Matisse and his “actors” of inspiration

Don’t you often wonder when you look at a beautifully designed room or a stunning piece of art, what the inspiration was behind the creation? “What inspires you?” has to be one of the most asked questions of any creative. The answers vary but often times it’s things like art, travel, nature or even other creatives. 

So it was great anticipation that I made my way to the Matisse exhibit at the Boston MFA just before I left on vacation. The paintings were curated around the objects that inspired Matisse. He referred to his favorite objects as “actors” and used them over and over again in his work. 

“The object is an actor. A good actor can have a part in ten different plays; an object can play a role in ten different pictures” Matisse

I have had a love affair with Matisse since high school. In fact, this framed poster below has hung in every apartment and house I have lived in since college. I have had it for close to 40 years and although it has little to no monetary value, I just couldn’t bring myself to part with it during the downsizing purge. 

Some of the more interesting “actors” used by Matisse were African figures and ethnic textiles.

 Matisse was intrigued with the simplicity of the sculpture and the fact that it was stripped down to just the visual essentials.

Preliminary sketch for portrait below.

Matisse also was inspired by textiles, especially those from Northern Africa and Islamic cultures. He loved the rich saturated colors and the patterns of the hand made cloth. This Egyptian cloth in the exhibit hung in his studio and was used over and over again in his work.

Here it is on the right side of the painting.

The exotic Islamic culture fascinated Matisse and became a favorite subject to paint.

This is a detail shot of another antique textile from his collection.

Matisse used it for his inspiration in the painting below.

One of the more interesting facts I learned at the show was that it was these Islamic textiles that became the inspiration for Matisse’s cut outs which he is so well know for.

He studied the play of light on the mirrored glass inserts and the “movement” it gave to the pattern.

African Kuba cloth which is so on trend today was also a favorite of Matisse.

He collected samples from many different tribes and was taken by the fact that the pattern seemed to have no beginning and no end. The painting below shows his Kuba cloth interpretation in the background. Notice how the pattern climbs out the window seemingly going on forever.

Later in his career Matisse became captivated by Chinese calligraphy and collected samples that he hung in his studio.

The fluid movement of the characters inspired this work called The Acrobat.

He also collected Chinese pottery

Which became inspiration for the tree painting below. 

I found the exhibit so fascinating because it was almost like being inside Matisse’s head. I could look at the object and then see how it inspired him to create his work. 

It also got me thinking about what inspires me. It’s probably cliche but for the most part it’s travel and nature. We were on vacation last week in the white mountains of New Hampshire. The vibrant greens of the forest against the beige/taupe colored rocks became inspiration for a color palette for a new space I am working on.

Here are a few images of what I was surrounded by last week.

White Mountains NH

Linda Holt Photo

Galehead trail NH mountains

Linda Holt Photo

river stream in White Mountains

Linda Holt Photo

This is my color palette inspired by the mountains.

My mountain inspired color palette: Linda Holt photo

Inspiration is different for everyone. I would love to hear what inspires you?

Aviva Stanoff: My latest designer crush

I recently meet a designer who’s creativity and innovative work is so inspiring I wanted to share her designs with you. Her name is Aviva Stanoff and her back  story is as interesting as her one of a kind designs. Aviva grew up in California, in a small town nestled between the beach and old growth redwoods and then spent Summers tending flowers in her grandfather’s Buddhist Temple in Japan. These two dramatically different worlds became the “best of both worlds” and developed within her a deep reverence for nature.

Below is a photo I took while at High Point market last Spring in Aviva’s showroom.

Aviva Stanoff showroom: Linda Holt Photo

Aviva works a lot with crystals and has some spectacular lighting that she created for Currey and Company, one of which is hanging above the bed. The photo below is from Aviva and shows her painting the 700 lbs of Selenite wands she hand fitted together to make that one of a kind head board. Can you imagine??? It totally blew me away.

Aviva Stanoff High Point market

Besides lighting design, Aviva’s signature is pressing real objects into fabric. Sea fans, corals, minerals, lemon leaves, and crystals are among the many objects she uses. Aviva’s fabrics celebrate nature’s imperfections and things like bug bites on the plants become a cherished component of the final product. 

Aviva Stanoff : Linda Holt Photo

Aviva Stanoff: Linda Holt Photo

Minerals and crystals are pressed into the pillow fabrics below.

Aviva Stanoff: Linda Holt Photo

 Each pillow is unique and a work of both art and science.

Aviva Stanoff:Linda Holt Photo

Aviva Stanoff Design:Linda Holt Photo

Aviva has a lot going on and just recently introduced a line of outdoor pillows using her same signature process of pressing objects into fabric. 

I am totally smitten with her and if you want to see more of her work you can check out her website Here. 

Of course one of my first questions was “how do you do this?” but her lips are sealed and I can understand why.

What do you think? Aren’t her designs amazing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Spring 2015 window displays

Every time I visit New York City I have the same thought, “Why don’t I do this more often?” New York City is only a little more than three hours from Boston but the truth is, I rarely go. I can come up with lot’s of excuses why; hotels are expensive, I don’t know anyone there and I can never find a good time to take time off work.

While attending the Architectural Digest Home Show a couple of weeks ago I once again was reminded of how inspirational the city is and how I really need to make an effort to travel there more often. Even just walking the streets while checking out the windows is a visual delight. Look at these terrific windows I spotted while walking the famous 5th avenue.

Prada

Prada

One thing I noticed as trending in almost every window was the use of faceless all white mannequins. One reason may be because color continues to be big this Spring and what better way to showcase those colorful clothes than against a clean white background.

Bergdorfs had an interesting theme for their Spring windows as each window vignette highlighted a different sense. The one below is taste. Not totally clear on the message but those are big white cakes above the models heads. The dress on the right with the pompoms is not something I could wear in a million years but the one on the left I love.

Bergdorfs

This second window vignette for smell is more clear as that is a big nose encased in that Lucite box. The message is further driven home with all those flowers in the background. I love the two skirts in this window as well.

This last one for hearing is even more literal with a huge ear floating front and center. I usually get annoyed by the street reflections in the window but actually loved the reflection here.

BergdorfsearWM

The rich saturated blue background grabbed my attention in Fendi’s window. It’s hard to tell the scale but that bag is about 10 feet tall and fills the entire window.

Fendi

Leave it to Ralph Lauren to keep his mannequins classic and beautiful. This was another window where I thought the street reflections added interest to my photo. It’s almost as if the mannequin is making a ghost like appearance by stepping right out of the wall of the building.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

For those of you that watch Downton Abbey, this window had a fun discovery. If you have seen the opening “commercial” for the series it shows Ralph Lauren painting a water color of a jeweled necklace on a model. It then shows an actual model wearing that same necklace down the runway. Here is the  necklace on the mannequin in the window.

This last window is Dolce and Cabbana. I know they have had some very bad press lately by making some really dumb comments that don’t even make sense. I did however enjoy their window because I interpret it as “Winter” waiting for “Spring” to come to life.

Dolche and cababa

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of the New York City Spring 2015 window displays. I have made a commitment to myself to get to NYC more often and as Wayne Dyer says, “excuses be gone”!!!….Anyone want to join me?

 

 

Look who was asked to share their thoughts on design

Recently, I was asked by Terrys Blinds to share my thoughts on design for their Designer Insight series.  Terrys Blinds are made to measure blinds based in the UK.  We connected on Twitter (ah the power of social media) and I was honored to be asked.
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Check out my Designer Insights below.
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 Thank you so much Terrys Blinds for including me in your designer series.
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Courtesy of: Terrys Blinds

nousDECOR: Mood boards and a $14,000 giveaway!

I love to make mood boards, both for for my clients and myself, as it helps to visualize what the room will ultimately look like. While on BlogTourNYC, we had the pleasure of meeting the talent (Mark Cutler) and faces (Dorothee Fisher) behind a brand new company called nousDecor. More than just another mood board website, nousDECOR was born out of a notion that great design should be accessible to all budgets and all interiors.

The site is filled with links to plenty of products as you would expect, but also features design advice, a blog and some very unique resources to help you build your dream room. Looking for advice on what style of chairs will look best with your mid century sofa? Simply click on “Seeking Advice”. You can upload a photo of your room, ask a question and get advice from the other users as well as an expert.

Another unique feature of the site is called Real/Deal/Steal. Let’s say you see a designer inspiration room on the site like this one from Jonathon Adler that you would like to recreate in your own home.

Jonathan Adler on nousDECOR

Jonathan Adler on nousDECOR

The REAL price tag for this room? $11,190.00. A bit pricey for you? Simply click on DEAL and the site automatically readjusts to give you furniture and accessory options at a lower price point (while still maintaining the look  the inspiration room). On an even tighter budget? Just click Steal and this room can be recreated for as low as $1,500.00.

Now to the $14,000 “style it to win it” give away. To welcome you to the nousDECOR community, nousDECOR is giving one lucky winner this $14,000 sofa from Bespoke Furniture.

nousdecor_sofa-_kitchann_style-e1400684733124

 One-of-a-kind sofa from Bespoke Furniture Inc.

  • Mid-century inspired custom-made sofa
  • Custom linen burlap fabric
  • Cast oil-rubbed bronze legs
  • Walnut burlwood detailing
  • Valued at $14,000
  • Dimensions: 84″W x 25″D x 32.5″H

To enter the contest you simply log on to nousDECOR. Attach an image of an inspiration room and create your mood board using this Bespoke sofa in your room. Publish your board on the site, ask your network of friends and family to “like” your board and the board with the most “likes” wins the sofa. Even easier, simply  Click on this link  to go directly to the contest. Better hurry though, this contest ends soon!

Here is the contest board my BlogtourNYC  friend Ann Porter of KitchANN Style made. I love her Africa inspired mood board and would love to see her win the sofa. If you get a chance please show her some love and vote for her board.

KitchAnn moodboard for nousDECOR

KitchAnn moodboard for nousDECOR

nousDecor looks like it will be a great success and makes styling and decorating a room that much more fun.

What do you think? Are you going to try it out?

Friday’s Photo: Perfection at Donghia

Segmented coffee table with Granite top (Forma table), glamorous lighting and padded leather wall covering…. oh my!!!

SAMSUNG CSC

Donghia showroom BlogTourNYC

The other little detail that “makes” this room for me? the two gold velvet pillows… just the dab of color the room needs…simply perfection don’t you agree?

Have a great weekend everyone.

The hottest trends from the style spotters

Last week was the home industry event referred to in the designer world simply as High Point. It is a HUGE home interiors market that takes place in High Point, North Carolina. All the top manufactures and dealers of anything related to the home gather to showcase their newest products to members of the trade.  Although I did not attend, I lived vicariously through several of my designer friends and acquaintances who did.

For the past few seasons, High Point has designated 9 “Style Spotters” to search out the hottest trends from all the different showrooms and “Pin” them onto a Pinterest board. I have loved following their pins and getting a sneak peak of what we will soon be seeing in our local home furnishing stores. You can check out all 9 style spotter boards here but here are some of my favorites.

Bold bright color, especially when applied as a high gloss or lacquer, is still trending. Look at this gorgeous lacquered teal chest spotted by Tobi Fairley

Century Pinned by Tobi Fairley

Century Furniture

Lisa Mende spotted the color orange still going strong and pinned this fabulous orange lacquered lamp from Dunes and Duchess.

Dunes and Duchess

Dunes and Duchess

Stacy Naquin chose this mint lacquered console from Hickory Chair with trending gold accents and gold table lamps.

Hickory Chair Lacquered chest with gold

Hickory Chair

Graphics continue to have a strong presence and  Traci Zeller spotted this collection of graphic removable and reusable wallpaper from Casart Coverings. Removable wallpaper is so great if you want the punch of wallpaper but don’t want to make a permanent commitment. When you tire of the look, simply peal it off.

Casart Coverings High Point Fall 2013

Casart Coverings

Our natural world has been trending for awhile now and agate seems to be especially popular. I love these Shagreen boxes with agate slices on top from Regina Andrew that was spotted by Shay Geyer.

Shagreen and agate boxes

Regina Andrew

This agate sconce from RoshamBeaux seems like it was a market favorite and was spotted by Lisa Mende.

Agate chandelier High Point 2013

RoShamBeaux

Nail heads are still trending as is the color pinkGretchen Aubuchon  spotted this hot pink and silver chair outlined with silver nail heads.

Hot pink and silver chair

Wesley Hall

Shay Geyer also spotted the color pink as trending and pinned this white lacquered chair covered with hot pink velvet from Caracole.

white lacquered chair with hot pink velvet.

Caracole

Lastly, I want to share this bold blue and orange show room by CR Laine. I love everything about this room and look at all the trends it incorporates: bold color, lacquered furniture, the color orange and a graphic rug.

CR Laine at High Point

CR Laine at High Point Fall 2013

I invite you to check out my Pinterest board of all my favorites from the 2013 Fall High Point Style Spotters here and discover a few other other trends this room also incorporates.

What is your favorite trend from High Point?

 

 

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