Frolicking in Florence

Tweet As I mentioned in last week’s post, I was lucky enough to visit two of Italy’s most beloved and beautiful cities over a short break from classes that I was able to enjoy a couple of weeks ago: Venice … Read More

As I mentioned in last week's post, I was lucky enough to visit two of Italy's most beloved and beautiful cities over a short break from classes that I was able to enjoy a couple of weeks ago: Venice and Florence. Now, I loved Venice. It was a dream to visit. The canals and winding streets were so utterly romantic in all the right ways. I was afraid that I would be slightly disappointed in it (a few people have warned me against that very thing), but it did not fail to take my breath away every moment I was there. But I have to say, Florence is my kind of town. While Venice is practically governed by the attraction and satisfaction of tourists, Florence is a real city. Obviously, there are still tons of tourists there, especially this time of year, but for every tourist hustling across the Ponte Vecchio, there is a Florentine on his or her way to work. It was such an enriching experience to spend some quality time there, and take in not only the touristic attractions, but also the more hidden, subtle qualities of life in Firenze. But that's not to say that I wasn't completely blown away by the amount of fantastic historical and cultural monuments and sites.
florence italy david
[caption id="attachment_4135" align="aligncenter" width="370"] In front of the Palazzo Vecchio on Piazza della Signoria[/caption] As you may have already guessed, one of my favorite things about visiting Florence was spending a blissful four hours wandering the halls of the Uffizi Gallery, one of Italy's greatest museums. It was so amazing to finally see in real life so many paintings that I have known about and studied for years. [caption id="attachment_4136" align="aligncenter" width="370"] The courtyard at the Uffizi Gallery[/caption] Of course, one of the greatest moments for me was seeing Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Primavera. What struck me most about them was just how huge they both are - truly larger than life. It's one thing to see images of them and read their respective dimensions, but it is quite another to stand in front of the beautiful paintings by one of the Renaissance's greatest artists, completely in awe of the amount of detail in the colossal pieces. [caption id="attachment_4137" align="aligncenter" width="236"] Detail of Botticelli's Birth of Venus[/caption] Florence was definitely good to me, and I have a feeling I'll be back. There's just too much to see to do it in only a few days. What's your favorite city to visit? Do you find yourself finding something new to love about it every time you return?
Greetings Gallery Direct! I have just returned from a fabulous six-day vacation that I took during a short break from my program. Even though I'm already back in the thick of classes, I feel revivified and inspired from my travels. Last week, two of my friends and I packed our bags and boarded a train to Venice, a place I have been dreaming of visiting for years, and then on to Florence (but more about that next time!). As soon as I stepped out onto the piazza off of the train station, the beautiful view took my breath away. I could not believe I was finally there!
venice italy canal
[caption id="attachment_4121" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Canals of Venice[/caption] Now, being the art history nerd that I am, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of art all around me. Not only was the Venice Biennale going on (one of the most important contemporary art events in the world), but the masterful architecture and dedication to preserving the city and its treasures were enough to make my jaw drop. One of my favorite moments, however, was when I was walking along the Gran Canale, in front of the Piazza San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, when I spotted the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore across the water. [caption id="attachment_4120" align="aligncenter" width="528"] San Giorgio Maggiore[/caption] The stunning sixteenth-century church inspired one of my absolute favorite series of paintings by Claude Monet. The most famous (and certainly one of the most beautiful) of these paintings is San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk. [caption id="attachment_4122" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Claude Monet's San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk[/caption] It was so incredible to finally see the landscape that Monet was so inspired by. It was even greater to feel that very same inspiration. It just goes to show that true beauty, like that which is to be found in the winding streets and canals of Venice, is truly forever. What cities inspire you? Want more from Monet's Venetian stint? Check out his painting of the Palazzo Contarini! 

The Emotion of Color

Tweet Color elicits emotion, we all know that, but are you aware of which color elicits which emotion? When choosing the color scheme in your home consider what emotion you are trying to evoke in each room, this is the … Read More

Color elicits emotion, we all know that, but are you aware of which color elicits which emotion? When choosing the color scheme in your home consider what emotion you are trying to evoke in each room, this is the emotion of color I am taking about. Then you can use the easy color search option on Gallery Direct to find the perfect piece to decorate your room. RED: sense of power, impulsively, sexuality and increases one's appetite ORANGE: steadfastness, courage, confidence, friendliness, and cheerfulness YELLOW: intelligence, joy, and organization GREEN: hope, growth, good health, freshness, soothing, sharing, and responsiveness BLUE: tranquility, love, acceptance, patience, understanding and cooperation   Is your home sending the message you want? You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.

Do As the Romans Do!

Tweet Buongiorno, Gallery Direct! I have had a week full of excitement and discovery, and it’s only about to get better. Tomorrow, I leave bright and early for a six-day excursion to Venice and Florence, two of the most beautiful … Read More

Buongiorno, Gallery Direct! I have had a week full of excitement and discovery, and it's only about to get better. Tomorrow, I leave bright and early for a six-day excursion to Venice and Florence, two of the most beautiful cities on earth, and you can be sure that I will be sharing all the great details of my trip with you upon my return! However, that's for another time. Today I want to tell you about my trip to Rome, which I got to enjoy on Monday (which happened to be my birthday - not a terrible way to spend the day!). It was astonishing to spend time in a city so soaked in history that dates back thousands and thousands of years. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing the Ancient Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and so much more!  
rome colosseum ancient
[caption id="attachment_4104" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Colosseum in Rome[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4101" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Forum in Rome[/caption] Seeing the Forum after reading about it for so long was a truly exceptional experience. It stunned me to actually encounter these ancient ruins and artifacts that I have studied for years and years. I felt the same way about seeing some of the sculptures in the Capitoline Museum (now one of my favorite museums in the world), which houses some of the most important objects from antiquity that have been discovered. [caption id="attachment_4103" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Capitoline Venus[/caption] Seeing all of these cultural heritage sites and art objects got me thinking about how much classical antiquity has shaped the Western world, particularly in the art historical sense. The Renaissance and nineteenth-century neoclassicism were directly inspired by classical themes and subjects, and could not have happened without the incredible influence of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. In fact, two of my favorite exclusive Gallery Direct prints are directly inspired by the classics: Sean Jacob's Classical Vision I and Classical Vision II. [caption id="attachment_4099" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Sean Jacobs' Classical Vision I[/caption] I love these prints. They remind me of how even though the Roman civilization disappeared thousands of years ago, we are still connected to them in the modern day. My visit to Rome certainly proved that. What about you? Do you feel connected to classical antiquity?

Ciao Gallery Direct!

Tweet Greetings from Italy! It’s been a while since I posted to Off the Wall, but in my defense, I have been in transit. I am pleased to announce that I am officially Gallery Direct’s first Foreign Correspondant! After finishing … Read More

Greetings from Italy! It's been a while since I posted to Off the Wall, but in my defense, I have been in transit. I am pleased to announce that I am officially Gallery Direct's first Foreign Correspondant! After finishing my internship in the merchandising and marketing department, I said goodbye to beautiful Austin for a summer of postgraduate education, traveling, and, of course, lots of art. I am honored to be taking part in the Postgraduate Certificate Program of ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art. As you may recall from my previous posts about the Isabella Stewart Gardner theft and the destruction of two Klimt paintings during World War II, I have a special interest in art crime and cultural heritage protection. This ten-week intensive program will allow me to explore these kinds of topics in-depth in both a practical and academic setting. Oh, did I mention that this all takes place in a small, hillside town in Umbria?
amelia umbria italy
[caption id="attachment_4021" align="aligncenter" width="528"]amelia umbria italy View of the Umbrian city of Amelia, Italy.[/caption] My first week of classes consisted of a crash-course in the contemporary art market. Learning about the inner-workings of the gallery world, the auction houses, the role of the dealer and the collector, as well as the new, speculative market that has recently taken shape, I got to thinking about how Gallery Direct is very much on the cutting edge of the market. With the growth of technology, art is disseminating more quickly than ever before, as even large auction houses like Christie's conduct some sales either partially or entirely online. It's almost too obvious to say that the online marketplace allows more and more people to participate in the art market than ever before. But what distinguishes Gallery Direct from those traditional institutions that are adapting to the digital space is that our model allows us to price our artwork at a level that is accessible to everyone. Being in the art world is consistently governed by who has the most change to spare, and as prices at the auction house flock toward the billions of dollars, it's so encouraging to see, as a young student, that there are alternatives to these unimaginable sums. Working at Gallery Direct was great exposure to the potentials of the future of the art world, and I am so glad to continue that exploration from abroad. This summer will be filled with adventure, education, and loads of great art. I'll be sure to keep you updated on all of the above.

Study: Men + Art = Happiness

Tweet In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would share some insight into men: Art makes them happy! Norwegian Men are known for seeking happiness in life, they even build research teams tasked to discover how they can be more … Read More

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I would share some insight into men: Art makes them happy!

Norwegian Men are known for seeking happiness in life, they even build research teams tasked to discover how they can be more satisfied in life!

In a recent study conducted by these happiness seekers,  it was determined that men that enjoy cultural activities are better off in mind and body than their uncultured counterparts.  The study followed on over 50,000 men and women to tracked their personal satisfaction, perceived state of health, anxiety and depression. Overall, both men and women who participated in cultural activities—including enjoying fine artwork, had lower levels of anxiety and depression, reported more life satisfaction, and generally “felt better” than those not participating in cultural activities. But the biggest beneficiaries were men. And here’s the strange part: men more interested in watching and looking at fine art images— at home, in museums and art galleries – enjoyed the greatest benefits of all; even more than men actively participating in cultural and creative activities. Lucky for you guys, Gallery Direct has a lot of images hand selected just for the guys!   Here are our top "Guy Art" picks: [caption id="attachment_1410" align="alignleft" width="153"] The Gunfighter by Benjamin Arnot[/caption] This image, The Gunfighter, is a favorite among the guys in the Gallery Direct office. Printed on aluminum and framed it was recently featured in our Gallery right out, Joseph Garcia's office.  This is a creation by Benjamin Arnot, he combines his painting with digital imagery, adding in a geometrical element.  Very manly, yet tasteful! [caption id="attachment_1414" align="alignright" width="255"] Urban Radio II by Sara Abbott[/caption] Graffiti images are very trendy right now and are a top pick among our male customers. Sara Abbott has several graffiti images, including the image to the right. These images look great on any substrate, I think the bigger the graffiti image, the cooler the effect. These next images are sexy, yet sophisticated. Appreciating the female form in a tasteful way can liven up any room, giving it a sexy contemporary look. Cherry Rain I & II by Sia Aryai           For more art for guys browse Gallery Direct's Art For Him Collection
I crave the feeling of new decor, I think I am actually addicted to it.  I love retail therapy for my home. Too often I find myself buying new pillows, pictures, dishes, vases, throw blankets, duvet covers, towels, and most recently a new scale.  That last purchase is when I knew I had a serious problem, I bought a scale because it looked cute in my bathroom, not because I intend to stand on it. I decided it was time to break this obsession with purchasing new items every several days and that I was going to love what I already have. I am on a "no home decor purchase" pact for the next 6 months!  I can still redecorate, but I have to get creative with what I already own.  Here's five tips to show you how I have been coping. Tip #1 Moving my artwork around!  This is my favorite tip, moving artwork from one room to another creates a whole new room and a fun decorating challenge.  First, I started in my bedroom.  I took these love birds by Judy Paul that were above my sofa in the living room and hung them above my bed.  I love how modern the bedroom looks! Tip #2 pile on your pillows.  I grabbed every pillow I had in my entire home and put them on my bed. I am so pleased with the results and it doesn't bother me that they are all a little different.  As I went through other parts of the house, I pulled pillows from the bed to decorate the other rooms and still have 8 left on the bed. Yes I even got carried away and threw a white boa left over from Halloween on the side of my bed to throw the symmetry off a bit. Next up was my living room. Tip #3 I rotated my floor rug by 90 degrees.  This was scary at first, but I stuck it out.  I moved the sofa away from the wall by 3 feet after reading that moving your furniture to the center of the room can make a room look bigger.  I am not sold on this idea yet, but it did give me plenty of wall space behide the sofa to place large pieces of artwork. Tip #4 I took several books piling up in my book shelf and made a side table! How brilliant is this? Tip #5 I took all the blankets I have and placed them on various pieces of furniture. The sofa, reading chairs, even the ottoman. Bonus Tip: #6 I had a small curtain with a black and white pattern laying around. It's actually part of my winter collection.  I placed it on the table in the breakfast nook making a table cloth!  I then filled a vase with some fresh fruit, mostly oranges for the splash of color and to give it a summer like feel. Have a revamp your home tip for us? Please share with me in the comment section below, as I still have 5 months of no spending to go!  Wish me luck.    

Selecting Art with a Point of View

Tweet Summer is the perfect time to update the art around the home. I like to change it up at least once a year, and access to a variety of imagery is one of the great perks of working for … Read More

Summer is the perfect time to update the art around the home. I like to change it up at least once a year, and access to a variety of imagery is one of the great perks of working for a fine art publisher. My project this summer was to update the art in my home office, and I knew that deciding what to display would be the hardest part. When selecting artwork it helps me to define a point of view. Sometimes it is as straight forward as choosing artwork that I personally find beautiful or interesting. Sometimes  it's the desire to showcase photos I took during a family vacation. Other times, the reasons go deeper. I recently lost my grandfather, who was 100 years old. That was a joyous occasion, not because he was a mean old man, but because he lived a full life worth celebrating. Shortly after, I also lost my 41-year-old cousin to breast cancer. She left behind 2 young children, a devastated husband and her widower father.  Somehow I wanted to give a face to the emotions and thoughts I couldn't necessarily express or fully understand. I wanted to reflect on these events and acknowledge that life just keeps marching forward. It was in this mind set that I choose these 3 works from our digital photos library. There is peaceful silence in each of these photos. Because of the fog and muted colors there is also uncertainty and melancholy. The images fit my emotional state, and I enjoy looking at them as a set. They pull me in and my mind can wander and think about what it will. The next step was to customize each image. Gallery Direct allows for a multiple customization options. This is both a blessing and a curse. The options are so varied that it can be overwhelming. I can customize the size, the material the images are printed on, and the frame. Deciding on the size is easy. The room and purpose dictates the size. Learn more about sizing an image here. I wanted the images to be large but my office at home office is small. I had a discussion with myself, measured the wall twice, and we decided that 26" x 26" (outer dimensions) would do the trick. Not too big for the room but big enough to see detail from my desk. Now I had to decide what to material to print on. Gallery Direct offers prints on canvasframed paperaluminumacrylicmirror and birchwood. The home office had a lot of natural light,  and I knew that I did not want a lot of reflections, so that meant aluminum and mirror were out. I also knew I wanted a frame so birchwood was out as well. I didn't like acrylic glass for these images. Prints on acrylic glass offer great clarity but there is a levity to the material that I felt was inappropriate for the subject matter. I was down to framed paper or canvas and eventually decided on framed paper because I wanted a matte around each image. White space around the image was important to me. It allowed the images to "breathe". I then choose a clean white frame to go along with my white walls. This was a pure aesthetic decision. Because of the relatively large size of the set (about 82" across) I felt a darker finish or a heavily ornamented frame would  take away from the subtle and quiet nature  of the images. Overall, I am very pleased with the finished results. It is in part a personal memorial to family members that have passed and a reminder that life moves quickly, but at the same time the selections reflect my taste and personality. -Jhonnie

Most Delish Design Eye Candy: Desire to Inspire

Tweet I’ve been on a mid-century modern kick in my search for design inspiration lately. There’s something about the strong shapes, clean lines and utilitarian flourishes that appeals to my brain. Granted, I have waaaaay too much stuff to ever … Read More

I've been on a mid-century modern kick in my search for design inspiration lately. There's something about the strong shapes, clean lines and utilitarian flourishes that appeals to my brain. Granted, I have waaaaay too much stuff to ever fully embrace the minimalism of true mid-century modern design, but a girl can dream. And, I know that even if I can never have a magazine-ready mid-century modern home from top to bottom, I can always incorporate pieces that fit the MCM aesthetic. For example: [caption id="attachment_3898" align="aligncenter" width="528"]Design Inspiration from Jaime Bush via Desire to Inspire [Jaime Bush (http://www.jamiebush.com) interior, via Desire to Inspire][/caption]Chair. Desk. I love you. Get in my living room now, please. More from Jaime Bush here.

Want More MCM Design Inspiration?

One of my favorite blogs for mid-century modern design inspiration is Desire to Inspire. Kim and Jo are an amazing pair of bloggers. Despite having never met (Kim is in Canada and Jo is in Australia!), they have put together a meticulously curated blog full of drool-worthy images. Desire to Inspire features a variety of eye candy: interiors by fabulous designers! Reader house tours! Interesting architectural projects! Jo and Kim give us all a glimpse of great design and architecture from around the world. And who can forget the weekly Pets on Furniture series? It features--what else--cute pets on great furniture. It's design inspiration for animal lovers!

From Inspiration to Reality...

Of course, many of the rooms featured on Desire to Inspire contain amazing art. Here are a couple of my favorites--along with Gallery Direct art to fit the bill if you happen to be inspired by what you see. What a yummy living room by Anonymous Architects: [caption id="attachment_3899" align="aligncenter" width="528"]Design Inspiration from Anonymous Architects via Desire to Inspire [Anonymous Architects (http://anonymousarchitects.com) via Desire to Inspire][/caption]Right? Get a similar geometric vibe with a piece like Geometric Conclusion III by Benjamin Arnot from Gallery Direct's collection: [caption id="attachment_3900" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Geometric Conclusion III by Benjamin Arnot [Geometric Conclusion III by Benjamin Arnot on framed paper][/caption]How about this dining room from Desire to Inspire reader Irving's apartment: [caption id="attachment_3901" align="aligncenter" width="528"]Irving's dining room via Desire to Inspire [Irving's dining room via Desire to Inspire][/caption]Mimic his monochromatic/eclectic gallery wall by mixing paintings like Shirley WilliamsShadow Play IV (brand new to our collection!)... [caption id="attachment_3902" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Shadow Play IV by Shirley Williams [Shadow Play IV by Shirley Williams on framed paper][/caption]...with other types of images--like a vintage map of your favorite city, like this map of New York from 1840: [caption id="attachment_3903" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Map of the City of New York (1840) by Calvin J. Smith [Map of the City of New York (1840) on framed canvas][/caption]And I could go on and on. Head over to Desire to Inspire to see for yourself! Where do you find design inspiration?  

What Your Mom’s Art Says About Her

Tweet With Mother’s Day only a few days away, you are probably thinking about the things your mom likes and hopefully, you have purchased her gift already.  Every mom has some type of art in their home. Have you ever … Read More

With Mother's Day only a few days away, you are probably thinking about the things your mom likes and hopefully, you have purchased her gift already.  Every mom has some type of art in their home. Have you ever thought about what your Mom's art says about her? Let's take a look:
Does your mom have a bright bold image in her kitchen or dining area like this one?  Moms that choose bold statement pieces of food love to cook and be social.  This mom is the one that is always over feeding her guests and still cooks you your favorite meal from when you were in high school. Does you mom display education material like maps or travel images as artwork?  She probably loves to learn new things and stay busy. She is the type of mom that loves to try new things, from learning a new language to underwater basket weaving, your mom is in the front row! Does your mother tastefully display adult beverage images as artwork?  Moms that display their passion for alcohol as art are outgoing and love to have a good time.  Your mom is the bell of the ball and loves to raise a glass to you being home. Does your mother go for the old masters with her decor?  Moms that love Van Gogh, and Klimt, are classic in their taste and a sucker for old memories.  This is the type of mother who insists that you try on her wedding dress. Does your mom's walls adorn landscape and floral artwork?  Moms that display timeless floral prints and scenic imagery are sweet as can be. They love all things that let people know they are a mom and most of all, they love you being in their home. They are the moms that will always remind you that you can come home anytime, no matter how old you are. http://www.gallerydirect.com/