Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Art of Shoe-String Interiors

Since I've been so distracted with organizing my trip overseas this year, I haven't posted as regularly as I once did. I hope all of you can forgive this. I promise things will improve once I'm settled.

But packing up all of my possessions - those that I can't bear to be without - had me imagining them in my new place. I don't even know what my new place will be, but I know what I'd like. I have always been crazy for interior design, since I was a child. It would have been a fine career path for me, but there were other things that called.

Designing the perfect interior is obviously art. The final product - we see them on the covers of all the glossy home magazines - is as beautiful as any painting. The people who create such loveliness are artists. I think it must be a wonderful job, especially if price is no object, and it's someone else's money.

But the interiors I love best are the ones done on a shoe string. There's an added excitement of seeing the wonderful vintage things that are used, some of them literally scooped up from the sidewalk, where they'd been left for the garbage truck, taken home and revamped into some charming piece. I've always been prone to discards and my own home contains many such things. In fact, they mean more to me than the items I paid for.

Of the furniture I'm shipping (and it's not much, because I'll only have to ship them back again at some point - I am a butterfly, after all), there are four items that were either on the street, being tossed out by a friend, or left behind in a house I'd bought because no one wanted them. They've become my most precious possessions. It took lots of elbow grease to bring them back to their true glory. A couple of them have considerable value as antiques - a Nineteenth Century English lady's desk, for instance. When I found it, it was covered with Gestetner ink. It had been used for decades as a place to copy documents on that noisy machine from the past. It had only one drawer pull, and a piece of veneer was lifting dramatically from the side. When I'd finished with it, it revealed its incredible color and patina, although I'm still not sure what the wood is...cherry, I think.

It still has its original green leather top. Don't you love it?

Originally intended for a grander city house than I'll ever have (or want), it still suits my style, eclectically mixed with all my other bits.  And so I present to you with what I think is the most charming of all. True, homespun, rough-around-the-edges, shabby, well-loved, vintage-feel interiors. A Beach Cottage. Even my lady's desk would look pretty here.

I found this link, and fell in love. Young Sarah and her family moved from England to Australia some years ago, could afford only the most modest house, wanted to be near the beach, and ended up with a fixer-upper cottage north of Sydney.

Her blog about how she transformed their home into a wonderful, magical place has become hugely popular. It seems all of us long for this experience and this house. Read as many of her postings as you can. You won't be sorry. In fact, you'll be hooked, as I am.

Which leads me to my other artist site for the day, Hooked on Houses. I was particularly intrigued by the section Julie had on houses featured in top movies, and excitedly found my favorite - the house - particularly the kitchen - in Practical Magic. You must have a favorite of your own. Go check it out, and have a good look at her other postings, which include homes of the famous. This is a wonderful site, better than chocolate. Really.

Is Julie an artist? You betcha!

I won't say "see you next week" because I'm never sure where my head is these days. It could be next month...but I do think about you in the meantime.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sunday in the Park - Original Acrylic Painting 13 x 11 inches

This is one of my own paintings, one of the last pictures that remains unpacked before my move, so I decided to offer it for sale at my store, Hafandeg's at Etsy.

It's my favorite kind of painting, naive and child-like. It makes you forget what you hear on the nightly news. I should do some more like this. When I'm settled, I promise.

See you next week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cat-alogue of Cats with Attitude at Etsy - Watercolor Illustrations by Maria van Bruggen

Maria van Bruggen probably thinks her shop title at Etsy is quaint, but I think the name is positively generic. ALL cats have attitude. My cats have been so very uppermost in my life this past few weeks, what with me planning our trip, the vet checkups, surprise dentistry (for Jeeves and Baby, not me), etc., that I simply assume all cats are basically demanding, quirky, and in your face, just like hers.

Maria's watercolor illustrations are certainly perfect representations of how my cats have been lately (I won't go into what they've been up to), with those huge eyes and "what, me?" faces. Because I've been somewhat stressed (if you've seen my writing blog), I tend to stare vacantly at times, and one or the other of them will peer at me, head on one side, as if asking where I am, and will I please get back immediately as it's supper time.

So thanks for your crazy cats, Maria. With my own wild couple of weeks with mine, I was beginning to think I was the crazy one.

See the rest of Maria's original art, prints, and other collectables at Cat-alogue of Cats with Attitude at Etsy. You must read the little blurbs for each.  I particularly like the one for "Zen".

This artist is climbing the popularity ladder fast, so make your move if you want to own an affordable original of hers.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Fine Art of Janice Trane Jones at Etsy

If you love the confidence of fine art, you'll love Janice Trane Jones's offerings. Every subject - you name it - is covered. Her flowers are so welcome at this tentative, almost-spring season, but her still-lifes, her rural idylls, her figures - even slumbering kittens - are all equally captivating.

There are many, many paintings at Janice Trane Jones at Etsy, from watercolors to oils. Spend some time there. It promises to be a slow, lazy and warm weekend. Raspberries and wine, anyone?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rex Benson - Sculptor and Freelance Loafer

Naturally, I found Rex Benson at Etsy. That loafer reference is his. (I would never be so rude, even if it was true.) The crazy fired clay images below need no explanation (as if I could give one, anyway).

From his own profile:  "For more than thirty years, ceramic artist, Rex Benson, has been creating three dimensional clay cartoons. Each sculpture is handcrafted individually with colored clays and fired in an electric kiln to temperatures that would melt your face.

From Dragons on swings to Rastafarian Ducks, this endangered American artist combines handbuilding skills with a chronically twisted wit."

Each of these pieces is one of a kind. He'll repeat an image, but no two are ever the same.

I'm fond of dragons. My background is Welsh, and the dragon is the country's national symbol. I'm not sure about Rex's dragons, though. They seem a little frivolous - even mischievous. I can't imagine them embellishing a flag. I'm somewhat concerned about those wall faces, too. He calls them "Morning Faces". Hmm, has he been spying on me before I've put makeup on?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Joann Loftus and Whimsies Folksies Mixed Media at Etsy

Mixed Media is the most fun of all art, I think. Since we were kids, we've treasured tiny bits and pieces of things, and find ourselves looking at a minute collectible, an old but beautiful button, a vintage birthday card, a snippet of fabric, wondering how we can display it somewhere. Too tiny to frame, yes? It ends up in a scrapbook or a knickknack box. But mixed media artists don't hide anything away. Everything has a chance to shine. Give this artist an old newspaper, tissue, a tiny swatch of fabric, a feather, paint, glue, anything, really, and they'll turn it into art.

Joann Loftus does just that. She's not stuck in a rut with her style, either, producing both vintage and modern pieces, and dolls!  In looking at these wonderful images, don't overlook the fact that she's a brilliant painter in her own right, and the clever embellishment is incidental to that, in fact.

Go to Whimsies Folksies at Etsy to see a nice collection of her work, which includes the magical pendant pictured above. Joann also makes her work available as archival quality prints.

There's something for everyone here. I'm glad I found her this morning. Thanks, Joann.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ginette Callaway at Etsy - Breathtaking...

Ginette Callaway's impressionist art is so breathtaking, I am almost lost for words. She works in most media - I especially love her water colors - but the last painting at the bottom is in oils, just to give you an indication of her scope. I'm so impressed by her use of color, the delicate imagery, that I simply had to feature her here today. Ginette is inspiring. What else can I say?

She has dozens of paintings to consider at her store, Ginette Creations at Etsy. Allow some time there. Grab a coffee first. Perhaps bring lunch as well. It could take a while.

And how about that owl?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jackie Dives Collage at Etsy

Jackie Dives is multi-talented, dipping her toes into everything from acting to running art galleries in glorious Vancouver. She is highly creative and diverse in her interests - hence her current involvement with collage work.  Recognizing her restlessness when it comes to her passions, one can only wonder what she'll be working on in a couple of years.

These collages, not too complicated, but carefully considered, are mounted on solid wood bases or canvas panels, and are a tiny indication of her mind set. Mind set? Hang on. She really doesn't have one. She hops from subject to subject, oddly marrying the most unlikely images to produce quirky and collectable pieces. You have to take a look at her store because there are so many items, and I couldn't make up my mind which pieces to feature today.

Okay, I suspect Jackie is a bit of a nut-case. I, and - I'm guessing - those of you who enjoy visiting my little blog, wouldn't have her any other way. The world could use a lot more Jackies.

See the rest of her collage work (for now, at least) and certainly read her profile at Jackie Dive's shop at Etsy, Divesin. She certainly does.