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A year ago I blogged about finding this future project at a garage sale.


I had to pay a whole $10 for it which in garage sale terms lies somewhere between scandalous extravagance and the threat of being kicked out of the Garage Sale Bargain Hunter’s League, but it looked to be 50s vintage (if not older) and its graceful shape gave me ideas.

Last year I decorated an end table I found in the woods with materials found around the house. It came out so pretty that Commentariat member Pat dubbed it “Doorway to the Sun.” And it won a blue ribbon at the county fair (awwwwwww). The next convert-a-table project would also be done only with housepaint samples and other materials already on hand, but different.

As soon as I brought this table home, I knew it would have a Modigliani-inspired face on its top. And beadwork. In nicely subdued colors, but maybe with a bright bangle or two.

I’s taken forever for me to get to it. Since spring, the stupid ankle and general lassitude have made it hard even to go out into my lumpy backyard and apply a sander.

But finally I’m feeling half decent. Yesterday a neighbor who works at the hardware store (isn’t that a nice convenience for a carless do-it-yourselfer?) brought me fresh sandpaper for the Mouse. And I found the Modigliani I wanted to draw inspiration from:


Now I’m at it. Feels good. I’m not going to copy that Modigliani. Just let it guide and inspire me. Mine probably won’t have the hand, for instance. (Modigliani could paint a hand that looks like a bunch of bananas and have the world swoon. I paint a hand that looks like a bunch of bananas and my high school art teacher’s ghost wafts out of his grave to haunt me.)


My other project is that landfill door. I started stripping paint from it shortly after bringing it home, but between several rainy weeks and the general PITA-ness of the last two months, I got no farther than the rough stripping. That neighborly pack of sandpaper will move that project along, too.

First, the new table (“Mo Inspiration”). Then door. By the time I’ve finished both, there might still be some space to do one of the smaller house projects I’d hoped to get to this year, the tearoff of the last, tiny, leaking, rotted, and utterly ill-conceived addition.

We shall see what the fates have to say about all this hopeful ambition.

But even the fates will probably let me show you some in-progress photos of “Mo” in a few days. (Except, of course, now that I’ve said that we can expect an afternoon plague of locusts, followed by several blood moons, accompanying 10 deadly pestilences, plus … well, you know how it goes.)


I started this post Sunday morning. It’s Sunday evening as I write this addition and — so far — no plagues. OR pestilences! Still a lot more time for blood moons to take over the project, though:




  1. Pat
    Pat July 6, 2015 3:45 am

    I’m not a fan of Modigliani but you’ve softened the look to a respectable degree. Your woman could almost be a 20s flapper.

    However the picture you took makes the table appear to be oval. How does her face “in the round” (table) really appear?

  2. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 5:37 am

    Pat — The table really is oval, which is what made it seem so right for an elongated Modigliani-type image. So the face looks pretty much as you see it.

    I don’t know whether she’ll be softer than the original, but given that I’m working with left-over house paint samples on a tabletop, she’ll be flatter and more simplified than the original.

  3. Pat
    Pat July 6, 2015 6:15 am

    Huh… I never realized the table was oval.

    Forgot to mention, the – top of a lace bodice? necklace? – is a big improvement at the neckline.
    Hope you give the painting more color than the Modigliani.

  4. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 7:12 am

    Probably less color, unfortunately, since I’m working with house paint samples that have a rather limited range. I have no good reds (a small problem) and nothing dark enough to make those striking black outlines (much bigger problem which may ultimately cause me to cheat by buying one new color).

  5. Rose Kelley
    Rose Kelley July 6, 2015 7:33 am

    Im loving it.

  6. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 6, 2015 8:29 am

    Your lady looks as if she just finished eating a very sour pickle… Never heard of Modigliani myself, so I’m obviously no judge. 🙂

    You do have the most interesting and unusual hobbies. You’d find an endless supply of stuff to use for them in my house, however. I was going to stencil and paint advertisement signs at one point, so bought a box of acrylic paints in six basic colors. I have both red and black. Maybe I’ll box them up and send them to you. I sure don’t ever expect to use them.

  7. Dan
    Dan July 6, 2015 9:06 am

    It’s deja vu all over again…I’ve seen that black hat somewhere before…..Just can’t quite place it..


  8. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 9:50 am

    Thank you, Rose Kelley. 🙂

    And MamaLiberty — Getting those paints of yours would be enormously helpful! Having to buy new paint for this project is against the rules. (I don’t much care about some rules — e.g. those made by government — but since I made these rules myself, I must OBEY.)

    LOL on swallowed a pickle. True. But I think in the art world that translates to “sophisticated ennui.”

  9. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 6, 2015 10:30 am

    Ok, I’ll dust off the paints and put them in the mail next trip to town. The yarn and beads are on the way. 🙂 You want more different yarn? That would be good to cushion the paint stuff. 🙂

  10. LarryA
    LarryA July 6, 2015 10:46 am

    Dan — Hm. Maybe here?

    Well, I’m thinking the hat is a lot closer to (your) home. Only we see the top, not the underside.

  11. LarryA
    LarryA July 6, 2015 11:46 am

    Having to buy new paint for this project is against the rules. (I don’t much care about some rules — e.g. those made by government — but since I made these rules myself, I must OBEY.)</I
    It's your
    method. In hunter education one of the stages a hunter can go through is the method stage, where the process becomes as important as the product. Instead of looking for a trophy whitetail, for instance, a method hunter will take a deer with a muzzleloader or a bow and arrow. Or in my case, with a single-shot rifle. The categories can also apply to other endeavors.

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with that’s appropriate for The Landfill Door.

  12. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 12:37 pm

    LarryA — “It’s your method.”

    So true. And you’re right that the “method” mindset applies in a lot of different endeavors.

    In the world of knitting, there’s a well-known writer named Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot). She divides all knitters into “process people” and those who are more interested in the finished project. I am so totally I process person. When I’m working on something creative, I rarely ever have the slightest interest in what will become of it when I’m done. I just want to DO it. Everything after that is irrelevant.

    BTW, Pearl-McPhee is also very witty:

  13. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 12:39 pm

    “I look forward to seeing what you come up with that’s appropriate for The Landfill Door.”

    Hate to disappoint, but sometimes a door is just a door. Who knows? I might go wild. But right now I’m just thinking … you know, white.

    Okay … maybe with some faux stained glass. That could happen.

  14. Karen
    Karen July 6, 2015 12:40 pm

    As others have noted, the black hat seems to make it absolutely your own. I’m anxious to see how this and the door turn out. You artists are just so much fun!

  15. Claire
    Claire July 6, 2015 12:49 pm

    Thank you, Karen. 🙂

    You know, it never occurred to me until Dan posted that that hat was in any way familiar. I only knew that as I was looking through Modigliani images online, the one with the hat was the only one I even considered using for inspiration. Have to laugh now that I didn’t think of what’s so obvious to everybody else.

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