We would all love to have priceless art in our homes. Me? An N.C. Wyeth or Mark Rothko above my fireplace. I often use these fine art pieces as inspiration when putting together a concept for a room. Even if I’m not able to own a masterpiece, I can pay homage to its beauty in design concepts. The feelings conveyed in paintings can be translated into interiors and furnishings.
When I think of natural landscapes conveyed most truthfully, I think of the artist Andrew Wyeth. He is known for his realistic landscapes and portraits with neutral color palettes: dusty browns, subtle greens and all kinds of white. Wyeth is known for a regional style reflecting his hometown of Chads Ford, Pennsylvania and summer home in Cushing, Maine.
When I imagine a room that would belong in a Wyeth painting, I envision a simple room; neutral colors with not much decoration, sparse and empty of clutter. Everything about his paintings represents a raw sensibility so I would use pieces that are unvarnished or worn by the elements. I would accessorize with natural pieces that I would possibly pick up out of a field or off a beach–lots of wood furniture, exposed stone or brick.
This chandelier by Sandy Chapman of Circa Lighting instantly evokes an Andrew Wyeth.
French artist Paul Cézanne motivates me toward an entirely different interior. His works convey life and movement with intense, visible brush strokes and vivid color. Cézanne is known for his Impressionist pieces which was a huge departure for artists at the time when previously the most revered artwork conveyed intense realism – tiny invisible brush strokes, tight lines and photographic-like representations.
A see a room influenced by Cézanne that includes bright colors, warm features and a lived-in feeling. The room’s foundation would include simple pieces, such as bench seating and a table along with a cabinet to display everyday kitchen ware — items which the family uses on a daily basis, not decorative.
Pulling the Cézanne inspired room together are bright pops of color. The heritage of the pieces and the bright colors are what makes the room feel airy and comfy, very expressive and personal. Just like a Cézanne painting. This room above is one I created for an editorial piece in Style magazine last February.
When I want modern inspiration, Mondrian comes to mind. Piet Mondrian took the idea of Cubism to an entirely different level by getting rid of form and context and bringing shapes to the forefront. His grid-like pieces took all former of ideas painting and threw them out the door. He stuck with primary colors and flat shapes, but with visible brush stokes the result is anything but two-dimensional.
Of course when putting together a modern space, I look at clean lines and shapes that are distinct. But I don’t want them to be flat, I want to still bring life into the room by using warm primary colors–they help to bring dimension to the room without distracting from the furniture. The pieces that I choose have to be the star of the room because the rest of the design is clean and compact. The room can be modern without being cold. This is still a room you are going to live in, not just look at, and by adding a few purposeful decorations such pillows and table top pieces, the whole idea of warm modernity comes together.
I’d love to use this modern chair from Boliere. Waiting for the perfect project!
And finally, my friend and Sacramento artist, William Ishmael. (Recently named Artist of the Year by the Sacramento Arts and Business Council.) He works with mixed media and local organic materials and his themes are infused with a strong earthy, spiritual feeling.
Ishmael’s pieces are diverse and I see them enhancing many different interiors.
For instance, this vignette by UK designer Andrew Martin (that is wallpaper on those walls!). An Ishmael piece would fit perfectly among the masculine colors and fun pieces here.
William’s paintings also evoke the lovely, tailored images and Western interiors curated by Ralph Lauren. The two artists’ sensibilities are very complimentary. I can see “Everyone Has a Cross to Bear” in this lovely Ralph room!
Inspiration is at the heart of my luxury design services. What’s inspiring you?
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