Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ann Howell Goes Shopping: Part 3

Imagined by Ann Howell Brown

Remember when I went shopping all those other times?

Rural North Carolina has some major perks. I mean, check out this antiques shop -- are you curious why it's raised off the ground like that? Because, it is a Civil War-era TRAIN DEPOT. According to the sign out front, Robert E. Lee came through that junction while he was visiting his daughter.

Being a nineteenth century building, un-heated, un-air-conditioned, and totally dark on the inside, the shop stays closed most of the time. In order to get in, you call the number on the door, and the owner jumps in his pickup truck and drives down the road to open it for you. When you're inside the shop, you can hear frogs croaking. I think they live underneath...

Imagined by Ann Howell Brown

I really wanted that drafting table on the porch with the x-shaped legs (previously used by an architect or engineer, great waist-high surface and perfect for making art), but as I told the owner, the real truth is that I wanted to buy everything in the shop but have neither the cash nor the space. Sigh.

Imagined by Ann Howell Brown

What I did walk away with (and also the purpose of my whole visit) -- FRAMES for art! I am beyond excited about these frames -- they've got the coolest shape and texture, and are in really good solid wood condition. I can't wait to make art to put in them, and see how their new life and character emerges. :)

Imagined by Ann Howell Brown

Imagined by Ann Howell Brown

Imagined by Ann Howell Brown

I did buy one other object, and it's probably my favorite out of the whole bunch: a mint green pie safe door. There were two of these doors, but I only had the budget for one... the man who sold it to me actually went in to this old dilapidated house that was ready for demolition and pulled these doors, hinges and all, off the built-in pie safe. 

Imagined Art by Ann Howell Brown

The mint green paint is original, and it's the most magical color ever (I wish you could see it in person!).  All the beautiful little poked holes were supposed to let air in but also keep the bugs out of your pies. Nom nom nom.

Imagined Art by Ann Howell Brown

Stay tuned to see what those frames transform into! And, as always, more photos on Tumblr and Instagram.

[All photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2013]

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Filling the World with Love

photo by Ann Howell Brown, 2009

Rajasthan, India, by Ann Howell Brown, 2009

India, by Ann Howell Brown, 2009

Quote by Mother Teresa

Looking through old journals and photo albums from India recently, I came across some words spoken by Mother Teresa that I had written down, and that have profoundly affected my mindset about what a career is (or should be):


"To the cast of a musical performance in Calcutta, I said: your work and our work complete each other. What we are doing is needed in the world as never before. You are giving them joy by your action, and we are doing the same by service. And it is the same action whether you are singing and dancing and we are rubbing and scrubbing. You are filling the world with the love God has given you.

[Mother Teresa]

India, by Ann Howell Brown, 2009

I love this mindset, because it stops you from thinking too much about your sense of obligation, duty, or guilt, and frees your mind to focus on identifying, strengthening, and acting on the particularly wonderful, unique, powerful set of blessings and talents you've received.

Because, at the end of the day, sharing those talents is how you're going to spread the most love around this crazy world, right? Not by doing what you feel obligated to do, but by doing what you were put on this very earth to do, since you've already been given everything you need to make it happen.

PS - shouldn't we all take a cue from the Missionaries of Charity and paint "God Bless You" on our car/truck bumpers?

India, by Ann Howell Brown, 2009

Photo taken by Ann Howell Brown in India, 2009

Photo taken by Ann Howell Brown in India, 2009

As always, more photos on Tumblr and Instagram. :)

[Photos taken by Ann Howell Brown in India, 2009.]

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Creative Process: Sun in the Morning + Moon at Night

Morning light.

Morning sunlight in my apartment is blindingly beautiful -- maybe not always welcome when I'm trying to sleep in, but it's hard to get mad at something so pure, bright, and cheerful.

Imagined art by Ann Howell Brown

I've created two small pieces for Imagined Art, both reflecting on the ways that the sun and the moon shape our moods, feelings, and relationships: "Sun in the Morning" and "Moon at Night."

Imagined art by Ann Howell Brow

And if you're interested, you can see a short, six-second clip of "Moon at Night" being painted right here.

These pieces are much smaller than what I normally gravitate towards, and it was quite fun figuring out how to fit so many letters and colors into such a compact space.

In terms of putting art in a home, I think that a well-placed, tiny, unexpected pop of art can have just as much of an impact in a space as an oversized work. I'm also really drawn to gallery-like clusters of small pieces, like here and here... and then, I see large, single statement pieces, like herehere, or here and come to the conclusion that floor-to-ceiling art, of all shapes and sizes and styles and colors, is probably the most ideal option. :) What's your style  -- big art, small art, or both?

For more information on these works, visit Imagined Art.

PS -- more art-in-the-home inspiration here and here!

[All photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2013]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rug in the Room

Remember the rug Instagram from this color post? Well, I convinced myself that I needed this rug, and it has totally lived up to its promise to make winter in my apartment cheerier and brighter. My feet are a thousand times happier since they can feel this rug every morning. :)

Rug from World Market (similar one here); bedskirt is an Indian sari that I repurposed; quilt is an heirloom from my mother's side of the family; "Every Day I Love You" collage is from my Imagined Art collection.

[All photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2013]

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Frosty Mornings, Frosty Paint

Frosty windshield

A calm, cool balance to all the super-saturated color festivity exploding in my recent consciousness, don't you think?

In the face of these freezing temperatures, I've been desperately trying to find ways to stay WARM, and to remind myself that winter, besides being the most miserable season ever, does have some beautiful parts: snowflake frost on my windshield; blustery winter clouds; warm glowy windows; the calmness of black and white winter palettes.

Also, I'm telling myself that we wouldn't have this video if it we didn't have winter:

Hope it's warmer where you are, and cheers to an impending and lovely spring. :)

[Polar bear GIF from Tumblr. All other photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2013.]

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rainbow Weekend Favorites

Pig chandelier

The most amazing pig chandelier at NOFO @ the Pig...

Rainbow rug

New rug from World Market (I think it's made from strips of Indian sari fabric), which now has a home brightening the floor beside my bed.

Face paint

Remnants from face painting at my elementary school's Valentine's Day Dance...

Rainbow chard

Rainbow chard that's going in this soup for dinner...

The Carolina theatre in Durham NC

Jamming out with the Asbury Jukes at the Carolina Theatre in Durham.

PS -  Not sure who Renee is, but her hair, Southside's sunglasses, and this video sure are magical.

PPS - This song, too.

[All photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2013]

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bits of Hearts

Happy St. Valentine's Day to you! 

Hearts of all shapes and sizes are surrounding me today: a sweet heart-shaped refrigerator magnet from my awesome and talented friend Betsy...

...a grubby conversation heart pulled out of a pocket and lovingly presented to me by one of my kindergarteners...

 and Carolina basketball...

...and most of the pink things in my closet + sparkly heart shoe clips.

Oh, and obviously John Lennon.


[All photos and content by Ann Howell Brown, 2013]

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Creative Process: Hey Babe

When any North Carolinian is struck with a fiery, gorgeous, baby blue sky, no matter where we are, we're up and gone to Carolina (even if just in our minds). If you're a follower of my Instagram feed, you've probably seen my obsession with sunrises, sunsets, and the sky in general. (See also here and here.)

I think much of this obsession is directly linked to James Taylor and my blood as a North Carolinian -- no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, when I see that big blue Carolina sky above me, I'm reminded of home, family, warmth, safety, and endless possibilities in a gigantic world. 

My latest piece for Imagined Art is born out of this. 

"There ain't no doubt in no one's mind 
That love's the finest thing around, 
Whisper something soft and kind. 
Hey babe, the sky's on fire, 
I'm dying, ain't I? 
Gone to Carolina in my mind."

Visit my Etsy shop for more information on purchasing "Hey Babe" or any of my other artworks.

PS - have you ever heard of Vine App? I'm still getting the hang of it! Check out a short, 6-second video of the styling of "Hey Babe" here, if you'd like! (Make sure you click the little sound icon in the bottom left corner of the video so you can hear the sound:)

Materials used: watercolor paper, acrylic, pen and ink, recycled grocery bags, thrifted frame. 

[All photos and artwork by Ann Howell Brown, 2013. Song lyrics by James Taylor.]