Thursday, April 12, 2012


It's been a bit of a crazy year (I usually count the year starting at the beginning of the school year, so in this case, I mean since September).  Sean and I spent 5 months trying to a buy a house in our neighbourhood--it wasn't the easiest transaction.  In mid-January, we finally purchased our new house (it's not new) and sold our current house.  We don't move until the end of June.  It's a crazy long closing date but we are all soooo excited to start again, especially the kids because they don't remember our last move (it was 8 years ago--a super long time by our standards).

acrylic on canvas
36" x 36"

The "new" house is awesome or at least it will be at some point.  It's really great structurally--needs a ton of help in the bathroom/kitchen departments.  The lighting is abysmal--dull, warm, yellow light everywhere.  Yuck.  I've been doing my best to purchase pretty much every light I can on the internet.  I've almost lost count of how many I've purchased.  I may be able to open a lighting store.  It's a perfect project house and we are up for the challenge.  We may fight (a little) about how we want to decorate but usually we are on the same page.

Did anyone happen to watch "The Novogratz's" on HGTV over January and February?  They became my latest obsession.  Cortney and Bob Novogratz created their own design/build business based on their own eclectic and interesting tastes and just happened to have seven children along the way.

"The houses that Bob and I have designed and built over the years are testaments to what we've been through, representatives of the chapters in our life together, and concrete proof that having faith in ourselves and one another can accomplish great things.  The houses we've built for ourselves mean far more to us than just having a roof over our heads.  They are an expression of where we've been and all of the people that have been a part of our lives.  Sure, this may sound sentimental, but talk to anyone whose home truly represents who they are and what they value, and they will tell you about the joy it brings them.  Believe me, that feeling can't be underestimated."   - Cortney Novogratz

Being the daughter of an architect, I have always appreciated my parent's love for creating, maintaining and changing their homes.  I completely fell in love with the Novogratz philosophy about home and what it means.  Creating a warm, welcoming environment for our children to grow up in something that Sean and I are both fortunate enough to do and to both feel the same way about.  

The Novogratz feel very strongly about two things close to my heart--colour and art.  With every renovation they work on, they always incorporate at least one focal piece of original art.  We are looking at our new home as a sort of "gallery" for our art (the majority of which are my own paintings).  We are sticking to white walls and neutral furniture and all the colour will come from the paintings adorning the walls.  

One artist that the Novogratz featured was a "glitter" artist from New York (blanking on her name now).  I was fully inspired by her use of glitter and language, so I thought I would put my own spin on it.  Let me tell you, working with super fine glitter SUCKS.  OMG--it is unweildy and messy and horrible--but it looks SO GOOD when finished!  My first attempt was in the painting above, "YES".  How powerful can one little word be?  I incorporated several things into this piece-language, glitter, "squares" and the use of fluorescent orange and pink (the photographic reproduction really does not do this piece any justice).

4' x 5'
acrylic on canvas

Three years ago when I was working on my pop culture series, I drew portraits of Elton John and David Furnish on a large canvas but I never got to painting them.  Pulling this canvas out, I added the large words "HOME" across the middle and set to work using all of my favourite colours and my own painting techniques.  Somehow along the way, I started thinking that David resembled Sean and I was starting to resemble Elton!!!!  I threw my large black shades on Elton and ta-da--a sort of portrait of Sean and me!  

"Glitterizing" the word HOME proved to be super difficult.  I painted everything I wanted to paint first, then went to task on gluing and glittering the 4 letters.  Sounds simple enough, I know, but due to the size of the canvas, I had to balance and perch over the edge of it.  I was shaking and hating it but thankfully it turned out okay.  We're going to hang it in the front hall of our new house.  It'll be a testament to so many things.

An old friend of mine recently made a great point...

"Appreciate what you've got and chill out when things seem overwhelming."  - K. Watson



  1. Great blog Justine! I always learn so much when I read your blogs. We are so excited for you all, moving into your new home. We can't wait to see it and by the sounds of it you are definitely going to put your own stamp on it which will be exciting to experience! Love the glitter paintings. Hard.... but they are fun and amazing for us to see. Thanks for sharing. xxx V

  2. wicked post - I agree! many thanks for the words :)

  3. AND THE ART!!!!!!! (what an omission! for shame!)