Thursday, March 31, 2011

Michael Wolff

My high school English teacher just sent me this link and it has been a great start to my day.  Something for all of us creatives to think about: Imagination is a muscle.

I guess she remembers how "obsessively interested in everything" I was even way back then.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Miles and Miles of Inspiration

I don't think he needs an introduction.  Honestly, as "blogged about" as he is, the more I read, the more I am intrigued.  A man and his work rooted in tradition, with a very effortless yet intentional yet unexpected way of using color, layers, objects, and furniture that are high and low, and a design that is perfectly timeless; in my eyes, quite an achievement, and I am a painter, NO designer.  Mrs. Blandings did a fantastic interview with Miles, here that I enjoyed a lot, a must read.   

What I love about Mr. Redd and his work is he doesn't see decorative painting as a trend.  In his work he uses decorative painting to enhance something ordinary to make it extraordinary.  The finishes that he employs are in fact decorative and not "faux"(no sponges or tissue paper involved).  From my perspective, he seems to really appreciate the craft and artistry of it all.

I did some research on this particular room because I did in fact recreate it for a client about two years ago.  So subtle but, so striking.  Something that I really try hard to achieve in my work, if I hit it, I don't lose sleep. 

From House Beautiful:
How did you get the inspiration for ivory walls and horn trim?
Givenchy, the old couturier, has a little low horn table in his house on Cap Ferrat that I've always loved. I always thought it would make a great decorative paint finish. And I've seen faux-ivory boxes all my life — I just borrowed the technique for the walls. I take so much from history, but the way to create fresh decorating is by using it all in a new and different way.  
Painted Ivory square walls and horn trim
via House Beautiful
Horn trim
via House Beautiful
Faux Tortoise painted table
via House Beautiful, April 2011

This table is from my parent's storage unit.  This could easily be a flea market, garage sale, thrift store or estate sale  find.

The real question is why can't it be as fabulous as the Miles Redd Tortoise table?  No reason!  With a little imagination you can make the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Decorative Arts of Placencia, Belize

A little history on Placencia:

In the 17th century, Placencia was settled by the English Puritans, originally from Nova Scotia and latterly from the island of Providencia. This settlement died out during the Central American wars of independence in the 1820s.  The Placencia Peninsula was resettled in the late 1800s by several families. Placencia prospered and soon became a village, earning its livelihood from the sea.  The Spaniards that traveled the southern coast of Belize gave Placencia its name. 
The eastern side of the Placencia Peninsula is a long expanse of white sand beach; the western side is bounded by a long narrow north-south trending bay of the Caribbean Sea

I really couldn't find much history on the decorative arts of this charming place.  I do know that all things Placencia are a little Spanish, a little English, primative, simple and vibrant.  You can see this in these examples of works by their artisans.

Wooden Carving
Inn at Robert's Grove
Carved and painted wooden jaguar
Inn at Robert's Grove
Painted tiles
Tikki Bar-Inn at Robert's Grove
Lovely painting
Inn at Robert's Grove
One of my favorites
Inn at Robert's Grove

Wooden mask
Inn at Robert's Grove
Placencia Village
Placencia Village
Placencia Village
Dive Shop
Placencia Village
Placencia Village
Placencia Village
Artist Studio
Placencia Village
Placencia Village
Mural- "the Shak"
Placencia Village

Book store
Placencia Village
Mural- The Cozy Corner
Placencia Village
Placencia Village

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

I hope you are enjoying some corned beef and cabbage this evening!  May you have the luck of the Irish not just today but all year! 

Miles Redd
via House Beautiful

Laughing Bird Caye, Belize

Laughing Bird Caye National Park is "one of the gems in a string of pearls that is the Belize Barrier Reef."  And Now I know why!  

The island of Laughing Bird Caye is about a 45 minute boat trip into the Caribbean sea from Placencia.  It was established as a National Park in 1996 and is home to Pelicans, Osprey(whom I learned, mate for life) and a Belizian Park Ranger.  This was one of the most beautiful natural sites that I saw on my recent trip.  As a guest you are only allowed to take photographs and leave footprints you cannot take home any shells, coral(I was tempted) or fish for dinner!

I know, these would make an amazing mirror but I held myself back!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Powder Room week on Fauxology

I am interrupting my reporting from my Belize trip to tell you about Powder Room week on Fauxology.

I am honored to be a featured artist today.  My submission was one of  five chosen out of 30 submissions!  The blog is written by Regina Garay and is all about decorative painting and how it relates to interior design both today and in history.

Her powder room series highlights the history of powder rooms  and how in these small and very special spaces you are provided with the opportunity to create a little gem of a room in a home.

I worked on this project with New Orleans based, designer Grace Kaynor.  She is an endlessly creative designer who always gives me a challenge that I enjoy.  It is these challenges that continue to make me better at my craft.  Her work is always fresh but heavily rooted in history, her travels and has a timeless appeal.  

The Amber Room in the Catherine Palace of Tsarkoye Selo
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Grace's vision for the powder room

I believe we accomplished our goal, which was to provide the client(whom is a lover of grand homes and furnishings) a painted jewel to make the move from 10,000 square feet on Saint Charles Avenue to less than 2,000 not so terrible!

All completed powder room pictures are by Monica Temonia of Temonia Photography.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Taking some relax

My first decorative painting job was for Lenore Winters of Lenore Winters Studio in Washington, DC back in 2003.  I had the pleasure of working with some insanely talented and wonderful folks, one of which was a Polish gent straight-painter turned decorative painter.   His name was Krys and he had a very simple but spot on way of describing things in his often broken english.  One Friday I asked him what he was doing over the weekend and he said, "E. Lee, I am going to take some relax!"

That is what I am doing here in Placencia, Belize until Sunday...taking some relax with my husband and some good New Orleans friends.  So I will be blogging beachside for the next few days!  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I can relate

These are the words of Regina Garay, the brilliant mind behind the blog Fauxology.  She recently attended the Design Bloggers Conference in LA and this was her blogger profile.

How Blogging Changed My Life: Regina Garay

I used to speak almost incessantly about design and decorative painting to loved ones. To save the relationships, blogging became the outlet for my passion.  It’s provided endless inspiration, unique opportunities and beautiful kindred spirits – all while honing a deeper appreciation of design.
P.S. I’m still invited to family gatherings.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I love Tompe L'oeil in all forms however my favorite kind is the kind that really plays with your eyes and your mind.  Enjoy!

Ridiculous Design, LLC

Ridiculous Design, LLC- Slipcovered Fireplace

Source unknown
via Habitually Chic

via The Peak of Chic

1939 Institut Gerlain, Paris
Design: Jean-Michel Frank, Decorative painting: Christian BĂ©rard
via the Peak of Chic
Conner Residence, New Orleans
Decorative painting: E. Lee

Two girls In Avignon

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In Progress: Tony D, can you hear me?(part 1)

Remember this bar?  The cabinets are no longer pink and the walls are no longer red but painted malachite squares.  I think Tony would be proud.  If he was still with us, I would have to invite him over for a cocktail!  Did anyone buy any of his treasures on One Kings Lane this morning?