September Painting Workshop in Italy

Need a creative recharge?  Who doesn’t?!  How about an Italian abstract painting workshop?  Complete with lodging, instruction and all supplies, and no previous experience necessary, just bring your enthusiasm for art, Italy and creativity.

Steve McKenzie is leading an abstract painting workshop at Annette Joseph’s magical La Fortezza in northern Tuscany on Sept. 19 – 24th.  Inspiration is everywhere!

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Inspiration abounds at La Fortezza

We were lucky enough to visit Annette earlier in May.  The magic begins as you approach the home, and up on the mountain sits Annette’s fortress.

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La Fortezza up on the hill

 

Annette, styling expert and author, has created beautifully appointed living and working spaces, as well as incredibly comfortable guest quarters for the students that are unparalleled. It feels a little like a visit to a monastery where furnishings and the views take you to a place of contemplation and inspiration.  We’ll do a bit of shopping too, as part of the class, visiting the local market and antique shops.

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These cozy places, coupled with a superb cocktail, and nibbles,  encourage congregation and conversation.

We were greeted in typical Annette fashion with a delicious, as well as beautiful, Aperitivo of Negroni and nibbles, taken straight out of her new book Cocktail Italiano. A delicious dinner of pasta and salad followed, just reminding me of what a talented cook Annette is.

I am excited that a cooking lesson in the commercial kitchen will be part of our fall workshop. Can’t wait to cook on her La Canche stove!

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Simply Scrumptious Pasta
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Stylish Kitchen Vignette

I strolled over to the La Fortezza vineyards with Annette and Jill. The beauty of this location really spoke to me and inspired me to paint en plein air.  During the workshop we will take a picnic lunch out here and paint, eat and drink. The colors and vistas are one of the most inspirational places I have visited.

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Vineyard View for Plein Air Painting. Photo credit: Jill and Steve McKenzie

 

On the stroll back to the house, I filled the market basket with wild flowers from the property as well as colorful roses from her rose garden. The most beautiful arrangement quickly came together in a beautiful pitcher from Annette’s copper collection. We will incorporate a quick floral arranging lesson during my workshop as well.

La Fortezza Floral Arrangement

 

I can’t wait to return and share all the fabulous experiences with my students during the workshop September 19-24, 2018.

Ask Steve why he is holding this boar head!

 

There are only a few spaces left, register today, and as they say in Italy, Ciao!

 

 

 

How to Easily Elevate Your Next Party with Napkins

From a relaxed rehearsal dinner to a special bridal shower to a themed party, Dot and Army offers an easy, simple custom napkin program that will make your special event sparkle!  Recently, their napkin rental program added the perfect elevated touch to our rehearsal dinner with a variety of coordinated custom fabric napkins at each table.

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Ready for Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First a little background on this family business located in beautiful Brunswick, GA, Dot and Army‘s owner, Jennifer Zamudio’s charming store front offers a full variety of kitchen and table linens plus other local treats, while the workroom (and piles of gorgeous fabrics) are housed in the rear of the downtown building.  At steve mckenzie’s we’re in love with their seersucker cocktail napkins, Unpaper Towels, denim cocktail napkins.

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Colorful Seersucker Cocktail Napkins, eco-friendly Unpaper Towels and Denim Cocktail Napkins with contrasting edging

Back to the rental program…All rentals are customized.  They rent everything from their seersucker to cotton prints to linens with metallic edging.  The rented set can be entirely the same, from one fabric, or mix and match.  We sent them a Pinterest mood board for our event including some inspirational floral images.

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Napkin choices from Dot and Army

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Floral inspiration

Here’s how easy it is to choose your custom napkins:  pricing discussion is via email, and Dot and Army emails images of samples.  Want to see a fabric in person? Easy, they’ll mail it.  We chose the edging colors, sent the deposit and voila, 60 custom napkins arrived at our doorstep.

And you know what else? Return the napkins to them without washing.  Again, easy and no laundry for you!

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Ready for the Rehearsal Dinner! Designed by Steve McKenzie
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Party ready!

Take this tip and add it to your Party File, and as always, steve mckenzie’s is ready to help you make your next event extra-special and easy, be that custom fabric, floral design or table settings.  Stop in or to start the conversation!

 

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Have You Been to…?

You know we love art.  Love art, think art, talk art, see art and make art.  Last week we had the pleasure of experiencing an original exhibit at the Museum of Design Atlanta.  Perfect date night on a cold evening.

Have you visited Atlanta’s Museum of Design Atlanta ? Yes? Great! Have you seen the current exhibit, Text Me: How We Live in Language? No? You need to experience it!

First, what is this museum? MODA believes that design is a creative process that can solve problems, transform lives, and make the world a better place. The museum’s exhibitions and programs exemplify this belief. Located within the Midtown Arts Corridor since 2011, MODA is the only museum in the Southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design.

Now, let’s get the details on Text Me: How We Live in Language which is an original exhibition curated by internationally renowned designer, writer, podcaster and brand strategist Debbie Millman.  Over 60 designers and artists explore typography’s power and pervasiveness across every aspect of our lives.  Through interactive, immersive experiences, Text Me showcases many of the ways we use typography to document every aspect of our existence.

Elle Luna painting The Crossroads of Should and Must mural
Photo by Andria Lavine

There are site-unique murals, controversial pairings of words and things, all made to make us THINK.

MODA Hall Photo by Susan Sanders
MODA Hall Photo by Susan Sanders

You move from room to room in the house.  Text is everywhere.

MODA Photo by Susan Sanders  Sofa from Switch Modern

Date night solved!  Take your honey to this thought-provoking exhibit soon as it ends on Feb. 4th.  Get tickets here, and support this amazing Atlanta treasure of art and design.

Helpful Hint:  Check out MODA’s kids and adult camps and classes too. It’s never too early to plan your spring break and summer family fun.

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“Black” Friday Shopping Fun

          Friday                                  noon – 5pm

#ShopSmall Saturday   10 – 4pm

Plus some of our fashion favorites are on sale…we hope you enjoy!

Burberry – Balmoral Packaway Hooded Shell Trench Coat – Black • Burberry • $795Bp. Foldover Crossbody Bag – Black • BP • $39
Women’s Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Stretch Ankle Skinny Jeans • Wit & Wisdom • $68
Women’s Sam Edelman ‘Penny’ Boot • Sam Edelman • $149.90
Women’s Michael Michael Kors Cowl Neck Sweater • MICHAEL Michael Kors • $58.96
Women’s Steve Madden ‘Ecentrcq’ Sneaker • Steve Madden • $59.95

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Art & Inspiration Abound on St. Simons Island!

Last month, Steve and Jill had the pleasure of hosting a painting workshop at a location of great inspiration and even more wonderful people – The Vine, a combination landscape design, event design and garden market located on St. Simons Island.

The team behind The Vine, Bryce Vann Brock and Kelly Revels, welcomed Steve and Jill to their beautiful showroom and workspace, along with a slew of vibrant and talented artists-to-be to enjoy an evening of fun and painting!

This fantastic group of women not only created some pretty fantastic artworks, they really made the event at The Vine a truly memorable evening for Steve and Jill.

Lite bites and abundant cocktails aided in our painting and these adorable cocktail napkins by Dot and Army were a sweet addition to The Vine’s lovely setup!

Check out the artists at work…

Creating art can be a messy process!

Steve guiding guests through their creation process. He is a wonderful instructor!

And has fun doing it :-))

Thank you to Bryce, Kelly and everyone at The Vine for making this painting workshop possible. We love sharing the creative process with others and we especially LOVED creating art with all of you!

Interior of The Vine
photo by Kelly Boyd Photography

Now, Steve and Jill couldn’t visit St. Simons Island without enjoying a bit of the beautiful scenery. It’s a fantastic place to garner inspiration – especially for Steve who’s always thinking about his next work…

They enjoyed a visit to Christ Church and Cemetery, which is the second oldest in Georgia!

A Patriot grave marker…

Our duo also checked out Wesley Memorial and Gardens, which were lush and beautiful.

St. Simons Island provided a wonderful working vacation and Steve and Jill were tickled to make so many new friends and enjoy the island together! Thanks to all who made it such a wonderful trip!!

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Dinner Party 101

“Let’s have some folks over for dinner this weekend!” – does the thought of this idea make your palms sweat? Don’t worry, join us on Oct. 7th for Dinner Party 101.  The ever-so thoughtful hostess, Paige Minear of The Pink Clutch blog joins us to give you the tools for an effortless, casual dinner party.

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Dinner Party 101: Saturday, Oct. 7th from 10 – 11:30am

You’ll go home confident, with easy, impressive recipes, design advice for a festive space, ready to reconnect with old friends and invite some new friends.

You’ll make some new friends and learn from stand-out makers such as Cathead Vodka, Schermer Pecans and Merry Cheese Crisps.

Tickets are $20 and space is limited, so grab a friend and get your tickets today! Be sure to contact the team at steve mckenzie’s with any entertaining needs.  See you soon!

A Studio Tour with Steve McKenzie

Folks frequently ask about Steve’s studio – and lucky for us, he loves sharing his happy place with others! It’s perfectly situated to fuel his creativity. Back in April, Paige Minear shared a visit to Steve’s studio on her blog, The Pink Clutch.

We thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of the same tour and offer a behind the scenes look of where the magic that is Steve’s art happens…

Steve’s studio is located in the loft above the steve mckenzie’s showroom. He can be a bit messy, so it’s smart to contain the work in a space that can be somewhat hidden. Up in the loft, he has various areas set up for working. A large easel is built on the wall and is the spot where Steve works on his larger pieces.

Commercial, stainless kitchen carts easily roll with Steve as he works.

An antique drafting table serves as his workspace for ink and watercolor drawings. This is also the place where Steve’s fabric patterns are created.

The curated objects in Steve’s studio are what inspire him most to create… Here are a few. Note the Illy coffee – nothing like an Italian espresso to keep you going!

Lately, Steve has been spending a lot of time in the studio, creating works for some upcoming shows, fabric lines and more!

Come visit the steve mckenzie’s showroom and experience the art of Steve McKenzie for yourself; and stay tuned for some exciting things coming up for Steve’s art!

*All photos by Marc Mauldin Photography

Who you NEED to meet: Elizabeth Fowler

We’re absolutely delighted to introduce you to one of the most exciting artists to come out of the South in some time, Elizabeth Fowler! And we’re even more excited to share that we’ll be hosting Elizabeth’s art debut in Atlanta on June 8th – mark your calendars now!!

Elizabeth is fun, dynamic and her work will have you using all the heart eye emoji’s you can handle. She’s a true professional; absolutely polished and totally poised for even bigger and better things. We’re thrilled Elizabeth will be showcasing some of her work at steve mckenzie’s and wanted to give you a glimpse into who she is before the big debut. We hope you enjoy this latest installment in our “Who you NEED to Meet” blog series!

Elizabeth Fowler

Elizabeth Fowler lives in Jackson, MS. She graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Communication and Information Sciences. She began painting in March of 2016 and has since held successful pop up exhibitions at the Mississippi Museum of Art After Hours series, Courtney Peters Design and Adam Trest Home.

In 2016, her work was included in the Fondren Renaissance Foundation’s annual Cedars Juried Art Show and she was named one of Portico Magazine’s 2016 Artists Rising. This year, Elizabeth was included in the self-portrait exhibition at Fischer Gallery in Jackson.

sm’s: Can you please share a bit about your background/how you started/how you started Elizabeth Fowler Art and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?

EF: I spent the first 13 years of my career in marketing project management, client relations and new business development. I’d always had a desire to do something more physical and more creative. To create a “product” of some sort. A little over a year ago, I left my marketing post not knowing what my next step would be. The main goal was to focus more acutely on raising my 4 year old daughter, nurture my true self, better support my husband and pay more attention to our household. But mainly nourish my then-depleted soul.

I really wrestled with what I would “do next” to make a mark, prove value or justify existence. I received the greatest gift of all…. the luxury of rest and the ability to wait. I thought about going back to school but wasn’t sure how I’d select between multiple interests. I thought about beginning to write but wasn’t sure what my goal would be with the writing and frankly was afraid I’d get lost in my own musings. Then, I remembered painting. I chose painting because I thought it might be the most reasonable way for me to export parts of my spirit.

There were many fears. But, I realized that I really had nothing to lose and just went for it. In short order, I had sold several paintings and was very encouraged to keep going. The work just started pouring out of me. The act of painting was so meditative and healing for me and I loved that it opened me up to so many new relationships with other artists, collectors, etc.

One year later, I realize that this year of painting, resting, trusting has been the best year of my life. That joy is the fuel for growing my body of work and continuing to stretch my abilities.

sm’s: What inspires you/your art? 

EF: Wow. So much.

I’m inspired by materials and processes. I love nothing more than testing new materials and processes.

Other artists. The more I paint, the more I hunger for imagery created by others.  I love it when I think that I’ve seen great art and then I’m introduced to a new artist and my entire paradigm for “good work” is shattered and recreated.

I’m inspired by beautiful weather. I paint out of doors at my home. The light filtered through the tress in my backyard on a 70 degree day is irresistible.

I’m inspired by the forces behind the development and sustenance of the natural world.

I’m also frequently inspired by Instagram photos before they fully load. You know when they’re still blurry and abstract. The most mundane subject matter becomes SO visually interesting when blurred! I always want to paint after seeing those — thank God for slow internet connection!
sm’s: What is your vision, not only for the Elizabeth Fowler Art brand, but also the individual pieces you create?
EF: I don’t consider myself to be a brand. About 8 months ago, I tried to think of myself/ my work in that way and I learned that it took the life out of it for me. So now, I just paint what I paint. Even though my pieces vary in color and theme, they usually all carry the mark of my collective experience. I’m not sure quite how that happens, but the marks end up relating all of my paintings to each other.
I paint intuitively, so I don’t go into a body of work with an expectation or vision. Correction…. Sometimes I do and my intuition takes over, yielding something that in NO WAY reflects my original intention. The piece comes out and it is what it is (forgive the overused expression!). What I hope for each piece is that someone will be drawn to it, appreciate it, buy it and enjoy it.

sm’s: Do you have any “mainstays” in your work – is there something you’re always drawn to? 
EF: If you asked my mentors and art advisors, they’d say “YES!” but, my answer is that I’m so new at this that I couldn’t say there are elements that I cling to. Of course there are tools in my kit that I pull out. Drizzling, dripping, spraying, doodling.
sm’s: What are the differences in your collections – i.e. how do you create such unique pieces that remain a part of one, cohesive line? 
EF: I  paint collections in sessions. On any given day, I’ll put down 3-10 pieces of paper or canvas and paint in succession until they’re complete. Once those are finished, I really can’t replicate it. The work itself is a record of the weather that day, my mood and the materials that were available to me at that moment.
The pieces are cohesive because they all come from the same point of origin, me.

sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase one of your pieces? 

EF: I think that the only thing that is required to purchase one of my pieces is connection. A connection with the piece. The owner’s connection with the piece, which might be completely different from my connection with the piece. The painting is like a person…. It’s allowed to have different connections with different people.

The second thing that would be nice is a connection between the buyer and me. I love people. I love when I really get to know who they are. I realize that the more work I sell, the harder it’ll be to truly connect with every buyer. But I’d love it if that were possible. I want people to look at my work in their space and feel a warmth because they love the work but also to feel as though they’ve purchased a spec of my being and are able to celebrate the moment I made the piece.
sm’s: What’s on the horizon for you/Elizabeth Fowler Art? 
EF: The thing that I MOST love about life is the unpredictably of it all. Two years ago I was working to help proliferate a casual dining brand with NO IDEA that I’d be painting. Six months ago, I couldn’t have imagined that I’d meet and connect with some of the artists with whom I’ve been fortunate to form unique bonds. LIFE IS AMAZING! That being said.

In the next year, I’d like to amp up my presentation and land a two-person or solo gallery show. I’ve just hung my first solo show in a community gallery. My next step is to work with a full-time commercial gallery on a show.

sm’s: As an artist/business person how do you recharge? 
EF: Funny. Painting is the recharge for me. I paint about two days a week and it is such a catharsis for me. It’s important for me to maintain a balance in my life. Elements in that balance are quality time with friends and family, travel, afternoon cocktails with my husband (Mint Juelps), play with my daughter…. And sleep. I love to sleep. It’s the only time I can get my mind to stop. 🙂

sm’s: Anything else you can think our readers would enjoy learning about you/your business/artwork? 
EF: Come see me! I want to meet you, hear from you, get to know you!
And she means it – and we’re offering the perfect opportunity for you to interact with the artist. Her Atlanta debut on June 8th… We look forward to seeing you there! Contact the team at steve mckenzie’s with any questions.

Art up for auction!

Steve, along with a slew of other artists, both from within and beyond our local interior design community, will have art up for auction at the ASID Art Auction benefiting the American Cancer Society next Thursday evening!

This artful event is open to the public and all proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society. Tickets can be purchased here.

ASID Georgia Art Auction Benefiting American Cancer Society

at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 | 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
351 Peachtree Hills Avenue Northeast Suite 403, Atlanta, GA 30305

We look forward to celebrating some fantastic artists and fundraising for a great cause! Please feel free to reach out to the team at steve mckenzie’s with any questions…

Tremendous Tasks of Trays

This year, did you resolve to get organized?! How’s it going so far? If you’ve already fallen off the organizational bandwagon, we’re here to inspire you with one simple item. The tray.

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Perhaps our favorite option – a catchall tray in Loop Indigo, based on Steve’s fine artwork and textile line. Will add a punch of fun and color to any space!

That’s right – as in those pretty serving pieces sitting in your cabinet that only come out during certain meals… Believe it or not, but trays can do so much outside of the kitchen. They can help you become stylishly organized!

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We love the idea of using beautiful trays and even overlooked pieces from your china collection in drawers for organizing small items such as jewelry, spare change, makeup, cuff links, tie pins, etc. So many options!

Simple trays can handle the tremendous task of keeping us organized. Set on a console, nightstand, end table, or even inside a drawer, trays are a fantastic way to compartmentalize all those small items we’re so often digging through our catch-all drawers for!

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This Royal Crown Derby Mikado Sandwich Tray, in Taupe, is a real showstopper! This stunning piece would be a gorgeous spot to place on your foyer table and collect keys, spare change and other loose items.

And you know those small items you reach for most – wouldn’t it be helpful if you could just leave them out in the open for easy reach? Thanks to the tray, you can do that in a stylish way.

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This woven rattan round tray is actually a little larger in scale and would be a brilliant place to collect television remotes, decks of cards, or even add tall glasses to the top and fill with makeup and brushes for the bathroom or silverware for a stylish addition to your next buffet.

As you can see, we offer some pretty fabulous options for organizing small trinkets. Reach out to the steve mckenzie’s team today and we’ll be happy to help you achieve this resolution and become more organized in no time!!