Thursday, March 22, 2012


I have always been an art enthusiast and love to have "originals" in my own home.

I follow a few artists who either live or have lived in Vancouver. Here are a few of their pieces.

Alistair Bell lived in Vancouver from 1929 to 1997. He was a self taught print Maker from England.


Red Geese

Stuart Slind studied at Emily Carr and paints some gorgeously rich landscapes!

Last Light

Along the Coast

Yugoslavian born, Bratsa Bonifacho, expresses his thoughts and emotions abstractly with depth, shapes and vivid colours. 

Y2K Book

The Day Wall Street Was Mumbo Jumbo

My favourite is Andre Petterson's work. All of his pieces are wonderfully rich and elegant!. 





images via BAU - XI Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Power of Blue

I have painted many dark interiors for clients; grey, brown, green, red, and even black but never blue. I don't get a lot of requests for dark blues. It's just not a popular interior colour. Why is that? when the majority of the world will wear blue over any other colour. Blue is the first colour most people choose as their favourite. And everyone I know has at least one pair of blue jeans, which incidentally, originally, came from indigo dye (a very dark blue).

The History of Colour is a long one, so I won't get into that here. But one thing we do notice about it is that Colour definitely has Power and  it can make us feel many different ways.
Natural blue elements like skies, lakes, seas and oceans can make us feel happy, free, relaxed, quiet, alone, blue even. It's a life force colour that really makes us feel alive.

It's interesting most of us don't wish to have this colour in our homes. Blue is the rarest colour in nature (not many blue trees out there and very few flowers) and at one time was the most difficult colour to acquire or make. It really is a precious commodity. Think of gemstones; lapis lazuli, sapphires, topaz, zircon.

For that reason alone you would think we would all want to paint our rooms a beautiful gem stone hue. Kings and Queens worldwide have plastered and painted palaces, castles, mansions, and furniture with gold and gold leaf! Why not a precious blue?

Rich blues are also the colour of divine beings .The Virgin Mary, in medieval art, is usually poised in ultra marine.

The Hindu God Rama also shows well in blue. It is indeed a divine and radiant colour; however symbolic it may be.

............... I say we all start painting our worlds with more blue!

like this

or this

I, myself, am inspired by the azure / cerulean / sodealite blue colours in this amazingly blue cocktail!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 A Colour Party!!

2012 Colours; Tangerine Orange, Sodalite Blue, Bellflower, Solar Power, Cabaret, Cockatoo, Sweet Lilac, and Margarita are so powerfully descriptive that you don't need to know what they look like to know what they look like. Cabaret is a little ambiguous, but you can guess it's going to be lively and bold. (It's actually fuschia or rose/violet).

Tangerine orange, bellflower, solar power and sweet lilac are obvious. Sodalite is a gemstone that is a deep blue with a violet tinge. Cockatoo is like a tropical sea, and margarita is strangely a green/grey hue. You can view all of the colours at

The Pantone site is describing this year's colours as provocative, vivacious, juicy, fanciful, scintillating, refreshing and sexy to name only but a few. They are not subtle in other words.
This Year is a Colour Party!! for Interiors and fashion!

I'm always up for some colour whether it's in my house or in a cocktail !! I have always been in love with orange and am glad to see Tangerine is a hit this year.

flowers, fungia, berries - so scintillating !!!

Colin and Justin's orange fireplace with furnishings and accessories in orange too! Couldn't you just settle in with a nice solar powered cocktail here?

Such a simple palette, and the orange really stands out in the Art and toss cushions. Kinda Sexy!

Earthy Green and Orange here with neutral window treatments. Simple, spacious and very warm.

Even in a small area orange is not too bold. It can be cozy and complementary to a space, as in this example, with the subtler blue and white wall covering and nestled against a traditional fireplace. Fairly Fanciful I think.

A room to die for!!!
A Contemporary Moroccan concept combining fuschia, I mean "Cabaret" and "Tangerine  Orange" with white. Delicious and wonderfully Refreshing!
.................... Party on!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Art Inspiration - Matisse

A few years ago I was in Nice, France where I spent a day at Musee Matisse de Nice. I stood in awe of that great artist's work and was particularly amazed by his cutouts. Some pieces were literally the size of entire gallery walls! Massive murals full of colours and shapes.

Flowers and Fruits, 1953
Masks, Washington Gallery
La Gerbe, 1953

What a beautiful way to design a wall !! 

Some contemporary designer's host this graphic cutout style.
Jonathan Adler's wall coverings 


Angela Adams has designed wall and floor tiles for Ann Sacks (designer collection) and has an inspiring collection of area rugs.

manfred end   concrete floor tile

manfred deco and manfred connector tiles

Area Rugs
There are many more on her web site

My favourite, Bird of Paradise (bottom right).

Hopefully, you will consider some of these ideas when you next need a bit of inspiration.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I want to continue talking about some local shops in Vancouver's Main Street area. I had mentioned Vancouver Special a while back, and would like to add another favourite - By Design. This retailer focuses on Danish modern design and carries some beauties from some of the more popular mid-century modern names; Hans J. Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, and Poul Henningsen to name a few. Many pieces are made from rich teaks and Rosewoods or lighter beeches, so the selection of dark and light woods will work with most palettes.

1955 Jacobsen designed The 7 Chair - an elegant bent wood piece.
Hans Wegner's Chinese Chair 1944. I would have this one as a sculpture! so gorgeous, organic, and simple.

1926 one of the most beautiful and utilitarian lamps ever designed PH5. (PH stands for Poul Henningsen). Install the PH in a library, a kitchen, a dining room, even a bedroom or hallway as long as it is a focal point!!

Danish Design is thoughtful, elegant, and sophisticated. It is also a lifestyle and part of that lifestyle must include, out of necessity, food and drink. I close with this elegant Danishly designed cocktail.

Gin Junkie
1.5 fl. oz. Gin
.5 fl. oz. Linie Aquavit
.25 fl. oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
.25 fl. oz. Agave Nectar/Syrup
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
Lemon Peel for Garnish

Combine gin, aquavit, elderflower liqueur, agave syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir to chill and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over surface to express oils and drop into the cocktail

(Credit is due to: All the Gin Joints a recipe collection book by Michael Turback. The Gin Junkie recipe was created by Aleko Lilly of Barrio Capitol Hill in Seattle).

By Design can be found in the 4500 block on Main St. Vancouver.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Warm and Cozy Wood Inspiration........

Reclaimed wood and wood in general is always very popular when it comes to furniture design and interiors. The innovations out there now are wonderful and owning a piece of any of these is well worth the spending!
I've pulled together some images here that suggest a rustic, natural taste. Nothing feels more homey and comfortable than wood.

This beauty was designed by surfer turned Brazilian designer, Carlos Motta. Available....where else....? California!

Walnut lends itself to a more sophisticated palette. This beautifully crafted dining table is by Hudson Furniture based out of NYC.

One can purchase this rustic piece from designers like yours truly. Made of Mango wood and iron this side table on wheels would be comfortable in almost any home. And there's more in this line - coffee table, console table, book case...
now, if darker or older woods aren't your taste, Oly furniture designs are gorgeous in white.

Light from a wood lamp is always subtle like candle light - so romantic.

This lovely bench is called Saddle by our own Brent Comber, whose work can be seen all over the world. You can see some of his pieces featured in several of our own city's restaurants, retail stores and galleries. Check out his site!

 Artfully carved tree roots to expose bowls!!

Looking like a topographical map this earth bowl by Fluid is made of plywood!! So clever.

To tie up my rustic and wood inspiration brief I think there can't be a drink that suggests rustic moreso than beer. I leave you with this image. From dark to light, beer has as many colours and shapes as wood!! Imbibe!

Friday, February 17, 2012

...February, month of despair...

I don't usually mind the rain so much, nor the cold, but this February has been ridiculously grey, cold and more grey and cold. No one has described this winter month better than Margaret Atwood in her poem "February". She says, it is a "...month of despair,..." and a "Time to eat fat and watch hockey." which I have also done these past 17 days. I know far more about the Canucks than I normally do, and have eaten far more bacon than usual.
For inspiration, instead of looking in the usual spots, like the tropics, I thought I would take a closer look at my gorgeous city, Vancouver!! I love to check out one of the most inspiring areas in town - Main St!!
 Vancouver Special! A favourite amongst
those who love Bauhaus and mid century modern design.

I love these Pinocchio rugs by Hay! and these wonderfully coloured dot blankets! I tend to lean toward all things cozy and warm these days.
Well, this is a start. And since my Canucks app tells me the Canucks aren't playing tonight I best put the skillet on!