The Painted Door

Earlier this year I was invited to paint a door for a fundraiser for the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

At the time I was swamped with painting my musician series and I almost turned down this opportunity. I thought I could be practical and adapt one of my photographs or an existing painting or drawing for the project. That would save time, right? Easy and fast, right? #famouslastwords
I looked through my photos and simplified two images with Photoshop. I reduced the number of colour changes and streamlined the shapes.

But the Bear River scene was the wrong size and I’d lose too much detail if I made it fit the real door shape. The bee balm painting looked too overwhelming.
What to do?
I chose to simplify a slice of a painting of flowers at eye level.

©Flora Doehler, 2016
Reaching for the Sun ©Flora Doehler, 2016 20″ x 20″ Acrylic on Canvas $625

I rendered the entire painting into a grey scale in Photoshop. Then I cut out a paper window with the proportions of the door. I slid this across the painting until I found the perfect section.





Next, I projected the image onto the door and outlined it with a permanent marker. I did this in sections as my very old projector has very limited abilities.


When it came time to paint, I put away the original painting and chose mostly new colours. I didn’t want to reproduce the original. The painting developed as I worked on it and as each colour I laid down suggested another. Because I put so much detail into it, the painting took FOREVER.  I painted it with acrylics and sealed it with a number of acrylic varnish coats. I was very pleased with the result.

My 106 year old door was auctioned off along with some 30+ doors from other Nova Scotia artists. Together we raised a nice chunk of money for the Gallery as well as earning a modest honorarium for each artist.

The original colours were changed to emphasize the iris reaching for light.
The original colours were changed to emphasize the iris reaching for light.

I haven’t met the people who bought my door. I wonder if they will install it in their house or hang it on the wall?

My first painted door and hopefully not the last. I’m so glad I took advantage of this opportunity to S–T–R–E–T–C–H!


4 thoughts on “The Painted Door

  1. Thanks for sharing your process for painting the door. It was a great idea to use a detail of one of your paintings and reconstruct it this way. Boy oh boy one could make an entrance through that door!

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