Sunday, September 09, 2007

Inspiration from Friends

Visiting Sally's house is so much fun for all of us. Her home is full of decades of creativity. It has been in her family for several generations and the mark of everyone is here. The walls are decorated with little watercolors done by Sally as a child. Sally's mom's was an oil painter and her paintings fill the walls. Several of their friends were and are artists and everyone who visits leaves a painting to add to the creative chaos. I remember The Farmer's comment about the place after our first visit. He said it was the most perfect house in the world - cozy, creative, layered, and perfectly situated. It is also a place you never want to leave - just what every home should be but most never are. I strive for this feeling in our home but I honestly think it takes generations of the same related people living in a home to make it really happen.

On my first visit, I brought a piece of handmade Damariscotta pottery as a housegift. I didn't really know Sally or her dad and so it was just a guess that they would like the pottery. Luckily she did. Here are some other pieces she has collected over the years. They look beautiful with zinnias in them.

I met Sally through knitting originally and we quickly discovered we had many more things in common including love of fabric and art, Scotland and England, India, color and much more. A few years ago, we visited Charleston Farmhouse (the creative home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant) and Monk’s House (the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf) together along with a few days antiquing and shopping in London. What a great trip. It was the first year Julia was born and I really needed a break from all the hospital and doctor visits. My wonderful Mom came and helped out with Julia and I had five days away. How lucky I am to have such a great friend and to have taken such a great trip with her.

Sally's house is where I discovered I could paint pictures (that is pictures beyond grammar school). Here’s a photo of the first painting I ever did in my adult life many years ago. Our mutual friends Yola and George who are official artists were visiting and Yola suggested I try to paint a picture of the fish we were going to eat for dinner. I did this painting using gouache with her encouragement and I left it with Sally because she liked it. She found a fabulous tramp art frame for it. After that experience, I have painted lots more in both gouache and oils. I have Yola, George and Sally to thank for egging me on and telling me they liked my work.

On another visit, I did some decorative painting on Sally’s walls to cover up some nasty leaks that had ruined the wallpaper. She cleaned up the walls before I arrived and put on the base coat of light turquoise. I painted the overblown flowers and leaves using artist acrylics. So nice to have a friend to let you experiment.

Now when I visit, I try to bring something I make to give as a house gift. One year I brought these embroidered and handpainted pillows. You may recognize the vermicular motif I wrote about a few months ago. I also made a dotted version to match. The fabric was a blue linen.

This year I made a pair of pillowcases for a bed. I embroidered the name of the cottage and added a cat (there is always a resident feline) and some lupines. They were a hit, thank goodness.

That's it for the Maine adventures this year. We're on to other things here as life is quickly speeding by.


Lisa W said...

Your friend Sally sounds like a gem. What a wonderful, inspiring place to visit. Although my children are still relatively young (7 and 10), it pleases me that they both show strong signs of creativity.
I do like the fish painting - another good ocean motif!

Heddy said...

Holy Toledo, Kristin.....How beautiful! Love the paintings, both on and off the wall. The links to more beauty and discovery. The pillowcases are adorable. It is hard to see the feline, which is very neat! Delightful all together.Cheers H

tut-tut said...

That painting you did on the wall is just amazing. What an artist you are, in so many media!

Willow said...

I love the pillow cases. I'm thinking I'd love to embroider some; you are such an inspiration.

StringPlay said...

What a great idea to do pillowcases with the name of the cottage on them! I love all your art (painting *and* knitting) as it is always so full of color. And what a beautiful piece of lace underneath your fish painting. Can you tell us more about that?