The Art of Household Art
We live in a small house without a lot of space to hang pictures, so I’m picky about what I put up. I rarely spring for mass-produced pieces – not even the cute ones from the Target aisle. With wall space at a premium, I want our art to be beautiful, meaningful, and just-right-for-us.
In addition to a half dozen family photographs, we have several Ohio-themed pieces on display, including an Ohio sign crafted from barnwood.
I’m kind of a fanatic about Over the Rhine, a band from southern Ohio, and love the artist who creates many of their concert posters. To make these more grown-up and less college dorm, I had them all framed professionally.
Last year as a gift to my husband, I created a small gallery wall of Cleveland Browns-themed pictures; again, displaying them in simple black frames gives them a touch of sophistication and holds the room together.
I’m not crafty, but my sisters are, so we have several pieces that were homemade gifts. I especially love these pictures my sister Elizabeth crafted from our grandmother’s button collection. I think they were technically supposed to go in the girls’ room, but I loved them too much to hide them in a bedroom.
Artwork around the doorway feels especially significant, as it’s the first thing we – and our guests – see as we come and go. I suspect I will always display this framed print of Nikki McClure’s Congregate papercut. It’s so cozy and welcoming – and, between you and me, it creatively conveys our preference that people remove their shoes inside the house.
One of my favorite artists, Suzanne Vinson, scripted this benediction from the late Rev. Fred Craddock. (She sells them at her Etsy store if you need to see that reminder on a daily basis, as I do.)
And then there’s the jewel of our home: a large original oil painting we bought directly from the artist.
I’d pined for one of Ken Reif’s work ever since I saw one of his paintings on display in a local restaurant several years ago. I remember rushing into the place, late for my dinner reservation due to Chicago traffic. I stopped short when I encountered his trademark trees, painted with such vitality it didn’t seem possible its leaves were rendered in paint, not chlorophyll.
Just gazing at the painting restored my soul.
When I looked into his work I had sticker shock; originals cost considerably more than prints. I shrugged and told myself we’re just not the kind of people who can afford to decorate our walls with “real” art.
Then, last year we had an unexpected windfall: a change in billing meant that we were reimbursed for a full month’s insurance premium. There were a lot of things we could have done with that money – a lot of things we should have done with that money.
But I’m so glad we chose not to be prudent and frugal for once.
I love supporting a local artist. I love investing in an heirloom. Most of all – I love my painting.
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