Great ideas for blank walls part 1: my wall art wish list.
Wonderful wall art.
We need to do something with the blank wall in our old living room. There are so many possible options for filling the space: framed prints; canvases; gallery walls; personalised wallpaper; photographs; objects; handmade crafts and prints. With so many options to choose from, I thought I would share some of my ideas with you and ask for your opinion.
In the first part of my series I look at wall art and tell you which 5 artists are on my wish list.
What shall I do with our living room wall?
Those of you who have followed my blog will know that we had a new single story extension built on the back of our house last year. It extended our existing kitchen and added another room, creating an open plan kitchen / dining /living room (here). I feel like there should be a ‘proper’ name for this type of extension, like a ‘kidiliv’ or something, but that’s probably because I have become rather obsessed with designer dogs such as Cavapoos, Cockerliers and the like (Why I want a dog but can’t have a dog).
When we had the extension built we revamped our living room as well. The builders removed the large double doors that opened into the middle of the room, replacing them with a single door at one end. We also had the coving, artex and fireplace removed and substituted the pendant lights for dimmable LED downlighters. The alterations meant we had the full run of the longest wall of the living room for storage and we had room for a corner sofa as well.
Our ‘smushed bug’ wall.
The extension and improvements to the living room were completed last September. Although we have ‘populated’ our living room with a lovely ‘grown up’ fabric corner sofa (now the kids are older we have finally been able to move on from our practical, wipe clean leather sofas) and new soft furnishings, we haven’t done anything with the bare walls. It’s just a huge blank space crying out for wall art, photographs…anything.
In fact, the only thing we have on the wall is the remains of a smushed bug…At least I think it was a smushed bug. It’s either a bug or jam. If it’s jam, I have no idea how it got on the walls, but I live with children so it’s possible to find all sorts of things in unusual places.
You are probably wondering why I haven’t cleaned the bug stain off the wall. That would probably be the rational and sensible thing to do but most of the time I’m neither rational or sensible.
There are several reasons why I’ve left the smushed bug stain on the wall:
- It reminds me (like a knot in a handkerchief) that I have to put something on that wall.
- It motivates me to put something on my wall so I can say goodbye (or cover over) the bug stain once and for all. Mind you, seeing as it has been there for 8 months, it obviously hasn’t been that motivational.
- If I want to remove the stain I will probably need to use the Magic Eraser sponge and you know I have a phobia of dry sponges (Room 101). Yes, I know Magic Eraser sponges need to be wet when you use them( they’re neutralised when wet and I don’t mind touching them) but I would have to touch the sponge before it gets wet.
- I’ve grown attached to my smushed bug stain.
So many ideas, so little time.
So why have I still got a bare wall in my living room? So far, the problem has been having the time to do anything about it (and the budget!). I blame this blogging business! I love blogging but it’s been such a huge investment in terms of time and energy since I started last December: I’ve hardly had time to sleep, never mind fill the blank space on my wall!
I suspect that another reason why I haven’t done anything with the wall is because I have the designer’s equivalent of ‘Writer’s block.’ Not because I’m stuck for ideas but because I have too many ideas! I’ve thought of gallery walls, personal photographs, shelf walls, craft wall art, framed wallpaper, framed prints, canvases. Having so many ideas has preventing me from making a start. It’s almost as if I don’t want to settle on one thing or I’m worried about choosing the wrong thing.
I think it’s also a bit like me and stationery. I love stationery but I love it so much that when I get a spangly new notebook I hesitate to write in it. I don’t want to spoil it with my scrawly untidy handwriting, or worse still, make a mistake and have to cross something out and make a mess! Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way about stationery! In the same way, I don’t want to make a mistake and spoil my wall.
Enough of my excuses as to why I haven’t done anything about my smushed bug wall! Let me share my thought process and ideas about my first option for decorating my bare wall: wonderful wall art.
It’s a living room not a study.
Choosing wall art for our study (link here) and our extension (link here) was a relatively painless exercise. It all seemed to fall into place. I don’t know about you but I find it easier to choose artwork for studies and kid’s rooms. Studies mean posters, personalised prints, typography, quirkiness. When it comes to a ‘grown up’ living room, some of my favourite wall art such as the framed prints of classic Penguin books or The Tate Gallery By Tube framed print that I featured in my recent John Lewis Great British Gifts post just wouldn’t work.
I also love the framed Jacky Al-Samarraie prints we chose for our extension, but I need to be brave and try something different.
So, if I decide to fill my living room wall with wonderful wall art, which artists are on my wish list?
My wish list
1. Jenni Sparks.
I first discovered Jenni Spark’s work in a feature by one of my favourite bloggers, Karen Knox of Making Spaces, (link here). Jenni’s hand drawn maps of iconic cities such as New York, London, Berlin and San Fransisco are available from Evermade. It took Jenni Sparks months to create each map, comprising of hundreds of meticulous illustrations representing buildings, hidden gems, fun facts and more. The level of detail is extraordinary and the idea so original and eye-catching. I love the New York map as it reminds me of all the wonderful places Richard and I visited for our 10th wedding anniversary trip to the city. For more information visit Evermade or visit Jenni’s website (here).
2. Mike Matola.
I love Mike Matola’s artwork. Again, I discovered his incredible prints in the article on Karen Knox’s Making Spaces website. Like Jenni Sparks, his hand-drawn portraits are striking and wonderfully original. I always appreciate art that is unique and represents a ‘labour of love’ and these eye-catching monochrome images certainly fit the bill.
Mike’s work involves creating portraits using the written word. His portrait of George Harrison, for example, is made using hand-written lyrics from his songs. How cool is that?!! It took him over 80 hours of writing and craftsmanship to create his George Harrison portrait, painstakingly writing every lyric, moving line by line down the page and decreasing the space between the letter until the portrait took shape. For more information about his prints his website (here). You can also visit his Etsy shop, LineByLinePosters, (here).
This print is my favourite. Emily loves Totoro and this would be perfect for her bedroom.
3. Susan Entwistle.
Susan Entwistle is a Nottingham based artist and one of the few painters practising the art of pointillism. This technique, made famous by artists such as Georges Seurat, uses layers of colourful dots to capture the vibrancy and essence of beautiful gardens, woodlands and landscapes.
I know Susan personally and I am a huge fan of her work. Again, I appreciate her unique approach to garden and landscape painting and the hours that have gone into creating her beautiful images. Susan Entwistle says of her paintings:
Colour is all important in my work. I create the painting by building layers of coloured dots and marks using acrylic paints instead of threads to emulate a tapestry-like impression of my subject.
Susan has had some impressive commissions over the years, her most distinguished commission to date being from the Principality of Monaco. It involved painting the Chelsea Flower Show garden “The Monaco Garden” (designed by Sarah Eberle) for HSH Prince Albert of Monaco in 2011. The painting was presented to Prince Albert in Monaco at the Princesse Grace Theatre. The commissioned painting can be seen here: The Monaco Garden.
As well as selling original paintings and prints, Susan’s website features cards, ceramics, and scarves inspired by her designs. Visit www.susanentwistle.com for more information.
4. Kathy Ramsay Carr.
King and McGaw is one of my favourite online art retailers. We bought one of Jeremy Harnell’s Mix Tape posters from them for our study and we love it (see here). Their website is so easy to browse as they have categorised all of their artwork. You can also narrow your search based on characteristics such as size, colour and medium. Whilst looking for colours to compliment the teal in my curtains and cushions I stumbled across these wonderful paintings by Kathy Ramsay Carr. Her evocative abstract paintings are inspired by the coastlines, beaches and moorland of the South West of England, where she lives. To see more of her stunning images visit King and McGaw or her website, www.kathyramsaycarr.com
5. Andrew Bird.
Again, I discovered Andrew Bird’s work on the King and McGaw website. Andrew is from Derbyshire and frequently visits Cornwall so he draws inspiration from both these places. He loves the hustle and bustle of coastal life and the rugged nature of the landscapes. Andrew builds layers of textures into his paintings; scraping, scratching and reworking the surface to capture the essence of these places.
Andrew’s style of painting creates stunning, bold abstracts and the colours would fit perfectly in our living room.
Visit King and McGaw to see more of his work or visit his website to find more about the man himself, www.abirdart.co.uk.
No wonder I can’t decide!
I think you’ll agree there are some wonderful artists on my wish list. It’s hardly surprising I’ve had trouble making a decision! I still haven’t decided whether I’ll choose paintings and prints from my list or whether I’ll opt for a gallery wall, photo wall or create some framed hand-crafted items to display.
Tune in next time to see what other options I’m considering in my quest to populate my ‘Smushed Bug Wall.’
Over to you!
What do you think of my wall art ideas? Do you like the work of the artists I’ve featured on my wishlist?
Do you have your own bare wall you need to fill (smushed bug optional)?
As always, I love to read your comments and opinions so don’t be shy!
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I love the Totoro print ?
You’ve heard of him then? I didn’t know a thing about him until recently and he’s nearly as old as me…Well, maybe give or take ten years 😉
Yes, I can see how it is difficult to decide. You certainly seem to have done your research. I would advise you to consider whether you would prefer a large piece of artwork or an arrangement of several smaller pieces, from one or more artists, for your blank wall. That decision might help you choose which actual pieces to go for.
Good luck! Looking forward to seeing how you style the wall in the end.
Thanks for your tips Fionnuala!
I do have lots of bare walls so share your feelings! It’s weird because I work in an art gallery and hang work all the time, but at home — blank walls and indecision! I actually ordered a load of prints today (sadly before seeing this post) so I am one step closer … Best of luck with filling your walls! #HomeEtc
Thanks Molly. Is working in an art gallery as lovely as it sounds? I hope you like your prints!
LOVE those hand-drawn maps!!!! LOVE them!! My boy grew up in San Fran, so that would be an amazing gift for him!!
I know just what you mean about typographic/graphic prints. As a designer — and one who LOVES typography in all shapes and forms — I still don’t think I’d want them on the walls of my sitting room. We don’t have enough wall-space in our cottage — I yearn for a house with huge empty walls that I could fill!! What a lovely conundrum to have 😉 Thanks so much for linking up pet! Caro #HomeEtc
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Caro, and for hosting. Those maps are so special and I think I will end up getting the New York one. Emily used her pocket money to buy the Totoro print for her bedroom. I said I would get a nice frame for it. Mike Matola said he would sign it for her 🙂
100% with you on the stationery thing, it’s too beautiful up spoil! A blank wall is both exciting and daunting isn’t it. I love the maps. I had a friend who worked for OS and they had a clear out of some of their old archives so I managed to get hold of the map showing my house. #fortheloveofBLOG
Getting a map with your house on is really cool! I have just bought the most amazing journal system…I am going to do a post about it! I’m actually a bit giddy with excitement about it! I need to get out more 😉
Some great ideas. We are about to redecorate our living room so I’m on the look out for new wall art x #fortheloveofBLOG
We are waiting for Emily’s Totoro to arrive. She used her pocket money to get it and she’s so excited.
Wow what a lovely extension Jane, you lucky thing! I think if that were mine I’d go for the two blue pieces at the end of your list. I think the blue would look lovely and I particularly love the Kathy Ramsay Carr piece! Thanks for joining us again on #fortheloveofBLOG – let us know which piece you go for won’t you? x
Hi Fi, thanks re: extension. Yes, I do think I’ll need a few prints so the abstract pair or perhaps a few from the same artist might work. I need more walls…And more money!
I love your suggestions of artwork, I’ve just put a pic on Instagram with the very same curtains & cushions you have. We have great taste, haha.
Of course I had to pop over and have a look at your account and see the curtains and cushions for myself! Great minds. They are so fresh and colourful, aren’t they?
What lovely choices, I’m rather partialed to colour so I love Susan’s dot flower field #KCACOLS
Susan should pop down to your part of the world. Your instagram pics are really inspirational, Fiona.
Susan Entwistle would be so nice because so colourful. But I also like Mike Matola’s stuff. Good luck with your decision, it all looks fab ? #KCACOLS
Her work is amazing. I wish I could afford an originals because I’ve seen them in real life and they are beautiful.
I’ve not heard of any of those artists before, but am drawn more to the last three paintings you’ve shown. I love the bright colours in the flower painting, but living on the coast I’m really drawn to the blues of the Kathy Ramsay Carr painting. I can see why it’s taking so long for you to decide! x #KCACOLS
Yes, I think our wall may be ‘blank’ for a bit longer. I am considering gallery walls next.
I’m a big fan of wall stickers even though I know they’re very ‘now’ and will look dated in a few years! #KCACOLS
great choices 🙂 enjoying your posts as we move soon and I cant wait to plan our new rooms! I love framing maps and I love framing things I’ve sewn – typically machine embroidery stuff 🙂 I often find post cards can make interesting things to frame #KCACOLS
Thanks for your encouraging comment, Emma. I’m delighted you are enjoying my posts. You may be interested in the next part of the series when I look at gallery walls as my friend has a wonderful gallery wall filled with some of her framed craft items and they are wonderful.
Wow you have thought of lots of ideas! I am quite simple with my style so i like to have a peaceful black and white canvas’s and family pictures on my walls. I’d like to have a chalkboard wall though (if i had a spare wall to give up for it!) Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.
I adore wall art! I love anything that is interesting or quotes – seem to be my thing right now! The maps are superb too. Thanks for sharing. Jess xx #HomeEtc
I really love the maps too. I love things that you can look at for hours and see something new every time.
Part of me loves the white. A nice crisp white with no interference. Then the creative side of me likes the painting with the flowers, some really great selections, it’s a shame the tube map wouldn’t work in your lounge as I’d have chosen that.
One thing I love doing on endless bare walls is printing out lots of motivational quotes in pretty colours and fonts, then framing them in various frames on the wall. Would that work? #kcacols
That’s definitely an option and I’m going to be focusing on Gallery walls in part 2…Whenever that may be!
Wow! I know nothing about art so I found this so interesting! Particularly love the Mike Matola – how clever!! Good luck deciding what to do! #KCACOLS
The “smushed bug” comment made me laugh. I remember having a few of those in our previous flat! You have so much glorious wall space! The Totoro print is especially fun. I tend to browse Etsy a lot for wall art and I’ve found some fantastic illustrators on there.
Thanks for your lovely comments, Jaime. I must check out all of the goodies on Etsy.
I know nothing of interior decor or art, although living with a graphic designer and an artist you think I would right? lol I love the hand drawn artwork the best. I am sure whatever you decide will be awesome! #KCACOLS
Aw, thanks for your encouragement, Jen.
I’d love some really cool artwork in my house! Alas we have no budget for art, so I have to make do with homemade x #KCACOLS
I love the Kathy Ramsay Carr painting. so beautiful and the colors will go well with the grey couch #KCACOLS
The only room I managed to even remotely decorate in our house is Arthur’s bedroom! I just can’t decide on the others (and honestly, have run out of time!) but we have bought some lovely black photo frames from John Lewis – they come in all different sizes and can be hung on the wall and we would like to put black and whites family photos in. We’ve already managed a few going up the stairs, but again – time is an issue! #KCACOLS
That’s not bad going with a youngster, Sarah! I hope to see your final results.
I never expected to read about a smushed bug in a wall art blog post, but it’s amused me greatly! You’ve picked out some great ideas for wall art. I personally love the colour in Susan Entwhistle’s work and I’m sure this could be used really effectively to pick out colours for rooms accessories etc. But I love a good coastal print too, so really like the Rapport piece, which is nice and calming.
Ha, thanks Rachel! I can’t help wandering into random musings, even in my interiors posts 😉
I’m glad you like the artists I’ve chosen. Keep an eye out for gallery walls soon!
I am glad you said about the smushed bug, it had me in hysterics…I loved this post I have giant Moomin print on my wall?! I thought all of these were fab, the tube pic is a very simple cool ideas and I am always impressed by pointillism..I tried it once and I was terrible at it! We only rent so I cant get at wall happy s you will but I can live vicariously through your amazing house pictures!!! #fortheloveofblog
See, I keep trying to write a ‘straight’ interiors post but I can’t help telling people how it really is! SMushed bug and all, so I am glad I made you laugh 🙂 And thanks for your lovely comments. xx
you have great taste ! (same as me) I love the maps in particular, I have an old subway map of manhattan its in a dusky pink and grey shade and its my favourite piece even though it cost next to nothing #kcacols
Yes, I don’t think I’d ever get tired of looking at all of the lovely illustrations on the maps.
I love the maps, especially when they have personal significance. Susan’s work is stunning, I would big up the local artist! The smashes bug story made me smile! Thanks for joining #happyandhome
I like the Andrew Bird – you could look at that for hours! #KCACOLS
They all look fab! Afraid I’m not the person to ask as it took me forever (well almost a year) to find the picture for our living room wall. I wanted something we wouldn’t get bored of looking at so in the end went for something quite abstract which I often find myself looking at puzzled-ing-ly!! #happyandhome
I love the name and the theory behind your ‘Smushed Bug’ wall! It is a difficult choice though, because even from the options you’ve narrowed it down to here, the differences would change the whole feel of the room. Sorry that’s not much help! Hopefully something will suddenly hit you though. #KCACOLS
Thanks, Carol. I am leaning towards Susan’s colourful prints at the moment. I just popped round to her house the other day and she has lots of canvases out in preparation for a show and they look amazing!