Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reno's With Rosie - Creating the Curator Wall

If it isn't decorating magazines or pinterest, it's television or just talking to someone about what they're doing that inspires my wife Rose. She's always thinking. First comes the inspiration, then the planning, dropping little hints around the house, "running it by me" just a little bit at a time so I won't get alarmed and the "fight or flee" instinct won't become active. 
Apparently it's a delicate balance.

As for me, usually I have no idea what's going on, I'm just minding my own business and then....wham o! At sometime I have apparently agreed to some kind of expensive renovation, decorating project, major purchase, or vacation, somehow without even being aware of the fact that a decision was in the process of being made!

Oh well, mostly it works itself out and every once in a while I do exercise my veto vote, but not without careful deliberation, at least 5 seconds anyway. Rose gets her own veto vote as well so don't worry, we are an equal partnership (mostly, with a lot of zig-zagging back and forth).

But this particular project was really an excellent idea and it took no convincing at all. I took one look at the picture of the "curator wall" in Rose's magazine and I was on board with both feet in.

The finished art wall.

After our trip to Italy this past May, I have been itching to get some of my photographs printed, mounted and displayed around the house. I had already printed a bunch of calendars that turned out pretty good and I had enjoyed some success entering some images in the St. Albert Photo Club monthly competitions in November. One image of the snail or Momo staircase from the Vatican Museum won first place in digital images and another of a woman walking through the early morning mist in Piazza San Marco won second in printed images. Pretty heady stuff, let me tell you!

So when Rose mentioned her idea for showcasing my work, I jumped at the chance. Our first task was to find a suitable piece of galvanized pipe and the mounting flanges to get it up on the wall and properly supported. I looked around and finally found a nice, 6' piece of 1/2" galvanized pipe at Lowe's as well as the elbows and mounting flanges.

Galvanized pipe mounted on the wall from which the artwork hangs.
Meanwhile Rose had been working on selecting and cleaning up some frames we had recently taken down when we repainted the house. She marked out an area on the floor approximating the size of the wall area we had to work with and we laid out the frames into the most pleasing arrangement we could come up with. We didn't want to spend a lot of money on new frames or new mats so she re-painted some of the old mats and painted select parts of the old frames, getting rid of any gold accents and replacing it with silver or black.

Frames with old artwork laid out on the floor.
Next was the hard part for me, choosing what to print, finding good images that told a bit of a story about our trip to Italy. We had this great long narrow frame that had a space for a 12"x36" image and I decided to crop a vertical shot of a man walking up a steep lane in the rain with a bright blue umbrella. It was shot in one of our favorite places in Italy, the town of Belagio on Lake Como in Northern Italy. We both loved the pop of blue and the wet cobblestone steps leading up to the bright opening at the top of the image where there was perhaps a little sun filtering through and illuminating the yellow walls.

Hanging the Images.
Most of the other images weren't hard to decide on. We both love the image of the grand canal in Venice from the foot of the Pont del Accademia with the blue gondolas in the foreground and the sun rising over Piazza San Marco and the Santa Maria della Salute Church.

We printed it in 24"x18"  at London Drugs (along with all of our other printing) and they did a great job. We went with 2 11"x 14" images along the top, the one on the left was taken in Rome, we had just arrived after a bit of a kerfuffle at the train station and then a mix-up picking up our keys and a rude person at the gelateria. While Rose kindly waited in line for some delicious gelato, I listened to the cello playing, tuxedo wearing busker in the most picturesque little alley staircase, it was quite magical and I took a couple of quick pictures (after depositing a few euros in appreciation).

Also in the top center is another shot of Venice taken on a misty morning on one of the smaller canals that criss-cross the city. Our first morning in Venice we woke up to some gorgeous fog blanketing the city and I loved it! On the top right side is a smaller shot of the ceiling in the Pantheon with a nice little beam of light shining through the 27 foot wide oculus. What an amazing building, we visited several times at different times of the day and it was always beautiful. Below that is another image from Rome, this one was taken in the Capitoline Museums but I don't remember who it is. The one below it on the right is a fairly modern statue built into the hillside in the town of Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy. This statue called Il Gigante, was built from concrete in 1910 but rough seas and allied bombs during WW2 have left this image of Neptune holding the waves at bay looking pretty forlorn and shabby. We both loved finding the statue there at the end of the beach and we visited it several times (gelato in hand) during our 4 days in Monterosso.

The living room with the couch half finished, but the art wall complete!
Stay tuned for part 2 of Reno's with Rosie where we do all kinds of other weird and wonderful things around the house over the Christmas Holidays.

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