Vincent Van Gogh

Featured Artist for the Month

I met a delightful customer at our store in the Flying J this last week. She was particularly interested in the Art of the Old Masters. In our American rush for the novel and the new we sometimes forget the lasting quality of art  and products that have stood the test of time.  In her house she  had the Van Gogh sunflowers and we carry a spectacular version of this picture in Art-Tex that seems to bring out every brushstroke. It was she that inspired me to write this post.

art masterpiece

Van Gogh Sunflowers

There are some misconceptions about this artist:

  • Van Gogh did indeed sell some paintings during his lifetime.
  • Although he was wild and suffered from some deep depressions and did some strange things, it is highly unlikely that he was really insane.
  • He was considered so good that he was often copied. He had a stong following of student admirers. Once during his lifetime his work was even forged.
  • He didn’t commit suicide with a shotgun. This was a gun accident, he tripped and fell on teh barrel of the gun causing it to go off.

The most remarkable thing about the artist is that we do not have a single mediocre picture from him, not even done in his formative years. All are masterpieces. Either he was so good or he had the good taste to destroy his early efforts.

His talent is astounding!  Many of us know and enjoy the the vitality and brilliance of his paintings like Starry Night, Night Stars, and Cafe Terrace.   These pictures are stunning when done with a white linen liner and a black ornamental frame that contrasts with the bright colors. They are perfect to add to your Creative Homemaker decorating for the fall.

What we remember about Van Gogh is that he is one of the most gifted draftsmen who ever lived. he is right up there in the same class as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso.

 Quote for the Week

To do good work one must eat well, be well housed, have one’s fling from time to time, smoke one’s pipe, and drink one’s coffee in peace.”  Vincent Van Gogh  

 

Out of the Mouths of Babes

A grandmother got together some known proverbs to quizz her three precious grandchildren.  Here are some of the precious answers that she got.

Strike while the bug is close!

It is always darkest before daylight savings!

No news is impossible!

An idle mind is the way to relax!

A penny saved is not very much!

Where there is smoke there is pollution!

You get out of something what you see pictured on the box.

When the blind lead the blind, get out of the way.

Love all but trust only me!

photo to artwork

A Precious Gift

A comment from The Picture Lady: We see Children are an essential part of the Creative Homemaking lifestyle. Being a good mother is the true test of a woman. We watch the children coming through at our store in the Travel Plaza at the Flying J and there is energy and love and goodwill in the American children. It gives us hope for the future.

Quote for the Week

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. ~Stacia Tauscher

Decorating Ideas for a Pretty Stairwell

Stairwells are usually ignored or overly decorated.

The stairwell, a place you and your family pass several times in a day – is the perfect place for those precious smaller pictures, the ones you love but have nowhere else to go and here is a space where you can put them all together. There is an art to creating an effective montage. (A montage is a pictorial composition made by juxtaposing (or superimposing) many pictures in one place in order to create a new cohesive, total creation from the many). The important thing is not to think of your stairwell in parts – stand back and get a comprehensive view of the overall space.

The walls under and above your stairs provide a large amount of decorating play-space.  This part of the house leads up and into the more private parts of your house, and is the perfect place to hang family portraits, those private pictures you want to hang but not to put “in the face” of mere acquaintances who may pop in to visit.

Here is how it can be done right!

The Perfect Stairwell  It could be a Photo-to-Artwork Montage 
  •  The gray green walls recede giving the small space a bigger look.
  • There are family portraits, scenery and artifacts.
  • The white frames match the railings of the staircase, each enhancing the other.
  • The color of the wall is slightly different from both the upper and lower stories but it blends with both.

A very good idea is to mix family pictures with scenery, possibly places the family has been together. Contrasting black and white scenery with colored family pictures can produce a stunning effect especially if showcased against a pastel wall.

You have many topics to choose from on the Picture Lady web site to help you create a cohesive whole.  Spend a little time with virtual decorating before you decide what you want to do.

Have the goal is to provide the depth (perspective) in your nook, that makes the space look bigger and draws your family members in, and involves them.

Practical Details 

While you can do an eclectic mix of frames in your living quarters, it is wise to keep the frames and possibly even the mats the same on your stairwell wall.

Before hanging pictures, consider the lighting. If the stairs are dark, add overhead spotlights.

Storage opportunities

Downsizing Solutions

One last thought as many are thinking of downsizing right now; the area under your stairwell is the ideal place to find a little bit of extra storage. Planned well,  the area can become functional space as well as one of the most aesthetic corners in your home.

It is suggested that when planning your montage, that lay all the pictures on a large table or carpet, and shift them around until you get the effect that is pleasing.  Replicate the picture sizes in newspaper and stick these up on the wall before plugging in your picture hooks.

Quote for the Week

Serious is a word that must be entirely avoided when it comes to decoration.”  —Designer Kathryn M. Ireland

Beating Death by Volunteering

Age (or threat of death) could not dim those hazel eyes, filled with so much  life and intelligence.

“So what stands out in your volunteering as a special moment?” I asked.

She smiled.  “At the gift shop late one night,” she said, “I had almost closed when a big Spanish family came, maybe six or seven people. They were so happy I was able to relate to them. Their attitude  made it worthwhile for me to stay the extra 15 minutes or so.”

“How much did they spend? “ I asked.

“Over a hundred dollars,” she said proudly.

Volunteering

Taking Responsibility

Then she looked up at me, her hazel eyes laughing as she made sure I got the right importance. ” Money is not important.  I get much more out of working here than they could ever, ever pay me.”

“Do they pay you?” I asked.

“Of course not, but being a volunteer allows me to be part of something worthwhile.”

This was her story: She had had cancer and it had spread to her liver. She followed the standard therapy guidelines, surgery and chemotherapy but she had decided she was not ready to die.

“I just wasn;t ready to die,” she said.

So she made a strong decision to live and within days was given a chance to be a part of a special study for a new cancer drug which saved her life ,  no side effects..

“Yet you didn’t go back to work?” I watched her count out the change, far faster than I could ever do and I also keep a store.

“There are parts of my brain were impaired by the chemo.” she said, ” I may not be perfect but I decided I would still function and contribute. See here, this machine tells me exactly how much change to give. . . ”

Not just beautiful, not just intelligent but also practical.

I admired her.

 Weekly Quote 

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
-Albert Schweitzer

Color Trends for 2012

Here are the fashion colors for 2012: the terms they are using and what they really mean.

TANGERINE TANGO   – A burnt orange
SOLAR POWER- a dark yellow
BELLFLOWER – soft lilac
MARGARITA -dusty grass green
CABARET- loud and pretty pink
SWEET LILAC soft pink
STARFISH – dusty dark beige
SODALITE BLUE – almost navy blue
DRIFTWOOD – a rich dark brown
COCKATOO – a cross between light teal and aqua.

Weekly Quote

“Yellow wakes me up in the morning. Yellow gets me on the bike every day. Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Yellow makes me suffer. Yellow is the reason I am here.” — Lance Armstrong