Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Bedroom Library

I have been trying unsuccessfully to find the source of this photo since I first came across it on Pinterest several weeks ago. I wanted to use it in a blog post to illustrate a quote and so needed to be able to properly credit it, but mostly I was really curious about the rest of the house.

I was ultimately led to the original, in the Polish magazine Werenda, by the Danish blog The Essence of the Good Life. I was not disappointed by the additional photos. The house is in Belgium on Lake Genval near Brussels where the stunning landscape attracts residents of the capital on the weekends.

The interiors and antiques that fill the rooms reflect the Dutch heritage of the lady of the house.

Natural material, untreated wood, and muted earth tones: browns, shades of sand and ash, and white make up the color palette.

Further inspiration came from the imagery in the paintings of the Dutch Old Masters.

The kitchen mirrors that of a traditional Dutch house.

The bedrooms and baths reflect a simple but elegant European aesthetic.

See the entire article by Caroline Amiel here. Photography by Christophe Rouffino.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tricia Foley's General Store

When the warm weather finally arrives we eat outside whenever possible. It is an easy transition as we have a small deck off the kitchen and I keep the table setting simple and relaxed. Tricia Foley has more than a few items at The New General Store online that I would like to have for this summer.

Most of my table linens are beige, and they need to be replaced from time to time. These Natural Linen Placemats are just my style.

The Slate Placecards would be fun for a party. Spell out your guests' names with chalk and they are infinitely reusable.

By potter Barbara Eigen, the Earthenware Oval Platters and Low Serving Bowl are as beautiful as they are practical.

Mr. H takes advantage of every opportunity to fire up the grill; this Stoneware Condiment Set is perfect for the homemade tomatillo salsa and hot sauce that accompany anything cooked over flames.

I would use these Glass Tumblers for wine or water. They would also make pretty votive candle holders.

For clean-up, White Sponges. OK, I know they are totally impractical, but they would look so pretty beside the sink. I'll tell myself they are durable and dye-free and give them a try.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Photography by Glenn Suokko

This is part two of my posting on the artist Glenn Suokko. While my introduction to Glenn was through his paintings, I wanted to share some of his photography which I find equally compelling.

Says Glenn, "I have many artistic interests and pursue forms of expression through design, painting, photography, and writing. To me, one expression inspires another, and I try to build on the connections among them."

The compositional opportunities Glenn finds in contrasting elements goes to the heart of his nature based aesthetic.

On a personal level, Glenn's photography elicits a similar emotional response as his paintings. They inspire me to slow down, to take it all in, to be present and mindful.  There is a meditative quality to the images.

In my previous post on Glenn's paintings, I briefly mentioned Pastoral, the biannual publication created by Glenn and his wife Ann Billings which features "the stories and work of individuals, organizations, processes, and products motivated by the creative and natural environments of Vermont."

A recent issue included an article on Birch Hill Farm, a diversified working farm located on Morgan Hill in South Woodstock, Vermont. Says Glenn, "Pastoral is one expression where my work as a photographer, writer, and designer coalesce. "

Excerpts from additional previous issues telling the stories of Vermonters - living, working, and creating - throughout the state can be seen here.

Glenn's photographic eye and talent for graphic design caught the attention of Vermont glass maker and potter Simon Pearce which has led to successful collaboration between the two. In addition to photography, Glenn provides the art direction for the company.

A highlight of this collaboration is surely the exquisite book A Way Of Living which Glenn produced with Simon and his wife Pia. The book, says Glenn, is a" creative expression" of the Pearce's way of life and the products of their work. I would describe it as a primer for creating simple beauty in every aspect of one's everyday life.

 A Way Of Living also contains numerous inspiring photographs of the Pearce's property and gardens.

After one has lived in Vermont for a time it becomes part of your soul. It is a very special place - inspiring yet grounding, uncompromising but inclusive, remote and embracing - and Glenn has succeeded in capturing that essence in his paintings, his photography and his publications that celebrate both Vermont and the people who make their lives here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things: Paintings by Glenn Suokko

I am sure that every one of you who is passionate about art and design has had a moment when you saw something that so captured you - heart, mind and imagination - that it stayed with you long after first sight. Such was my introduction to the work of Vermont painter Glenn Suokko.

I instantly responded to it. The paintings had a powerful simplicity that resonated with me. Glenn's serene palette and deft rendering of archetypal forms meshed perfectly with my own design aesthetic and conveyed a sense of calm that I would hope to transpose onto my daily life.

My visceral reaction, I imagine, is how a collector feels for the object of his or her desire. Whatever that object is, it satisfies a deep sensibility.  Though I was not able to purchase my first painting on my maiden visit to Glenn's gallery, I knew that I would eventually. I wanted this in my life, I wanted to see it daily. The paintings still bring me that much pleasure.

Working from his studio in Woodstock, Vermont, Glenn paints still lifes of objects he has collected over the years—bowls, vessels, and vases....

...and, most recently, he says, "bricks, stones, and bits and pieces of things I might find in an attic or in nature."

"I am drawn to the forms, shapes, and colors of inanimate objects and the compositional or emotive relationships that can be created by depicting them on a canvas."

The series Forest Variations is recent direction for Glenn. They are "not literal depictions of actual places or objects. Painted in my studio, they reflect the effects of the forest trees and light after walking each day of every season along paths at my home in Woodstock, Vermont."

Says Glenn, "To me, painting is an ongoing exploration, one that is rich in investigation and realization. It is my hope that viewers, while making their own interpretations, will find in it the qualities I seek to create."

A multi-talented artist, Glenn is also a photographer, art-director, writer and the creator of Pastoral, an exquisite journal that explores Vermont and celebrates the creative people making their lives in this unique state. Next week I will share some of Glenn's photography.

See more of Glenn's work and excerpts from Pastoral on his website. Reach Glenn by email or visit the Gallery at Simon Pearce opposite the Simon Pearce store in Quechee, Vermont, of which Glenn is director, and where his paintings are on display. The current show runs through June 15th.