Monday, July 27, 2009

Flashback: The Walls that Came Down

This may come as a surprise to some, but Bob and I do not always agree 100% of the time. Crazy, I know. When it came to which wall in the bathroom this picture, a birthday gift from my Aunt Christine, would hang, we were at odds. But we saw each other's point and each location would work. And so, we let our first houseguest (Kara visiting from Colorado) make the decision for us.

The bluest blue of the cats in this picture got me to thinking back to some of the art I had in my old apartment and how blue was an overarching theme. . .

I couldn't paint my walls, but my wall dividing the kitchen from the living area of my studio needed a kick. "The Big Knife" print did its job, but something was missing. At a design store in Bucktown I found my answer for a mere $25. Mozaikit consists of 225 vinyl squares in different shades of a signature color. I bought blue which gave me 3 shades of blue, 1 black and 1 gray. Peel each sticker off of its backing and make a design. I love clean lines so in my design I kept things pretty orderly. Check out their Web site for more ideas from the bloggers to get really creative with it.

The best part of having a color printer at home? Easy art! I printed off an 8.5x11 image of one of my favorite characters, The Little Prince, with a favorite french quote from the book. 2 smaller images were printed with their descriptions ("This is a snake who has eaten an elephant" and "This is a sheep in a box") and put into 4"x4" frames. I added borders to each for extra definition. Hung together, it might have looked like I bought the prints at a used bookstore. Or, it might have looked like I printed them out from a Word Document on my Canon BubbleJet. Either way it didn't really matter because I had an important memory from childhood - reading The Little Prince at Grandma and Grandpa's house - up on the wall.

Where else can you find the color blue? On most of a map! This project was one I've always wanted to take on and was so happy to have it brighten up one of my blank walls. I bought a world map from Borders - at the time it was $6 for both the world map and one of the USA. At my local art store I picked up two large pieces of foam board and taped them together. The map was taped to the foam board and nailed to the wall. This way, I could get away with a cheaper option than framing while still having something to put the pins in. It was a great way to show off where I've been while realizing I have a lot of places still to go (Asia and South America were lookin' pretty sparse!). I don't think I snapped a pic of the one I had up, but I look forward to re-creating this soon in the library we'll someday have. Guests will say, "Where's your map with the pins?" and I'll reply, "Oh, it's just in the library, you know the room down the hall from the wrapping paper room and the home theater." Ahh, but I get ahead of myself. . .

Sitting atop my bookshelf was a framed collage containing blue-hued photos. I took this idea from a Pottery Barn book. None of the pictures are from the same series and that is part of the fun. A pic of me rolling a snowman in Northwoods Wisconsin sits below the Arc de Triomphe and next to a Romanian Church. Stacy and I, circa 2001, hang out beneath Jake's wall tapastry while Hawaii and Mt. St. Helens frame the bottom of the collage. This piece didn't make the cut at the new place, so I've re-created the order as best I could here!

Whew, that's a lot of blue. . .time to move on. . .

My other signature color is red. Which red? Badger Red! If you said Buckeye Red, please navigate off this page and email me an apology. For graduation I got a shadowbox from Pottery Barn that I quickly made use of. A football ticket from my freshman year, shots from the Badger Games, a print out of the music for On Wisconsin, the obligatory graduation day shot, my tassle and, most importantly, me and Bucky himself. Add it all up and I had a more personal item to hang on the wall to share my school spirit than just framing my diploma. (Is a BA in English really anything to brag about these days?)

Finally, my piece de resistance. Or, by another name, "Lydia Cannot Draw and So it Shall Be Abstract." I mentioned this in a previous blog about creating your own art by buying a canvas or two. At museums I am always drawn to the enormous panels that tell a full story even if they are split into several seperate pieces. Materials for this piece cost about $50 and included 3 canvases, red paint, masking tape and brushes. I cannot draw in a straight line so the ruler was my best friend. I used masking tape over the areas I wanted to keep white and went to town with the red paint. If you stare at it long enough you can see where I nicked the white section with a smudge or angled slightly up a degree or two, but I like to think that is part of the charm of making your walls your own.

Back to our new print "Escher's Blue Cats." Found at the Art Fair on the Square in Madison, this is a Linocut print. This is a printmaking technique, similar to woodcutting, in which a sheet of linoleum is used for the relief surface. It fits perfectly with the yellow walls and bright blue hues in our 2nd bathroom. And I'm a big enough person to admit this: Bob's placement won out in the end.

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