What is it about abstract art that can be so intimidating? For many it starts with the definition of Abstract art – paintings that do not depict a person, place or thing of the natural world and is followed by comments like, “I don’t get this.”  Or “My 3 year old could paint this.”  Or “I like paintings I can understand.” Abstract art by definition, “does not attempt to represent external reality, but instead, attempts to achieve its effect using colors, shapes and textures”. We enter unfamiliar territory and feel a bit uncomfortable when asked our opinions on a particular piece that does not portray its subject in a literal manner. This is the best part of abstract art! We’re given the opportunity to interpret a piece of art in whatever way we see fit. [caption id="attachment_4496" align="aligncenter" width="410"] Dancing by Jenny Gray[/caption] Because of advertising, television and internet, we are so used to being inundated with images that are specifically created to convey a message, that we expect precise, clear-cut information from our visual images. However, art doesn’t always have to be that way and it can quite often be better and more enjoyable when the subject matter and meaning aren’t hand-fed to its audience. The artist asks of his or her audience to participate in their piece. How awesome is that? Part of the appeal of abstract art is how intimate and personal it can be for the artist and the viewer as well. The audience is able tap into their feelings and take whatever they want from a piece of abstract art. Interpreting art is a visual, mental and emotional undertaking and can leave a viewer overwhelmed by all the feelings a piece of art gave them while another viewer may only see a mess of paint splatter. [caption id="attachment_4497" align="aligncenter" width="400"] When Will be Able to Relax by Bob Hunt[/caption] Which brings up an important matter. Just because you come across a piece of abstract art for sale or in an art gallery, it does not mean you have to like it. This article is to encourage interaction with abstract art, not to persuade you all to feel as if you must like or have an opinion about all abstract artwork. Many people will find themselves viewing abstract art and forcing themselves to see something in its colors or shapes. You don’t have to do that! It is quite all right not to like or feel a certain way about an abstract art piece. It does not mean you’re uncultured, I promise. Another misconception about abstract artwork is that it will look out of place anywhere other than an a contemporary space. Wrong! Abstract art can blend well with almost any design scheme and will spruce up your walls in a daring, unexpected way. [caption id="attachment_4499" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Silo by Jenny Gray[/caption]So, go forth and get up close and personal with some abstract art! Interpret, contemplate, FEEL! Hopefully, you now realize that you don’t have to be the owner of a swanky art gallery to appreciate or own abstract art. However, If you do want to dress up in trendy, expensive clothes and sip fancy wine like an art gallery owner while gazing at your new abstract art, by all means, go right on ahead!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Tweet Stuck on what to get Mom for Mother’s Day? Not to worry, we here at Gallery Direct have got your back. We’ve got something for every type of mom and if we work together, we’ll be sure the gift … Read More

Stuck on what to get Mom for Mother’s Day? Not to worry, we here at Gallery Direct have got your back. We’ve got something for every type of mom and if we work together, we’ll be sure the gift you give Mom doesn’t make her sigh exasperatedly and give you that look. You know the look. So let’s get started, shall we? Does your mom dig gardens? Literally? If your  mom constantly has soil underneath her nails, take a look through our floral still lifes or our Nature and Organic category. Chances are, your green-thumbed mama will positively love artwork featuring beautiful blooming botanicals. Rather than gifting a live bouquet of flowers, floral artwork will last forever. Nature-loving moms are always looking for ways to bring the outdoors in. Botanical artwork is a great way to do just that. The flowers won't wilt in a week and you don't have to worry about your mom asking you to water it while she's away! [caption id="attachment_4476" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Vase with Flowers by Artist Unknown[/caption] Maybe you’ve got a mom who fancies herself a foodie. If you’re constantly being asked to be her recipe guinea pig, a tasteful art print featuring something tasty for her kitchen is an excellent option. When it comes to décor, many people neglect their kitchens so a piece of art featuring cuisine would make any mom happy. A gorgeously decorated kitchen might mean Mom actually enjoys being in the kitchen which could mean more delicious goodies for you! [caption id="attachment_4477" align="aligncenter" width="410"] The Good Life II by Jane Bellows[/caption] For the intellectual mom, how about an expressive abstract piece? Gifting A highbrowed nonfigurative or nonrepresentational piece of abstract art is sure to impress your brainy mother and will make a great, cerebral addition to her office or study. [caption id="attachment_4478" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Sacrifice by Polly Norman[/caption] Not so certain on what type of mom you're dealing with? Well, you can't go wrong with the classics. A Degas, Renoir, Monet or any master of classical art will complement almost any home decor beautifully. [caption id="attachment_4479" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The Water Lily Pond (Japanese Bridge) by Claude Monet[/caption] Or how about a professionally printed photograph? Upload a picture to gallerydirect.com and select a material to print on for a unique gift that feels personal and special. This option comes with the risk of making Mom cry, so have the tissues on hand. Was last Mother's Day not quite successful? Did she return your gift? This year, maybe it would be wise to you let her choose. Get Mom a Gallery Direct eGift Card and let her select her perfect artwork. For whatever type of mother you have, Gallery Direct has the gifts that are sure to put a smile on dear old Mom's face and not to mention, keep you on her good side! Be sure to order by May 1st to have your artwork in time for Mother's Day!

The Beauty of Acrylic Printing

Tweet Not to brag or anything, but we print on some pretty neat materials over at Gallery Direct. Not only do we print on paper and canvas, but we also print images onto birchwood, mirror, aluminum and acrylic. Of all … Read More

Not to brag or anything, but we print on some pretty neat materials over at Gallery Direct. Not only do we print on paper and canvas, but we also print images onto birchwood, mirror, aluminum and acrylic. Of all the things we print on, we think acrylic might be the coolest. However, not everybody is aware of its qualities or that it is even an option. Actually, acrylic printing is quickly becoming one of today’s most popular methods to display images. Art printed on acrylic is very unique and has the ability to actually enhance an image. If you’re looking for art that elicits a “wow!” and a dropped jaw or two, acrylic is definitely the way to go. Those who see an acrylic print for the first time, fall in love with its vibrancy and clarity. It interacts beautifully with light and actually gives your photos and artwork a dazzling multi-dimensional look. Images printed on an acrylic surface add a stylish, contemporary touch to your home while having the benefit of being a long-lasting and durable method to display photographs and artwork. Gallery Direct has the best technology in the industry for acrylic printing. We use Optix-DA – digital acrylic formulated for printing and specifically designed to provide optimal adhesion of UV curing inks without adhesion promoters. This results in crystal clear acrylic with the highest degree of color fidelity available today. The sleek acrylic glass is supported by simple, brushed aluminum standoffs and invisible hanging mounts, giving the piece a mesmerizing weightless appearance. If you’re in the market for art that is elegant yet durable and will gorgeously complement a modern, minimalist interior design, acrylic printing is a great option. And you’re in luck because Gallery Direct just happens to do it best! Shop our extensive collection of artwork or even upload your own images for exquisite acrylic prints you’re sure to love.  

The Original “Put a Bird On It”

Tweet Greetings, Gallery Direct! Having returned to the States after my fabulous summer of learning and exploring in Italy, I am back to the grindstone. I am currently applying to PhD programs in art history and museum studies, and had … Read More

Greetings, Gallery Direct! Having returned to the States after my fabulous summer of learning and exploring in Italy, I am back to the grindstone. I am currently applying to PhD programs in art history and museum studies, and had the occasion to visit Yale University in New Haven, CT, this past weekend for a fantastic conference on one of my favorite artists of all time, Edouard Manet. The conference was excellent, but I also got to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams: visiting the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library at Yale.
beinecke library yale
[caption id="attachment_4223" align="aligncenter" width="528"] The Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library[/caption] Not only is it the largest building in the world that is dedicated solely to the preservation, conversation, and dissemination of rare books, it is also open to both Yale students and the public at large. For a book geek like me, it's always wonderful to know that even with such precious materials at hand, people are dedicated to sharing them for the greater good. Among their collections that are out for public display (including a Gutenberg Bible) was a first edition run of John James Audubon's Birds of America. At the age of 35, John James Audubon embarked upon a mission to paint every bird in North America. In 1838, that project saw completion. Working with British engravers, Audubon transformed his watercolor and pastel works into what is now known as Birds of America. A total of 87 sets of five prints - making a total of 435 plates - were released between 1827 and 1838. [caption id="attachment_4224" align="aligncenter" width="528"] Original printing of Audubon's Birds of America[/caption] Having personally worked with all of the plates of this astonishing during my time at Gallery Direct, it was so incredibly cool to see the original works in person. Check out some of the great prints we have available over at Gallery Direct from the Audubon collection. Two of my favorites are the Great Horned Owls and the Zenaida Doves.   [caption id="attachment_4225" align="aligncenter" width="242"] Audubon's Great Horned Owls[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4226" align="aligncenter" width="240"] Audubon's Zenaida Doves[/caption] So, go ahead and "put a bird on it" with your favorite Audubon print from Gallery Direct!
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.    

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?  

Selecting Art: Sailing in Couture Stilettos

Tweet My most recent project with Gallery Direct was selecting art with a couple in Austin, Texas that just moved from the East Coast. Two very different personalities presented themselves, which is always a fun design challenge. Nicola, a fashionista … Read More

My most recent project with Gallery Direct was selecting art with a couple in Austin, Texas that just moved from the East Coast. Two very different personalities presented themselves, which is always a fun design challenge. Nicola, a fashionista who has an extreme passion for abstract art and design. Her husband Christian, has an intense passion for sailing, the ocean, and very traditional. Their common denominator was entertaining their friends at their known dinner parties. Their Austin home had one of the best modern dining room layouts, providing his and her walls to showcase their personalities in their favorite room. Like everyone, they had a budget so we started at Gallery Direct. Nicola was shocked at the options, but extremely puzzled how to make this important space both theirs. She wasn’t real thrilled to be searching for an abstract ship to compromise. It was important for her to have something colorful and abstract of her own. To ease the overwhelming search for her we took three easy steps to get started, here they are:
  1. Check out the Brand New First Additions
  2. Use the search engine with key words that express an emotion you might want to feel in that room.
  3. Gallery Direct has the best Subjects section online. That is where we found what we were looking for. (Abstract for Nicoloa and Coastal and Tropical for Christian)
We choose the Brisbane by Brett Pfister with an aluminum finish for Christians wall and a series of four abstract pieces by Jamie Packard on gallery wrapped canvas for Nicola. Two Quick Tips:
  1. To help finalize your decision for your art selection, choose three, print them at home or your office, tape them on the selected wall(s). Leave them up for at least a day. By the end of that day you will know which one you want.
  2. When deciding on a size, use blue tape to safely show you the impact of the size on your wall.  Don’t be shy to go big!
Nicola and Christian were extremely excited to have their guests over. They now have amazing conversation pieces with the balance of vibrant energy and the calming sea showcasing both personalities they desired. Until the next project… Give the gift of art to your temple. Make it the colorful palace you look forward to coming home to. Sarah

Kid’s Bathroom Makeover

Tweet Recently I redid my kid’s bathroom and I love the way it turned out. Many people forget about the bathroom when it comes to art but it is the perfect way to make a statement in that room as … Read More

Recently I redid my kid's bathroom and I love the way it turned out. Many people forget about the bathroom when it comes to art but it is the perfect way to make a statement in that room as well. I love to use acrylic in the bathroom that way you don't need to be a worried about splashing water or steam from the shower. I have four girls who share this bathroom and I was looking for a cute kids theme that was not too cutesy as this bathroom is also used by guests in our home. I found an adorable kids themed shower curtain from Kushies but I needed some art. I ended up using the Multiverse II by Benjamin Arnot and it is perfect tying in the color theme while toning down the kid theme. I am thrilled with how the room turned out for more pictures and details about the bathroom makeover check out my whole post on Thrifty & Chic Mom.
Do you day dream about the French Countryside? Are you constantly trying to bring a little more french country cottage into your home decor? Then you need to meet Gallery Direct Style Ambassador Courtney. Courtney is the owner and talented decorator behind French Country Cottage a blog full of French inspired eye candy! Meet Courtney in her own words: I am a day dreaming girl and am a stay at home mom to three incredible & inspiring (and goofy!) kids. I have a passion for  Interior design and decorating and now that my babies are older  I am beginning to pursue that part of my dreams. Courtney is constantly finding ways to inspire beautiful french decor and she has beautifully incorporated several Gallery Direct pieces into her home including farmhouse sheep artwork, vintage flowers, and some puppy love. Be sure to check out those inspiring posts and many other on her beautiful blog French Country Cottage.  You can view those images on Gallery Direct here:  Vintage Flower, Sheep image.    

It may still feel like Summer but Fall is just around the corner and with cooler temperatures comes more time indoors. I don’t know about you but the Fall and Winter are when I start to notice places in my house that need a bit of sprucing up. Maybe some new furniture or a new image or two on the wall, Fall is the perfect time to update your decor. Join @ThriftyChicMom and us, @GalleryDirect tonight at 9 pm CST for decorating tips, tricks and suggestions as we discuss updating your home decor!  RSVP HERE We want to hear your tips, so please join in with suggestions and comments.

5 Lucky winners will each win a $200 credit for FREE ART to create that perfect custom art piece to update your home decor so be sure to join me @ThriftyChicMom and @GalleryDirect at 10pm EST #GalleryDirect

You must RSVP to be entered to win:  RSVP HERE