For the next two weeks I will be blogging on flatmason.wordpress.com as there just isn’t enough time to do both blogs and sleep.
I have a friend traveling in Morocco this week. I ask him to send me the designs and colors of Marrakesh that were outside of the door where he is staying. These are the pictures he sent this morning.
Since the main religion of Morocco is Islam, which forbids the representation of people and animals in art, Moroccan designs are complex patterns and abstractions. According to Islam beliefs, these patterns create a sense of beauty so that the viewer can focus on higher truths than humans and animals. Moroccan pottery varies within the country, however regardless of the area Moroccan pottery is made with meaningful designs, styles, symbols and colors.
Since Morocco sits in a strategic location at the point of blending cultures on the northwestern point of Africa this geographical location imbues Moroccan interior design with European, African as well as Persian influences.
The artist of this lovely painting was impossible to identify, it had been re-blogged so many times. However, I am certain it is a watercolor painting. I am also certain that it required, of the artist, an accomplished technical skill…so in honor of this lovely painting, I think I should pass on a little knowledge of watercolor technique.
It appears that the artist used a block out technique and a series of washes. I find it particularly beautiful, not only for it’s visual expression, but because of the exquisite technique. The technical planning that goes into a watercolor is similar to the technical layering achieved in a silk screen print (serigraph). When working in either medium a constant vigilance to the layering colors and the transparency of the colors is paramount. I would surmise the trees in the foreground were blocked out first, with a layers of light washes as more trees were blocked out to create the depth. These block out areas, meaning an area covered with a masking substance used to protect the paper as layers of pigment are applied, must be planned first. Notice the small areas of sky, that area would also have to be planned first. A somewhat crazy watercolor purist attitude is the use of technique such as this, never would those trees have been painted with an opaque medium later, however, the white line of light in the very back is probably opaque watercolor. My professor, Thomas Currey, a transparent watercolor purist to the core might have allowed that one line of opaque, but rest assured, he never would have allowed two.
Like all good design it is all in the planning.
If anyone happens to recognize this work I would appreciate the name of the artist, as I am unable to recognize the style.
The other day I was at a clients house and during a casual non-business related conversation I ask her if she had read any good books lately. She, a mother of two small boys, said, “Well, my book club is getting ready to read one.” I said, “Oh really, what?” She said, “I have no idea.” Puzzled, I questioned her further. The truth came out, apparently she is part of a group of young mothers that get together one night a month, spend time together, drink Margaritas and call it Book Club. She said, “When you are leaving your husband at home with the kids, really, you could hardly call it Margarita Club.” I thought this was all rather genius. So this beautiful pink Margarita is for Kim and Jill, two of my clients, in “Book Club” both extremely resourceful young women.
Even though I rarely have much interest in fashion as such, I do have an interest in art and design and I am always drawn to clothing that is art. This beautiful, recent collection from designer house Balmain is unbelievable in it’s richness. Look at the collection as a beautiful representation of all the elements of visual design. Learn something from these stunning pieces…Line, Shape, Direction, Size, Texture, Color, Value…Balance, Repetition, Contrast, Harmony, Dominance, Unity. Trust me it is all here in these exquisite pieces of clothing.
This collection is available for viewing on Dazed Digital, you should be able to click on any part of this post and get there, or for sure the blue link at the end of the pictures.
When I saw this image of garden furniture on another blog, though unidentified, I was certain it had to be MacKenzie-Childs. The quirky nature of this colorful design is easily recognizable. Several years ago, at least twenty, MacKenzie-Childs was the hot new showroom at High Point Market. During that beginning, Victoria and Richard hosted their own showroom and were there talking about their designs and showing everyone around. I am still charmed by my twenty year old image of Victoria, wearing her wool gaucho pants and puppy dog shoulder bag. I remember her hair had as many colors as her art. This artistic wisp of a woman left quite an impression. Looking for the first time at their showroom, I was impressed with the fearless individualism.
Attached are pictures of the beautiful home they created, sold and left to live on a houseboat. The MacKenzie-Childs are the perfect example of those that follow their most intense obsession, mercilessly. We should all be so determined.
Really, wouldn’t everything be better if men would just step it up.
I am going to Florence soon and will be meeting Aki Choklat, the Finnish shoe designer …so look forward to my pictures and posts of his latest designs for his footware label, Jubaki.
You can’t help but love all the crazy things displayed in this home. It tells such a personal story as collections always do. I particularly love the CHANEL drum. It reminds me of issues that come up when I am helping someone with their home. Sometimes there is just something in the way that can not be moved. For example a tiny apartment I was working on years ago had a hot water heater in the kitchen. There was a serious amount of discussion as everyone was really worried about the hot water heater…I said, “Hey, paint it red and stencil HOT WATER HEATER on it and move on.” We did it was great. Next time I will say No 5 CHANEL…how fun would that be?
Seeing these little squares of color lined up together brings back fond memories of classes I took in watercolor. I have always been amazed that so many people can not read color and have no idea what colors are mixed together to make other colors. This simple exercise or one like it could begin to remedy this situation. You will notice, in this watercolor exercise, the basic watercolors are mixed with each other in order to show what colors will develop. A chart, following a pattern such as this, will show what the original color is when it is mixed with itself as well as the other colors and their mixed results. There is much to learn from this basic exercise. Making a chart like this you, certainly, will begin to develop some understanding of what color is within a color. This ability to read colors will help you understand why some colors work better together than others. One of the requirements of my watercolor classes was a weekly exercise of 100 colors, mixed in little puddles with the name of the mix beside the puddle, due every Friday. These little puddles of color were different mixes of these very tubes of watercolor. With this, sometimes irksome assignment, I learned to read every color imaginable. Great classes, wonderful quirky teacher, Thomas Currey…many years gone now…but leaving me with this gift.
We can get all wound up in Euclidean Geometry and try to grasp what a curvilinear line is or we can think a minute about the word, use a little common sense, and think about what curved line development might mean in relation to your interior design. Key to interior design success is understanding line development and the part it plays in design. Line dominance, meaning for our purposes here, what are the lines of the patterns being used doing? Are most of the lines in the patterns curved… or straight? If you are trying to put together several patterns in one design your success will be considerably greater if you are careful to establish a clear line development within those patterns. In the beautiful room above you will notice every element is curved. Table legs, chair arms, baskets, and of course the circular elements on the wall. (By the way, incase you don’t recognize them, those circular pieces are ceiling medallions readily available in a variety of materials.) The softness of the colors and the single hue and neutral color scheme also add to the overall design success. Curved patterns are softer, thus the softness of the lines and colors working together ensure good design.