Monday, April 4, 2016

The little things


Laugh with me a little...
This is what I got done the other day.
High on my to do list these days is packing up non-essentials ahead of the real move and decluttering, staging and photographing each room.
I thought I might pack up some barware but then I had the idea to photograph my living room because it did not look too bad.


See that flat shelf and column on the right? Well, it has never been styled right and neither has it's twin on the other side of the room. It was loaded with antique books so I started packing them up in a too small box. Then I got a larger box and tried again but halfway through the marks on the painted white shelf bothered me. Off I went to grab cleaning products to remove the scuffs. It didn't work so I went to find a can of paint. I painted the shelf but the matching shelf had clutter. I left it there.
I started pulling things of of all tables and shelves and piling the on my dining room table to be packed. Then I thought it looked a little dusty...

Can you see where I am going with this?
I got the living room photographed and two boxes of books packed and a bit of dusting done and it took me hours!
I am so overwhelmed with work and travel and moving that I could barely complete a single task.
Sorta pathetic but this move is happening!

P.S. If you are going to go to High point market be sure to stop by CR Laine showrooms and say Hello! The party is Saturday 5:30 - 7:30 and is co-sponsored by Duralee.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Paintings, floors and chaos


I gave you a sneak peek at this a week or so ago. It is a 70 x 50 inch canvas that I did for the CR Laine showrooms during High Point Market 2016. I actually did quite a few special pieces for them.


I was given fabrics to coordinate with and free reign when it came to my ideas. It was a joy and also challenging but the two go hand-in-hand to me.
You can see a selection of my work for CR Laine on this page of my website or better yet, come to market!

Whilst this was going on my studio, that is still in my home, major tile work has been underway.
My dear husband did tile work right out of college with his brother in-law. They were meticulous. Lucky me.
Our house had 100% builder grade and ugly finishes. Last year I got new quartz counters in my kitchen and my tile guy installed the backsplash.


The floor was was much debated and the quicker solution than hardwood throughout was chosen to facilitate the move to Charleston.
Take a gander of the floors I lived with for 5 years.


It was always ugly but recently began to delaminate.
Our goal is to upgrade at a reasonable cost. Many of my choices would have been different were we staying but I was not willing to compromise on style and harmony. We are going for ROI not cookie cutter suburbia, yet cost was a consideration.
Welcome lovely new tile!


This warm gray tile paired well with the counters and the warm, mahogany colored cabinets. It also works beautifully with the Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray on the walls.


At less than $2 per square foot, it is a deal my husband, spent 9 days on the floor at a cost of about $700 in materials.
We love it!
It was not pretty process. Our fridge had to live in the foyer, and my large paintings were leaned wherever I could find a spot. The pantry was emptied onto the dining room floor and our kitchen table was in front of the TV. Oh and my kids in college came home for Spring break. In case the level of chaos is not apparent...


As I write this, my dear husband has finished a 13 hour day of tile work in our master bath (a blog post all its own just for the sheer crazy factor) Today was day 8 on said bath and tomorrow appears to be another 12-13 hours of backbreaking work for him.
Master bath goodness coming soon!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What I learned about color while painting commissions

One of the best things about being an artist is the places it has taken me, both literally and metaphorically. I am partnering with furniture manufacturer CR Laine again for 2016 High Point Market. This time I was given sizes and color palettes to create pieces specifically for their vast and inspiring showroom.

I love this new colorway in Bruschwig and Fils' Le Lac fabric

This kind of project is what I live for. I love the process of color matching and the wide open freedom to create whatever I think will work in a space given a set palette.
While I can't show you any of the completed pieces yet I want to show you the process and how it changed how I get to a finished work.

Detail of larger work

The fabrics above were the collection I was given for a 70 x 50 inch canvas and the color palette scared me. There are viridian and turquoise and Pthalo blues that I normally avoid in my work. I decided to use the yellow ochre as a starting point. I really used a bright yellow spray paint and some ochre for my first layer. Next I layered sheer and opaque whites. Grayish, beige-ish, yellowish, and bright whites but those bold colors still needed to find a way on to the canvas. In the photo above you can see areas of viridian that were part of my next step that absolutely terrified me.

Detail of larger work

I spoke to an artist friend and she said the thing that she has often said, "Give your self permission to paint something ugly." I knew she was right. I only had two layers on so I began roughly adding all of the scary bright colors with no clear idea how I would turn it into something that someone would want to look at or hopefully, buy.
I began adding in the black and brown found in the fabrics and had a little epiphany. You see I was also painting a 36 x 48 canvas for the same space and I started with a painting that was in progress that had a few of the right colors but also had a peachy coral and a hint of lavender. Why do I have to stick firmly to these colors, I thought ? Maybe add another green or a variety of grays along with the prescribed colors. I did and also continued layering on the grays and beiges while finishing with more ochre and the bold blues in the fabrics.

Wet ochre color in this detail of a larger piece

Well, I can tell you that the most challenging painting is my favorite of the bunch and it taught me something about how I use color. The discovery in each painting is a big reason for my doing it at all and this did not disappoint. I heard an apt quote recently. 
"You will never know everything about something you love"
Stay tuned in April and I will be showing you what I take to market. If happen to go to High Point Market this Spring please stop by the CR Laine showroom and say Hi. I will be there on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Choosing art to add to a collection

The simplest rule for choosing art is to find pieces that speak to you and that you love but they can also make sense with your decor and other art.
Paying attention to a theme, color palette and /or mood can help you pin down something that you will love for many years.


In my son's room I wanted to create a gallery wall with a theme. I had inherited block prints and a portrait by my grandmother and another antique portrait. It did not quite fill the wall so I created a few abstract portraits and commissioned another of my son, from a favorite baby picture.



I purchased several paintings through Etsy shortly after buying my current house.
One of my favorites is this abstract by Linda Montfort.


It was the start of my art collection by choice. The colors and exuberance spoke to me and made sense with some of the still life paintings that are by my grandmother.


I think it can be helpful to allow your thinking to go beyond theme and color. For instance, abstracts don't have to be hung alongside abstracts and warm tones need not be in the company of only more warm.
I purposefully choose items that are decidedly feminine in mood for my formal living room. The blush walls and ladylike ivory fabrics were the base decor and art (as well as accessories) must fit within the same feel but without necessarily conforming to a set of colors.
I also bought this little painting on Etsy.




Conversely, my adjacent dining room is very masculine and I combined family silhouettes with my collections of antique fox hunt prints and gentlemen.



The choices for my daughter's room were definitely color and mood driven.

Ellen Levine Dodd

Sally Kelly landscape
It tells an interesting story of the owner, when inherited or vintage pieces are combined with the new, as layer of decor with meaning.

Friday, January 8, 2016

My art in 2016



I don't really make new year resolutions but, going forward, I want a renewed commitment to a clear artistic "voice". A continuity in style and feel to my work.


I have not abandoned the neutral palette or color. Lately color has been seeing use in my studio though. I feel like this "voice" is clearer than in the past.



In other news...We had hoped to move to Charleston last Fall but the renovations to our house took so much more time than we thought. We have scaled back the plans. The new plan is for us to do the master bath reno and the kitchen floor and leave. In fact I may leave as early as March leaving my husband behind to finish up. I had a very exciting opportunity pop up and I can't let it pass but I will share details when things are more concrete.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A budget bath makeover-before and after

Between the multiple visitors coming this Fall and selling our house, we decided it was time to give the ugly second bath a facelift.
You will see no marble or high-end finishes here this is a budget makeover. I'll let you in on the jaw dropping cost at the end.
First some before shots that were taken before we moved in.

This view is from the hallway

This is standing in the door from my daughter's room
 This small bath is separated into two rooms and is accessed from both the hall and my daughter's room. I would have liked  to change that but the time involved is just not worth it unless we stay here.

The view from what is now my daughter's room. Check out that awful floor.

The junky medicine cabinet was replaced with a towel ring and new towel bars were added.


All of the doors in our house have been painted black. The walls are SW Repose gray at 75%.
A new shower curtain  and curved rod helped freshen the look too.



We re-grouted and caulked the tub and replaced the hideous vinyl floor with a wood look vinyl. A light fixture next to the shower was also changed because the old one had corroded as did the previous shower curtain rod.
We did not replace the vanity, faucets or light above the vanity. I think the faucets might be switched out in the future but this was enough of an upgrade for the moment.
The cost was $350 for the new hardware, flooring, paint and shower curtain!

Friday, December 4, 2015

A few posies to brighten the day



My favorite time of year to buy flowers is when the days begin to get chilly. The bright colors and greenery erase the gloom in the air.






 I buy my flowers at various grocery stores. Years ago, I worked for a florist that owned the distribution center for the area and the grocery stores got the best flowers first.




I often buy fresh flowers and photograph them for some inspiration for paintings. I find that they are more often than not a primary inspiration.


Last year I used roses for my Christmas eve dinner centerpiece.


I also used roses in several places around the house this year for Thanksgiving.