Why is it that when I see a piece of bare wood, it calls out “paint me”? Not just “paint me” a simple color, but “decorate me… elaborately and colorfully”. This not only happens with wood or furniture, but with bare walls, doors and other unassuming objects. This happens when I look at many things, this need to adorn. What is it that pulls me to create things in this way?

My love for folkloric hand-painted furniture and relics was sparked after moving to Northern New Mexico. The more ornate, the more worn the color, the more beautiful, it seems. Maybe it is the charming and delicate way that a hand-painted and beautifully aged piece of furniture looks sitting against a modest adobe wall. Who painted each line, who carved each flower, painstakingly with a chisel? Who used to keep their crisp linens in these cabinets, who used to eat candle lit suppers from this table? Layers of peeling paint, fading lines and contours, dots and symmetry, reveal an untold narrative. Maybe a tale of someone’s tears wept upon it, someone’s love poured around it, or maybe someone’s sweat dripped upon it as they kneaded their bread upon it.

This artistry and craftsmanship which was standard in the past is a characteristic which I deeply admire. It speaks to me of prudence and diligence in detail. In my every endeavor, I aspire to this level of craftsmanship and care for my work. I only hope someone else far in the future will find our works of skill and artistry, and wonder about the stories that they told, layer upon layer, of peeling paint.


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