squiggle to the left, squiggle to the right

ovals & squiggles take 1
ovals & squiggles take 1

Here is take one of squiggles and ovals, painted for the MFA cupboard project. Rather than mess up the months of work on the cupboard itself, I made a quick little carved box & painted the sides. In this case, the pigments are mixed in oil & turpentine. It might be that the cupboard gets its pigments mixed in hide glue, depending on the final results of paint analysis from the museum.

Take one is somewhat of a mess, but the evidence we have from the originals in this group shows some variety. This is the best-preserved example:

painted panel
painted panel

I interpreted these squiggles as coming from a brush that has gaps in its bristles. My first attempt the result was uneven, but I found that by loading the brush with paint, & then wiping a bit of it off before painting, I got closer to what I was after. Here’s take 2:

oval & squiggles take 2
oval & squiggles take 2

There’ll be more practice runs before I commit paint to the cupboard parts. These first two are not even attempts at copying what’s found on the originals, just something in the same manner. These are on white oak, I did some on white pine with uneven results. Painting this stuff on bare pine did not work well at all, the oil bled, spreading the paint. The panels on the cupboard are oak anyway, but the original above is probably yellow pine, a little harder surface than white pine.

The panels on the lower case at the MFA do not have squiggles as far as we can see, but the framing parts and drawer fronts do – black squiggles over a red stain or wash…

MFA squiggles on drawer front
MFA squiggles on drawer front

There’s paint highlighting the carvings as well. Here’s the front of the practice box, a little too timid. The photo shows the backgroung color as orange, but it really is yellow ochre, same as on the sides. I think the overall front board needs a wash/stain first and the polka dots need to be thinner paint. So more experimentation. It’s all in the wrist I imagine…

practice box, carved & painted front
practice box, carved & painted front

4 thoughts on “squiggle to the left, squiggle to the right

  1. LOL @ It’s all in the wrist I imagine…

    Cool Beans, one of the most interesting aspects to me of this period is the decorating, the paint, carving, bosses & spindles. I keep waiting for a furniture historian to write a book about this subject as i dont believe there are any.

  2. How well does yellow pine do as a wood for green woodworking? I am thinking of a chest that would combine yellow pine and oak.


  3. Jerome

    the softwoods used as a secondary wood in joinery are not green; these are usually air-dried, sawn timber. the hardwoods are the ones “riven” (split) from green timber.

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