Thursday, February 25, 2010

Having Some Fun…

Some of us are addicted to lots of the great blogs out there, and one that always gets our attention is Velvet & Linen, the brainchild of the fabulously talented designer duo, Brooke and Steve Giannetti, out of California. There was a great blog recently about a massive renovation they have undertaken, and it was filled with creative ideas that reflect the duos’ amazing taste.

The before and after pictures had us all salivating, especially the magical transformation of the family room.


The Before


The After

That beautifully proportioned, classic French limestone mantel just stopped us in our tracks! You see, we Huffingtons can’t pass up a mantel, especially such an elegant one in a gorgeous, sophisticated room. For us, it’s the equivalent of the kid in the candy store or the girl with the paper doll cut outs.

So, with all due respect to Brooke and the new homeowners, we hope you’ll indulge us if we let our inner child dress up the mantel, and let our artists’ work play with the room. How would it look, for example, if we added a soft, abstracted Bouterin landscape? Or a pop of color from Elizabeth Barber? Or a mysterious encaustic from Danna Harvey? Or we could keep going with lots and lots of other ideas ....

V&L Bouterin Le Port Pascal Bouterin, Le Port

V&L Barber Pansies

Elizabeth Barber, Pansies

V&L Stockton Listening

Elizabeth Stockton, Listening

V&L Dana Ruth Harvey Natural History

Dana Ruth Harvey, Natural History

V&L Foltz Rubicon

Doug Foltz, Rubicon

V&L Ibe Red Roof

Onyeka Ibe, Red Roof

V&L Nancy Franke Fresh Start

Nancy Franke, Fresh Start

V&L Response Christie A Kiss From A London Sky

Lorraine Christie, A Kiss From A London Sky

V&L Response Peggy Everett Interlude

Peggy Everett, Interlude

V&L Todd Alexander The Elk

Todd Alexander, Elk Alone

V&L Response3

Elise Morris, Mirrored Perception

Or how about this: A painting by the multi-talented architect himself (with our apologies for not having a better image of it), Steve Giannetti.

V&L Steve Giannetti

Steve Giannetti

We hope you've enjoyed our fun. What about you? Any preferences for which painting you would select to complement this gorgeous room? We'd love to hear your thoughts.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

He rocks!

A Magical Place 3.25 x 4.5 A Magical Place

Just steps away from where France’s other most famous rock star, Serge Gainsbourg, used to live, there lives and works a different kind of rock star named Claude. I happened upon his shop quite by accident one day recently, as I was strolling along one of my favorite streets in Paris, just steps away from the famous cafes in St. Germain des Pres. I walked by his modest little shop, tucked in with all the fancy new art galleries and antique stores, and immediately back tracked to take a second look. What were these intriguingly beautiful little paintings that looked like miniature Christian Nepo landscapes, and what were they doing there?

Mysterious seascape 4 x 6.jpt Mysterious Seascape

Magical sea 2.25 x 4.5

Magical Sea

Imagine my surprise when , upon further examination, I discovered that these are not paintings at all, but in fact Mother Nature imitating art! These little jewels are actually Florentine marble slabs made up of a certain kind of limestone called Eocene that is found just below the surface of certain quarries in Tuscany.


Eocene in the raw

Over the centuries, water carrying iron and manganese oxides has trickled through these blocks, gradually coloring them at random. The end result is astonishing: They look like miniature seascapes or cities, in the most beautiful shades of blue, brown and beige. They evoke a magical sense of mystery, depth and beauty all blended together and weathered with time. And yet they are rocks -- aged and colored in a beautiful patina that only Mother Nature could create.

Rocky Mystery 2 x 4.75

The finished product…Rocky Mystery

I was delighted to meet the rock star owner, a “man of certain age” who is charming and modest , and loves to talk about everything from literature to art. In fact I liked him so much, I went back to visit him three times, each time buying more of his rocks.

Paris Feb 2010 053 Monsieur Claude

Over time, Claude told me how he had become involved in his art. His father was a chemistry professor at the Sorbonne in Paris who naturally expected his son to follow in his footsteps. Claude decided to specialize in mineralogy and went to study at the University of Pisa, in Italy, which is apparently renowned for its program. It turns out he was bored out of his mind and wanted to get away from it all. One day, killing time before his return to Paris, he went on an archeological dig outside of Pisa and discovered these rock formations buried in the soil. This was his Aha! Moment and he knew that that day would change his life forever.

Paysage Mysterieux 2.25 x 6

Paysage Mysterieux

Au Bout du Monde 2.5 x 6.25 Au Bout du Monde

Paris Feb 2010 056


I had my own little Aha! moment when I walked by his store, and my guess is that our clients will feel the same way. So lucky for me, I plan to go back over and over again, to visit my new rock star friend and see what other little jewels he has unearthed from the ground.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hotels in Paris

We'll call this little travel series, "Postcards from Paris..."


People often ask us, since we travel to Paris a fair amount, about where we like to stay. The truth is that we Huffingtons are creatures of habit, and once we’ve established our little hotel routine, with the bakery, the metro, the favorite restaurants and even the hair dressers, it’s hard to try something new. It’s a great feeling to get to know a neighborhood and have people in the “quartier” treat you like a local, even though you live 3,000 miles away! So that’s part of the reason we stick to a very few, and why we’re more than happy to share them with you.

On this first installment of our favorite three hotels in Paris, here is Ann, reporting live from Le Duc de St. Simon, right off the rue du Bac, in Paris’ tony 7th Arrondissement:

It is a freezing cold February night, with a dusting of snow on the ground and a hefty wind blowing. But I am happily cozy and warm, in a cocoon-like room, with its pretty padded pink walls and timeless antiques in the lovely and elegant Hotel du Duc de St. Simon.


It’s a hotel I know well and one that comes stacked with years of memories, since I stayed here for the first time for a whole week when I was fourteen years old, and traveling to Paris my friend Muffie and her mother. La Muf and I had room #14, possibly the nicest room in the hotel with its own private terrace. The hotel has changed quite a bit since then, and along with picking up a duchy and a couple of extra stars (it used to be simply called “Le St. Simon,” ) it was renovated from scratch and to perfection several years ago.


Over the years, I’ve stayed in many different rooms: Some of them pink, some blue, some yellow; some small, some medium and some quite large. All of them are warm and elegant, with tufted walls, comfy bathrobes and the most sumptuous Italian cotton sheets, with matching color coordinated monograms depending on which room you stay in (such a nice touch). And all of them have a distinctly elegant feel of being more like a Parisian home than a hotel.



02superior room 4

So here’s what I love about the Duc de St. Simon: It’s in a perfect location, or as they would say in Paris, “c’est le top top top.” Although it is steps away from the bustling Boulevard St. Germain and the elegant rue du Bac shopping district, as well as the metro and lots of bus lines, it’s quiet and quaint. With its cute little courtyard and few terraces, you could almost imagine being in the country instead of the heart of Paris.


I love the rooms. Yes, they’re small and some may say they’re a little dated now. But I think that like all fine design, they are timeless and have great bones. The walls are padded, the rooms are filled with antiques, the curtains are plush and the windows have the most wonderful hardware!! It’s an elegant combination of heavy iron and solid brass, and when you close the windows and eliminate any potential city noise, they make that satisfyingly substantial “umph” sound that you get with a really luxurious car. Although I sleep with the window open, I love to know that when I close it, in the morning, I’m going to hear the Umph!


I like the service. It is prompt, courteous and friendly. When you order your breakfast, you don’t have to wait: It comes quickly – and deliciously. On my plane on the way over here, I sat next to a delightful man from Asheville, who said, as he curled up to sleep after many glasses of champagne, “Just a few hours until croissant time!” I thought about him on my first morning of room service, since there’s nothing like the delicious croissants delivered to your room at the Duc de St. Simon: Luscious, buttery decadence at their best.

I love the details: The creaky stairs, the narrow halls, the marbleized floorboards and faux painted walls. I love the kilim lined elevator and the beautiful 19th century art.


I really love the luxurious Beltrami sheets which are soft and silky and so welcoming, especially during those first few jet lagged nights, when they stroke and soothe you at 4 a.m. and say, “roll over, night night, go back to sleep now” – and you do!! I love the front desk and the sitting room, which remind me of an imaginary aunt’s house, somewhere near Fontainebleau.


Lounge and bar

I love how the sun reflects against the white buildings surrounding us, and I love the view of the terraces. I love the courtyard , especially in the summer, when it is shaded, flowering and welcoming.


But most of all. I just love love love that when you walk out the front door and take a few steps down the street, you go from being in somebody’s elegant country house to the heart of the most fun and fashionable part of Paris.

Ta ta, bonne nuit,


PS: We will mention a couple of other favorite hotels in the next few months. But here is the info on the Duc de St. Simon:

14, rue St. Simon, 75007 Paris

PPS: Tell us about your favorite hotels too. But don’t be surprised if we just keep going back to the same ones over and over. Like so many things in life, once you establish that personal connection, everything else pales in comparison.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How does she do that?

We’re lucky here at the gallery to spend our days surrounded by a wide variety of intriguing and wonderful paintings. We both agree that one of the most rewarding virtues of owning a gallery is the relationships we get to build with our artists. It’s true that we are like a little family (with one of us usually playing the role of the indulgent father and one of us playing the role of the nagging mother – with role reversal happening on a daily basis!). We spend a lot of time thinking, talking, and communicating with our artistic family members and have developed long-lasting friendships with them.

About two years ago, a charming and fresh-faced artist crossed our path and we were instantly taken not only with her sincerely lovely and honest personality, but also her wonderfully abstract and meaningful paintings. Her name is Melissa Payne Baker and she’s a hot young star at the gallery these days.

This was one of the first paintings we ever received from Melissa Colorful Reflections in blue II 36 x 36.jpgThis was one of the first paintings we ever received from Melissa…Colorful Reflections in Blue II, 36 x 36”

An early floral 12x12 Through the Mist II An early floral...Through the Mist, 12 x 12”

Melissa’s early work with us centered around her strong faith and the motifs of such: angels and crosses rendered barely visible in a background of swirling paint and texture.

One of Melissa's crosses from an early seriesIMG_6555

One of Melissa’s crosses from an early series

We loved them and apparently so did our clients because they literally flew off the walls. Melissa was heavily influenced by a personal story that involved some sad elements: a child, an illness and a promise to keep the spirit of that courageous child alive. Hence, the subtle but elegant angels and crosses that filled her canvases.

we love how the cross gets a little abstracted in this 8x8 Faith XI
We love how the cross gets a little bit abstracted in this piece…Faith XI, 8 x 8”

Here’s the fun part for us: we get to watch our painters evolve, develop and grow. These days, Melissa’s work has morphed into energetic, heavily textured paintings that are full of movement. She’s working right now in a gorgeous palette that incorporates deep browns, beige, cream and all sorts of shades of blue and we are ga-ga about them. So are our clients, including many designers.

the cross motif is subtle but packs a visual punch DSCN1287The cross motif is subtle but packs a visual punch.

angels going abstract how fabulous is this palette 20x20 RenewAngels going abstract, how fabulous is this palette??… Renew, 20 x 20”

Here are some examples of the wonderful art that Melissa is creating these days.

Melissa Payne Baker

this tiny literally flew off the wall 6x6 Tiny Angel II

This tiny angel literally flew off the wall…Tiny Angel II, 6 x 6”

Melissa painted a series of these for our Grand Affair show and we had fights erupting over them 36x36 Gentle

Melissa painted a series of these for our Grand Affair show and we had fights erupting over them… Gentle, 36 x 36”

We love the muted sophistication of this one Believe IV 10 x 10 We love the muted sophistication of this one…Believe IV, 10 x 10”

Melissa channels her inner abstractist with this dynamite painting we all lust after this one 30x48 Everlasting II

Melissa channels her inner abstractist with this dynamite painting we all lust after…Everlasting II, 30 x 48”

Here’s a video where Melissa demonstrates her technique to creating her wonderful, layered canvases:


Did we mention that Melissa is unfailingly professional, polite and works incredibly hard at her craft? And that she has the looks of a blonde bombshell?

Here's Melissa with her equally adorable husband, Rick.

Melissa is a great example of why we Huffingtons so love what we’re doing here at the gallery. Every day is a treat. And every delectable work of art Melissa brings us is a truly a feast for the eyes, heart and soul.



Happenings on a Saturday Night

Jennifer Jones via Art Papers

We’re lucky that Atlanta is a very art-friendly town, with a wonderful array of galleries and visual arts spaces in which to indulge one’s passion for art. There are always a variety of exhibit openings going on and on a cold and rainy Saturday, this was no exception.

Art Papers is a terrific non-profit organization whose goal is to provide exposure and forums for contemporary art. Every year, they put on an auction at a big gallery space and it’s an event not to be missed. It’s packed with art lovers, gallerists and, of course, artists -- and the crowd is lively and fun.

We dragged our Huffington Husbands to this event and had a great time feasting our eyes on loads of great art and even some artfully costumed birds and Las Vegas showgirls. You never know what you’ll see…

Cathy Daly Cathy Daly

Angela West Untitled archival pigment printAngela West

Barbara Rehg mixed media on canvas the washBarbara Rehg

carl pope the bad air smelled of roses letterpress

Carl Pope

carolanna parlato bloom acrylic on canvas Carolanna Parlato

Atlanta’s a great food town, too. After we left Art Papers, we drove across town to the Westside and had a fabulous dinner at JCT Kitchen and Bar. It was hopping and made us glad we live in a vibrant and exciting city full of young and energetic people. The food is fancy farmstand cuisine and my salmon was to die for. The Huffington Husband had bacon-wrapped trout that he generously shared. Dessert was a warm chocolate souffley thing with homemade pistachio ice cream. Heaven on earth.

dinner at JCT

jct kitchen cool seating

Who wouldn’t love to be tucked away in this cozy corner?

And, more artful events are on the calendar in the ATL…one of our favorite events is the annual Trinity School Artists’ Market, a week-long event (February 15th through 20th, 2010) that is a treasure trove of paintings, sculpture, photography and crafts. We’ll have some pieces hanging there and are always happy to support this one.

Our contribution to the Market...Shelley Hopkins, Lemon Scented Rain, mixed media on canvas, 30 x 30"