The Eye of the Beholder

When it comes to contemporary fine art, everyone’s taste is individual. For me, the bottom line is that art enhances the quality of my life, and I want to incorporate art into my surroundings in a way that makes me feel good. While one’s artistic leanings can range from hand painted silks or hand painted children’s furniture to original watercolors or Giclee reproductions, the desire to incorporate art into our lives dates back to our ancient ancestors.

Over the years, I’ve learned that incorporating art into my home is less a matter of what’s considered “in” by the art world, and more a matter of what evokes the moods and feelings I want to experience. When I contemplated redecorating my living room, for example, I decided that I needed to open up the space in order to feel lightness – as though the weight of the world was off of my shoulders when I walked into my home. For that reason, I chose to paint the room a bright buttery yellow and use window treatments that reminded me of the sails on a sailboat. Naturally, I sought out original watercolors to contribute to the feeling of openness and freedom in the room. The result? A room that still makes me smile every time I walk in it, and contemporary fine art that allows me to lose myself in the images.

I wanted my bedroom, on the other hand, to be an intimate place of respite. I wanted it to be feminine yet functional, and so chose to incorporate hand painted silks into the decor. The delicate silk scarves that adorn the dressing tables are a gorgeous contrast to the finely crafted baskets that I display and use as small storage spaces.

My home office is all about function, and so I chose to display a collection of black and white photographs in that space. The photographs add depth and feeling to the room, while being subdued enough so as not to be distracting.

When I walk into my daughter’s bedroom, my eye is immediately drawn to the children’s hand-painted furniture that occupies the room. Yes, it was an investment, but I know that the quality craftsmanship and exquisite painting will be in our family for generations to come. My daughter already appreciates the one-of-a-kind furniture that she has, and has told me that she feels good when she’s in her room.

And, after all, isn’t art meant to evoke an emotional response in us? Whether it’s the awe of witnessing the depth and complexity of a work from an Old Master or a feeling of relaxation when experiencing original watercolors that depict fresh flowers, art serves to enrich our lives and bring us joy. It’s not a matter of following the trends of the art world; rather, it all comes down to how you feel when you bring contemporary fine art – or any other type of art – into the space you call home.