Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Art and interiors with a few GIFA artists

I took a cue from Jennifer at The Pink Pagoda's post last week, highlighting my paintings at Gregg Irby Fine Art with different chairs. I love creating design boards and thought it would be fun to make some for a few of my fellow artists at GIFA.

I started with Erin McIntosh. I am smitten with "Zoe", a 60 x 48 canvas that makes a statement. I paired it with mixed metals and a very long and feminine console table. The black rug and modern accessories give the vignette an edge.

Next I chose one from my friend, Christina Baker.

I chose "Eastern Blues" just because I love it so much. I paired it with classic furniture and Persian rug so that the painting takes center stage.

I went a different direction with the board for Michelle Armas. I chose funky mix to go with her piece "I believe this belongs to you", and dark walls. I do wish I had saved the draft on that one because I found a better chair later. I'll just have to do more of these next week!

Eileen Power has long been a favorite of mine and I thought the piece "51" would be great in a modern, uber-feminine and glam space.

I just chose 4 of the 25 artists at Gregg Irby today, but there is always time for more.
Who's work would you like to see in a styled room?

Friday, October 17, 2014

House tour by paint color

One of the first things I was dying to do to my house when we first moved in was paint the walls. It is relatively cheap and I was aching to cover the "Swiss Coffee" or builder beige walls.

My initial instinct was to choose the same colors from my previous house that I loved. Luckily, my husband procrastinated long enough for me to come to my senses. The light is far better in this house and we have some different furniture in the rooms.
Although it wasn't the first room I tackled my living room is just inside the front door.

I used Sherwin-Williams Faint Coral. It is a pale pink that leans slightly towards peach and is a little muddy.
It might be my favorite paint color in the house. It is understated and sophisticated, not the least bit sweet.

Connected to this formal living room is my formal dining room and I wanted a foil for the feminine room on the other side of the archway. A masculine, cigar box was the intended look.

We used S-W Rugged Brown in a gloss for the walls.

Upstairs I used a color that was most like the color of my previous bedroom but far better.

S-W Wondrous Blue is one of those chameleon colors that changes dramatically with the light. It is blue most of the time but the lavender and gray undertones sometimes become the main event.

My son's room was fair game after he left for college and the very first One Room Challenge  linking event was the impetus to get me going.

I knew I wanted a moody, masculine color and S-W Naval was an easy decision.

My youngest daughter's room has been a decision problem for me. One day I just could not stand it any longer and ran out for paint samples.

I ended up using Benjamin Moore's Key Pearl which is as pale as my living room pink but a much cleaner color. It is not overly sweet or overly pink, just a barely there color that lets other items do the talking.

Read more about how I chose the pink HERE.
Confession: we have a vast open plan on the remainder of our first floor that we have not painted in the more than 3 years we have been here. Now that we have decided to move, it is on the must do list but while I look at paint I can't help but fantasize about the colors for the next house.

Do you love or loath choosing paint colors?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A few new Chinoiserie fabrics

Several years ago I created the rather popular "Escher Pagoda" design on Spoonflower.com.
I have done several custom orders including matching paint colors and enlarging and rotating the fabric.

This Australian customer wanted the railroaded orientation and an enlargement for the this daybed.

Over the weekend I created a custom color and began to think about new designs.
Photographs were manipulated in several ways to create these.

I came up with this...

and this...

I would like to do more Chinoiserie designs too.
Any requests?

Monday, October 6, 2014

How to banish a case of the browns

I was chatting with a neighbor last week who mentioned having lots of wood in different tones and not being able to pull together all of that brown. Its easy I told her. I should mention that I have nothing against brown and its not a poor choice. It's just all too easy to end up with nothing but brown.
First, why do so many people end up with so much brown and beige in their homes when Americans, according to House Beautiful, choose blue as their favorite color? When deciding on furniture and wall color many people think, "I love blue (or another color) but I don't want a blue room" and they choose the neutral because "it goes with everything". Brown leather furniture is popular for its durability for people with kids and pets and, well, why not buy leather...it's a classic. Pretty soon they end up with a bowl of raisin bran colored everything and wonder how it got that way when they made safe, classic, standard choices.

I will show you two ways to banish a total case of the browns. The first, admittedly has a lot of blue, but it is a bit more budget friendly and other colors can be substituted. Both looks can be done incrementally.

I left the curtains, sofa, and wall color the same in this view because those are often the most expensive or time consuming to change. I think buying large pricey furniture in neutrals is a good idea and color should be used on mostly less expensive items so that changes in decor are easier to incorporate without redoing everything.
In this first view the imaginary person who loves blue bought the blue chair she wanted. The look is lightened with various metals and glass and the blue is repeated in pillows, poufs, and prints.
The blue chair is very affordable from Lampsplus.com
The mirror, poufs and sideboard are from Wisteria.com
The coffee table and side table are from Target.com
The prints are from The Pink Pagoda.

I took the idea a little farther and added a few more expensive items in the second version.

I kept the sofa, curtains and that new blue chair but changed the wall color to a pale, cool gray.
I added a petite antique dresser. Yes, its more brown but its a rich, aged brown and a classic style.
The white swivel chairs are from HDbuttercup.com and are high quality neutral pieces that lighten the overall look. I used more metallic finishes with the silver garden seats from Wisteria.com and the upholstered bench is from Deringhall.com.
The artwork is available on Etsy.com and is by Elena Petrova. I am crushing on her paintings and they are very affordable.

The bottom line is that adding bling with metals and some glass or light, airy items helps with the heavy, browns. It is also important to understand that using a large item in a non-neutral does not mean that you have to commit to a an entire color scheme based on that color. Both of these looks could easily have incorporated greens, pinks, or lighter blues.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Help a clown out

I recently had the pleasure of painting a large canvas for Lisa Mende and Traci Zeller's design for the Ronald McDonald House Long Island.  The house is a place where families of sick children can stay while the children are receiving treatment that is far from home. Lisa and Traci designed a jewel box of an office for those parents to conduct personal business while staying close to their children. I can't show you the pictures today but I will as soon as they are public. This is a space not to be missed.

In the meantime they need your help raising money for the house. Each designer is setting a goal of raising the funds to host a family. A donation of any amount can be HERE.

Lisa and Traci even have a little incentive that you can read about.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dispatches from the studio

The past few months have been, for me, like "Blog? What blog?". I feel as if I have been remiss blogging,  kind of like handing in homework late. New and exciting things were happening and I am here to tell you all about them. So consider this my tardy note.

The snowball started with me deciding I a needed a new website logo for KerrySteele.com and that snowballed into creating something that I could use in Blogger, as a letterhead and a favicon. 

 Terrena at eLance.com was fabulous to work with. That brushstroke is actually mine and she worked with the precise colors I wanted. I always thought something like this would cost a boatload of money but it was surprisingly affordable.

Next on the list was my face. No, not plastic surgery, just a professional photo. My husband kept saying, "Let me take it."  Nope! I wasn't going for that. I know what his photography is like.

I researched a few photographers and hired Michael from LeftHandedPhotography.com.
He had been wanting to photograph an artist in studio and I wanted a professional photo that did not look like a realtor, so it was a lucky match. He arrived on a Friday afternoon and over the next three hours we moved furniture, staged shots and basically laid waste to the first floor of my house, which sounds like a bad thing but I felt like we were squeezing out every ounce of creativity.
These are a few of my favorites.

Michael was awesome to work with. I hate having my picture taken, but I can honestly say that this was really fun. If you are in the Richmond area I highly recommend him.
He even helped me find a new camera and lighting so I can get better images of my art.

This is the temporary setup just inside my front door.
I really love the Nikon I bought and the timing was pretty good too. Being able to get really good images of my work is ever more important.

"Come away with me" 40 x 30 oil on canvas by Kerry Steele available through Gregg Irby fine art
Finding and working with the right gallery is one of the most important things in an artist's career and I am proud to say that I am now being represented by the venerable Gregg Irby Fine Art in Atlanta. GIFA also happens to represent some of my favorite artists, so it is particularly special to be on their roster.
This painting is headed to Atlanta, along with others tomorrow.
 As if it couldn't get any better, somewhere in this whirlwind, the art collection manager of Serena and Lily contacted me about my work. I am thrilled to be included as one of their artists too.

"Cocktails at seven" oil on canvas by Kerry Steele available through Serena and Lily
All of these great things mean lots of time painting. Lucky for me painting is my favorite thing to do.
So, my tardiness in blog writing has come from the pleasure of realizing many of my goals...all at once.

I am ready to get back to talking about chairs and fabric in between all of the painting going on here.