ANNECHOVIE AND THE SKIRTED ROUND TABLE




I now have a still photo of my print that was featured in this scene in "It's Complicated". The same print is available here.

I want to offer a huge thank you to the ladies of the Skirted Round Table (Joni Webb, Megan Arquette and Linda Merrill) for their very kind mention during their interview this week with Academy Award nominee, Set Decorator, Beth Rubino. I also want to thank Nancy Meyers, Beth Rubino, and super-nice assistant
Kate Yatsko for including my print in the film!!
If you get a chance, go and listen to the podcast and get the inside scoop on the design/decoration side of movie production with one of the most prominent professionals in the industry. Beth decorated the set for  many blockbuster films, including "Something's Gotta Give" and her latest, "It's Complicated".
I hope you all have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday!

IS IKAT IN OR OUT?

This is a sort of design humor "cartoon" that I did last year.
Quote reads"Some people thought that perhaps Frances had taken the Ikat trend a bit too far". (click image to enlarge) The original is available here.

Recently, my friend Joni at Cote de Texas, wrote an interesting post examining the whole subject of design trends. She is making a series out of it "Cote de Texas' Top 10 Design Elements"- so it should be fun to follow her posts on her signature elements.

I personally don't think that you should worry about what's "in" or what's "out", but rather what you enjoy living with. I thought Ikat prints were supposedly "out", but I am still seeing them everywhere, even in fashion. What are some personal design elements that characterize your unique style?

COTE DE TEXAS - THANK YOU!

Ok, I don't want to nauseate any of you with too much of a mutual admiration society going on here, BUT I am not going to withhold a thank you from those to whom it is due! Joni Webb of Cote de Texas surprised me with a very sweet post yesterday after I posted her interview and I can't help but acknowledge her kindness publicly. Always an honor to be on Cote de Texas!

ARTIST'S PORTRAIT * JONI WEBB


I am very happy to feature one of my favorite bloggers and designers, the effervescent and lovely Houstonian, Joni Webb. I know many of you are already loyal readers of her fabulous blog Cote de Texas. Joni is an open, expressive, generous, talented and utterly lovable person! She has quite a trained eye and gift for creating beautiful interiors. But it doesn't just stop there. This woman could single handedly write a series of design encyclopedias! She manages to get the "Most Productive Insomniac" award in my book. This lady takes her sleepless nights and transforms them into an opportunity to devour, discover, track down and compile all sorts of fascinating facts, photos and tantalizing tidbits on houses, decorators and all things design-related for the many scores of readers who follow her blog religiously. She isn't afraid to tell you what she really thinks and I think her frankness and candor is one of the things that is most enjoyable about reading her posts. This spunky Texan doesn't do anything halfway - her posts are notorious for being about as thorough as you can get. I sometimes wonder how she finds the time to do all she does as a wife, mom, designer, blogger and house stalker. Something tells me her numerous daily runs to Starbucks might have something to do with it. Anyway you cut it, the blogging world wouldn't be the same without Joni. Everybody knows her, everybody reads her and everybody loves her. SO, I thought it might be fun to find out a little bit more about one of the blogosphere's biggest personalities. In typical fashion, this powerhouse of a woman had sent a completed questionnaire back to me within minutes. Amazing. So, without further ado, here's more on the affable Miss Joni.......

Joni and her daughter, Elisabeth

Are you married? Children? Pets?
I've been married 20 years to Ben - We are 11 days apart and we married late - at 33, had our first and only child, Elisabeth at 37. We were definitely late bloomers. Very, very late bloomers. And we have two dogs which you graciously immortalized in your portfolio. Ben and I were looking at your portfolio yesterday and he said, "That looks like Georgie!" I said - It does - because it IS Georgie!
What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your success/well-being as a person and designer/business owner?
My laptop - I can not live without my laptop. I get anxious without it. If it breaks, I'll be at the store at 9am to get a new one - I can't wait to get it fixed. I travel in the car on road trips with it. I have wi-fi AND a mobile cell phone account for it for the car and out of town places. It actually calms my nerves and helps with anxiety!!! As a businesswoman - I don't know - I guess I would say the decorative center in Houston is essential to me. I always go there for fabric inspiration when I start a new job. And - the antique stores in Houston are VERY essential to my work as a designer: Tara Shaw and Joyce Horn have provided many of my client's furniture over the years.
What's your pet peeve?
Cheap, tight people. Absolutely. I hate that in a person. I like people who are generous - they tend to be generous in all aspects of their lives and much more understanding, forgiving, nonjudgmental and empathetic. My husband is like that - empathetic, generous, and kind.

Joni's charming breakfast room with her signature white slipcovers

Joni's family room

Do you have a motto?
"There's no place like home" and my husband's favorite "Anyplace together beats anyplace apart." Also, "Anywhere in Texas beats any other place." He has quite a few mottos actually. Mostly about Texas and home, ha! We are both HUGE homebodies. My mom and I have another saying "We do house, we don't do clothes." That's another biggie in my life. Totally.
What's your favorite color?
I love blues - any "cool" color. I love the colors of hydrangeas.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Either an interior designer or an architect which I quickly got over after taking a few architecture classes in college. But definitely, something to do with house and floorplans. I was obsessed with floorplans throughout my entire youth for some reason.
What inspires you most creatively and gets your creative juices flowing?
Fabric. I always start each project with a key fabric. Once I have that - the rest is easy and everything falls into place, the colors, etc. Designing a room is a process for me: I usually do a floor plan first, then together with the client we pick one inspirational fabric. I usually pick the remaining fabrics. Then I either design the furniture or buy it. Do the curtains and the rugs; and the accessories I pick up the week before the installation - so they can be easily returned. It's not so daunting if I do it step by step. I'm not one of those designers that can look at a space and visualize something immediately. It comes more slowly to me. Also, I visualize myself living there - if this was mine, what would I do, WWJD? Haha!!! That makes it really easy then.


The living room (I love it that she says," I never use this room, except for spying on the neighbors!")

What keeps you awake at night?
Me? Awake at night? hahahah!! I don't sleep. No, seriously, coffee? My father actually sent me an article that said the two worst things that cause insomnia are coffee and blogging! Bingo!!!! I swear it named blogging.
I guess, honestly - it would be worrying about when my daughter's upset about something. I think when she gets hurt, it hurts me more than her. They don't tell you that in the manual.
Where do you live and work?
I live in Houston, in West University, which is a small town inside of Houston - we have our own mayor, our police department, trash pick up, little town center - it's almost as old as Houston itself. It's like living in a country town inside of a large metropolitan area.

Favorite food?
Wendy's Caesar Salad - I eat that every night for dinner. You would think I'd be very, very thin. I really don't care for food that much and never have. My parents had to force me to eat when I was young. When we would go on family road trips, I would eat a blt for lunch and a club sandwich for dinner. Every day. Ben is actually exactly the same as I am. He ate a pbj every single day and a bowl of cereal for dinner every night of his life. He stills eats cereal for dinner every night. We are very, very compatible, to say the least.
3 words you'd use to describe yourself?
Mother, wife, daughter.


If you haven't acqainted yourself with Joni and Cote de Texas yet, check it out here. I guarantee you'll be hooked!

GONE TO THE DOGS.....PART 1


"Georgie"

I just wanted to let you know that I have now ventured into the world of pet portraiture. I know you've all been waiting on pins and needles to hear this. Not!! (did I really just use that beyond stale term?) Yes, I know. I, too, have heard the proverbial jokes and defamatory jibes applied to the "desperate" artists who resort to painting pets. Truth is, pets are a big part of people's lives and sometimes loved even more than humans (especially here in Florida). The illustrious artist George Stubbs certainly didn't think animals too lowly a subject!

I'll be honest with you, I don't have any pets. My olfactory is far too sensitive and I have allergies to pet hair and dander. I am the type of person who sneezes, on average, about 5- 7 times in a row (yeah, I know - fun!). Now, I have known some people with such dirty and vile smelling animals that keeping my food down when I was around them posed quite a challenge (the animals, not the people -well, mostly the animals). I can tell you that experiences like that are not ones your senses quickly forget and furthermore don't help any to get me on the pet bandwagon with the majority. However, I do have my moments when I see people like Patricia Gray and her adorable little Yorkie, Nicole, and a wave of pet-envy sweeps over me. Then there is my fellow blogger and friend, Joni Webb of Cote de Texas, who has two dogs, Sammie and Georgie, that are adored by her family. I can't imagine that she lets them get gross. I can see it.... a furry, loyal and adoring creature who guilelessly looks forward to nothing more than waiting for you to come home (besides being fed, maybe). I recently had the honor of immortalizing Joni's dogs in gouache from photos. I am now looking for some new subjects, so please don't be shy and feel free to contact me about painting your favorite little (or big) furry friend or giving a pet portrait for a special occasion.

THE BLOGGING SISTERHOOD


Patricia's superior version of a thank-you note

Patricia van Essche - President of the "Artists' Support Network"!!

A gift package, van Essche style! What a gift for presentation!

One of the guys in my "break room"

The view at my recharge spot - not bad, eh?

My break lounge

You know, things have been really crazy here lately. I love my work, but it's also beyond amazing to get away for a couple of hours for a break and recharge. Nothing kills creativity like fatigue, and all it takes sometimes is just a short 2 hour break. When I do need a break, I head to one place in particular, a quiet local beach. Sitting there listening to the surf and soaking up a few rays is my way to relax and I feel so blessed to have such an incredible"breakroom"! Some of the guys there are a little pesky, especially when they come over to beg for food, but I just ignore them and they eventually fly off.

One of the drawbacks of being an artist is that you generally work alone, although that's also how I work best. It's imperative that you make time for social interaction and have a support base to keep you balanced and inspired. That is why it's been so wonderful, since I've been blogging, to meet some incredible people who share many of the same interests and challenges. One person in particular is Patricia van Essche. I am sure many of you have seen her work before and read about her on my blog, as well as many others. She is an amazing artist and one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met. I am excited that she is going to start her own blog very soon. Although we've never met yet in person, she has already been such a great friend to me. She has offered me some wonderful advice, sources, support and feedback. The other day, I got a wonderful package in the mail from her. The best part was that she took the time to send me the best thank-you card I've ever received, a hand rendered illustration that's not only adorable, but incredibly clever as well. There was also a charming little painting on wood of a crab. Very apropos for my location! Knowing I love anchovies, she was also thoughtful enough to include some Dutch fish spread her husband loves (she recently returned from a trip to Europe with her family, her in-laws live in Monaco). Her instructions made me laugh - "Eat this on toast with parsley, LOTS of parsley". I am guessing the parsley is to counteract the deathly toxic breath the fish spread probably gives you! LOL. It definitely put a big smile on my face. Thank you, Patricia! I will let you know how it goes when I open the can.....

My point is that, as the year begins to draw to a close, I am so thankful for all the friends I have met here. There's an endless list of people I could thank that includes many fellow bloggers, readers, and clients. Especially, Patricia van Essche, Courtney Barnes, Joni Webb, Ronda Carman and Holly Becker. Thanks for serving as such an inspiration and support network. There is a real "sisterhood" (and brotherhood, too) that's very real, despite the fact that there are many miles between all of us.

COTE DE TEXAS





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I want to send a special thank you to Joni Webb, a gifted designer who posts regularly on her stylish blog, Cote de Texas. This spunky and colorful Houstonian commissioned me to paint one of her favorite views in her house, a garden statue that sits in a light-drenched front window between two silk drapery panels. It was a pleasure working with her and I look forward to doing more work for her very soon! She is a warm and gracious lady. You can read her post on our collaboration here. Thank you, Joni! I love doing commissions for my clients! The interaction is such a fun process and it's a delight to work with some wonderful people. Why don't YOU consider having me do a favorite piece/room/object for you or as a gift for a loved one? Please feel free to contact me at: anneharwell@hotmail.com