The Backstory

This morning I had (for once) nothing important I had to be doing, so I started rummaging through all my picture files stored on the computer. This is an exercise guaranteed to sidetrack even the most focused individual, and since I had no focus to begin with, an hour and a half has gone by. Seriously?? No wonder my tummy’s rumbling! It’s also an exercise guaranteed to surprise (and possibly frustrate), since at our house we don’t tend to bother with pesky things like folder names that mean anything–I think there are at least 4 that simply read “Camera Dump.” This is helpful. But just like shopping at outlet stores, if you’re not actually looking for anything in particular, little gems will drop into your lap.

Anyway…after I teared up and made various ooshy noises over long-forgotten pictures of my babies when they were, you know…babies…I found all sorts of pictures of past artistic projects. Given that these are what have gotten me to where I am today, artistically speaking, I found it sort of fascinating to look back. Some things I still think, “Hey, that’s pretty good!” Others…not so much. But it’s an evolution, isn’t it? Just seeing how much more confident and willing to try things I am now compared to when I was younger–well, I guess I’ve grown up as a person, so why not as an artist? It’s one of the perks of reaching maturity –I refuse to say “middle age” because I refuse to believe that is a term that will apply to me. Ever.

Since I find it interesting, and I have complete sovereign control over this blog, I have decided that you will too (oh, the power!!!). Please allow a disclaimer for photographic quality control, because there isn’t any! These are from who-knows how many different cameras with varying levels of expertise behind the lens (zero being a recurring theme), over a 20 year span, so…be forgiving, will you? Thanks.

Back when Mom let me paint on her furniture–this is her dining room table. She has a table leaf that I painted as well, so that the circular wreath becomes two arcs of vines and flowers in an oval shape.



Mom’s hatbox table (I think I mentioned these in Have we met?). The top is a picture frame that we put a piece of glass in, then sealed it with epoxy. The feet (which you can’t see, but are pretty fabulous) are cut crystal doorknobs. Gotta give consultant credit to Mom, we designed these together!

MY hatbox table. Don’t know why the frame top isn’t on it in this picture.

Mom’s stairwell. The urn was done using a stencil–wasn’t brave enough at that point to fly without a parachute!




My most ambitious undertaking at that point–I think this was in the early 90’s. Mom’s house again (wasn’t she nice to let me throw so much paint around?), these were big, blank closet doors (it’s the linen closet, actually) at the top of her stairs, that she had always hated; such a focal point, and nothing going on. So we collaborated and made them into a faux armoire, with  all our pets at the time, Buddy and Shadow (the mini doxies, now deceased), and my beloved kitty Cody (also deceased), plus my interpretation of my parents’ actual cake topper, and other things you might see if you actually opened the doors. This was the biggest scale I had ever worked on, and I sweated bullets over it!

A poster I designed for some employee competition when I worked at Macy’s. I didn’t win. They clearly had no appreciation for art. This was during my Flower Phase.




The whole table and chairs set I made for a very dear friend! Forgot I had pics of the whole thing!



In case you can’t read it, it says “The pour deux…moi et vous”. That there is French.



I have a thing for tufted cushions.





And gilt accents.




The doily is actually a stencil of an actual paper doily–a technique I’ve used a couple of times, and way easier than trying to recreate the lacy intricacy by hand!



Ta da! First piece of furniture for my OWN child! This is a small rocking chair–never been able to find this model again, which is a shame because it’s really sturdy, and has lots of surfaces on which to paint!

This is the front of the chair back (if that makes sense).



The back of the back.




Side view–there’s fish in that there water.





Other side of water!





And there’s my blurry little guy seeing it for the first time. He was much less blurry in real life, if I recall correctly.















And his rocking horse–aka “Colin’s Colt.”

While I had a lot of fun painting it, it’s an adorable design, and I can’t bear to get rid of it yet (even though he hasn’t ridden it in about 5 years), this model (purchased online and put together with difficulty and swear words) struck terror into my heart every time he was on it. It was sort of top heavy, and inclined to rock right over if a grown up wasn’t hovering over it every second.

This is a little bitty piece of wood right down at floor level, in the kids’ doorway. I painted this when I was all glowy with my first pregnancy, imagining that I was giving my as-yet-unborn child something to gaze at with rapt fascination, right down at his level. He’s 7 now, and I honestly don’t know if he even knows it’s there. <sigh>

Hallie has had her picture taken in this chair every birthday (she just turned 5)–I think we might have one more year, maybe two before she looks like a giant sitting in it!

See what I mean about the cushions and gilt?



The properly princessy back.





And the train I painted in a frenzy the day before Colin’s 4th birthday–I literally painted all night to get it done in time, so the rest of the events of that day are a bit fuzzy in my memory.

He was excited about it, I swear!



I painted it on a thin piece of wood–doorskin, or whatever you call that, hardwood but very thin–and then had my hubby bolt it to the wall. That way we could take it with us if we ever move, or take it down when he grows out of trains (here’s a secret: I’m pretty positive he’s already grown out of them, but he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings and ask me to take it down and paint him a giant dinosaur skeleton instead…he does love his Mommy!).

So there you go…Lara Eve Designs, the Retrospective! Eager to see where this train goes next (get it? get it??)!

Paisley’s Round-up–custom painted child’s table and chairs

I got to do something rather wonderful yesterday: hand deliver a commissioned piece to a family friend, and then watch it be admired by a roomful of people. A glowy sort of moment. See, my friend Courtney is the daughter of a friend of my mom’s, whose mother was best friends with my grandmother…let’s just say our families are pretty well intertwined, for a few generations. Courtney also has a seriously adorable baby girl named Paisley Blue, who just turned one.

Courtney ALSO happens to have a fabulous little child-sized table and chair set that was made for her by her maternal grandfather, a talented finish carpenter. It’s a sturdy, lovely little set, that harbors many cherished memories for Courtney of tea parties, Play-Doh masterpieces, and crayon fests. Of course, all that love and serious attention to playtime is bound to leave some wear and tear, and the little table was in need of a little facelift before it could get passed down to Paisley. Courtney and her mom decided I was the one for the job (thank you, thank you, thank you, ladies!).

Now, inspiration for this piece was pretty easy to come by. There’s Paisley’s distinctive name, some special requests from Courtney, and of course the young family’s love of all things Western–you should see their gorgeous house, with chickens, goats, and the occasional horse lounging in the yard! So I knew a paisley print was going to turn up somewhere, pink was a given (you should see her room), Courtney loved my cowhide print from the sheriff stool and rocking chair designs, and blueberries. Courtney asked for blueberries. See, Paisley IS the little blueberry at their house–how cute is that?? Really, this table practically painted itself.

So the resulting story (my pieces always have a story…I’m a little obsessive that way) is a break taken at the end of a trail ride, on a breezy day that keeps the edges of the big pink bandana-print cloth fluttering–that’s why the worn leather hat is lying there, to keep the whole thing from flying clean away! The cowpoke has thoughtfully brought along a snack for the trusty old paint, and a healthy one, too–an apple and a handful of blueberries. The chairs are made just a little more comfortable for tired, saddle-sore posteriors with a nice piece of cowhide tacked down with brass rivets. And there’s no confusion about who sits where, either: one chair reads “Paisley Blue,” the other says “Paisley’s Pal.”

Then came the moment at Paisley’s cowgirl (of course) birthday party when I turned over the table set to Courtney’s mom, who presented it to Courtney…who cried. Really, could I ask for anything more? Maybe just one more thing…if I hear back through the grapevine that Paisley is trying to pick up those blueberries…that’s true success!