Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Peony Paintings

 During the past month my dental dilemma continues (we're talking a file broken in the canal during a root canal!!!) and has been wreaking havoc on me which means I've not been able to do anything outside of work so what does one do when one can't do, one shops!
I admit, I'm a Homesense Junky. 
I get a lift just walking through the store every weekend I can on our grocery shopping days and last weekend I fell in love with this colourful peony print on canvas. Maybe it is the relentlessly grey days that are making me crave some colour as well as something to lift my spirits.
Todd isn't a fan of flowers but when I asked him if he liked it he said the magic words that I rarely hear,
"whatever you like honey".
Boringly we are on hold down with bringing anything new into the house but it is fun to take items home to see how they look.

 Although I love it, it was just too vibrant for our dining/living room scheme but I just had to give it a try and with a new 30 day return policy it's no issue getting it  back to the store on time.
I can't stand the espresso stain on our sideboard that we found many years back at Ikea in the scratch and dent section for $225.00 and have been trying to decide what colour to paint it

The lamps WERE in the kitchen but one day someone cleaned the house for me and they somehow  ended up back in the dining room!

I then remembered that I had this beautiful still life signed print by an accomplished artist,
Mae Bennett Brown that I found at Value Village about 10 years ago and have always loved the sepia tones mixed with reds, creams and blue grey. I've moved it around from room to room over the years and even considered selling it on more than one occasion but just couldn't bring myself to part with it.
I do like how it looks over a medium wood toned base and think that stripping the sideboard and  although restaining it is an ambitious task I think it will look amazing and will be well worth it.

When I googled her name I found auction houses that have sold her original works for as much as $900.00. Mae Bennett Brown was born in 1887 and passed away in 1973.

I found the following interesting info from the communication boards on ancestry.com from someone who knew Mae.

Mae was an artist who was born in Nottingham in 1887. Her parents were theatrical folk who traveled around. At some time, Mae came to the states and settled in Rockport, MA. I know she was there at least in the 1930's as my family had several of her pastel paintings. Dear Mae died in 1973. I would dearly like to know more about her. Maybe someone can point me in the right direction. thank you Mardell
I think Mae and her family were hiding behind the door when the enumerator came by. Thank you for the 1911 information. I know Mae had wealthy friends in my hometown and they must have helped her out. She went back to England in 1939 and went to France in 1958. Selling her floral pastels and pet portraits on commision (I have one) and teaching art classes (I used to pose for the Saturday class)did not bring in enough lolly to travel. She was an "artistic" lady.

I have also stripped the dining room of the excess items that were in there for just the sake of being there, all the wrong things and I feel so much better. I can't live with clutter, it just makes me crazy.
I'll never forget what Rachel Ashwell once said, that she would rather live with an empty room for as long as it takes then to live in a room with the wrong things in it. Many years ago when we first bought our home, I fell in love with Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic aesthetic and think this painting has given me a little touch of that and lends itself well to my very own "Nantucket Chic" style, a blend of Beach House and Shabby Chic inspiration along with a few contemporary touches. 

And since I can't remove the sideboard as Rachel would have it, I will have to live with it like this a while longer, at least until the weather is better and I can get it outside to strip it.
I think Mae's print has found it's place.

I also found many moons ago, this incredibly heavy carved wood antique mirror at a garage sale for a whopping $20.00 and like my peony print have been trying to find a home for it which I think I have found. It will look much better sitting here once I paint the table out in a soft grey.

It's gold tones are the same as the chandelier and the mirror glass has a beautiful mottled patina that can't be duplicated.

As much as I love Homesense, my heart sings when I own beautiful pieces with a past.