Friday, June 7, 2013

So little time, so little wall space!

Last week, twelve years overdue, I painted my apartment…yellow.
I was satisfying a new obsession. Yellow feels under-appreciated and can be very beautiful if used right…which I thought I did. But then Susie called screaming that the color was making her anxious and sweaty and she was running away from home if I didn’t change it - followed by a courtesy call from her brother offering to help her pack.

Yellow turned into green. It's either get on the painter's bad side or Susie's bad side .

I also painted an accent wall, or as Susie calls it, an accident wall. I was going for Poppy red but got primary red.

So it takes me a few rounds to get the color right, but I do think I have a “knack” for what comes next. In fact, I really had our apartment painted as an excuse to take all of our “stuff” down and give it a total refresh.

For whatever it’s worth, here are just a few ideas for hanging art, and other stuff.

Don’t get all hung up.
I never hang all of my pictures. Leaning paintings on shelves or on the floor creates a lot of movement - it takes away from the flatness of a room. It distracts from the corners and the limitations of the space. I personally feel more spontaneity and less rigidity in a room where art shares the environment.

A while ago Dave and I found this crazy painting of some random military guy. The painting is six feet tall with an Officer Pilsudski nameplate on the bottom. For $150.00 Pilsudsky was a no-brainer. He rests on the floor and leans right smack in the middle of my longest wall, dividing it in half. This painting has grown to be one of my favorites, not only for how odd it is, but for what it does to the rest of the room. I love hanging lots of little paintings and Pilsudsky’s height and girth divides my wall of smalls into two sections so that the little paintings don’t turn into a run-on sentence like the one I am writing right now.

Measure not.
A lot of people will tell you to space art evenly and to hang it at a certain “viewing” height. At 4’’11, few people would appreciate my viewing height. I say get rid of the measuring tape and anyway, what a bitch to measure. I lay a lot of art out on the floor and start playing with subject matter, shapes, and how the art works together. Artwork that has the same intensity of color can cancel each other out. I have a portrait and a floral that are the exact same value and hue. If I hung them next to each other and took my glasses off I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. So along with shape and subject matter, I look for contrast.

Once I have a general idea, I hang a cluster of work as the nucleus and spread out from there. I keep the spaces in-between the paintings consistently inconsistent and the end result is a wall of art that feels both deliberate and comfortable.

Refresh... ing

It takes two.
I’m a big believer in how a painting and a frame age together. If I come across a beautiful framed vintage painting, chances are, it’s spent a lot of time nestled comfortably in that frame, housed in many antique stores and flea markets. I couldn’t possibly separate the two after all they’ve been through. I’m just happy to rescue it and give it a good home where it can live out the rest of its life being appreciated on my wall…as one art unit.

Save the frame!

So little time…and even less wall space.
I have no problem blocking parts of paintings by layering them. Life is short, I’d rather have all of my favorite art out to look at and enjoy. Let's put it this way, you’ll never hear me say ‘I’ve run out of room’. If the majority of a painting is revealed, that's probably enough to enjoy it.

But then there’s the lone painting that’s asking for its own space because it's simply out of context anywhere else. Right now I'm in love with this one floral painting that Ben did, but it just doesn't feel comfortable near any other paintings. So, like Ben and much of his youth, the painting is in time out! But I love it madly!


My favorite part is the final layer…all of the dishes and funny little things that Dave and I have amassed over the years. I like to keep everything near and dear. Sorry Manhattan Mini Storage!

Wood foundry molds give things a lift

After hanging a perfect wall of art there’s a lot to compete with. So I use wood foundry molds as risers and platforms, blocks of old wood, and cake stands to give my little relics a needed pedestal.

Ladies on a pedestal!

Now if only I had a "knack" for getting the color of a room right the first time around. Of course I could have listened to the experts and painted a small swatch first, but that’s way over my attention span and anyway, I’m not known for listening to experts.

My Mexican painting worked perfect on the accident wall.


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  2. your apartment is gorgeous...nothing less than what I'd expect from a founder of fish's eddy! LOVE all the paintings--their abundance reminds me of Gertrude Stein's place in Paris. cake stands...hmm. my friend who has some of the oldest names in the US in her family tree (and apparently half of their furniture & dishes) could use a cake stand or six for some of her smaller pieces. what a good idea. my apt walls are yellow, but the green you've picked to replace your yellow is very colonial and soothing.

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