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Artwork is your personal calling card when it comes to your decorating style...

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 1571 - 1610 The Fortune Teller

Good Wednesday to you! Spring has of 20 March...and although still a bit chilly, at least in the northern part of the U.S., there are signs of new life everywhere! Buds are showing themselves on the tree I cut back last fall (and aggressively so!). We've got some interesting plants coming up on the side of our house. And, nothing looks familiar, so this will be an interesting watch! We also have some "privacy" shrubbery along the back fence in our yard that may or may not be keepers! I am hoping for a Lilac, Rose of Sharon or just something that isn't an overgrown weed infested growth of some sort. It was impossible to be sure last fall and it has been neglected for some we shall see. In any case, we are eager and excited to create something really beautiful, whatever we need to do to get it together out there.

So, have you started thinking about your yard? And, do you have a plan? I will say that if you need gardening gloves, there is much to find in the big box stores already. I see that even the Dollar Stores have an array of colorful gloves to get you in the gardening mood. A gift for a friend of mine includes a pair of "nice" gardening gloves and a pair of flower scissors (very very sweet...I have a pair myself). Just a thought if someone you know has a birthday coming up!

Well, as the title for this weeks blog reads: Artwork is so personal. It is highly subjective; or better yet, it's all subjective. Neither right or wrong, artwork is one of the most individually creative ways to make your house your home. Artwork transcends time in that it is timeless. Well, let me just qualify that last statement to suggest that pink wooden hearts and ducks from the 80's are definitely out and were always an "on trend trend". So let me state that there is always something trending in the creative world and mass produced to appear and be available everywhere; think of punch tin plates, macrame plant holders, heart shaped baskets, mauve and blue heart wallpaper, that kind of stuff that came out in the 80's and 90's. What I am referring to in this blog post is the artwork of artists. This includes well known artists (dead and alive) to and including unknown artists (who you may never ever hear of). The range of media would include sculpture, oil painting, water color, pencil drawing, pottery, glasswork, baskets; anything created by hand (even computerized creations) etc. It would be a longer writing to detail the differences in baskets made in the 80's as a craft style that showed up in craft shows and baskets woven for practical use and/or aesthetic beauty (think Nantucket baskets that have stood the test of time because of their craftsmanship). Back in the 80's I fell in love with making baskets (and sold them as well), so I can attest to being caught up in the latest decorating trends. Moreover, I will state that I made/wove an egg basket that looked similar to what would have been made many many years ago to carry eggs. However, this basket is with me today as it took weeks to carve each reed and then the actual weaving of it was tiresome...a real labor of love. However, I don't know anyone who uses them now as part of their interior aesthetic. Still, the one I have will be with me until my ashes are scattered in Paris!!!! And, if you have a basket that is sentimental to you, keep it girl; it's part of your personal aesthetic. On that note, let's get back on the subject at hand...

A point I wanted to share with you is that you don't have to save for the purchase of an original Rembrandt or soup can painting by Andy Warhol. I have artwork all over my house; most of it is framed posters or copies of water colors artwork framed to look like I have a treasure full of artists work. My secret weapon is to have a poster framed by a professional framer to up the look. It has turned out to be my personal calling card in the way of artwork. My decorating style gets a huge lift with the "dupes" I pick up along the way. It's all in the framing. However, I will admit that it is very expensive to have custom frames made...but far less than trying to buy the genuine article. I am a huge fan of artwork done by well known artists but I choose to visit places where someone else cares for them (like a museum or art gallery). Consider getting to know artwork and artists either locally (your library may even have a small gallery of work done by local artists) or through books, taking a course on art or visiting an art museum. Allow yourself to sit among the work of artists, indulge you senses, start to develop a critical eye to discern what you like and don't like. To dislike a work of art isn't a bad thing, it just deduces the range of genres and starts to get you dialed in to what you gravitate to. For me, I will always love and enjoy the "masters" (Renoir, Da Vinci, Durer, Rembrandt and Picasso). But, I also love other painters/artists and their names may or may not sit on the forefront of my brain. I am open to many artist and artwork; even the likes of Hopper, Hans Holbein, Van Dyck, Pollack...and one of my very favorite - Caravaggio!!!! The practice is to get familiar with artwork and let it evolve with you. Take your time and make your opinion the only one that counts!

If you visit Paris, I highly recommend you visit the Louve. It cannot be fully appreciated in a day or even three. I've been to the Louve four times and still have yet to see it all. Still, to enjoy an afternoon sauntering through the halls, taking time to sit on a bench and stare at a room of paintings can take you to another place. It is easy to get lost in the works, trying to understand what the artist' intension was for the observer. Often, the artists intent and perspective lines up differently than what I see initially so, it's that invitation to study a painting and let it speak to me that keeps the desire alive to return. A little deep this is getting. I think you get the pun intended!

Thank you for reading today. Have a great week. And, if you have a free afternoon, see if you can break away and visit an art museum or gallery...even if you have to make it a road trip!

Until next time, cheers! Jeanine

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