Friday, August 27, 2010

Girls' Room - Art Inspiration

Can I take a moment to tell you how bummed I am that The New Adventures of Old Christine got cancelled?  It was one of my favorite shows on TV - consistently very funny and in unique ways.  Really, my only gripe about the show was the heavy use of filters that created a hazy effect (you know what I'm talking about if you've seen an episode of Oprah in the past 10 years).  Because obviously a woman in her late '40s is considered too hideous to show on TV without special effects.

I also loved the set decoration.  Old Christine's beach-cottagey house was a gorgeous example of mixing textures.  For most of the series, Christine's house featured a beautiful picture in her living room.

Here's a slightly closer look, but it's a screen grab from an online clip, so you will have to excuse the crappy quality and the fact that Barb's hair is in the shot.

I love the picture.  The colors - the subject - the vibrancy it brings to the room.  Simply adorable.

Once upon a time, when I was first thinking up ideas for my girls' room, I wanted to go with a subtle Alice in Wonderland theme.  Now, my stepdaughters are 7 and 17, so I didn't want anything too precious.  I'm also not a theme girl, but I thought it could be fun to bring in subtle hints.  Like a small white porcelain rabbit, or an antique tea cup on a shelf.  I definitely didn't want the room to feel like a Disney set.

I found these posters at and was drawing my inspiration from them.  They are by artist Arthur Rackham.

But then I saw the terrible new Tim Burton version.  For a while Alice was everywhere and I nixed the idea.

I kept looking for cute art for the room.  I wanted a fairly big piece since the room is quite small.  So I decided to google the picture from The New Adventures of Old Christine and find out if I could get a print of it.

Unfortunately, the title and artist of the painting are a complete mystery.  Everywhere I looked online, someone had asked the exact same question but never gotten an answer.  Maybe it's a really famous piece and people "in the know" feel like the rest of us are stupid for not knowing.  Or maybe it's just a really cute original by an unknown artist.  Either way, I couldn't find out anything about it.

So I looked at the picture and tried to figure out what I liked about it the most.  I decided that I liked how it was whimsical but not too much.  I liked how it reminded me of childhood and joy, but wasn't sentimental.  I loved the movement.  Could I find a another picture that did all this for me?

Initially, I didn't have much luck.  The search got placed on the back burner.  I'd browse the art section at stores and occasionally do searches online, but I figured that I'd find the right piece when I found it.

And I did.  I came across this New York Time article about an exhibition of Philippe Halsman's work.  Halsman was a famous celebrity photographer.  At the end of his sessions, he would ask the subject to "jump."  According to him, as a person jumps, "the mask falls, so that the real person appears.”  One of his most famous jump pictures is this one of Audrey Hepburn.

Now I love me some Audrey.  Graceful, talented, gorgeous, stylish - she's a Hollywood icon for a reason.  But I dislike most of the posters and prints I find of her.  Most of them are from Breakfast at Tiffany's and when I look at them I see Holly Golightly, not Audrey.  Now, of course I never knew Audrey - but this picture seems to capture her personality perfectly - despite all the bad things she lived through, Audrey had a true joyfulness about her.

If you like this picture as much as me, you are in luck.  When I found it, the only copy I could find was a postcard.  Not quite the statement art piece I was dreaming of.  Months passed with me doing searches now and again.  One day a item popped up on Ebay - a poster-sized print!  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  And only $7.95 plus shipping.  The seller seems to have plenty - so if you want one go here.

Unfortunately, although it is framed I haven't found a mat yet, so I can't show you the final result - but you'll have to believe me when I say it makes the room.

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