ceramic tile surround and hearth, narrow fireplace moulding with a couple of boards poorly joined together to make the mantel. When your designing FP like the tallest one for others, the poor materials prickled me. When it came time to paint that room, I thought it was a great time to redo the FP. I used wider FP moulding, dental moulding, and five inch crown moulding to support the mantel board with an OG (fancy s curve) edge. We replaced the tiles with granite slabs. The redo is a bit wider and a bit taller. I designed an upper portion too, but we decided to save the money. I really did do those pencil drawings of my grandkids, to finish the design. What can I tell you Jane, I am a designing woman.
      However, the drawings did bring me back to painting. While they were still articulate, they were different than the stuff I was drawing day to day for design/build clients. I liked the change. I do run off with the keyboard don't I.

  6. Oh Linda, your fireplace at home is divine!!! I love it! And all your design work is wonderful! But I really do understand why, at this time, you need to go LOOSE! Thank you for sharing some of your past work; being a bit of a precision freak, I loved it..

    1. I did get tired of all that accuracy, worrying about pens and sharpening leads. --But not that tired that I wanted to retire.

      The tradesmen loved this precision freak--as did the clients. When you really precisely, thoroughly think out a home renovation project before one sledge hammer brings down a wall, the project goes smoother, like clockwork with a lot less tension between everybody involved. Knowing where you're going and how you're going to get there minimizes the surprises you can run into behind closed walls. It's better to discover where those surprises might be while the project is still on paper than when you've striped the place bare and found plumbing pipes where you never would have guessed. People do not want work guys living with them for long. Precise planning is how the client gets us out of their life faster. I really loved the business.

  7. Great post Linda. Growing up, i wanted to become an architect so i am fond of detailed hardcore drawings with precise measurements similar to yours. i understand the yin and yang going from rigid to loose and i love them both. Awesome work and thanks for sharing.

    1. Me too Michael. I didn't make it. Got sidetracked by the culture back then, but eventually ended up a space planner and architectural cabinetry designer often working with architects on the more complicated projects. The funny thing about ending up in the design/build business was I had flunked Geometry as a kid--had to take it over in summer school. Working in spacial design years later, a complete understanding of geometry just came to me by osmosis, magicly I comprehended the theorems and applied them. Shame they don't tell the kids how knowing this or that applies to jobs in real life--geometry/building; calculus/surveying, etc. Kids do want to know why they need to know what they are being taught and laboring over while doing their homework.

  8. Hi Linda--I absolutely love the mechanical drawings and visualizations--I too wanted to be an architect early on. These drawings are so revealing when coupled with your current painting path. Thanks for showing us a glimpse of you and all that precision that may not be apparent in the paintings. That said, I do see the same dedication to exacting outcomes--that keen sense of correctness-- in your "loose" paintings, as you work through to final completion. Always a pleasure, Wm

    1. Well hello there Bill! I've almost given up on you. I thought you might have given up blogging. (my friends think I'm nuts for blogging. They have no idea that there's a world-wide community of people who love making art, showing it and talking about it with others with the same interests and concerns).

      Thank you for your kind words. Meanwhile my current painting path is to find my painting path! I'm afraid watercolor isn't it. I'm like a bear in the china shop compared to the other people around here. I just finished--well actually went as far as I could go--a portrait of a couple of kids. Just signed my name, "Anonymous," an hour ago.LOL. Now I'm watching videos to get the scoop on to varnish or to oil out? I've been working on the thing for so long that oiling out would be the fastest thing I could do to get this painting out of the house and to the client. The infant must have quite a few teeth by now!

      I find portraiture appealing though. It requires precision drawing and painting--the same planning and precision required when designing, so the genre suits me. Loose might have to be set aside as R & R? Fortunately for blogging I need a lot of R & R in my life. I'm coming to visit and see what you've been up to.

  9. I see now what you have in common with John Simlett where I found you. Beautiful cabinets and fireplaces! I saw some wonderful portraits and flowers on your blog too! So glad I found you!