milk paint makeovers in barga

Marian ParsonsFurniture Makeovers, Hand Painted Furniture, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, Travel16 Comments

The main reason for my trip to Europe was teaching at a creative retreat in Barga.  For one of our creative sessions, we painted an antique chest from the Cordati house where we had our workshop space.  We did this last year and it was a ton of fun and a great success.  Not everyone in our group this year was a furniture painter, but it was a great creative exercise for everyone.  It was a sweet spot for some and way out of their comfort zone for others.

As a group, we decided to take inspiration from the painted panels on the doors in the room.  The designs are beautiful and they have always caught my eye, so I was excited to paint a piece of furniture using those as inspiration.

I took a few minutes to sketch some elements in my sketchbook and to test out swatches of color.

I pulled out a few loose elements that would be easy to replicate without having measuring sticks and rulers on hand.  And I mixed up a few custom colors of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint using Mustard Seed Yellow, Curio, Kitchen Scale, French Enamel, Shutter Gray, and Ironstone.   The ochre color was specifically tricky, but I was very happy with the color we ended up with

I would typically sketch the design in chalk, but it would be difficult to see it over the white a9aironstone) paint on the chest.  I ended up sketching out the design lightly in pencil and then everyone in the group took turns painting the design.  I absolutely love that we all contributed to the finished piece and we were all able to leave a little piece of our work in Italy.

With our time running short, we left the distressing and finishing to another day.  We distressed the piece with 100 grit sandpaper, but it still looked too new and bright compared to the door panels.  We didn’t have Antiquing Wax on hand, so we made a wash using Curio.  The very light to wash was just enough to add some character and depth to the paint.

We finished the piece off with Hemp Oil.

It was hard to get a really great picture of it, but I love how it turned out.  I was very inspired to take this design home and do more decorative painting in the near future.  These loose, floral, scrolly decorative motifs were where I started my business as a decorative painter, so it was nice to revisit them again.

One of Dana’s friends brought in a couple of side tables for us to paint as well.  She loved the design on the trunk so much, that she asked us to do a similar motif and color scheme on her side tables…

I have painted thousands of pieces of furniture, but the pieces I have worked on in Italy were very special.  Not only are they residing in a home that is hundreds of years old, but I was able to work on them with other creatives.

We were able to share in the creative process and there is something very life-giving about that…

milk paint makeovers in barga

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16 Comments on “milk paint makeovers in barga”

  1. Reminds me a little of Rosemaling. I saw the most beautiful pieces of decorated furniture in a hotel in Berchtesgaden, Germany. These pieces are lovely.

  2. What a fun reason to go to Europe! It is so fun when we get to be creative with others. This is such a blessing. I love the decorative pieces and I am inspired to do more of the decorative work on my furniture as well. Thanks for taking us along for the fun!

  3. You always amaze me. You were having a big surgery and yet you still thought to write up some posts before. Couldn’t you have a few “guest” writers? It would be fun to have a post from mom…..her views of the trip.
    Please take the time to heal properly. I guess you can’t keep a good girl down!!!
    The chest is lovely.

    ps…….the ads are popping like crazy…..barely can read article w/o them getting in the way.

  4. I loved this so much, especially your expertise at color mixing AND encouraging some out of their comfort zone. The pieces turned out beautifully!

  5. I absolutely love this trunk and side tables. A very dear friend of mine passed away over the holidays last year and I received her old trunk. It looks so similar to this. I would love to try to do the same. I wish you were here to coach me. Thank you for always being so inspiring.

  6. What lovely pieces. Hope you are on the mend and will be back at your easel soon! In the meantime, while you are resting and healing, I recently discovered a PBS series called Escape to the Chateau. Have you seen it? If not–check it out! The series follows a British couple as they renovate a French chateaux. It is quite the “fixer upper,” and I think you might really enjoy it. I so enjoyed your European adventure. Thanks for all you share with us!

      1. The series is running on my local PBS station presently. I think it is probably at least a few years old because there are several seasons, but they are starting at the very beginning. On Instagram, you can find the Chateau @escape_to_the_chateau. They also have a website. The couple has turned the chateau into a wedding destination/venue. Honestly, I don’t watch much TV, but this couple and their adventure has captivated me. They are very a quirky, enjoyable and loving couple.

  7. Those decorative motifs are just beautiful. That you’re able to freehand those shows your obvious talent, Marion. Bravo!

  8. I love the colors & design so much!! They turned out simply lovely!! I was so blessed to be a part of this last year and loved reminiscing as I scrolled through your posts💙

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