By Cristina Acosta

Cristina Acosta is an artist, author and color expert: Beautiful paintings, artisanal interior design and delicious recipes.

Santa empty eyes

Life with Prosopagnosia – My Name is…

“My name is Cristina,” I said.

I introduced myself to the man across a large cardboard bin at the thrift store, as we both dug through the pallet of books, adding, “I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name.”

“Of course you don’t,” he said, “I never gave it to you.”

I often tilt my head to one side or the other when I’m wondering, confused or trying to remember something. I paused in my search and looked at him carefully: Gray hair, probably in his late 60’s or early 70’s, white, the medium build of a life-long intellectual, a direct gaze.

He took in my appraisal for a moment, then said, “What made you think I gave you my name?”

“Your story,” I said. “As you talked, I recognized your story about your daughter’s highly successful Los Angeles restaurant and remembered that you are an artist who loves food.”

“Yes, my daughter says her restaurant is a place where beautiful young people go to sit on stools.” He paused again, this time, he tilted his head to his left while looking at me carefully. “You have some sort of aphasia,” he stated.

“Yes,” I said, a bit startled that he had noticed. “Prosopagnosia – face blindness.”

“So,” he said, “you had no idea who I was and who you were talking to?” 

“Well, not at first,” I said, “but I kept listening for your story and when you mentioned food, I remembered you and your story about your daughter, the chef and restauranteur.”

“I’ve always wanted a form of aphasia,” he said. “I’m jealous.”

“No you’re not,” I said. “You’re just a romantic. There is nothing fun about it. Most of the time it just gives me a lot of social anxiety and I have to be more trusting than is probably good for me.”

“So,” he said, “you didn’t really recognize me, not even my voice?”

“Your voice was familiar,” I said. “I thought I might have met you, so I just waited until you had said enough for me to remember that I really had met you.”

“Do you remember my body?” He said, moving his hand gently in the air from his chin to crotch in a delicate swipe.

“I could,” I said, “If I saw it more often.”

He looked surprised, tilting his head again to look at me carefully.

I rushed my words together to explain, “Then I would know you by your gesture and form.”

He considered that for a moment.

“So,” he said, “do you always know who it is you are having sex with?”

“Well, I said, “considering how my 20+ year marriage ended, I’d have to say, ‘No’.”

“My name is David,” he said.

Note: Life with Prosopagnosia, aka Face Blindness is a way for me to process what it is to have the condition and the wonky twist it gives many interactions in my life. Cristina Acosta.  

vintage pumpkin bread recipe

Vintage Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Vintage Pumpkin Bread recipe fills your home with a delicious scent while cooking. Quick breads are sweet or savory breads risen with baking powder or soda instead of yeast. Which makes the baking process “quick” as compared to the “slow” yeast-risen breads. Sweet or savory, quick bread is a quick addition to any meal. I adapted this vintage pumpkin bread recipe years ago from a vintage banana bread recipe in a 1953 cookbook titled, “The American Family Cook Book by Lily Wallace. I often substitute leftover baked sweet potato for the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

(one large or two small, loaves)

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Grease/butter a loaf pan: 5” x 9” x 3” or two small loaf pans

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose white flour
  • 3 t. baking powder (I use aluminum free)
  • 1 C. sugar (I use Mexican white sugar – it’s beige) You can mix brown and white sugar, too.
  • 1 to 2 C combination of/or raisins – black or gold; chocolate chips, chopped nuts

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can of mashed, cooked pumpkin (about 2 cups). Sweet potato is a delicious substitution.
  • 1/4 C blackstrap molasses
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C EVO olive oil OR melted butter

Mix together wet ingredients separately until smooth, then dry ingredients separately. Then dump the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir by hand until mixed. Pour the thick mixture into greased loaf pan(s).

Put in pre-heated oven bake for 75-95 minutes OR until a knife pierced into the center comes out clean. Reduce baking time by 10-15 minutes if using 2 pans. Check for doneness.

Guadalupe Procession California by Cristina Acosta

Guadalupe Procession to Celebrate December

I walked 25 miles yesterday with thousands of people marching for love. Despite walking the 25 miles, I did not finish the Guadalupe procession which zig-zagged it’s way around the Coachella Valley in Southern California to the Our Lady of Solitude Church in Palm Springs, California to it’s sister church in Coachella. I knew the distance from my house to that church was a bit over 20 miles, so I put myself in that headspace and filled a backpack with water and food. I set my orthotics into my best pair of walking shoes and prepared clothing for a day that would span from a cold desert morning across the hot sun of the day.

The Guadalupe Procession began at 6 a.m., about dawn in the town of Palm Springs, California. Six hours later I was walking against the nylon rope that shaped the serpentine line of thousands of people against the right curb of the concrete highway and wondered when we would arrive. I checked my smartphone and saw that we’d traveled about 15 miles (including my walk from home to the Procession) and thought the church must be about 7 miles ahead.

Despite beginning the Guadalupe Procession at the front of the group, bathroom breaks had put me at the back of the procession by the time I reached 15 the mile mark. Getting in and out of the porta-potty line was the time-suck dark side of proper hydration.

Guadalupe Procession California by Cristina Acosta
Guadalupe Procession California by Cristina Acosta

The desert sun was beating down surprisingly strong for a December day, reflecting back up relentlessly from the concrete road and my feet were starting to swell. I introduced myself to the man at the end of the line who was carrying about 20 pounds of coiled rope over his left shoulder as he walked the end of the procession. His name was Enrique and he smiled at the surprise on my face when he told me the procession was 36 miles long.

That was a surprise. Apparently the different Coachella Valley cities the Guadalupe Procession zigzagged through required a path that kept the procession of thousands away from the succession of stoplights on Highway 111, adding about 13 miles to the 22 mile journey. For the first time, I wondered if I would be able to complete the Guadalupe Procession.

I didn’t. The second stop of the Procession was in Indian Wells across from The Tennis Gardens. My smartphone told me I’d walked 25 miles. I’d been fantasizing about ibuprofen pills for the past hour and I knew that pushing my middle-aged body to the finish line, though possible, would exact more of a toll than I wanted to pay. So, I stopped.

cristina-acosta-2016-guadalupe-processionI sent prayers to all of those people in the world who don’t have the option to stop when they are miserable. Prayers to the people of Syria, trapped in a city they can’t walk away from and those refugees around the world who put their lives on the line to walk even one more step into the unknown.

Watching my fellow travelers in the Guadalupe Procession I was reminded of the humanity we all share. And I was overcome with the love that thousands of fellow travelers in the journey displayed for others. December 12th is the Catholic Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, a day of processions and prayer that can include a walk if you are so inclined. No need to be Catholic to join, anyone is welcome.Walking in the Guadalupe Procession was a beautiful way to celebrate the month of Christmas.

About the Painting: My grandmother, Catalina Maria Ortiz Acosta was a concert pianist born in Los Angeles in 1904. Half New Mexican Spanish and Half Native American, she was pure artist. I’ve imagined her as a young woman, looking into her future. Her head is crowned with shed horns, symbolizing renewal and resilience. She is adorned with hibiscus, one of her favorite flowers. Her future grandchildren, symbolized by flitting birds, fly amongst the flora. The branches hold her in time and space, only her soul travels through her eyes. About the Artist: Cristina Acosta is a painter, writer and designer born in Los Angeles. She’s a nature girl who has lived in the mountains and ranch lands of Oregon and the desert and beaches of California.

The Yearning Lover Archetype

I accidentally skied off of a cliff and into an abyss. It awakened me with a gasp and a racing heart. I found myself sitting up in bed at 3 a.m. with not a chance of falling back to sleep easily. So I laid back and thought about it. Part of me had died in that dream and when I asked myself which part or self had died, the answer presented itself immediately, the Yearning Lover. Specifically, the Yearning Lover had accidentally skied off of a cliff into an abyss. And it was about time.

The Yearning Lover, is part of the Lover Archetype. Archetypes were popularized by the seminal psychologist Carl Jung who was working with concepts Plato wrote about a couple of thousand years ago. Archetypes live on a continuum ranging from superficial to serious. The Yearning Lover is often created in childhood, but it can develop at anytime under the right circumstances. In my case, the Yearning Lover entered my psyche as a child. Parented by a narcissistic father and an emotionally unavailable mother, I was working daily to earn love.

With most every passing year for the first ten years of my life, my mother had another child. There was a lot of work to do, so the opportunities to work for love and affirmation were endless. I was the oldest child and a daughter. I had the temperament and the capacity. I yearned for love and learned from my parents that love was conditional and they decided the conditions. I got to work. The Yearning Lover had entered my psyche, unpacked and settled in for the long run. I was about five.

The Yearning Lover archetype shaped my core expectations of my relationships for decades to come, until finally I recognized it’s presence and the impact it was having on my life. 

We all recognize the Yearning Lover, if not in ourselves then, in others. Think of the jilted friend who just can’t get over their lost love; another who obsesses over the latest hot date; or just about any chick flick with Hugh Grant in the lead. The Yearning Lover is a cultural standby.

But don’t think the Yearning Lover is only an hormonally driven archetype of dubious depth. The Yearning Lover can awaken serious compassion and sympathy. The Yearning Lover’s serious side is the widow grieving his or her life’s love; the abused child pining for love; a parent who has lost a child, the empty-nester and anyone feeling left out or left behind, yearning.

The Yearning Lover pines for love. Any kind of love can be on that list and how that list manifests can surprise us. The thirst, desire, wishes, aspirations and other hungers of the heart can be lead by craving, coveting or choosing – consciously or unconsciously. The young Yearning Lover is visually impaired by both nature and nurture. Love is blind. With maturity comes the option of consciousness. Love and clarity intertwine, and love is light. The Yearning Lover isn’t about either weakness or strength, good or evil. Yearning drives the desires we use to shape our lives with every choice. Accountability is necessary for eventual clarity. Until then, we usually are blind to the effects of the Yearning Lover in our lives.

Despite my best efforts to live consciously and embrace clarity, I suspect that I miss a lot. The intersection of hope, aspiration and whatever version of reality I’m in often leave me with better hindsight than here-and-now-sight. It took me a really long time to viscerally understand the Yearning Lover within the rooms of my psyche. I married and divorced two men for a total of 30 years of marriage, had one daughter, worked, played and made a lot of art.

With my divorce from my daughter’s dad, the Yearning Lover began diminishing. Again – I just can’t seem to know what’s really going on at a deeper level when it happens, so I didn’t notice at first. My head was down and I was getting through those very difficult few years. The difference was, I decided that I was done with yearning. Life was too short.

Less than a year before the shit hit the fan in my marriage, a friend died in my arms while I was performing the Heimlich maneuver on him. It was a cold January evening when I joined him and his wife and family for dinner at their home. Within the first few bites, he choked. Within five minutes, he was dead on the floor by the side of their dining room table. I was shocked to my core. As I lowered his body to the ground, a profound knowing filled me. Life was short.

I know, that seems obvious, but it really isn’t – especially as I’m blessed to live in a peaceful place with my basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and clean water met. I get caught up in the day and what I think I “have” to do. I forget that life is short. 

The next three or four hours were a blur of sorrow. When the coroner and EMTs were done, I went home. My husband and daughter were out of town and I was alone. I thought of that profound knowing and realized that I needed to stand up for exactly what I needed. No more yearning. If I didn’t get it, oh well. At least I wouldn’t be yearning. With that profound knowing fresh in my mind, I became emboldened.

I thought that my odds were good – I’d talk to my husband and this time I would not be dissuaded or put off. He loved me, I reasoned, it will all work out. After a session of marriage counseling I would imagine that everything would be ok with us. But instead of hoping, pining and wishing he would like and love me again, I changed how I framed my desire to connect with my husband. When I felt myself becoming an emotional supplicant, yearning for love, I would stop and observe myself. I turned my feelings of yearning away from my husband and my marriage and pointed that feeling towards what I could do for myself.

I was still yearning, but at least there was a possibility for fulfillment, I told myself. No more carrot and stick relationships, no more emotional supplication. Not that I really knew what to do for myself to create the feeling of fulfillment, I was at a loss. But I decided to change what I could and trust that as I learned more about myself I would know what to do. Mostly I changed my mental and emotional focus.

The energy I spent trying to earn my husband’s friendship and love slowed to a trickle and then stopped. We had been together about 20 years. I decided to stop working for his love and see what happened. Surely, I thought, deep down he loved me for who I was and would make my happiness a priority. Did I feel more loved by him after my assertions? No. But nothing had changed on his side. He was content with how he felt in our relationship. My side of things had changed.

Though I wondered and worried that I was doing the right thing I stuck with my new level of emotional assertiveness despite his lack of response because of unexpected positive side-effects; I was less tired, less exhausted and an intermittent eye-tick that had plagued me for years was diminishing. So, I stayed strong and turned any yearning into assertiveness. Then my acid-reflux lessened and mostly stopped. I kept at it. Calm assertiveness was my mantra. Don’t repeat or reiterate I would tell myself, gently persevere. Demand parity. My weekly counseling sessions were a crucial reality check. My meditation practice was calming.

Then my husband told me he wanted a divorce. It was just a few days before Christmas. The opportunity to yearn was huge. I backslid here and there. But I kept at it. The next few years where incredibly difficult. Nonetheless, the actions I took to realign my feelings of yearning into feelings of having enough and being enough became a habit. I wasn’t lying to myself with affirmations that were aspirational at best, instead, I re-framed how I defined what I wanted, always looking for the deeper theme. Another unexpected and positive side effect of that habit was the trickle-down effect it was having on the rest of my life.

When I find myself trying “too much”, I back down. Reciprocity is a balancing act and one that is not always easy, but at least I didn’t feel like a constant emotional supplicant anymore in my relationships. I have developed new relationships as older relationships reformed or ended. Yearning is no longer a daily feeling. My eye tick and acid reflux are rare to none these days. Without being overly strict with myself, I use my recognition of yearning as a caution-flag that I might be slipping back into old ways – and how I still deal with aspects of the Yearning Lover still within me.

The Yearning Lover is no longer a dominant archetype in my psyche, retreating to the role of extra in my life. The habits of thought I had worked to hard to develop successfully became habits. Last night’s dream was my unconscious telling me that I was successful. My Yearning Lover accepted it’s passing. My journey continues.

The Dancing Bear

I’ve never seen a bear dance, though I have seen one stand and sway in front of a sliding glass door. Standing on the other side of the glass, I wondered who was more curious. I knew that I was the more scared of the two of us only because the encounter wasn’t my idea, but the bear’s. It wouldn’t occur to me to get that close to a bear, but the bear decided to get that close to me.

After a few more sways side to side and then putting his paws on the glass to shield his eyes as he pressed his head against the window for a better view (he knew what he was doing), he dropped to all fours and ambled away.

Eventually, Fish and Game trapped him and moved him. I hope he lived a long and happy life. Despite his personal power, we humans are the apex predator of this planet, so I have my doubts.

That was many years ago but I still think of that bear from time to time. His eyes had a sentient and soulful quality. I titled this piece, “The Dancing Bear,”   because of his sway. I think of him as only dancing to the beat of his own drum. 

Title: The Dancing Bear

Size: Aprox 10” x 20” (check with gallery for accurate measurements)

Medium: Acrylic, pencil and charcoal on wood panel with resin

Price: please contact Terzian Gallery

Host Gallery: Terzian Gallery, Park City, Utah. (435) 649-4927

Losing Your Keys? Good Interior Design in the Entryway Can Help

Your entryway interior design could be sabotaging your life. How would you know? Well, do you lose things often at home, such as your keys, glasses or wallet? Do you pile things around, vowing to put them away later when you “have the time”? If this sounds like your experience, you may not be a scatter-brained slob, you may just be the victim of poor interior design.

Whimsical vintage key rack doubles as a hat hook.
Whimsical vintage key rack doubles as a hat hook.

Don’t rely on your willpower to change your losing ways. Instead, create physical systems in your entryway that support your personality and loosing things will occur less often. I’ve been known to put my purse in the refrigerator while hurriedly unloading groceries, so I know what I’m talking about. Implement my tips, then practice the habit of using them – the habit combined with the physical fixes is what will help you stay organized.

Imagine your home as a box of tools. Everything you put in that box must serve you in the best way possible. Unless you have the funds to remodel, the way you move throughout the home will be mostly controlled by the architecture. Despite that, there are still things you can do in your entryway to control chaos and encourage your neat self – no matter how small that self may be. Here are a few tips.

  • Install one or more key racks with hooks near EACH outside Entryway door: Use these racks for hanging keys and sunglasses safely and quickly as you enter or leave your home. If you wear hats, be sure to add a hat hook or peg.
  • Add organizers to your entryway: (If you mostly enter the house through the garage, install an organizer there). Place a bookshelf, vintage storage lockers, etc., or build cubbies with a basket, shelf or space for EACH person in the home. Make this area is large enough to hang purses, hats, jackets, shoes, umbrellas and other regularly used items.
  • Rest and regroup: Put a bench and/or table near the front door (outside as well if your situation allows): use this surface to rest groceries, etc., as you look for a key, stage items to leave with you, change shoes and more.

    An entryway mirror can brighten the space as well as give you a last minute visual check.
    An entryway mirror can brighten the space as well as give you a last minute visual check.
  • Hang an entryway mirror: Include a hook nearby for a lint roller for a quick clothing touch-up.
  • Control the entryway crud: Use both an inside and outside floor mat. Choose an exterior mat that catches the most dirt, water and sand depending upon your location, such as: cast iron or rubber lattice doormat, recessed grille mats, water-hog polypropylene mats with water dam boarder, or carpet and sisal mats if the transition area is relatively clean.
  • Remember to Charge: Add a power docking station to power bike lights and phones in the entryway so that you will remember to pick them up as you pass by.

Implement the entryway ideas that you think will work in your entry with the goal that each change will work with you and your family member’s thinking style and provide easy to use solutions that decrease drama and loss. These entryway ideas have worked well for me, and though I’m certainly not perfectly organized, I spend a lot less time looking for keys, purses, phones, etc., than I used to.

Day of the Dead is my Personal New Year

October is the countdown month to Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead on November 1st, the day after Halloween. Skeletons, orange marigolds and sugar candy skulls have slipped into the mainstream Halloween weekend decor as Dia de los Muertos gains ground nationally paired with the rise of Latinos’ increasing political and economic clout.

It wasn’t always this way. I was raised Catholic in Southern California during the 1960’s, when Halloween and All Saints Day were the norm. All Saints Day on November 1st and All Souls Day on November 2nd where the Catholic/Christian stand-ins for what some Christians consider the more pagan roots of the Day of the Dead celebration.

Despite my early indoctrination, I embraced Dia de los Muertos as an adult when my religious beliefs became my own. It became an especially significant holiday for me beginning in my early 30’s, when I realized that a pattern had formed the prior 10 years of my life. Though the world is a mystical place 24/7, October is for me, a month of particularly unusual events.

Basically, the weird, mystical and synchronistic enter my life more often in October. A letter lost in the mail for three years from a deceased cousin arrives in October. I toured an historic home in Espanola, New Mexico during October and when I entered the sala/living room I was met with a vision straight from a repetitive dream I’d had during my entire pregnancy three years earlier. During October of the following year, I learned that my ancestors where the family who had built that historic home. Standing in an airport another October I hear my name and a man I last saw 30 years earlier as a boy on the school bus introduces himself. Octobers have filled the well of my psyche for the year to come.

October is the month of preparation for Dia de los Muertos. To prepare, I take an extra effort to listen as the spirits of my ancestors visit me in October. I expect them to leave me with an epiphany or revelation about the course of my soul. Or maybe just a new “old” friend. This year felt a bit different. I didn’t feel like I was getting any new insights or revelations and the month was counting down.

This October, my epiphany came last night in a dream on Halloween night, the eve of Dia de los Muertos. I had a dream about death and falling. The dream sat me straight up in bed from a deep sleep. It also let me know that I had passed through a significant portal. I was happy. My dreams were changing. Parts of the old me that no longer served my growth and happiness had moved on.

Years ago, I was camping with friends and awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of laughter.  I had no idea until then that my friend, Eddy, laughed regularly in his sleep. His wife assured me that he often woke her up with his sleep-laughing at the beginning of their relationship, but after a few years she was used to it. To me, sleep-laughing was a revelation. I had heard of it and even experienced a few laughs here and there, but consistently giggling with happiness while dreaming most nights of the week was a new to me.

There is a kind of success in that type of joy. Though Eddy passed in an accident a few years ago, I find myself thinking about his sleep-laughter. I am ready for new dreams. I can feel them coming.

Native American Indian Man

Native American Indian Portrait of My Father

Ravens, crows, blackbirds and bats vie with each other over the central figure of an Indian man entwined into place with an enmeshment of red branches over everything. A shed horn floating above his heart symbolizes renewal, sexuality and regeneration. The red branches hold life in a particular time and space with gaps offering escape for the soul, not the body.

The flying birds and bats are creatures of the night and the day, each one a representation of one of my father’s children. No bird or bat correlates to any particular child, but to the cacophony of children he fathered. His parenting was solid at times and sporadic at other times, never consistent.

He ran from the depths of intimacy and connection that parenting offers a man, inadvertently running from himself as the decades proceeded. His children flew in every direction to seek him, sometimes waiting in the dark spaces, sometimes soaring indiscriminately towards him.

“This beach boy took one look at those men with snakes and ran,” said my late father, Joaquin Acosta, when he told me the story of escaping from his Native American male initiation ceremony in the early 1940’s. Though his mother, Catalina Ortiz, was half Native American, this fact was a secret by the time she had us grandchildren visiting her coastal home in Playa del Rey, California

During the summer he was about 14 years old in 1943, my grandmother sent my father on a train back to the remnants of her family’s ranch in Ortiz, Colorado, near the Four Corners area of the American Southwest. The final train line, the Columbres & Toltec, ending in Antonito, a few miles from Ortiz, Colorado is now a tourist attraction.

While there, he was taken to participate in his male initiation ceremony. I’m not sure of the tribe – it could have been Zuni, Hopi or Dine, he was vague about the tribe. He was entirely clear about his run.

“I ran for miles in the night until I got back to my grandparents place,” he said.

About five years later, after his death in 2004, I was sorting through his papers and found an old black and white photo of the Ortiz countryside with his handwriting on the back – “I ran” read the inscription to his mother.

In a certain sense, my father kept running the rest of his life. He didn’t run from rich life experiences or hard work, both of which he faced with a huge zest for life and overwhelming charisma. He ran from a type of accountability – the accountability he had towards his own true nature.

By the 1970’s he held executive positions in Southern California institutions and was completely enmeshed in striving to live a successful life. Part of that striving included denying his Native American Indian culture, something he commented on years later.

“I was born in 1929,” he said, “it (life) was hard enough that people thought I was a Mexican, I sure and the hell wasn’t going to tell them that I was Indian, too.”

Though it is easy from my contemporary perspective to comment on the sadness of his decisions or to judge him negatively, the reality is that I was never able to walk a mile in his moccasins, wingtips or flip-flops. He is past and his actions can only be seen from many different viewpoints, none of which involve him directly. Some of those viewpoints may even be true. We can never really know.

This is a painting about a piece of this aspect of my family history and experiences.

Title: My Father with His Children

Original Painting Size: 36” x 36”

Medium: Mixed Media Acrylic & Resin on Wood Panel

Date Completed: 2016

About the Artist: Cristina Acosta is a painter, writer and designer born in Los Angeles. She’s a nature girl who has lived in the mountains and ranch lands of Oregon and the desert and beaches of California.

Great_Room_Accent_Wall © Cristina Acosta

How to Hang Art Advice from an Artist

Hanging art is all about location, location, location. As an artist, curator and interior designer, I’m giving you some how-to hang art advice that will help you place your pictures like a pro. Learning to hang art well is a craft (though some make it an art-form) that most anyone can learn.

Hanging art throughout your home is not just about the oft repeated advice that the ideal picture height is 57″ on center, measured from the floor. Here are a few tips:

  • Pick an art theme:
    • Choose art using visual themes – food, portraits, landscapes, abstract, etc. and hang the art in a room where that theme is appropriate to the decor.
    • Choose art using color themes – arrange art pieces by colors, such as placing all pieces with a predominance of cool blues and greens together, or pieces that are predominately in warm reds, yellow and oranges together.
    • Choose value themes – group art images with of like value together such as light soft values, bright colors, or dark values.
  • Create a focal point: Stand at the doorway to the room and notice where your eye goes first. That’s a focal point. Depending upon the size of a room, there is usually a main focal point with secondary and tertiary focal points. Hang art in those focal areas.
  • Cross-pollinate colors with art: Use art to add a pop of color to a room. Then add decor accent pieces that have some of the colors in the art: colored pillows, throws, lamps, etc.
  • Intimate versus expansive art: Small pieces of art are by nature of their size, more intimate. Large pieces are more expansive. Keep that in mind and put small pieces in areas where they get the attention they deserve. If you have a lot of small pieces, consider clustering them so that they act as one large piece on a wall.
  • Size matters: You can put a large painting on a small wall if the scale of the room works with it. Try an oversized painting in a small room and see how it works, you may surprise yourself.
  • Cluster: Treat a collection of small framed pieces as though it is one big painting or photograph:
  • The ideal picture height: Yes, scour the internet and you will see 57″ on center is the magic number. It might be. But this is your house and you and the people in it may like art a bit higher or lower. Use the 57″ as a starting place. End up wherever you would like. Just remember to be consistent throughout the room.
  • Proportion is key: Be sensitive to how the size and scale of the art feels in that particular room. Oversized might be perfect. A cluster of undersized art might be perfect. This is about your sensitivities. Change as needed.
  • Make Mistakes: Keep patching material and touch up paint on hand to make your mistakes easy to deal with. Mistakes are the mortar of creativity. Without mortar the bricks won’t be make a strong wall. When you work with your mistakes you will  observe, think and create more solutions.

Remember that location is key when hanging art. The right piece in the right space will feel right to you. And remember, measure twice before hanging (if you’re like me).



Paint Color Ideas, Color Tips for Your Home

Are you choosing wall paint colors for your home and using up valuable time? Do you need some paint color ideas? Call me for color help. We can consult remotely or in person. I’m spending this Fall/Winter season in the Coachella Valley Palm Springs, California, area and am available to work with you on your home, inside and out. Here are a few paint color tips that apply to most any residential or commercial architecture.

Wall Paint Color Ideas to Get You Going:

  • No remodel mishmash: Choose all of the colors for the building at once. A master color plan will save you time and money in the long run. Trying to link one “done” room to another and another as you fix up the house can result in an awkward lack of flow.
  • Shine control is crucial: Be sure to specify paint sheens for wall color and trim color that are consistent with both the use of the room and your interior design concepts. Many paint brands now offer a “washable” flat wall paint which can expand your paint sheen options.
  • Be there: Choosing paint colors in person, in the building, is the best way to choose wall paint color. Remote color choosing works, but not as quickly or easily.
  • Stick with a paint brand: Stay within the same brand of paint color as much as possible. Each paint brand uses consistent base tones to mix their colors. “Matching” a wall paint color from another paint brand can be iffy as the base tone choices the paint technician has are never a 100% match across brands.
  • Choose your expensive permanent surfaces first. It’s much easier to match paint to a natural stone or wood finish than it is to match those surfaces to a paint color. The large paint companies such as Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore and Pittsburgh Paint have literally hundreds of colors each of green, blue, brown, white, etc. Take advantage of the luxury of color variety that paint offers.

Note: Call Cristina Acosta 541-389-5711 for paint color advice and interior design color solutions. Fees are by the project and/or by the hour. My fee is $150.00 hourly with a minimum $300.00 for the first visit. Projects requiring travel will include travel fees and a per diem.