By Jen Gramm, Tru Vue® Director of Marketing
For Donna Erwin of Columbia River Gallery in Troutdale, OR, being a finalist in The 6th Annual Tru Vue® Framing Competition is familiar territory. She was also a finalist in the 2013 and 2014 competitions and won the Best In Show grand prize in 2015.
With more than 30 years of experience in custom framing and 20 years of owning her shop, Donna has a passion for the creative process that inspires accolades from her customers, in addition to awards. Visitors to the Columbia River Gorge, where her shop is located, have been so impressed with her work; it has earned her some cross-country customers.
The Tru Vue Framing Competition provides an opportunity to be creative with design and craftsmanship in a way that a customer’s project may not allow because of time, costs, and expectations. A great example of a competition piece that pushed Donna’s boundaries is her award-winning reframing of a photograph of the neon sign at Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon, featuring stacked Prisma frames and LED lights, mimicking the color and vibrancy of the iconic landmark.
“Most projects that customers bring in don’t give custom framers the opportunity to push their boundaries, because personal taste and budgets influence what we can do,” said Donna. “The experience of creating a piece from concept to completion is a reward in itself. Winning is an added bonus.”
Looking for some decorating rules of thumb?
Check out the GREAT information shared here by Upscale Consignments!
Many people might not think about math and design at the same time. Maybe you think these concepts are as far removed from one another as possible. But knowing some basic mathematical guidelines can be crucial to getting a look that works as well in your home as you envision in your head.
Today, we are going to look at some of the time-tested math rules that can be found in every designer’s toolbox.
As always, we hope that you enjoy this post and find it helpful in restyling the place you live into the place you love!
I think Ginger does an excellent job of describing "the zone". I love it when I am in my zone! - Donna Erwin
Blog post by artist, Ginger Whellock
Many artists speak of the Zone and I use this term frequently, too. I have heard and read a lot of chatter about the meaning of “the Zone”. Some artists flatly state that they don’t know what others are talking about when they use this word. I have come to the conclusion that this term is not describable. How do you describe deeply personal euphoria, meditation, out-of-body experiences, total absorption and concentration…?
But this is a fascinating concept.
Years ago, I began to call this state, Alpha, which referred to the brain waves involved. Don’t know if I was correct in this assumption, but it sounded good at the time. Today, I would love to find a research scientist who could verify brain waves or anything else that changes in the brain while doing certain tasks. These tasks range in their content. I know mathematicians, artists, writers, knitters, composers, chemical engineers and listeners who experience something like the Zone.
My Zone looks and feels something like this:
When my children were very small, I would paint in our living room while the kids played beside me with their toys. They understood that I was there if they needed me but, otherwise, not to interrupt. These were always our quietest times together. Always, the kids played happily and peacefully. They would even put their toys away and once in a while they would nap beside me. My daughter, the oldest, would occasionally tap me to get my attention – bathroom break, food, water or a question she needed answering immediately.
All of this was true, too, when I was reading a book. As they grew older (of course, I didn’t grow older) it extended to when I graded papers, wrote lesson plans and studied for lecturing. I always called this an Alpha state and it wasn’t long before both the kids also found themselves in Alpha states; first when listening to me reading to them and then in very individual play and in their own reading and learning processes. I knew this because it was hard to get their attention - I usually had to touch them.
Once, I did a demo for my workshop and I warned my students that I could hear them but could not speak to answer their questions and that I would automatically back up as I painted and would just step on them if they stood behind me.
Recently, I have learned that setting out good habits for activities keeps me in the zone longer and with greater success in my activity. In other words, I must have all my tools ready and in their correct place. Translate this to my palette colors laid out in the usual order and quantity, brushes, palette knife and paint thinner available and in place, paper towel in the right position and my photo reference, too. For plein air painting this is very important. Breaking my concentration to gather up some missing item or if I haven’t squeezed out enough paint (heaven forbid!) is an absolute “no-no”. Breaking in mid stride creates havoc in my brain and a re-start is awkward, at best.
I have always thought of the Zone or Alpha as a creative state. Creativity takes a kind of non-analytical thought process; it takes an outside-the-box, lateral thinking process instead.
I write frequently about my right brain/left brain activity and this is closely related to my Zone. I have learned that my right brain (my creative side and the one that paints) is full of chaos and loves to be in the Zone BUT, I have to engage my left brain (analytical, organized and intellectual side) to access usable knowledge, keep me on target mentally and not wondering off somewhere in the chaos. The left brain resists the Zone, probably for fear of chaos, but stands ready to assist subconsciously when needed (which is often!). In the end, together they are creative, wise, knowledgeable and can paint for hours on end to produce some good paintings.
What is your Zone about? I really am interested if you can speak its name with words.
Acknowledge and enjoy your inner, meditative, productive state when you paint, regardless of what you name it.
Blog post by artist, Ginger Wellock
The other day, in a fit of energy, I moved furniture around the house kind of like a kid with a doll house. Unsatisfied, I moved it all back, then tried again with more subtle moves. Feeling better about my “space”, I looked up at the walls to get a full scope on the new “still life” I had created.
I move paintings around the house once a month or more as my home is also my personal gallery space. Usually there is a general flow of new pieces into the major living areas as older pieces move to more remote places in the house and others sell or are sent to shows and galleries. But, this time I concentrated on getting individual still life settings perfect …furniture arrangement and paintings on the wall together with corners of rooms, windows, halls, lamps, antique artifacts, distant view and comfort. That evening, after hanging a large painting over the fireplace, we toured the house to enjoy our newly designed rooms over a glass of wine, obviously.
The contentment and rapture we felt was overwhelming!
As collectors of art work, do you rearrange furniture, artwork and artifacts around to renew your appreciation of what you have purchased? May I suggest that you do so today! Forget what the interior designer said, just do your own thing and make still life settings all over your house. Add all the things that are important to you into the settings, make your house your own HOME, not a designer’s dream. You will be amazed at how happy it will make you and how much your guests will enjoy and comment on it, too.
I understand that some, maybe many, of you have never purchased original art. Some who have made purchases find it difficult to know just where to hang them. Should I group them? Should I just hang one large one on that wall or a grouping? Should I mix mediums or technique or genre on a wall or even in a room? Should the frames match? Should the colors match colors in the room? Should the art hanging together or in a particular room be themed?
But first, let’s buy art. I suggest you begin by understanding what kind of art you prefer. Purchase a couple of magazines specifically for art collectors (not for artists); visit your local galleries and art fairs. Most of us have budget constraints, so begin your search for a purchase from local galleries, art students’ leagues, artist co-op galleries, art guilds etc. and stay within the limits you set. As your eye for artistic quality matures, you may not be overly pleased with some of your initial purchases. That is why I recommend you start with purchases from emerging artist, students and local art fairs. If you are a seasoned buyer, you understand the dynamics of falling in love with a painting and the rising excitement as you declare your desire to purchase. Always purchase a painting you love – never purchase it because someone told you to or because it goes with the sofa!
The fun begins when you bring the painting into your home. Remember all those questions I asked about where and how to hang? Well, there are no rules and the answer is, “Do what you like”. If you purchase large paintings they are harder to move around and group, but they are dynamic. Please don’t match frames or subject or color. Do hang them gallery style instead. You can stack them, hang them individually, rest them on furniture, hang them beside the toilet and over the kitchen sink; put them in every room. Then sit back and admire your skill at choosing such a perfect piece and placing it superbly where you can see it every day. Don’t forget to move your art collection around
by Cathy Donovan Wagner, Retail Maven
Celebrate? Really? Whenever I turn the TV news on, I am reminded of all that is wrong in our world. There seems to be precious little to celebrate about. Yet I know that if I focus on what is negative, I have a hard time moving forward. You too? Yet it feels irresponsible to ignore problems, right? Wrong. I learned why we all need to celebrate as much as we possibly can.
Over the last holidays, I found this book - Why Good Things Happen to Good People. The subtitle is impressive - The Exciting New Research that Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life. Who doesn’t want that? One of the keys is celebrating. The authors Stephen Post and Julie Neimark tell us that celebration is one of the most important ways that we express gratitude. They describe celebration as gratitude in action, and celebration—like rest, seat belts and green leafy vegetables—is good for us!
1. Celebration creates joy. Feeling down in the dumps? Celebrate something or someone. The gratitude you feel as a result of celebrating others, or creation in general, will help you to be less materialistic and therefore more easily satisfied with what life brings you. It’s a fact that gratitude actually creates joy within our souls.
2. Celebration is good for your health. The gratitude that wells up from the act of celebration has been studied scientifically for its health benefits. The results prove that gratitude is strongly linked to emotional and physical health. Just five minutes of gratitude can shift the nervous system toward a calmer state. It also heals! According to a recent study on organ donations, the more gratitude a recipient of an organ feels, the faster that person’s recovery. There were 74 transplant recipients of a heart, liver, lung, kidney or pancreas who participated in the study. Those recipients who expressed gratitude, directly or indirectly in journals, felt physically better and functioned at a higher level than those who did not.
3. Celebration creates a circle of love. When we rejoice in the presence and accomplishments of others, they feel uplifted. Research has shown that an act of gratitude encourages another person and that creates a circle of reciprocal love. All we need is love, right?
4. Celebration moves us from fear to faith. Studies show that the most grateful people have often been through difficult and challenging experiences. Individuals who have overcome adversity are more optimistic and grateful than the average person. That person can see the current situation without judgment and learn from it – and then have faith that it will turn out for the best.
5. Celebration shifts us from tired to inspired. Reminding ourselves of how good life really is cultivates gratitude. Recent research shows that emotions work at lightning speed and often bypass reasoning. By cultivating gratitude, we encourage positive feelings that are almost instantaneous - feelings that are more powerful in their own way, than positive thoughts. From that positive place comes inspiration to make changes – for yourself and the world!
No matter what time of year it is, I challenge you to find more reasons to celebrate. Before you look forward, reflect back to see what you accomplished this year. Celebrate that!
As you look at life through eyes of gratitude, you will discover many reasons to celebrate, no matter what’s going on in the world. Never miss an opportunity to celebrate.
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Cathy Donovan Wagner, The Retail Maven, is the founder of RETAILMavens and works with specialty, independent store owners to help them explode their profit, get better results, have more fun and get better sleep.