Friday, August 30, 2013

When its at Walmart its over

I am not telling you anything you didn't already know but I have been surprised at the speed which things jump from a stylish, thought provoking magazine spread or Pinterest to the shelves of Walmart and other big boxes.

Case in point, these chevron bins that I picked up at the big W for Lego storage.
I expected to see chevron and trellis style prints by now but the speed at which other trendy bits and baubles have appeared is alarming enough to want to avoid them like the plague.
I try to keep trends to a minimum anyway but sometimes I just really like something.
Seeing knock off Hicks pendants and fake Chiang Mai at Target is a nightmare that I have. They may be classics but they are majorly trendy too.
Where do you draw the line?
Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

OK guys. I have a question for you

I need a man's opinion and my husband will just say, "Whatever you want, Honey." He is a smart one!
I am making some headway in my son's room redo. By headway I mean filling up garbage bags with stuff that should NOT have been in his closet and staring at mystery stains on the carpet.
I have also made a few purchases that I am delighted with.

 The walls will be a deep,smoky navy. SW Naval 6642 to be exact and the bed will have charcoal, silver and navy fabrics. The bed is a dark wood and I have a midcentury dresser that is also fairly dark.
Unlike my indecisiveness with my kitchen chairs, I've got this one figured out.
I want it to be a masculine, moody space with a hint of Bohemian vibe. Enough Boho to be interesting not questionable.
Here are a few of my inspiration images.

So here is the only part that I am unsure about.
The office chair on wheels has to go but I will need a chair in the room. I can raid the furniture graveyard basement for a chair and recover it. My mind jumped immediately to my Escher pagoda fabric...

But is Chinoiserie too feminine?
 Ladies, please weigh in too.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


For what feels like forever, I wanted a lucite waterfall coffee table.
I moved on to a chrome and glass table from CB2 a few months ago

 and then...
BAM! yesterday there was the entire set of two end tables and the coffee table in glass and perfect condition.

I would not have used all three in the same room anyway so I just got the end tables.

 I am so pleased.
Any good thrifting scores lately?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The worst client in the world

" You can get wit this or you can get wit that"
That song is stuck in my head as I try conquer my indecisiveness on chairs for my kitchen table.
The time as come to change out the chairs and I am torn.
 Let's recap. Several months ago, I came up with this as my favorite option. The farm table stays but I will be using a different light fixture. The curtain fabric is the same and  I now have a faux bamboo sideboard.

I was pretty set on black Louis chairs.
I had a few other ideas that I think I have nixed.


Last week I was sure that I wanted some Danish modern chairs that I could recover in hot pink on the seat.
 Now I am thinking Louis chairs in a fun color.

As I talk the worst client in the world (me) through this, I discover the crazy lady's main goals are #1 not to be boring #2 not to be so risky style-wise that the the chairs in question are hated in a year or so.
So basically, I want a safe choice that is not boring. WTF Kerry!!?

The Louis chairs are on sale now so I think I should jump. I am not in love with the turquoise color. I was thinking hot pink is more relevant to my house but that would involve reupholstery.

Lime green doesn't really make sense in my house either.

 Which leads me back to black...yawn.

My thought is to get the Louis chairs and recover them in a few months.
What do you think?
I am a huge pain as my own client.

Friday, August 23, 2013

New work

I haven't really posted much new work lately mostly because I have so many canvases in progress and this week was not art friendly. If it weren't such a gloomy November August, I would be able to get more photos taken properly. Where is the freakin' sun?

This is my newest completed work on linen.

"Style canoeing" 24 x 30 oil and charcoal on linen by Kerry Steele

Paintings that are very light with subtle color changes are very hard to photograph. This one is white and cream with a little sepia and cobalt. The cream and white are hard to differentiate in the photo but they add quite a bit to the composition.

This is an iphone shot of "In deep" but it won't be on the website or FB until I get enough sun to photograph it properly. I got some new tubes of Charvin oils and had fun with this one.

The colors are complex pastel mixes and I could mix my own but to have absolute consistency ver time, I need them in tube form. With acrylics I just mix a bunch in a little plastic container and work with that but its a little harder to store the oil colors.

I can't wait to share more of the things I have been working on.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

End of Summer guest post-Design addict Mom

Hi everyone! I am Stacey of Design Addict Mom and I am thrilled to be guest posting for Kerry today! I think we need one last hurrah before Summer draws to a close so I decided to post this breathtaking holiday home. Spotted on the French by Design blog,  this Brazilian holiday home exudes a tropical flair and screams lounge and relaxation! With that said, pack your bags and some clip on off and let's go!
Thank you for having me today Kerry! Happy day everyone! XX

Oooooh! Wouldn't you love to be there right now?
I know I would but I am traversing country roads towards a tiny college town at the moment.
Many thanks to Stacey for this taste of loveliness. Be sure to stop by her blog and see what she has got going on today.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh this old thing?

File this one under WTF?
This artist creates wearable sculture. Its an interesting kind of conceptual art.

I find the street clothes of the models distracting enough to make the whole thing laughable, but that's just me. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Look for less?

I have a thing for ethnic textiles and John Robshaw bedding really does it for me.
I am redoing my son's bedroom soon with navy walls and new bedding. I really want something a bit exotic in terms of a quilt, duvet cover or throw. Robshaw bedding is a bit over budget but there surely must be a "look for less". I am toying with hand printing my own.

I love to hear your "look for less" ideas.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mirror, mirror on the inside

OK, apologies in advance for not getting my shit together this weekend and lining up my posts.
Getting a kid ready to head off to college while running a business and being a stay-at-home mom takes up a crazy lot of time time. This week I am using a photo each day with an element worth talking about. At least, to me worth talking about.

I found this bar situation on Pinterest and could not source it.
Anyone, anyone, Bueller?

I am not excited by mirrored furniture unless... its a tasty surprise on the inside.
I love all of that sparkly goodness.
Would you add mirrors to the inside of an existing piece of furniture?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My week in pictures

I gave you all a sneak peek of this painting in progress and it is now on the mantel in my family room.

It replaced this.

My husband and I often indulge in a bottle of Moet with pickled ginger to nibble on as we sip. 

Maybe you saw all of this on Instagram. It was a two bottle week.

Wednesday I got 8 inches chopped off my hair. I am not loving it. Photos below.
Thursday, I removed all of my canvases from Etsy and updated my site overall with a cleaner look.

Friday was all about D.C.

Lunch at Loi Thai's incredible house with Nancy and Bethany was a wonderful treat.

Then it was off to Northern Virginia to return the bar stools to Kristen. :(

Then I joined hundreds of thousands of other people in an episode of "Epic Friday Southbound Summer Traffic" in which I took many selfies.

This one was in a silly little holdup for some police motorcade.

What normally takes an hour took three and a half hours. Seriously. 31/2 hours!
Its so absurd that I find it

This was around two hours in
 Its all good. Its just practice for my 9/10 hour drive on Thursday to get Guitar Hero off to college.

How was your week?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Do you speak bench?

If I had, say 10,000 square feet to play with, I would certainly employ the use of a bench or two.
The iconic Barcelona by Mies van der Rohe would be my first choice.

I do like an x-bench too. In pairs, of course.

This one is for keeping your friends from copying your test answers, no?

Not all benches are created equal.

This one is boys who wear tights and like to jump and flip around.

There is also the category "Just because you can doesn't mean you should" and the bench below wins the prize for butt ugly (teehee) in that category.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How I painted my first abstract

When I was little I sometimes painted with my grandmother (Mémé) in her attic. It was a small space with one sunny window and it had all the romance of a Parisian garret as far as I was concerned at age 7. It smelled of warm lumber and dust and it was wonderful.

Henri Matisse
We gessoed our own board and canvas and I still am transported by the smell of gesso.
One day in particular remains a clear memory. I was 7 and I had a the dreaded blank canvas in front of me and fussed because I did not know what to paint. I had already painted a vase of flowers that I did not like and was bored with the idea. I particularly recall turning my nose up at typical "kid" themes but I was stumped.
My grandmother told me to just put down paint and not to worry about it.
Won't that be ugly? I wondered.
"Its a mish-mash painting" she said.
While the term "mish-mash" does not have a great connotation, it spoke to a 7 year-old me.
It was exhilarating.
It was there that I discovered that the painting does not need to be of something to be about something. It is a concept many people struggle with.
 Both artists and non-artists try to find literal objects in my work and its frustrating to explain that that there is no witch eating ice cream or dog at a bar in the painting and they need not look for anything else.
So that day, mish-mash I did and I still love this one.

In the attic with Mémé  circa 1975 by Kerry Burke (Steele)

This painting is the reason I choose to paint mostly abstracts today.
The heady memory of art supplies, musty wood  and a cherished moment of discovery with a very dear relative are in this canvas.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New goodies

I waited very patiently (seriously like 7 years!) to find a table for my living room and new blogging buddy, Kristen from Pursuing Vintage came through.
She finds the greatest stuff!
I was thinking of painting the base in a glossy black now that its in the room I kind of like it how it is.

And now for the sad part...she brought me these freakin' awesome Breuer stools and they have to go back. They are too short. I kept telling myself that a cushion would fix it but it won't. I can't tell you how bummed I am. If you know of a magical way that I can make them work, tell me before Friday so I can keep them.

Take a peek in Kristen's shop at her awesome goodies and tell her Kerry sent you.