Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Vintage Hutch in Newt's Blue

I am forever searching for fresh color inspiration, from the patinated green of an antique copper weathervane, to an interesting bit of moss I spot while out hiking with my border collies. It's a nonstop automatic setting in my brain, and when I spot a color I fancy, I have a tendency to obsess a bit about it. I'll find myself staring at the ceiling at three in the morning micro-analyzing just how I might mix the color, and what it would look like in different lighting, and how a dark wax might warm the tone, or 220grit distressing fatigue it.

           Last Tuesday I spotted a color I really took to. Have you seen Fantastic Beasts yet? My god if you haven't, why are you denying yourself such an amusing and energetic treat?! It's a magnificent movie; I've seen it twice now, and spent a good part of both viewings all but drooling over the color of the coat worn by the main character throughout most of the film. This is in no way related to the fact that I am now wholly besotted by the actor, Eddie Redmayne, who wears said coat. Not at all, definitely no connection. Here's a fun little bit about the coat itself from Pottermore-

           By the end of the movie on Tuesday I'd already made up my mind that first, I would very much like to meet this Mr. Redmayne, and more importantly that I had just the perfect hutch to paint in that wonderful indigo blue. The movie takes place in New York in 1926, this hutch is almost certainly from right around 1925. The character, and his costuming, are a charming natty/tatty hybrid, and this hutch which is almost a hundred years old is a riot of high-style swoops and curves, but has already been painted mint green, and stripped, and refinished badly, and misused and ignored, and generally beat up around the edges. The perfect piece to carry the perfect color.

             So the color itself is a warm blue, which is a bit counter-intuitive at first consideration as blue is fundamentally a cool tone. It's the unique warmth of this hue that makes it so engaging. To create it I started with a blue that was almost cobalt, added several dollops of sea green, a slap of smoky gray, a glop of charcoal gray, and just a smidge of maroon- and then some chalk paint additive, a healthy stir, and whiz bang we've got what I'm calling 'Newt's Blue'.

               In the movie, Newt's vest is a shade of fawn that leans heavily towards mustard, it too is a magnificent shade which I'll surely be pirating for a piece down the road, but it would have been too much for the interior of this hutch. What works on a dapper British actor in a heady magical vintage world oddly doesn't translate quite perfectly to large pieces of mahogany furniture. And so I mixed up a shade of buff that nods towards the complimentary vest without hitting it over the head with the whole mustard hog. I kept the original cast brass drawer pulls but swapped out the underwhelming faux keyhole knobs for bold salvaged vintage brass ones. I added just a bit of gold highlighting to the lot. They don't sparkle but have a sensible warmth and detail which compliments the blue nicely.

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