Category Archives: Art

Tired of Hearing About the Gallery Wall?

The gallery wall from the mudroom to the kitchen is finished. Finally.

The gallery wall is on the left when entering the kitchen from the mudroom.

The gallery wall is on the left when entering the kitchen from the mudroom.

I would call this a collected gallery wall with an eclectic theme.  I put together things I like and things that have personal meaning.

This wall is all about us.

This wall is all about us.

1. Small stone shelf from Wells Cathedral, 2. Pencil drawing of a mill by Yours Truly, 3. Piece of drift wood from Mother, 4. Biblical quote given by our son, 5. Chalkboard with vintage frame, 6. Plate, 7. Postcard of drawing I found attractive, 8. My baby picture, 9. Photo of me in college, 10. Vintage photo of Paris, 11. Favorite photo of Charlie, 12. Bocca della Verita replica from Rome, 13. and 14. Postcard of a painting of Venice, 15. Photograph of my great grandmother, 16. Vintage photo of Paris, 17. Celtic cross from Ireland.

1. Small stone shelf from Wells Cathedral, 2. Pencil drawing of a mill by Yours Truly, 3. Piece of drift wood from Mother, 4. Biblical quote given by our son, 5. Chalkboard with vintage frame, 6. Plate, 7. Postcard of drawing I found attractive, 8. My baby picture, 9. Photo of me in college, 10. Vintage photo of Paris, 11. Favorite photo of Charlie, 12. Bocca della Verita replica from Rome, 13. and 14. Postcard of a painting of Venice, 15. Photograph of my great grandmother, 16. Vintage photo of Paris, 17. Celtic cross from Ireland.

It’s not symmetrical but it is balanced along a diagonal axis running from bottom left to upper right.

The wall is balanced diagonally with the chalkboard being the approximate center.

The wall is balanced diagonally with the chalkboard being the approximate center.

Unfortunately I can’t take a photograph of the full wall because the hallway is too narrow.

The left side.

The left side.

The right side.

The right side.

Rather than being viewed as one scene, each item can be discovered individually.

Before

Before

Everyone who enters the house will have to pass by it.

After.

After.

Of course there’s always room for tweaking.

What are you working on?

Framing and Mat Cutting

The thing that’s been holding up the finishing of the gallery wall is that I needed mats for some of the pictures and they needed to be custom cut.

The brown paper space holders are still in place.

The brown paper space holders are still in place.

Custom cut mats are expensive so the next best thing was for me to find a piece of mat board in a color that would work for the remainder of the items. I had to ask the person behind the counter at Michael’s if they had any other mat board in stock other than what was out and she found a piece of taupe (Michael’s moniker) which I would call mushroom. It’s actually very close to the Benjamin Moore paint color “Sparrow”.  Mat board comes in 20 inch by 30 in sheets for about $16 and they won’t cut it down and sell a half sheet, for instance. So armed with my inconveniently large piece of mat board I set up a mat cutting station on the kitchen island.

Matt cutting station on the well-lit kitchen island.

Matt cutting station on the well-lit kitchen island.

I do have a secret weapon when it comes to mat board cutting which I bought in college and have kept for decades.  Oddly I knew exactly where it was and although the box was rather torn up my Dexter Mat Cutter was still in perfect condition.

The Dexter mat cutter.

The Dexter mat cutter.

The Dexter is designed to cut the interior bevel in a mat. I put in a new blade with is key to a clean cut.

The blade can be set at any angle -- the greater the angle the more difficult the cut.

The blade can be set at any angle — the greater the angle the more difficult the cut.

Lightly mark with an erasable writing instrument (pencil or chalk) on the front of the mat guidelines that match the desired opening.

I mark the mat board lightly with pencil.

I mark the mat board lightly with pencil.

With the blade tilted in the mat cutter (it can also be used straight for cutting the outside edges) line the mat cutter up in one corner and cut along the line.  It helps to push the flat edge of the cutter along a straight edge.

Be sure the bevel is going in the right direction along all the sides.

Be sure the bevel is going in the right direction along all the sides.

It’s important to turn the mat as you cut it so the bevels are all going the same way.

The beveled inner edge of the mat.

The beveled inner edge of the mat.

Because this mat board has a black underside the bevel is black instead of the more usual white.

The underside of the mat board is black, the top is taupe. It could be used either way.

The underside of the mat board is black, the top is taupe. It could be used either way.

Two more finished.

Vintage photos of Paris that came in the mail as a postcard for an art exhibit.

Vintage photos of Paris that came in the mail as a postcard for an art exhibit.

My vintage Paris photos.

What are you hanging?

I Jumped on the Bandwagon a Little Late

Once again I can’t remember where I read it but apparently the trend of chalkboard writing is “so last year”.  Too bad because I just thought of something I wanted to write.

A beautiful refurbished frame.

A beautiful refurbished frame.

Two years ago I refurbished the gold leaf frame above but I didn’t have anything to put in it and I’m not just going to hang it up empty.

I like this frame so much I used it at the center of the gallery wall in the hall from the mudroom to the kitchen.

I like this frame so much I used it at the center of the gallery wall in the hall from the mudroom to the kitchen.

So I thought I should put a chalkboard in it until a better solution came along.

The beginning of a poem by Arthur O'Shaughnessy.

A practice sketch of the beginning of a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

I picked the opening lines of a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy:

Ode from his book Music and Moonlight (1874):

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties,
we build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story,
we fashion an empire’s glory.
One man, with a dream, at pleasure
can go forth and conquer a crown.
And three, with a new song’s measure
can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying,
in the buried past of the Earth,
built Nineveh with our sighing
and Babel itself with our mirth.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
to the old of the New World’s worth.
For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.

I practiced the lettering on paper then tried it freehand on my makeshift chalkboard.

My chalkboard

My chalkboard

If a piece of real art that fits this frame comes along one day I’ll probably switch it out.

We're getting the gallery wall fleshed out at the same time.

We’re getting the gallery wall fleshed out at the same time.

But for now, I like it.

Do you have a favorite saying?

Everybody’s Writing About Gallery Walls

I noticed this week there’s a lot of chat in blogland about gallery walls.

Classic Casual Home
Design Chic
Design Indulgence
Driven by Décor
5th and State
Gwen Moss
Lovely Things
Rough Luxe 
Talk of the House
This gallery wall is tied together by subject and color scheme.

This gallery wall is tied together by subject and color scheme.

You know I want one.

I have to really study this wall from Pottery Barn -- it's so interesting.

I have to really study this wall from Pottery Barn — it’s so interesting.

I tried to get one here. No success.

The hall between the mudroom and the kitchen is still bare.

The hall between the mudroom and the kitchen is still bare.

Now I’m trying another tactic:  Lay all my pictures, frames, plates, flat objets d’art, etc. on the floor and walk by these things a million times.

I'm thinking vintage with a few surprises.

I’m thinking vintage with a few surprises.

I’m hoping a grouping or two will start to make sense to me. I want it to be balanced, unusual, interesting, unique, varied. Hope I can find all the little details that will make a gallery wall work.

How would you organize a gallery: theme? color? size? shape?

Art at The Glade: #5 – Capri

I have a small oil painting (approximately 12″ by 15″)  which I think depicts the Phoenician Steps in Capri (as in the Isle of Capri) that used to hang at the top of the stairs.

The oil painting of Capri used to hang in the upstairs hall before the doorway was enclosed.

The oil painting of Capri used to hang in the upstairs hall before the doorway was enclosed.

It came with two small ceramic plates (perhaps ash trays) that clearly say “Capri” in them.

Plates from Capri - 6" by 6"

Plates from Capri – 6″ by 6″

They used to hang next to the painting.

Painting and Plates

Painting and Plates

I have hung it at the bottom of the stairs on the “Revere Pewter” wall and it adds a bright note.

The Phoenician Steps with a view of chapel dedicated to Sant Antonio of Padua.

The Phoenician Steps with a view of chapel dedicated to Sant Antonio of Padua.

The Phoenician Steps in Capri

The Phoenician Steps in Capri

I’ve decided the plates don’t really belong on the wall in this spot so for now I’m going to use them on the nearby tiled nesting tables. Perhaps when I redo the powder room I’ll put them in there.

You can see the painting from the top of the stirs.

You can see the painting from the top of the stairs.

I was careful not to hang it too high – it’s just at my eye level.

The frame is burnished gold leaf.

The frame is burnished gold leaf.

I couldn’t figure out why I kept putting this painting near the stairs then it dawned on me that the painting itself depicts stairs.

Hanging at the bottom of the steps.

Hanging at the bottom of the steps.

Duh!

Are you trying to change things up in your own abode? Or once placed, do things remain static, so grateful for a permanent home?

The Living Room Needs Color

Our first floor plan is open. You can see the kitchen from all the other rooms: living room, dining room, conservatory, mud room.

Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.

Looking into the kitchen from the dining room.

The kitchen is yellow (Benjamin Moore Waterbury Cream) and dark, warm grey.

The living room looks through to the dining room and to the kitchen to the left of the dining room.

The living room looks through to the dining room and to the kitchen to the left of the dining room.

The living room is grey with a grey sofa and blue chairs.

The living room is looking very monochromatic.

The living room is looking very monochromatic.

I want to tie these two areas together.  I know I can do it with pillows.

Grey bird on an ochre and white background would add some charm to our living room.

Grey bird on an ochre and white background would add some charm to our living room.

My inspiration shots are here and here.

This picture seem to tie all the colors in my first floor palette together.

This picture seems to tie all the colors in my first floor palette together.

And then inspiration really did hit when I found these two identical trays on the free table at church.

Can you see the tie-in?

Can you see the tie-in?

Any idea where I’m going with this?  I hope my next post isn’t a “project fail” post.

Do you get unlikely brain storms? Is it more like a storm or a gentle rain?

A Bit of Whimsy Nobody Gets

I can remember my mother having an orange teapot shaped like a cat next to a modernistic owl.  I asked her why the teapot was on the shelf under an end table in the living room and she responded: “The owl and the pussycat.”

I got it. Clever, Mother.

I gave the teapot away to a cat fancier friend of ours but the owl popped back up when we unpacked after the renovation.  This owl has been sitting on the kitchen windowsill for months now and I just found out Charlie has no idea what it is. He likes it because it’s a chunk of wood.

This abstract wooden owl is about 10 inches tall.

This abstract wooden owl is about 10 inches tall and has a metal beak.

I also inherited a small ceramic Tiffany cat that could be a vase or a pencil holder.

The cat is clearly marked "Tiffany".

The cat is clearly marked “Tiffany”.

I’m pretty sure it’s a vase.

A sort of flower frog lid on the top of the cat.

A sort of flower frog lid on the top of the cat.

I put kitty on the windowsill with the owl.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, of course.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, of course.

Other family members have looked at the two items together and wondered aloud why they were there. Like Mother I said: “The owl and the pussycat.”

Maybe not the pair Mr. Lear had in mind.

Maybe not the pair Mr. Lear had in mind.

No reaction.

So for those friends and family of mine who just don’t know, here’s The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
   In a beautiful pea-green boat:
They took some honey, and plenty of money
   Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
   And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
   What a beautiful Pussy you are,
            You are,
            You are!
   What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
 
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl,
   How charmingly sweet you sing!
Oh! let us be married; too long we have tarried,
   But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows;
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
            His nose,
            His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.
 
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
   Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
   By the turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
            The moon,
            The moon,
   They danced by the light of the moon.
 

I shall show you my runcible spoon another day.

Do you have decorative jokes that nobody gets?