717-774-4301  •  debbie@smithcustomframing.com

Creating an Artful Living Space
Second Musing

by Ms. Terious

If you are new to being a collector of art, sometimes it is difficult to know in which direction you should head in your journey of becoming an inspired creator of beauty for your home.

My suggestion to you is to go in all directions! Art is what pleases your soul and creates a certain feeling whenever you look at it.

The same piece of art can elicit many different feelings at many different times. The first piece of original art I purchased has evoked many different emotions for me over many years. Every time I view it, I am aware of how it still touches my soul. Over the years its meaning has changed as I have changed.

That piece moved me forward in a most eclectic way. And that is what I am suggesting to all art lovers. Because art is such a personal thing, you only need to remember that art fills your soul and opens your creative vibes in so many ways. Various styles of art can evoke various feelings many times over throughout the years.

Are there rules regarding what art you should put together to make a cohesive collection in your home? Well, yes, but some of these rules are old school and constricting in their judgement. Rules are often just another person’s opinion and art display is all about you and what pleases you.

Art can be hung in one vertical row if that is what you like, but think of the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia and Albert Barnes’ idea of hanging art in a salon style so that the pieces tell a story or draws you into thinking about what brings the pieces together. Some pieces you must look up at, others you must look lower, but overall, you feel a story or cohesion as you study the various elements.  Feel free to hang in columns or rows, salon style, if you are fortunate enough to be building a large collection. The trick is to make it pleasing to your eye and to have it make a statement about you.

Everything does not have to be matted unless that is what you like. Frame style, structure, color, and material can easily be mixed so that they speak to each other and to the art which they surround; some pieces may be left unframed.

Can you mix various styles of art? The answer is yes, and make that a resounding yes! Maybe you began your collection with a love for plein air or photorealism and now, you are turning a corner and have a new found appreciation for abstract or whimsical pieces, or how about 3D sculptural art. Bravo! You have opened up to the various feelings that are elicited by various styles.

Think of it in this way, various styles of art may have other things in common such as theme, colors, brush strokes or palette knife strokes, or a mood created by darkness or lightness. Sometimes it may portray a juxtaposition of thoughts and feelings.

A perfect example of using two contrasting styles in art is a pairing currently being shown at Smith Gallery and Custom Framing. The larger piece on the bottom is a beautiful acrylic work by Stuart Leask. It is an example of realism depicting a house as seen at sunset. The colors are quiet, deep violet on the land with red/orange dots on the forefront depicting a field of gourds, a house with a few trees sitting quietly as night begins to fall, a thin band of yellow on the horizon line, A sky ranging from pale orange to red and moving through violet and indigo.

The second smaller piece displayed above is an acrylic by Sten that could be described as abstract expressionism. There is a great deal of white in this piece but there is the use of pale orange and red, and finally indigo on part of the body. This person has a gold face that appears to look down on the golden yellow band on Leask’s piece which is suggesting the setting sun.

When I see this placement, I create a story that pleases me. I see Sten’s piece as a mythological male, larger than life, perhaps a sun god (keep in mind that I am a muse and I often see mythology happenings around me). His golden face is reflecting down to earth to produce the thin band of golden sunset depicted in Leask’s painting. He is pleased, he protects this land, this house, this family. That is my story; yours may lead you on a different journey but hopefully one that allows you to view these two pieces as stylistically different but totally worthy of sharing the same wall in harmony.

Have fun; dream, create, play.  Imagine a wall in your house that expresses the many different parts that make up your true sense of self. Never forget that your creative journey is uniquely yours and you must please yourself.

Keep in mind too, that as you create your home display of art, when you purchase from local artists and local galleries, you may have the opportunity to meet the artist who created your one-of-a-kind piece, speak with him or her and learn what inspires them to create their art. Learn their story as you create your own.

Please visit the The Smith Gallery to view more art by these artists and many other talented artists and view our ArtTalks videos for conversations with artists.


The Tenth Muse was created to give inspiration, information and confidence to the reader.

This publication celebrates The Tenth Muse that is alive in all of us! She gives us the confidence to embrace going beyond the nine original muses.

Ms. Terious explores many subjects related to art and framing that can be used in the real world as you explore your own personal tastes and experiences without boundaries.

See all Tenth Muse articles