Picture of a New Year

I think I said pretty much the same thing last year but much as I love the feeling of renewal come January, I’m not really one for resolutions. This year I’ve more reason than ever to follow this line of thinking as our little family is soon, all being well, to go from three to four. So with much about to change so very drastically all of its own accord it seems crazy for me to add reams of other ‘habit-changing resolutions’ to the mix. That all said, an ever increasing list appears to be forming…..

S and I were certainly both eager to see in a New Year – one which we hope might finally draw a line under a couple of harder ones. Even O appears to be excited about the imminent arrival of what he assures us will be a ‘bruvver’. Every morning since discovering our news he has asked sleepily “is the baby out yet?” Due in the Spring, O was told he (or she….though most bets align with O’s prediction) was coming ‘after Christmas when the yellow flowers come out’ …..but with the camellia tree bursting into bloom on Christmas Day and the crisp green shoots of bulbs I planted in November spearing up through the frosty earth already I think we may have to revise that explanation somewhat as the daffs, surely, can’t be too far behind…?

With family dynamics thus about to change The Pebbledashed Pad may get a little overlooked this year. Certainly, having tackled the garden last year, we’ve no more major projects lined up in the short term. And even inpatient me understands that the consistent hints I drop about loft extensions and pebbledash removal will have to wait more years yet before they are even acknowledged by the Power-That-Is-S….let alone considered.

However….smaller changes are most certainly in the gameplan. Baby’s arrival will give good reason to consider the current configuration of bedrooms for example, so you can expect at least a nursery makeover come Spring when we know it’s flavour. In all probability there will also be a rethink of O’s bedroom to accommodate his sibling but again, until we get to know the nocturnal habits of our little one and can be assured they won’t mess with the teenage tendency of our three year old to lie in, it’s hard to make definitive plans.

That said, in doing all of the above we’ll most definitely need to consider, even if it is only a temporary arrangement until babe is old enough to share, the relocation of our current office to free up the box room. There are two options…to incorporate (somehow) an office into the spare bedroom or to incorporate (somehow) an office into the snug. Both come with spacial challenges but my leaning I think (though as we all know my preferences do have a habit of changing) would be the snug. With that in mind high on this year’s list of goals is to finally get the library shelving built, installed and ready to swallow up both books and files. Ikea Billy shelves have been considered and dismissed, an email to our kitchen cabinet maker has been drafted and deleted and instead S and I both fancy the idea of using reclaimed floor boards with S having volunteered to build the shelving himself. An engineer by trade he has a hidden talent for this kind of thing, demonstrated by the artfully designed bench he crafted last year from an old table and leftover maple flooring, so I’m rather excited at the thought. Mind you, I best get my earplugs on order to muffle the streams of expletives which will almost certainly be, as it is with any DIY project he tackles large or small, the accompanying soundtrack….

Another project I’d like 2015 to see finished is the ongoing gallery wall(s). I say plural as I’ve two planned..the downstairs hall and the upstairs landing. Only the downstairs hallway has been tackled thus far and even that is only a quarter of the way finished having, for one reason or many many others, remained untouched since the summer. It’s prolonged installation has also prompted thoughts of Down Piping the walls as a backdrop to the frames….particularly now that the above landing has been Pavilion Grey-ed. So (yet) more painting is also on that growing list…..

Unlike the many other gallery walls you might see which have unifying themes, in my case I’ve no real creative vision and as yet have employed no curatorial rules. Certainly I’ve toyed with the idea of featuring only portraits, only black and white photos or only posters but on further reflection have decided simply to feature a hotchpotch of ‘things that we love’….whatever form they may come in. Whether such an undisciplined approach will work I don’t know but what I can say is that so far, with no stringent rules to follow, the project seems to have been made far harder as opposed to the contrary. That said, my new TV obsession, The Portrait Artist of the Year…discovered on catch up late one night when my hobnail-booted bump decided sleep was not to be mine….has inspired some rules of sorts. Watching in fascination as beautiful faces emerged from oils, watercolours, charcoals and pastels I’ve come to the conclusion that our house overall is lacking both artwork and punchy colour so I’m now determined that the gallery walls should feature both. Luckily we have a budding artist in-house whose self portrait of himself and portrait of his daddy (complete with a halo of dotted ‘whiskers’) will soon adorn our walls. But if I’ve one major resolution this year it’s that I’ve been inspired, thanks both to Frank Skinner, Joan Bakewell and the myriad of inspiring artists the series featured, to start to build an Art Collection (worthy of capitals I think?) of our own ……
O’s handiwork. Top: Daddy. Bottom: O. Right: A Christmas Tree

Once upon a lifetime …way before responsible things like marriage and children…I dipped my toe into art buying. Buoyed by a bank balance inflated by the sale of my flat I had hot-footed it to the Affordable Art Fair full of youthful inquisitiveness. Meandering the aisles, eyes wide in wonder whilst attempting to avoid the many intimidating “Can I help you’s?” of corduroy-jacketed salesmen I struck up a silent conversation with myself.
“A piece of art surely must speak to you….” I rationed, gazing at each colourful piece in turn. Sure enough later that afternoon something did, though I’m unsure now whether it was the art itself or the cheeky lunchtime glass of wine I’d consumed. Regardless, I was thrilled.

With bank account suitably dented and my proudly acquired purchase, a Rebecca McLynn landscape ‘investigated through paint and photographic image’, hooked tightly under my arm I stood euphoric on the platform awaiting my train home when I decided to call a friend to relay my, what seemed momentous, news.
“The Affordable Art Fair?” she had guffawed in disbelief. “Are you sure you didn’t go in the wrong door? Did you go to the F**king Expensive Art Fair instead?”
Despite her incredulity, I was consumed by the exhilarating feeling that I had finally ‘come of age’. Needless to say I’ve never been in the financial position to feel quite that ‘grown up’ again and quite frankly I don’t expect 2015 to be any different. But with my new love of junk shops and a determination to finally visit the much-heralded Sunbury Antiques Fair or Ardingly I’m wondering if a collection could be started in a more budget friendly manner….

Watch this space….
Rebecca McLynn landscape, admittedly not shown at its best in this dark slightly skewiff photo!


3 thoughts on “Picture of a New Year

  1. A few days ago my husband asked “how come we don’t have one of those family gallery walls?” Ha! Apparently my interior design is lacking. I’m sure he’d approve of yours. I’ve never found a really effective and simple way to display the kids’ art, I want something framed but super easy to rotate. Hope all is still going well with baby Pebble x

    • I wonder if our wall will ever get finished?! I think it’s the job S hates the most….
      Ikea frames are a good way of easily rotating as you can get A4 size so you can just swap the paper in and out…

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