Saturday, November 19, 2016

and then I ended up in Key West

Well I didn't plan on it but I ended up in Key West. You see first we took my seven year-old to Disney.

and Seaworld.

and Universal.

But when it was over we just wanted to stay...but not there. So we went to Palm Beach, actually Singer Island.

It was so gorgeous but still not right.

So we headed to the Keys.
Key West to be exact.

I paid homage to Ernest Hemingway at his house.

We enjoyed great food and laughs together.

Oh and shopping also but not at the Sponge Market.
Irresponsibility won here. We begin our long trip home to Charleston tomorrow.
Who knows where we will stop.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


We will be in our studios tomorrow night with some delicious goodies, champagne, and, of course, paintings. We will also entertain commissions in a special session where you bring your photos of your space and we discuss what might work for you.

Join us!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016


Sorry for the silence here. Now we have a hurricane headed our way and I am outta here. I will be in Augusta, GA for a few days... maybe there will something to blog about.

Monday, July 25, 2016

New items available today!


I have been spending time on a few ideas for fabric created from favorite paintings of mine and turning them into new products.
Starting today, I will have a variety of clutches, change purses and men's ties available on my website.

The fabrics were created from my paintings "Coquette" and "Tea with Mabel"
The idea came when I decided to have a tie made for my husband from a fabric that I had on hand. He needs an extra long length tie so I had it made by this Etsy seller and it grew to include the other items.

Historic Charleston proved a great backdrop for our photo shoot.


I have a small inventory currently but if interest is good, more will be available soon.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Virtual studio visit

I am all unpacked and hard at work in my studio. Actually, I have only had limited hours since school is not in session but my daughter has participated in two fun kid's camps here at Redux.
If you follow me on Instagram this is nothing new but the blog allows a bit more narrative.

I had to wait for a few items to be shipped to me to really get organized.

The long wall in the video will mainly be hung gallery style with a finished series. 

This short wall, behind my easel, is my main work space.  The opposite wall has shelves from the previous occupant and my desk area, which is not especially visually interesting.
The series if work hung on the gallery wall is inspired by spring and summer flora. I am working on figure studies on linen and a new canvas series. It will be edgier, rougher and less feminine like the two below.

I've got a long way to go with this series though.

Also coming later this week are my neckties, clutches and change purses. It began with my desire to have a tie made from a Spoonflower printed fabric for my husband. I used Small Batch Boutique on Etsy and it turned into a larger project. I will be adding these to my website in the next few days.

Tons going on including another possible move (from our horrible rental, hence the lack of interior pictures) but I will let you know more in the future.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Hello again

View from the front door

Hello from my new, but temporary, digs in South Carolina.
This was a partial move involving very little furniture. It included one bed, three mattresses, an Ikea table and chairs from the 80s, a newer Ikea loveseat, one club chair and two end tables. If you are paying attention to the list you will see that we have more mattresses than beds. Call it the glamorous life -- I am sleeping on a queen mattress on the floor.

Part of the lush sub-tropical backyard

We rented a house in my friend's neighborhood without seeing it in person. I saw photos of the main spaces but that did not tell me what kind of closets were here and it definitely did not clue me in to how dirty the floor would be...yuck!
Transitions are always tough and this is no exception. I am missing my large and very clean house and my husband too. He went back to Virginia until the house sells.

Birthday mimosa at Hominy Grill in Charleston

It's not all dissappointing. We went to the Hominy Grill for breakfast on my birthday the day after we arrived. It was really wonderful and not crazy hot yet. Later we picked up my keys at Redux and walked around downtown until we melted. Then it was off to the beach for a while where my oldest daughter and I watched a storm roll in from the safety of a restaurant deck.

Storm rolling in on Isle of Palms
After a nap and a shower, my husband and I headed back downtown for a special birthday dinner at High Cotton. His birthday follows my by two days so we often share a celebration.

I love the palm trees and Crape Myrtle here. The heat beats snow in my book. The neighbors are a little crazy which is better than snobby. So I think once I adjust and get to work in my studio it will be smooth, sunny sailing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Luxe Magazine

If you live in Arizona, the new Luxe Magazine is worth checking out. The feature titled "Fresh Start" is the home of a client of mine and features an interesting mix that is not more of the same design elements we see everywhere.

The painting above the mantel is one that the client purchased from me several years ago but check out that chandelier and table!
I only wish that Luxe did not only do regional issues. Lucky for me my mother lives in Arizona.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

3 tips for mastering your decorating budget

I have recently had conversations with several people who seemed baffled about decorating their spaces. "I can't afford to redo everything." or "If I buy that chair I will have to change all of the furniture." were repeated.
I had a few ideas that I thought would be helpful to share here.

1. Keep the expensive stuff simple

The priciest items will stay in you favor longer if you keep them simple. For instance, custom window treatments can be the most expensive item in a room and chevron pattern that was trendy several years ago will seem super dated in another five years. Opt for fun fabrics on pillows or throws.
The same goes for flooring and upholstery.

2. Choose a "floating" color

What the heck is a floating color, you ask? My best example is an heirloom chair I had recovered in black velvet. It has lived in five different rooms in my house in five years. It works everywhere for me. 

I also painted a bamboo dresser in black that lives in my breakfast room instead of hot pink so that I could use it elsewhere without a new paint job.
It does not need to be black. White, beige, gray and navy can work really well as your "float" color just make sure that you don't end up with everything in that color.

3. Patience

Rome wasn't built in a day and your living room will benefit from patience. Thoughtful consideration of your lifestyle and aesthetic are a start but it also helps to shop without expectations. If you go sofa shopping with the goal to choose that large piece by the end of the day you may regret that decision. 
I once went into a junk shop (and I do mean junk) and there sat a gorgeous Sheraton style settee.

 I inspected it for damage and even sniffed it. It was a very high-end piece for $350!! I was not shopping for furniture that day but took home a prized possession that I still love.
I have been guilty of the opposite only to find myself unloading that funky bowl or lamp that I bought because I was looking for accessories that day and bought just to avoid coming home empty handed.

So to recap, keep the most expensive items simple by choosing solid colors or subtle pattern. No trends unless you can afford to change them when you tire of them. Choose a color that works with everything else for items that you might move to other rooms. This includes tables, single chairs, ottomans and dressers.
Lastly, have patience. You never know what you will come across if you wait. Rushing out to fill your house will mean that you won't have a spot ( or funds) for the truly fabulous items that you will find over time.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Life Lately

"April Skies" helping me sell my house

If you have ever read my blog you know I am moving...soon. 
It is amazing that when you have to get a house ready to show you realize how actually clutterific your life is. This is the first time I have ever had to live in a house and show it. It can be exhausting.

CR Laine showroom artwork available through Anne Neilson Fine Art

High Point Market was a whirlwind that was closely followed by a trip to Charleston. That trip was meant for house hunting but ended up with mainly client meeting and catching up with my childhood friend. I stayed at her house in Mount Pleasant and it really gave me a feel for where I want to be. We had dinner at Chez Nous. I had been stalking them for months on Instagram, the whole time my mouth watering. It is a lovely simple restaurant with 4 star food and not an ounce of snobbery.

Joann and me at Chez Nous

Our house went on the market last week. We have nowhere to live in Charleston  scratch that. I am in the process of leasing a house around the corner from Joann (we lived around the corner from each other in elementary school)and trying to get a realtor to answer your calls is infuriating. My husband has no job and has not looked yet. This is a fly by the seat of our pants operation.

My family room

I mentioned before that I took 13 paintings to High Point and went back to attend market. Well, I also had to pick up the paintings! I took my husband as a helper and we continued on to Charlotte to deliver some to Anne Neilson Fine Art and return home on the same day. That was Tuesday. 

My daughter turned 7 on Thursday and we had three celebrations. Culminating with her party on Saturday. It was truly one for the books. Our standard is to rent a bounce house, make mini cupcakes and pigs in a blanket for the kids and have more interesting gourmet choices and beverages for the adults. Parents always stay for our parties. It was funny that this year I mentioned that "scaled back the food" guests looked at me like I was crazy and said, "THIS is scaled back?!" The champagne flowed and there were lots of laughs.

Leis, champagne cocktail, and my painting "May"

As the party wound down and we chatted with our fun neighbors, they told us how envious they are. "I want your life. You are so lucky to to be able to just up and move because you want to." one said. He repeated that he constantly tells people how ridiculously cool our life is. It doesn't feel cool when I am wiping down the kitchen counter for the 18th time in a day but it it did put me in a more grateful state of mind.
You never know know how others see you.

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.