Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Artsy Fartsy

My husband has such an appreciation for my appreciation of art. That makes sense, right? I'd like to think that I reciprocate. If I say I like a picture or painting, it will likely end up on one of our walls. I love that about him. I'm certainly not a collector of expensive or rare art, but sometimes when I see a piece there is an instant attraction and I want it around me. Much of the art on our walls was created by my son. He's one of the best artists I know. He won an art contest in kindergarten and had his design on display in a local art foundry. It now hangs next to my desk. I also framed a large ocean sunset painting he did, as well as a lovely waterfall lined with berries. The kid has a knack for color. The walls of our guest room are hung with his preschool paintings, and while most of them are just lines and squiggles, they are vibrant and beautiful. Someone once asked us where we bought them.

One of my favorite pieces from my favorite artist

Over the past few years I have started replacing old pieces that I am just so-so about and have had forever (i.e. discount store prints that came in cheap frames). They were more about function than beauty and I came to realize how little I liked a few of them. As I get older and my tastes mature, I've started to recognize the importance of having meaningful things surround me. I have a small piece of art that my mother-in-law bought me several years ago off my Etsy wishlist. It was really the first piece that got me started on this art-seeking venture. It hangs on the wall between my living room and kitchen, and I often find myself stopping to look at it. Still. I love that.

This is it:


Tea Tree by ruralpearl

Isn't it lovely? Everyone that visits my house stops to look at it and it evokes a different response in each of them. I find it inspiring while my husband finds it a little sad. I also love that it is made by a real life artist, not a graphic designer for Target. Etsy is bursting with artistic talent and therefore a great place to find original art at any price point.



Those who know me well know that I've been obsessed with quirky owl designs for most of my life. I liked them even before they were trendy. Same goes for coffee (see my recent blog). So when I stumbled across this photo on an iPhone wallpaper app a couple years ago, it was love at first sight. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem this picture exists in print. My charming husband had it printed on a canvas for my thirtieth birthday, and now it hangs on my kitchen wall so I can see it every day. It's perfect. He's perfect. What a love fest. I find it so cool that I am probably the only person with that exact print on my wall.

What prompted me to write about this? A few things. First, my husband came home today and surprised me with a custom framed photo that I had fallen in love with. A New England artist has his amazing photos on display in a Starbucks in central New Hampshire. I grabbed one of his cards and immediately showed my husband his work when I got home. Mario not only found it, but had it matted and framed. Just cuz. He is so forgiven for not emptying the dishwasher.

Moran Towing Tugboats by Robert Clifford

I am a water baby at heart. I was born in San Diego and have never really felt comfortable living too far from the ocean. Someday I hope to wake up next to it every morning. I also spent most of my life wanting to be a marine biologist. I still do actually, but my penchant for seasickness has eliminated it as career option. Needless to say, I'm naturally attracted to nautical themed art. This beauty now hangs above my bed and I can't take my eyes off it. Check out his website. . .he photographs many things and his prints are super reasonable. The colors are simply brilliant.


Splendid Sunburst by Larry Carlson

There is a local event every October called the Keene Pumpkin Festival where the town vies for the world record in largest number of carved pumpkins. There is food and vendors and all around fun. Unless you're a local. Last year I came across the booth of this artist, Larry Carlson. His work is really vibrant and unique. I was enamored with this tree, a combination of photography and digital art. The leaves are a collage of colorful digital snowflakes. It's amazing. I bought a large print and hauled it around all night. It now has a permanent spot on my bedroom wall, across the room from my bed. It's the first thing I see upon waking most mornings.

Night Fishing by George Denninger

This piece was also one my dear husband gifted me with. The first year we lived in the St. Louis area, we rented an apartment above a cute little shop on historic Main Street in Saint Charles. It had old brick buildings and cobblestone roads that we loved to walk up and down. This artist had a shop a few blocks from our apartment and I used to stop and stare at his work through the window every time we walked by. For my birthday that year, my husband bought it for me. It fits in with my water-loving theme, so it has had a place on my bedroom wall ever since. It's just abstract enough to invoke thought, but clear enough to know its intentions. It is just stunning.

I was showing my husband a picture our friend posted on Facebook. It was at one of her sister's art exhibits, so her paintings were in the photo. Upon seeing one of them, my husband connected with it immediately. "I love it. I don't know why I love it, though. Is it weird that I love it?" I think that's the beauty of art. Everyone gets something different from a piece and sometimes you just connect on a visceral level. . .which is often unexplainable.

Brothers by Amanda Greavette

While it is more than we have ever spent on a single piece of art, I've been seriously considering buying it for him. It's an original piece by an amazing artist, and it is definitely worth every penny. Amanda has a series of powerful paintings and is extremely talented. I would consider it an honor to own her work. Besides, it is my turn to reciprocate in the art department. . .


Having real art in my house has made me feel like such a grown-up. Long gone are the days of black light posters and inflatable chairs. I love that feeling of connecting with something wonderful and inspiring. Who knew I had it in me? As you have probably noticed, each piece comes with a story that I remember vividly. Not only are they unique and beautiful, but the art on my walls reminds me of where I was and what I was doing at that time in my life. For instance, shortly after moving to New England we spent a day in Boston, which is only about an hour or so away. We bought two of these watercolors sold by a well known street artist on Newbury Street; a famous shopping district. He paints local scenery, so every time we look at them we not only remember the day we bought them, but the sights depicted in them.

Watercolors by Charlie Wang

Mario and I love to travel and have made a habit of buying at least one piece of original art from every place we've been. We have an incredible sepia photograph of the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia that has yet to be framed. We have photographs from Athens and Panama. This one is an abstract we bought in Hydra, my favorite island we visited in Greece. This is the only picture of it I could find online. It is really beautiful in person. Trust me.

Hydra by Gregory Christeas

One day (soon, I hope) we will settle down and be living in our dream house. While we still intend to travel as often as possible, the hope is that our home base is more permanent. The best part will be the walls, which will be lined with memories in the form of art and photography we have collected along our journey through life. In the meantime, I enjoy the natural progression that has led to the expansion of our collection. The Grecian artist that created the above piece has a wonderful quote that he included with our painting. I think it is beautiful and well said.

"Art is a spiritual energy emerging from an artist's work, that gives you strength to realize your dreams so you can dream some more."

 

Gregory Christeas

 

What are your favorite pieces? Where did you find them?

 

 

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