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Inspired to Create by…Saint Patty’s Day!

18 Mar

It has been a busy last few weeks for this designer. It has been such a whirlwind I am not even quite sure when I posted last. There are some big changes in the air & the biggest one that has taken much of my focus has been my new gig writing for the online examiner as the Salt Lake Interior Design Examiner…my official title. As much as they want local content, design is design…so I have made it a point to make sure my articles are informative for anyone who wants to get inside my extremely complex designers head…scared or intrigued? No really, it is not as bad as it may sound & I think it is worth checking out.

St. Patty’s Day is coming to an end & first let me just clarify why I call it this, lest you assume I just enjoy a bit of sacrilege…which I do. I am fully aware that it is called Saint Patrick’s Day but this day is even more meaningful to me than a day to dye your beverages green & wear the color of grass from head to toe. Today, March 17th is my mothers Birthday. Now don’t go asking which one because she has never confessed her age to me & since I was never the child to snoop through the house trying to find gifts & hidden secrets, I have just left it at that. If I really need to know I can find out.

Since her middle name is Patricia I often will call it Saint Patricia’s’ Day (truly she is one) but you would all be seriously confused….& sure I was disturbed (which isn’t impossible). There is also that little dilemma that my exes name is Patrick. You understand now right?

These past two days I’ve restlessly needed a break from my writing & at the spur of the I moment came up with two ideas for a couple of little paintings. I have been intrigued with the idea of using seasonal or themed paintings & art work for decorating with during the holidays. I had two little canvases that were already prepped with green textured paint that I had set aside. All of the sudden I decided, quite at the last-minute to put all my focus into them & transform them into something wonderfully lucky. Here are the results. May you all find rainbows with gold at each end & may the grass always be green on your side of the pasture. May the Luck of the Irish be with you my dears!

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Inspired to Create by…Pratt & Lambert’s Chinese Orange

25 Feb

No matter how much I love color or how long I have worked with it, I find that much like my relationships with others there can be a bit of an ebb & flow as to how much they are in my life at the moment. You probably know what I mean. You have friends who move away, live in another city, run away, get married, take work transfers, or even the adventuring types who won’t stay tied down to anywhere for very long…you get the idea.

Then there are the friends who you haven’t talked to since high school or college, but  one day through a phone call or a visit & your relationship is strengthened & revived. Once someone is a true friend they always are, even when life just gets in the way at times.

Well I fall in & out of love with color almost the same. It isn’t that I ever stop loving colors really, I love all colors (just like I love all my friends) it just depends on how the colors are applied or in my life at the moment.

Sometimes certain colors are less in the forefront of my thoughts than others might be. I think much of this is due to the seasonal & yearly trends as well as my clients needs & the trends of the geographic area or the demographics I’m working with.So with that being said, it can be understandable that I am often excited about  old colors that have become new again. It is much like becoming re-acquainted with a  childhood friend. Right now the colors I am renewing a relationship  with are apricots, peach’s, tangerines & corals. Four colors I hadn’t seen much of until about a year ago when they started popping up in textiles & design work everywhere. These new/old colors went from being nostalgic reminders of my youth…to being all grown up with all newer versions of themselves, that are now being cleverly used in vibrant, rich, elegant spaces. So in a way I would say as well as being reunited with some old friends, I have also made some new ones. I’ve been so inspired by these warm tones that the end of last summer 2011, I begin playing with the idea of using them in a set of stylized paintings that I had sketched out as a concept, but hadn’t yet decided what color direction to take. I started looking to various inspirations. I love the tangerines & apricots blending into cool pinks tiptoeing into the territory of the color coral such as the photo of the table setting above that I spotted on Pinterest the other day. Coral itself can be more complicated. There are coral pinks & coral reds with many tones & shades in-between. These are vibrant, sensual colors. I love them all equally & in trying to decided what direction to take, I desired to find a color to base my work off of that bridged the gap between both the pink & the red.

That is when I found Chinese Orange from Pratt & Lambert paints. Deep enough to lean towards the red direction of coral, but pink enough to be sultry & hot. The photo above shows the original texture & color blending of my canvas before the design was added, along with some inspirational photos to reflect the colors I used.I love the contrast of cool colors against warm colors because these opposites enhance one  another. I wanted the design to stand out so that was how I decided on the abstracted floral’s textural color. This raised design is a combination of textural paint mediums including  mica flakes suspended in acrylic polymer. The surface of the canvas had to be smooth to apply the top layer of pattern, so I used transparent gel acrylic which gives it depth so you can look right through it & see the dimension.

The truth is this was all very experimental on my part. I had used these various mediums a few years before for some commissioned art work & knew that I was only scraping the surface of these products potential. I wanted to do more.

The idea here was to create art work that had some flexibility…I have my logo/initials embedded subtly in the acrylic resin in such a way that you can hang these four pieces in any combination you wish & not see it unless you were up close. This set is the only one of hundreds of thumbnails with similar concepts. At some point I plan to take my designs into my own textile line.

As an interior designer, I realized I could not just create the art without envisioning the space  or color story it would belong in. I decided to give Olioboard some of my time & see what kind of concepts I could come up with. This  mood board creator program has so many possibilities. These are all merely concepts, but hopefully they will help you envision some of the possibilities of  these new paintings ‘Coral Blooms.’

Blue, turquoise, tangerine & coral tones. This color story reminds me of a cottage by the sea. It can’t take itself too seriously when vibrant corals with hints of copper & orange (a touch of tangerine tango, Pantones 2012’s color of the year) are juxtaposed against a powdery blue & vivid turquoise.I love the dynamic contrast of  monochromatic neutrals such as whites, blacks & grays with a pop of color to spice things up. If you love bright colors, but the idea of painting them all over your walls, or using them in your furniture  terrifies you, then using a neutral based palette & implementing color into your decor & a few key accent furniture pieces is a lovely compromise. I truly believe every space has the potential for showcasing the colors you love most, even if it seems they may be too dominate & daring to work with. This is where utilizing the experience & expertise of a professional designer can come in handy.

This set of paintings was intentionally created toward a more feminine direction, which depending on how they are hung will emphasis that quality more or less. I rarely get to do rooms with a more  feminine appeal with my actual clients…unless you would  consider my eleven year old daughter a client which I do, but she may not. The trademark of a more feminine feeling space is often in its use of color, although there are many other design elements that can create that more feminine feeling, such as the lines of the furnishings & accessories…I think the mood board above illustrates what I am talking about.

I love mirrored furniture for its lightness, It can be fresh, light & glamorous but it can also be used to create dynamic & dramatic contrast in a space…that is a different mood board & blog post though though. Periwinkle & I have had a bit of a strained relationship I will admit. I mentioned it in my other blog a few months back. It isn’t that I dislike this color it just is so much better company in an environment where others can feel included…such as the vivacious Chinese Orange & the subtle but charming silver.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Happy Valentines!!! Inspired to Create by…Sweet Peas & Roses.

14 Feb

I hope this Valentines day finds you all well & happy! I admit I haven’t had much luck with “Val’s Day” as I like to call it.  Yes, there are quite a few stories here… I will say that my ex husband asked me to marry in on Valentines which was over fifteen years ago now & since it didn’t work out…well you get  the idea.

My best unsolicited advice is that, if you don’t have a sweetheart or if you aren’t sure the one  you have can take the pressure, then have very small expectations for the day.

The man I have been dating for the last five years + always somehow manages to get out of us celebrating this holiday at all…more stories on this subject that I don’t have energy to tell.

This year I have decided I will buy my own chocolate & if I get a kiss from him I will be grateful. I think we both suffer from Valentine angst, though no one is actually fessing up.

I am working on a set of paintings right now that has had me a bit preoccupied. I was thinking this morning how nice it would have been to have them ready to add to a post this morning but I am sleep deprived enough as it is.

Then as I was driving the children to school it hit me like a lighting bolt….I have the perfect inspired creation for this lovely Val’s day to share.

Sweet Peas & Roses…

I am well aware that I tend to come across as a contradiction to others.  My friend the astrologer David Porter says I cannot help it…something to do with the planets or stars I think…

I will tell you all day long, that roses are not my favorite flower but if you knew how many I’ve collected, planted, drawn & painted over the years you would think this was a lie.

I love orchids best though I must confess & my love of flowers in general leaves many beauty’s standing close together in the line of favorites.  There is something about roses though. The fragrance & the ease in which I could get them to grow & the romance associated with them…

I am a Libra so beauty & romance is my passion. That is the excuse Davy gave me for it anyway. I am worried at times it is really just an undiagnosed mental disorder. I have always loved to have flowers around me & in my home. A few years back I had a rose garden right outside my office window so I could open up my windows & let the breeze invite in the fragrance which I would just drink it in as I was designing.

Summer through fall I had cut roses almost every day inside the house, in nearly every room.

The rose garden outside my office in Herriman Here is a section of my rose garden from my Herriman Home. In my previous home in Clearfield I had rows of rose bushes under the windows & knew I could not be without them ever again after that. In the Clearfield home I had a country garden with two full-grown wisteria’s vines, a large peony planting, with a small sweet pea garden & a honeysuckle vine growing around ninety percent of the fences. There is nothing like vases of honeysuckle, roses & sweet peas on the window sill in the summer. I had hollyhocks also, but they are not my favorite, based off their attraction for bugs or the other way around I mean…

Roses & Sweet Peas in WhiteI am not sure when I began to develop a passion for all these frilly flowers. I was a bit of a tom boy in my youth. I used to wear combat boots with my dresses in my teens…that paints a picture for you doesn’t it? Did I mention that I am a  contraction already?

Maybe my flower lust has something to do with an art assignment I did in High school using acrylics & gesso paints. I am not sure what the criteria for the assignment was (it was that long ago) but I painted a stylized slightly abstracted painting of Roses & Sweet Peas for it. Someone bought it after that. I am not sure who. Some other school I think. I remember taking my money to buy new prismacolor pencils. Yes, that is what you do when you are a poor artist in school. I do however have a digital file so prints can be made up through imagekind if your heart so desired.

“Roses are red violets are blue”…I am going to have a great Valentines day (as long as I get my chocolate) & I hope you do too!

In all seriousness Have a lovely day full of love & happiness my friends.

Love, April Elizabeth

Inspired to Create by…the Vivacious Meredith Heron

11 Feb

Inspired to create by…the Vivacious Meredith Heron

I meet the beautiful & vivacious Meredith Heron on twitter a little over a year ago. Have you ever looked back at a time in your life & thought “okay…I guess that was a blessing in disguise?”

Well this was the case with my meeting Meredith. I had been extremely ill for a straight two months (November through December) with what seemed like everything one after the other, viruses, infections then ending in severe bronchitis…possibly walking pneumonia. I was running high fevers & delirious for much of that time & slept a lot. I could not work nor take care of my children who spent much of that time (being that it was their holiday vacation) with their dad.

When I thought was going to go lose my mind from lying around & in between bouts of delirium I would get online & try to accomplish something. The big goal was to learn twitter. I had been on twitter for some time but really had not figured out the ropes. So very different from the facebook I knew so well.

That is where  found Meredith Heron. I was following numerous designers all over the world & was watching how they interacted. It was the highlight of my day, soaking up the beauty & creativity of their work & blogs  as well as hearing what designing was like on their end of the globe.

I first spotted Meredith when she was to be a guest on twitters #DesignTV weekly Chat. Hosted by Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo & Jonathan Legate. I saw the inviting tweet & opened the link to see the picture of a Stunning Redhead, Meredith Heron who is well-known for being a regularly featured guest/host & design expert on national television programs such as Restaurant Makeover through HGTV Canada.

I was of course intrigued so I looked through her info & decided to follow her.  It was less than a week later when I was tweeting with a few folks getting my “wings wet” so to speak (still learning how to tweet back & forth) that she posted something or other about her very young adorable son & motherhood. I, feeling like an expert on the subject for some reason or other (possibly because I have been there done that ) replied to one of her tweets not expecting any kind of acknowledgement & fell off my chair when she replied…

So that is how it began. For those of you who are still twitt-errified of tweeting I am telling you that you are missing out. My world is much more interesting & colorful because I have folks like Meredith who are a part of it now.

Yes, yes! To many this online-social-media-network thing seems impersonal & much like smoke & mirrors & I wont disagree that it can be. There is always good & bad you just have to separate the two & not worry  much about what is going on behind the screen. Oh, & also know when to block someone.

Now that you know the background of how I meet Meredith  & began passively stalking her (which I’m sure I never would have been if she had not acknowledged me the way she did) you will understand why she is a constant source of inspiration to me.

She is an incredible designer & very real. I love that she speaks her mind & tells it like it is. She has more Moxie than anyone I know, which might be the red hair (I was married to a redhead but he didn’t even have close the kind of fire she possesses). I have only so much time to support & follow others. I do wish there was more of me & my time to spread out…because it is thin at times, but I do my best to support those who I know appreciate it & if I can slip some kind of support to someone who doesn’t really care, I still will.

This I can promise, will not be the first time Meredith is mentioned in this blog. Because of her genius with color (colour for those in the UK) design, & her impeccable good taste she is constantly causing the synapses to jolt in my brain with inspiration.

To me being inspired as I call it, which for me becomes a response & desire to create, is a form of receiving ideas & messages that are not a direct interpretation of the actual source of the inspiration. I am also a firm believer in giving credit where it is due. As small as it may seem if something someone does or something I see triggers a creative idea or response, I am grateful for it. Nothing is really small if it can have some impact on others.

As simple as it may seem the outfit that Meredith is wearing in the above photo during Blogfest 2011…struck me on various levels. I saw that turquoise bracelet with the deep magenta/fuchsia top & was stunned at how fabulous she looked & how beautifully she stood out in the crowd. I myself cannot pull off wearing this much color (not without the makeup of a drag queen anyway). This is the benefit of being a vivacious redhead I believe.  As much as I play with & love color I had never thought to combine the color of natural turquoise (my favorite color for the moment) with such a vibrant red violet.

It was this very photo that inspired my somewhat experimental paintings of Turquoise & Magenta-Moxie which I have listed right now on Etsy.

I used to paint/draw stylized realism, but over the past few years my artistic expression has become very loose & adventurous. This color combo was initially inspired by the outfit Meredith wore in the above picture. I added the symbolism with the animal print because to me it represents, independence, drive, boldness, tenacity…basically “Moxie” which Meredith actually helped me realize I was visually trying to define after the fact, but couldn’t put a name to.

It is difficult for me to show through photos how these really look. They are a combination of layers of acrylics & clear gel acrylic resins that create a dimension you can look into & through. I have also created them in a way that you can hang them as you please to create any form or pattern desired as shown here. My signature symbol fairly subtle for this reason.

They were created for a small space & although I have many ideas as to what color combinations they could be used in I have only had the time to throw one mood board together using a new/old favorite Olioboard. A great tool for presenting concepts that I have vowed to get back into using thanks to Leslie Carothers. I may have to add more of these ideas later since I cannot help myself & I have two other drafts in the works…

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