This project was a surprise retirement gift and required a great deal of prep work. More pictures on Houzz. The client and I retrieved items from her house and took many photos of items relevent to the project like purple heart metals, personal photos and treasured items. We scanned in numerous photos. Then, we returned these items back to the home before the surprisee knew they were missing. We further researched information relevant to the clients life, like information on where he grew up in the Phillipines and the name of his book held at the Library of Congress. We compiled a folder of images that represented the surprisee’s life history.
The client and I then started piecing together the images in photoshop. Different areas of the chair began to represent the different aspects of his life. We started with the back of his chair which represented his retirement and the start of a new chapter in his life. His favorite saying, Panic, Chaos, Disorder, and parachute, a beach, and a book with a blank chapter representing the unwritten future. The front of the chair represented some of his greatest accomplishments, like the thesis he wrote which is held in the Library of congress, his purple heart metals, and the planes he flew in the air force. Other parts of the chair depicted his life growing up at the Air Force base in the Phillipines, his discovery of a new species of worms at the bottom of the ocean, his career path, his marriage to my client, his beloved animals, his favorite poem, “Flight”, treasured items from his past, his hobbies in entomology and even some of his memorable life tragedies. Font styles were chosen and images were laid out, scaled, and previewed on the computer before the painting started. This helps me communicate with the client visually and gives a best estimation of what the finished product will look like in the end.
The client had purchased a high quality hand made rocking chair made of unfinished wood. I decided that the project of painting the murals on to the chair would look best if the grain of the wood could show through. I researched the best products to use which would get me the colors I needed to do the murals, but at the same time allow the beauty of the wood to show through. I settled on Bioshield healthy living stains. This is a company I had discovered several years before when I had a client who wanted to do her infants nursery using no-voc green and healthy living products.
In the end, this project was a great success. Through the process I had learned so much about the surprisee’s life which was now depicted on his retirement chair. At the retirement party, as the chair became a conversation piece, not only myself but everyone at the retirement party, could learn and know better this incredible man’s life story and great life accomplishments. More Details, Photos and Links to product suppliers