A LITTLE UNDERPAINTING
JUST ME, JOAN, and LEE
Still taking color inspiration from other artists work, I picked up a Taschen book on Abstract Expressionism that had been lying around my studio. The first painting above is inspired by the color and energy of the amazing Lee Krasner. Her piece is titled "Bald Eagle." I was also in a bit of a snit the day I chose her painting. I identified with the raw emotion and masculine energy in her piece. It let me cut loose. My painting is on a six foot piece of paper and I really got to channel my anger into a more productive form. It felt great and I think that energy was totally translated. The second piece is inspired from Joan Mitchell's "Hemlock." I loved the green, black and white, with touches of blue and very intense as well. My drawing is about 50" and has lots of pencil details and charcoal as the base. I video taped the process of making that piece and I will post the clip as soon as I can edit it down from 10 minutes to 2. I'm still figuring out how to use a fast forward program. I made both pieces in the same day. Now, if I could just be that creative every day, maybe I just need to get mad more often!
The work of Mississippi painter Andrew Bucci is fascinating to me. Yesterday, I was procrastinating by searching the internet for some color that would spark a bit of creativity. Andrew Bucci was on my mind because his work came up in a conversation the day before. I found that spark in one of his yellow paper pieces from 1964. I was not only fixated on the color of his piece but in his use of graphite pencil. I used graphite in mine to out line shapes on the top of the composition. I ended up creating a pair of yellow paintings that now I love almost as much as Andrew Bucci's. They kind of make you want to sing zip a dee doo dah! Not so bad after a week of rain everyday with more rain coming tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, my friend E. Lee Jahncke Mead, told me she was working on a Showhouse for the Alliance Francaise on Jackson Avenue. Unfortunately, was ill-informed about the building and it's unique history. The Alliance Francaise has a twenty-five year history of teaching French to New Orleanians. Our chapter is part of an international organization that started in Paris in 1883 and is one of 60 teaching AF chapters in the the States. They not only teach French but offer programs that brings lecturers, music, and many interesting events to the city for both children and adults. If you stop by be sure to meet the very beautiful and kind Alexandra Stafford, the AF's Board President. Maybe, if you're lucky you might get to hear her speak in French!
I would begin with pictures of the building's bottom floor of but I'm still learning how to use this program, so here goes from the top down....
The AF enlisted the aid interior designer and fabulous epicurian Nadine Blake, who returned to New Orleans five years ago with her husband Simon Blake. Nadine's room was designed for a boy who draws inpiration from a young lad with "the curiosity of a young Charles Darwin, and the creative streak of a budding Picasso."
The French flag wall is just too perfect and I am in love with her John Robshaw bedding. If you need to pick up a set--swing by Nadine's shop in the French Quarter. Just, FYI John Robshaw dust ruffles will spoil you forever. They are made with three flat panels that can be neatly tucked in with out the aid of a second person to help lift a mattress. I'm not convinced I will ever have any other style of dust ruffle again.
The shelves were constructed of cardboard and are filled with interesting objects such as, National Geographic Magazines, toy cars, shells, and varying sized globes. I thought the mixture of personal objects in the young boy's room was fascinating.
The view above is from the second floor window of the building--you can even see our very own top of the Eiffel Tower! So very French!
Below is a photograph of the upstairs vestibule with before and after pictures of the stairway. Both spaces were beautifully transformed by decorative artist Sherry Haydel. I just love the double footstools and her great-looking burlap screen in the corner.
Next door to the young man's room is an equally gender friendly petite girl's room. Trudy Hurley of Green Parrot Design styled out this posh pad complete with a pink French Toile and monogrammed linens. I just love the handpainted floor!
This is the before picture of the beyond fabulous workroom by Grace Kaynor and Jennifer Flanders. Grace and Jennifer worked together in New York before Grace returned to her native New Orleans two years ago. She thought it would be fun to bring Jennifer in to collaborate on two rooms for the Showhouse. I worked in a fabric room for eight years and it NEVER looked this inviting. I love the idea board, the chandelier, the beautiful round worktable, and I could go on and on. Too bad Jennifer and Grace can't pop in anytime and use this as a design consultation room! And FYI the girls used Benjamin Moore 039 for the wall color and BM 1231 for the original trim color. Jennifer told me that she and Grace feel that this combination is a peek at the future in color-trending. I think it's way ahead of the curve too!
The modern art is so compatible with the classic French Antiques and silk shades.
This is a room by Roy Malone of Roy Malone Interiors. I didn't get to snap a before shot but he painted the entire room and turned it into a stylish reading escape ensconced with antique French daybed and desk. Roy better watch out, I'm thinking about sneaking away his handsome chocolate brown Bergere...
Hate your cabinets...? Let E. Lee come over and give your kitchen a complete makeover. She did an amazing job turning this below average kitchen into a space fit for creating a Provencale feast. I was thoroughly impressed with how she was able to use existing elements and painting techniques to fool even the keenest eye. She, actually, painted the trompe l'oeil tumbled stone squares onto linoleum. Then she painted blue French tiled accent squares in between each one. Hard to believe....
Here she is in her cute overalls making it all look so easy, that is if you are E. Lee.
She researched creating her own plaster chandelier for the kitchen. The typical existing brass chandelier was beyond hideous. I think hers totally lightens up the entire room.
Look, she even repainted the front of the dishwasher. I was amazed at how she was able to make the small space both inviting and elegant.
This is another room by Grace Kaynor and Jennifer Flanders and is it ever stunning. This a before picture but it's already looking pretty good.
This is the only picture I took that you can see the chartruesish green ceiling, which inside sources told me was B Moore 371 and the walls were specifically mixed to match the silk curtains. I also love the contrast of the yellow door from the downstairs vestibule. I would have never thought to use the beautiful blue color she used for the paneled walls. It just looks so perfect in the space.
I'm totally in love with this room! Grace said that she used a Filiki or Turkish rug woven from a blend of angora, linen, and wool.
These small works really stand out on the painted walls. The idea of placing small works everywhere in an interior just looks so smart. Grace chose to use art that was all created by important Louisiana artists.
She added smoked mirrors to the door that lined one side of the room. Genius!
This is sort of a "before" of a Ned Marshall interior on the first floor of the house. He painted the doors a sunny yellow and white. (On the other side of these doors are the smoked mirrors from the paneled room) The French console in the center is a stunning piece. Ned's apartment on Second street is featured in House Beautiful and is one of my favorites. I'm always trying to catch a peek in his windows when I'm walking my dogs.
I think this room is so elegant and liveable. The colors are alive and filled with energy.
I mean really! This is modern French style!
Ned, you really hit a home run here.
Oh, and not to forget the very talented antiques dealer Peter Patout. He designed and planted all of the plants in the beds for the front of the building. I've seen Peter's green thumb in action before and he knows more about plants than anyone I know. I'm sure it is going to grow into a beautiful garden. I hope you get a chance to stop by the Alliance Francais, if not for the Showhouse then at least for a French lesson or two.