soft landscape dresser | part two

Marian ParsonsFurniture Makeovers, Hand Painted Furniture73 Comments

I will fully admit that I still feel out of my depth with this whole landscape painting phase of mine.  I’m inspired by it and moderately terrified all at the same time.  I waffle between loving the piece I’m working on and wanting to put it on the burn pile.  This may be how I always feel, but I hope this internal conflict goes away as I gain some confidence and discover my style.

Or at least it isn’t so in my face!

Here’s how the piece is looking as I left it this afternoon…


If you want to know the milk paint colors I used for the base coat, you can find that info in part one.

You can see that the milk paint is chipping some, which I think will end up giving this piece a really unique look once it’s finished.  It wasn’t “the plan”, but I’ve learned that some furniture pieces like to have a greater say in how they look than others.  They’re like children.  Some are mild mannered and go-along-to-get-along while others are strong-willed and opinionated.

They’re actually a lot like adults too, come to think of it!


While I try to steer the strong-willed ones in the direction I want them to go, I’ve learned I like the results best when I don’t fight them too much.

Here’s a video showing how I painted it up to this point…

You can see that I really work and rework areas.  That’s one reason why I love paint.  I know it’s intimidating for many people, but it really is so forgiving.  So, I just brush and fiddle until it’s looking how I want it to.  I’m sure speed will come with confidence, too.

Now, I’m a little stuck.

Do I want to add trees or leave this barn as a loner on the prairie?  Do I want to add some sheep?  Hay bales?  Fencing?  A tractor?  What would your vote be?

Since I was stuck on what to do next, I decided to try on knobs, so whatever I add would work well with those.

I do this with every piece.  I try a bunch of different knob options from my hardware stash, even if I don’t think they’ll work well.  Sometimes I surprise myself and select a knob that I tried on a whim.

These are the four knobs I tried…


I immediately liked one of them.  Can you guess which one?

More to come on this piece…

soft landscape dresser | part two

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73 Comments on “soft landscape dresser | part two”

  1. Im going to vote for trees, hay bales, sheep and/or goats, and a little red tractor. And I’m guessing you like the white knobs the best. I love your folksy painting- adored your last landscape dressers! This one is going to be wonderful too, I’m sure. At the moment the barn looks a little like it’s partway under water and floating on a green wave, somehow… can’t wait to see your progress!!

  2. Love it! I would go with the green one at this point, wouldn’t really decide till you were finished. I think you should add trees and have the leaves of the tree wrap around the side, also a fence and how about a pond with 2 swans. Also, you may want to explain your placement of your barn and sky, rule of thirds. Just a thought!!

  3. Love the green knob. It has a similar painted look. I hesitate to give my uneducated opinion on the what to paint the piece but here it is… I really like the asymmetrical look of the barn on one side and nothing on the other. How about 2 or 3 sheep in and around the barn and one tree near it?

  4. I loved seeing this come to life in the video – keep these coming! I am thinking the green knob but the clear one allows the artwork to shine…I like the sparse, deserted look of this – I can see a few birds in the sky and that’s it. A lone barn like I see so many of on road trips.

  5. A tractor, sheep in the field with fencing around them and maybe a dog and man with the sheep, hay bales and trees. I would say the clear knob.

  6. You do such a lovely job on these landscape dressers! They are so unique and fun! Trees and animals (maybe some pink/white black pigs??) would add life to this dresser. If you are up for suggestions, I love what you could do if you tried a Fall landscape barn dresser next!

  7. Here’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth. I love the lone barn standing by itself, but I think I would add sheep or something to the left side. Just 2 lone sheep off in the distance. It would be a fun surprise feature.

  8. The dressers you’ve made are wonderful! This one needs a sheep or two in the foreground with lavender fields behind and to the left of the barn.

  9. Top right! It melts into the dresser.
    You have a God given talent!
    The story about paint being forgiving
    reminds me of God’s love and his
    tender forgiveness.

    Enjoy the process and just feel blessed
    with your ability.


  10. Your painting is truly inspired. I think any animals you decide to include would add that touch of farmland whimsy that makes your work so special.

  11. Liked the green one at first, but enjoy the contrast of the white porcelain even better.
    Yes to sheep or other livestock.
    Yes to red tractor.
    Yes to haystacks, bales whatever.
    Farmhouse in distance?
    Feed trough or water tank?
    Windmill to fill water tank?
    Old piece of farm equipment?
    Weathervane idea (above) is brilliant.

    You can see I never really got over the metal farm I had as a child or my children’s Fisher Price farm from the 1980s.

  12. Green definitely. It blends well and lets your painting stand out. Since it’s a smaller piece, I think, in my very humble opinion, some simple hay bales and a fence would be just right and not overwhelm the piece. I can’t believe your not super confident with these landscapes. They are SO GOOD!!!

  13. I can envision this: a big full tree, an old fashioned swing set, with 4-5 kids playing about. Perhaps all within a play area defined by a white picket fence.

  14. I know i am not the best to give ideas but,what about a tractor and a hay stack, I think it would be a good scene.You hardly ever see stacks of hay anymore.

  15. My 2 cents…….if you the little barn to look like it’s on a prairie then a tree, bushes or tall week next to the building would be best. After living on a prairie for 5 years, you notice that if you see a tree it’s next to a building…….otherwise trees are done away with for better field farming.

    I like the green knob…… your work and your free spirit!

  16. Well, I love the green knob as it blends best with the colors in the landscapes and I prefer the knobs to not stand out too much. The roof on this barn looks a little disproportionate with the rest of the barn to me. But maybe it just has a really big hayloft. If that’s the case, then I think you need some evidence of that, like some hay hanging out of an upper door on the front of the barn and perhaps a place where some cows are eating hay from a feeding station–I don’t know what the right term is–where the hay is in a little covered holder-thing. I’d like to maybe see some meadow flowers in the foreground as you have a lot of space there. And of course, trees and bushes toward the background or maybe a field of wheat.

    As usual, I love watching the scene materialize!

  17. Maybe leave the barn isolated like it’s been abandoned…make it shabby and add a wildflower meadow in the distance…with some daises and black eyed susan’s coming toward the barn…

    Go to for inspiration…they have the best seed and beautiful photos submitted by wildgardners!

  18. I would like to know if you have any art training? You make it look so easy. Is it easy? Cause I shure would like to try this but am really intimidated.

    I would love what ever you decide to do to complete your project. Looks great no matter what you decide.

    1. No, I don’t. I did go to fine arts college, but my degree is in Musical Theatre. I would like to take some art classes, though, so I can “paint light” better, etc. But, I also just like doing my own thing. 🙂

  19. top right–is that green? Love it. Got my sweatshirt yesterday. Love that too–so soft!! but I’m not wishing for cold weather just yet.

  20. At first I loved the green knob…but … then I pictured the whole piece with green knobs. I think they would stick out in the sky portion. So I changed my mind and would go with the clear. This piece is small, so to me, I wouldn’t want to take anything away from the painted picture. If you want to add a pop of color, a red tractor or old timey pickup truck would look great! You are very talented!

  21. Love it so far! I like the less is more look, but maybe add a willow tree on the left side of the drawers and 2-3 sheep underneath it and call it complete ? Can’t wait to see the finished piece…and LOVE the videos of you painting!!!

  22. I think a tree with a tire swing & little vegetable garden. And don’t forget the rusty tractor. That would be heavenly!

  23. If the house/barn is on the prairie, then a windmill and some chickens with some Texas Bluebonnets.
    If the house/barn is more northern then a apple tree and some sheep.
    If the house/barn is more Midwest then maybe corn or sunflower field with some cows.

    I like the white knobs.

  24. I’m guessing: you liked the white one? (Makes me think of ironstone…)

    I think the white will compliment the style of the chest and the color behind each of the 6 knobs.

    Also love the ideas of distant lavender fields and birds, and a little child in a straw hat, with a dog.

    It’ll be beautiful, whatever you do!

  25. Love the green knob. Idea to add, maybe part of an old broken fence, a broken wagon wheel or such leaning on a post, and an old watering trough. No animals, it’s a grand old barn that is no longer in use. Just a suggestion. I love your work and am inspired daily when I anxiously await your blog. Thank you!!

  26. Me….I like the top left – kind of see thru. I didn’t know it was a barn – sorry, thought it was a house! (guess I didn’t look hard enough 🙂 ) Someone above said a pond with swans and I like that idea! With a couple of cows or sheep standing by it too…..pretty much all you need. Love these! The very first one is still my favorite so far – I would have SO bought that!

  27. I like the idea of trying the white porcelain knobs on, and THEN looking at the landscape to see if any other farm images need to be added for balance. It would be like treating the piece as an overall graphic. I love the minimalism so far, too! A stunning piece!

  28. I would guess top right on the knob as it blends in nicely and has a pewtery look to it. Taking risks is what you are all about and always with a lot of thought and introspection. That’s what I like about you. Now I have a feeling that the vision for the dresser is already complete in your head. Go ahead and mustardize it Darling!

  29. It is very reminiscent of an irish thatch house or barn, maybe Google pics of Ireland for inspiration….

  30. I like the white knob, but I think the green could look nice too. I would add a fence and some sheep and/or a tractor and some hay bales, along with some hay spilling out of a window in the top of the barn, as someone else mentioned. Also, I love the idea of a few things wrapping around one side of the dresser, as a couple of people mentioned—maybe a couple of sheep or some hay, depending on how you do the rest of it. Normally I would say add trees, but this little dresser seems like a wide open prairie to me. Possibly just a bush or two by the barn, but maybe not.

    I can’t wait to see what you decide. Thanks so much for sharing with us. It’s coming along beautifully!!

  31. I think you definitely need to ground the building. Right now it look as if it’s sinking into water. I know a few hay bales, tractors, sheep, cows, etc. will make it a prairie house. My favorite knob is the white, with green second.

  32. The glass one. And the prairie look with maybe some prairie grass… I am also a proponent of “less is more”. Wonderful blog btw!

  33. GREEN ONE! Then the white! I personally LOVE when you add trees . . . But that’s just me . . . I think this looks great so far and I would LOVE IT for my office! Is it sold yet????????

  34. I’m guessing the clear one. How about a fallish scene with some corn shucks, pumpkins in a wooden wagon and a wooden fence? Of course a couple of cows or sheep too.

  35. Shocked to see all the green votes! I thought the white was a clear winner! Just got to show how a piece can speak to people in different ways! None of which is bad. In fact, how wonderful that a piece of furniture can strike so many different chords in so many different people? I think that is the definition of good art or music. Everyone can find something to appreciate! Thanks Marion!

  36. I really like the green knob on it, I think it’s a little different from knobs you’ve used in the past, but it blends with the peice so perfectly.

  37. John’s “robot” sparked an idea. A scarecrow in a field. You could add some birds obviously ignoring the scarecrow. Or zombies.

    1. LOL… John is my brother, by the way. 🙂 I didn’t even think of taking it in a Walking Dead direction, but if Pride & Prejudice can do it…

  38. It needs a fence out behind the barn & some chickens pecking in the foreground. With a watering trough & hitchin’ post. Definitely the green knob (which I thought were antique brass until I read all the “green” posts). Lovely so far!

  39. I love the small clear knobs, on upper left! I feel like those blend with the landscape, and don’t distract from it at all.

  40. As much as I like the white knob, I think it detracts from the focal point of the piece, which is the painting. So, I’d go with the green or clear knob.

    Since this is such a small piece, I would maybe add just a few horses, maybe a fence of some type or corral. Or, maybe…a farmer riding a tractor. An old car? Just not too much “stuff”. I also vote for a barn quilt on the next barn that you paint onto a piece of furniture.

    Beautiful, so far!

  41. I would like to see trees and bushes. Leave the animals out of this one. Let this one be calm and soothing. And the green knobs are great. They blend in and don’t take away from anything.

  42. I love how it’s coming together, Marian!

    “I waffle between loving the piece I’m working on and wanting to put it on the burn pile. This may be how I always feel.” I could have written those words. That’s precisely the way it is for me with everything I write or create. Ugh. More often… I spend more time in my mind wondering why I even thought I could “do” something. Thankfully my husband has more faith in me than I do.

    P.S. I love the green knob “on” the roof. 😉

  43. I like Katherine’s idea of chickens, and I think B Folk’s idea of a farmer on a tractor is a good idea for a future piece. And I vote for clear knobs! Green is my second choice.

  44. Ma’am, you are amazing! So many people, including myself, are blessed by you running with AND sharing your unique, God given gifts and talents! Thank you!!!
    Thinking outside of the box, I prefer the dangle pulls. They separate from the painting, showing their purpose and not taking from the scenery.
    How about a clothes line with quilts hanging to dry? Maybe a pet dog or cat running around. Just a simple day of every day life. Hmmmm….sounds surreal!

  45. My vote would be the clear knob. If your landscapes weren’t so sweet and pure then distractions wouldn’t matter. As for what should appear outside this little barn/shed? When you close your eyes and imagine yourself walking in through the doorways, what do you envision inside? I am guessing that while you painted you must have been thinking about the interior. It looks like the small goat barn down the street from me and when I drive by it there are always one or two goats peeking out of the doorway and it makes me smile.

    Just a sidebar. Once a people becomes too confident and feel they have all the answers or skills they need, it closes them off to new opportunities and information that will continue their growth whether it be as artists or any profession. Part of your brilliance is because you seem to love learning and growing and kindly sharing your knowledge. It is a joy to read your posts.

  46. The green knob is my favorite. It looks right “at home” on this landscape dresser.

    I vote for having a mix of animals (1 of each)… a dog, horse, pig, chicken, sheep, and cow.

    A little red tractor would also be sweet.

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