Sunday, April 29

Daily Art : Daniel Gonzalez Coves

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Net no.4 is a stark painting by Spanish artist Daniel Gonzalez Coves, but the attention to detail lifts it out of the ordinary. The subject is shown sitting sideways so that we only see her profile. She appears to be wearing a man’s shirt and is either listening to someone or lost deep in thought. Even though we can only see her profile she seems tense and there is a strange melancholic aura surrounding her.The painting can lend itself to several interpretations and that adds to its attraction.

Daniel lives and works in Valencia, more of his work can be viewed here.

Colour trends for 2012, straight from the Milan Furniture Fair

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If you have ever wonder where the trends in Interior Design originate, the answer is from the Milan Furniture Fair. This annual event is the design world’s answer to Paris fashion week! 

Although some people might be put off by the fact that a fair somewhere in Milan directs the way the entire world decorates. Others might be fairly relieved to know that they have a ready-made colour scheme to pick from. It certainly helps to avoid the agony of indecision - spending hours with colour palettes and not knowing which colours to choose. So if you belong to the latter category here are the hot colours for your home for 2012. Now you can go ahead and decorate without any stress. Just don’t forget to thank me for letting you in on the secret!

So what trends are emanating from this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile? The dominant colour this year has to be Blue - Aqua, Cobalt, Sky and Retro hues of the colour are everywhere. You would be bang on trend if you have a sleek Cobalt couch in your living room or you could go by the book and pick up a bright blue armchair for your study.
Blue also gets combined with Mint, Yellow and Orange in a hark back to retro trends.
Orange and Yellow seem to be the accent colours this season. You would do well to pick up your accessories in these two colours. Take inspiration from the way these shades are used to create gorgeous pops of colour.

Blue seems to be everywhere as it gets combined with Pink and lavender in an interesting albeit feminine combination.

Purples, Pinks and Lilacs are also quite prominent.
   All images courtesy Anthony at Design Field Notes

Wednesday, April 25

Daily Art: Someday My Prince Will Come

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View more work by the artist Fiona Phillips here.

Tuesday, April 24

Pop Art Furniture by Silvia Zacchello

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Silvia Zacchello describes her work as recycling and restoring furniture and vintage objects with a pop art theme, but it is so much more than that. Like a true artist, she takes a common object, brushes it with her unique sensibility and turns it into something special. In Silvia’s case this special ability is her great sense of humour and the ability to have fun with her craft.

She grew up in Mestre, at a time of economic austerity, feminist demonstrations and blight, absorbing these environmental and equalitarian messages as her biggest inspirations. Complimentary to this is the joie de vivre in her work, which springs from her childhood in the 70’s and 80’s. Growing up with disco music, Superman and Wonder Woman as her heroes and travelling on family vacations in an Orange Fiat 128 3P, she formed an image of her ideal world - “absolutely colourful, conceivably inhabited by super-heroes”. 

Her journey as an artist started when one day she found an old chair in her house and decided to paint it in the images from her dream world - superheroes and comic books. Her idea was to rescue these objects from their gloomy existence and give them back a new, adventurous and colourful life. An idea that is clearly visible in her pieces even today, specially her chairs, which are painted with themes inspired by pop art, comic books and vintage graphics. These chairs with their bright pops of colour can instantly enliven a room and turn it into a happy space. 

Silvia Zacchello still lives and paints in the chaotic city of Mestre, in an apartment that she loves to continuously make more colourful.

All images courtesy Silvia Zacchello

Daily Art : The Snow Goose

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Today’s Daily art features “The snow goose”, painted in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott, is a portrait of his first wife - the beautiful novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard. The painting depicts Howard as Fritha in the iconic book Snow Goose by Paul Gallico, which Scott illustrated in 1946.

The painting has a strange moodiness. Partly because of the awkward way in which Fritha is holding the wounded goose and the drawn, wary look in her big expressive eyes. The palette of dull washed out colours add to the sense of sadness. 

In her autobiography, Howard recalls how, on a passage to New York on board the Aquitania with four hundred GI brides, Scott had searched the ship for a suitable model for Fritha, but “with the general prostration and the fact that the brides were unexpectedly a series of ‘no oil paintings’, he had to fall back on me. I stood for hours holding a pillow, which he turned into the wounded snow goose.”

Sunday, April 22

Earth Day with Anthropologie

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My Earth Day resolution for this year is “saving water”, by giving up leisurely (read wasteful) baths and taking quick 5-minute showers instead. 

If you are wondering where my inspiration comes from, just look at how Anthropologie are marking Earth day this year – by putting on stunning underwater theme windows at their stores across the US. These windows are public art with a very relevant message, which will no doubt inspire thousands of people to make small changes to their lifestyles. So what change are you making to your lifestyle this Earth Day? No matter what steps you’re taking - big or small – every little change will help make the world a greener place.
Rockefeller Centre, New York, NY
Rockefeller Centre, New York, NY

Columbus, OH
Dunwoody, GA
Edgewater, NJ
Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA
Burlingame, CA
Allen, TX
Boston, MA
Paramus, NJ
Indianapolis, IN
Corte Madera, CA
Next month, one of us could own these oceanic creations. In May, select stores will be auctioning off their displays to benefit the marine habitat activists –the WylandFoundation - who raise awareness for the importance of healthy oceans and waterways through public art programs.

All images courtesy Anthropologie.

Wednesday, April 18

Daily Art : Brown Explosion

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"Brun eksplosion" (Brown explosion) is a pen and ink drawing by Jens Paldam who specialises in abstract expressionism. Jens was born in Aarhus, Denmark, and currently lives in the buzzing neighbourhood of Nørrebro in the northern part of Copenhagen. He has traveled the world and has lived in Santiago de Chile and Washington DC. In his own word "Traveling has left me with a small, but wholesome mountain within. It is from this geology that my art springs from...".
View more of his works here.

Tuesday, April 17

Martin Creed's makeover for Sketch

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Sketch the Gallery restaurant opened in 2002 as a “lieu” or destination place, for food, art and music, spread over two expansive floors of a converted 18th century building in Conduit Street, Mayfair, London. Over the last ten years, it has garnered much media attention for its imaginative and bold food, drink and entertainment styles.

Recently the restaurant re-opened after its much-awaited refurbishment by British artist Martin Creed. Creed has treated the restaurant like a giant canvas, in which every piece of furniture and cutlery is like a different brush stroke. First of a long-term programme of artist-conceived restaurants, it creates an environment that is simultaneously an exhibition, an artwork and a restaurant. The floor, walls and furniture take the form of new artworks that blur the boundaries of art and functionality.

Turner Award winning artist Martin Creed posing at Sketch 

Titled 'Work No. 1343', it brings together mass produced pieces with the handcrafted and juxtaposes antiques with contemporary design.

The flooring is a separate work of art labeled 'Work No. 1347', For this the former Turner Prize winner has brought together 96 different types of marble in a geometric formation on the floor, this pattern is picked up in the wall paintings.

The flooring under construction

All images courtesy Sketch

Monday, April 16

Daily Art : The Beginning of Memory

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This painting is very close to Romanian artist Melinda Matyas' heart as it reminds her of her childhood. She believes in abandoning the model after a while and letting her mind move without any external guide. This is when the moment of creation starts for her.

A week at Madingley Hall

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Madingley Hall is a Jacobean and Elizabethan mansion located about four miles from the centre of Cambridge. I have often cycled past it and marvelled at the beautiful house. So when I found out I was going to stay there for one whole week - I was naturally jumping with joy!

The house dates back to 1543 and passed through several hands until sold to Colonel T. Walter Harding in 1905. Colonel Harding was an industrialist who had succeeded his father in the textile industry in Leeds and became the first Lord Mayor of Leeds (1898-1899). He found the hall in a poor condition but decided to renovate it - in 1906 work started on a large-scale restoration and reconstruction to designs by the architect John Alfred Gotch. Later ownership passed to Colonel Harding’s heirs who sold the Hall and its 300 acres of surrounding park and farmland to the University of Cambridge in 1948.

Colonel Harding
The University runs its Institute for Continuing Education at Madingley Hall and I took a short course there, which is how I ended up spending a week at the grade I listed house. Although the course was quite intensive, the house provided a very relaxed setting and there were many opportunities to wander off, soak up the Sun and photograph the house and gardens.
The impressive entrance 

View from my room
Walking up the avenue in the formal gardens 

Peeping out from the classroom windows

The Grade I listed gardens designed by 'Capability' Brown

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