Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guest Room and Gulf War Painting

After our vacation at the Asbury Park Ocean Inn this summer I wanted to recreate as pretty a sanctuary as a compliment to our guest room there. I loved the bright pops of color throughout the inn. When we returned home I went straight to Target to pick up a crisp white matelasse quilt. E. painted the room bright yellow after I was inspired by an HGTV home with the same color. It's also on the south side of the house so it gets the most sun of any room in our home. I wasn't sure if we should keep it because it is just SO bright. But I love color and wanted to try this one out. The orange quilt was just too much by itself in this yellow space. After four years I think I'm finally okay with this room. Clearly I'm not a designer.

We still need bedside tables. The TV trays are "working" until we find side-tables tall enough. The highlight is the feather bed. If you don't have one yet, go to The Company Store and do yourself a favor. They are having a 20% off sale right now. Ours is down and feels like you are sleeping on a cloud. It truly makes the biggest difference. 

When our sweet friends came down from Harlem for New Years Eve I set up the guest room with Christmas children's books for welcome reading. Is there nothing more reminiscent of childhood than a Little Golden Book? I have collected children's books since high school. I love making a guest room special for the visitor who stays in the room. Harry and Maria's daughter Maddie is still very little but it was so fun hearing them read The Night Before Christmas to her.

When we bought the house this room was the owner's daughter's room. This "nook" in the wall is a perfect changing table. The shelves are great for guest towels as well. I think a nice curtain over the space would finish the look.

I left Maddie a few toys to play with and a cookie for her parents in their welcome stocking.

The painting in the room is one I did in college in 1991. My art professor,Gene Kain, asked his students to create a piece in reaction to the Gulf War.  I had just been to an art exhibit at Ripon where a guest artist spoke about why we make art. I remember her words so vividly. She spoke about the fact that life is ugly. Truth is ugly. Art is a way to create beautiful things in a sometimes ugly world. Art should lift someone up, not remind them of broken spirits and the disgusting realities of war. She took modern photographs of flowers in the gas chambers in Auschwitz. It was a beautiful image in the midst of such an ugly place. She took photos of mother's who had lost their sons to war and used red yarn to knit their symbolic blood together in the most memorable, beautiful way. I wanted to create a piece of art that was beautiful and meaningful too me, and didn't scream death and despair in your face. I remember being very moved by the oil spill. My step father sent me Time magazine at school so that I would be up-to-date on current affairs. I remember seeing a photo of a cormorant doused with oil. It made me wonder what a bird's perception was of war. Kind of random, but there it is.

One friend thought this painting was of a bird watching the sunset. It is actually a bird watching Patriot Missiles burst in the sky. 

As an artist I don't know if anyone will get the true feeling I was trying to portray in this painting. I think it is pretty and the fact that I remember the project like it was yesterday means so much to me. My best friend's father framed it for me in Kalamazoo beautifully and I think it fits this room perfectly. Not that I would ever want to "match" my artwork to my "sofa" but I think it works in the guest room.

We loved having our sweet friends and their gorgeous girl visit us again. 

I love grouping framed photos in collections. The bookshelf above the bed was too precarious for my children's book collection. I literally put them in above the bed the first week we moved in and the whole thing shifted in the wall. Not very tranquil if you ask me. You can see a two inch gap at the ceiling. Eventually, I'd like to pull the bed out about a foot from this back wall and create a closet behind the bed, as the innkeepers did at Asbury Ocean Beach Inn. We have the space and that way we could open up the room to the upstairs attic. I think this room will always be a work in progress but here is a little peek @girltuesday!

Major thanks to my parents for helping me find Ripon College. I truly learned so much about myself while there. I had the most incredible art professors who I am still in touch with. Gene and Evelyn, I truly can not thank you enough for your dedication and love of art and art education. I think about you so often and our time together. Was it really over 20 years ago when we first met?  Evelyn, if you happen to read this will you please post the name of your friend, the artist, who I refer to above? I think she was Romanian. I'll never forget her, just can't remember her name. (I'm totally becoming my mother!)


Ella said...

The room is very welcoming and warm, it must have been wonderful for your guests.

Kaye Collins said...

It looks great! Love you.

girltuesday said...

love it! and i hope the tour continues. :)