Classing The Joint Up

In the meantime, while I’ve been laboring outside, I’ve been doing some interior planning.  Around the time that the house purchase was being finalized, The GF and I came across a large original oil painting at a decent price ($350).  It’s an abstract piece and I chose it to be the new focal point for my living room.  The two original oil pieces that I have now are in a genre called abstract illusionism and are both by the same artist: J Kugler.  The new painting is by an artist I can’t find any info on (because I don’t know the name).  I’m in the process of hassling the seller to hassle his art dealer to get me the name of that artist.  This is slightly more important now because I recently found what appears to be another original piece by the same artist in another store.  Of course, that seller had zero idea who it was or where it even came from.  So, I would like to have two sets of two original paintings by two artists.  That would be pretty solid.  But, I really want to know how the artists are.

I’m embarrassed to say that even though I know that how you decorate your house speaks volumes about you, this house says little to nothing about me.  And that’s probably an accurate reflection about how I felt while living there.  The one room I claimed as solely my own does actually say a bit about me, but the rest of the house, nope.

And that’s going to be changing.  I have a fair amount of art that I can hang up, and at least one more piece is planned to be purchased.  I’ve done my fair share of reading on art collecting and I’ve come up with some personal guidelines for how to proceed.

First guideline is that I have to like it.  It sounds like a weird guideline, but consider the simple statement, “Wouldn’t that look good in the dining room?”  And that could lead to a case where, yes, it may look nice, but it would be buying art for the benefit of the house.  And everything that I know about houses is that they don’t really have any art preference.  The guideline also brings with it the difficulty of “I love it, but where would it go?”

Second guideline is that is has to be quality.  Quality comes at a price, unfortunately.  But, that also brings exclusivity and a bit of cachet.  Like my CD collection, my art needs to be discussable.  You can either have knowledge of the art’s subject or of the artist, but you should be able to talk about what you find exciting about the piece.  This is why I am pushing to get the artist’s info so I can speak with knowledge instead of just “Isn’t it nice?”

The third guideline is that it has to be elegant and simple.  There is a recent explosion of multi-piece paintings that fit together like puzzles or become broken murals.  While these designs don’t exactly turn me off, a lot of times it feels that the structure of the elements overpowers the image that is being portrayed.  Bluntly said, it’s kind of gimmicky.  I’ll stick with single art pieces and try not to clutter a wall with too much art or decoration.

My history in art and décor has gone through plenty of back-road detours and I got stuck in the “I have no idea what the hell I’m doing” rut like so many young adults do.  Some of the worst items I’ve ever decorated with:

  • An incense burner shaped like the grim reaper, where the incense smoke would come out of the empty hooded face.
  • A large, hanging porcelain light in the shape of a skull – life-size or maybe slightly bigger.  Its name was “Beaner” for the number of times you accidently hit your head on it.
  • A painting on black velvet.  Not Elvis, but an eagle.  Yup, I’ve actually owned one.  When I sold the painting at a garage sale, it got a lot of attention.  I don’t understand.
  • My high school prom glasses.  Nothing says “I haven’t grown up” any better.

With those days far behind me, I’m able to make a fresh new start.  Or at least get back on the path I started when I bought my first original paintings almost 20 years ago.

Slow Progress

I haven’t posted any real updates because I haven’t really completed anything.  I have some things upcoming, though.

For the most part, my work has been limited to sifting soil, which is about as exciting as it sounds.  The front garden bed, which used to contain shrubs, is now just a dirt patch.  My original plan was to plant grass there and put flower pots to decorate the area.  My GF, who is much smarter than me, asked why I didn’t put rock there.  Well, I hate rock.  That’s why I was getting rid of it in the pool planters.  But, she commented, isn’t putting pots on the grass just going to kill the grass under them?  Hmmm.  I guess I didn’t think that one out well enough.

So, I guess it will be a rock bed then, with pots for decoration.  So now I need to convert this dirt bed into a rock bed.  Not surprisingly, before it was shrubs, it was a rock bed, so there is no shortage of rock in there.  The problem is, the height of the bed is already over the walkway.  So, I need to lower the bed by a couple of inches and salvage the rocks that are in the dirt.  Doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend evening after evening?

And its not as simple as just digging up some dirt and rocks and sifting them out.  There is an absolutely horrific root system left behind by the shrubs.  It’s a combination of big roots snaking about 6-8 inches underground, and a fine mesh of roots that just clog everything else up.  So, shovel, hoevator and rake are getting a healthy workout.  Plus, I bought some screen mesh and fashioned a small colander to fit inside the bucket for sorting.

I’ve been collecting the rocks in buckets.  Every time I drop in at Lowe’s I pick up more buckets.  I have 7 buckets of rock so far.  Not all of it is from the front garden.  Half of them are from the pool planters, which is the other project that is nearing completion.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to cross that one off my list soon.