The Dangers of Decoupage (a.k.a. Just Do It, Part 2)

On my day off I went over to my Nanny’s house for a visit. The moment I walked through the door, it seems, I had a cup of lovely Irish tea in my hands and she was showing me all of the art projects she has time for now that she’s finally retired. Back in ’69 she nearly cut off her own finger doing decoupage on wood, and now that 40+ years have passed, she’s decided to give it another go. Such is the robust Irish spirit.

While we were poring over the blocks of barn siding and little boxes that she’s embellished, we somehow got onto the subject of how scarce money has been in our lives recently. Let’s just say, if anybody stole my credit card, they could maybe buy themselves a coffee or a pair of gym shorts from Goodwill. This need for money got us thinking about ways we could use our combined artistic talents to “fill the coffers,” as Nanny put it. Our enthusiasm reminded me of a sketch by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, about the “death” of a comedian. One man being interviewed spoke very seriously about his colleague: “He brought a certain quality to every role he played. It was a quality of really needing the money.”

We artists do what we do because we love doing it, but we also have to make a living by it. I don’t know if Nanny and I would have embarked on the decoupage project that consumed the next several days if we hadn’t had that essential quality of needing the money. The idea was simple. A painting on wood, created by the two of us. I started to sketch sunflowers, our chosen subject.

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So far, Nanny had made various decoupage artworks for specific family members, using images she found on Google. (In addition to needing money, artists are punishingly scrupulous when choosing their sources). However, we decided that if we were going to sell something, it would have to be 100% made by us. Even the tree from which the wood came had to be cut down by our own hands.

Well, that’s going a bit too far, but as I started work on the painting, I listened with trepidation while Nanny went out to the porch and hacked away at a piece of old siding with an electric saw. She came back with all her fingers, so we considered it a victory. While she sanded the piece of wood, I started the painting.

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We paused to eat soup.

The plot thickens.

Including the soup break and a trip to the loo, the painting took me about an hour and a half.

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Here is the final product: decoupage of original work on genuine 100 year old barn siding! We promptly put it up on the Etsy site, eager to see if it catches any interest.

Decoupage Sunflower on Genuine Barn Siding

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Also, for your viewing pleasure, here is the sketch about “really needing the money.”

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