a print, a plasticine, and painting

in my last post, i mentioned picking up a framed print from the junction flea market for $50. the guy who sold it to me said he paid $150 for it a year and a half ago, and he was flat broke, so he wanted to offload it. i don’t know whether any of that is true or not, but i felt $50 to be a fair asking price (so fair i didn’t even try to bargain him down) and, regardless of whether or not the piece has any value, i just really liked it for our house.

there’s a date in pencil on the front of the print — 1967 — but i think even without that, it’s pretty obvious the print has major mid-century modern style. the colours are also perfect for our space. i’m big on continuity from room to room — always, but especially in a house this small — and the different shades of purple are reflected in the table runner in our dining room, while the yellow is echoed in our living room, spare bedroom, and kitchen.

there were about 4 different rooms in which i felt confident i could hang this, but we opted for the hallway just outside the bathroom door due to the print’s relative size (19.75″ x 19.75″). it just looked a little lost on some of our larger, empty walls in the living and dining rooms, and we already have quite the art collection amassing in our spare room.

it took over a week to make that decision, but it only took 5 minutes to clean it up with some no name glass cleaner and hammer a nail into the wall. about 3 minutes of the 5 were because the hallway walls are plaster and it always takes a little more than a tap to get nails into our walls.

speaking of hallways, i painted this one blue (continuing the summer shower from the living and dining rooms) at the end of last month. it had stayed green when we painted our dining room in december and our living room in april because i wasn’t sure if we’d want to carry the light blue that far. these 2 front rooms plus the hallway comprise about half the square footage upstairs, so that’s a lot of summer shower!

that, and there’s a lot of trim to be painted in this tiny hallway and i seriously couldn’t stomach doing it on top of the living room. but it was actually another piece of art, acquired in early may, that made me decide to commit to the blue.

like most of the weekends we spend in the city, pierre and i were at the evergreen brickworks one saturday in may. i was checking out some arugula when pierre noticed this wall of plasticine art behind the lady who sells honey. he called me over and — working in children’s publishing as i do — i quickly identified the artist as barbara reid. there were 50-60 framed pieces for sale, all original art from her new book, picture a tree (scholastic).

barbara lives in east york, too, and did all of her sketches for picture a tree in the don valley. she was donating 25% of the proceeds from the sale of her art back to the brickworks and, just a week after they’d gone up for sale, there were maybe only a dozen pieces still available to buy. one of them was this one, called spring umbrella.

i really hadn’t intended to buy any art from the brickworks that morning — we usually bring all of $25 with us for st. john’s bread and coffee and vegetables as required — but it sure seemed like it would be the perfect piece to buy.

  1. it’s barbara reid, celebrated author-illustrator of my industry
  2. it’s of a weeping mulberry tree somewhere in the don valley, my favourite place on earth
  3. it’s titled spring umbrella, which was the theme of our spring 2010 wedding
  4. with tax, it came to $2 more than my tax return (what rrsp?)

i bought some arugula and came back to it and then decided, yep, i’d take it. and because the background and the raindrops falling on the tree are exactly the same shade of blue as our living and dining rooms, i didn’t spend another minute waffling over which colour to paint the hallway.

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