Memory of my first art teacher

Oscar Wilde Quote
Two evenings ago, I was watching a beautiful sunset full of the colors of sherbet. The sun kept highlighting the clouds in such a way that made me think, “I need to recreate this in a painting.” I wasn’t sure where the camera was, but I could have walked to get it. I didn’t, however because the scene kept changing and evolving, becoming richer the lower the sun moved.

I continued to watch and reflect; I was taken down multiple trails as my mind roamed through old memories. I was taken back to elementary school and the first day I met my art teacher. It was Open House night. She was standing just inside the doorway, welcoming each of the students along with their parents. There she was, with at least 8 earrings hooked into her ears, a long white apron and long, curly brown hair that seemed like a piece of art itself. She said something to my parents that I don’t recall. She was friendly and jovial. I remember nothing else from that evening or subsequent Open Houses. Just that moment of walking in the door, my parents standing behind me and this art teacher to my left.

At first I enjoyed reliving the moment, but then the question popped into my head: Why did that moment make such a deep impact?

I don’t know. It might have been the first time I saw someone with so many piercings and with a paint-covered apron, but I highly doubt it. It was the early nineties. That was the thing to do.

I reflected for a long while. My elementary art teacher was a free spirit, but with the reined in sensibilities of a teacher. She was genuine, spirited and fun. Maybe I thought, “Wow, a real, live artist! And she’s my teacher!”

I think there was something inside me that resonated with this person, who had a connection with art. It has been this way throughout my life. I have a catalog of art-related moments; moments when I was in an art class, memories of art museums, every conversation when someone encouraged me about my art, remembering just as many negative conversations.

I wonder if some of the reason I was so contemplative was due to me getting back into art. I want to be clear that only a year ago, I had decided to never paint, sculpt, draw again. I had had enough and wanted a different path. I buried it, along with my art supplies. I moved on leaving it in the dirt.

But what I didn’t realize was that wasn’t my decision to make. I know I have a gift with art, but I’m not the one who created that gift inside me, it was God.

I tried to turn a different way, “I’ll pick up a different gift and everything will be fine,” I said. But it is interesting how other people didn’t let that happen. It was as though they were strategically placed. I would be encouraged, subtly and not so subtly, by friends and family that my artwork was “so beautiful. Wouldn’t it be great to be in this gallery? Or maybe you could do “x, y or z?” At the time, I was resentful, I felt like those people weren’t listening to my words; I gave up art, didn’t you hear me? Insert stamping feet and balled up fists here.

Now, after some perspective, their kind words make sense along my timeline. I gave up art, but God had other plans. He showed me the demon I had made art into. It was stressful, it was a job, it was a chore, it was a source of horrible self-criticism. He never meant art to become that in my life. It was correct to give up the art I had created in order to embrace the idea of what God had created art to be for us.

I’m very grateful he re-taught me and had me remember through that sunset.

That sunset was like an affirmation. “Remember when you first walked into that art classroom, the teacher was smiling, while wearing her art apron, the smell was of paint and paper and whatever else creates that familiar art room smell? Remember the possibilities? Ah, yes, you do remember and you’re living in that newness again. Treasure it, guard it, relish it. It is a gift.”

Middle of painting

Today’s post will be a shorter one since I’m in the middle of a large painting. This one, in fact. Painting in Progress

It is going to require many, many layers to get the depth that I want. I have no idea how many it already has. If you made me guess, I’d say in the neighborhood of 25-30 layers. There might be just that many to go.

This is where it is heading… SeashorePainting

I worked on this painting last week and into the weekend. I was after soft, sea-inspired colors. Like my other two paintings, this will be for sale soon. It is 12″x12″ with a depth of 1.5″. This painting was cheering me up when the skies were a solid sheet of gray. It was dreary last week, so I’m glad for paintings that allow me to see some color!

Current Palette And here is the paint palette. What a combination of colors!

In addition to painting this weekend, I wrote a little in my science fiction novel. This past week also marked my switch to exercising more, eating healthily and eating less. This means I was the delightful combination of tired, sore and hungry as I adjusted to the new schedule. This weekend seemed to bring me a respite – and a cheat meal. Today, I feel much better so I’m over the first difficult hurdle, surviving the first week!

I believe I’ve allowed enough time for the paint to dry and it is time for another layer to be added. Back to the canvas!

The newest paintings have been photographed!

Here they are, the two newest paintings I’ve completed!

Blue, Green and Turquoise Abstract Painting

“Gratitude” 20″x20″ Original Painting

Side view of Gratitude

Blue, Green and Turquoise Abstract Painting with paint splatters

“Imagination” 12″x12″ Original Painting

Side View of Imagination Painting

 

For these two paintings, I was extremely excited to watch the transformation as I added more layers to the canvas. The depth and contrast worked together towards the ultimate concept I had in my mind: tropical water. The movement of water from waterfalls, from splashes, from leaves reaching just into the surface were my inspiration. Lime green, turquoise, primary blue, and gray are the main players in each painting’s color palette. These colors make my soul a little more warm on this bitterly cold January day.

And writing about these colors brings me to another point; one that is more personal and concerns the color intensity of my paintings. The colors in the paintings above are bright and vibrant. As I was considering what colors I should work with – especially since these paintings were a “beginning again” of my art – I reflected back on my prior paintings. When I considered the paintings that made me feel most alive while painting – and the ones I am still most drawn to – it was the vibrant paintings that felt the most authentic.

I live in Ohio, which is clearly not a tropical locale and generally the colors used in interior design in this area are neutral. In fact, after hearing that I’m an artist, I had multiple people tell me they were afraid of color. That being the case, my logic wanted to create art that involved a lot of neutrals to keep it comfortable for potential buyers. I assumed my vibrant palettes were “too much” or “bad” and so I changed to fit a mold. But this was another point of internal frustration that caused me to step away from art for the past year. I wasn’t authentic and it shut down my creativity.

This was valuable insight and I was glad I had my honest reflection. It helped me realize that I love bright color and I need to unashamedly use it! I promised myself that when I picked my future color palettes, I would stay true to myself, be authentic and not allow myself to believe a lie that vibrant color doesn’t have a place. But, as with anything in life, that doesn’t mean I will never work with a more neutral palette; I still get moved by all colors. Just yesterday I looked outside and felt very inspired by the palette of slate blue, deep warm gray, creamy white, burnt umber, and rich spruce green.

Snowy Color Palette

Yes, there are some brighter notes, but the grays, browns and blues are the stars here.

Perhaps the take away point is that I want to create from inspiration, not pressure or expectation. Plus, there have to be people in the Midwest who love bright color, but if not, that’s okay. I can ship!

And speaking of shipping, that is the final piece of the puzzle for having these ready for sale. Once those details are calculated, these cheerful paintings will be posted on Etsy! Also, thanks for letting me be honest – it feels mighty great!

Painting Palette Pictures

The sides of the paintings are almost complete. It took more coats of paint than I realized and – due to the very dry air – the paint dried almost on contact with the canvas. It was a balancing act between keeping the paint wet enough to spread and not having drips run down the sides.

Since the sun is shining again today, I am going to add ‘photographing the paintings’ to my agenda. That will help me stay on track for having the paintings for sale by the end of this week, which is – as I look at my calendar – tomorrow. Best get moving!

Before I head out, I wanted to share pictures of my paint palette. I’ve always loved the color combinations and layers created on a paint palette. Typically there is some thought as to where a color will go on my palette, but some times I get swept up in the creative moment; I just look for available space to mix my colors. My palette is always changing and I thought I should capture the stages of its evolution. Here is today’s collection of palette abstracts and my brief thoughts.

Painting Palette

A complex reflection on the textural state of art or a mountainous topographical weather map with some severe storms moving in.

Painting Palette 2

A visual representation of our society’s view of cool colors overshadowing warm colors or green slime overtaking a tropical topographical weather map.

Palette3

I see a forest in the foreground, mountains is the middle ground and to the right, a plume of volcanic cloud preceded by red fiery ash. The left has a fiery volcano too. This valley does not look like an ideal place to live.

Palette4

And the final photo of the day. This is the palette of my heart. No joking here, the colors are too lovely.

Work while the sun shines…

Painting has been extremely enjoyable the past few days. I am doing a better job of knowing when to take a mental break, when to stop for lunch and snack breaks, and the like. My new approach is working! I’ve been staying energized the whole way through both of my recent paintings and, even more surprising to me, have been much more efficient. Who knew that breaks could equal productivity? Probably a bunch of people…ah, well…

I wanted to show you a portion of one painting I’m working on. I need to finish the sides of both paintings before I post them for sale. I’m hoping they will be available for purchase by the end of this week. Blue and Green Painting

The photo below shows the main paint colors I’ve been using. Colors of spring/summer? Primary blue = blue summer sky, Bright Aqua Green = leaves, Light Blue = summer sky with fluffy clouds. The leaves are long gone and the skies – except for the past day and a half – have been cloudy. If I can’t find green and blue in nature, I guess I put it on the canvas. Maybe a form of color therapy?

Paint Colors

Or it may just be that these are my favorite colors. They are so lovely.

Since I’m ready to start the day, I’m going to keep this post short in order to finish up those canvases. The sun is shining (hooray!!) and that is the best time for me to work.

My wishes to you for a great day!

Setting some resolutions

This past weekend was all about rest. Each of the days were spent in a mixture of doing chores, playing games, painting, and sitting on the couch. I did watch the ball drop, but it was by chance that I caught it. It was by chance that I was even awake.

I’m glad I watched the bling-y ball introduce a new year. I’m not one for ever setting resolutions. This year, however, my husband and I found that in mid November, there were three principles that kept moving in our hearts: love, joy and balance.

It all started with both of us praying separately for changes. I knew I couldn’t continue the way I was currently existing, which was just putting one foot in front of the other. I needed to have more life in my life, more passion, more interest. I prayed that opportunities would come that would highlight my gifts and talents. My husband was praying for the same. We both felt quiet promptings stir up within us over the next week. One night, as we shared our honest feelings to each other, we realized God was telling us to focus on 3 things; love, joy and balance in our lives.

As we discussed how to work on gaining these in our lives, we realized they were strongly interconnected; to work on one means you’re probably working on another.

We first discussed what it could mean to work on love. We love and respect each other and others, but I’m not sure we always love and respect ourselves as much as we should. Then there is the idea of accepting God’s love for us, which is a different and difficult undertaking altogether. Love is such a huge concept, it may take our whole lives to begin to scratch the surface of loving well.

Joy is another one that I’ve wanted in my life for awhile. We’ve been down some tough roads and I knew my spirit of joy was a casualty. To meet me, you would think I’m a person who has a lot of joy because I’m peppy and enthusiastic. But that is displaying something different. In my heart, I was lacking in joy. I wanted it and craved it over the past few years, but felt suffocated in life’s events that I overlooked it.

To my surprise, joy was easier to work on than I expected. As a start, I focused on the small, simple moments of life and tried to fully enjoy them. Joy seems to be tied to not looking at the past, not looking at the future, but looking at the moment surrounding me. It means enjoying the sun shining on my face after days of dark skies, the taste of freshly brewed coffee on a cold morning, the sweet smell of winter when I’m out on a walk.

Balance is a word that makes me scratch my head. I have been on either extreme of balance – being overly scheduled to, most recently, not scheduled at all – and neither one enabled me to be my best. I’m a workaholic by nature, but once I walked away from my art, it seemed that my workaholic nature fell away and took a lot of motivation with it. I haven’t been lazy, but I know I wasn’t achieving my best.

Thus far, balance has been a cautious journey and it has already been a challenge. For me, there is joy that comes from having a hard day’s work, in being scheduled and checking off items on the list. As I recognize God’s encouragement to move back into producing art, I am timid. I feel lots of energy, a deep well of it since I had so much time off. I could become extremely disciplined, get up at a very early hour, begin to work and produce every day, trying to check off fifteen or a hundred items on my work list everyday. But I know this is not balance. Getting up early is fine, and I’ve started to do that, but it involves working out and eating breakfast with my husband instead of jumping right into work.

Balancing my work flow will be another hurdle. When I’m creating, time becomes a forgotten concept thanks to my left brain allowing the right brain to have dominance. I can’t easily say, noon to 1p will be my lunch hour and I’ll get back to creating at 1:01p. Balance with this schedule, especially since I also work part time outside the house, will be working on my art when I have a block of time and protecting my creativity when I begin to feel exhausted. This could mean not painting for a day if I’ve had a particularly stressful day at work. I’ve only recently understood that resting after something stressful is kind and healthy instead of lazy and indulgent. What I do know is I’m not great at seeing the warning signs of burn out until I’m staring it in the face. And when I stare it in the face, I’m miserable, my husband is likely unhappy and there is a lack of love and joy. This is what I do know: Balance is going to look a lot like learning about myself and defending joy and love.

I doubt these are true resolutions as they seem more akin to ways to lead a happier, healthier life, but the timing was appropriate. I hope your New Year’s weekend was an enjoyable one and that you’re starting the year off on the best foot! Cheers to a great new year!

Finding my wild creativity once again

I was a quitter.

But I would have never guessed some time off would be so cathartic. I thought it would have felt like a lot of laziness. And it did at times, especially early on. It felt a lot like I gave up. It felt like I was living a tough time in my life. It was a little brutal, this time away from writing, art and, what felt like, my life.

There was a battle raging inside me, though, and it needed to be resolved if I was ever going to healthily move forward. There was a lot of wreckage with visual art from my past. There were a lot of ghosts that lurked and lingered in places I didn’t expect. They startled me each time I’d discover one. But given the amount of time I’ve been unearthing them, and the countless heart-stopping, agony-inducing times I’d face one, I think – and hope – I’m finished digging them up.

My life feels incomplete without both writing and art, but when I gave up both, my spirit felt relief. What an odd dichotomy. The very thing that I needed to help me feel the most from life was the very thing that was dragging me into a pit. Which made no sense.

I refused to believe that creative outlets could drag me anywhere except into comfort, relief and joy. So I took time to search for what was really going on. What was it that I had attached to these creative releases that caused me such grief? That is where those ghosts come into the story. It was difficult to realize how much outside junk I let pollute my gifts. One such piece of junk was my high school art competition record. My teachers, who poured more encouragement into me than I can ever thank them for, saw my abilities and pushed me into art shows. It was good for me to win awards, it was good for the school district to perform well. It seemed like a win, win. But for me, it invited competition, winning, awards, pressure, stress, perfectionism and fear into my visual art. Art suddenly turned from a release and form of expression to a race that needed to be won. And ever since, art had remained a competition. Everyone else was the enemy. I needed to be number one or I was a failure. It needs to be said, I might have been upset with my teachers at one point, but they weren’t at fault. Youth, lack of wisdom and just the simple truth of having so little life experience caused it.

The feelings of pressure, stress, perfectionism and fear found their way into my writing as though they were a disease jumping from one organ to another. My beloved form of artistic expression was suddenly ill too. Writing and art, two things that had brought so much joy, were now unavailable and I felt them dying more each time I tried to use them. I didn’t see the disease of fear, but I felt it. I couldn’t name it, but I let it control me.

As a result, I did the only thing I could do. I quit. I knew it was a short quitting, but I quit in order to rest and fight for clarity. Striving to create when I was drained hadn’t worked. Forcing a feeling when I was void hadn’t worked. Quitting was the best option left. I was willing to leave it all behind if that was the answer.

I got a job to help pay the bills. I read a lot during that time. I let God guide the books. He did a very good job of healing the broken bits with that literature. But it took a lot of tears, a lot of opening myself up to pain, a lot of analyzing that I would have rather avoided. I’m a different person now.

I don’t feel the void like I did a year ago or even half a year ago. My creativity and imagination, those wild beings I knew so well as a child, have returned to me. I never thought I’d see them again, at least not in their original forms.

They were ignited to life by an interior design project a friend discussed with me. Just a few questions and decisions, but the questions revealed something I thought was dead. There was a realization that maybe what I wanted to bury hadn’t let itself be buried after all. That discovery was a gift.

With that gift, I embraced my creativity. I want to create art again. I want to write my novel again. I’m not aiming to create art that changes the world, but maybe it will be a joyful piece of the world. At the very least it will be joyful experience to create it. I don’t want to try to create art to move the art world. I started down that path and it wasn’t any fun. And truly, I believe life is way too short to not have fun and enjoy the work that goes along with it. I’m going to write stories and make art and delight in the time I’m doing it. And then I’m going to share it because I want to. The only pressure I want to feel is the internal contract that I’ve written with myself that declares that I need to do what inspires me and brings joy to my life.

So far, I’ve kept to the contract. I’ve been painting and will post my creation for sale soon. It has been re-energizing and full of fun. I feel like a child who has been given art supplies; unleashed with colors to spread on a vast white canvas. My novel is still rattling around in my head, or rather the characters are, waiting to be reanimated on these pages of mine. They’ll be let loose soon. Given the outcome, given the rediscovered joy, I think that all that time off – that brief time of quitting – was quite worth it.

Museum Find: Physic Garden Art Installation

Physic Garden Installation by Molly Hatch at High Museum of Art Atlanta

Physic Garden Installation by Molly Hatch at High Museum of Art Atlanta

High Museum of Art in Atlanta featuring installation by Molly Hatch

My career in art began with ceramics and I suppose that my relationship to it might be compared to having a first pet, first child, first of something important. I learned a great deal about art through ceramics and I learned a great deal about myself as well. It will always hold a special place for me, though I haven’t thrown on the wheel in a few years.

Ceramics has a funny place in the art world. Is it art or is it a craft? Or is it both depending on the maker and viewer? I believe the installation by Molly Hatch at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia points me in the direction of calling this particular display a work of art.

The installation was commission by the museum and was directly inspired by two 1755 Chelsea Factory plates. I love the integration, or perhaps update, to the older plates. Not only does it inspire a new appreciation for the art painted on the 1700’s plates, but I also enjoy the connection of nodding to the past in creating the future. I saw it mentioned that the plate installation recalls pointillism such as Seurat’s paintings as well as Chuck Close’s artwork. I don’t disagree with that analysis.

When looking at the hundreds of plates together, it is easy to say “That wouldn’t be that difficult to do.” That’s because the artwork was done well. I will say that with ceramics, predictability is not ever part of the equation. The underglaze (the liquid colorant applied to the greenware or bisqueware) can look different depending on the length of time spent in the kiln, a few degrees variant in the kiln, location in the kiln (hot and cold zones) and humidity in the air, or, in some unknown circumstances, breathing too close to the kiln. Most of the time underglazes are consistent, especially when using an electric kiln that can be programmed. But there is still that level of unpredictability that drives most artists to hate ceramics. What you put into the kiln may not always be what comes out.

I would say ceramics is a labor of love and a master class in patience. One ceramicist friend of mine said she has a love-hate relationship with ceramics. But I’m glad people push forward and create artwork such as what Molly Hatch created for the High Museum.

If you have time, you should visit Molly Hatch’s website and see her other work. http://mollyhatch.blogspot.com/   At the time of me posting this, her main website was down, but her blog has great information about her projects. You can find her pieces at Anthropologie too.

AnthropologieMollyHatch

What to do about all of those rabbit holes? And brief mentions of an artist studio.

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More than a month ago, a little gem of an email visited my spam mailbox. I know, I know. You say, “Why were you looking at an email in your spam folder?” That’s certainly the red light district of the email folders. This one, I assure you, was legal and legitimate. It was a weekly, or biweekly, email from Houzz. Side note: My Houzz.com emails refuse to arrive in my inbox. They must not be able to spurn the nectar that is my spam filter’s cat calls. This is despite my many, many attempts at re-routing and readjusting my spam filters. I’ve also pressed the button that says, Deliver to my inbox forevermore. Forevermore must mean nevermore in email land. I must have missed the memo. Or it landed in my spam folder. Yes, that sounds more accurate.

Sigh, but I’ve tried. However, before I go down that rabbit hole of “Why is technology not listening to me?”, I will return to my original topic. The article arrived in my spam box and I couldn’t have been more excited when I read the subject line: A light-filled artist’s studio in the country.

Well, yes, please!

Before I show you my favorite images, I’ve included a link to the full article for your reading pleasure. Houzz has additional photos in the article, which is always dandy.

Light-Filled Artist’s Studio in the Pennsylvania Countryside, article by: Becky Harris

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This entrance to the studio caught my attention because it is a new (to me) approach at having a studio attached to the main home. We have friends who have studios above garages, on the second floor of their barn and in a downtown space. All of these studios are separated from the main living quarters because, for these artists, they need physical separation from their work space. It’s the idea of ‘going to the office’ to get the work done and leaving the office and stress at the office when the day is done.

But I am a person who relishes the idea of working at home, within the home, never leaving my home. You could call me a hermit; it wouldn’t offend. If I don’t have to drive somewhere, or, let me be honest after the horrid winter we had, walk outside when it is -15 degrees and snowing sheets of blinding, white dust, I’d rather not. Even if the walk was just 20 feet. Look, I’m a little complicated like that, but truly it rests in the reality that I don’t love being out in winter. Winter is great when I’m inside near a heat source and looking out at the tundra, but make me be outside in it with windchills? No, thank you. Gah, I’m down another rabbit hole. Let’s veer back.

The hallway above allows for that work/living separation without having to experience inclement weather, but it still allows the artist the chance to transition into the creative world. It seems an odd thought, but I’ve found there are many rituals I partake in before I work creatively. These rituals include ways to gear myself up, mentally stimulate and switch my mind to that creative wonderland. Walking up steps, through a hallway, inside a portico, through a doorway can act as a mental conditioning to reach those creative channels.

Conversely, it can work to shut down the creativity when the day is done. I would walk out of the studio, through the doorway, out the portico, through the hallway, down the steps into my kitchen for a nice glass of wine after a hard day’s work. Now that’s an agreeable transition!

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The Houzz article describes the roof as being a gable on gable style. I think it is absolutely beautiful, though I can’t help myself from wondering how often I would need to clean the cobwebs out from the corners.

And then I think, how would I do that? With a tall ladder? With a long pole containing a swiffer duster? And what about those hanging lights. Do they have glass surrounding them? I doubt it, but if they do, oh the cleaning! And lo, I have another rabbit hole…

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Perhaps the best feature of this studio is not the grand interior, but rather the nature surrounding it. I am craving this view right now. Lush sights, ambling horses, sparkling water and skies. At the current moment, my studio and computer space overlook a front yard that is complete with green grass and twiggy, non-foliaged trees and bushes. We are still coming out of winter here. The trees and bushes must be waiting until winter is very surely gone before they put out the green welcoming mat.

Oh, please have faith trees and bushes!

The spring flowers have sprung. Just look at those daffodils in their yellow dresses. I believe the trees and bushes would say the spring flowers are always questionably perky and overexcited. That does seem their nature. And what is this? I have found another rabbit hole to venture down? Oddly enough, out my studio window in my front yard I can see a rabbit hole. A real one. I suppose that will do in place of ambling horses in a field. But I digress.

Design Friday: Little ol’ half bath

I’m leading two redecorating projects at my parent’s home. One is a downstairs half bathroom. The other is the master bedroom. Both projects are coming into the home stretch. I was going to wait to debut the finished projects once all of the glass had been polished and the floors were swept into neat lines, but I realized that is not the point of my blog. I want to show the full, unpredictable design process since it is not a clean, simple set of steps.

At first thought, I believe a half bathroom could be finished in a weekend. And while yes, it could be, that doesn’t factor in Life. There is grocery shopping, family events, laundry, emergencies, and other oddities that pop up that turn a weekend project into a 4 month ordeal. If this sounds like your life, the key is to make small progress until the project gets completed. It also might involve setting up rewards as you complete a goal. One coat of paint up? Great, a glass of wine. Looked at some artwork? Great, a scoop of ice cream. Ordered artwork for the room? Well, that deserves a whole pint of ice cream.

I’ll give you some tips from what we’ve learned so far about this half bath project. Below is a current photograph of the bathroom. It is half of the half bath. Imagine the white toilet sitting beside the cabinet.
Decorating a Half Bath

This is where the project stands at this very moment. Yes, there is tape. See those white, chalky lines above the left section of granite? That was caused by the misplacement of caulk, which resulted in a paint resistant surface. Thank goodness for sandpaper that can remove such imperfections.

When we first began the project, we knew we wanted to install granite. This rectangular section plus the install cost came in under $400. We decided to keep the existing cabinet because the stain still looked good and the overall wear and tear was minimal. If this was going to be my parents’ forever home, we would have ripped out the cabinet, but it is a home they’ll likely stay in for a few more years. The cabinet is stained in a medium walnut color. It is a pleasant shade of brown, but it also has hints of yellow, which my mother specifically wanted minimized if at all possible. I assured her we could do that with the right choice of paint color and granite. It’s not an easy task, but it isn’t impossible.

When looking for granite, we searched the granite company’s yard for remnants. There are a few things to note about that adventure: 1) we were searching in bright, brilliant summer daylight. Whichever piece of granite we chose would be installed in a dark, never-sees-the-light-of-day half bath. Because of this, I didn’t want to go too dark with a color. It might look beautiful and rich in the sunshine, but in a windowless room it could look like a tar pit. 2) I needed to keep in mind about the yellow hue. Many of the brown granite pieces were mottled with brown and yellow. Under incandescent bulbs, which can have a yellow hue, that hint of yellow may become more powerful.

Granite1

Now, the current trend with cabinets is towards gray and white. Yes, white allows the other pieces of the room to stand out and it does make choosing colors a lot easier. With a white cabinet, you can pair it with a light, medium or dark counter top and have a beautiful effect.

But I wasn’t working with white. So what can you do with a medium brown cabinet? Choose carefully, that’s what you can do. Placing a dark, almost black counter top is a classic, regal combination. But this is a very small half bath. Black granite would be oppressive because it is so much dark color concentrated in one area. The counter top is the most prominent feature in the room and putting in a high contrast item would emphasize that even more. This is why I mentioned it being a tar pit before. It would suck your eye in and never let go. We could have gone the white counter top route, but I was concerned the bright color would draw the viewer’s eye towards the cabinet because they would be in contrast with each other. Like I said before, the cabinet isn’t in bad shape, but it’s not a custom piece of cabinetry that needs to steal the show. It needed to fade into the background. So we decided on a medium toned piece of granite. Without yellow or orange tints. With browns that complimented the cabinet’s color. Does it sound like we were looking for a needle in haystack? That is what it felt like while walking around that granite yard.

I’m not certain if granite companies allow you to bring home samples (ours didn’t), but I trusted my color sense. If you find yourself concerned about a piece being too orange, yellow, etc., you should ask the professionals who work at the company. It would be a terrible day to have your granite installed and then realize you hate the stone’s color in your home’s lighting. They should have advisers who can steer you in a direction of success.

With that major decision made, we moved onto the wall color and that’s where the real trickery began. The easy choice would be to keep the wall color light, but I really wanted to move away from a light color. It seems that especially in bathrooms, keeping the walls white when there are darker cabinets and counter tops can make the room appear builder grade. The wall color needs to meet the color depth of the cabinets/counter tops in order to look like a designer helped in the space. That is why I suggested we boldly go with a grayish brown. I wanted a modern color, but I also wanted it to be warm. It helps the dark cabinet hide in the background, but the contrast between the ivory-brown counter top and gray hued paint color is appealing.

Since I have some superpower with remembering colors, we went to the paint store and I pulled several colors that were in the granite. Then I pulled colors that were more red and more gray than the colors in the granite. Finally, I pulled a lighter color and darker color of my two favorite colors (when we were still in the store). Again, I did this because coloring is tricky in an artificially lit space. We brought the samples to the room and narrowed the choices down to four. Next was the most important step. We bought the paint samples and painted them on the wall. Though the colors all looked great on those little sample cards, they looked much different when painted on a larger section of wall. One was too green, another was too brown and the last two were just right. Of those two colors, one was darker, the other lighter. The color we ultimately chose was Sherwin-Williams’ Skipping Stone, which was the lighter color.

Sherwin Williams Skipping Stone

This color is lighter than our second choice, but is still quite deep and dark. I would choose a lighter color if this was a room my family spent a great deal of time in, but this is a half bathroom, which means, well, it’s a quick stop. That also means you can go more bold. You don’t spend a lot of time in the room and it is primarily closed off from most other spaces.

That’s the progress we’ve made so far. I’ll suggest using ivory hand towels when the time comes.  I’ll do a painting for the room and will utilize pearl, silver, taupe, Payne’s gray, and other flecks of neutral hues. Mirrors will be hung eventually.

I’ll be sure to share the next updates when they happen. Since we’re heading into the holidays, the progress may be delayed or accelerated. It depends on who is hosting the holiday get-togethers.

Happy weekend to you!