The “Earth” Without “Art” is Just “Eh”

Outside of Evine I am an art junkie.  Yep, there you go, I admit it.  I have worked in the fine art business for about 2 decades.  When I am not on-air shopping with you, I work in a fine art gallery on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, Minnesota.

I got into art as a part of the design process when working with residential and commercial design clients.  The art was always the most fun part for me, the icing on the cake, and the jewelry for the home.

All types of art mediums and styles fascinate me.  At the gallery we carry fine art on paper and canvas, giclees on paper and canvas, serigraphs, lithographs, silkscreens, etchings, encaustics, glass and acrylics.  Many of these pieces are multimedia with many techniques in one original piece of artwork.  The styles that surround me at the gallery are abstract, architectural, figurative, landscapes, musical, floral, photography, realistic or even sculpture.

People often ask “How do I know what kind of art to buy for my home?”  My response is always, “Oh, you will know, you will feel it.”  Art is such a personal choice.  If it makes you go “wow” then you have a personal connection.  Go with your emotions; go with your gut when choosing art.  Great art that you love gives you the ability to run away without ever leaving your home.

I am lucky enough to go on an art buying trip every year for the gallery and meet some incredible artists and see some really amazing art.  The artists I have met over the years have been creative, sometimes tortured souls, who see the world as their canvas; they just see things that some can only get a glimpse of. Some have formal training, most are just lucky enough to have their talent nurtured from the time they were children.  My favorite spot to pick up new art is down in Atlanta, Georgia.  I know what you’re thinking, “Atlanta, really?” The art community in Atlanta is HUGE!  There is a place I visit that is an old margarine factory converted into artist studios.  Here the imagination runs wild and the sense of community and support is infectious.  I will bring back over 300 original works of art as part of my job as art curator for the gallery.  This is always an exciting time for my clients because they get to come into the gallery, see the new art and dream a little.

So there you have it, an art junkie.  I crave it, I love it and it makes me happy.  Feed your artist soul, visit an art gallery and see how you feel.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”

                           -Pablo Picasso

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All That Glitters

All That Glitters is Not Gold...but with the right technique, you could be golden.

It just so happens that I like nice things.  Call me odd.  Call me over the top.  Go ahead and say it: “Who does Brian think he is, a Rockefeller?”

Well, it turns out I’m neither a Rockefeller nor a Vanderbilt.  So how does one lavish their “castle” without a tycoon’s bank roll?  We improvise.  It’s a matter of knowing what you want and making it happen with a little bit of effort.

A couple years back I was exploring my heaven on earth: H& B Gallery.  It’s Minneapolis’ premier antique store.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, I came across a mirror costing several thousand dollars.  It was a  www.carversguild.com piece – hand carved of wood and gilded to the hilt.  It was so me and oh so mine, but I couldn’t lay down the cash or put it on a credit card.  All I could do was store away the image of it in my mind and sleep on it for a couple of years.

Then, out of no where, came my “diamond in the ruff.”  Or, should I say, “carved wood mirror, painted an ugly buff”.  It was a machine-carved mirror frame made in the 50’s and finished in a pickled peach.  It looked pale, sickly and no wonder someone had cast it off.  What’s more, it was part of a dresser set so it had carved wooden feet on it that would rest on the larger dresser that I didn’t want.  But it was the perfect size for a foyer and it was only $150.  So off it went for a ride home to my place.

Flash forward a full year later, on a day with a list full of things I didn’t want to do, I cut the dresser legs off it and attempted a gold gilding using a product from Michael’s I had never tried before: Rubb n Buff.  Ya, it worked but it didn’t look like it was gold leafed.  Plus, I really wanted it to look old.

For almost a year, I passed that mirror a couple times a day and each time I said to myself, “Brian, the world isn’t right and neither is this mirror.”

Now flash forward to February 2017.  It was just another day with a list of must do’s around my home that I just wasn’t interested in doing.  So to distract myself I said, “The Mirror.” And it was through more improvising with trial and error that I got the finish just right.
Most old mirrors have a layer of plaster in between the carved wood and the gold paint or gold leafing.  So with the help of Martha Stewart’s acrylic white paint, I was able to give it that traveled, moved, chipped and moved again exposed plaster look that could give this mirror from the 50’s an aged, early 20th-century look.

So next I took a small brush and haphazardly applied that white acrylic in random areas on the mirror frame, because age never hits any piece of anything (or anyone!) evenly or symmetrically.

After the white paint dried the fun of the gilding could begin.  Of course I had the option of gold leafing the mirror, but what a mess that is with tiny fragments of 24K all over. Sounds neat I know (what a problem to have, right?), but it’s not.

So I tried Plaid’s version of Classic Gold Leaf in the form of paint.  Wow, it worked and one little 3/4 oz jar was much more than I needed to do the entire job.  Keep in mind, I carefully and intentionally left spots of white exposed.  And to my satisfaction (not easy people!) it turned out great.  More on this technique when I attempt it again on another piece in another room.

If you ever see something you love, but don’t care for the finish, it’s probably waiting for you to take it home and give it a new color.  So many things of value get overlooked that way.

Please leave me a message here or on Facebook if I can be of any assistance to your next improvisation project.

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Family and Friends at the Table

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  My husband Lewis and I are so fortunate to have such a beautiful family and amazing friends, and we love spending time with them.  We enjoy entertaining throughout the year but there is something about November and December that is so very special.

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We have been collecting Waterford Crystal for over 20 years and we have quite the collection… and we use it!  We love entertaining with Waterford Crystal. There is something so supremely elegant about seeing it on the table and the way the light enhances its beauty.  I also notice how people react when they hold a stunning champagne flute, or a beautifully cut double old fashioned… it is special.  We really do believe in living your best life and we want to bless our family and treat them well when they are in our home.

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I think it starts the moment you greet them at the door and we see the smile on their faces as they glance over at the table to see how it is set…whether it is a casual gathering or a formal affair.  The anticipation of an incredible dinner begins right then and there, and the smell coming from Lewis’s kitchen just excites everyone.

The wonderful thing about using Waterford Crystal is that it easily compliments existing pieces…family heirlooms, estate sale finds, or your Grandmother’s china, all can be used to create a unique and stunning table.

We wish you a joyous and beautiful season….surrounded by family and friends gathered at the table enjoying life and making sweet memories.

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