On our vacation this year, we took a cruise to South America. We knew there would be several days “at sea” as we traveled. And on days at sea, Park West, the on ship’s art gallery has art auctions.
Featuring art greats, such as Pop artist, Peter Max, we knew we could not afford the magnificent art, but we always enjoy learning about the artists and attending the auctions. Plus, they serve champagne!
On a previous cruise we attended an art auction and learned a great deal about art styles and eras. During one auction, I stepped out to the restroom and returned for Jack to tell me he had purchased two paintings in a mystery auction while I was gone. They are by Anatole Krasnyansky, a Ukrainian artist who depicts expressive surreal figures in cubism. We have kept these two serigraphs in our personal quarters but have decided that we need to bring them into the light for others to enjoy.
The first wedding anniversary is the paper anniversary. As an anniversary gift, I gave Jack a gift certificate to a Bed & Breakfast. He gave me a print by Emile Bellet. We had learned about Bellet’s work on the same (as above) cruise in about 2006. I love his style. His paintings often center on a mysterious figure, representing a timeless and ageless femininity.
Jack always says it seems like he can’t paint faces. On the contrary, I think there are no features painted so that any woman can visualize herself in his paintings. Bellet says he represents “all women” in his paintings.
Park West describes Bellet as a self-taught artist who has aligned himself with the discipline of the Fauves—a school of artists who lived at the turn of the 20th century that includes Henri Matisse, and Paul Cézanne. Bellet, born in Provence, France in 1941 has mastered painting in a vivid non-authentic color with an impasto knife, using highly saturated colors to paint his elongated mannerist forms. He began to paint at five years old and, by the age of 19, he held his first exhibition in 1960. When he was only 12, Bellet won first prize in a national art journal.
In 2006, Ebay and Amazon were still emerging industries so I went online to try to locate an affordable print of another favorite artist we had learned about on our cruise. Fanch Ledan creates imaginary scenes of exotic destinations. He calls these “interiorscapes” and they remind me (again) of many of the indoor-outdoor living spaces at the lake. Our small piece that I snagged on E-bay allows us to join other well-known art collectors such as Jacques Cousteau, Jack Nicholson, and John Williams who also collect his art.
This brings us to 2018. During the recent cruise, we attended both of the “day at sea” art auctions. We had our eye on a beautifully brilliant painting by Slava Ilyayav. It just seemed to light up the room! The original was well over $1000 but there was a serigraph on wood with original artist paint enhancements making it appear 3D. Entitled “Autumn Lane” it just spoke to us. The dealers tried to sell it to us for $750 then offering it at $500 but it was still out of our price range.
As I mentioned above in speaking of Krasnyansky, Park West auctions often offer mystery bid deals. Late in the auction, they hold a mystery bid. They turn all of the art backwards on the easels. They then ask who is interested in bidding. At that point all you do is indicate that you may be interested in bidding. There is no loss to just indicate you WANT to bid. So I did so by holding up my bid number. Then they strike the gavel, do the reveal. And there it was. “Autumn Lane” by Ilyayev was one of the pieces featured on the easels now offered for $250. The auctioneer looked right at me with a pleased look on his face and…Oops- there went my number in the air! Sold! At this point we endured a round of applause knowing that we still could opt out if we were unsure. But we purchased it! It was shipped to us last week. We love it and it now adorns the great room in its brilliant happiness!
Park West Galleries indicates on their website that the Autumn Lane artist, Slava Ilyayav is a master of the palette knife. Ilyayev creates colorful and vivid works that “carry on the traditions of Post-Impressionists like Vincent van Gogh into contemporary times.” The art of Ilyayev immerses viewers in a pleasant world of warmth, energy, and light. His art is exemplified by swathes of color raised above the canvas, resulting in textured compositions that transform nature into an exciting, joyful, and vibrant force. Slava Ilyayev was born on May 11, 1970 in Baku, Azerbaijan (formerly part of the U.S.S.R.).
That same auction where we were enjoying “Autumn Lane,” our bid number was drawn for a door prize! We thought about Smith Mountain Lake when we saw this scene. Entitled “It Gets Better” by Marko Mavrovich. It is a seriolithograph. Marko Mavrovich was born in 1960 to Croatian parents living in California. At age 10, his parents moved back to Croatia with him. The beauty of the Croatian sea and coastline inspired Marko to begin sketching. With the support of his father, who was a watercolor artist, and his mother, his strongest critic, Marko honed his artistic abilities. During the summers, Marko sold his drawings to German and Italian tourists. At the age of 17, he started to attend an art school. Our Mavrovich print also is now proudly displayed in our Great Room.
Mind you we were on a 12-day cruise and by now Park West staff was greeting us in the ship corridors and sending us mail to our cabin door about ship specials. They had “our number,” so to speak, for sure! With one more day at sea there would be another auction. Jack had fallen in love with Venus Du Bain. I mean he could not keep his eyes off her! Illuminated under the gallery lights, she was a shining beauty by artist, Csaba Markus (pronounced Shaba).
Evoking the elegance of Renaissance art, Csaba Markus masterfully combines Old World ideals and classical mythology with contemporary flair. Markus was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1953. Growing up in a Communist country, Markus found refuge in Europe’s art museums and baroque architecture. The aspiring artist became fascinated by the work of Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and Botticelli. These studies inspired him to draw and paint.
At age 10, Markus’ teacher caught him drawing during class. Instead of punishing Markus, the teacher wrote a note to his mother stating that she should foster his artistic talent. Markus was soon after enrolled in art classes and he eventually immigrated to the United States
Markus is best known for his “Modern Mona Lisas,” which combines ancient techniques with modern methods to create ethereal portraits of confident and mysterious young women. He uses a technique called Caldograph, which is a digital multiple on wood using dye sublimation, and involves many layers of colors and textures. Each piece is hand embellished by Markus himself with dried pigments, ground grass, and 24 carat gold. He uses a style called Sfumato, which is the technique of allowing tones and colors to shade gradually into one another, producing softened outlines or hazy forms (s in the Mona Lisa).
Starting the bid at well over $2500, we passed on the Markus works time and again, each time as the gavel struck Jack was lamenting that he wished he could afford one. The gallery staff approached Jack telling him that they would go as low as $1500. We slept on it but knew that we would be crazy to indulge. The next day they told him that they had called their home office and would go as low as $800 and that was only if we opened a Park West credit account. We passed again after Jack told him the most he could afford was $500. After dinner that night, we were invited to a Park West exclusive art social so all of the art purchasers could meet each other. Ha! We went! That’s when they told Jack he could get the Csaba Markus for $500. After having thrown that figure out to them, he had to follow through.
Venus Au Bain arrived this week superbly packaged by Park West and requiring a Fed Ex signature. Now if Jack is not in the hangar working diligently on the RV-10, he is sitting in the great room with Venus! Oy vey!
We will enjoy our personal art in the Great room for a time this summer or until we have another local artist interested in exhibiting his or her art. Please ask us about it and we will
tell you what we know. In the meantime, I snuck this photo of Jack and Venus! It kind of cracks me up!
When we opened Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast in 2013, we purchased very few new home furnishings with the exception of mattresses and the great room sectional sofa. Instead we used what we had accumulated from our blended households to intermingle styles that would work. Admittedly, I have decorated through much up-cycling, bargain thrift store and craigslist purchases. But that’s part of the fun if you ask me!
Operating a bed and breakfast offers a minimal profit line. It does, however, allow us to put earnings back into the property. So, each year, we try to invest in an improvement for the household and to make the stay more pleasurable for our guests. For example:
• In 2014, we upgraded the hot tub area with professional art with art by Lisa Floyd.
• In 2015, we added Marthy’s Creek. Built not only as a memorial to my mother, whose nickname was Marthy, but as a relaxing place to sit by the fire pit or flowing water.
• In 2017 we built the Chicken House and now guests can enjoy fresh eggs and we can clean up after the five little darlings.
I recently ran across several photos that show the transformation that we have made. Although I tried to be technologically savvy, I wasn’t 100% successful. However, I was resourceful as I transposed a powerpoint show with audio to a 3-minute movie to show some comparison shots.
We are pricing exterior lighting to light the way up the driveway and to light the sign and continuing to add to the landscaping. Stay tuned and come see us!
Happy Hour painting March 26 6:00 pm. $35. Lisa Floyd, artist. Email Karen or call 540- 488- 4600 to register.
Happy Hour Painting April 2 at 6:00 pm. $35. Lisa Floyd, artist. Email Karen or call 540- 488- 4600 to register.
We have new art on display at Bedford Landings, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Our artist is Sheridan Brown. Sheridan retired from the field of public education school leadership in 2013. While seeking ways to release time and talent, she took painting lessons in watercolor and acrylics. Adopting the theory that if Grandma Moses could start painting at the age of 78, she might be able to as well. Her subjects are varied from personal travel scenes to friends’ houses and family pets. She says, “It’s fulfilling and each piece is a learning experience!” Sheridan Brown can be followed on Pinterest and through her personal blog.
On a personal note, the interesting thing about Sheridan is she also goes by Sherry and sometimes she goes by “sis.” Yes, she is Karen’s sister. What’s even better is she anticipates moving permanently to Smith Mountain Lake in the Spring and becoming part of the art community here. (And I will love having my sister close by!) Jack and I have watched her grow in her art interest and skill. One of the paintings on display even won an award at the Smith Mountain Arts Council Spring Art Show!
If you are interested in learning more about or seeing Sherry’s (reasonably priced) art please give us a call at Bedford Landings B & B or schedule an appointment for a viewing.
Bedford Landings also carries note cards by local artists, books, t-shirts, honey, locally crafted peanuts and more gifts! Be sure to check out the upcoming events at Bedford Landings for this spring.
Those who have walked through the doors of Bedford Landings B&B know that there are several large stained glass pieces hanging or installed as windows.
I (Karen) took a stained glass at a community college in 1977. Although I enjoyed it, I could not afford all of the tools at that time so I did not pursue this hobby. It was 29 years later that Jack gave me a stained glass kit for Christmas. Along with a refresher lesson, a diamond cutter, pliers, a glass grinder, and a pattern to make an iris, he enabled me to start again making glass pieces. The purple iris (in this photo) is the first one I made when I started with my refresher course.
I enjoy working with glass and by no means do I feel that I am an artistic master, but it is a relaxing hobby. By and large I give them away as gifts or use them for decorating.
Many who drool over the beauty of any stained glass piece wonder why purchasing a piece is so costly. That’s why I wanted to share the process with you so you could understand.
I recently have embarked upon a project I just call “fire.“ Generally in the winter we have a nice warm fire burning in our fireplace.
But in the summer, of course we don’t build a fire. I have been setting large white candles inside the fireplace to light for the romantic glow everyone wants to enjoy when they visit a bed-and-breakfast. But the candles burn down and look ragged, sometimes soot from the chimney falls on them during the summer and I just haven’t been satisfied with that “look.“
That’s why I decided to do a large stained glass piece to put inside the fireplace in the summer, instead. The first step in stained glass work is to find or make a pattern the size of the glass that you want to prepare. The second step is my favorite part; selecting from the array of colors and textures of glass to complete your piece. Glass is rather expensive. Red glass is the most expensive as it often has flecks of gold in it.
For my fire piece I designed the pattern and used many of the scrap pieces of glass that I already had in my inventory. I did have to purchase a couple of new large pieces.
You need two patterns; one pattern is trimmed to glue to the glass and used to cut each piece of glass, much like making a garment in sewing. Glass cutting is done with a diamond head hand cutter.
The second pattern is used to lay the cut pieces on the pattern to begin to puzzle the glass pieces together. This photo shows the (pink) diamond cutter and the breaking pliers with just a few pieces of the cut glass laid on the pattern.
Once all of the pieces are cut and laid together, the next process is grinding. Each individual piece must be ground smooth so that there are no sharp edges and each piece fits snugly against its neighbor. This is done with an electric grinder and wearing goggles is a must to protect your eyes.
The next step involves foiling each piece of glass. Copper foil with a sticky back is used to rim around each piece of glass. The foiled pieces are again laid down on the pattern flat. Copper is a heat conductor and will help the glass pieces fuse together once solder is applied.
Once all of the pieces are foiled the next step is using a compound called flux to interact with the copper and the solder. One whole side of the entire design is tacked with solder at key intersection points. Then the entire piece is flipped and totally soldered on the back. Flux is used each time. The combination of flux, copper as a heat conductor, and the hot solder (tin and lead mix) bind glass pieces together.
Once the piece is fully soldered front and back, it’s time to clean the entire glass. Be sure the glass is fully cooled, otherwise it may crack. In addition be really careful while handing it as it can be somewhat fragile if it is large and not yet framed. Using simple baking soda and water with a soft cloth or a mild watered down detergent works well.
One of the last steps is to put patina over the whole glass. As lead tends to turn black anyway, many people who do stained glass select a black patina. There’s also the option to use a copper patina.
Now it is time to determine what frame will encase the entire piece. Because I want to use this to stand up as if it is a fire in the fireplace, I wanted a large rustic looking frame. That’s when I called on Jack to design the frame to hold a piece entirely. He constructed the frame and I painted it black.
It is still winter and we are still building fires but I wanted to see how this would look for the summer fireplace. It looks like I need more LED candles but I think it will be a good addition.
There are about 40 pieces of glass in this piece. Each one had to be cut, ground, foiled, and soldered before the entire piece was painted with patina and cleaned. I would guess I have about 25 hours in this project and $80 in supplies. It would cost well over $100 to purchase such a piece but hopefully seeing the many processes provides not only an explanation but an appreciation of what goes into a stained glass piece. Can’t wait for Spring so we can place this inside the fireplace!
Bedford Landings Bed, Breakfast and Hangars was selected through a consumer survey as the Best Place to Stay Overnight at Smith Mountain Lake! Thanks to our friends and guests who voted for us!
Secondly, Bedford Landings Air Tours was voted as among the “hidden jewels” in the category for activities and things to do at Smith Mountain Lake. We are honored for these kind mentions. We hope that others who have not experienced Bedford Landings will find out WHY we were voted into these categories.
We do get out some!
As Innkeepers, we are involved with many community activities including the Regional Chamber of Commerce. We are also involved with our professional associations. As members of the Bedford Area B & B and Unique Lodging Association, we talk about tourism in Bedford and surrounding areas. This year, we contributed to shaping an ordinance to govern short-term lodging. First crafted to be somewhat punitive to our industry, we were able to give input to avoid some issues and include others.
The Virginia B & B Association is called Stay VA
Their website is actually a great place to start when searching for a Bed and Breakfast in Virginia. There are also recipes on the site. There is a professional meeting annually and regional meetings. Bedford Landings contributes to hosting “aspiring Innkeepers” who are considering opening a business by visiting with them, hosting them in site, allowing job shadowing and a general “ear” when they first start out.
Then there is the International Association. Referred to as PAII, the Professional Association of Innkeepers has an annual conference and trade show. We have attended their conference and trade show. It is quite informative in following industry trends, marketing and how to use social media to drive business. After the most recent conference, they released this information. It may be useful to others so I thought would share it.
So, If you read this list, you will understand why I started with the Headline I did! Enjoy the rest of your day!