It all began with this painting:
I bought this directly from an artist in Cuba (word to the wise, always always always buy direct from the artist – if you buy from a dealer in a marketplace chances are the actual artist is only seeing a fraction of the money.) It might sound cheesy but this painting changed my style completely. Up until that point I was all about muted colours, soft tones and gentle schemes. You know – playin’ it safe. Then I went to Cuba. A country full of people unafraid of colour. They are filled with unapologetic joy and verve and it’s reflected in a riot of hues. The houses, the cars, the clothes, the people – everything. It’s impossible not to be infected or affected by that kind of attitude. Not to mention their DIY approach to every-damned-thing! That wanton spirit is reflected in this painting. Look at those colours – do you think that building is purple in real life? Well, okay, maybe ’cause it’s Cuba it might be. But what I love is the abandonment of reason to colour. Why shouldn’t the building be purple? It’s like when we were kids and we’d draw with whatever crayon was our favourite colour. Then some well-intentioned adult came along to tell us that chickens weren’t actually green. Where’s the fun in that? Reminds me a of a great quote I came across recently:
Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then you hit puberty and they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the “creative bug” is just a wee voice telling you, “I’d like my crayons back, please.” (source)
Seeing that painting was a wake up call to my senses. And I realized –
I want my damned crayons back!
Naturally when I brought the painting home and propped it up against my olive walls over my beige couch it clashed horribly. It was like a hanging Warhol in front of Constable – something wasn’t working…. But now that I’m in a new place it’s a clean slate. And I have this problem wall…
Look at that thing – it’s huge! And it changes levels. What the heck do you do with that? As you can see from my little orange squares I briefly considered painting it a bright orange. Fortunately I came to my senses after I did a few test swatches.
I left the swatches up for a few days to try to get used to the colour. I even glued a few things up to make a grouping. And then something strange happened. I began to see an evolution. This wall could become my own personal art gallery. I could rotate content in and out depending on mood. I didn’t have to create logical groupings of three. Or perfectly aligned prints. This could be a messy, ongoing experiment in colour, shape and texture! Thus began the evolution…
Which brings us to how the wall looks today. The key word there is ‘today’. Check back tomorrow and I may have added a large wooden sign. Or a map. Or handprints. I dunno!
I’ll leave you with another great quote, this time from Georgia O’Keeffe. This one I liked so much I wrote it out with dry erase markers onto a dollar store plate and hung it on the wall (’cause I’m classy that way). You can just make it out in the above photo (check the lower left corner).
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