Art: In Process and Installed

Every piece of our artwork begins in the crucial color development stage. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I take great pride in the colorways we use for our work, as I am so inspired by them, and won't leave a paint pallet alone until it feels interesting but balanced. The right amount of cool and warm, not looking too juvenile or primary, and so on. 

What inspires me? Seldom is it another piece of art, but more often a room that is chalk full of personality and gets great light, or an antique rug with contrast between worn out textures and really bright remaining threads, and sometimes even a great outfit. When the colors click, I want to throw it together on a canvas. Until I have, that hauntingly beautiful combination won't let my brain rest! 

When I began designing a bedroom for the Oklahoma Designer Showhouse this summer, I had one piece of furniture that I knew I wanted to include (my vintage Milo Baughman brass and glass double etagere). Beyond that, the idea of a soothing but interesting space enthralled me. Without a true client with which to build needs and style around, I formulated the concept of the fictitious 37-year-old childless divorcee who has moved back in with her well-to-do parents. She's well-traveled, a musician, and looking for a haven while she builds herself back up and sets down new roots. Clearly, this woman is in a blue period. Yes, this is entirely contrived, and no, I can't explain to you why my dang old brain even took the time to do so. Act like you can't imagine it though. I dare you.

For years, I've held onto this image from Ruthie Sommers, featured by Domino Magazine, because the unusual colors spoke to me. The navy walls in the kitchen are so unexpected, yet classic and deep. The bright door is exactly the right shade to wake it up and keep it playful. The warmth of the wooden frames, and the gilded frame a round the seascape? That's enough to do me in. Note that the countertops are tiled in a deeper still turquoise, and you'll spot a blue and white vase in the upper left. 

For years, I've held onto this image from Ruthie Sommers, featured by Domino Magazine, because the unusual colors spoke to me. The navy walls in the kitchen are so unexpected, yet classic and deep. The bright door is exactly the right shade to wake it up and keep it playful. The warmth of the wooden frames, and the gilded frame a round the seascape? That's enough to do me in. Note that the countertops are tiled in a deeper still turquoise, and you'll spot a blue and white vase in the upper left. 

The warmth, the interest, those colors. That's exactly the launching spot for my showhouse room, though I also sought to work with the paint already applied to the walls, which was white. This still works, in my mind, because I didn't need to add moody, dramatic surroundings into this "girl's" life right now, you know? She doesn't need that.

Old, new. Cool, warm. Feminine. Blue.

We began moving things in, and I enjoyed where things were heading. 

Carissa of Scout Studios OKC loaned the vintage Milo Baughman waterfall bench for this project, and has a slew of great other things available in her shop. Colors are working though, and feel just reminiscent of the inspiration.

Carissa of Scout Studios OKC loaned the vintage Milo Baughman waterfall bench for this project, and has a slew of great other things available in her shop. Colors are working though, and feel just reminiscent of the inspiration.

The etagere is starting to be filled, and gives some much needed warmth to the room. That beautiful Womb Chair sold before the Showhouse opened, so we pulled in a replacement. Isn't it lovely though?!

The etagere is starting to be filled, and gives some much needed warmth to the room. That beautiful Womb Chair sold before the Showhouse opened, so we pulled in a replacement. Isn't it lovely though?!

It was at this point that I felt I could start painting the two giant statement pieces that we would be using to fill a wall. These two giants would balance out the window and the etagere, and I wanted them to unite all things in the room. For the first time ever, I didn't sit and look at all of my pieces and try to pull them together. And you know what? THE PIECES LOOKED TERRIBLE IN THE ROOM. I messed up.

So huge! So fun! But in this room..... Too green? Too yellow? Too light? What about the drama?

So huge! So fun! But in this room..... Too green? Too yellow? Too light? What about the drama?

Because you can never be certain without seeing it in the space, I went ahead and took it in there. Even leaning on the wall in our then-studio, the pit in my stomach told me that these wouldn't provide enough contrast. 

When I set them in there, I could place it right away: In the context of the other elements, they felt too clean and too safe. It needed something unexpected. These were fun works, but not right for completing this room the way I had hoped. 

When I set them in there, I could place it right away: In the context of the other elements, they felt too clean and too safe. It needed something unexpected. These were fun works, but not right for completing this room the way I had hoped. 

And then a funny thing happened -- I didn't even get the paintings back outside before other designers in the house stopped me and asked if they could use them in their rooms! Here, this one looked as if it were specifically painted to coordinate with the textiles in this dinette setting by Interior Gilt. Uncanny.

And then a funny thing happened -- I didn't even get the paintings back outside before other designers in the house stopped me and asked if they could use them in their rooms! Here, this one looked as if it were specifically painted to coordinate with the textiles in this dinette setting by Interior Gilt. Uncanny.

True to the stereotype of rushed creatives, I'd suddenly created a pickle for myself. The room was required to be completed in only two days, and all I lacked was my artwork -- but what if I made another mistake?! I needed to go back to my studio, and make it make sense. It was there that I made an observation: I had painted those in my room with dark blue-green walls. They had provided contrast in there, of course. I needed to paint the next ones in a white room! Also, that wall color in the studio?? How rad would that look on these canvases? Can you do that? Why not? Let's give it a go!

Yes, I used interior wall paint in addition to the heavy body acrylics and oil pastels on these giant 4'x5' gallery wrapped canvases! They're almost finished here, and I'm anxiously awaiting what they'll look like in the room, as bold as they've just become. 

Yes, I used interior wall paint in addition to the heavy body acrylics and oil pastels on these giant 4'x5' gallery wrapped canvases! They're almost finished here, and I'm anxiously awaiting what they'll look like in the room, as bold as they've just become. 

I swear those other designers are sneaky. Only one was loaded into the room yet, and just leaning on a wall, and I am stopped by two of them that wanted to tell me how they finally understood my vision for the room when I brought those in! They raved! They also mentioned that I was crazy for starting over so close to deadline. Well, when you've got to get it right, you've got to get it right.

I'd like to think that "she" had a good few months of catharsis in this room while the Showhouse was open. Meanwhile, it's closed, and we are preparing for the next one.

 

If you, like this completely made up person, need some dramatic art in your life, you can view available art in the shop.

Lastly, for good measure and great family karma, here's my cute little sister who came to tour the Showhouse. Be like her and support your sisters, ok?

What inspires you? Are you a fan of colors, or textures or maybe it's baking? Does Pinterest keep you interested?? Let me know! I'm always curious!