Studio Update: Style is shifting a bit

New Painting Style Update...Purple Abstract Painting by Cortney North

Taking a different turn with my artistic style…a slight turn, but still a turn.

I’m going to keep this post brief since I’m aiming to squeeze studio time into a day that included working at the vet clinic, grocery shopping and the library. Those were accomplished before 2pm, so I’m feeling great about my efficiency today! Let’s keep it up!

Since re-opening my art business, I’ve had an idea of how I wanted my abstracts to look. I saw the style clearly in my mind. Though I was happy with my paintings, each time I finished a piece I felt a sense that it wasn’t quite ‘there’; I was seeing this ‘thing’ in my head that refused to be produced on the 2-D surface. Monday night I mentioned my frustration to my husband. He patiently listened.

We sat there studying the paintings – current and past – and analyzed them against what I was verbally telling him I wanted. Atmosphere, depth, color, sophistication, movement… I value his opinion because, like me, he has an art degree, but unlike me, he has a logical and methodical mind. He thinks in ways I do not. He knows how to find the ‘wrongs’ and make them ‘right.’ I have a tendency to get stuck in the weeds.

It took the whole evening and felt like I was back in a classroom being critiqued. But then, around the 9 o’clock hour as we poured over more details, there was clarity. As if a light bulb turned on over my head, what needed to change was so clear! He was highlighting the issues that were keeping me from reaching my next artistic level. My husband said it best when told me he had the thousand foot perspective; I was too absorbed in the trenches and couldn’t see what stifled me.

So hooray! You are going to notice a shift in my painting style, but it won’t be dramatic. The above painting isn’t done, but it is close to complete. I’m going to layer over with a lot of white, but overall, the painting will not change dramatically. My goal is to create fun, cheerful, whimsical abstract art, but I want it to be technically spot-on. Look out for my new paintings – it will be exciting to watch the evolution!


A Houzz Collection: Paths that will hopefully entice Spring to arrive!

I forced myself to be outside this winter just like the postal service – during rain, snow, sleet or shine. I believed it helped fight the winter blues last year and vowed to do it again this year. There were days when it was 13 degrees yet the sun was out and beckoned me to walk my local park’s paths. But February was so nice and I had a taste of the warmth; now I’m ready for spring. I’m ready for mild temperatures and most of all I’m ready for green leaves to come back!

I love plants. I don’t have a yard to tend, but when I do, there will be lots of gardens. My husband says I can plant and tend to my heart’s delight. His only request is for an orchard full of fruit trees. I think I can make that happen.

Gardens are magnificent sources of inspiration due to their varied hues and the high contrast values. They are the place I go for my best artistic inspiration. Because I was feeling lonely for some green leaves and yearning for garden inspiration, I searched around Houzz for some garden paths that I thought, “Yep, I could have that out my back door.”

Here’s the collection!

What I love: The mature trees, tall shrubs and winding path. It provokes the imagination when I can’t see the end of the path. My mind likes to wander and think of where the rest of the path meanders.

What I love: The mushroom lights to the right of the path and organic shape of the stones. How lovely would this be at night when the side lights are illuminating the landscape and a fire is roaring in that fireplace? Mighty lovely, I say!

What I love: The bricks and the ferns. My favorite plant is a fern. I have two (plastic) ferns proudly sitting in urns on either side of my fireplace. Ferns make my southern heart happy. The brick path is a nod to history and that adds an aged element to the garden.

What I love: It is as though I’m walking through a prairie of wildflowers without the annoying itchiness from grass and bugs. This is beautifully landscaped and the colors were well thought out.

What I love: The gradual opening up to the open grassy area. This is a unique idea and allows for an unobstructed view of the field beyond. It feels like the gradual transition from a forest into the prairie.

What I love: This would be a low maintenance garden and one I would enjoy using as an escape in the city. The space is well planned with different zones and no square foot is wasted.

What I love: The old world feel of the space. It doesn’t compete with the brick home, but acts like an extension. The jasmine must make the garden smell amazing! Those trees look like lollipops, which amuses me.

What I love: One of my favorite movies is Jurassic Park and any home or garden that could make me think, “I believe this is where I’d stay if rented a cottage at Jurassic Park” is a winner. The deep orange of the wood contrasted with the hunter green plants is a nice touch. There are no flowers that I can see, but I’m not certain they are needed in this modern, tropical garden.

What I love: The hidden garden feel of this space. Just wander down those steps and you have a reading or writing haven.

What I love: The alliums! They are one of my favorite flowers because of their whimsical shape and bold color. With the trees mimicking their shape, I just had to include this garden. It is formal, but how could I not enjoy walking up and down that soft grassy path?

Orange and Purple Abstract Art Painting by Cortney North

Printer update (hint: old printer didn’t make it) and the Enneagram (hint: this is taking over the world)

This week I am excited to announce I am the owner of a working printer. It is a new printer since my former printer decided it was ‘Time’ and went to the big printer graveyard in the sky. Or the electronics recycling warehouse graveyard. Whichever. May you RIP, Well-used Electronic.

We set up the new printer on Saturday; it was less emotionally eventful than the day the old printer crashed. I may have been having an internal meltdown on that particular day. I need you to know I am not proud of this fact and it is a topic I will address later in this post. The rest of the day was spent catching up on chores and prepping for the week. On Sunday we took an early walk – I think we were the first people out – and saw a wood duck hanging out with some mallards. It contemplated staying in the pond for a 1/2 second before flying off. Though it was short, seeing that shy, colorful bird was a treat.

Monday I posted a new print, “Diving In,” on my Etsy shop. I always love getting these posted and seeing the collection of art together in the shop gallery. It felt like an extra reward because I wanted to post this print last week until the printer said goodbye and goodnight.

Cortney North Diving In Abstract Print

Yesterday I spent half a day working on my newest painting. For me, every painting feels different during the painting process. They each bring out unique feelings/emotions/thoughts as I’m creating and responding to the colors and movement. This current painting is evoking a strong, deep sense of peace and happiness that reminds me of feelings I get when looking at a sunset or watching ocean waves. The depth of the feelings has surprised me, but in a good way.

Purple and Orange ABstract Painting by Cortney North

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been reading “The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.”  Since picking it up at the library, I’ve seen this book featured on various blogs and podcasts. It will be one of the most influential books I read this year and I won’t be surprised if it is #1.

If you are like me, I was unfamiliar with the Enneagram, which is a personality typing system similar to Myers-Briggs. Both personality typing systems are accurate, but look at different aspects of a personality. Here is a link to the book’s accompanying website if you’d like more information: The Road Back to You Website

The Road Back to You Enneagram book

When I began the book and assessed the initial descriptions, I figured I was a 4, which is The Romantic or creative personality (it seemed the obvious choice). As I began reading through the in-depth descriptions though, I found the more the authors described 9 – The Peacemaker, the more I related to it. Too much of the description was sounding like my thought process or my past behaviors. I had my husband read through the chapter and he said without a doubt this was a fantastic, compressed look at who I am. Initially I wanted him to tell me it was not me and I need to keep searching.

It took me 3 days to digest and accept what the personality profile was revealing about my innate actions. It was 100% correct, but I had never heard it described the way they explained this personality’s behaviors. It was eye-opening and parts were hard to accept. Simply put, it has humbled me.

I want to be independent and do everything on my own, but if I try that, I get stuck in a cycle of inactivity. I find I can’t succeed without a helpful person (typically my husband) encouraging me forward. This was one of many parts of the personality’s description that I didn’t want to accept.

At first it felt like weakness, but as I’ve considered the idea over the past weeks, I realize it is a blessing. What if I could do it all myself? If I could be 100% independent and never rely on another person because I had all the strengths in all areas? I’d never let other people shine and be grateful for their gifts. I would not experience the awe that comes from asking for assistance from people who can do well what I cannot such as: math/being detail-oriented/thinking methodically/having strong persistence/organization (I’m looking at my husband with these descriptors).

I like this new way of viewing the world though it caused some initial tears of embarrassment and hurt pride. I have strengths that other people marvel at and I have weaknesses that allow me to marvel at others (seriously, you math-inclined people. My personality plus some strong dyslexia makes math/physics/logical-systematic thinking a mountain I cannot not climb.). Maybe it is that peacemaker-nature that loves this idea of everyone needing one another, but it’s how I feel deep inside. I want you to share your accounting skills with me (and by share I mean do it for me) and I’ll share my art skills with you. I want you to teach me the art of conflict (because it terrifies me) and I’ll share how to use softer words to present the conflict in a more successful way.

You can imagine after I was done with my personality, I was searching for my husband’s so I could know more about him. He’s a 5 – The Investigator and it was a delight to learn all about him. He has always fascinated me and so I had a whole chapter to learn about the enigma that is his personality. To say that the Enneagram feels like a cheat-sheet for our interactions is an understatement. It will be a valuable tool for our marriage.

Though I’d prefer to be guarded and not post this information, I’m choosing to be open and share something that truly knocked my socks off. Knowing yourself is one of the best tools for moving forward in life and happiness and I believe it is worth investigating.

I also believe it is this knowledge that helps you understand why you have a panicked meltdown when your printer breaks in the middle of a workday. You tried to maintain a stiff upper lip, but inside you reached critical mass and the core’s walls were coming down. This is what I mean by feeling embarrassment after learning about myself. At least now I can own it. Maybe the alternate title of the Enneagram book should be “Own your crazy!” Well, I own it, meltdowns and all.


Screenshots of what I’m loving right now!

Well, I’m not even sure how to start this post because there is so much spinning around in my head. Yesterday I wanted to have the painting shown below ready to sell in print form on Etsy.

I really, really like this painting. It is a slight variation on my normal style due to the larger, sweeping brush strokes, but it creates such a dynamic piece. I was so excited to post it! Then my printer went on the fritz. I figured the error message was alerting me to change the ink. Oh no, I was wrong. It seems as though the printer was telling me it had died. Fatal error. No more printer.


Could I say I used the life out of the printer? Yes. Could I say it died from too much excitement with printing the above painting? I’d like to think so… it at least puts a silver lining on the whole situation.

My husband wants to take a look at the printer to make sure it is completely dead instead of almost dead such as in The Princess Bride. I’m less optimistic for a miraculous electronic resuscitation. The tech support guy made some highly unfavorable sounds when I answered his list of questions and then told me he would send a discount code with a website to purchase a new printer. Apparently the problems I have can’t be solved over the phone. Let’s assume he meant the printer, but in truth, that’s probably an accurate statement for most of us.

I’m thinking my printer’s story is coming to an end, but in happier news, I thought I’d share some screenshots of things I’m enjoying right now. They are keeping my spirits up despite the dark, printing times.

Harney & Sons Paris tea

Oh man, I love this tea. I first had it at the Cambridge Tea House in Grandview. I dreamed about it for a year, told my husband how fruity and vanilla-y it tasted and counted the days before I could have it again. Then I found it at Target of all places! I’ve been dreaming about this tea, which I walked past once a month for a year until my eyes were opened. There is some great message to be extrapolated from that if only my mind wasn’t fried by how to fix my printer. This glorious tea has flavors of black currant, caramel and vanilla. It is such a dessert-like treat on a cold day.


At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

A fascinating read! I’ve been reading this book slowly over the past month and haven’t been able to get too far due to my attention being directed elsewhere. I really enjoy learning how our homes evolved from one room spaces into what they are now. If history intrigues you and you’re a lover of random facts, this would be an enjoyable book. Also, some reviews on Goodreads said people thought the book jumped around or felt disjointed. I’m reading it in small chunks, so that aspect doesn’t stand out to me.


Nature: Spy in the Wild

This show is intriguing and captivating! The spy animals are comical, if not a bit eerie such as the orangutan above. What I’d love to know is if the observed behaviors “caught by the spy animals” are novel or if they’ve been observed by researchers prior to this show. It is a fun concept to see if animals would recognize and/or accept these imposters as their own kind and act normally with the new animal around. It is light-hearted, educating and so far the stories have ended well. This is an important point for me with any animal show. I acknowledge that animals eat animals, but I don’t want to watch it.


Trader Joe’s Honey Walnut Shrimp and Riced Cauliflower

I’ll just tell you something everyone who knows me already knows: I love Trader Joe’s. I pretty much only grocery shop at Trader Joe’s. My husband and I find they have everything we need and it is located just up the road. Convenience + goodness + good prices = sold! The other day I picked up the Honey Walnut Shrimp to have as a quick dinner and we were very happy with our choice. It is sweet, which you’d expect for a dish named “honey shrimp.” If you are like me and prefer non-sweet dishes, this wouldn’t be the ideal pick for you. When we made it, my husband received most of the sauce and that worked well. It is simple to cook in a skillet and great with riced cauliflower if you’re looking to avoid some carbs. We thought it was delicious!


Coral and Pink Abstract Painting with paint drips by Cortney North

What’s new with me and inspiring art studios

Do your weeks feel as though they last 4 days instead of 7? That has been my normal for a bit now and I’d like to change that setting (but still get just as much work done)! I’m not sure what happened to last week and then I looked up today and realized it is Thursday. Well. Hello and good bye week – at least you were a productive one! On the upside, that means Friday is tomorrow and that is always good!

I haven’t really posted anything personal since re-opening my shop and thought I should give a little update:

– I took last year off from my art business to help my friend set up her veterinary practice, which was quite a rewarding experience. Now I work there part time and it is extremely busy. It’s fun and interesting work and it surely keeps me hopping!

– I’ve been working hard to turn my paintings into prints. There were paintings I created 2-4 years ago that I wanted to turn into prints, but didn’t have the technology at that time to do so. With the tech issue remedied, I had the time and worked during my afternoons and evenings to get those posted to Etsy. At this point they are all up! That felt like a big victory after 2-3 weeks of very hard work.

– Once I posted those prints, I was able to free up some time to paint again. It is interesting how much time I could spend focusing on the business side of this art business – it is more than I ever expected! But I get a little twitchy if I don’t paint after a few days and besides, you can’t have an art business without art. I need to be creative and let the colors out! I try to schedule 2-3 afternoons/evenings per week for painting exclusively and so far it has been a good system.

– I want to expand what I paint to include animals and flowers. For now I have 2 abstract paintings in the works, but after those two are complete, I’m going to work on a floral or animal painting. The fun part will be keeping them my style with the touches of realism. I’m excited about the new adventure and can’t wait to get started!

– I created an Instagram account and have been keeping it updated on my latest works-in-progress. I’m still learning how to best use that social media platform, but I like the idea that it is a quick, visual update on what is happening in my studio.

And speaking of studio, I was looking on a fellow artist’s Instagram account and was inspired by her light-filled studio. My studio is our spare bedroom, which we designated as the office/studio space upon move in. It is sizable with a large window and off-white walls, so I’m quite happy with it, but I also like to dream about other possibilities for the future.

Here are a few I found on Houzz that tickled my fancy.

East Hampton Artist Studio

I noticed if I paint in a room with a wall color other than white/off-white, I make all of my paintings coordinate with the paint color. It was a funny discovery and good too know – my brain can’t tolerate having mismatching/non-cohesive colors together. The windows being up high as a clerestory is a plus in this space. The outdoors can be distracting if I’m trying to really focus and get work done!


Rustic Home Office

I’ve been loving the idea of wood floors in the studio. My favorite wood floors are old, heart (slow-growth) pine floors. This studio makes me think of the old Flemish masters for some reason. Maybe it’s the architecture?


Quantum Windows & Doors | FINNE Architects | Gordon Gibson Construction

Very contemporary and funky, the black beams are a bit too dark for me (I’d use white), but I like the folding-panel wall idea. I have a ceramics wheel and in my next studio space, I plan to break it out of it’s protective box. Clay dust can be a problem in the 2-D studio. I like the idea of having this removable divider in case the ceramic creative bug strikes. I’ll assemble the wall and no worries about clay dust covering my paintings!


van Adelsberg Grant Art Studio

I may like the idea of the clerestory, but this view would be a grand sight everyday. All of the natural light would be glorious too.


Vada Dr. Art Studio

I have many of the paint half-gallons shown on the shelves in this photo on the bookcase beside me. They were from a mural project a few years back and I’m still getting use from them! What I like about this studio space is the loft. I would likely use it as a writing space.


Artist Studio

Well, I can only imagine how happy this artist is to be painting in such an inspiring space! Wow this is impressive. This would be an easy studio to spend the day painting away. Tall windows and wood floors – I’m sold!


Artist Studio

I pulled the studio’s images from one of my blogs from years ago. It hasn’t left my mind all these years later and would be the top contender for ‘my favorite studio space.’ The hallway (shown below) connects the owner’s home to this space. There is a loft and wood floors and so much light. I have not a bad thing to say about it – well done all who worked to create this beauty!

Artist Studio

Houzz Finds: Bird Bathroom Ideas

Given the title of the post, you may wonder why I care about designing a bird bathroom. It is a fair question albeit not quite accurate. What I mean by ‘bird bathroom’ is bird-themed bathroom. I have an interesting (people like my husband would call it an odd/unusual/strange) fascination for birds adorning a bathroom.

I have loved this idea since I first saw designer Sarah Richardson place the wallpaper (shown below) in a powder room. This is not her interior design, but one I found on Houzz with the same wallpaper.

Farmhouse Bathroom

I chalk this up to being one of those whimsical features about me because I like birds, but I will never have a bird for a pet. I like them outside where I don’t have to touch them or clean up after them. But I’m happy to have them enter my home in the form of wallpaper! Why? It’s probably the nature-lover inside me.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I feel the need to admit that my husband is not on board with this plan. He’s known for years that I want to have bird wallpaper on the walls in a powder room. He’s not a fan. He’s not sold. He’s told me I can do what I want with that bathroom, but he never has to step foot in it. I’m sure everyone has this in their relationship.

Let’s be honest, it’s probably not related to bird wallpaper, but I’m sure there’s a design impasse lurking somewhere. Just know it’s normal and tell your significant other to find comfort that their dilemma could be worse – at least they don’t have the looming dread of birds popping up in a powder room.

I’ve declared I’m going to find a way to make this work for both of us! I’m nothing if not determined! This is what I’m going to do: I’m going to show this post to my husband and see if one of the designs I picked could be a compromise of birds for me and non-crazy bird room for him. I’ll post his thoughts with each design. Wish me luck!

Penn Valley

This wallpaper is vibrant and energetic. I likely would not chose this print/colorway, but I really like the youthfulness and tropical feel of the room. For my preference, this much wallpaper is verging on overwhelming, so I would have the tile extend further up the wall and leave a 1 foot space for the wallpaper between the molding and tile.

Husband’s take: Do you really have to ask?


Farmhouse Bathroom

I enjoy the vine-like quality of this wallpaper. The room has a cheerful, fresh atmosphere, which is aided by the light colors and sunny yellow accents. This wallpaper brings the outside indoors and creates a garden feel to the space.

Husband’s take: There is a lot of movement and it’s too vibrant.


Traditional Bathroom

This is the same wallpaper as the above room, but different colorway. This has a contemporary feel and seems to be nodding in the direction of toile. Because there are two colors (blue and white), I would feel comfortable leaving the paneling at the height shown.

Husband’s take: I don’t mind this. I could live with it.


Portland Mid-Century Modern

This wallpaper is modern and sophisticated, which is perfectly displayed in this equally modern bathroom design. The graphic quality allows for so much variation in the room concerning colors, design style and fixture matches.

Elegant Redo of a Hollywood Spanish Colonial

The two rooms are so different in feel and for my design preference, I lean towards this one. Because the pattern has a long gap before it repeats, I would do this wallpaper in a floor to ceiling style as shown above. But – I would only do one wall. I like the idea of having an accent wall with this design and the other three walls painted white OR I would have the accent wall and add plate rail height paneling (leaving 1 foot between ceiling and rail) on the other three walls. The space between ceiling and rail would be filled in with wallpaper.

Husband’s take: I like that the trees and birds are silhouettes. I could see this working if it were only on one wall.


Beechwood & Llewellyn

This bird and rabbit wallpaper is a complete detour from the modern design above. It is a classic combination of teal and gold. I love the old-world feel of the design. Used in this room with so much layered on top of it, the wallpaper becomes a texture and doesn’t jump out as much as the other designs I’ve shown. The contrast is low and does not lend itself to becoming overwhelming.

Husband’s take: It feels country to me. I like that it reads as a texture rather than as a wallpaper. Side note: country is not always a good thing for me.


Snug yet elegant powder room

This room is so interesting that it had to be added in despite the fact that there are no birds! There are trees and thus a similar design could be created that added a few birds into the mix. Or I could paint them in. Just as the above design was more textural, this monochromatic design becomes a texture rather than overt design. It is accessible because of this. To me, though, it is no less powerful as a wallpaper.

Husband’s take: Love it! It is subtle yet sophisticated. It could stand to have a few birds in the trees.


Kangaroo Point Residence #2

This wallpaper design was such a deviation from the others above that I wanted to include it. It is bold and graphic because of the high contrast of colors, but feels traditional due to the realistic imagery. Overall the space is well composed. If you’re looking to make a statement, this is a good choice.

Husband’s take: I don’t like this at all. It makes me think of ugly drapes at a grandma’s house or malachite slab designs people use to decorate their walls.


Searidge/Wikwood Associates

I’ve included this as an example of the higher paneling and how it works with the bold wallpaper. This particular wallpaper design isn’t one I would chose.

Husband’s take: I don’t like it.

I just did the tally and it looks like there are two ‘maybe’s’ and one ‘yes.’ That feels like a victory!

What this exercise taught me is that I like the idea of a bold pattern in a powder room and he prefers a subtle pattern that reads as a texture. Ergo the birds aren’t the issue, it’s the vibrancy and boldness of the design that typically accompanies the birds that is unappealing to him. Hmm, you learn something new everyday!

Turquoise Waters Fine Art Print Close Up

New Prints in Shop: “Turquoise Waters” and “Autumn Impression”

I completed these paintings a number of years ago, back in 2013 to be exact. I still enjoy viewing them, so they made the cut for prints that would go up on the Etsy shop.

"Turquoise Waters" Fine Art Print by Cortney North in white frame, blue and green water painting

“Turquoise Waters” Fine Art Print by Cortney North, available in 8×10, 11×14 and 13×19 (inches)

“Turquoise Waters” is a style that brings me a lot of happiness. It is soothing to create paintings that have the feel of calm water and it allows me to work with some of my favorite colors!

This painting is 24″x12″ and was sold a few years ago. “Turquoise Waters” would look fantastic in almost any room with almost any design style because it is subdued and relaxing. It would be especially great in a bathroom, beach-inspired room and living room.

(Addendum: After writing this post, my mind has been trying to figure out a style that would clash with “Turquoise Waters” and I’m coming up empty-handed. My thoughts went immediately to southwestern design, but I think the orange/red palettes and strong patterns would compliment the organic design elements of the print. Hmm, maybe it’s a universal print?)

Autumn Impression Fine Art Print by Cortney North in white frame, autumn inspired painting, red and orange abstract art print

“Autumn Impression” Fine Art Print by Cortney North, available in 8×10, 11×14 and 13×19 (inches)

My most specific memory of creating “Autumn Impression” was that it was completed in a whirlwind. Something struck me about the colors of autumn – you could call it having a bee in my bonnet – and it escaped onto the canvas. I kept the scarlet reds to a minimum and focused on orange/red-orange, gold and lemon yellow. I wasn’t going for a showcase of peak fall color, but rather the variety of colors trees and bushes display over the course of the season.

The original painting is quite large, 24″x36″. Its new home is a light-filled dining room, where it recides above a large dining buffet and steals the show against a warm gray wall. The crystal buffet lamps flanking the art piece only add to the splendor.

Houzz picks: Eclectic exteriors and some tropical therapy

I’ve been on a modern design kick. It was a sudden change a few months ago and I’m still a bit surprised by it. I was set on French country mixed with contemporary plus some rustic, then out of nowhere I began to enjoy ultra-modern spaces. Some of the designs I like could pass as businesses or laboratories, but the style gets my artistic vibes going in all types of happy directions.

What happened? I don’t know. Maybe my eye overloaded on farm/rustic/french country and revolted to the opposite corner? Keeping this in mind, here are some Houzz photos that caught my eye this week. They are an eclectic blend.

Contemporary Open Home

The clean lines with simple, geometric shapes brings a smile to my face. I enjoy the contrast of light stone with black window framing. I’m sure if I were standing indoors in this home, the outdoors would feel like part of the space due to all of the windows.


Hilltop House | Grand Vista Subdivision

I really, really like this architecture. I love the wooden elements juxtaposed with the metal siding. All of the geometry makes my heart sing. It blends so well into the surrounding environment – it holds its own against the trees, but doesn’t intrude. This also looks like a home straight from a sci-fi movie, which only adds points in its favor.


Green Oaks Atherton

My husband has not fully jumped on the modern bandwagon with me and his style leans towards French Country (read: castle homes). The architecture of this home is enveloped by the surrounding garden, which gives it an older, soulful feel. It’s a very elegant design.


Olive Mill

The same idea of the garden enveloping the home is felt in this photo. It seems aged and rustic, which is appropriate for a country home. The colors blend well with nature and the multi-hued roof is an interesting touch.


Trigg House

When I saw this photo, I knew it had to go up! This whole space is art – the art fixture, the wall treatment, the recessed alcoves for art – it’s all so cool! I don’t get warm and fuzzy vibes from this space, but it fascinates me.


Delaware Beach House with Reclaimed Wood Beams

I still enjoy rustic, french country design, but I want to see some unique touches if I’m going to ‘favorite’ something. This room has two items that caught my attention. The first is the rope holding back the off-white curtains. The design choice was unexpected and gave this space an instant beach feel without screaming ‘I’m a beach house.’ The second is the deep gray ceiling. In combination with the wood beams, this treatment makes the space feel old-world and brings the room’s soaring ceiling to a more cozy aesthetic height.


Representative Project

This room is rustic and modern – the modern touch coming from the large window. This feels more like an atrium than a dining room, which is my ideal room. If I could live in a greenhouse I would. With the floor to ceiling windows, trees and stone/brick floor, this room is edging close a greenhouse and I like it!


Hastings, Bainbridge Island, WA

I’ve had this photo saved in my ideabook for some time. My favorite complimentary color combo is purple and yellow and the addition of lively green appealed to me. I see this and think “color inspiration for a future painting.”


Davids Garden

And now to this photo. This was saved because it is 20 degrees outside (and falling), the skies were gray when I took my afternoon walk, but turned sunny as soon as I got inside. I need to remember there is green, lush landscape somewhere on this planet. A visual escape, that is why this photo is here.


Davids Garden

And ditto for this photo. Ah, green, you are so lovely!

Cortney North Abstract Fine Art Painting, small version of 'Quietude'

New Prints in Shop: “Imagination” and “Quietude”

Last week I was focused on getting new prints in the shop. It just so happens that both originals of these prints are displayed in our home. My husband is very partial to “Imagination” and I’m partial to “Quietude.” We had a discussion recently about listing original paintings for sale and when I mentioned “Imagination” going onto that list, he quickly took it off. It made my heart happy how much passion he showed for not wanting to part with it. Not for sale yet, I guess!

Aqua, turquoise, ultramarine abstract art print by CortneyNorth

“Imagination” by Cortney North, 12″x12″ fine art print

“Imagination” was completed a few years ago and has been on display in our home ever since. At present, we have this hanging in the hallway just outside our bedroom door. It’s an energetic piece and one we haven’t tired of seeing multiple times per day. The painting is full of aqua, lime green, ultramarine and turquoise. Some of these colors didn’t translate to the print, but I’ve worked diligently to get them as close as possible. I insisted the tropical water vibe be present for the print since this was the entire inspiration for the painting.

Imagination Art Print by Cortney North with frame

My eye zooms around the piece, going from the circular shapes down the liquid drips to the darker, ultramarine areas. I did a splatter technique with this painting. It was a lot of fun to sling the paint around and quite the art to get the splatters just the density and diameter I was hoping to achieve. It’s was not easy to achieve the look I wanted and required calculation and skill!

"Quietude" Art Print by Cortney North - Blue and coral abstract painting

“Quietude” by Cortney North, 12″x12″ fine art print

“Quietude” is on display in my bedroom, propped up on my bedside table beside my chunky wooden lamp. For some time I didn’t have the coral accents in the painting, but I felt it needed something to elevate it from a solely cool color palette. A few touches of the glamorous color was what it took to bring the painting to a heightened level.

"Quietude" by Cortney North, coral, blue and purple fine art abstract print

On the Etsy listing, I wrote that this painting reminded me of sitting in a field just after sunset. The coral and lavender accents are like flowers that still catch what remains of the light. Lightning bugs are beginning to appear and glitter in the darkening landscape. It’s quiet except for crickets sending out their mating songs. These moments are my favorite because of the stillness encompassing me. It’s no wonder I love this painting most in the middle of winter. It helps me remember those warm, gentle evenings.

To purchase a print of one or both of these great paintings, you can visit my Etsy shop or navigate to the Shop in my website, which will take you to Etsy.

Varying Oranges arranged in a striped pattern

Peach, Coral and Pumpkin: Bedrooms in Orange

I love colors! But there is an exception and I’m going to let you in on the secret. It’s one many people don’t know about me. I don’t like the color red. It is a visceral reaction – one I wish I didn’t have given I live in the land of OSU Buckeyes and their bright scarlet – but it exists nonetheless. I’ve tried to overcome my dislike, even to the point of trying to paint solely with red, but I think the experiment caused me to dislike it more. Whoops…

I’m sure you have a color aversion as well. That color that makes your skin crawl when you see it. A popular one I hear is green, specifically light green. Another is orange. I just read a study that people increasingly dislike orange as they age. That fascinated me. Why does orange fall out of favor as we get older?

Perhaps as we age we begin to only associate orange with ‘pumpkin orange?’ Or maybe there’s an unfavorable company we deal with as we get older and their branding is orange? I have no idea. I can agree that pumpkin orange isn’t my favorite in the orange line up, but orange has a big family!

As I considered the idea, I realized I’m embracing orange more as I get older. I’m on a coral kick at the moment. I also very much appreciate peach. Both of these are wildly popular in our culture at the moment.

Inspired by orange, I’ve searched Houzz for some bedrooms that highlight the Orange Family of Colors. You might be surprised how much you like the different takes on this underdog of the color wheel.

Master Bedroom

‘The Suite is Ready for You’ Room – I had to consider this room for some time, but now I appreciate it for the timelessness it displays. It is sophisticated and makes me think the room was once burnished with a coat of rose gold. With warm, luxurious, silky fabrics and metallic accents, it is a nod to high-class hotel style. The white and cream accents are needed to give buoyancy and offer a modern vibe.


Ponte Vedra Beach Residence

Rise and Shine Room – This bedroom captured my attention right away. The orange is bold and if I were the designer of the space, I would have experienced a sleepless night prior to putting this color on the walls. It is paired with its color compliment, blue, along with the strong contrast of white and black. With the vibrant color and value contrasts, the room isn’t calm, but it isn’t overwhelming either. It’s producing a good, happy energy that I enjoy.


Master Bedroom

Peach Fizz Room – This is the opposite of the room above in terms of energy level. The subdued peach provides a sunny, creamy accent that keeps the room from being bland. I love the punches of dark brown/purple (I can’t quite tell from my vantage point) and lime green. This, again, is high contrast with black and white, but the dialed-down vibrancy of the peach allows for a calm feeling. Spending a night here would feel like a quaint retreat.


Society Social

Melon Magnificence Room – This is a beautiful color and one of those oranges that I’m giddy about right now. The room feels feminine and bold and I love the pink and gold accents. Just like the other spaces, it needs the large amounts of white to balance out the intensity of the color. This color screams youthful energy to me and that is always a good thing!


Positively Pretty

Inside the Seashell Room – I’m noticing a trend in the photos I’ve chosen that orange is standing on its own without a lot of competing colors. The one-color dominance of this room allows for a relaxed, calming space. This beautiful color reminds me of a conch shell’s interior. To replicate this look would be easy given the popularity of crystal lamps and white furniture. You’re letting the paint color do all the speaking, design-wise.


Parlette Residence

Coral Pop Room – Ultra modern and simple, but ultra cool. The vibrant, bold color appealed to me. Keeping everything simple is key when using such an eye-catching, large focal point. The black and white graphic pillow breaks up the monotony and ties in the black accents such as the beside lights and cabinet hardware. I likely would have put black and white prints on the wall compared to the blueish tinted photos, but I like the color compliment being displayed. The wood accents are a secondary color along with white.

All of these photos are linked to Houzz, so you can check out the rooms in more detail!