Does your Art have a Story?

A lovely friend and past client Rachel Lando sent me a link to these wonderful spaces by Los Angeles designer Kim Alexandriuk in an interview with 1st dibs (Photography credits are on each image).

These two images (above and below especially) are so great for demonstrating beige undertones done just right! The sofa and roman shade (above) have a red undertone and the sofa and coffee table below have a green undertone.

Kim travels with her clients to find wonderful pieces for their homes. She says “It’s an adventure that is as much fun as it is invaluable to discover those rare and unique pieces not found in the galleries and showrooms back home. In addition good pieces from trips bring with them special memories of that place and time where they were found. So every time a client looks at them a feeling of the moment and fine experience accompanies that gaze”.

I find it so fascinating how furniture, accessories and art create a feeling when you look at them. Recently a friend bought me the most adorable little boudoir chair in wrought iron (pictures still to come). It’s wrought iron, old and peeling and could have been left that way but it wasn’t the right colour so I painted it black and still need to find a little piece of fabric to cover the seat. But every time I look at the chair in my bedroom I think about my friend Virginia and it makes me feel good.

With this new place I’m decorating I really want art that comes from somewhere more special than a big box store (so I’m worried that my walls will stay empty for too long) but I think it’s also true that we upgrade all our lives so sometimes it’s nice to have something pretty on the wall even if you don’t have a ‘story’ behind the purchase.

What’s the story behind your favourite piece?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me for on-line or in-person decorating and colour.

Related posts:
Are your Colours Married?
How to Decorate with Art
Should your Art Coordinate with your Home?
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  1. My favorite piece I bought after my divorce. I came into some money and wanted a replacement for the one I loved that the ex kept from me. And so I went to a big gallery in SF. Turns out a friend of mine was the gallery director at the time. He took me around and I picked several pieces I liked. He had them brought into a viewing room.

    The piece I loved the most is actually on my blog. I wanted the original but it had been sold……they sat me down with a glass of wine while they hunted around for the info. How nice!

    And so I ended up with the artists proof. In time I even got to meet and know the artist in person and hes such a nice man.

    This piece is big and was in my entryway over my chinese wine cabinet for yrs. Now Im in a new home and dont have an entryway, its a smaller home. I have only one wall I can fit this on but its not up yet. I moved here this yr so most of my art isnt up yet. But the wall I want to put it on is at the end of the great room, with a high ceiling so it should fit there.

    BTW the artist told me my painting is what he sees at the end of his street. He lives in Hawaii…….so lucky!

  2. I have been collecting art from my annual travels to the Southern Caribbean for many years…I have so many beautiful pieces ( I think so anyway)… We bought a new home a few years ago and I have only hung a few of the pieces.. I don't want to "screw it up"! I have 2 gallery halls connecting the front of the house to the back hallway.(house is a ranch )….. just don't know the right way to "group" the pictures, paintings….I am ramblin'…my point was.. I agree… art really should come from places we've been to or that hold special meaning to us..

  3. Each piece of art in our casa has a story…some humble,some simple… some grand.

    It is what we always collect when we travel…I paint some myself…and take some photos…also I am very lucky to have some photos and paintings from talented artist friends…and some of the more humble were found in a thrift stores…they quietly whispered to me.

    I have a little "problem"…too many pieces for the walls!

  4. Love these images and the art. Thank for sharing these beautiful pieces. The chair in the first image is art in itself!
    Have a nice day.
    Teresas

  5. Okay that Let Go artwork is amazing. I paint so my house is full of my pieces. It's whimsy…nothing serious or important, but it makes me happy every time I look at it:) My favorite is a big red barn I did a few years ago.

  6. We move a lot. About every two years we end up some where else in the country. Everywhere we live I try to find some pieces I love by local artists.

    Some people measure their lives by their tattoos or their hairstyles, I measure mine by my art. Every piece reminds me of a different time in our lives.

  7. My art pieces all have a story…either passed on from family members (I am very luck that my husband's parents are great art collectors….very happy with the cast offs..) but always, wherever I travel i look for local art galleries and have discovered wonderful artists, my favorite being a vietnamese artist who work with lacquer.
    For my kid's birthdays, i always gave them a piece of artwork, small sculpture, special book as a foundation for them to built an art collection.I have to say that they have developed a keen eye. Antique textiles, ethnic artifacts are a wonderful way to personalize your spaces with unique small treasures

  8. I have a painting that hung in my father's house for many many years.
    When he passed away I got it. I hung it in my guest room and used the colors from it to decorate the room.
    My father always loved the old west. When I was growing up I thought of him as a cowboy. The painting is a scene of cowboys hitching up their horses. It's so him! Every time I walk into that room I think of him.

  9. Grace @ Sense and Simplicity

    All of our art has personal meaning – my husband and I are firm believers in having something original and that has some meaning on your walls. The large piece in our living room was done by a Newfoundland artist and purchased for our 25th wedding anniversary by my husband. We have since had the artist and her husband over for dinner so she could see the work in place.

    We also have several pieces done by my grandmother, many pieces of photography, including albumens and some that my daughter took. It does slow down the acquisition of art, but it is so worth it in the end.

  10. Flourishing Networks

    Yeah I love a story behind the art you put in your home. We lived in the Beautiful Kimberley region and all our art is from there. The art is just so creative and captures the magnificent boab trees.

  11. Favorite art by far is 3 paintings done by my grandfather.

    He was a great man, educated painter and had a great sence of colors. He loved nature and did many of his paintings on our yearly family vacations to visit friends on their tiny 2-houses island in Sweeden.

    So, his motives are traditional landscapes and looking from a distance the colors look calm and soft, but up close the colours are a mix of unusual hues crazy purple, acid greens, ect.

    I've known theese paintings all my life. In my grandparrents home and now in my own. I can not image ever being done with them or the sweet memories of beloved family that they bring.

  12. Our artwork has stories, too. From the photo of an egret scratching his chin while sitting in the marshes around St. Augustine, to the antique prints given to us as a housewarming gift more than 30 years ago, each piece is meaningful. I cannot imagine our home without these memories…
    Jane (artfully graced)

  13. Jennifer, Inside Out Colour and Design

    Every piece in our home has a story and takes us back to different times and places. We have a beautiful oil painting we bought in Vietnam, a limited editions screen print of an old Queenslander house we were given for a wedding present, a painting I bought here in Sydney that is of a tropical reef and makes us think of our times in the Solomon Islands. You can practically tell our story by looking at our art. It means so much more than a decorator piece that has been chosen to match the toss cushions. Art should be about the owner and doesn't have to fit in with the decor. Bide your time and you will find the perfect piece.

  14. Art is VERY personal, and as many have already commented it seems evident that many have figured this out. Art should have meaning, speak to you and move you. Finding art that evokes these feelings will in fact take time.

    I am blessed to have my mother be an artist, and from her amazing sketches from college to her fabulous oil paintings of late are all favorites. Tramp art by my Great grandfather is also some pieces that I love (if you can call it that).

    I have also found some inspiring talented (and very affordable) artists on Etsy! Even found one that was only a few hours away and had the privileged of meeting her in person.

    Have patience, they will find you. 🙂 xo

  15. One of my favourites is a PLACEMAT! We had a really special lunch and asked the waiter for a placemat, which was paper and featured a painting of the cafe with paragliders sailing off the nearby mountain. We mounted it in a frame when we got home and it always hangs somewhere near our dining room. After 10+ years, someone walked into our house and recognized the cafe…they'd paraglided off the mountain!

  16. traci zeller designs

    Love those gorgeous photos!

    I love art and I'm not sure I can pick a favorite piece in my house. The most interesting story is probably the large piece in my boys' room. I "discovered" the artist on the streets of New York. Unfortunately, I should have realized – because it was in front of Bergdorf's – that he is the single most expensive NYC street artist ever! At the time I didn't realize this – I just loved what he did – but I surely did years later when I went to buy one of his pieces. Other than the custom window treatments, that piece was the big ticket item in my boys' nursery (and now big boy room) — but you have art forever!

  17. Hard to pick a favorite piece since all the artwork in my home tells a story from the oil painting of the view form our favorite condo rental on Maui to the "floral" art my daughter painted at age 3 because her Mommy likes flowers. And it looks like a real painting! I rarely hang something on the wall just because…and that is what makes all my art so special and unique to our home. My advice…wait it out and find just the right piece..you will be forever glad you did.

  18. Hi Maria,
    My favorite piece of art was a painting I painted directly on the wall of my last home's guest bathroom. I painted the walls a beautiful paris gray. I then painted nude figures all over the bathroom in the style of the old masters using sienna… The clawfoot tub was enclosed with a very sheer curtain.. It was magical. I think that room is what sold the home.. Unfortunately, I kick myself for not taking a picture. boo

  19. Maria,

    Having an eye for art and background in many artist fields my walls contain unique pieces as well as photography work I shot and framed myself.
    I visit museums often at this time of year and renew my passion for art just as I did while working on my art history degree. We are really fortunate that we don't have to go far from our home to experience art.

    Bette

  20. My mom collects (hand tinted)prints of places she visits. My brother and I have started doing so as well. It's a great solution if you don't have lots of time/money to track down an original that you love. Plus, it's easy to stick a rolled up print in your luggage, and then have it nicely framed after you've recovered from the trip. None of us are huge fans of displaying family photographs (we're not a particularly photogenic bunch) so these are our alternative. It's not as striking as original art, but it works for us.

  21. Maria,
    Why is the beige linen in the first photo so beautiful? I've seen the color many times but it has not looked that good. Is is the quality of the linen? The red in the pillow? The light coming from the window? Or the photographer is really good?

  22. I completely agree with you Maria. I've been slowly decorating our flat since we bought it last year and many of the walls remain empty because of this.

    I'm also trying to mix modern, contemporary designs with traditional, antique paintings….very challenging!

    xoxo

  23. p.s. I forgot to say that I might give in and just buy some art from a big box store until I find those "special" pieces for the walls. It can be years and years before that something special finds its way into your home.

    :-))

  24. Hi Anonymous,
    I think it looks good because it relates so well to the sofa. Pink Beige works when it's done right!
    Maria

  25. All of our art has a story, not just the things I have done myself, but the bought ones to. I love this, there is meaning behind every purchase. I know, I am lucky.
    I often by artwork for clients and I try to find out what might have meaning for them, what they will enjoy for the rest of their lives. Sometimes we commission an artist. This is a great way to get something special.

    For a truly budget friendly way you can go to art schools and small galleries, often I found bargains there. Also thrift stores, flea markets, EBay and Etsy!

    And take your time…

    XX
    Victoria

  26. I LOVE picture #1 and I am not a fan of beige. Then I realized why. (Aside from the excellent selection of beige, rust and browns so none of them looks like dead white people or Aunt Maudie's face powder.)

    Rigid deco geometric table – but the table is round. Russian chair, traditional sofa arm, oriental bells, desk leg, chair legs, brass planter … it's full of repeated round and curved lines. Even the drapes and sofa cushions are softly rounded.

    Nothing POPs, WOWs, or SIZZLES!

    It's all cushy, plush and subtly luxurious.

  27. After looking for years for a piece for a prominant spot, we purchased a giclee from a national catalog (The Artful Home). Didn't find much on the artist. A couple years later I re-googled him. Turns out the painting was done 15 minutes from our house. He told me how to find the spot. Meant to be…

  28. Maria, What a wonderful post and pictures. To me, there's nothing more lifeless and boring than an immaculate store-bought home decor scheme. I'm so glad you feel like you do about your home!

    All the art in my home has a story. In the sewing room, is a beautiful quilt in pastel blues from the quilter friend who taught me all I know and made the quilt for my daughter while teaching her to embroider. The painting in the livingroom–winter (countryside in the moonlight) set the navy blue in our room 23 years ago. It was a wedding present from a 76 year old artist whose attic was filled with paintings. She let us pick. And my Dad's art is now in the living room. Well, you know that story.

    A retired neighbor used to paint craft boxes with landscapes for raising money for missions. We lived in Florida at the time. We both loved guitar and old southern gospel hymns. I sang and we both played while he blew on his harmonica (hung from his neck). We serenaded all the neighbors at the annual Christmas block party. He knew I wanted to live in the country some day, so he painted a cabin in the woods and mountains. It hangs in the living room as well. I could go on and on. Our furniture, art, books, decor..all a library of special memories. And when I finally get to paint all the rooms…Your colors will remind me of you. You are such a wonderful friend! BTW, I will be awarding you the Kreative Blogger award in the morning. You have one of the most unique blogs I've ever come across!

    xo
    Donna @ Comin' Home