Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chair #31

—Designed by Christian Liaigre

"Those [younger] years of contemplation have generated a creative spirit based on the use of materials such as wood weathered by the sea and the sand, as well as fine leathers worked according to the traditions of saddle making." 
               —Christian Liaigre

French furniture and interior designer Christian Liaigre credits the company that commissioned his first funiture line, Maison Nobolis, for building his reputation in this category. Favorite woods he uses are wenge, wacapou, wamara, and ebony from Africa, as well as more traditional timbers such as white sycamore and oak. With these unusual woods his work has a global feel.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chair #30

—Offered through Art & Artifact

The first thing you notice about this repro European antique chair is its swirly-lishiously carved round back, with a surreptitiously placed fleur-des-lis in the center. In contrast to all those swirls of delight are the rigid, turned, front legs with carved block fleurettes. Both features are capriciously lavished with gold leaf.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chair #29

—Offered through Gumps

A lovely silhouette. Don't those crossed legs in the back remind you of a ballet position? Is it 4th, 5th? It also reminds me of when dogs or cats cross their paws while lounging. I love the Greek revival-esque, scallopped notch detail on the back, those tapered, criss-crossed back legs, and those sexy cabriole front legs. Ooh la laaaa!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chair #28

—Designer unknown

We're talking ancient history with this chair. Originally called an "X" chair because of its curving frame crossing at the central joint, this design is the original "folding chair." In the style's earliest incarnation, it was treasured by the commanders of ancient Rome's armies as ideally practical, comfortable and portable on long campaigns to the far-flung edges of the empire. Later, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the design was widely used but chairs were crafted from iron or bronze instead of wood. In Medieval and Renaissance times, particularly in Italy and southern France, it was updated for use in homes, frequently with fabric looped around the arms and over the back. Within the world of French antiques, this design is commonly known as a "sedia Savonarola" or "Savonarola chair," presumably after the Dominican cleric, Girolamo Savonarola, the éminence grise behind the Florentine Republic until his execution in 1498.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chair #27


"You can't deny laughter; when it comes it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants."
         —Stephen King

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chair #26

—Offered by Donghia Furniture

The name Ogee comes from an architectural term meaning "S" curve. The shape consists of a concave arc flowing into a convex arc, thus creating an S-shaped curve with vertical ends. Another architectural name for an ogee is cyma reversa.

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This club chair merges luxurious comfort with elegant stylistic touches, such as the Directoire arms. With it's clean, tailored lines, this chair looks quite comforting indeed.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chair #25

—by Lorna Lee John Muller Designs

You don't need to be a tree hugger to love this beautifully designed chair. Relaxed and natural feeling, yet formal with its cushioned seat. I posted this twig chair directly after yesterday's chair (#24) because it is a kind of Adirondack chair. Notice the rustic wood? In this case the designers used a peeled ironwood. You'll need a side table to place that glass of lemonade on though.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chair #24

—Designed by Archie's Island Furniture

On the Archie's Island Furniture website, it asks the question, "Is there such a thing as happy furniture?" I say yes! It's nice to visit this chair on a cold January morning in New England... dreaming of bare feet, pink lemonade, and sand between my toes. All of the Adirondack style furniture at Archie's can be painted with bright, cheery colors... 28 fun colors, to be exact. Now that's happy.

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Rustic furniture originated in 18th-century Europe during the popularity of great landscape gardens, and later gained momentum in the U.S. at the turn of the century (that would be the 20th century, people) when the great magnates commissioned their summer "camps". To us ordinary folks these camps were actually opulent mountain retreats. Sigh. There were two types of this rustic furniture. One type is made of the recognizable parts of a tree, such as tree twigs, tree limbs or bundled willow, and the other type looks like this chair, made of thin sheets of barkless wood. A classic Adirondack chair features slatted back and seats that are set at a deep angle—suitable for optimum relaxation. And the arms are wide enough to place that glass of pink lemonade on.   

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chair #23

—Designed by Mauro Lipparrini

So many of these furniture designers seem to be terminal overachievers. Mauro Lipparrini graduated from the University of Florence's Department of Architecture, where he is currently a faculty member. He has also done extensive work in the fields of industrial design, interior design, public and private housing, retail and wholesale showrooms, exhibition installations, corporate identity, and cutting edge graphic design... phew... and all on a worldwide scale! And oh yeah, he designs chairs too. A leader and innovator in the style that has been called "natural minimalism," Liparini's style is all at once spare, clean, bold, and organic. Gotta love those Italians!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chair #22

—Designed by Victoria Hagen

I covet this chair. Although it looks like an antique it's actually designed by an incredibly talented contemporary New York designer. This chair has gilded wooden trim and black fabric. It reminds me of something Josephine would be siting in while reading one of Napolean's love letters to her.


I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart!... My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for your lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah!... You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours. Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.
        — Bonaparte

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"I use this chair as an accent... Elegant and whimsical at the same time... I often place it as one would sculptural against a blank wall of beneath a large mirror."
                             —Victoria Hagen

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chair #21

—Designed by Pascal Mourgue

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Here we have yet another incredibly talented artist in so many fields. Pascal Mourgue graduated from Boulle school (sculpture) and Ensad (Ecole nationale Supéiure des Arts Décoratifs). PM considers himself an artist first. His diverse achievements include his own architecture, sculpture, and painting, but also include designing sailing boats for Cartier, and crystal objects for Baccarat. Though he began designing furniture in the early 1960's, it wasn't until the 1980's that he focused on furniture for the home. This comfy chair offered from Ligne Roset is covered in a scrumptious lavender color.

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"I never design anything that I don't like..."
         —Pascal Mourgue

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chair #20

In a word... fierce! This is one of those times that I just have to mention the textile involved, or in this case, the metal. This Amuneal Salon chair is upholstered in polished aluminum... complete with with rivets. The hand carved wood is painted in red, and the silver aluminum against the red is hot. Price is "available upon request." What would Rosie the Riveter think?

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Rosie the Riveter — This cultural icon represents the first feminists of the USA. Six million women entered the workforce during WWII, taking the place of male workers who were over fighting in Europe and the Pacific. More directly, the name Rosie the Riveter associated with Rose Will Monrow, who worked in a Michigan Aircraft factory in WWII as a riveter, building B-20 and B-24 bombers for the U.S. Army Air forces.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chair #19

—André Arbus

Gorgeous! Look at the sexy, Neoclassical style scrolling on the legs.

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The son of a cabinetmaker, André Arbus designed cabinets but he never actually practiced the craft. He did however, make chairs. This Frenchman graduated from L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Tolouse, France, and his custom furniture made their debut at the Paris Salons in 1926. His creations were an immediate success, and throughout the 40's his style was highly acclaimed. Arbus was also an architect, decorator, sculptor, and some say... a genius.

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The Directoire style is associated with furniture design, fashion, and decorative arts. It was established at the time of the French Directory (1795-1799), which was the tail end of the French revolution. The furniture style has neoclassical architectural forms, minimalist lines, applied decorative painting, and highly grained veneers. It was a precursor to another neoclassical period, the Empire style.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

chair #18

—Designed by Lars Bolander

Scallops on the half shell! I am thinking Palm Beach, Florida, mid 1980's. Donald and Ivana Trump surely had a set of these chairs around a glass top dining room table at Mar-a-Lago. Over the top, just like the hairstyles in the 80's.

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Sally sells seashells by the seashore.
She sells seashells on the seashell shore.
The seashells she sells are seashell shells,
of that I'm sure.
She sells seashells by the seashore.
She hope she will sell all her seashells soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chair #17

—offered by Mitchell Gold

I have no idea how this cute little chair got it's name—but what kind of a name is Astrid anyway? It's lovely—in a British sort of way—but unfortunately it reminds me of the word aphid. And it's just a couple of vowels shy of the word asteroid. Oh my... focus... Back to the name Astrid... There is in fact, a Princess Astrid of Norway, who is the second daughter of King Olav V, and was once married to a commoner—an Olympic medalist and sailor. Princess Astrid and the sailor. That's as good as fairy tales get these days, n'est pas? Do you think Princess Astrid owns a pair of these chairs?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chair #16

—Designed by Barbary Barry

Trés chic, oui?! And elegant. I'll be posting several of chairs by designer Barbara Barry because I am mad about them, and anything else she designs. Her refined style has clean, sensual lines, and her palette of beautiful beige tones inspire calm and tranquility.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chair #15

—Designed by Poul Henningsen

Another great DANE! Who knew they were so cutting-edge-cool back in 1931 Denmark when this rare Snake Chair was made? This prototype chair had chromium plated tubular steel, and the real deal had laminated wood on the seat. The back of the chair was covered in oilcloth. In Europe after WW1, people lived in small apartments and furnished them simply, like with this very cool, twisted chair. Pass the curly fries.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chair #14

—Designed by Miller Fong


I feel relaxed just looking at this chair. I can picture myself seated upon it on a breezy summer afternoon, reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray Love... Just the happy parts mind you, not the parts where she cries hysterically. Miller Fong designed this chair in the late 1960's, and back then it was used primarily indoors. It has since been reissued and updated in Hularo, an all-weather synthetic wicker, wrapped around a stainless steal frame. So now this classic can be used outside. It sells through California Living.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chair #13


Okay, I don't know much about this outdoor teak chair, but one thing I do know is that there are only 66 days until the first day of spring. Wouldn't it be lovely to be sitting in this chair on the first warm spring day, smelling the earth as it wakes up, and watching a riot of daffodils reach for the sunshine? Here's a little poem by James McMahon...

On the First Day of Spring
We are holding hands
On the first day of spring.
Birds whistle sweetly
Reminding a romance to sing.
Sunshine kisses the flowers
With a love nature shall bring.
Stars above whisper to us:
'Goodnight' on the first day of spring.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chair #12

—Designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll

With its curvaceous open back, this looks more like a swank lounge chair than a stuffy office chair. I doubt you'd find this in the average veal fattening pen in an office cube farm. Nope, this is the executive chair. Probably only the suits with the window offices are lucky enough to have it.

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Some classic lines from the film Office Space...

Bill Lumbergh: Oh, and remember: next Friday is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.
Milton Waddams: I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she's filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I'm collating so I don't see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.
Bob Porter: Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately.
Peter Gibbons: I wouldn't say I was missing it Bob.
Bill Lumbergh: Oh, oh, I almost forgot. Aaah, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.
Milton Waddums: (talking on the phone) And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting. I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I'm used to having it over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's no okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chair #11

—Designed by Harry Bertoia

An Italian classic. I am betting that the inspiration for this Italian designer's chair occurred while he was straining some sort of pasta through a wire mesh colander. Mmm... Spaghetti Bolognese? Fettucine Alfredo? Gnocchi alla Gorgonzola? Si, Si, Signor!

Gnocchi alla Gorgonzola
   — Ingredients
package of freshly made potato gnocchi
5 oz. of a good Italian Gorgonzola cheese
3/4 cups cream
2 oz. butter
freshly grated pepper
1 tblsp. chopped fresh chives

   — Directions
Over a low flame, heat cream and butter together. When butter has melted, add the chopped Gorgonzola cheese and simmer for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Gently drop the gnocchi in and when they float to the top, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Pour the Gorgonzola sauce over the warm gnocchi, sprinkle with chopped chives, and enjoy these pillowy bundles of heaven. 

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"If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."

            —Harry Bertoia

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chair #10

—Designed by international designer Karla Lopez

Thinking Inside the Box

"The idea that we need to think out of the box is wrong, instead we need to try on as many boxes as possible."
              — Dan Heath

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chair #9

—Designed by Leon Krier

Commodus was a Roman Emperor who ruled from 180 to 192. Apparently he was known among his contemporaries as a very handsome dude. He also had some sort of odd Hercules obsession, ordering statues made of himself dressed as Hercules wearing a lion's hide and carrying a club. He liked to perform gladiator-esque feats in the arena. Commodus was particular fond of fighting wild animals (the details are much too gruesome to delve into here), and it was written that he could shoot an arrow through the head of an ostrich in full gallop. Nice visual, eh? Better to try picturing Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator. Prrrrrr.

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The gorgeous chair legs are made of solid maple with glazed nickel-plated metal feet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chair #8

—Designed by French artist and interior designer Christian Ghion

This chair reminds me of a big, happy, smiley face. You know, that perpetually happy, yellow sphere of good cheer from the '70s? It was plastered on everything from coffee mugs, to bumper stickers to t-shirts. It often had the demanding phrase "have a happy day" with it, and variations of the smiley face are currently used by some on e-mails. So have yourself a happy day, will ya?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chair #7

—Designed by Jesus Gasca

So, a guy goes into a bar and orders three separate shot glasses of Irish whiskey. He drinks all three. He does this day after day after day, and so one day the bartender finally says "You know, I can put all three of those shots into one glass for you." The guys says, "No thanks, I prefer it this way. I have two brothers back home in Ireland, and I love them dearly. This glass right here is for Finnigan, and this one over here is for Fergus, and this one in the middle is for me. This way I feel like we're all here having a drink together." This charming  ritual continues daily, until one day the guy came in and says, "Give me two shots today." "What happened?" the bartender asked, "Did something happen to one of your brothers?" "No, no, the guy said. They're both fine, it's just that I decided to quit drinking."

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By the 19th century, stools had become mere ornamental furniture, with the exception of the barstool that was used in bars, cocktail lounges, and kitchen counters. It's a high stool that is fixed to a central post or legs, sometimes with a back and arms.

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This is stunning bar or counter stool. The sexy, stylish, molded wavy contour of the seat looks ergonomic and supportive enough for even the most finicky backs.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chair #6

—Designed by Frank Gehry

Talk about going green — this chair is made of cardboard! Frank Gehry designed this chair way before "renewable resource" was even a catchphrase. Better known for his, avante-garde architecture of brilliantly organized chaos — structures often built of shiny, jutting, twists of titanium, Gehry also designed fabulously simple organic chairs such as this one. He designed it as part of his "Easy Edges" series (1969-1973). In 2004 a pair of stools from this series sold for $18,000 at Sotheby's. An international superstar in the field of architecture, Gehry isn't just an architect, he's a "Starchitect." Is anyone out there craving a piece of ribbon candy besides me?

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"Wiggle it, just a little bit"

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"I used to make a lot of contour models, where you pile up corrugated cardboard, and I loved to look at the ends. When you sliced them of, they looked like curdoroy. So I got the idea to make cardboard furniture. The first chairs sold at Bloomingdale's for $35 in 1972. I thought it could be the Volkswagen of furniture. You have to free yourself of all the rules to let ideas happen. I follow my instincts. It's like a pussycat with a ball of string. You push it. It falls. You look at it, and if you like it, you grab it. It's a strategy of opportunism."

                 —Frank Gehry, in a 2006 House Beautiful article

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chair #5


When grandmothers of today hear the word Chippendales, they don't necessarily think of chairs.
                     —Jean Kerr

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The word Chippendale conjures up images of rare and pricey antiques that the Keno twin brothers of Antiques Roadshow fame would go weak in the legs about. Thomas Chippendale was the cabinetmaker rock-star of 18th century London, and his name alone has enviable provenance. Though he was a well known cabinetmaker, it's the chair that Chippendale is most remembered for. It would likely have graceful curved legs with a ball and claw type of foot, and elegant Rococo carvings. Later revivals of his style include names like Chinese, Gothic, and even Irish Chippendale. Lord knows how those beefcake dancers got the name.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Chair #4

—Designed by Dorothy Draper

"It is just as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress."               
        — Dorothy Draper

This is an accessory that any girly-girl would love to have in her boudoir. Imagine this chair perched in front of your makeup table, covered with a ridiculous amount of perfume bottles and a vase overflowing with fragrant, pink peonies... Delicious. It's worth mentioning that this particular chair was upholstered in fuschia (my favorite happy color). Do you love?

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Dorothy Draper was one of the most influential American decorators of the early to mid 20th century. She is known for "draperizing" an interior with her flamboyant style. She was all about the drama, fearlessly using elements such as eye-popping colors and oversized prints, often juxtaposed against bold black and whites. The opposite of beige. She wrote several decorating books, including "In the Pink," but for real amusement, check out her book "Entertaining is Fun! How to be a Popular Hostess." Although to some she was considered the Martha Stewart of her day, some differed from that opinion immensely. Frank Lloyd Wright went so far as to call her an "inferior desecrator." Ouch. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chair #3

—Designer unknown

You're in the dimly lit library in front of the warm fireplace reading the latest cricket scores. Your cat, Figaro, is purring in our lap whilst you both listen to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Your butler has just laid out a knife alongside some Stilton cheese, cracked walnuts, a ripe pear and a butterscotchy tawny port for you to nibble and sip on. You light your pipe and watch the smoke curls drift away into the night air...

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The wingback chair has wings rising up from the arm and joining the back at a 90° or wider angle. The original purpose of the wings were assumed to help prevent drafts in old homes from reaching the upper bodies, or to protect the delicate skin of gentrified ladies from the heat of a roaring fireplace.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chair #2

—Designer unknown

Cue the Masterpiece Theater trumpets! Over on the other side of the pond in the early 1800's, when mad King George III was going bonkers and was deemed unfit to rule, his son eagerly stepped in as his proxy—his Prince Regent. And so began the Regency period of England. It was the time sandwiched between the Georgian and Victorian eras of jolly old England. The English aristocracy reveled in the excesses of the day with fabulous architecture, literature and fashions. Oh those Brits. Think Shelley, Keats or Byron — or better yet — think of your favorite Jane Austen flick and you'll get a visual. In Sense and Sensibility, "Elizabeth welcomed Mr. Darcy inside and reluctantly offered him a seat on the giltwood armchair with the carved, ebonized owl arm supports." OK, I made that up. But this is the exactly the kind of chair that was around back then. It was fashionable to copy actual furniture from classical Rome, Egypt or Greece. So details such as winged griffins, lions heads, animal legs, or scrolled ends were popping up on furniture. 

This Regency period library chair was one of a pair offered through New York's Kentshire Galleries a few years back. Notice the scrolled top rails and saber legs? And those unusual carved owls are what make this chair extraordinary. For a hefty $160,000 you too could be seated upon history.

Pip pip, cheerio.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chair #1

—Designed by Arne Jacobsen

Hello Chair lovers! For my first chair du jour, I thought I'd start with a familiar one, and the inspiration for my blog banner. This funky, mod, curvalicious chair is very fun indeed, and who doesn't love a chair that swivels?

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The March 2003 edition of House Beautiful Magazine describes this chair as follows: GREAT DANE   In 1958 Danish designer and architect Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971) developed the Swan chair for the lobby and reception area of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. At the time, the chair was heralded for its innovation: it's all curves. Now, 45 years after its introduction, the Swan gracefully enters the 21st century while upholding its legacy as one of the most popular and recognizable mid-20th century furniture designs.

Welcome to Chair du jour!

Why Chairs? Chairs are ubiquitous. They're at work, they're at public places, and they're at home — but most important, they are comforting. You just can't beat a deliciously scrumptious chair, can you? And I'll bet you're probably sitting in your favorite chair right now as you're reading this.
Why Blue? It's a nice neutral. It gives a sort of stripped-down blueprint feel; the beautiful structure of these chairs comes through even without portrayal of their colors, fabrics or materials.
Why blog? It's January 1st, and I thought it would be fun to try something new—to join the blogosphere. Plus I have a box full of chair photos that I want to sketch, and this blog will force me to keep at it. I do not claim to be a chair expert, but I will do my best to supply chair names and some sort of pertinent information whenever possible. Or maybe sometimes I might supply some not so pertinent information—just some fun stream of consciousness sort of facts. This blog is merely meant to be an amusing study of chairs—their silhouettes and styles. I like to think of it as the eye candy equivalent of a culinary amuse bouche. I love chairs—classic chairs, odd chairs, and sublimely seductive chairs.
Why "Chair du jour!"? I am challenging myself to paint 365 chairs, and to post them daily, so the title seemed rather obvious. We'll see how I do, won't we? It'll be tough when garden season kicks in.
My favorite chair? I'm a traditionalist, I guess, and flanking my kitchen table I have a gorgeous pair of beefy, Louis XV style arm chairs that are upholstered in a chocolate brown leather. Milk chocolate. Yum.
So what's your favorite chair? Tell me about your favorite chair, (maybe I'll do a watercolor sketch of it!), and come along with me on my journey... perhaps we'll both find a new favorite chair.
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All chair watercolor sketches are painted on Winsor & Newton Cotman 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor sheets, using Winsor & Newton French Ultramarine blue.
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Copyright © 2009 all rights reserved
—Diane Carnevale