The Art of Hanging Art

Regardless of our individual tastes in art, it seems a fairly universal practice to adorn our walls with our favorites pieces.

The notion of displaying art in ones home certainly dates back to the days of cave-dwellers scratching and painting images of horses,

Regardless of our individual tastes in art, it seems a fairly universal practice to adorn our walls with our favorites pieces.

The notion of displaying art in ones home certainly dates back to the days of cave-dwellers scratching and painting images of horses, humans, and various abstracts to “decorate” their abodes.

Given the permanence of these particular art installments, I can only imagine the internal debate that ensued among the dwellers: “Honey, do you think the horses would look good over by the rock collection, or maybe they’d be a nice complement to the reindeer by the front door?” These were clearly big decisions in the household, as they are today, and thus introduces the “second level” of in-home art, namely where (and, in more modern times, just exactly how) to place it.

This got me curious as to the history of hanging portable art, such as framed paintings. But when I Googled the “history of wall hangings,” the top result was the history of hanging as a death penalty in the UK in the 18th century. Not exactly on point, but maybe not entirely without an analogous reference.

You see, there are a lot of opinions when it comes to hanging art, and I feel certain that some “experts” would deem certain approaches to hanging art akin to the death penalty for the poor, unfortunate piece of art itself, rendering its fate utterly catastrophic.

To this point, I read one article that definitively states that 57” from the floor is the perfect center point for all hung art when it comes to optimum viewing. At a modest 5’10” myself, I might agree, but then those taller or shorter than I may have wildly differing opinions on this matter.

Then there’s the matter of composition. Some would argue that pieces must be displayed on their own to be viewed, studied, and contemplated singularly, while others practice the art of grouping various pieces together in a cluster or stylized arrangement. Certainly, the triptych demonstrates that this latter approach has both appeal and purpose.

Yet, behind all these important opinions and decisions there lies the fundamental component of the logistics of hanging art, and I’ve come to believe that there are simply two types of wall-hangers: those that measure, and those that do not.

I’m a measurer, you see, and outside of my occasional dyslexia getting in the way of some critical calculations, I feel I’m pretty adept at what I consider to be “proper” art hanging. My toolbox for hanging art is complete with the all-important tape measure, various-length levels, a pencil (with eraser), a pen, a proper hammer, a stud-finder, and, of course, a wide variety of weight-rated hooks and nails.

Through the years, I’ve written seemingly-complex mathematical equations on the paper backing of many an artwork, resulting in the identification of the absolute, undeniable, singular point in the universe where the nail and it’s partnered hanger shall be affixed to the wall. Frankly, it’s quite rewarding when this concerted and focused effort comes to fruition as the piece of art sits “perfectly” in its new place of repose.

Others (reckless as they may be) are reported to have “an eye” for where art is best placed, and, with nary a tape measure in sight, are able to affirmatively state “precisely” where the nail and hanger shall be placed.

My wife, Carrie, falls in this latter category, and you might imagine my shock and amazement at the sight of her with a thick-heeled shoe in one hand, and a random nail in the other, taking aim at placing a piece of art in “just the right spot!”

I’m skeptical of this approach, of course, but then again it seems all too ironic to suggest that a scientific method be applied to an otherwise wholly-artistic endeavor. Beauty, after all, is – perhaps – in the eye of the hammer (or shoe) holder.

Regardless of the means, it’s quite a rewarding effort in the final analysis when the art and the walls and the furniture and the lighting and the space all come together in just the right way. It’s really an extension of the art itself, like fitting in the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle to complete and reveal the comprehensive “picture” that the original artist had in mind.

And, that’s truly all well and fine, until (such as in our home) it’s time to move the furniture, change the paint color, relocate a lamp, or bow to the whims of newly-creative thinking, when the process – whatever its style or composition – begins once again…

Thanksgiving Stuff-ing

It’s that special time of year again.

Time to take stock of your blessings, to express gratitude for the people in your life, and to give your stuff away…

It’s that special time of year again.

Time to take stock of your blessings, to express gratitude for the people in your life, and to give your stuff away…

Yep, that’s right…we’re kicking off a new Thanks for Giving your Stuff Away holiday tradition!

Stuff. Many of us have plenty of it, and often more than we need. Heck, in some cases, we have more stuff than we thought or remembered we have.

The reality is that a quick trip to the far reaches of a closet, a drawer, the attic or the garage often results in a walk down memory lane as long-forgotten items sit in a state of perpetual inactivity.

Sometimes you “find” just the right thing at just that right time, and that lucky item is lifted out of its hibernation to its rightful role of creating joy and beauty in your home. Other items, however, might not be so fortunate, and their sentence of repose is once again extended, this time perhaps even until your next move.

Clothes, books, art, wedding gifts, and tchotchke are often in this mix, but so are tools, pantry food, supplies and other items that might have a more immediate and apparent value to others.

One man’s storage is another man’s staple, so why not consider releasing your unused stuff to a higher purpose?

There’s a great liberation in moving stuff forward…like a lifted burden. And, if it helps seal the deal, consider it a “pre-moving” process, since each item will need to be moved along at some point anyway.

Imagine the simultaneous relief and joy you’ll experience as you turn your potential liability into someone else’s potential asset. Karma is bound to be on your side, and the Thanksgiving spirit will be stronger than ever!

So, if the notion moves you, and you’re inclined to help kick off this new holiday tradition, reach out to your favorite thrift store or donation outlet today to find out more about how, where, and when they can help you achieve your plans to achieve your best dish of Thanksgiving Stuff-ing you’ve ever had!


Sugar(free) Magnolia

I’m not from the South, but I got here as quickly as I could.  

And, the South has been really good to me. My list of blessings would take up a year’s worth of blog posts, so just suffice it to say I know that I’m one lucky man, and I’m grateful for all the South has brought into my life.

Well, almost everything…

The reality is that living in the South doesn’t truly make me a “southerner,” so my allegiance toward certain things “southern” has therefore, in my mind, allowed a high level of subjectivity and flexibility…and I’ve recently identified a line I’m struggling to cross. 

There’s a Magnolia tree that stands some 50’ tall, towering over the front of our home and casting a formidable shadow across a wide section of our yard. 

When we first moved in, I had fashioned an initial sense of admiration for its inherent beauty, its substantial frame, and its “southern charm.” But that was short lived, as I quickly came to realize that it had me sized up even before we finished unpacking. 

You see, I’m one of those guys that likes a manicured yard. I’m not necessarily OCD, but then again most are not self-confessed, so maybe I am. The fact is: a clean, picked-up, edged, mown, trimmed, mulched and vibrantly-green yard makes me happy. And the Magnolia simply has other plans…

In short, this American beauty is more akin to a friend of the devil that’s set about to create a ripple in my otherwise sunshine daydream landscape plan. 

If you’ve had a Magnolia, you know whereof I speak, and this otherwise-heralded species is simply relentless. The volume and consistency of its production of “yard-trash” (as I tend to think of it) is impressive, but it’s really the SIZE of its various output that made me quickly realize I’d been unwittingly and most-unpreparedly thrust into an all out war of epic proportions.

The leaves are its apparent front line of attack. They are massive, leathery, slick, and devilishly aerodynamic. Just when you think the leaf-blower has the upper hand, the strategic curvature of each leaf allows it to stubbornly imbed (or invert) itself in such a way that even a tropical-storm force wind would struggle to whisk it far away from its mother-ship. 

So, for this particular aspect of the battle, I summoned my inner-Mad-Max, and developed a Medieval-like leaf-skewer out of an old mop handle and an assortment of previously-unrelated parts from the neighborhood Lowe’s. Quite ingenious, or so I thought, and it was clear that I was well on my way to victory. 

Ah, but next came the branches, and this I truly didn’t see coming. Quite honestly, when you look up at the tree, it leaves you flabbergasted as to where these branches could have possibly parted way. It’s as if the tree itself produces this unbroken chain of branches not at all for growth, but simply as a matter of strategic and psychological warfare.  

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m not easily out-worked, so aside from my astonishment of just how these branches actually appear, I was well-equipped with a strong work-ethic to roll up my sleeves and get to work on the daily pick-up of the mystery branches 

Lastly – and it’s simply my ignorance along with perhaps a healthy dose of naïveté that had me imagining I had established the upper hand in this hard-fought battle – came the seed-pods. It’s no surprise at all that these hearty, heavy, and prickly ammunition take on the uncanny appearance (and shape) of hand-grenades. They practically shake the house as they strike the roof in their apparent attack from above, and their size, composition, and numbers make it an impossibly-long (and seemingly never-ending) chore to affect their removal.

Against this final line of attack, I have no real power or strategy, and I realize, of course, that the victor in this war has long since been scripted and declared. Generations of property owners before me have most assuredly (and likely more swiftly) acknowledged their defeat in this impractical and illogical pursuit. The problem with me is that my nature runs just as deep as the Magnolia’s, and I’m simply too stubborn to quit.

As such, we both keep truckin’, the war ensues, and the Magnolia and I are, perhaps, working diligently (if not passionately) to earn each other’s respect, which is – most certainly – the southern thing to do.

The end.