Since we moved into this house, I've been slowly trying to decide how to decorate it, where to put our copious amounts of stuff, etc.  In the months before we sold the other house, we had painted every wall, every closet, every baseboard, every window trim piece and every shelf at least once.  The only thing we knew when we moved in here was that despite the fact that the entire thing was painted apartment off-white - and we hate apartment off-white - was that we would be living with apartment off-white for awhile because none of us was interested in painting another wall any time in the near future-perhaps ever.

There has been a wall that begs for art here since the second we saw it.  It's recessed next to the fireplace and over some built-in cabinets with display lighting above it.  One of the things I've wanted to know the most about the previous owners of this house was what the room looked like when they lived there.  Which way did you face the couch?  What did you hang on that hook that comes out of the ceiling that's way too high up for anyone to reach?  What did you do in the stairwell? And, most importantly, what was on the art wall (as it has come to be known)?  I know a little something about the previous owners, but despite that, I cannot for the life of me figure out how they decorated this place.  

Anyway, the "art wall" was the very first thing we wanted to do something with when we took possession of the place.  Despite that, it has proved to be the most difficult.  Every time I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it, I'd sit with the concept for a bit and then abandon it a few days later.  A large television would have done it, but I wanted a little more pretentiousness than that.  So I started browsing to find a large print I liked.  That made the process a whole lot harder. There are tons of painters I like, but I couldn't land on a decision about what the room needed, nor what I could stand to look at for long periods of time.  To make matters worse, I decided it had to be something meaningful too, not just a pretty landscape. So I started trolling the discount stores.  There was always lots of cool, affordable stuff, just nothing that speaks to me.  At some point, I decided if I was going to put artwork there, as much as I love certain famous painters, I'd really like to support actual living artists - not just have a reproduction of something that hangs somewhere else.  Then I started combing Eastern Market and craft shows and art shows for original painters and photographers.  I found a lot of things I loved, but wow, some original art - at least in the size I'm talking - is pricey!  Then I started going out of the box.  But once I opened that box, the decision making process went way out of control.  We thought about making it a gallery wall of some of my photography.  We thought about installing dozens of shelves for The KoH's steel work and my glass work.  We thought about putting photographs of ancestors, We thought of painting a mural.  Hanging several small pieces.  Using printers' drawers and milk crates as shelves for knick knacks seemed too busy for the size.  Combining a mural of a tree and then "hanging" family photos off it's branches, which, weirdly, wasn't an original idea as it turned out.  Installing a wood facade with reclaimed wood, also not an original idea - maybe even backlighting it - good lord, has anyone not thought of my ideas before I have them? 

So for the past eleven months, that wall has sat there empty, taunting me with my indecision.  

Then one night a few weeks ago, some friends were over, one of whom is a really talented artist.  I was remarking after they left how I really liked her stuff and wished she would paint more and The KoH said, "Why don't we just ask her to paint a piece for us for the wall?"

Dawnlight breaks over Marblehead.

So we asked her if she'd consider a commissioned piece.   She immediately said, "sure," and then they follow-up: "What do you want?"  


I was kind of just hoping you'd tell me what you think should go there, wasn't really an answer she was looking for, so I hemmed and hawed about it for a few days and finally said, "I want something indirectly based on The Great Gatsby, specifically, this part of the book that references the billboard.  I've always been obsessed with that billboard."  I showed her some styles and color pallets that I like and she went away and came back a couple of weeks later with original artwork.  I framed it, bought some shelves from a website I've been drooling over for the past several years and then in a few short days, plus eleven months of equivocation, Wall Accomplished!  

This formerly blank wall completed in a manner with which I could not be happier.

I know it's not everyone's taste and more than one person has pointed out that it looks like Harry Potter is looking down on us - thank your father, kids - but everything on this wall has meaning to me and I love having Dr. Eckleburg staring down on me to capture my every action just in case I run over Myrtle with my car.