Friday, March 30, 2012

OFF-TOPIC: Spring is here and its Colours

Spring has definitely arrived and the colours!!!! There is no need for many words so just a few impressions of Mother Nature's exterior design:

(all photos ©Petra Voegtle)


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GUEST POST: Interior Designing with Topiaries
I simply love plants and I could not imagine living in a home without any plants. So this guest post by Jenna Lee Smith is right up my aisle:

Interior Designing With Topiaries
The horticultural practice known as 'topiary' dates back centuries and has been used for everything from Roman castle entrances, courtyards, and portable displays at Disneyland to subtle indoor decorating in modern homes. Popularized in films such as Edward Scissorhands, The Shining, and Errol Morris's delightful documentary Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control, most people don't realize that topiary displays can be used subtly to achieve remarkable effects, both outdoor and indoor. Indeed, both faux and real topiaries made from evergreen create a one-of-a-kind decorum to your living room, bathroom or bedroom. Here are some of your best options for uniquely artistic indoor horticultural design:

Chinese Evergreen—Boasting minimalistic care-taking and dark green and silver tones, Chinese Evergreen is durable and works wonderfully for indoor contours and corners. Compatible with a variety of styles, including Feng Shui, pair this plant with low lights and virtually any furniture you want. It even works in home offices, for which you can acquire any number of appropriate accessories and furnishing at the RoomPlace furniture stores.

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Angel Ivy Ring Topiary—Angel ivy, or wire vine, is a perfect accessorizing plant because it grows fast, contains thick foliage, and works well as a frame for flowers, lights, and even furniture. Popular among gardeners for its versatility and stylish festivity, angel ivy proves you don't need to be outdoors to harness the aesthetic power of the topiary.

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Miniature Herb Topiaries—Herbal topiaries comprising lavender, rosemary, serissa, and a variety of other herbs can be lively and verdant additions to a room. Mixing the benefits of wonderful fragrances and pleasing shapes, herbal topiaries work great in sunny kitchen window sills or as refreshing bathroom accessories.

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Cactus Combo Bonsai—This one's not for everyone, but can certainly add an interesting flourish to non-traditional rooms. A mosaic of different cacti shapes and colors can afford an interior space a Southwestern motif or an exotic centerpiece for an indoor fountain. They're also perfect for table tops and window sills and require very little maintenance.

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Myrtle topiaries—Though miniature myrtle topiaries are better suited for outdoor use, during cooler months they can be used indoors if they are rotated often. Myrtle adds a naturalistic touch to rooms.
Interior designing can receive a nice artistic infusion of green vitality from plants, vegetation and topiaries. Many interior decorators insist that topiaries can be the saving grace in the layout of a room. Look into Angel Ivy Rings, Chinese Evergreen, Miniature Herb, Cactus Combo Bonsai, and Myrtle Topiaries can all bring fresh perspectives to your home interiors.

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Thank you, Jenna, for this lovely article!
I have added some image examples for herb topiaries for the garden - a personal favourite of mine:

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yipppee!!!! This blog just passed the 100.000th Pageview!

A big THANK YOU to all my Readers - this blog just passed the 100.000 page view mark. I would never have thought that this would happen to such a small niche blog. I did not even think that it would survive for so long and that you would continue to show interest for all the little unimportant things I had to say. I feel humbled and honoured.
I wished I could write more and spend much more time on all the interesting things I find on the internet. I will try my best to continue to offer you more ideas about art and everything related to it because it is so much joy to dive into the world of colour and form. And maybe you will find the one or other creative spark for yourself...



Monday, March 12, 2012

SPECIAL SERIES: Bedrooms of the Royals (part 1)

This is the beginning of a new series about bedrooms. Please bear in mind that I am in no way a historian expert so potential errors and misinterpretations may occur and I would be very pleased if you could correct me. The purpose of this series is simply a peek through the keyhole into something that is normally the most intimate room of a home - at least in modern times - the bedroom.

It was so much fun to do this little research and I want to share with you what I have found. Maybe you will find the one or other idea to dive deeper into this subject and have your own joy in your discoveries.

I love to look at bedrooms because they reveal the most of a person I think. Bedrooms are the most private  rooms of a house. Here you normally show the state of your personality that is masked towards the foreign world. Do I exaggerate? Maybe a bit but only a little bit. Though this applies merely to bedrooms which are actually lived in not the ones which are staged for interior design photography.

A quick look into Wikipedia about the definition of a bedroom just for fun reveals the following:
"A bedroom is a private room where people usually sleep for the night or relax during the day. About one third of our lives are spent sleeping and most of the time we are asleep, we are sleeping in a bedroom.To be considered a bedroom the room needs to have a bed. Bedrooms can range from really simple to fairly complex. Other standard furnishings a typical bedroom usually has are, a closet, nightstand, desk, and dresser. Today in richer countries that have houses with multiple bedrooms, a bathroom may be connected to the bedroom. This did not start happening until the mid to late twentieth century."
Well - royal bedrooms may not be the best examples regarding privacy - they were everything else but private but I thought I would start this series with a kind of extreme after we are used to completely different environments today (depending on where we are).These bedrooms are also highly uncomfortable and embarrassing even in my opinion, cold and gloomy at the same time. You would never know who is watching you. I suppose you need to be born into such a lifestyle to feel at home although some of the royal bedrooms are kept surprisingly simple.

Fontainebleau - France
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 Royal-Het-Loo-Palace, Netherlands
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Herrenchiemsee - Germany
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Green Palace - Tehran
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Münchner Residenz - Germany

Buckingham Palace - Great Britain

Jaisalmer Palace - India

Versailles - France

Palace of Udaipur - India

City Palace of Jaipur - India
 Teremnoy Palace -Russia

Kremlin Palace - Russia

Btw it was more difficult  to find images of royal bedrooms from all over the world than I thought. European places have been turned into museums mostly due to the immense costs these places need for restauration and maintenance. The original furniture though is often missing (unfortunately) or has been removed due to make it easier for visitors to access the rooms without destroying the original interieur. Many Indian palaces have been transformed into hotels for the very same reasons. The interiors of south east Asian palaces such as Thai, Burmese and others are hardly accessible as they might be still in use by royal family members, due to religious beliefs or political circumstances.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

OFF-TOPIC: What I have been doing lately again...

This has nothing to do with interior design and only very peripherally something with art (because they are my painting models) but I was a bit drowned again - too many sick pigeons to care for. But I love them dearly and cannot see them suffer if they need my help. And somehow they always find their way to our place...

This is Micky, who came to us 1rst of November last year with a bad PMV infection. She could not fly any more, not eat by herself. With her last energy reserve she managed to get to our balcony.  4 Months later she could be released after intensive care, such as hand and tube feeding, keeping her warm, doing training exercises with her when she became a bit better, etc.
During this time she has become an incredibly sweet pigeon, very affectionate and tame. I am so happy that she recovered fully and can now live the life of a pigeon again - flying free - but coming home still each day for sleeping during the night in her box, taking her meals here or just a little nap on the bookshelves:

Then we found Gino - or rather he found us - a squeaker, totally undernourished, hardly being able to fly, extremely thin but otherwise healthy with badly developed plumage - his tail feathers were nearly all broken or badly developed, no real downy feathers to keep him warm. It was a miracle that he had survived the big cold. He is with us since 4 weeks now and has developed into a very funny sweet little chap with a big big appetite. He managed to increase his body weight from 210 gr to more than 300 gr which is nearly 30 %.

He is growing new feathers like crazy, does his helicopter training in his den (within a mosquito net that I am mounting every day for his safety in my studio), has lost nearly all his bad feathers now but cannot really fly yet. He must train his flying skills first before we can release him. Oh my - what a shitty bunch of parents this poor little creature must have had whose responsibility would have been to nourish their little one and teach him everything he needs to know. But then they might have had big problems to find food for themselves not to speak of for a baby. Who knows. Now we have to do this instead and it is so much fun to watch him. He is incredibly sneeky and he makes good progress.

Now look at his nose - there were even feathers missing above his cere...

some of his bad feathers he lost in the meanwhile...

And then we had Hatty who had paralyzed legs due to a severe calcium deficiency probably after egg laying. Giving her calcium for 4 days made her able to walk again. It was a big relief. She still comes in to get her breakfast and/or lunch here.

Then we had another pigeon with a drooping wing but besides cleaning the wound she had on it several times probably from an old break I could do nothing else for her.

This is it for the moment and I hope very much that there will not be any more sick pigeons so that I have a bit more time for my regular work again...
If you want to know more about our pigeon family and see more photos please read the diary Pigeon Tales. I assure you that you will have fun!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

FINDS: Exotic Gourd Lamps by Calabarte

I think it is time to show you another of my FINDS on the internet. You may have seen this already but I am sure you will be enchanted and seduced by these the same way as I was when I saw these images for the first time.

I was immediately struck by the magic of the shadow patterns these lamps create on a wall as I am also a big fan of all Moroccan handcrafts, especially the ancient brass lamps which also live through the pattern they create on ceilings, walls and floors.

"Artist Przemek Krawczynski from Poland can turn an ordinary gourd into a wonderful, stunningly beautiful table or wall lamp. There aren’t any analogues and never will, because all this is manual and very tedious work. Przemek dries gourds and then lignified gourds decorates with various ornaments. Przhemek’s works are known under the brand Calabarte. Carved patterns, ornaments, holes and figured the track, colored rhinestones add to pumpkin-chandelier an elegant and exotic look. Light from such exotic lamps will surely give any room an extra special atmosphere." (read more...)

But the gourd lamps of the artist do not only live through the light and shadows they are also very fine pieces of art, intricately carved from Senegalese gourds.

In his own words Przemek says: "The pattern of the lamp is structure of symetric, crossing branching as from the perforated layer through three basic outer forms to the deeper light carvings.
White surfaces are deeper layer of wood which allow some light to pass through it. Although the thickness of gourd mostly don’t exceed 4mm (more is on the top and bottom) the carved patterns in that places create structure of three different depth. Each one shines with different intensity. That carvings were definitely the most demanding part of work. The supporting stem is finished with brown jeweller waxed cording.
Also the part of the cord between base and switcher is weaved by thin cording in the same type.
The base is carved in wood and finished with natural italian oil."

Enough said - here are some images which show wonderfully how the lamps look like in natural daylight and how they magically transform everything that's hit by the lightbeams in the dark:

(all images with courtsey of the artist)

If you are eager to see even more of these beautiful images please check Przemek's Facebook page.


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