Arts and Crafts

“Mom, are you an artist?”
“No. That’s not art. Art is harder than that.”

My eldest is right. Art is harder than this. This is craft, and my apologies to Gunther Forg.

The hallway needed….something. Even though it’s yellow, it seemed achingly bland. I had picked these frames up at a garage sale a while back. I bought eight canvases for nearly nothing and carted up various paints from the basement. Paint samples for rooms that didn’t work out, craft paint and kids’ paint. It’s an equal opportunity supply closet. Some were used in their original form; a few got to mix it up.

I used the image, top, for color inspiration, measured and drew lines across the middle of the canvases and painted. All eight canvases were completed in an evening.

The canvases did not quite fill the frame openings so I had the framer put in a white fillet. The framer, Frame Works, deserves the “Patience of Job Award.” I took in eight frames and eight canvases, but the direction and order of the canvases mattered and the direction and order of the frames mattered (they are chipped and worn which I liked, but they needed to be arranged specifically.) So I had labeled each frame and each corresponding canvas with a number and an arrow pointing which way was up. And, “Well,” I said, shifting my weight but not averting my gaze, “I need them in a week.” Unflappable, Betsy never blinked.

I’ve ordered this Dash & Albert runner for the stairs from Stuff and that will be the last of the spitting and polishing before the holidays. I’m still aching for dining room curtains, but fear they remain in perpetual simmer on the back burner. There is a great wool at Off the Floor Now at a terrific price, but I’m worried it is too pale. When I mentioned it to one of our guests he said,”You’d better wait; I get the feeling you’re picky.”
I have no idea where he got that impression.
Image, top, Elle Decor, December, 2006. Photography by William Waldron. Design by Shelton, Mindel & Associates. The image also appears in Style & Substance, The Best of Elle Decor.
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32 thoughts on “Arts and Crafts

  1. They look great. Inspired by Rothko. And I beg to differ on your definition of art. If you have used paint and creativity and some originality it is art. Craft is wool, sewing, embroidery etc At least that's what I think. !

  2. I am totally impressed. Not that I'm surprised that you pulled this off- but that you even thought to tackle it. It is fabulous. Don't you feel a huge sense of accomplishment? You are an inspiration. That runner is going to pull the whole thing together beautifully.

  3. Thanks to you all. I am pretty happy with the results and the boys are enjoying telling me which are their favorites and how I should have done sports team colors instead. Red and white for Chiefs. Blue and white for Royals. Red and blue for the Jayhawks. The middle is extolling the virtues of yellow and black, but that I am firmly ignoring.

  4. Very Rothko-esque. Your stairwell looks great!

    I love finding frames at second hand stores and estate sales. Framing is just so expensive!

  5. Oh, you are delightful, Mrs. Blandings. I am a longtime reader but never a commenter until now. Great project. The lovely moulding/wainscotting in your hallway and up the stairs – is that original or did you add that? I have long been considering just the same thing. . . . thanks so much! donna

  6. Brilliant job! So imaginative. Maybe that's what I will do with all of my leftover paint samples, now numbering at least 15.

  7. I'm pretty sure that you have breached the line between craft and art in favor or art. Amazing idea and look. Good luck with the runner.

  8. Look at you. So handy and the results are marvelous! Love how the colors of the runner repeat in some of the paintings. You are an artist, putting it all together like that. It is the creative process that counts…
    Well, anyway, being somewhat picky usually results in a home perfectly suited and matched to your wants and needs! You do the right thing!

  9. The canvases are simply beautiful! BTW – I love the header on your awesome blog…is that your creation too? Have a great day!

  10. Mrs. B, I couldn't help notice your comment about "aching for dining room curtains"–and I thought you might like to know that the Calico Corners – Calico Home stores are having a Fall Fabric Sale through November 14 (ALL fabrics are on sale) AND window treatments are also 15% off. Lots of new fabrics are being added to the store assortments…and they also have a Calico Quick Ship program with six styles of custom draperies in 200+ fabrics that can be tailored and shipped in just two weeks. We're trying to help everyone suffering from naked window syndrome!

  11. As an artist who is an abstract expressionist and colorist, I love these. We all are inspired by someone, something….Look at the original Rothko, here in the Nelson Atkins Museum!

  12. Oh,and the framing and white fillet are perfect with these! Remember it is not the time it takes, it is the result and how art is perceived by the viewer.

  13. I love the creative solution you came up with for your stairwell.
    What a great suggestion from your boys. Sports teams' colors would be great in a child's room.

  14. An art profesor of mine (I'm an exhibiting pro' now) said that Art is "anything you say it is"! Well—
    I can say that what you've done is create An Installation!
    And that's ART!

    And better than a lot of "installations" I've seen!“““““““

  15. Mrs. B-
    I think the result is great, and will become even better with the teriffic runner you've chosen!

    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

  16. the white fillet actually "makes" them. amazing how a mistake looks designed. beautiful. and i love the runner. can't wait to see it.

    Mrs. B. listen to me, please!! Just take the plunge on the curtains! you've been talking about them for two years (that I know of!) – just do it. You will be so much happier WITH them, than without. If you hate them, you don't have to be buried in them. You could always sell them. Just do it. You will love it.

  17. Somehow I missed this post, because when you combine art and design, I always notice. Beautiful job – as SC commented, very Rothko-esque.

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