Monday, April 19, 2010

I "heart" art !

I was reading the May editon of Architectural Digest on line today, and they showcased an article they had done on artist, Robert Motherwell in his Connecticut home back in 1984. 

Robert Motherwell and his wife, photographer, Renate Motherwell.

I'm pretty traditional in my design esthetic except where art is concerned, and I'm a big fan of the abstract paintings that Motherwell is famous for.

Architectural Digest, May 2010
I don't pretend to really understand much of Motherwell's art, or any other abstract art for that matter, I just like it !

Art always impacts a space, and sometimes we even build a room to focus on the art, so I thought it might be fun to see how art impacts the design of a space.

This painting seems like a perfect fit for this aqua dresser.  I love it against the sky blue walls.  The soft gray chairs and ottoman balance out all the blue-greens and enhance the deeper tones in the art. 
Of course the lamps are to die for!

I can't imagine this space without the art.  Clearly it is the star of this room by the late designer, Billy Haines.  The predominance of white in the furniture is no mistake.  It creates balance with all the orange in the painting and the rug. This painting was recently auctioned off at Christies.

Cameron Martin, Interior Designer as seen in D-Home Magazine

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not personally a fan of the all neutral color palatte, but I can appreciate the design behind it.  This painting is so subtle and soft that it allows you to focus on the shades of gray that make this room.  I count at least 12 different shades of gray in this room.  You would think it would be easy to design a room in a single color, but it can really be a challenge.
If the painting were anything more dramatic, how might that change how we see the room? 

Amanda Nisbet, Interior Designer
I'm not sure about the technique used to create these art pieces, but they certainly do compliment the room.  I'm guessing that the arrangement is symmetrical.  The drapes even mirror the design in the art...and what about the purple line around the ceiling?  Really draws the eye up, doesn't it?  But speaking of lines...look for them....they're a subtle design element in the room.  There's a lot to study here!

Wonder why they used a black and white painting here? 
Where does your eye go when you look at the room?
The symmetry of the design elements focus your attention to the art, but because it's black and white, I find my eyes are drawn to the one asymmetrical item in the space....the turquoise pillow!
Did they plan that???    I'll bet so !

Margaret Chambers, Interior Designer
Flowers always make good subject matter for paintings, and the tulips, both natural and painted,  bring so much color to this otherwise neutral space.  Can you imagine how this painting would lose it's punch if the wall were painted a bold color?  The soft buff background on the wall doesn't compete with the vibrancy of the tulips thereby making them front and center.

Adcock Smith, Interior Designer
Many of you know that I was a mural artist before returning to design school.  I've always loved the BIG painting!  I know I have some weirdness in me sometimes, but I love this new take on the family portrait....a touch of whimsy in a very traditional room.  The chocolate wall is a smart way to highlight the giant canvas....makes me want to paint!

D-Home Magazine showcased the mid-century modern home of Eve Reid in the Design Book 2009.  The art is positioned so that it is the first thing you see when you approach the entry of the house.  The dramatic colors of the art set the palatte for the house both inside and out.  They are clearly the focal point the homeowner wants visitors to see.'s pink, it's oversized and it's beautiful.  The color choice of this space is genius....the wall color is a match to the mid-tone in the painting.   Using the midtone allows the painting to have more prominence in the small entry way.  The pink is repeated in the bench pillows supporting the pink in the conch shell.  I wish I had painted this!

Patrice Cowan Bevans, Interior Design
Isn't this a pretty bedroom? 
I love this painting in this room, don't you?
The scale is perfect, the colors so balanced in the painting, and the symmetry of the furniture all points to the painting as the focal point. The yellow line just over the horizon is a complement to all the blues.   
 Love it!

Art is so personal, and I'm of the opinion that everyone gets to enjoy the art they love.  I love color, loose brush strokes, abstraction and whimsy.
What do you love??


  1. All of this art is beautiful and it's great to see images I have never seen before! Currently I'm loving abstract art that celebrates color! (big chunks of it) Thanks, Sally - I feel smarter after reading this post!

  2. After telling you I did not like grey, the room I loved the most was the last one...with the grey bed. But that complimented the painting so well. Beautiful and peaceful room.

  3. We're all allowed to change our minds, Nancy! I think it's beautiful too.


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