Chair Paintings – Part 1

In a comment on my post about Hezehiah’s chair, my cousin Becky asked if I might show some of my favorite outdoor furniture. I think my favorite outdoor furniture is indoor furniture brought outside on a sunny day.

In the days before real outdoor patio furniture, my grandparents and parents used all the chairs they could find for an outdoor picnic. I love this photo of the family having a picnic near the farmhouse on Whirlwind Hill. They sit in chairs from the kitchen and dining room of the house, balancing plates of food on their laps and enjoying the sunshine.

Farm Picnic, 1948

Farm Picnic, 1948

Chairs and sunshine are perfect vehicles for painting pleasure. The light creates patterned shadows and intensifies color. While I was going through slides and photos of my chair paintings, I realized how very many chairs I moved around inside and outside to take advantage of the light. (I did this when traveling as well, and probably embarrassed many a friend and family member by moving chairs around in public places.)

Sometimes my chair images are close to home, and sometimes they come from away. The chairs in this post are not chairs from my house. They’re chairs from places that feel like home – California, New England, and Hawaii. Next week I’ll show some of my chairs from home.


This white wicker chair sat in the garden of my in-law’s house when they lived in Stockton, California. I had just discovered the artist David Hockney and was influenced by his colored pencil drawings.

"California Chair," Carol Crump Bryner, colored pencil, 1979

“California Chair,” Carol Crump Bryner, colored pencil, 1979


My friend Robin has a lakeside “camp” in Vermont. I probably moved her furniture around to take advantage of the view, which was very lovely.

"Porch by the Lake," Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 30" x 40" 1997

“Porch by the Lake,” Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″ 1997

Rhode Island

I fell in love with the “Ocean House” in Watch Hill, Rhode Island in 1998 in the years before it was renovated and fancy-schmancied up. I did paintings of its porches, chairs, windows, and doorways. Fortunately it was nearly empty during the off-season, and no one seemed to mind me posing its furniture for pictures.

"Ocean House #2," Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 1999

“Ocean House #2,” Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 1999


My favorite place in Maine to paint is the Olson House in Cushing. Its rooms are empty except for a few chairs and the sunlight coming through the windows. I never get tired of going there.

"Northern Light #10," Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 38" x 30" 2001

“Northern Light #10,” Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 38″ x 30″ 2001

These rocking chairs were on a porch in Pemaquid, Maine.

"Green Rocking Chairs," Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 2009

“Green Rocking Chairs,” Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 2000


This is the cottage porch – one of the best places in the world to sit and watch the ocean.

"Porch Chair and Screen Door," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache, 2009

“Porch Chair and Screen Door,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache, 2009


Hawaii is all about color and light. To paint a Hawaii painting in my studio in the middle of a cold and grey winter is the best therapy ever.

"Waimea Plantation Porch," Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 26" x 34" 2000

“View to the Ocean #1,” Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 26″ x 34″ 2000

"Lanai with Two Chairs," Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2009

“Lanai with Two Chairs,” Carol Crump Bryner, gouache and colored pencil, 2009

My sister-in-law and her husband generously share their beautiful Kauai house with us for a few weeks each year. We started going to the Garden Isle in 1976, and it’s a place that always feels truly like home. The painting below shows the view from their living room. I moved an indoor chair outside and painted a view of the ocean that you might see if there weren’t houses across the street. Artistic license to the rescue!

"Morning Sun," Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas, 40" x 32" 2000

“Morning Sun,” Carol Crump Bryner, oil on canvas 40″ x 32″ 2000

Next week my chairs will move closer to my home in the far north.


9 thoughts on “Chair Paintings – Part 1

  1. Michael Foster

    Carol, these paintings are fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing. The color, light and shadow come together so well that I feel that I am there, but able to fucus and enjoy thise particular elements. So well done.

  2. Rebecca Norton

    Though my faith in God is no longer Universal, as in all paths lead to God, these sturdy and beautiful chairs would lead anyone to come and sit down with the One we can no longer see in person, but Who lives in heaven and desires me to sit awhile and have a meaningful conversation with Him, using the book He wrote and responding to it in prayer. The Prayer Chairs.
    Love you Carol, Becky<

  3. Andy Hemenway

    Is Carol Crump Bryner a pseudonym for Gretchen Dow Simpson?
    As we share Yankee roots, Alaska transplant, and Hawaii getaways, your work always stirs me, Carol.

    1. Carol Post author

      Thanks so much Joanie. Your paintings were always such an inspiration for me when we first knew each other. I’m so glad we can keep in touch.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *