A group of us hauled our palettes and easels to a small ranch in the older part of San Mateo County. As usual, we scattered about the property in different directions until we saw something that caused us to pause and want to paint. I followed a group of painters headed toward the stables to check out the barns and animals. The path took us by an old cottage with the door standing wide open. I paused at the scruffy screen door and peeked in. Rain, from the previous night, had come into the small kitchen and seeped under the linoleum. It was still wet. The room showed signs of having been wet many times and no one bothered to attempt to shut the door. The walls and the ceiling were covered with small two-inch boards like those used in wainscotting and peeling paint dangled from the ceiling like five-inch stalagtites from the top of a cave.
An old white rocker with missing rungs and spindles was in the middle of the floor. Its cushion was soiled and damp. A dirty ash tray and used candle were on the nearby table. This appeared to have been the hired hand's quarters in earlier times. I took the liberty of stepping inside the door and painted the picture. I also painted a small picture of the stable area.
After I went home, thoughts of the mistreated white rocker wouldn't leave my mind. A few days later I drove back to the ranch and knocked on the door. I asked the owner if she would like to trade the painting of her stable area for that old white rocker. She happily agreed.
Once it was in our garage we looked over the chair. What had formerly been a caned seat was now an empty hole with chicken wire nailed over to support the seat cushion.We found an oak chair hiding beneath the many layers of paint, and some carving had to be restored. My husband tooled new spindles on his lathe to replace those missing or broken. After he did this work, we finished the chair and I caned the seat. The chair has been treated nicely ever since. -Sold