Sunday, February 28

What to wear?

I love, love, LOVE fashion and design. With that being said, it should be known that my taste in clothes can be pretty atypical. With my spring sorority formal approaching, I am already imagining what my dress for it will look like. It needs to be floor length and if I can have it my way it will be bursting with color. While this gown is beautiful and more than worthy of being worn by someone of Grace Kelly-caliber...

Madame X
by John Singer Sargent, c. 1880s
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

So beautiful! It's just not my style. If it wasn't somewhat socially reproachable, I would totally wear something like this to my black tie and gown event:

"Mondrian" Day Dress
by Yves Saint Laurent c. 1960s
Metropolitan Museum of Art

So fun! And SO 60s! I love it so much because of its quote to Piet Mondrian, a great dutch artist involved in the De Stijl movement around the eary 1900s.

Here's one of the paintings that Laurent was inspired by:

Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red
by Piet Mondrian, c. 1930s
Tate Gallery, London

The dress here is one that I wore for a fraternity formal last year...

Thank you, Nicole Miller!

If you have any suggestions on what I could wear, I'm all ears!

Friday, February 26

Um, these are awesome.

These are real coins, hand cut by this guy.




US Penny
(Steel pennies were only made in 1943 at the height
of WWII, when copper was in short supply)

(notice how the bird attaches to the frame at the wing. Amazing.)


And last but not least, the US Quarter:

Ah, yes. George Washington smoking a doobie. It seems to be his most popular coin.

Thursday, February 25

One day, you will be playing Trivial Pursuit & you will thank me

If you are a huge ADD nerd & sucker for trivia (like yours truly here), you will enjoy this.

If your not...well... just watch it. Geez!

Have a great Thursday ;)

Wednesday, February 24


I want these.

I don't have a place for them...

but, I still want them. Especially this one:

$25.00 for an original 8 x 10 watercolor. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS! She definitely isn't charging enough for these cute little things. (We won't tell her that though.)

Here's her shop: Dimdi's

Tuesday, February 23

Bargain Shopping

I click over to the big auction house websites every so often to dream window shop. I almost always head straight for the deals first. This is how I shop for practically everything. I love a good deal.

Most of the time the works in lower price points are unknown or unnamed drawings by lesser known artists. But, every once in a while you'll find a gem. For example, I could pawn off my husband's beloved giant TV and bid on this original watercolor by Louis Comfort Tiffany (yes, that Tiffany) at the upcoming Christie's Fine American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture Auction in New York:

Dogwood Branch by Louis Comfort Tiffany
Watercolor and pencil on paper affixed to board
Owned by a private collector, offered by Christie's
$2,000-$3,000 estimate

I'm not going to because I like having a TV and a happy husband. Plus, I can think of a hundred other things I would rather blow two grand on. But, I do think it is cool that something like this occasionally comes within reach of regular people. Someone out there is going to get a deal on this one!

Monday, February 22

I have a confession to make

MoMa Catalog

Mini Terracotta Soldier
High Museum Store

Herakles Knot Necklace
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store

Degas' Ballet Dancer Bookmark
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store

Sometimes, I think the best thing about the museum is the gift shop.

Friday, February 19

It's Friday

Kill some time Pollock style.

Thursday, February 18

Not Art (technically)

I'm not jumping on the a cappella train or anything but...


I've been really into the Olympics this year. Luckily, my husband is just as excited about them as I am so he hasn't minded me being glued to the TV from 7-11 every night this week. Just in case you're curious... the US is leading in the medal count, with 14 total. 5 are gold. Yay!

All of the USA! chanting has had me thinking about this patriotic series of paintings by Boston born impressionist Frederick Childe Hassam. Childe Hassam (pronounced like "child") studied in both Boston and France before settling in New York City in 1889. He and his wife traveled to and from Europe on several occasions during the early 1900's but ended up back in his beloved Manhattan at the start of WWI. (1 & 2 ) In 1916, the fiercely patriotic German-hating painter began his famed "flag series." He painted a total of 30 flag paintings, all featuring New York City draped in red, white and blue.

Fourth of July, 1916
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(on loan from a private collector)

Allies Day, May 1917
National Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C.

Victory Day, May 1919
American Academy of Arts and Letters
New York, New York

The Met created an excellent website to accompany their huge 2004 exhibit of Hassam's work. The exhibit may be gone but their fabulous website dedicated to it is still up and it is definitely worth a look. Their interactive site for children is also wonderful. I don't have kids and I'm not a teacher but I can't get enough it!

1), Biography
2) Metropolitan Muesuem of Art, Childe Hassam's Life Chronology

Wednesday, February 17

If I had unlimited money...

I would buy this:

Brazilian painter and sculptor Romero Britto has put his colorful mark on lots of products. From vodka bottles:

Absolut Anniversary Bottle

to cars:

Brillo Volvo, 2004

He even sells perfume:

Lately, he has been making a splash with his new line for Heys luggage. I first noticed it at a luggage store in the Houston Airport this past fall and got totally hooked. Unfortunately, I don't think a Britto suitcase would make me hate flying any less, but I sure would enjoy wheeling it through the airport!

Tuesday, February 16

Happy Mardi Gras!

Though we did not grow up on the Gulf Coast, my mom made sure that we always celebrated Mardi Gras. As a native of Mobile, Alabama, home of America's first Mardi Gras, she turned Fat Tuesday into a colorful celebration in our house. We may not have had parades to go to in North Carolina, but we did have king cakes, beads, parties and masks!

As a kid, I thought Mardi Gras masks were the best part of the celebration. I still love them, and how couldn't I? They are beautiful works of art:

Masks got their start in Venice, Italy more than 800 years ago. At the time, Venice was kind of the Las Vegas of Europe. High rolling importers and traders partied wildly and used masks as a means to keep their less than dignified behavior a secret. Masks also provided a simple way to bring equality to the upper and lower classes of Venetian society. With their identities hidden behind colorful masks, it was impossible to tell a master from his servant!

Masks are now worn by Mardi Gras Krewe members who throw beads and trinkets off of floats during parades. Krewe members keep their identities secret until they get to their Krewe's ball, where they can take the masks off in certain locations to party with their guests.

Venice Float with bead throwing Krewe members
Krewe of Columbus Parade
Mobile, Alabama

Mardi Gras masks range in quality and price and genuine artisan made Venetian masks can cost hundreds of dollars. If a pricey venetian mask isn't in your budget, big Gulf Coast based Mardi Gras stores such as Accent Annex offer a beautiful selection of feathered and sequined masks at very affordable prices!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 15

Love love love

...the doors & windows project on flickr. Especially this, this and this.
These would be the two I would add to the pool:

Shanghai, China

Savannah, Georgia

Sunday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day!

Since it is Valentine's Day, why not talk alittle about romance?


Ok, well, when I say romance....

Lion Devouring a Rabbit by Eugene Delacriox
The Louvre, Paris

I really mean Romanticism. Which actually wasn't what we would call "romantic" at all. There is certainly no kissing and hugging going on here:

Francisco de Goya's The Third if May, 1808:
The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid
c. 1814 Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

To understand Romanticism, you must first understand what it was a reaction to. Romantic artists of the late 18th and 19th centuries rejected the utilitarian ideas of the Enlightenment, which started at the beginning of the 18th century. Enlightened philosophers disliked what they saw as irrational ideas promoted by the Church and turned to science and math for answers to questions about the universe. Neoclassical themes in architecture (such as temple fronts and columns) and grand history paintings of Greco-Roman events dominated the art world.

North Carolina State Capitol Building
Greek Revival Style, Completed in 1840
Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis Architecture Firm

Romantic artists felt that science and reason did not hold all of the answers and embraced the irrational, emotional, and spiritual side of humanity and the natural world.

Harwich Light-House by John Constable
c. 1820 Tate Gallery, London, England

The rise of the individual and curiosity towards the supernatural were big themes in Romanticism as well. Surreal works, which captured emotional horror, were also a part of the Romantic period. Goya's The Third if May, 1808: The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid (pictured above) is an example of this theme.

While Romanticism was a European movement, its influence in America was great. The talented painters of the Hudson River School were heavily influenced by Romanticism's appreciation of nature. As a result, they painted magnificent works like this one:

Albert Bierstadt's Sierra Nevada c. 1871
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Winston Salem, NC

Of course, painters were only a part of Romanticism. Poets such as John Keats, Lord Byron and Edgar Alan Poe captured romantic ideas with their words while Shakespeare's plays saw a resurgence of popularity.

Thursday, February 11

We said most...


Call me a kid-hating scrooge but your living room should not look like the front of your fridge.

Wednesday, February 10

Going to the dogs

The other day I was browsing the expensive but beautiful website, A Well Appointed House, and pretend decorating my dream house in the Blue Ridge Mountains. (It is getting bigger and more expensive every day, I swear.)

I bought this (in my head):

And I mentally hung this above the stone fireplace in my study:

Reproduction of George Earl's After the Ride
Available from A Well Appointed House

It's a reproduction of 19th century British painter George Earl's After the Ride. Even in my dream house I don't think I could afford the real thing, which was recently offered for sale by the very unique William Second Gallery in New York City. They specialize in dog paintings of the 18th and 19th century and literally wrote the book on dogs in art. They also have some of the coziest gallery walls I've ever seen, the Basset Hound and I could totally curl up for a nap in there.

I like After the Ride for a couple reasons. First, it is unique because it is a deviation from the artist's preferred subject. Earl was known for painting sporting dogs (pointers & spaniels) and clearly, the big, sleepy english mastiff above isn't up for running around the moors chasing pheasants all day. Second, I love the look on the dog's face. He's annoyed, bored, and perhaps feeling a little left out. I know this look well.

Meet Lucy:

Lucy is my parents' dog. She pretty much looks like George Earl's painting all of the time.

Of course, I'll have to have one of these footstools too:

It looks awfully familiar...