Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Art at Huff Harrington

We’re busy gearing up for a new art show that we debut at Huff Harrington Fine Art on Friday, April 25th.  This one’s called Resinate and it plays nicely to our ongoing obsession with abstract paintings created from epoxy resin and mixed media.

Definition, Please:  So what exactly is epoxy resin?  It’s a manipulable adhesive that creates a shiny, glass-like surface to a painting.  We’re seeing it used more and more now and we love the way its glossy nature plays with the textural aspect of the paint beneath.

Did You Say Blowtorch? It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.  It’s difficult to manipulate, toxic when wet (but not when it’s dry) and completely temperamental.  It doesn’t like cold weather, hot weather or humidity.  It takes its time drying and if you look at it wrong, it will form a nasty little bubble or two just where it shouldn’t be.  (Oh and to remove the bubble, you need a blowtorch. We’re not kidding.)

Let's Continue Over Coffee, mixed media and resin, 30 x 40.
Let’s Continue Over Coffee, mixed media and resin, 30 x 40.

Artists Love It:  Huff Harrington Fine Art artist Judy Cox has been using epoxy resin for years and has this to say about it: “For several years, I’ve been drawn to epoxy resin especially its beautiful thick shiny coat and the way it can enhance color. It is extremely seductive while wet and is a wonderful complement to my style of expression.”

We love it when our artists show a wide range of work and inspiration and Judy’s a great example of that.  She’s really mastered her manipulation of resin and she’s nailed the tender and sweet tone of these new paintings.  We’re proudly showing off these new works in the show:

Summer Rain is Delightful, mixed media and resin on board, 30 x 40.
Summer Rain is Delightful, mixed media and resin on board, 30 x 40.

Oblivious to Everyone, mixed media and resin on board, 24 x 24.
Oblivious to Everyone, mixed media and resin on board, 24 x 24.

Resin Resonates: Another Huff Harrington artist whose work “resinates” with us is Aaron Whitehouse.  Here’s what endeared  him to us: one day he simply broke all the rules and showed up at the gallery with a trunkful of resined paintings.   We were hooked – and it’s been wonderful to watch Aaron progress with his resin infatuation. (By the way, Aaron’s also a gifted up-and-coming musician and we love the whole creative vibe he gives off.)

Teenage Rebellion, sold long ago.
Teenage Rebellion, sold long ago.

A piece from Aaron's Gold Phospheresce series. Mixed media and resin on board, 36 x 24.
A piece from Aaron’s Gold Phosphorous series. Mixed media and resin on board, 36 x 24.

One of the Gold Phospherous pieces hanging at The Saltyard in Atlanta. We love the movement and warmth of that gray wall.
One of the Gold Phosphorous pieces hanging at The Saltyard in Atlanta. We love the painting’s movement and warmth on that gray wall.

You’ll be able to see Aaron’s work up close and personal at the show…and you really do need to see them in person. We’ve found the photography is really tricky and doesn’t capture the intricate nuances that make these pieces so special:

Birthing New Horizons, 40 x 48, mixed media and resin on board.
Birthing New Horizons, 40 x 48, mixed media and resin on board.

It’s All About the Texture:  Also painting for this show is Andrea Costa, a delightful and vivacious artist whose paintings seem to find new homes on a daily basis.  Andrea’s always used a mixed bag of media and she loves painting on burlap for the exquisite texture it offers.  But she has also dived into the resin frenzy and told us this: “I love to use resin when I feel like a painting needs more depth or I want to make a contemporary or abstract piece.  I love to create paintings with texture – and when I use resin,  you can see the texture but can’t feel it.”

 Andrea just completed this mixed media piece on burlap: Guilty Pleasures, 60 x 60.
Andrea just completed this mixed media piece on burlap: Guilty Pleasures, 60 x 60.

A ditych from Andrea Costa. This one is oil on gessoed canvas.  Beautiful Day, 60 x 36.
 A dpitych from Andrea Costa. This one is oil on gesso-ed canvas. Beautiful Day, 60 x 36.

Andrea painted Sun Up with resin on board. 24 x 36.
 Andrea painted Sun Up with resin on board. 24 x 36.

Brag Book: We’ll also be bragging Mel Rea about next Friday. Mel’s a relatively new member of the Huff Harrington family but we’re crazy about her paintings and her earnest, dedicated work ethic. Mel paints big, open abstracts that are welcoming and warm:

Rounding Yellow (mixed media, 48 x 48) is one of our faves from Mel.
Rounding Yellow (mixed media, 48 x 48) is one of our faves from Mel.

Blocked In by Mel Rea is a 16 x 16 resin piece.
Blocked In by Mel Rea is a 16 x 16 resin piece.

You need to see this in person: Somewhere In Between, oil with resin on panel, 40 x 40.  Swoon. 
You need to see this in person: Somewhere In Between, oil with resin on panel, 40 x 40. Swoon.

If you’re in town on Friday, April 25th come by Huff Harrington Fine Art for a sip and a nibble and feast your eyes on this thoroughly original and to-die-for new art.  We want to know: does resin resonates with you?

Ta ta.

p.s.: still confused about abstract art? Pick up a few tips here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kitchen Crushes

Atlanta condo kitchen 1
The “opportunity” kitchen that needs a little help.

This is the story of designing the perfect new kitchen for a condo in Atlanta, Georgia …

One of us has had a wandering eye.  It all started a few weeks ago, when a friend introduced me to a spectacular, one-of-a-kind condo that I fell in love with.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one, and this beauty got away … but not without my being bitten by the bug to go condo shopping again.  It is a favorite activity (unfortunately for my husband) which usually consists of my spinning out of control for a few weeks, visiting everything I can, having crushes along the way, measuring pros and cons, consulting spreadsheets and doing countless analyses … until I often end up back at home, happily staying where I am until the next crazy idea comes along.

This time, I’m in the spinning phase and have found a cool condo, in an intriguing part of town that has a lot going for it, but it lacks a good kitchen.  Of course I look at all design flaws as OPPORTUNITY!  And this one has gotten me thinking … how would I redo the kitchen?

If this little fantasy becomes a reality, I’ll pull in our design divas, Sam and Colleen, because I know they could make anything beautiful.   But since it’s just a dream, and I get to study and be inspired by some of my favorite designers ( like Suzanne Kasler), the sky’s the limit and I’m going to have some fun!

 1 Condo kitchen 1
The way it looks now:  Front view of the “OPPORTUNITY!” kitchen and some ideas to follow

1tem4.rendition.slideshowWideHorizontal.suzanne-kasler-atlanta-house-05-kitchen
It seems that I always turn to Suzanne Kasler for inspiration

1 laura ellerbroek dot blogspot
Another inspiring kitchen from Laura Ellerbroek’s blog

1 elle decor kitchen with large island and stools - could fit when I have in mind
I don’t love the color of the cabinets (from Elle Decor), but I like the clean lines and thickness of the kitchen island.

From granite gurus.com
So pretty! The gorgeous Calcutta gold marble, the striking backsplash and the touch of glam with a chandelier.  From Granite Gurus.

1 decorpad grey
Ah, but wait! Look how dramatic this dark grey looks, especially with the contrasting brass fixtures that are so handsome. Tempting! From Decor Pad.

1 B_BoffiCookingSchool_L
And from one of our favorite Italian kitchen designers that we know from Paris, Boffi. So clean, so streamlined, so functional.

1 boffi_LT_cucina_kitchen_1.jpg.aspx Boffi again, with their clean, clean lines.

I'm gaga over this Gaggenau kitchen!
I’m gaga over this Gaggenau kitchen!

Let’s look at it from a different angle now:

3AA Condo kitchen
The condo kitchen that I’d love to get my hands on.

3 Brustic-kitchen-suzanne-kasler-interiors-201307-2_1000-watermarked
And turning once again to wonderful Suzanne Kasler. Notice the contrasting brass fixtures again, and the beautiful detailing on the island.  From Architectural Digest.

3 B about-boffi
And what about this intriguing way of hiding kitchen cabinets: Big doors that slide in and out. From Boffi again.

3 boffi_zone_cucina_kitchen_1.jpg.aspx
When the doors are closed up, everything is hidden. That’s pretty tempting too!

3 AB sareenstone dot com
But I also love this big island, from Australian designers at  Sareenstone.com, which shows off the dramatic veining and again, has just the right thickness.

3 A from bhg on how to remove wall
Look at these open shelves. Do we even need kitchen cabinets? From Better Homes & Gardens.

To open-shelf or not: That is the question.  Years ago, when we lived in France and rented a house for a year, the kitchen consisted of a big, thick farm table and an armoire, along with a cooktop, dishwasher, sink and fridge.  It was so simple, but it worked so well, and we cooked some of our best meals there.  When we renovated Les Murets, we took a page from the same book, and removed all the cabinets from the walls.

The kitchen of Les Murets
The Kitchen of Les Murets, where we removed all the cabinets and replaced them with an antique armoire.

And when we renovated our house in Atlanta a few years back, again, we removed the cabinets and hung paintings on all the blank walls.  Not only was it lighter and prettier, it was very functional (having all the dishes stored in one place) and put a smile on my face every time I looked up and saw a favorite painting.

Huff Kitchen in Atlanta
Our old kitchen in Atlanta, inspired by Les Murets, where we replaced the upper cabinets with art.

Huff Kitchen in Atlanta 2
And used the antique French armoire with chicken wire to hold all of our dishes.

Open Alice Lane Kitchen-2 from vinteriors blog
You can hide your dishes behind chicken wire, as we did, or keep them on an open shelf, which looks great if you have the same color dishes! From Vinterior Design blog.

Open style shelves from Decor Pad blog
I love these open shelves, from Decor Pad blog, because they’re wonderfully chunky and handsome.

Open shelves from Remodelista dot com
And this is a great, clean look from Remodelista.com.

Open finnish kitchen on pinterest
And a more contemporary look, from a Finnish home on Pinterest.

4 contemporary-lacquer-kitchens-island-15-1961757
And speaking of contemporary: I’m always drawn to clean lines, thick surfaces and fabulous use of stainless steel, like this one from Boffi.

So I’m torn:  Which kitchen do I have the biggest crush on? The gorgeous, elegant, French inspired kitchen like number one, below? Or the super contemporary, clutter-free design from Gaggenau?

 open-kitchen-shelving-enchanted-home 
 1.  A lovely French inspired kitchen that incormporates all my favorite things: open shelves, baskets, calcutta marble, chandeliers, and wonderful functionality. The Enchanted Home blog.

zie end Gaggenau NYC
2.  Or this sexy, streamlined, elegant and dramatic kitchen from Gaggenau. 

Oooh, I think I have a big crush on Number 2!  What about you? Do you, too?

Ta ta,

HH

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to ... Hang Paintings

Just about everyday at the gallery, we get someone asking us how to hang art: what’s too high, what’s too low, what’s too small (or big) for over the sofa, how can I hang multiple paintings together and how do I know if I’m doing it right?  What are the rules; are there any rules and do I really need to follow them?  We got so many questions we decided to write a list of tips.

There's nothing like beautifully hung art to make a room shine.  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles and Courtney Giles.
There’s nothing like beautifully hung art to make a room shine.   This painting sits perfectly over the sofa.  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles and Courtney Giles.

Speaking of rules, the short answer is yes and the good news is you don’t have to follow them to a tee.  We prefer to look at them as quiet little guidelines that will help you hang your paintings confidently so they can look gorgeous on your walls. Most important is to have fun with your art:  re-arrange it frequently to keep it fresh – and enjoy it.

So, here you are.  Grab your hammer and nails and start hanging:

The eyes have it: always hang at eye level and avoid hanging too high (we’ve found that to be our clients’ most common mistake).  You can use 5.8″ as the average level but we tend to just go with whether it feels right  And when hanging over a couch, dresser or piece of furniture, don’t hang it too high – usually 3 to 6 inches will do.

Suzanne Kasler hangs a goregous abstract over a little antique sofa.
Suzanne Kasler hangs a goregous abstract over a little antique sofa.

Safety in numbers: hang in groupings if the pieces are small.

Any one of these paintings would have been lost on the wall but adding similarly-sized work fills the space perfectly.
Any one of these paintings would have been lost on the wall but adding similarly-sized work fills the space perfectly and pleases the eye proportionally.  From Suzanne Kasler.

See and be seen: buy your art because you’re madly in love with and hang it where you can feast your eyes on it each and every day.  One of our favorite spots to hang art is in the kitchen…especially if the kitchen is gorgeous, modern and white and the paintings are old, crusty pieces we discovered in a Paris flea market.

The very best spot for your favorite art: the kitchen.
The very best spot for your favorite art: the kitchen.

And speaking of art where you can see it....(from DesignSponge.)
And speaking of hanging art where you can see it everyday….(from DesignSponge.)

Think big: for great visual impact, consider a big piece for a small room.

This fabulous portrait looks great in this space. Talk about visual wow...from Veranda.
This fabulous portrait looks great in this smallish space. Talk about visual wow…and we love how it’s flanked on either side with similar but different paintings.  From Veranda.

Pack a Punch:  arrange your paintings for the maximum wow effect.  We’re crazy about art walls -  and they’re not as scary to hang as they seem if you start by arranging them on the floor first or creating a grid with craft paper.

Don't be afraid of creating a gallery wall.  It's easy, especially if you plot your grid on the wall or floor first.
Don’t be afraid of creating a gallery wall. It’s easy, especially if you plot your grid on the wall or floor first.  Better Homes and Gardens.

If you’re doing a gallery wall, keep in mind that there needs to be a unifying factor: similar frames, similar subject matters, palette or media.

This grouping is a pretty symphony in blue which unifies it and really makes it pop.  From Ace of Space.
This grouping is a pretty symphony in blue which unifies it and really makes it pop. From Ace of Space.

We love this elegant grouping from Traditional Home.
Making an impact: we love this elegant grouping from Traditional Home. Using similar mats and frames really makes this stand out.

Think outside the wall: you can lean, prop and stand your paintings all over the house. Pay attention to overlooked spaces, too — corners and over doorways and archways are prime decorating spots.

Anywhere but the wall:  prop, stand and lean your paintings.
On the walls – and everywhere else, too.  From House Beautiful.

We love the way the upper shelf is used as a mini-gallery in this shot from House Beautiful.
We love the way the upper shelf is used as a mini-gallery in this shot from House Beautiful.

Take it to the table: small pictures don’t need to be on a wall; try an easel or bookshelf.

More from the talented Suzanne Kasler: paintings take center stage when they're hung on bookshelves. 
 More from the talented Suzanne Kasler: paintings take center stage when they’re hung on bookshelves.

This is fun.  Paintings hung on bookshelves and propped on the floor.  The personality is just oozing here.
This is fun. Paintings hung on bookshelves and propped on the floor. The personality is just oozing here. From House Beautiful.

Same kind of different: as long as there’s something unifying the grouping (here it’s the touches of black) you can hang whatever you like. It doesn’t have to match – and it’s better if it doesn’t.

 This works because even though the art and frames are all different, they're unified by something similar: black.
This works because even though the art and frames are all different, they’re unified by something similar: black. (Interior Design Musings.)

Go with the flow: Don’t let the room dictate what you love:  work with architectural features, not against them.

Work with what you have.  If panelling or moulding gets in the way work with it, not against it.
Work with what you have. If panelling or moulding gets in the way work with it, not against it. Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles/Courtney Giles.

Let your personality shine: art is individualistic and subjective.  Sometimes, you just need to follow your gut and take a chance with your hanging technique.

 We typically like the "large-over-small" rule of thumb but this works perfectly, too.  See? No rules! Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.
 We typically like the “large-over-small” rule of thumb but this works perfectly, too. See? No rules! Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.

We love the challenge of hanging art – and nothing makes us feel better than knowing that the nail is in the right spot, the painting’s at the right height and wow, does it look great.  Happy hanging!

(check out more Huff Harrington How To’s here.)

Ta ta….