Rooftop Garden Room

I wanted to share a piece of art that I have been working on for a couple of months, inspired by my love of rooftop garden terraces and balconies.

But first I should explain a bit about how it evolved...

When I was studying architecture in college one of the most influential books I was required to read {and happened to be written by several of my UC Berkeley professors} was A Pattern Language. Since that time and whenever I am involved in a design project I use the theories and “language” of this book to guide me in my work.

A Pattern Language is the most important piece of writing about design I read in college and still do read regularly. {If you look on my side bar under "books on my shelf" you will see that this is one of my all time favorites.} Many of us in school referred to it as the “bible” of design and architecture. It’s usefulness in designing anything is beyond compare.

My “Rooftop Garden Room” is an assemblage of embossed paper flowers, vintage silk millinery, hand dyed French seam binding ribbons, crocheted cotton lace, grapevines, Spanish moss,

hand made birch blooms, brass rosettes, pearl beads and baubles, embossed and printed papers, paint, gesso, and a single French vintage vocabulary card.

I painted the twenty four inch square gallery wrapped canvas with a creamy white acrylic paint carefully blending it with gesso as I applied it to the canvas adding just a touch of gloss to the otherwise matte paint, which in turn added a depth and luminescence to the piece. I then layered filmy printed tissue paper in blocks onto the canvas ~ creating the feeling of dappled stucco walls.

For even more texture on the garden walls I added embossed wall papers with softly torn edges which I painted with several coats of white, parchment, and unbleached paint.

A petite grapevine bird’s nest with luminescent eggs nestled in Spanish moss is snuggled in the corner of the window. The “owner” of this nest floats above, and butter cream and vanilla bean colored ribbons of scrunched seam binding adorn the base of the tree and edge of the window.

There are eight hand made birch flowers on the topiary tree and beyond, which I hand painted and then distressed with bronze ink before gluing onto the canvas. One pale yellow vintage silk carnation adds a soft contrast to the rustic feeling of the wooden flowers.

The flower pot for the topiary tree and the window frame were created using the crocheted cotton lace, which I coffee stained before I placed it on the canvas. {The lace is from the same sweater that I used for “Dancing With The Stars” and “Girl With A Pearl Earring.”}

The scalloped edges of the lace were perfect for the edges of the window and flower pot, and even allowed me to create a Gothic style window reminiscent of Venetian windows of the palaces along the Grand Canal and the Gothic cathedrals of France.

This was a true work in progress ~ as is any garden. Many times when the creativity left me, I walked away from it and let it sit for several days into weeks, before I would come back and tend to my petite garden again.

The mix of tarnished brass rosette beads and vintage silk millinery; birch flowers and garlands of scrunched seam binding; embossed papers and thick brushstrokes of paint ~ all together in harmony ~ blended to a beautiful neutral {but not bland} palette and individual story on this canvas.

More flowers bloomed, angels floated in and out, birds flew about and tended to the eggs in their nests, more layers were added to the stucco walls,

and finallyit was complete.

“Rooftop Garden Room” is a one of a kind piece and is for sale. Please contact me for details if you are interested. {I'll be listing it in my Etsy shop soon and will be offering prints, as well.}

Ciao amici,

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Sharing this and joining some of these friends this week.