Furniture Painters of Mathews
by Tom Chillemi
Janice Roane paints furniture for pleasure, and many like her style.
For several years Roane has brightened antique furniture with nautical themes, scenery, flowers and gardens. She’s self-taught, with help from how-to books, and has honed her techniques through the years.
Roane paints her own motifs on old or damage furniture, saving them from being discarded. “I just wanted to save old pieces.”
Painting is a labor of love for Roane, who creates when she’s in the mood.
Some of her creations are displayed at her shop, Roane’s Antiques at the Cottage, located at 291 Main Street in Mathews.
Sixteen-year-old Kara Kelly of Mathews is a budding artist. For an eighth grade project at Thomas Hunter Middle School she painted Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night on a chair. That was three years ago and since then she’s been offered $200 for her one-of-a-kind chair, but declined the offer.
Kara helps her mother, Valerie Kelly, also a furniture painter, operate Doodlebugs Consignments, where their work can be seen. It’s located at 240 Main Street in the Mathews Historic District. “I do it to brighten someone’s day,” said Valerie, “and to bring furniture back to life.”
From brown to bright
Ellen Williams’ mother was an antique dealer in Gloucester. Williams learned from her mother that vintage furniture is better built. “They’re more substantial even if they are 40 or 50 years old,” she said.
It was a natural progression for her to paint furniture, giving it new life and rescuing it from the hum-drum brown to warm colors.
Williams paints to order. A repeat customer wanted pieces redone for a nursery. She told Williams the colors she wanted and let her design.
About 8 years ago Williams started doing “chalk painting.”
She’s developed a clientele and they will bring her furniture or tell her what they’re looking for, and she will find it for them and paint it to their wishes.
It doesn’t matter what a piece looks like when she gets it because it will look totally different when she is done.
Williams does stenciling and has started using furniture transfers, which are a unique way to create designs.
Williams sells some of her items at Etc. Vintage, located at 2066 Buckley Hall Road in Cobbs Creek in Mathews County, and at Lazy Daisy Gift Store in Williamsburg.
Etc. Vintage sells “ReThunk Junk” paints, in colors that convert furniture from brown to bright, said co-owner Cathy Walker. “It really transforms old furniture, that’s made very well but is brown, into a very desirable piece.”