the labour we did on labor day weekend

My updated studio.  Photographed with Nikon D300, 35mm lens.

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you know that I spent most of Saturday talking incessantly about repainting my studio.  I've been pretty obsessed over the past week about this, even though I didn't really change the space that much, other than the colour of the walls and the colour of the shelves.  Still, because it sort of feels like the anniversary of my decision to follow my bliss, this redecorating was strangely very important to me, as if it signalled that my metamorphosis to a creative person was finally complete. 

Also, I threw my textbooks from law school into the recycling bin, so I think I can officially call this room my "studio," rather than my "office."  I am inordinately happy about this.

Anyway, I thought I'd pop in today to share the final result.  This is the room where I spend a majority of my waking hours, so it's really good that it finally feels like me.  The new wall colour is a pale blue, called "Beach Water" -- I decided that since my ultimate goal in life is to have a home by the beach, it would be really, really good for me to be surrounded by "beach water" every day while I work (the original wall colour was taupe.  In fact, the previous owners painted the entire house taupe.  I can't think of a colour that is more unlike any member of my little famly.  We're slowly changing wall colours, room by room). 

In the photograph above, Marcus did the painting of our little family to the right of the couch -- it actually is reminiscent of where we lived in Trinidad. 

The furniture in this room is sort of special to me, because it's the furniture I bought for myself before moving to London, and it sort of represents my first real stab at independence, since my previous furniture were hand-me-downs from my parents.  The bookshelves are these old, ratty IKEA bookshelves that I've had for 10 years, and last weekend I finally painted them white.  I could've bought some new bookshelves, I suppose, but we're trying to watch our pennies.  I'm sort of happy with the way they turned out, since the crappy paint job looks like a patina caused by having been weathered by years at the beach.

Actually, it just looks like a crappy paint job.  But I'm trying to convince myself of otherwise.

The colour-coordinated books:  I've never done this before, and actually somewhat scoffed at people who I've seen that do this.  But for some reason, I thought I'd give it a whirl -- mostly because I figured that the books would look neater, and in a small space, neatness is often necessary.  I have to admit, I do love it now, and am a complete convert to the arrange-books-by-the-colour-spectrum philosophy.  That said, the rest of our books, which are in the family room, are still in colourful disarray, and will remain that way.  The colour arrangement works in here, but I think it would look ridiculous out there.

Rufus, in the spot where he spends most of his day.  Rotten dog.


The second bookshelf (mostly with white, grey and black books).  I have a Buddha collection, and two of my favourites are on this shelf.  The "scary baby" paintings in the back are by the artist Timothy Cummings -- and people either love them, or are freaked out by them.  I love them.  Also, the little photograph in the corner of the bookshelf is of my grandmother, taken a few days before she died.  The writing project I'm currently brainstorming is about her, so I thought I could use her sweet smile as inspiration.

I love the blue painting above the lamp -- I bought it at BlogHer '08, but for the life of me, I can't remember the artist's name, I'm so sorry.  If you happen to be out there and reading this, please let me know, so I can credit you.

This is the group of paintings that are actually to the left of the couch (as shown in the first photograph of this post).  They're all pretty important to me.  From left to right:

  • a replica of a Picasso painting that my friend Victoria made for Marcus and me as a wedding present;
  • the fish painting is by a local artist here in Houston, David Kosmo.  It was my first purchase of original art ever, bought about 14 years ago;
  • the heart tree below the fish painting is one Marcus did for me for Valentine's Day this year;
  • the "Beauty" painting is one I did during my trip to Oregon this year, with the close guidance of my friend, artist Kelly Rae, and the handwriting of my friend, artist Ali Edwards.  For the past two years, while in Oregon, I've picked a word to help guide me for the for the following year.  This year's word for me is "beauty" -- hence the painting;
  • the painting of the little house on the hill by the sea is another one Marcus did -- it's our dream retirement cottage; and
  • the piece on the lower right is a giclee by the artist Sabrina Ward Harrison that I bought for myself about 5 years ago.


This is a little station that Marcus sometimes uses for himself, or Alex sometimes uses to do her work.  The art above, from left to right:

  • After returning from Oregon this year, I was inspired to try to create my own art.  So I took my word for last year, "true," to see if I could do something with it.  This was my attempt (bless my heart);
  • The print of the women dancing was the first piece of art I ever bought for myself.  I bought it about 15 years ago at Pier 1 Imports:  I remember walking in, and loving it because it reminded me of the Bèlè dancers of Trinidad, but the $100 price tag was too rich for my blood, so I regretfully walked away.  A year later, I was back in the store, and it was still there, so I decided it was a sign that I was meant to have it, and shelled out the cash.  It's just a print, and really not worth much; however, to me, this print is priceless, and I will never, ever get rid of it.
  • The dark green and navy blue painting at the top right is an Alex original.  She made it for me when she was three, and when I asked her what she called it, she said, after a moment's thought:  "Trinidadian Restaurant at Night."  You can imagine how much I adore this painting.
  • The painting on the lower right is another Alex original.  I have no idea what she calls it.  But I like the colours.


Where I'm sitting right now, as I type this.  The prints from left to right:

  • "Live What You Love" print by Hijirik Studio on Etsy;
  • A print from the beautiful, sweet artist, Mati Rose;
  • A print from Kelly Rae -- when she originally offered this for sale, I hadn't met her yet, but several people emailed me to ask if I was supposed to be the girl on the left hand side of the print.  I obviously am not that girl, but since so many people emailed me, I figured it was a sign I had to own it;
  • Another Mati Rose print;
  • A print that my lovely website designer, Krystyn Heide, brought with her to BlogHer '08.  She brought a stack of these to give to attendees of a panel she was participating on, and I brought it home and framed it with great care.  The words say "Images & Text Made With Love."  It's become sort of my mantra.


So that's it, my friends -- thanks for taking the tour of my little studio with me.  Hope you had a great weekend, and for those of you who are still on it, stay safe!


SongLittle bird by Imogen Heap.  Seriously, this album is pretty great.

Karen Walrond22 Comments