Monday Masterclass: favorite winter paintings

Today we’ll take a quick trip back in time to a place in France on the outskirts of Paris that inspired a group of artists.  These Impressionists painted the winter scenes of Louveciennes and they painted each other, leaving behind the essence and the enchantment of a wintery world.

Continue reading “Monday Masterclass: favorite winter paintings”

Friday mood board 1.24.20

Sometimes we create in order to find something that we are searching for. This mood board is inspired by a color—hyacinth blue—that I have heard of but that I cannot exactly pin down. The hyacinth flower, a spring blooming bulb with a strong fragrance, comes in a range of colors and a variety of blues. The blues go from deep blue (close to purple) to light blue (close to periwinkle). I believe the color referred to as hyacinth blue is a lighter shade like the color in the Vermeer painting. In my quest for the true hyacinth blue I have gathered images of the various hues and other things that it brings to mind, like hyacinth vases and porcelain bulb bowls, Dutch interiors, and soothing patterns in this shade. If I’m not mistaken, my grandmother once had a bedroom in hyacinth blue, or something very close. Perhaps I am remembering that and the coming of spring.

Scalamandre Chi’En Dragon Hyacinth Blue


Savannah Skirted Ottoman One King’s Lane

Girl In Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

Antique Porcelain Bulb Bowl


Stroheim Biron Strie Check in Hyacinth Blue

Hyacinth vases and jars

House & Garden UK


Graham & Brown Fresco wallpaper Hyacinth Blue



Cheers and happy Friday!


into the garden: a book by artist Christian Peltenburg-Brechneff


Every now and then a book comes along that speaks to me in an unexpected way.  Into the Garden by artist Christian Peltenburg-Brechneff is just that kind of book. It’s a collection of paintings by one artist of gardens all over the world. This idea in and of itself is quite fascinating: an artist sits in gardens and paints his version of what he sees (and of course what he feels is there as well).


I don’t think I’ve ever come across a book like this. We have seen flowers and gardens painted by artists, but I’m not aware of an artist who deliberately set out to make a collection of garden paintings. As he explains it in the introduction, Christian came into the notion of painting gardens through his own garden in Hadlyme, Connecticut, and this passion grew from there to include gardens in places as far apart from one another and as diverse as Falls Village, Connecticut; East Hampton, New York; Sonoma, California; Nashville, Tennessee; Rocktail Bay, South Africa; Pic Paradis, St. Martin; and Lunuganga, Sri Lanka.


I was intrigued too by what the artist had to say about how he actually paints gardens (he sits for hours and often faces many obstacles) and what it has meant to him to do this kind of work.


The other thing about this book that caught me off guard a bit is the bold, abstract quality of the images (and that I was so enchanted by them). Van Gogh comes to mind. Most of the paintings are a saturation of vivid color with an abundance of purple in shades from lilac to aubergine. In contrast, some of the paintings are black outlined drawings that are predominately void of color. And there are large-scale flower paintings and drawings as well. (And it’s not exactly a coffee table book either because it is smaller and easier to hold in your hands, which I like a lot.)


Purple is not one of my favorite colors and I’m not always drawn to abstract art (though sometimes I am). Yet this book captured my imagination and I found myself quite absorbed in the journey. It’s completely different from gardens depicted in magazines that show us what they are actually like.  It’s something akin to how we feel when we look at interior paintings of rooms:  it’s more like dreaming.


A book like this brings forth so many questions about the connection between art and gardening, about creativity and design, about lightness and darkness, about the beauty of nature and the nature of beauty that I think wherever this book takes you, and how ever deep you go into the gardens, you are bound to enjoy wandering through its pages.



Friday mood board 6.21.19


Two things initiated this Friday’s mood board: a beautiful painting and a bad habit. I challenged myself to design a room around a painting that I love. In this case it is Robert Dash’s “Pink Field, White Field” (1965). I quickly decided to put it in a kitchen rather than where we might expect a painting like this (living room or dining room or bedroom). And when I began designing, I thought about what I’d love in a kitchen and that would be a comfy, vintage sofa. This is my bad habit (as my husband can tell you): always wanting to eat my meals sitting on the sofa.

The colors of the painting and the mood (uplifting and enchanting) dictated the direction of the room. Two fabrics that I’ve had my eye on, by Alice Sergeant, would work nicely for curtains or shades and cushions. I’d accessorize with green kitchen cabinets (I know…they are back in style!) with marble countertops, an extra-wide Dutch door painted black, copper lighting and other copper accessories, and a big, rustic antique French farm table. Of course there’d be potted red geraniums on the windowsill and my big comfy floral vintage sofa.


Cheers and happy mood boarding!


butterfly chic Mother’s Day


Our mother loved butterflies and I regret that I never asked her why they so enchanted her, but she is definitely not alone. The butterfly motif (which dates back to ancient times and was particularly appealing to Victorians) seems to be quite popular these days.

We’ve gathered some of our favorite things that might inspire a butterfly chic Mother’s Day.


Like this botanical print Passion Flowers and Butterflies by artist Elizabeth Golz Rush.



Or a blue and white butterfly motif garden stool for inside or out.


Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis by Kim Todd tells the story of a 17th century female botanical artist and naturalist.




Pretty engraved butterfly note cards


Botanical Art with Scientific Illustrations by Sarah Jane Humphrey is a beautiful book that is both informative and instructive if you want to try your hand at botanical illustration.


Exotic Butterfly: A fun and lively fabric from Schumacher.


A butterfly garden tea towel


A butterfly house or seeds for a butterfly wildflower garden


Antique butterfly domes


Decoupage artist John Derian (whose work I just love) has a whole section on his website under themes for butterflies.  And don’t forget the butterfly clutch to finish the look!

Cheers! Holly and Brooke