Good news: I can officially stop whining about my sad, bare mantel because a few days ago, we brought a wonderful selection of paintings to “test drive” in that space.
Our resident stylist/designer, Sam (whom we’ve decided can do just about anything) and I picked a date and enlisted the help of our friend and neighbor, Dr. Howard Hong. By day, Dr. Hong is a serious physician but when his shift is over, it turns out he’s a gifted photographer with a natural touch.
Since he lives around the corner, we invited him to come over with his very complicated-looking camera and its tripod, many lenses, caps, flashes, and whatnot. (He also likes to cook, so we had some fun conversations about making homemade pizzas on the grill, but maybe that’s a whole other blog.)
Sam and I had so much fun – and , of course, I knew this was going to happen: I fell madly in love with every painting hung over my mantel. How could I not? Just take a look:
Here’s the photo-manipulated version of Karen Bezuidenhout’s White Horse. (Granted, I had a tizzy fit when we unpacked this – I love the simplicity and primitiveness of this painting..and you all know by now that I am a horsey gal.) This was Ann’s first choice – and she knows me well!
And, same painting, but in real life…as we frequently say around the gallery: yum, yum. The wooden artists’ figures are equally simplistic but full of zing, just like the painting. I don’t know about you, but my heart is racing seeing it in person over my little stone mantel.
Abstract-loving Linda picked a diptych from our new artist, Svetlana Shalygina but at the last minute, I swapped it for the enigmatic Shy.
Linda is known around the gallery for her amazing eye and this is gorgeous – and we got a number of comments on it. But, as we tell everyone, art is purely personal and you must love it unconditionally. So, for my own home, my heart whispered to try this one:
And then Sam got busy with her beautiful orchid and our old market scale from Belgium. The peaches are in season right now here in Georgia, so they are ripe, juicy and succulent. Aren’t they a perfect foil for the somewhat mystical and evocative abstract? And the red! I’m not normally a red girl, but this makes my heart sing.
Sam, who is delightfully opinionated and keeps us constantly hopping with her clever ideas and stylish thoughts, loves Zae’s new abstract, Semblance. Even though I adored this painting when Zae brought it to the gallery, I simply gasped when I saw it in my home. It’s edgy enough to make you sit up and notice its elegant composition and I simply love the toned-down but compelling palette. Here’s how it looked on the computer:
Pretty gorgeous, just like this….
Until you see this:
This is the sort of look I adore: a glorious mix of elements that contradict but play nicely together. Abstract, antique, organic and collected….what a dream. I ooohed and ahhed over this one for quite a while until Sam had me moving everything for the next shot.
I loved Sam’s clever addition of a Chinese terra-cotta inspired warrior on the mantel:
Next up was another personal favorite (and one that my dear husband loves, too): Doug Foltz’s But I’ve Been Wrong Before. The title reflects the humble and gracious nature of its creator, Doug Foltz, who is, without a doubt, a dear, kind man. Who wouldn’t love a painting that is so forgiving and sweet?
Sarah (aka “M’Selle”) pegged this one immediately and said she thought the realistic and traditional nature of this piece would act well as a “statement” piece. I love this painting for personal reasons: Doug frequently paints in the Bahamas – a part of the world my family has come to love.
Here’s a great case in point: you gravitate to paintings that make you feel good. My whole family loves this piece because it reminds us of lazy, humid and tropical days.
Shells, driftwood and objets in natural wood set off the sky-filled horizon of But I’ve Been Wrong Before.
As we were loading up the Suburban, I grabbed a gorgeous piece by Melissa Payne Baker. Melissa’s work is always imbued with a soft, restful and organic sprit and her Dragonflies is gorgeous. It’s heavily textured (more yum, yum) and beautifully painted. Dragonflies flit and fly on the canvas, but you have to search them out. This is one of those paintings that you can stare out for hours (with a nice glass of Cotes du Rhone to help you along).
Dragonflies is currently available and Melissa is going to donate a portion of the proceeds to Jumpstart Your Career, a non-profit group here in Atlanta that fosters fledging business women, teaching them skills and techniques to start and run businesses. We love that!
Finally, this beautiful, evocative and energizing abstract by our dear Jeffrey Terreson. (Jeffrey painted Quiet Blue, the famous equine painting that I did not jump on quickly enough, so now it resides happily at the home of some dear clients…sigh.) What is it about Jeffrey’s work that makes me so happy? I adore the texture (literally, it can be inches thick on the canvas); I adore the abstract vision of a landscape; and I adore the blue-ish palette (which has me quite obsessed lately.)
I wasn’t the only one who adored this. “I vote Terreson's Storm Break - but reluctantly, because I think I might have a crush on it! What fun!!” said one reader.
Here is was the first time:
And then after Sam got a hold of it and placed translucent star-shaped objets and my funny little papier-mache birds (made by a Haitian artist who is donating a portion of proceeds to helping his earthquake-ravaged country– aren’t they funny?)
And, yet again, here’s Quiet Blue, aka The One That Got Away…
I also adored this painting by Alice McNeely but it happily went to a new home last week…
How am I ever going to make a choice among these spectacular paintings? I find myself dithering and completely unable to make a decision (for now...but I promise I will, soon.)
I loved one reader’s advice which is to “Rotate! Live with a painting you love and then replace it will another painting you just fell in love with. Kind of like going through a series of boyfriends - until you find The One.” What sound and wise advise from our dear April at Just Verte.
I find, after this exercise, that what we say at the gallery is true: art is subjective, personal, and brings life, imagination and creativity to any setting. What would we do without it?