Valentine Expressions

February 11, 2017

You know…we designers design for our clients and ourselves around themes, we design around events, we design around seasons and of course we design around the trends…it all keeps the commerce of products and materials in motion.  And at this time of year, we see focus on wine clubs, pajama grams, stuffed teddy bears in enormous sizes, hearts, hearts, hearts…and roses natural red or gilded, it’s Valentine’s Day!!!

But it’s fair to note that all seasons have valid design consideration. Setting the scene, enhancing the moment – either for you, your family or a romantic encounter, the holidays and especially this one, evoke a desire to create a scene that conveys love and romance.

To that end , my blog is brief. Enjoy that which brings you joy. Revel in the happiness that presents itself. Create beauty where you can. And as we are wont to say….art and good design can almost always bring a better scene to anyone’s place on this precious planet.

So be it a candy heart with a common message of joy, a product acquired to create a scene, a piece of jewelry to promise, a token to send love, a greeting of friendship, a message to offer support, it is all about connecting.

I decided to paint a bowl for my sweetheart. Yes, I had passed this guy’s booth, encouraged others to partake, had appreciated his talent, but never ventured forth. This year, I enjoyed sitting alongside Victor in the shade, with the waves lapping the beach, and soft music wafting through the  air…allowing a moment of focus on an artistic expression, a blank canvas (my bowl) to say Happy Valentine’s Day to MY Valentine.

Here is the finished result.

Connecting. We at PATRICIAN DESIGN support local artists and hope that the next time that you need a gift, want to send a message, or desire a creative addition to your personal space, that you will consider local talent to fulfill that need. OR do it yourself DIY!!!

Wear ART – Shop Local – Support LOCAL artists –  Need we say more?

Ok…we provide the greatest FREE gift wrap to get you on your way!!!

XXX000 Happy Valentine’s Day – (it’s Tuesday – better get prepared!!!)

PATRICIAN DESIGN

Su mundo es corazones. Artist Paola Alonso Rangel is at the heart of Vallarta and literally that is the name of her shop, Corazon Vallarta, where she thrives amidst the bustling activity in the old town, on a busy street corner, with much traffic flowing by both in vehicles and on foot.

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A man carrying a frighteningly large pane of glass about 6 feet long by 3 feet wide effortlessly and without intimidation marches down the street with taxis and buses bouncing by him. I cringe at the site and the young shop attendant, Nidia, shrugs with a smile and says “It’s Mexico.”

With Valentine’s Day nearing, this exciting little shop offers a wealth of opportunities to find just the right gift to say “be mine!”

Paola’s little Chihuahua, Pecas (Freckles), suns on the front step seemingly oblivious to all the activity swirling by. She is front and center of all that is happening in Corazon Vallarta.

A designer and hands-on artist of nearly everything she sells in her shop, Alonso Rangel is a model of organization and time utilization. She has her machine fine-tuned and knows just what it takes to create, prepare, produce and market her work.

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In the well-lit back room of her little tienda, she has all of her art supplies neatly organized on sturdy shelving sparing not one square inch of available space. Her computer plays soft Spanish songs that, with the fan blowing gently, creates a pleasing atmosphere where she designs and paints with a couple of assistants to assemble and package her work to sell.

As is true of most urban storefronts, the fine grit that is continuously accumulating from the dusty streets and vehicles in passing contributes to the concerns of successful retail presentation. Hers and others in this type of scene perhaps suffer more due to the cobblestones which collect and distribute ongoing layers of the sooty, dusty, fines.  So everything is kept painstakingly clean and wrapped in cellophane  – just another stage of the process that makes her conscientious practices so impressive.

From colorful wooden puzzles, picture frames, key hangers, boxes and magnets, the expansive home decor and gift collection, on which she collaborates with her brother in Guadalajara, is a treasure of her designs and creativity. All manner of colorful animals with whimsical expressions are the subjects of her puzzles with a bit of flowers and fruit in the mix for a generous variety of choices. Alonso Rangel designs all of the pieces while her brother and his crew with a manufacturing studio in Guadalajara do all the mill-work, brilliantly colorful painting and glossy lacquer finish.

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Other of her work is comprised of original one-of-a-kind creations on canvas and wood, heart-themed all in keeping with her heart-felt passion for  corazones.

She efficiently sets-up her own assembly line of stages of production, with Pecas supervising closely, so that each of her made-by-hand (hecho a mano) originals are always filling the walls and shelves from where they are being lovingly selected by customers to take home.

Steel heart sculptures, wooden cut-outs, carvings, and more are the multi-media of her continually, seemingly endless creative concepts and body of work!

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Thank you Paola for all of your inspiration – by design!

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By total coincidence but perfectly timed for the segue from the  last couple of  week’s topics,  we attended a couple’s cocktails and canvas painting party last week.  Artistic expression and the fear of taking the leap has been facilitated by these social gatherings centered around painting and wine. You’ve heard of them, if not yet participated in one. This clever pairing has taken the country by storm. The model is to have an instructor teach a group of friends to copy a pre-selected subject and create their own interpretation on a canvas all the while losing inhibition by imbibing in a glass of wine or cocktail. Actually multiple glasses of wine and cocktails! The more the merrier! P1140371 - Copy

And merry it is. It’s fun and freeing. It’s creativity within boundaries but with enough encouragement and pretty much lack of judgment to produce some very successful finished products.  And this is where we found ourselves last Sunday afternoon. Operative word there, we. P1140384

Yes, I had attended several of these fun-filled events in the past – all women – always entertaining. But this was quite different as it was designed to be couples – husbands painting right alongside their more willing spouses were encouraged to let loose and copy the sunflowers.

Unlike other like-kinds of parties that I had attended, this gal started off each person’s canvas with a faint charcoal-transfer outline of the preliminary placement of the centers of the sunflowers. This was intended to get everyone started on the right track but also said loud and clear – this is what we are painting and deviating from the plan, changing the format or grouping was not encouraged. P1140376

That said, it was just fine that we all pursued the same clutch of gorgeously impressionistic floral explosions with bold brush strokes and colorful blotches of paint tying it all together for a happy theme. Most if not all of the men and perhaps a couple of the women had never tried their hand at painting. This might have been the first attempt at artistic expression that they had ever experienced. I know that was true for my husband!

The setting was fabulous in a private dining room of our local Greek restaurant with brilliant sunlight streaming in through the entire wall of west-facing windows illuminating large format photos of Grecian isles, ancient structures, classic white buildings with cascading brilliant pink bougainvillea set against the piercing blue sky and surrounding sea. A big screen TV mounted high in the far corner featured the very muddy Preakness followed by the Blues and San Jose dashing about on the ice. P1140374

But the attention soon turned to the canvases in front of each budding artist. Primed with cocktails, we donned aprons, selected our seats and set to work in front of our table-top easels. The paints are acrylic, water-based – easy to apply and also to clean-up during or after the session. . As the first splotches of color were applied, the comments began to fly around the room. From whining about how difficult it was to complaints about the blossoming results, the room became animated with commentary. P1140386

People began getting up and viewing others’ progress. Compliments and comparisons were a flurry as the instructor made her way around the room aiding those in duress and adding touches here and there. It was hysterical. Everyone was having a blast, creating their own interpretation of the offered subject and seeing it take shape before their very eyes by their very own hand and all the while amidst lively conversation and milling about the room. Seeing the finished products all so similar yet each very different is the marvel of this exercise.

One enthusiastic participant went out into the dining room and requested participation from restaurant patrons in the way of their leaving their tables and coming into the gallery of all of our redundant sunflowers and voting for their favorites – this added to the hysteria as they made their picks, voiced their critiques and the “artists” received their accolades. P1140402

Dinner followed taking this group of new-found friends to the dining room where everyone ordered from the menu and continued the convivial conversations into the evening. But I learned today that Don doesn’t care if he ever picks up a paintbrush again – he didn’t discover a hidden passion nor exceptional talent. He has no love for the process nor the results, but thoroughly enjoyed the party!!! Woo Hoo!! P1140406 - Copy

 

 

 

 

When I first moved to New Mexico I was enchanted (well…it IS The Land of Enchantment) by so many new things that were woven throughout people’s homes, flea markets and quaint little shops in various pockets of town. I began to collect and seek these vessels and fabrics to incorporate into my new world. Interestingly, these treasures were not and still are not featured – much less celebrated, in more trendy, stylish shops that might do well to focus on these regional functional art-forms as a means to honor our unique multi-cultural influences. We, at PATRICIAN DESIGN, enjoying offering interesting hand-built pieces in our shop for a truly one-of-a-kind collection of home decor, wearable art and  unique gift items.

The first piece of this new influence I bought back in the late 70s. It was this fabulous squat casserole,   P1110590   to which  I have added many various colors and textures that I enjoy using throughout the year.  Christmas is notoriously red and green accented with the bling of silvers and golds. Chanukah is blue and white…but I enjoy all of the colors to celebrate every occasion! So  the many hues of the season can be found in the collection of colorful containers and serving pieces, accents and textiles that I often meld to create the festive celebration of the seasons. P1110594

Everyone who knows me – both clients and friends – know that I love color, pattern and texture. I love contrasts and combinations. Design by eclectic assembly of things that you love and that evoke memories, things that make you smile and feed your soul, results in the most successful and interesting design.  The rich color of terracotta and history of it as a medium for making cooking vessels goes back to Old Mexico and Spain across the water. Spanish terracotta is steeped in centuries of tradition and the Mexican versions closer to home are similarly beautiful and generations old. Other cultures such as Italian and Portuguese also have crafted beautiful terracotta – as is often true, the common features, textures, and colors all share a common denominator of warmth, hand-built art, craft and natural, raw beauty.  P1110596  Notice here, the brilliant colors and intricate open-weaving of the Brazilian lace.

Raw clay colors contrasting with brilliant and rich glazes, fabulous fiber art, wood and other organics all radiating the joy of life and the festivities around food, friends  and family of these varied cultural traditions and  rich indigenous heritages. Functional art at its finest – most honest and humbly celebrated in useful daily pieces – show them, open your cupboards, let them sing.

Valentine’s Dinner at HOME!

February 10, 2014

Creating a romantic and interesting table for a special Valentine’s dinner offers so many opportunities for presenting your heart-felt feelings. With a little effort to select some key pieces to dress the table and by selecting some simple yet scrumptious delights, you will have a wonderful memory to cherish. Here are some suggestions and a couple of easy menu ideas too!

We’ve heard the truism of “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” But the same can be said in reverse as there is something irresistible about a man in control of his kitchen. Pairing the two is the ultimate love cuisine when a couple cooks together sharing the tasks, sipping cocktails and enjoying the process.

The recipe for a romantically successful Valentine’s Dinner at home is so easy. Realize that you don’t have to drive – thereby eliminating that concern after enjoying your cocktail and bottle of wine over dinner. Not to mention the after dinner sip of brandy or bubbly.

Starting with cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres, go to your favorite online foodie place for recipes for things such as stuffed ripe red cherry tomatoes – luscious and sensuous. For the carnivores, a rich and savory pate with toast points is a delectable treat. Maybe shrimp cocktail – easy cooked shrimp with a spicy valentine red cocktail sauce. It’s fun to have your appetizer someplace other than at the dinner table. If you use different places to enjoy the different phases of the evening, it will create more interest. So perhaps around a coffee table or at a bar counter-top.

Consider taking a walk after the cocktail hour before you progress into dinner. Whether freezing or mild, as long as it is not terribly windy, the temperature shouldn’t matter. Strolling under the darkness of night – perhaps moonlight – is a great way to transition through the phases of the evening.

Candles are a must. There cannot be too many. They don’t have to match. They can be tall tapers, multi-height columns, squat votives or all of the above…Obviously, on the dinner table…but don’t forget other end tables and cocktail tables, fireplace mantles, window sills, bookshelves, counter-tops, bathroom counters or shelves. Watch what’s above – or use artificial candles to avoid burning an upper shelf or art above them. Any light fixtures should be on dimmers. Avoid over-head lighting as it is generally not flattering, casting unpleasant shadows that can ruin the mood. Lighting is like a paint color – it bathes the space with ambient light and also task specific spots – getting the right balance controls the mood.

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WE LOVE New Mexico’s own Besito Caliente ! This spicy sauce of hot little kisses is great on grilled meats, drizzled over cheeses for hors d’oeuvres or a dash in a special cocktail concoction! You tell us how YOU enjoy this tasty condiment from the sunny southwest’s Land of Enchantment!

Main courses are easiest by minimizing time in the kitchen. Grilling is perhaps the least complicated. To make it special, select something that is a little different from your norm like lamb chops or bone-in rib-eye steaks. Potatoes are classic in many forms baked, twice baked, mashed with various herbs, but don’t forget something fast and festive like quinoa. It is a fabulous grain-like nutritional bead that cooks in less than 15 minutes! Vegetarians might grill a shish-kabob of goodies like zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced turnip…limitless possibilities – great with quinoa too! Salads fit the bill and can be varied according to your taste, sweet cranberry or strawberry laced greens or garlicky Caesars – the possibilities are endless. By putting the salad on the main dinner plate you eliminate the need for a veggie on the plate. If you prefer the more formal setting of a separate dinner salad, the veggie can also be an easy piece of the program with steamed Brussels sprouts or broccoli which take so few minutes, slathered with butter and voila!

Of course you can make the cooking more complex and complicated – but here the idea is to DO IT and not be intimidated or worried about making things too difficult to tackle! Focus evenly on a simple but romantically fun themed table dressings, menu items, and schedule for the evening and it will be easy and successful!!!

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Find fun table dressings to create your Valentine’s dinner scene.

So pick up some red plates or smaller dishes or bowls for salad or dessert to layer on your existing white ones, find some fun cocktail glasses, wine stems, clever cocktail napkins, a great serving platter for hors d’oeuvres, heart-shaped confetti or rose petals to sprinkle on the table and dare I say, between the sheets?Image

Find a great vase in which you cluster fresh flowers for the dinner table and perhaps another primary surface like the cocktail table or bar. Buy or make a great card and/or a memorable gift.

An extra thought for this holiday…Can you think of someone with whom you would not usually exchange Valentines’ but who would be cheered by your gesture? Pick out a simple token to mark the day for someone you know.

Vintage celadon vessel makes perfect table-top water feature!

Vintage celadon vessel makes perfect table-top water feature!

 Small Water Features for DIY Projects

Large vessels make focal points for fountain features. Large containers or bored stone boulders are perfect sculptural elements for the glistening appearance of running water, the gentle sounds and refreshing effects. While we have had great fun creating dramatic site installations for outdoor living scenes, we realize that there is great merit in the smaller versions that DIY buffs can create for their interiors or patios.
First, find an interesting container. I found a pair that are footed and are dolphin figures to boot – what luck!! This celadon glazed ceramic has a nice diameter of about 12” and is raised up by its three dolphin figurine feet. It’s a perfect aquamarine theme for this table-top water feature.
Select your container and then gather things that you enjoy. You might already have pieces of glass, tokens, stones, shells, coral, miniature figurines…use what you have or collect more for this specific use.
Get a small pump at the local home-improvement store or hardware store. This should be relative to the size of your container. This one is a little smaller than my fist. The cord will drape out of the container, up over the rim and behind the fountain to plug into your electrical source. This will conceal adequately if you place your fountain on a surface that backs up to a wall where the electrical outlet is located.
Arrange your collectibles on and around the pump to conceal it from view placing the more interesting pieces at the surface.
I use distilled water to insure no residue from harsh mineral that might be present in your tap water. Fill the container to the appropriate level. It will cover much of your collectibles in the bowl. Here I have used a couple of vertical slices of local travertine to add height, texture, color and interest. Once your first turn on the pump – or plug it in as this one does (no switch), you will be pleased at the calming, refreshing results.
Send photos of your finished products!!!!!

Shown here…Nestled into the landscape, this brilliant blue glazed fountain with interesting textured exterior is tall and splendid amidst the greenery as its water recirculates and flows into a bed of stones.

What a great idea – so great, I’m stealing it! A ScaRf EXchAnGe!!! A little whacky, fun and practical too!  A gaggle of girlfriends gathered in San Diego to have cocktails and a gift exchange -the theme was scarves! At PATRICIAN DESIGN we have several talented fiber artists nestled in the mountains of New Mexico who make exquisite one-of-a kind scarves. Many people are exploring the craft stores for DIY ideas to make their own. In any case, gift exchanges are fun and with a theme like this is focuses the idea  and expectations– making it a bit easier to decide what to get and know that everyone can always use a pretty scarf!  Decorative, wearable art!  http://www.patriciandesign.com/retail/new_products.html

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