Studio Update

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Every art studio could use a cozy corner for reading art books.  This last week my husband built these two-inch shelves with a lip for setting finished small pieces and works in progress. Now I need to get busy and paint some more small works.

Next weekend he is going to add more shelves for bigger pieces.  It is wonderful, as they are all straight on the bottom for once.

Every challenge yourself to something and feel either great about accomplishing it or bad that you failed (the first time).  This year I challenged myself to read 75 books on the Goodreads challenge and can very proudly say I accomplished that goal. The year before I attempted to bake every bread in Paul Hollywood’s Bread Book.  I made it about 2/3’s of the way and gained a couple of pounds, but did not finish the book. I still love to bake and may just try to finish it. I take my baked goods to my local fire department, so they are enjoyed and not wasted.  My wonderful local fire department surprised me with a gift certificate the last two years.  That made me cry the first year, as I was amazed they recognized the gift. This year I felt a little guilty as I felt I did not take as much, but will up the ante as the year goes on.

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Now with 2019 coming up, I decided I would follow the example of Kevin McPhearson, the author and artist of “Reflections on a Pond”, and paint the view of the water in front of my house every day of the year. If I don’t have time to paint on a particular day, I will take a photo and paint it later. I find it an interesting thought and am hoping it will improve my painting skills.

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Studio Update

Back in the studio

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This a night scene that we painted in class.  It is 9 x 12 inches.

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Clouds 8 x 10 inches painted in class.

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Barn 8 x 10 homework assignment

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9 x 12-inch road scene homework assignment.

David Marty is an excellent teacher and it has been fun to watch everyone in class come up with something so very different from the same photos.

 

 

 

Back in the studio

Oh No, I Can Do It All Myself!

I was recently asked to write an article on why you should hire a professional interior designer.  Hope you enjoy the article.

“The Devil is in the Detail”.  Ever heard that phrase and wondered exactly what it meant?  In short, something may seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected.  HGTV design shows are a great example of this, as they make it all seem so simple, but what you don’t see are the people behind the scenes making everything happen and making it look simple and easy.  They are the ones that know all the details.  Designing a space looks so simple till you actually start designing it. Making a space look beautiful and actually be functional are one in the same and two very different things.

 

A qualified interior designer will listen carefully to what you hope to accomplish in a space and will work with you to get the look you want, in the budget you want, and, in the end, it will function how you wanted it to all along. Designers do this every day, so they have “great resources”.  Even the term is now archaic. I used to tell my interior design college students to pull together your million-dollar Rolodex.  Now It would be your “Million Dollar Contact List”, but you get the idea; designers have a lot more resources than you do.  They have worked for a long time to pull together an extensive network that gets the job done for you in the best way possible.

 

Oh no, but interior designers charge you for their time.  Let’s see, do you complain about paying your lawyer, accountant, doctor or even your gardener?  They all help to make your life easier and simpler. They are knowledgeable and in the long run, save you time and money. Using a professional interior designer does exactly the same thing.  You tell them what you like, and they find just the perfect finishes and people to get the job done.  You might have paid a little money, but you have not been running all over trying to find sources for what you need to be done.

 

The internet is fabulous for finding new and interesting products, but you have not seen or touched them so you might be in for a surprise when they actually arrive.  Your designer has worked with the materials and fabricator and knows how to get them at a better price. They will save you money in the long run.  There is no promise that a mistake will “never” be made, but the chances become slimmer with the experience of the designer.

 

People get caught up in trends. Designers will help you access what trends are classic and will be around for a long time versus the here today and gone tomorrow ones. They will help you have a chic space that will look wonderful for a long time. They will share with you what can work in your environment and what may not. In other words, put the polka dots where the polka dots look good, and that might be in a closet.  Don’t get me wrong, I love polka dots, just not in my living room.

 

Professional interior designers work with you to have a solid plan of action and know how to get it done in an efficient manner. They can bridge the gap that may come up with you and your architect or builder if you are building a new home or remodeling an older home. They know the language and can work to get everything in the right place.  It is not just furniture, but the lighting and so much more, even down to proper outlet placement. They can see the space in different creative eyes and bring it all together, so it works for you. They know that you are the one going to live there, so it should work for you more than for your builder and/or architect. Interior designers work with you to give you a home that meets your criteria, looks wonderful and at the same time functions exactly as you hope it would.

 

Interior Design is an interesting form of art. Some say that interior designers have to phycologists in addition to being designers. Part of what makes the best designer is the ability to listen and really hear what the client wants even when the client may not truly know what they want.  It is the magic of taking an education in the principles of design, the history of design styles both historical and modern and pulling everything together seamlessly to create your perfect environment. Designing a beautiful living space takes skill and vision is so much more difficult than many people think.

 

How many times in your life have you gone into a space that was either overcrowded with furniture, all the furniture was matchy-matchy, or the space just did not feel inviting? If you could not figure out what to do in that space, then going forward you should hire a qualified interior designer.

by Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley ASID. IIDA. NCIDQ certified. NKBA

Oh No, I Can Do It All Myself!

Is Cadmium Paint Toxic?

My artist friends are often talking about this, so when I found this article on Artists on Art, I thought I should post it.

Is cadmium paint toxic? Cadmium-based colors have been around for many years but tend to be among the most often in question. Artist and instructor Dan Schultz has researched this; here, he shares what he found regarding the toxicity of cadmium in artist paints.

Is cadmium paint toxic? ArtistsOnArt.com

Is Cadmium Paint Toxic?

By Dan Schultz

Cadmium is found naturally in the earth’s crust but is a relatively rare metal. (Which may explain the high price tag on cadmium paint colors!) Cadmium often couples with other elements in a variety of compounds. Some of these are are extremely toxic and dissolve easily in water, making them dangerous to humans. It is also dangerous if inhaled in its dust or powder form. Some of the earliest cases of cadmium poisoning were reported in Belgium in 1858. Workers had inhaled cadmium dust as a result of polishing silver with cadmium carbonate. This kind of exposure can cause severe respiratory distress, emphysema, and even death.

Oil painting tips for artists - ArtistsOnArt.com

Pigment manufacturing became big business in the nineteenth century, not only for artists but also for industrial and printing applications. When the powerful, intense cadmium colors were developed, ranging from yellows to oranges to reds, artists eagerly added them to their palettes.*

Since then, artists have become increasingly aware of the importance of studio safety. Paint manufacturers recommended that you don’t eat, drink or smoke while painting in order to avoid ingesting potentially harmful substances from paints, solvents, etc. But what about skin exposure? Given what we now know, should we wear gloves and masks while we paint with cadmium colors?

When I visited the M. Graham & Co. factory in 2015, I asked specifically about the toxicity of cadmium colors. They told me that by law, paint manufacturers are allowed to make cadmium colors only a few specified days each year because of the dangers associated with cadmium dust. Proper respiratory equipment is required during production to avoid inhalation of the powdered cadmium pigment.

However, during the paint-making process the pigment is fused with sulfides and coated in the particular medium’s binder (oil, acrylic, gouache or watercolor). This process renders the cadmium insoluble in water, and therefore the human body. We can’t absorb it. So no gloves are necessary. And cadmium paints don’t give off any dust or fumes, so no worries about inhalation either.** I’ve just recently spoken again with a paint manufacturer who said that the paint-making process makes cadmium colors safe in oil, acrylic, gouache and watercolor.

With that said, you DO need to use extra caution if you’re sanding dry cadmium paint or spray-applying. If that’s you, make sure you wear a NIOSH dust respirator to eliminate the chance of inhaling cadmium particles. (Or any other harmful particles / dust.) The same advice applies if you work at all with dry cadmium or other pigments. (For example, if you like to make your own paint.)

Also, please avoid pouring your dirty brush-cleaning water or solvent down the drain or onto the ground. This can introduce heavy metals like cadmium into the watershed, possibly creating problems downstream. It’s recommended that you soak up your dirty water / dirty solvent with paper towels then throw them away in your studio trash.

Is Cadmium Paint Toxic?

When I am not cooking, I might be painting. It is all art.

 

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I am taking a painting class at the Winslow Art Center on Bainbridge Island on Tuesday and enjoy the camaraderie of other artists and learning to paint small. We paint from small photographs on to 8 x 10 inch or 9 x 12-inch canvases.  This was my painting from the first day of class.

The teacher David Marty asked us to do a homework assignment, and I just finished mine.

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This another 8 x 10-inch painting.  I find it interesting as I usually do paint in a much larger format, but am finding this satisfying for some reason.

Normally I paint abstracts in larger formats.  The one below is 36″ x 24″ and as you can see, it is very different from my smaller ones. Painting one.jpg

This one is 30 x 48 inches with black, gray, and gold leaf interspersed in other colors. I was looking at in the studio and think it is the perfect Halloween painting.  Look at the “evil” eye of the predator on the right side of the painting.  This guy is watching you, and it was totally an accident.

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Just thought I would share something other than food art and interior design. I am doing a 3 x 5-foot commission right now and love the big scale of it.

When I am not cooking, I might be painting. It is all art.

Popular New Entry Spaces

In the first three months of the year, Houzzers saved photos of grand main entry spaces and casual backdoor mudrooms that were full of great ideas. Benches for slipping off shoes, cubbies, and cabinets for storing outerwear and striking design elements such as flame-stitch-patterned wallpaper, an urban landscape mural, and log cabin siding caught our attention. Here are 10 great ideas from the most popular new entry photos uploaded in the first quarter of 2018.
Popular New Entry Spaces

Top Kitchen Innovations From Milan

Dream kitchens, live presentations of the latest smart-home appliances and cooking demos by famous chefs greeted visitors to EuroCucina and FTK (Technology for the Kitchen), the biennial events that took place during the latest installment of the Salone del Mobile trade fair in Milan, Italy, from April 17 to 22.

We kept an eye open for signs of how the most lively and innovative space in the house, the kitchen, is evolving. Among the exhibits were increasingly flexible setups, commercial appliances redesigned for the home cook and innovative new technologies. Picking up on the current trend of the integration of kitchen and living spaces, designers also presented kitchen features that either blend seamlessly into their surroundings or disappear altogether. Here are some of the kitchen innovations coming your way in 2018.

Top Kitchen Innovations From Milan

Conceal Your TV

Conceal Your TV

What is over-looked in the kitchen?

Here is another article from Dwell.
A panel of experts from Dwell suggested the following and I added a few comments in Italics. 

1. Don’t dismiss the kitchen’s potential as a modern-day parlor.

What's the Most Overlooked Feature When Planning a Kitchen Renovation? - Photo 1 of 17 - Agencie believes that kitchens are modern-day parlor rooms, incorporating stunning visual elements in the design.  A majestic Lacanche range takes center stage in this kitchen.

 Kitchens are modern-day parlor rooms, incorporating stunning visual elements in the design. A majestic range takes center stage in this kitchen. Kitchens are modern parlor rooms. In modern homes, kitchens serve a double function of both cooking and entertaining zones.
 As everyone knows, no matter how small a kitchen happens to be, people always end up hanging out in there during parties.
Historically, the parlor was the room in which the world encountered the private sphere of a family’s home. Colloquially, it was referred to as the “best room.” The family’s best furniture and artwork were displayed in the parlor room.

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2. Don’t skip over the layout.

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The most overlooked thing in kitchen design would be space design/planning. Everyone wants to jump straight to materials without thoroughly vetting the layout—this can be fatal, as you can’t “polish a turd.” No amount of expensive materials can compensate for a lack of planning.

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3. Sniff out hidden opportunities.

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The best kitchen remodels simplify an owner’s life and make efficient use of every available square inch. Sometimes this means considering what is hidden as much as what’s visible. With counter space at a premium, valuable space can be saved by designating an enclosed area to tuck away those space-sucking counter-top appliances and gadgets. It’s a great way to condense kitchen “clutter” into one enclosed space that can be out of sight and out of mind when not in use.

In our kitchen the appliance cabinet hides my food processors.  I do have a popup cabinet for my Kitchenaid mixer, as it was too tall and is too heavy to carry around.  It works great until I put it high and it just about jumps off the pull-up counter.  

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4. Don’t underestimate the power of lighting.

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One of the most overlooked features in kitchen design is efficient, well-designed lighting. Not only is good lighting essential to the function of the kitchen, but it highlights and accentuates the design. Often lighting isn’t on the forefront of the client’s mind when they are thinking about new cabinets and appliances, so it can easily become an afterthought. [The kitchen] is the one room that I think all three types of lighting should be incorporated: ambient, task, and accent lighting.

Undercounter lighting can be added easily to a design. Many of them offer outlets, places for Iphones and Ipads.  We have a TV mounted under the cabinets so I can watch cooking shows while I cook.  Love the Great British Bakeoff. 

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5. Incorporate details that make everyday life easier.

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 The details of the kitchen are so often underestimated during the design phase. A few overlooked features that clients must consider include a coffee station, pot filler, the kitchen’s connection to the [other spaces], skylights, and island outlets

6. Choose meaningful embellishments.

Homeowners tend to focus predominantly on the utilitarian components of their kitchen remodels (cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures, countertops) and place less emphasis on decorative elements such as tile, open shelves, visual art pieces. The kitchen is the heart of our homes and the most occupied space. Meaningful embellishments   add beauty and a personalized touch to a kitchen remodel, such as a display of heirloom teacups, framed photography or original art.

What is over-looked in the kitchen?

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen

This a great article from Dwell Magazine.

If you have serious culinary chops and take pride in preparing meals that wow your family and friends, keep these tips in mind when designing or renovating your kitchen.

If boiling eggs is not your forte, and you’d much rather eat out than experiment with new recipes, then a basic kitchen may be all you need. But if you’re serious about cooking and love nothing more than spending hours trying out new dishes that’ll impress guests at your next dinner party, then here are some elements to incorporate for a professional-grade kitchen.

1. The Magic Triangle

When planning the layout for your kitchen, refer to the “kitchen work triangle” with the cooking area, sink, and refrigerator at its three points. Though modern kitchens have evolved, and it is sometimes geometrically impossible to abide by this configuration (for example, in a single wall kitchen), the triangle is a good concept to keep in mind when designing to maximize functionality and ease of movement.

What they did not talk about is the new triangle, where the refrigerator is off to the side and a little out of the way.  There needs to be space across from it or beside it to put food when cooking, but it does not absolutely need to be part of the triangle anymore.  I love the cooktop part of my triangle, as I am working there, more than in the refrigerator. (unless I am really hungry)

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2. Two Sinks

Install two sinks so that you can clean fruits and vegetables in one while washing or stacking used pots and pans in the other. Ensure that the sink is deep and the faucets are high, so you don’t have to worry about water splashing onto the countertop as you strain your pasta or wash your dishes.

I have a little different take on this.  My utility room is adjacent to my kitchen, so I added a large stainless sink in there if I need a place for pots and pans.  If I am entertaining, I do not want my guests to see dirty pans in my kitchen, so this works great! 

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3. Plenty of Durable Work Counters

As a home chef, you’ll be engaged in many food preparation tasks, so think about how to maximize counter space. Surface counters made of quartz, laminates, and solid surfaces are good choices for their durability, and antibacterial and anti-staining properties. Such surfaces are ideal for areas where you’ll do the most peeling, chopping, and blending.

Quartz is the new popular countertop and it is great, but if you select a plain one, be prepared to constantly be cleaning it, as it shows every spot.  I love a good granite that hides a little.  

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4. Built-In Appliances

Integrated appliances are your best bet for freeing up space, hiding unsightly electrical cords, and getting a clean, streamlined look. Wherever possible, choose built-in ovens, dishwashers, coffee machines, microwaves, and pullout fridges. This will help free up more counter space and make your kitchen look much more inviting.

I love making my dishwasher and refrigerator look like cabinets.  Now there are drawer refrigerators and freezers.  I hide my microwave and toaster oven in my pantry.  Clean is the new look!  

5. Good Lighting

A bright kitchen is not only healthier for your eyes, it makes preparing food safer and will probably put you in a cheerier mood. Locate your kitchen close to windows or incorporate skylights to increase the amount of natural light it receives. When choosing light fixtures, consider ambient lights, task lights, and accent lights. Use down lights to prevent glare and shadows, strip lighting under cabinets, and wide-rimmed pendant lights above the bar or island counter.

In my last home I had windows under the cabinets that looked out to the garden.  It had a wonderful effect.  We added another window when we remodeled last summer to take full advantage of our water view. 

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6. Ample and Intelligent Storage

Easy and intuitive access to a large pantry, spice racks, pots and pans, utensils, dinnerware, and cutlery can make all the difference when you’re preparing a feast for a large group. Consider storage systems which hold all your kitchen basics neatly and beautifully like a secret armoire.

I personally think that although this is “cool”, there are a lot better use of space, than hanging your utensils and knives.  One knife block on the counter is quite practical. 

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen - Photo 6 of 7 - On/Off Monoblock by Boffi

7. Wine Storage Facilities

Good food isn’t complete without great wine, so consider including wine storage facilities.  We love ours and use it every day.  

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen - Photo 7 of 7 - Perlick wine cooler

 

7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen