Color // Hot Summer Days

Summer means different things to different people, but consistent among summer plans is to vacation, relax and enjoy the outdoors whether it's by the beach, lake or in the mountains. The days are longer in the summer months, and we seem to collectively fill them with activities and people we enjoy. The warm colors in these artworks, that range from red to yellow reflect the warmth and light of the long summer days. In the color spectrum, there's a wide range of colors between red and yellow including the many shades of orange.

Anne Raymond's Change Series l gently captures the warmer tones of these colors.

Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko painted many Color Field works in these hues. His 1961 painting, Orange, Red, Yellow sold for a record $86,882,500 in May 2012. The New York Times reviewer said it "...can convincingly be argued to be the most powerful of all his pictures."

Color theorist Josef Albers explored the sunny colors in numerous works in his Homage to the Square series.

Referencing summer, Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal stated about Rothko, "The painting's trio of orange and yellow rectangles bobbing atop a cherry-red background forms a palette that's as eye-catching as a sunset or a Popsicle."

Photographer Elisa Keogh captures that kind of intense summer sky in Long Beach Island, NJ (red-orange) from her Horizons series.


Crow adds that, "Auction specialists say collectors historically pay more for works that are red and gold, as opposed to gray".  Red is the color most associated with joy and well-being, so its no surprise that we surround ourselves with the joyous color.

Joyful and summery describes Kerri Rosenthal's colorful, energetic artwork, including Pretty Wings with a golden citron color, that's on the green side of yellow.

Images of the ocean and beach evoke great memories and associations for many. Bramasole Photography  captures inviting images of her favorite beaches. (I blogged about a recent exhibit of Christine Wexler's work.) In Surf Camp, the surfboards in Montauk are ready to go!

Some prefer summer walks or hikes in the mountains.  Feel the breeze in Elena Lyakir's, Laughter.

Time in or by the water - ocean, lake or pool is summer to many. In Turning, from a series of underwater photography, artist Andrea Bonfils' conveys the weightlessness and welcome of the water.

Xanda McCagg's abstract painting, Vast, captures the fun and the energy of this spectrum of warm colors.

Thinking about the different meanings of hot summer days...I can say for me, I love the warmth of the sun, the sound of the ocean and the feel of the sand. Artwork allows us to reflect on a feeling or a sense of place. The colors of these pieces - yellows, oranges and reds convey and take us to the warmth and energy of summer.

There are a few weeks left for us all to enjoy...

Heiberg Cummings Design // Elegant & Koselig (Cozy) Style

I met Bernt Heiberg and Bill Cummings of Heiberg Cummings Design at an event they hosted for one of their projects in December.  I quickly felt their warmth and style, both from the design partners themselves, and from their interior design work. They describe their aesthetic concept in their recently published book, White Light. It's about "koselig", which "literally translated means cozy in Norway, the word is used to describe everything from a room’s hospitable warmth to the pleasant feeling one gets in running into an old friend."  Koselig, is how Bill described their Chelsea apt. in a magazine article that was featured in their book - and it's how I would describe meeting them and seeing their work. This is their third book,

Their interiors are comfortable, and easy

also refined and elegant

The partnership began in 1990 in Oslo doing interiors in Europe and the US. They moved the center of their business to the NYC's West Village, but retain an office in Norway. The duo blend Bernt's Scandinavian minimalism with Bill's artistic and business background with an appreciation for traditional American design. This has come together into a modern design business with clients and residences from Manhattan, the Hamptons, throughout the Northeast, corporate projects to country homes in Norway.

The core of their philosophy and technique is Conceptual Design. Each project starts with a framework, a concept that is driven by the client and their close relationships. They want to understand what a client is looking for, how they live and how to best reflect their family and traditions. The core concept evolves and it then prevails in each space of the home providing the framework for the physical design which follows.

Each project differs in personality, but the foundation is consistent, warm neutral and natural colors and textiles, continuity throughout the project, which comes from the concept. Warm and quiet, yet a recurring description is 'tension', and it varies from project to project. The tension is a surprise, it may be accent colors, art, the antiques and accessories - and this is where each project suitably reflects its owners.

Naima Boger, a designer with the firm sought me out for artwork for a LETT, by Heiberg Cummings project in Rye, NY. LETT, Norwegian for 'Light" was introduced last year to provide another way for Heiberg Cummings to provide their design services and aesthetic to more clients. The LETT team is hired to provide interior design services on a room by room basis. They provide a beautiful boxed presentation containing customized floor plans, drawings, and tear sheets of recommended items. The client receives a shopping list to execute and manage themselves. The design firm will come in to style and accessorize when the client is ready and the furnishings are complete.

Naima worked on the Westchester project and assisted her client in sourcing artwork and accessories. When she saw Andrea Bonfils' Underwater Mixed Media artworks, she knew immediately they would provide the living room with the balance and the contrast to complete the room and compliment the photographs on the opposite wall, by Katie White Photography.

Ophelia, another Bonfils' piece is in the adjacent foyer.

Xanda McCagg's abstract Tete-a-Tete brought tension, color and contrast to the dining room. The strong modern painting is a counterpoint to the traditional furnishings, and the color balances the sofa, pillows and window coverings.

LETT is a timely and exciting new direction for Heiberg Cummings Design. It is a concept that will make their services accessible to many more people and introduce a new direction in interior design. The firm has an international reputation for the quiet, refined and personalized aesthetic they have created. They have a flair for details that reflect the homeowner, whether it's artworks, accessories or incorporating family items that are lived-in and worn. The spaces they design are contemporary  - yet they're classic and comfortable, a style that creates liveable spaces that at the same time are elegant and koselig!

Her Haven // Designing a difference for others

Her Haven grew from Carey Dougherty’s vision to combine her interior design skills, and business experience with her desire to help women in need. With the driving passion that a “home can enhance one’s well-being and bring families together, and the recognition that women are often selflessly serving their families and their communities with little time for themselves, she wanted to give these women the gift of a ‘haven’.

Her Haven is a nonprofit organization that performs volunteer design services for deserving and inspiring women in the community.

Carey then brought her organizational and networking skills to coordinate the efforts of various people and organizations. The first two Her Haven projects were a partnership with Fairfield University's Interior Design Program and Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County.  11 design students from the program worked to redesign and furnish the living and dining rooms of two new Habitat homeowners, Nordia Black and Elizabeth Bosques, both of Bridgeport, CT.

The projects have elicited strong community support, from local businesses, supplying materials, trades, design skills and volunteers who have all helped see the projects to completion.

Another outcome of Her Haven's beginnings was a course at Fairfield University , developed by Dr. Catherine Giapponi, associate professor of management at the Dolan School of Business (DSB).“Managing Nonprofits Organizations". The course introduced students to careers in nonprofits, while helping to develop a business plan for Dougherty.  “There are many connections between entrepreneurship and starting your own nonprofit,” Dr. Giapponi explained, “And with entrepreneurship gaining interest around the world, this class gives students the skills to put together a complete plan that could be applied to nonprofits and for profit ventures.”

Her Haven has plans to expand its partner programs with additional design schools to provide both hands-on practical experience for it’s students with meaningful community work.

I was moved when Carey described a response to both projects. The women, who's home was renovated and furnished,  separately said, the best part of their new spaces was having, for the first time, “a dining table, a place to sit with their family”.

Her Haven is realizing Carey Dougherty's mission, helping women to create homes for their families that they would not otherwise have. Carey has in the process been bringing together diverse groups, from other non-profits, to  businesses, designers and educators.

Table d'Hote , table top and home accessories store, and Romanoff Elements are hosting an event Dec. 5th, with the artwork of Andrea Bonfils and Tulah Jems jewelry.  A portion of the evening's sales will help support the mission of Her Haven, Designing a Difference!









Its been wonderful to learn more about Carey's vision and organization that is effectively reaching out and bringing together resources and people who understand the value of a well-designed and comfortable space for all women and families.

An Artist's Perspective on Nature // from painting to photography

Andrea Bonfils loves the beauty in nature and as an artist works to capture the beauty and interpret it in her unique style. She has been creating mixed media works and paintings that reflect the outdoors, nature and the animals she loves and is now offering edited collections of her photography of nature. Andrea has been exhibiting and developing a following for her unique artwork. She has developed techniques using layers of oils, encaustic wax and photography combined with a great color sense which adds even more depth and dimension to her works.

The methods, like the subject matter are organic - they have evolved over time for Andrea. The encaustic wax melts and blends to create works that are individual and impressionistic. Her works are tactile - I was surprised to feel the smooth, glossy finish.

Andrea has always been photographing the subjects she loves as well. She spends time in CT and also in Sante Fe, NM - so her images combine the beauty of the east; the coastline, the snow and also the unique feel, with the textures and colors of the southwest; the flowers, sunsets and the wild horses that Andrea loves to spend time with and capture in her photographs.

“They are majestic, regal and powerful yet sensitive, engaged and vulnerable. Being in the wild with them and following their routine is one of the most enjoyable activities in my lifetime. If I can photograph and relay even a minuscule portion of that joy than the experience can be cherished repeatedly” and she adds, “Who does not loves horses?”

I have to agree...I have found that most people have extremely warm and positive response to beautiful and powerful images of horses.

Andrea photographs wild horses in two sanctuaries near her home in Sante Fe. One is private and the other is on the BLM (Bureau of Land Management, government funded and managed land) where they are protected from slaughter. Many are "3 strike horses" and lucky enough to be saved, much like kill shelter dogs. The politics and work involved in protecting the wild horses is limitless and there are many good people working on their behalf  - but still much needs to be done.

“...the wild horses are just another miracle of what inspires me in our fantastic natural world ...that which is my ultimate playground!”

These beautiful images in Andrea’s collections of horses and the other photographs of nature are a great new addition to her body of work.  They're available in a variety of sizes and framing options for  different finished looks; framed in hand-welded steel

printed on canvas

mounted in plexi

and framed in barnwood

Andrea's talents allow her to interpret the world of nature that she's drawn to -  her work continually evolves, whether in paint, mixed media or through her photography.

Welcome to RE // new artists & their work

I launched the Romanoff Elements site 6 months ago, wanting to share some of the talented artists who I have come to know and work with. Recently, I updated the site to include several new artists as well as adding new pieces to existing collections. The RE site is a beginning - there is much more to look at, and to talk about regarding each artist who is represented. I am drawn to their work, to their stories and want to follow and share the progress of their art as it evolves.

Andrea Bonfils is a very creative and multi-talented artist.  She works with and explores various media;  from painting, to encaustic wax, photography and mixed media.

Regardless of medium, Andrea's artwork all begins with nature.  She renders interesting compositions from what she sees and experiences around her. Her colors are rich and layered and the final work is always textural and beautiful.  I have blogged about Andrea before, when Nest Inspired Home exhibited her work in April.

I was recently re-connected to Tracy Burtz, we hadn't seen each other for many years. Tracy is an accomplished artist and teacher who has exhibited extensively.  She works from life; she creates still lifes in oil, charcoal drawings and oils of women, pastels of seascapes and summer life.  I blogged about Tracy as we prepared an exhibition of her work at Table D'Hote recently.

The depth and range of Tracy's colors are beautiful, whether she's painting a floral arrangement or a portrait. We spoke about her varied subject matter, and the thread through her work is always the same, regardless of the subject, it's "...all about picture-making, and what makes a great painting; composition, color, darks, lights, value, line and texture.”

I first saw Elena Lyakir’s work at ABC Kitchen, the Jean-Georges restaurant in ABC Home in NYC.  I loved the ethereal quality and compostion of Elena’s naturally - inspired work and how it enhanced the farm-to-table restaurant's decor.  I met Elena shortly after that and saw the variety and depth of her work.

Each image, whether birds, foliage or landscape, evokes a quiet, a calm - that I find simple, serene and beautiful.

A mutual friend introduced me to Christine Wexler, wanting me to see her Bramasole photography, but also knowing we had similar backgrounds as textile designers. Turns out Christine and I sat down for coffee that could have lasted for many hours as we talked about how and where our creative interests began and the paths we have taken.

I share Christine’s love of the ocean, particularly Montauk. Her photos taken on the Eastern end of Long Island, throughout the Hamptons and other beautiful spots, in California, Mexico and in Italy, capture the natural beauty of the ocean - you can feel and sense summer life in her images.  Christina has exhibited in various venues in the Hamptons. It's the perfect time of year to introduce her photographs to RE and we'll be bringing a collection of her work to exhibit in Westchester at Nest Inspired Home in Rye in June.

More work from each of these artist is on the RE site.  I'll be showing a selection of new work by some of the original RE artists in my next post.

Unconventional Nature // Paintings by Andrea Bonfils

Andrea is an award-winning artist whose paintings offer an innovative and unique approach while reflecting her life’s experiences.  Andrea's inspiration comes from the natural world. She breaks from artistic traditions, yet, certain influences can be seen in her work, such as the colors of Wolf Kahn, the water of Monet or movement of Van Gogh.

We met last year and I was immediately drawn to her creative artwork and unique applications of traditional painting materials. Andrea’s unconventional techiniques results in beautiful color, depth and texture in her paintings.  With a reverence for the organic, Andrea utilizes mostly oils and encaustics with some mixed media to realize her individualized look.

Using unconventional hardware, a blow torch, iron and other heated tools, along with paper and natural materials, she emulates her subjects' movement, drama and complexity as she glazes or layers wax over photographs, photo transfers or meticulously renders subjects lost in a waxy fog. Andrea's uncommon painting techniques and personal style results in work that are intense, mysterious and ethereal.

Andrea paints what she enjoys most in nature, skylines, water, divers, surfers, trees and horses.

Nest Inspired Home in Rye, NY, a beautifully edited home shop, will feature Andrea’s work at an event they are sponsoring, along with Serendipity Magazine and Crop Organic Vodka  for the Westchester Children’s Museum.  Bets Miller, Wendy Williams, and Aly Drew of Rye, opened the home decor shop in November and have created a wonderful environment to sell home furnishings, accessories and art. I am thrilled, along with Andrea, to be participating in this event, along with Nest Inspired Home and the sponsors.

Here are a few of the paintings on display this week among the beautiful vignettes at  Nest Inspired Home.