Visual Treats for Recent Peeps/Weekend Mix (Diamond-Baratta)
This past week unusual objects popped up on grassy knolls, perched in street-boxes and at the center of round-abouts, as well as fastened to lamp-posts and utility poles. Brightly colored, graphic and designed for quick and easy reading, the signs announcing the Democratic primaries in our districts of Arlington, Alexandria, and parts of Fairfax, seemed to multiply overnight; similarly prolific, teams of polite and earnest young canvassers appeared more frequently in the neighborhood streets at about 5 or 6. While I may not show it when hidden beneath a oversized straw-hat and the armor provided by multiple applications of OFF, I heartily applaud their efforts to get the apathetic, the undecided, and the ambiguous down to the voting stations. Likewise, I applaud noteworthy candidates such as Jaime Ariega-Soto, Walter Tejada, and Adam Ebbin who have pledged to advocate for better funding of public schools and our teachers, comprehensive plans for even smarter growth, and a more balanced representation for the many silent and forgotten minority groups that live within our communities. Wish them all the best on Tuesday as concerned Virginia residents wisely cast their votes.
This weekend I had the leisurely pleasure of flipping through countless design magazines and shop catalogues, and it seems that the love affair with the color grey and that mix of worn, rustic, sparse Flemish-inspired furnishings is over, or best left to A. Vervoordt who remains the undisputed master of that look. Across the pond it works beautifully; when viewed in residences in West Sprinfield (VA) or Bowie (MD) something seems painfully wrong. For starters, townhomes in suburban sub-divisions cannot substitute for the aesthetics of a 17th century estate/farmhouse or city-house; secondly, the light of our area is so much different from that of Belgium or Amsterdam, that it’s almost impossible to successfully incorporate those pale and smoky greys, whites and chalky whites, browns and earthy-browns into a light-starved colonial or split-level without lots of artificial illumination. Attempt this (meaning the Belgian Look) only with guidance of a proficient lighting designer and talented colorist, lest you spend the next ten years moody, morose, or maudlin, whining to your significant other or pet, and upon return home after a day’s work, always within close proximity of the liquor cabinet.
A kind plants-woman graciously gave with me two large pots of dahlias. I must confess to adoring their bold shapes and intense color; yet I have never attempted to grow them from tubers because of some inner reluctance still not understood. More experienced gardeners have also stressed the importance of having tropical annuals such as dahlias, lantanas, marigolds and others to offer some color against the monotony of green which is prevalent at this time. I am eager to see the brilliance of these dahlias which I recently placed in a bed filled with yarrow, pineapple-sage, spirea, fennel, bird-peppers, lavender, and iron obelisks of climbing sweet-peas (that refuse to bloom for no apparent reason). Patience, cautions Lady Emblom, who wisely points out that Mendel worked at it for quite a few years before any degree of success.
Please enjoy this new work-week, as well as next weekend’s visual remix.
PS: Talented mix-masters (and interior designers) Anthony Baratta and William Diamond of Diamond Baratta Design advocate color, pattern and fun to keep the spirits up (especially during the dog days of August).