Mom's poinsettia brooch. It is maybe 45 or 50 years old, and probably from the five and dime...a magical place at this time of year to a little girl...some of you may have never heard of the five and dime, but that is another conversation. I remember looking at this in and amongst all of the wonderful "jewels" in Mom's jewelry box, as a special treat every now and then. A treasure trove of vintage buttons, costume jewelry, a mustard seed...and the occasional rhinestone. What fun it was then...and still now today as I remember her every time I wear it during the Holiday Season.
Happy Holidays to all of my family and friends near and far...you are so special to me, and so much in my thoughts at this special time of year.
My Chair...my beautiful chair. I found this wonderful chair about 12 years ago. I sanded and painted and sanded some more. I glazed and sealed with a clear coat that enables all of the layers to actually show the depth of the tomato red paint and dark chocolate brown glazing. This week, my elegant chair will be going to its new forever home...and I must say that I am sad to be letting it go. For years this has been the chair that kinda makes a girl feel pretty just sitting in it. I do wish my chair the best on its journey to the northwest, and I will once again be on the lookout for the graceful lines that seem to complete the thoughts that run through my heart and the need to give something a new beginning. Happy trails.......
It has been almost a year since I have started my blog, and so many things have happened in that amount of time. I really wanted to post something daily, but somehow life got in the way... it seems John Lennon was correct :o) What an amazing year!
On a side note, I have been doing a series of little paintings for the gallery walk on december 11th, and I seem to still be in a nesting mode...this one is very soft and subtle...
My Artisan page is now up on the Carmel Arts & Design Districts website! I really love my new location, just as much as I love my studio downtown at The Stutz! I am covered in paint, just the same as I am when at the stutz...this seems to happen at both places, I need to learn why that keeps happening... Today I am working on a set of dining room chairs and table for a fabulous client. I love the fabric we selected, and the metamorphosis is so much fun to watch...I will show them once they are finished...
'A lot of things have happened since the last time we spoke...some of them are funny, some of 'em ain't no joke... I trust you will forgive me if I lay it on the line...I always thought you were a friend of mine'.
From Don Henley's 'My Thanksgiving'...a great song if you have not heard it. Have a great day!
'Current In Carmel' is one of the weekly publications for the area, and included are stories for all of the north side. I was out of town last week (more about this later:o), and I came home to learn that the gifted Artist, Designer and Entrepreneur, Vicky Early had written about one of my works. How exciting! I am working n a series of Ladies in the mirror, and so far there are three. The original Lady In The Mirror will soon reside in her new home in New York. Queen Of Hearts, shown above, is considering a move to Louisville and can be seen in my gallery along with Earth Beauty, third in the series. I love the title that was chosen for the feature, it has so many meanings...to me anyway. I also love that she thought enough of my work to write about it...Thanks Vicky!
Early owns Artichoke Designs, which can be found in the Carmel Arts & Design District at two locations; 240 West Main Street, and 10 South Rangeline Road. Did I mention that Vicky is very gifted? So much inspiration within, that she needed two stunning design shops to satisfy a yearning to create beautiful interiors for people like you and me. Vicky and her design team can assist with design projects from a powder room to an entire home...stop in and see next time you are in town...you will not regret it.
I have completed a new work in the Lady In The Mirror series. This is the first art that I have worked on in my atelier in the arts district. I spent most of the day at the Stutz yesterday, and today back in Carmel. Still getting used to the back and forth, but I love them both so this is the way it goes...I am very happy that things have settled enough for me to get some work done. Yay! More to come...
I love clouds. People ask why are you taking more photos of clouds...why are you always looking at the sky? Some just shake their heads at my inability to realize that all clouds are the same...I keep on shooting.
I find clouds soothing...no matter if they are happy little clouds or the kind of clouds you might see just before you run for the cellar*...they speak to me on a very deep level, in many different ways...as different as each ones beauty exists to be seen. I really do not think I can explain why...words seem to fail me. I am just happy to have learned this about myself.
Clouds make a difference to me on a daily basis. Especially when I am thoughtful about a thing or two...or three. Someday, when I am ready...I will start painting them.
This shot is for Karen, a very good friend and exceptional Mixed Media Artist that has done a series with towers in the sky. It found me when I stopped for a light...
While talking to a friend the other day, I was reminded of a wall finish I had done over 11 years ago in a formal dining room. When asked if I remembered these golden walls, I found that I was quite humbled and amazed that my work had made that much of an impression on another person...enough for them to remember it all of these years later. For those keeping track...this is a three layer finish. This photo is posted for you Barb, thank you for remembering, you really made my day!
From the Archives: A two story Entry in a 90 year old Tudor style home. The old plaster walls had an original limestone block imprint that had been painted over for years. The Home Owner wanted soft faded limestone blocks painted individually on each imprint. One by one each was painted with translucent grays, umbers, sienna, sepia tones and a tiny touch of rose.
The scroll motif was painted in my studio on canvas and hung on the ceiling in between the layered and roped beams. I really loved working on this one, it was like working on a castle in a fairy tale...
You may say I'm a dreamer...but I'm not the only one...
This charmed necklace is dripping with vintage and antique glass cabachons, beads, turquoise, blown glass and reproduction findings. Many oval/egg shaped beads bring to mind the sound of birds singing on a warm spring morning. Birds, bees, feathers, baskets, flowers and butterflies complete this vintage look. Perfect with a simple blouse and a favorite jean jacket...simply charming!
As I mentioned before, I had volunteered to work at our Stutz Artist Association booth at the Broad Ripple Art Fair. While there, several people mentioned how nice it was to see Art from the Stutz at the Decorators' Show House. I loved hearing this...feedback is always nice...especially this soon after the event.
A hand painted floor, this time with a rope border and compass stars. I really love painting hardwood floors, but please do not ask my knees how they feel about this... This floor was sanded down to raw wood , the pattern was drawn and then painted with wood tone glaze. Three coats of polyurethane to protect, and 12 years later still in great shape.
Tomorrow I will be in our Stutz Artists Association booth at the Broad Ripple Art Fair, perhaps doing a Pique Assiette demo. Please Stop by and find out about all of the great programs going on at the Stutz, and of course, all of the great art at the fair! 225 artists I believe...something for everyone!
Today I finished repairs from where the artwork was hung on my hand painted wall covering at the Show house...all went very well...Thanks to the Franklin Brothers, the best installers in this region. A little touch up by me...and viola!
I wish that my photos could show you the pattern and depth of the finish.
Back in February, carefully rolled and numbered for the Franklin Brothers....I just love them!
And in January, on the studio walls...
I find out Tuesday if the Home Owners will be keeping my creation in the Booth Tarkington home. It is my hope that they will, and have many happy years with a memory of our little stroll...
Feels kinda funny seeing the house so empty so fast...echoing with only a memory of the recent activity. Surreal. The echo will soon be replaced by the happy sounds of a family back home in Indiana.
As the 2010 St. Margaret's Hospital Guild's Decorators Show House draws to a close, new information makes itself available to us. More than 10,000 patrons came through the Booth Tarkington home from April 24th to May 9th, Mothers Day. We handed out over 4,800 cards to patrons...not a bad average.
So many good contacts were made for all of the Artists involved, and all of the Artists at the Stutz. I am so grateful for all of the hard work put forth by all of these exceptional Artists...to help make this project a success. You have all inspired me so much. My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you...
A long standing tradition at St. Margaret's Hospital Guild's Decorators' Show House is the Mother's Day celebration. By this I mean bringing Mom to the Show House, especially on Mother's Day proper, is how so many people in our region celebrate their own Mothers. Grandmothers...Aunts...Sisters...and Babies too.
It is really amazing to watch...I would say a thousand plus patrons go through the finished home on this special day. Mothers and Daughters. Mothers and Sons. Maybe their eyes give it away, maybe it is their smile or freckles or spirit or laugh...maybe it is the way a Son lovingly leads his Mother step by step all the way through this huge and beautiful home. The ties that bind and the love that bonds...
A touching and lovely and revealing thing to observe on this day of days at the Show House.
Today, as I stood in my design area... I thought of my Mother, and all that she had taught me, and how much I missed her beautiful smile...and how she had influenced my life...
After hearing so many comments this past week about my Pique Assiette mirror and table, I also thought of how many years I have used the checkerboard pattern in my work from time to time. It is not something that I get up in the morning every day and think about...but it does seem to creep into my designs from time to time. After thinking about it, I realized I had been using it for many years. I tried to think of how it must have started...
I then thought of the gingham dress that my Mother made for me all those years ago...
I carried this photo with me today, to honor her... and to celebrate our years together.
As Promised, today I am posting a photo of a vintage jean jacket that I have painted and embellished. A flowing damask pattern done in metallic old gold covers the bodice of the garment. Hand beaded ab crystals catch the light just so...without being too flashy :o) Vintage reproduction findings include Napoleon Bumblebees standing guard on the collar points and love bird filagrees adorning the cuffs. As I look at this design I feel there is an addition that is needed to complete the look that I want to achieve... I guess sometimes just writing about something helps to work out the final details...helping us to learn...even from ourselves.
Funny the things we learn along the way, whether we teach ourselves or learn from others...all of the things we learn help to shape out lives. So much of the knowledge is wanted and needed and comes at just the right time, very organic...I love it when this happens. Other times we learn something that we might rather not know...but it still becomes a part of the process of growing and learning and trusting...and in the end who we are. Another reason for posting something blue today...
I love to learn and it is my plan to continue along this path where ever it takes me. My wish for all of us is to always at some point, be able to locate a soft place to land...when we need it the most.
One of my vintage style cuff bracelets designs, this time with a deep blue shard of vintage Blue Willow China. Nepolean Bumble Bees flank the setting of cobalt blue, along with ab crystals to capture the light. All done on a filigree cuff. A perfect accompaniment to that hand painted jean jacket, don't you think?
You havn't see the hand painted jean jacket?
Perhaps you will tomorrow...and while you are waiting...hug a friend why don't ya? :o)
Actually a pair. This is a close up of one of the chairs from my Frog and Lady Bug set, that I mentioned a while ago. I recently got to visit my rescued old chairs and could not resist trying to get a better photo for my...er...records :o) In the seat this time is the flumpy pillow my workroom made for the owner.
The pillow matches the back of the chair...
My favorite part of this little chair, is the rose and bud laying across the top. This photo also shows the tiny stripe I used for the welting...what fun!
I have been getting ready for so many different events lately that I am really looking forward to getting back to my well worn brush and broken bits of treasured past. Once the Show House closes and the studio readies for the next project I will settle into a few projects that I have been looking forward to for a long time. To follow ones passion is not always the easiest thing to do...so many ideas, so little time...
A funny thing happened on my way to Show House & Open House preparations this year. I was asked to submit a list of Five Things I Love to the Indy Star. It was not hard to pick some of my favorites, but I must admit number five I had only tried once, at my Sisters wedding. The margarita cupcake from Holy Cow Cupcakes in Carmel. Yum!
Less than one week later, someone was tapping on my studio door. As I walked around the corner I noticed a tall man with a little hot pink box in his hands.
note the icing to icing...er...I mean cake ratio.
I called Karen at Holy Cow Cupcakes to thank her for her wonderful gift, and learned that people had been coming in all week to request this exact little bit of crystal crunchy, moist and cakey, fluffy creamy bit of mouth watering goodness! Who knew?
Karen, your Cupcakes are welcome at the Stutz any old time, and we look forward to you considering bringing your delectable treats to our Open House next April!
I spent some time at the St. Margaret's Hospital Guilds Decorators' Show House this weekend people watching, and greeting and welcoming patrons to our walk with Penrod. It was so nice seeing that our efforts were appreciated and very well received by so many people. I hope you will all get a chance to see our tribute to Penrod, before the show ends on Mothers Day, May 9th.
This old photo shows one of my vintage wall finishes. I first painted, then glazed the walls to a rich brown waxed paper bag finish. The next layer is a metallic old gold damask, with the final layer being an amber brown glaze to further age this vintage look. I love working with all of these layers, each one revealing a new surprise, adding to the story a bit with each one...what fun!
This painting will be leaving the nest tomorrow, going home with its new owner. I will miss it just as I always do, but it is going to such a good home that I cannot be too sad. It is a gift to learn that at times my art may speak to someone, and bring a bit of joy beyond my own paint brush. Thank you so much for remembering this painting Jen & John...
Written in the edge of the nest is a little saying that I have loved from the first time I read it.
"Although we cannot prevent the birds of sadness from flying over our heads, we must not allow them to build nests in our hair." Author unknown.
This is the Artist Swatch book I designed for the Stutz Artists Association to send to architects and designers. My hope is that more of those in the trade will encourage their clients to buy original art. The Stutz has over 95 artists in 74 Studios, plus other Art related businesses in the buildings that used to manufacture the Stutz Bearcat.
The limited first run of this Book will be going out very soon to Indy's top professionals in the trade.
As I was saying...I found an amazing surprise beneath the 25 year old wallpaper. An imprint from the original wall covering...Gasp! I knew immediately what I wanted to do about this, but that would require a change from my previously accepted design. I wanted very much to replicate the unearthed pattern on the walls, and I learned the original had been a red on red...lovely! My request was granted, but alas not in the cranberry reds..
After re-designing my area, the next task at hand was to find the whole pattern to reproduce. A little here and a little there, I was able to find enough of it to get all I needed to make a 4' x 5' template. The walls were painted a soft bay leaf green, I then painted the pattern in a translucent mossy green. Look at that iron railing!
It was so much fun to bring a bit of history back to this formal entry, that I almost forgot I was so high up on the scaffolding. Almost. The template was just about as tall as me, so it was quite a challenge to say the least, and sometimes quite comical. Its a tough job , but somebody's gotta do it :o)
In 2000 the Show House was back on Meridian Street at Historic Square, and my was the Entry in the Levy Mansion. I had received an invitation to sit on the Design Board, and enjoyed very much working alongside my fellow designers. There were two mansions that year, and so many details to be tended to.
The design I had submitted included a hand painted finish on the 2 story plus walls that led the eye up to this fabulous Tiffany stained glass sky light. Gasp! This beautiful work of art inspired me so much that I felt the need to be a part of the restoration of the surrounding area.
The walls were covered with 25 year old wallpaper. That needed to be removed. By me. On scaffolding. Did I ever mention how I really feel about scaffolding? Well, let's just say I really, really loved that Tiffany light.
As I was removing the old paper, something amazing started to happen. Even more amazing than me being on that slippery scaffolding...
My vision for the entry was to give an age appropriate feel and show that it is indeed possible to have multiple hand painted finishes in one area. The soft golden damask painted on the wall compliments the amber stain on the hardwood floor. The gold and silver leaf bench has a clear crazing and amber green glaze.
The archway motif is a reverse painting of the bordered ceiling. The chandelier was found in an antique shop, I located and added all of crystals. The candlesticks were dripped and painted.
Gold and silver leaf hall table is painted to compliment the bench, and a closer view of the wall finish.
The stair railing had been painted the flat wall color with a black hand railing. I chose a silver leaf and black finish to for an aged patina. I think this finish works especially well with the twists and curls of this iron railing. The back wall has an aged subtle natural setting mural.
Even the old lyon on the door could not escape my brush, finished now with a gold leaf clear crazing and then aged as well.
It was allot of fun trying to meet my self imposed challenge of painting every surface, and I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorite parts of this journey. It was very heartwarming today when a friend and talented artist mentioned that she still remembered seeing this room at Show House all those years ago.
To connect with someone through our own art is a feeling like no other...
I love using vintage items, and achieving a vintage look in all of the art I create. The time worn piece of furniture that finds my paintbrush, the chipped piece of china that yearns for a new beginning in the frame of an old mirror.
Bits and pieces are combined with vintage findings in my jewelry designs. My canvas work, be it framed or installed directly on a wall, also wears a patina that seems to find me as I work.
I find a bit of comfort in creating art with things that have been otherwise determined as no longer useful as is.
Working with varied mediums, I am often asked which one do I love the most. I find the answer to be the one that is in my hands in that moment.
I would have to say that the common thread to be found within my whimsical work, will be the feeling of having been there all along.
Thank you for stopping by!
Photos of current works as well as works created over the past 30 years of design in private homes and in the studio. Posts will be laced with info and tips from things that I have learned along the way. In essence, progress in any certain direction I may happen to be working towards at any given time :o) Enjoy!