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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downsizing update and how to use Instagram like Pinterest

It’s over. We have now officially downsized and are living in our new apartment. The location is fabulous and we love being so close to everything. I had hoped to post before now but frankly, I have been a bit overwhelmed. There have also been internet problems…as in we had it, lost it, had it, lost it (you get the point).

Looking back, it’s really been a wild six months. It was January 1st that we made the radical decision to sell our large family home and move into a 1,100 sq. ft apartment that is within walking distance to my husband’s job. Thirty five years worth of collecting, inheriting and accumulating had to be dealt with in less than four months. 

We are far from settled and we still have a full storage locker to deal with, but right now I am focusing on trying to make our small white box feel like home. There are so many challenges, one of which is that our furniture is really not appropriate for the space. It’s the wrong scale and when your living room, dining room and kitchen are all one room, things need to work together and what we currently own falls short. Buying all new is not an option so I am doing my best to figure it all out creatively. I will share photos of our new space as soon as it gets out of the “hot mess” state.

Having finally arrived on the other side of the downsizing process I can report that we are slowly adjusting to our “new normal” and I can once again focus on my blog and design business.

Today I want to share with you a new feature that Instagram recently implemented. IG has now made it easy to save photos and keep them in inspiration folders similar to Pinterest and Houzz. This is how it works.

OPTION #1. If you want to save a photo, simply tap your finger on the inverted flag on the bottom right of the photo you wish to save. 

House Beautiful IG photo

The image will then be saved into a collection of all other images you choose to save. They will be saved in the order in which you saved them. To see all your saved photos simply go to your own profile page and touch the inverted flag.

My saved images on my Instagram

OPTION #2. If you would rather be more organized and have your saved photos in style specific folders then you can do that too. Simply hold your finger on the same upside down flag for 2-3 seconds.  A window will appear with a Plus symbol in the upper right. Just hit the + symbol and give your folder any name you choose. 

My Folders on Instagram

You can set up as many folders as you like and save the image in the appropriate folder. This is so handy for finding inspiration photos later. I have only recently started saving images now that the craziness of the move is behind me. I need to start a folder for small living because once we are a bit more organized it’s time to start getting creative with design.

 I hope you found this helpful. Did you know about this new IG feature?

 

 

Friday’s Photo: nature inspired

Designers are often asked what inspires them the most. For me it has always been nature and I am especially drawn to trees. This is a close up of a tree trunk outside the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. I love everything about this. The pattern, the color palette and the texture.

textured treeRED

It reminds me of fish scales or maybe a super close up of a butterfly wing. I can just imagine this made into a wallpaper, fabric or carpet. What inspires you?

Have a good weekend everyone!

Not your average travel photos

Have you ever thought about what inspires you to take a photo?  What stirs your soul and causes you to stop in your tracks and reach for your camera? For some it’s nature, for others it’s travel, art or fashion. It might be a beautiful sunset or the way your cat sleeps on his back in the sun. For me, travel is always inspiring as it presents the opportunity to see everything with a fresh set of eyes.

When I do travel however, it’s usually not the “postcard scenery” that gets me most excited. It’s little details and the everyday elements that strike a cord with me.  It’s the textures, patterns, and colors of a new environment. It’s often simply the unexpected. Here are a few “not your average travel photos” that stirred my soul while on BlogTourVegas.

This metal studded wall at the Aria Hotel was very visually appealing to me.

textured wall at Aria Hotel

As was the carpet at the same hotel.

rug at Aria

I liked the composition of this chandelier and the pattern against the vaulted ceiling.

SAMSUNG CSC

Speaking of patterns, I see patterns everywhere. It’s almost a sickness. While my travel mates were admiring some designer bags in a nearby window display, I was captivated by the ceiling rings and pattern made by the three chandeliers hanging above.

three ceiling lights

Reflections in the Koi pond at the Ballagio Hotel was an ever changing kaleidoscope of patterns and colors. Each second was another opportunity for a once in a life time photo. Never again would the colors, lines and reflections be exactly the same as it was in the exact moment I took this photo.

SAMSUNG CSC

Like pattern, isolated pops of color also excites me. I couldn’t resist stopping (even though I was running really late) to grab a photo of the five green chairs against the chartreuse glowing bar. The pattern made by the draping filament lights and the lone patron was the icing on the cake.

SAMSUNG CSC

Similar situation below where the pop of red against the black and gold was just so eye catching.

SAMSUNG CSC

Where better than Vegas to find unexpected compositions and juxtapositions like this window display below.

I loved the lines and graphic quality of this hotel lobby but I can imagine it would be very disorienting when returning from a late night of partying.

SAMSUNG CSCThis gold 3 D wall created from fabric wrapped female forms was impossible to resist even though the lighting was dark and I only had my cell phone.

Gold textured wall at Encore Nightclub

I know most people would not find these very appealing as travel shots. For me though, it is how I see the world and what gets me inspired in my life and my business.

I would love to hear from you. What inspires you to grab your camera?

 

 

 

Friday’s Photo: nature vs. art

While scrolling through my cell phone photos last night I spotted these two images almost next to one another. Both were taken while on vacation in Arizona. The photo on the left was taken on our drive back from the Grand Canyon and the one on the right is a detail shot of a vase taken through an art gallery window.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

It’s always interesting to discover how artists find inspiration. I wonder if the artist of the vase has spent a lot of time looking at cloud formations. Pretty cool don’t you think?

have a great weekend everyone!

Post With Gallery

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur et blandit tortor. Suspendisse ultricies purus non mi ullamcorper id commodo elit tempor. Nullam eu tellus sed ligula hendrerit auctor.

Fusce tempor malesuada odio ut condimentum. Curabitur rutrum tellus et purus blandit et auctor erat faucibus. Praesent ultricies hendrerit purus id pulvinar. Curabitur vel nisi metus. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Pellentesque a mi non felis hendrerit porttitor vel sit amet risus. Pellentesque, tristique luctus, diam leo facilisis augue, non congue nisl lorem ac nibh.

Continue reading the full story…

Page 1 of 212

Subscribe to my blog

Browse by Category