Updated: Nov 1, 2022
I've been featuring my good friend Robert Attrell on Instagram this week not only because he is a good friend and wonderful human, but also because his work is so so good. So good we have 5 pieces in our home...and counting?
His medium is oil and cold wax, and he has a layering process in which he lays down paint, scrapes with knives, let's dry and carries on. A true labour of love and a honed craft.
Watch yesterday's reel of the art in our living room:
Original art truly feels like a privilege to own and cherish. There's only one! And it's ALL YOURS. That makes you pretty cool, you know that?!
I do think one's art collection ought to say something about the owner. About their vibe. Show me who you are by what's on your walls - it's a huge opportunity to explore for most homeowners who have been too intimidated by the world of art that they've left walls blank, or have chickened out and Homesensed the whole house!
It also makes your home feel a little more special and unique, original art is a surefire way to break out from what's in everybody elses' homes.
And guys, I'm sorry to say, but family photos do not constitute original art in my books! Not that I have anything against them! You can see one photo from our wedding above, but they shouldn't be the main attraction unless done in beautiful frames in a gallery wall. I like family photos on a bookshelf or console along a wall so that I don't have to see the back of the frames which aren't usually very pretty.
But back to more of Bob's art - here is an oversized abstract above our dining table.
And a couple of pretty abstract landscapes in our bedroom that work really beautifully with our pale blues and greens in there. This style bridges the gap really well between contemporary and rustic, more relaxed styles. They are clearly of nature, but because they aren't too detailed, they leave something up to the imagination. I think this is why they feel to me to have a vintage vibe. They feel both old and of the moment at the same time. In other words, his abstract landscapes are my favourite of his works.
Another shot of our bedroom. And the watercolour is not by Bob, but it all works together in the same room because they share a common colour pallete. Oh and, truth be told, it's a Homesense piece! I am not anti-box store art by any means, however, one does need to be really choosy when shopping there in order to avoid the generic "motel art" trap.
But that brings me to my first art tip:
Like anything in home decorating, it's all about the high-low mix. Not everything must be original, but if you have some originals, it will elevate the look of everything else. It's one of the best tricks in the book.
A couple other tips that were prompted by questions from my stories on IG today that I'll share with you now to round out some good guidelines when artifying your home.
2. When framing your original oil, under no circumstances should you put glass on top of it! Just let it live free! It will completely lose the romance to trap that gloppyness behind the glass.
3. To get the above look, ask your local framer for a linen mat and have it offset. It feels more custom.
4. Leaned art is a more relaxed, effortless look, try it over a cabinet that has some height already.
5. Don't worry about obscuring the piece by layering decor in front. All parts of the vignette create the composition and your friends will think you had a stylist come in!
6. If buying art for over a sofa or above a mantel, be sure that the piece is AT LEAST 50% of the width of what it's being mounted above. I don't like to go below 60%, and love to go all the way up to 90% if budget allows. If you're limited to a specific piece that isn't fulfilling those minimums consider how you can layer in to grow the vignette. Perhaps a console table behind the sofa to put lamps and other accessories, or if we're working on the mantel, then lean a second piece or a large vase to grow the vignette.
7. The number one most common art sin committed by lovely, well-intentioned people, is hanging art too high. I think this is because it's usually husbands who do the hanging, and to them, eye level is higher than most women. Do as the art galleries do, friends, and hang your art between 58-60" from floor to CENTRE of piece.
8. The above rule changes if you're hanging above a bed or sofa or table. There's not an exact science to this, see what makes sense visually given the size of your piece, but generally I am hanging such pieces 4-9" above the furniture below, making them lower than the 58-60" rule.
9. Lastly, if you want to take your art game to the next level, be sure to mix in oils with photos, with prints with sculpture and other media in your space. It's all about the JUXTA-position, and again, your friends will be super impressed!
And if you are looking to fill your home and soul with more original art - it will HUG YOU BACK. Promise. You should definitely look up @attrellr on IG. Or check out his site
Or if you'd like someone to help you choose where and how big, and what colours and style, you can hire me to help you commission some life-giving pieces for your home.
Oh, one more thing, I must leave you with this epic vintage oil painting I inherited from my Gramps. He was a lay collector, shall we say, and had this one shipped back from a trip to Hawaii - it had always spoken to me growing up.
It actually came to me like this (below) but I had it reframed. I do love a vintage frame but this one was borderline gaudy and not to my taste in my living room. I absolutely love the tailored look of the two tone black and blonde frame above. Like a well-cut tux!
Yes that's velvet in between layers of gold - it's a lot of look!
I hope that was helpful, drop any questions below and enjoy the last few fleeting days of summer friends! Meghan
"When you feel good in the place you dwell, you come alive."