If you come in to the gallery and fall in love with a painting, but you’re not sure that you should buy it, we’ll probably tell you about the artist, give you a few tear sheets and suggest you go home and sleep on it. “If you dream about it, call us” we'll say. Because that’s usually the final clue that you really need to have the painting.
So guess who’s been dreaming about a painting? It’s a fabulous painting by Theresa Girard, and I can’t get it out of my head. I loved it when I first saw an image of it on my phone, and when it came in to the gallery this past week and I saw it in person, I loved even more.
Art is a funny thing that triggers a personal and emotional response that can vary completely from painting to painting and person to person. I never quite believed how personal it could be until I, like Meg, started selling art out of my home over 20 years ago. I thought all the paintings that I represented were fantastic (or I would never have bought them, of course). People would love certain paintings and hate others, which always perplexed me. Even when we visit artists in their studios, we don’t always agree on our favorite paintings. Sometimes the artist will be reticent to give up a painting because it’s their absolute favorite, and we’ll be fine with that … because it’s not ours.
So what makes a painting great? Obviously, there are paintings that are arguably masterfully painted, and we can all list a slew of those, from cave drawings to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But what if “masterfully painted” is not the criterion, but it’s actually an emotional response? It could be that it triggers a memory. Touches a nerve. Is uncomfortably perplexing. Or innately soothing. Transports us to a happy place. Has anthropomorphic characteristics. Exudes a mysteriously attractive quality. Or makes us feel centered. Is intriguing in its complexity. Or deceptively simple. Its colors are well balanced. And we really like the artist. Maybe its just so beautiful, we want to stare at it all day. And maybe we just love it and don’t know exactly why.
Our friend Catherine bought this painting in Paris because it reminded her of "our" dog (that's a story for another time!).
Do you see the resemblance? I confess that I didn't at first but I never questioned Catherine's exquisite taste in art (or dogs!).
My feeling about Theresa Girard's A Sense of Awakening, and pretty much every painting that I own, is an emotional response that checks all the boxes (including the fact that I really like the artist!) and more.
Theresa Girard, who calls herself a “paintbrush warrior,” starts her paintings by energizing the surface with a furious mix of colors that create the backdrop from which she pushes and pulls, removing layers of paint until she’s satisfied with the composition. The result is an explosive energy that vibrates across the canvas, a push pull between the loud side and the quiet side, in a mix of positive and negative space that is both balanced and surprising.
Theresa’s bold choice of colors is striking and there’s something about the purety of her true blue that has me mesmerized. Because in addition to being haunted by the painting, I’m also dreaming about blue – since we are seeing so much of it these days.
Veranda magazine this month featured the exquisite Charleston home of designer Ceara Donnelley with its robin's egg strie dining room walls. (Photo Brie Williams)
In designer Paloma Contreras' book "Design, Dream, Live," she features a library with gorgeous lacquered pale blue walls:
In her words, from Veranda magazine: "One of my favorite blue hues is Water's Edge by Benjamin Moore. It is a beautiful shade of pale blue with dusty gray, watery undertones. I love it because it works just as well in traditional spaces as it does in more modern ones. It looks especially stunning executed in a lacquer finish." —Paloma Contreras
And Suzanne Kasler is another queen of the blues, with some of the prettiest shades of the hue, from the walls of this stunning room featured in Atlanta Homes Lifestyles ...
...to the ceiling of this elegant room featured in an Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Show house.
Sometimes just a touch of blue will soften the room, like these upholstered barstools (from Suzanne Kasler's website)
Or this soothing bedroom, where touches of soft blue bounce around the room. Suzannekasler.com
And how about this fabulous oven that Suzanne Kasler designed for the French luxury oven manufacturer, La Cornue? Wouldn't that be so fun to have!
If I can't buy this painting, I'd love to hang it somewhere that we could see it from time to time, like the next Paris project in which we are lucky enough to be immersed. We're just in the throes of doing the mood boards for this project and I'd love to see this painting drive the color scheme.
And just think of the fun paintings that we could add to the mix?
Like Gastaud's Girl with the Pearl Earring (yes, "painted" with feathers). Or Nancy Franke's exquisite Sundance.
And, because it's always all about the mix, a painting from our Heritage collection:
So why can't I have this painting, you ask? Well, aside from the pesky three month rule that we have for our one-of-a-kind art and merchandise, I'm afraid that something else is pulling at my purse strings right now:
Les Murets needs new shutters - or at least a new coat of paint!
If all goes well in the next month, we will be allowed back to France in June, and I will be making a few hurried trips to the paint store with my chips in hand. So what color do you think I'll be going with this time? Maybe Theresa Girard can give me a clue.
Oh, and even though I may dream about the painting (the gallery gals would kill me if I didn't say this), I'll let you buy it if you love it!
P.S. For all of you Helen Frankenthaler fans out there, I'm reading a new biography about her early years in the New York art scene, called Fierce Poise. I think it's fascinating.