Becoming a Furniture Artist

furniture artist


I am a horrible painter.  I have no artistic talent.  These two statements are what I grew up believing.

My grandfather was a commercial artist.  He could do anything.  His home was filled with his paintings, drawings, sculptures. The furniture in his house was also all hand-painted by him and there were even murals on the wall.  Yep.  Murals. When it was a holiday or your birthday you would always receive a handmade card.  I remember my grandpa would let me sit at his drafting board and would try to teach me lessons on perspective.  You know drawing lines on diagonals to show depth?  I think I was seven or eight.  I just wanted to draw.  I did not want to learn perspective. He was disappointed and told me all great artists learned this early on and if I didn't I would not be a great artist.  I think I decided at that moment - okay - not a great artist - check.

My grandpa, William Dedinsky, and some of his art.


Growing up my mom and grandmother both were porcelain artists and painted on china. (You can see some of my mom's work on her page, Paint 'N Porcelain.) Both my mom and grandma tried to teach me how to paint, but it just did not come naturally.  When I painted it felt so forced and I did not enjoy it. Sure I could paint colors on a bisque doll just like coloring in a coloring book, but I just could not paint on a blank surface like a plate or mug.  The whole process just seemed to fight me at every step.  Okay - not a great porcelain artist -check.

My mom, Ann Korinek and some of her work from Paint 'N Porcelain


When I first moved into my new home.  I had the daunting task of every new homeowner.  I had to repaint the rooms.  Since there was so much to paint I had friends and family to help.  This was my first experience with painting walls.  I did my research.  I had my supplies.  I read about using the paint rollers to make a "Z" and then go over in a certain way to get full coverage.  I read about painting from the top to the bottom and going right to left to stay organized. I tried that but got bored.  I just started to paint.  I went in my own way and covered the wall.  Did I go right to left or top to bottom? Nope. I just painted and I loved it until someone found me painting.  I was told that was not how you painted.  You needed to go in order so nothing was missed.  You needed a process.  Okay - not a great wall painter - check.  (Although I did enjoy it.)

Years later, I was forced to revisit painting.  I was a single mom with a limited budget and I wanted a nice home.  I had a lot of furniture that was in good shape, but none of it matched.  I knew about furniture painting from my grandpa, but also heard about chalk and milk paint which claimed no prep.  Of course, I remembered that I am a horrible painter and I have no artistic talent. I figured it probably would not work, but I gave it a try.  When I was painting my own furniture I had the freedom to paint with my own style.  I could put paint on anyway I wanted.  I began to feel like I did when I was painting the wall. I loved it. I was also grateful that no one was watching me paint.  That was my first piece of many.

One of my first large pieces.


I loved painting furniture so much that I soon had more furniture than my house could hold. Maybe I could sell some of my painted furniture?  Would anyone want what I painted?  No point in starting a business if no one wanted what you were selling. I tested the market by having a sale at my mom's house.  At that time my mom lived in the Ford Historical Homes and the annual garage sale in her neighborhood was epic.  Oh, and did I mention she had a barn in the back yard.  It was her garage that was shaped like a barn, but the idea of a barn sale was born.

The Barn Sale The Barn Sale

The sale was a huge success and prompted me to start The Turned Leg and get booth space at Plaza Antiques & Collectibles Mall in Lincoln Park.  Finding DIY Paint and becoming a retailer has only continued my growth as a painter.

I remember the first time I felt like a real artist, not just a painter.  I was a member of Dione Woods, of The Turquoise Iris's Creative Connection group.  She had a painting challenge.  The challenge was to find a picture that inspired you and paint a piece based on it.  I thought that was impossible.  I had just been doing pretty plain painting up to this point.  Make the end table white, do a little distressing and it was finished.  I was not considering myself a furniture artist by any means, but I decided to enter the challenge.  The piece turned out like nothing I had ever done. I just painted.  I didn't think too much.  Just painted. As I was painting I felt like a real artist.  It was amazing. This was one of my few pieces that I decided to keep.  I use it as an end table in my bedroom.  It is my daily reminder that I am a painter and an artist.

My piece from The Turquoise Iris Creative Connection Painting Challenge


I believe we all have an artist in us.  I think everyone has their niche and their own style.  Whether you paint small details or splatter paint from on top a ladder on to a canvas.  I think it is so important to be able to feel and experience your passion. The next time you are getting creative just be YOU.  If it feels good do it.  If it doesn't find something else.  Continue till you find what you enjoy. We can all be painters.  We all have talent.


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