Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting Ready

Moving a retail space into another is completely different than moving one household to another. In some ways it is similar, and in other ways it seems altogether different. I am very excited about this move! I have been in my location for a year now, and this move marks the beginning of something new as well as continuous.
This year has been full of surprises, longings, and uphill climbs. I love metaphors, and this seems quite fitting for the journey. I really love hiking and setting a goal to reach a mountain top. It is the ultimate high. The journey is really the best part of it. Whether you reach your goal is sometimes not a moment of disappointment, but rather that you strived to attain it.
Will I attain my expectation and goal? One never knows, but the exhilaration of the goal and the promise of effort and achievement is really what counts.
I have two sides of my personality (yes, I am a Gemini), and that is why I live in Portland, Oregon. The mountains and hiking are always at my beck-and-call but so are the creative longings. And really aren't they the same thing? Please visit me before I move, and if you cannot I would love to have you venture into my new location and say hello!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Modern Look

I have a customer that does the most amazing projects. If you have a question about anything, she is the person to go to because she figures everything out whether it is a furniture repair or an upholstery job. I also love what she does with the Chalk Paint™ decorative paint.
Ilene is forever finding the best pieces of furniture to paint! She is not afraid to experiment with color, and this table she painted with Old Violet. This is such a beautiful color and really very unique. It is one of those colors that is a bit mysterious because of its identity to grey and blue and lavender. And the name is so perfect for such a dreamy color.
Ilene is so good about sending me photos of her painted pieces. When I saw this I nearly gasped! What a great color combination! Along with the Old Violet table, she paired these beautiful chairs painted with Emile and then upholstered them in a more modern fabric, so the whole set looks modern and fun and refreshing. Ilene has such a great eye and she loves to try all ranges of color. I think this truly exemplifies how versatile our Chalk Paint™ decorative paint is because you can use it to create a vintage or antique look or you can create something completely modern and contemporary. Don't limit yourself to one color or two. Try a new look and join Ilene in your willingness to embrace a new color! You just might surprise yourself.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Meeting Jeni

I am so excited to introduce Jeni Barackman as a new member of our Annie Sloan group of retailers in Oregon. Jeni is a woman of many talents, inspiration, and creative energy. She has opened a wonderful store in the charming downtown area of Hillsboro.
This is one of the many pieces that Jeni has painted with the Chalk Paint™ decorative paint, Emperor's Silk. When I visited Jeni in her beautiful location, I was amazed at all the furniture she had painted and the beauty of each piece.
This eye-catching table was done with the most beautiful lettering, and if Jeni wants to share her secret, I will leave this up to her!
Here is the detail of the table top. She told me that this piece sold so quickly that she barely had time to photograph it.
I have always loved the color Cream in Annie's palette, and Jeni has surely exemplified why this color is so soft and easy to use in any room. Please take some time to stop by and introduce yourself to Jeni in her new shop. She would love to have you visit, and she has every color in stock as well as the waxes. Her hours are as follows: Sun/Mon closed, Tues 11-7, Wed-Fri 10-5, and Sat 9-2. Please visit her at 158 NE 2nd Ave, Hillsboro, OR. She will inspire you and you can welcome her to her new position as retailer of the greatest paint in the world, Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Smitten with a Block Print

I rarely return a second day to the Portland Antique Expo, but I did go back today for several reasons, one for business and another for obsession as well as business. Some of you may know my passion for textiles that seems to have no boundary. I am usually drawn to anything with a beautiful "hand" as well as florals if they are done well. My favorite kind of textile is linen. I love to wear, sew, and collect it. Yesterday, as I was quickly going down all the aisles scanning for things that drew me in, my eye caught the most beautiful French chair covered in a lovely red and white vintage toile. I stared at it with envy and respect, and then as I turned to the right I saw the most exquisite linen textile hanging over a chair.
What is there to not love about this incredible piece? It is 100% linen. It is unmistakably a block print. The design is vibrant, eclectic, and modern even though it was made in the 1930's. For me, it was love at first sight. And it was one of those pieces that took a lot of time to decide whether I should invest in it or not. It was not cheap, but was it worth the price? Absolutely and probably more! So I slept on it, always a risky thing because in the meantime someone could have purchased it. I took the gamble and went back and purchased the eight yards without a single regret. I am relieved it is now in my collection, at least for awhile.
What I love most, other than the fact that it is linen, is that it is such a vibrant, forward design. When I first saw it, I immediately thought of several designers that did comparable designs, Florence Broadhurst from Australia and Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Roger Fry who designed for their own company, The Omega Group. These last three were also members of the Bloomsbury Circle in England as well. The designs from all these artists were very innovative and avant-garde, and this is why these kinds of designs always manage to stand the test of time.
Do the math. This piece is over 80 years old and it still would fit today in any of our contemporary surroundings. It is a gem, beautiful in its design, color and richness all gathered together on a piece of exquisite linen. I will have to part with it, unfortunately, but I will admire it as long as I can. It will be for sale on my website soon with an interesting story to accompany it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Vivid Color

I tend to get obsessed when I cannot find an image or photo that conveys my vision or memory. I dig through books and walk through my house looking for the color trying to duplicate what I saw. In my last post I promised to get back and tell you about a color that I saw in the dining room of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house. When I walked into this room I was absolutely stunned by the vivid and saturated feel of this extraordinary color. I was patiently and anxiously waiting for the tour guide to end her talk when someone in the tour, obviously had the same curiosity that I did, and asked about the amazing color in the room.
I actually purchased these roses at Whole Foods when I arrived home in my angst searching for the color. See the deep, very rich yellow that is in the center of these roses. This is the color that I saw in the Jefferson dining room.
And this is the color I have in my kitchen. I know, it is a bit bright, but I can't seem to get enough color in my life. So when I was in Jefferson's dining room, I was almost certain that this was the color I had chosen as well.
I even bought this book to appease my quest. What I discovered was a bit complicated, but there was a color called "chrome yellow" and of course it had some of the substances that we now consider toxic. Yet, how in the world could you limit your palette when there was a color that was so joyful and energetic? I need to learn more and I will. It reminds me of my fascination with textile dyeing and printing. There really is no end to the information one can unearth.
Along with my passion for collecting textiles, I love collecting books. I decided I certainly had something on my bookshelf that might help me in my quest. I discovered some really great information in Colors: The Story of Dyes and Pigments. I have several of these books packed with solid information as well as exquisite photos. (The book next to it on Matisse, whom I love, also has great inspiration for color ideas.) Allow me to quote from page 80-81 for the book on colors...."in England in 1780 by an industrialist named Turner" (no, not the famous Turner the artist) patented a color named yellow. And here is the crux of the matter. Vauquelin, a French chemist, discovered chromium when he analyzed in 1797"an orange-red mineral called Siberian red lead (crocoite) discovered in the Ural Mountains in 1765. When ground, it was used as an orange pigment by some artists. "He detected a new metal, which he isolated and named chromium, or chrome (Greek for color), due to its extraordinary capacity to produce salts in many colors. One of the best colors made from chrome by Vauquelin was a fine bright-yellow pigment of lead chromate, opaque and easily manufactured". So here in this little gem of a book was my answer to this amazing color in Thomas Jefferson's home in Monticello.
Today I rearranged the paint on my shelves to coordinate with the pears that I painted for my updated website. I have to try and understand why it is with Annie Sloan's magnificent palette that we are not using more of the vibrant colors as well as the ones that are so distinctive and beautiful. I have always loved Paloma since I first pried open the lid and peered inside. It is pure heaven. At the other end of the color intensity is Scandinavian Pink. I actually painted the underside of a small table with this rich color and the piece itself in Provence. Today I set this table on top of an antique armoire so you can see the undercolor and what a delight it is.
Embrace a color you are afraid to choose, but one you know you would love to try. Life is too short to inhibit your vision and your dream. I think you just might surprise yourself with a growing love of new and mysterious colors!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Returning from the heat

Yesterday I returned to Portland to 85 degree temperatures from Alexandria, Virginia where the highs were 104 degrees and high humidity. One lives in air conditioning all the time in the summer in a place that has this kind of heat. I feel so badly for the people there that are still without power. How in the world do they exist in a heat that is so immobilizing? The last day of my visit, my husband and I took a two and a half hour drive to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
We simply could not absorb everything in the small amount of time that we had, but what we did see was memorable as well as conflicting in some ways.
I love perspectives that show angles and lines that are interesting. In this house there were many. I was also surprised by its relatively modest size when you think of the huge chateaus in France and the dimensions of the rooms. Jefferson's home was really cozy and beautifully designed.
Tomorrow on my day off, I will show you some of the colors in the house. I could not take photographs inside, but the memory of the colors are vivid in my mind, and I will find a way to show you what they were and how and why they were used. One of the colors I actually discovered in this flower in the garden. It was a canary yellow that was unmistakably warm and inviting.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Public and Personal Color

Yesterday I boarded a plane from Portland, Oregon and landed in Washington DC last night. It was still very hot and muggy at 10:00 PM, but fortunately my husband did have power where he lives. Since I am not acclimated to hot weather yet (we are still rainy and cool in Portland), I could not imagine sweltering day and night for the next four days. How spoiled I am.
I had to take a small plane to Seattle in order to catch a flight east. As I was working my way down the escalator to the other terminal, I saw this permanent art display. What would we do without public art in terminals that can seem cold and impersonal? And what would we do without color in our lives? Everyday I think about colors and mixing and experimenting with the Chalk Paint™ decorative paint, but what if we only had Old White and Graphite in the palette? Yes, these are great ones to have, but wouldn't we miss all the other colors that give us so much range and beauty?
And what about the blues....Duck Egg, Aubusson, Greek, Louis, Napoleonic, Provence, Old Violet, and Florence? Just the other day, I had a discussion with a customer in my store about the attributes of the blues in Annie's palette, how beautiful they are and lovely to have in your decorating scheme.
Public Art at the Farmer's Market in LA.
LA Farmer's Market, a fun place to sit.
And now I have one more color to put on the paint card, the newest blue, Florence! I guess I want the world to stay full of color so I can visually feast on it and have it at my disposal anytime I would like to play with it. Explore the richness of color around you!