Friday, December 26, 2008


"Woodpeckers on Cultivator Birdhouse"- Acrylic on Canvas By Mary Maki Rae

"Winter Dreams" 16" x16" Acrylic on Canvas By Mary Maki Rae

We"re Snowbound with about ten inches of Snow so far -- Looking out from my Study Window - I noticed and loved the way the trees are silhouetted against the White Snow and Sky-!
I'm reminded of the colors I've used in this Painting of a Winter Muse - (who looks to me like a Russian Princess wearing her Ermine-trimmed Cape.)
She holds a Diamond Dove and has just discovered a Wood Thrush. Among the other Birds present, is a Golden Sparrow. As I'm most inspired by the charming-beyond- charming Family of Quail - I will be painting one in this painting for her amazement soon.
( A family of Quail softly glide in each day to taste the good bird seed that Robert sets out for them in his various bird feeders. (no good photos of them, as they scatter away at the slightest movement - Alas-!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's the Holiday Season. . . .

Angel Collage By Mary Maki Rae Christmas - 2008

A Merry Wish to You
For the Happiest of Holidays-!
(Stay Warm, Safe, & Joyful-!)

"So Whoop de do - And Dickery Dock -
And don't Forget to Hang Up Your Sock -
Beause just exactly at 12 o'clock

He'll be Coming down the Chimney Down-!"
Merry Christmas-!!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Angels & Russian Textiles

If you love textiles and design as much as I do - you will be inspired by this book on Russian Textiles-! The designs are intricate, imaginative, and spellbinding-!
Many possess an exotic fascination-!
My Finnish blood is drawn to their Ethnic qualities - yet I find they are so compellingly sophisticated-!!
During this Season of many gray and overcast days - their bright red colors are as welcome as Sunshine-! (I discovered this book on: Nest Decorating.
THE BOOK: RUSSIAN TEXTILES - Printed Cloth for the Bazaars of Central Asia
By Susan Meller Abrams, N.Y. 2007
(Angel Ornaments By Mary Maki Rae - 2008)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cut & Paste

Tis the Season to be thinking about some New Ornaments for the Christmas Tree . . . . with a Child-like Theme.
I start with Cutting & Pasting my hand-painted papers. . . . trying out some ideas. . . . Musical Dolls-?. . . .Musical Birds-?
A little Russian Doll - like an Angel emerges - with some friendly Woodpeckers balanced on her arms. . . . then a Christmas Tree. . . . Mittens. . . . and Stockings. . . .now its time to Embellish them with Vintage Buttons, Trims, and Custom Names.
I decide to give the little Russian Doll a Halo-!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The New 18th Century Style

"The Magic of Remembering" Antique Painted Chairs with Wheat Motif Backs - A Beautiful Venetian Lantern illuminates the Table. A Zinc oeil-de-boeuf (bulls eye) Mirror over a Curved Sofa.

A most beautiful an fascinating book on Decor-! It's a "life style" book, actually, featuring the homes of Artists, Antique Dealers, and Designers - mostly French, and living in the Cities and Countrysides of France.
They All have their unique stories of how and when they found the home of their dreams - (many are delightfully fairytale-like-!).

The Interiors presented, all exude the exquisite scent of the 18th Century, yet suffice with just a few pieces of furniture - some random antique objects carefully placed - and paintings & mirrors- which are arranged in a stylistic manner.

The Colors used in all the rooms are nearly always neutrals (beige, grays, off white, black, and earth colors) with an occasional touch of Red or Blue found in the Fabrics.
A great emphasis is place upon found sculpture, textured surfaces , and weatherd Gold leaf.

This New Style is like an ultimate puzzle composed with many odd pieces that have been abandoned, and forgotten over the centuries - that are now part of a secret alchemy - a new harmony. The interiors throughout the book are all different but each with a shared soul - the Past blended into the Present.

"The Past as a Point of Reference" An unusual white-painted staircase - Makes an interesting feature in this dining room. Around a refectory table are reproduction of Louis XV chairs.

"A Curio Cabinet" An Arrangement of a Mythological Plaster Bust & A Cache of Dove Feathers.

THE BOOK: "The New Eighteenth-Century Style" Rediscovering a French Decor - By Michelle La Lande - Photos By Gilles Trillard - Abrams - 2006 - It's Great-! Buy it-!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Something About Those Bentwood Chairs

The Bentwoods pictured on our Deck

Robert recently found six of these Bentwood Chairs, pictured above. After he reglued, sanded, and Teak-oiled them, We placed them at our round pedestal table. Because all of their design elements are based on graceful curves, they seemed to just "flow" around the table so beautifully. They put me in mind of Bistro Chairs, a nice "look" in the kitchen area. They felt sturdy to sit upon, yet were so light to move back & forth, or place to place.

Vintage Bentwoods are so Classic ( iconic, actually, being the first chair produced for the main stream.) They are still pretty available, (some quite fanciful) and remain a good choice, especially if one's thinking Green.

THONET Bentwood Chairs are considered to be the most desirable of all the early bentwood chairs because the "bentwood process" was invented by Michel Thonet in 1836. By 1870, his company, The Thonet Brothers, was the largest furniture maker in the World, making an astonding variety of furniture of bentwood. "Original" Sets of Thonet Bentwood Chairs can be found on "1st Dibs" (on line) for 1,000-4,000 dollars. More contemporary reproductions and updated versions cost between 150-495 dollars.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"LAGERFELD CONFIDENTIAL" - A Film By Rodolphe Marconi

Photos By Karl Lagerfeld - Published in Harpers Bazaar - Sept.2008

Pretty impressive-! The Salon, where the interviews take place - the Library, with Thousands of Volumes of books - the Studio, lined with even more Books - the Limos, taking him away to his Seasonal Fashion Shows, the Ballet, and other Gala Events-!

This film is actually a fascinating documentary, providing a "behind the scenes" look backstage at his design shows with the models and his employees - Sketching ideas for dresses, in his Studio (which he likes in disorder - or he freezes up) - And in the Workroom, where all the hard physical and detailed work is done by the seamstresses (whom he praises)-!

You get a portrait of a very confident, elegant man, dressed almost always in black, white hair pulled back into a neat ponytail, and currently, with a fetish for stiff white collars - (which, unfortunately, make him appear kind of uptight-) and for silver jewelery, mostly rings, which he wears about 10-15 at a time. ( Icons, I guess, have their reasons-!)

He began his reign at Chanel in 1982, which was in deep need of his talent-! - a film clip is shown of his designs back then - they were very beautiful - enchanting-! But, He prefers to look forward to the future - always doing better than the past-! He says: "His life is like walking on thin Ice - he must cross it before it breaks-!" MMR

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flower Garden Muse

Garden Muse - 14"x 20" - Acrylic on Canvas - By Mary Maki Rae - 2008

While walking through my imaginary Garden, You may encounter a Garden Muse.
Not to worry, She only wants you to Notice the Beauty that resides in All Nature. Especially the Flowers - She joggles them around until something clicks, and a new equation just seems to fall into place - to delight your senses, to make you smile, to pause for a moment-!

My Flower Garden Muse,
has placed her
Aside for a moment.

She looks into
the Mirror,
(that is your eyes)
to admire
her Flower Halo.

She regards
the vibrant Red Rose
as Queen Bee
of the bouquet,
Attended by
and hot pink

She observes
two Lavender Cosmos
waving for
(somehow charming anyway-!)

She spies a few
Bright flashes
of Yellow Sunshine
(Pansy & Mini Cosmos).

And finally,
some soothing
Sprigs of Blueberries,
Arranged by her
Royal Blue Dove.
(Her heart seems at ease,
for now. . . .) MMR

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Royal Persian Paintings - II

Fath'Ali Shah Attended by a Prince Smoking Water Pipe - By Muhammad Hasan

The Fath 'Ali Shah was keen to promote a Royal Image of Stability, Majesty, and Elegance.
He was no warrior at heart. He appreciated the refinements of court life, more than the hardships of the battlefield. He enjoyed hunting and the splendor of military reviews and preferred the company of Poets and Artists.

He was known for His Avarice and was fond of displaying his wealth, extravagant garments, and ornaments. He kept a Harem of a thousand women and sired more than one-hundred Sons and Daughters. When He died; he left behind more than a Thousand Descendants, who constituted a new Ruling Elite.

Mother and Child - 1800's - Muhammad Hasan

A Compellingly Beautiful Portrait of one of Fath 'Ali Shah's Wives and Child.
On one level, the treatment of the subject alludes to Motherhood and Fertility, on
another, it's Erotic message is ever so skillfully conveyed-!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Royal Persian Paintings - I

Fath Ali Shah 1800 Mihr Ali

This book is a "must have" for anyone who Loves Fine Art, Costume Design,and History-! These Persian Paintings from the "Qajar Epoch" have always fascinated me with their "other worldliness". Finally a book with a divine "collection" of these paintings to enjoy-!

The Royals stare back at us so serene, yet so confident with their doe-like eyes.
One marvels at their delicate features and their elegant, ornate, "over-the-top" costumes - most often bordered in White -! What was that white trim-?
Embroidery-? Lace-? -- No, come to find out, the White Edging was actually Pearls-!

Just imagine how many tiny pearls, and how long to finish one piece of their exquisite finery -- the stuff of Fairy Tales indeed-!

This Art celebrates their Royal magnificence, youthful beauty of both sexes, love of animal forms, and the exploits of their Heroes.
The Portraits and Flower Paintings of the Qajar Artists surpassed all their predecessors-!

THE BOOK:"Royal Persian Paintings - The Qajar Epoch - 1785-1925"
Edited By Layla S. Diba - Brooklyn Museum of Art 1999

Friday, October 3, 2008


"Muse With Gray Dove" 20"x30" Acrylic on Canvas Mary Maki Rae-2008

Taking a break to sew a few soft accessories for our home - utilizing some of the lovely extra upholstery fabrics that I've saved from various projects.

Besides the Tea Cozy, in Victorian times, many finely crafted Tea accessories were considered absolute necessities . . . "There were Tea strainers, held over the cup to separate the Tea leaves from the hot brew, Caddy Spoons shaped like shells, to measure loose Tea, Tongs for the lumps of sugar, Forks for lemon slices, and Trivets set over burners to keep the water pot hot."

"Today we regard such items as elegant curios for collectors - but just think how gratifying it must have been to be offered warmth, along with beauty in a chilly parlor-!" (See "The Pleasures of Tea - Recipes and Rituals" Hearst Books-1999)

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Our Patrons brought in their Antique William Morris Style Chair to be reupholstered.
I wondered - was that the famous English William Morris-? The Poet, Painter, Social Reformer
Textile Designer-? YES, it was the one whose work I had always admired, but I had not known that He had a major part in designing the first Recliner Chair, in 1866.

The Chair has a high back and arm rests, and can be used like any arm chair in it's upright position. The signature feature of the chair though, is it's reclining back, which was revolutionary at the time. It's considered the predecessor of all modern reclining chairs .

This Chair was very popular during the Victorian Era in England, but later adapted into the Classic Mission and Arts & Crafts design movements which emphasized craftsmanship, rather than factory produced work. Their designs featured hand-dyed and woven fabrics and hand-carved wood.

The fabric chosen for the chair pictured above, was quite "Morris"-like in style with a velvet texture and was so agreeable to work with - the end results looked quite inviting and the chair was actually very comfortable.
It felt just great to help give new life to such a beautiful and solidly built Antique Chair-!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The Stargazer Lily Acrylic on Canvas 28" x 24" Mary Maki Rae - 2008


A friend - a bouquet - a stargazer lilly -
placed atop a pedestal -
next to a painting table.
Here all flowers are observed -
in a loft-like studio -
above and near a front door.
I catch - the seductive sweet scent.
I am inspired -
to begin again.

Many swatches of cotton ticking -
ticking - ticking.
A pale gold stripe -
I paint the wall.
Gray blue - lavender - aqua stripes
for the table.
A sienna brown basket -
threads of lavender - blue -
and burgandy -
to blend - to warm - to entwine.
The first flower - scented - seductive -
a siren lilly -
then a violet dahlia.

My own garden -
a small garden - big enough for today.
I tug on my imagination - my memories.
I find: bright fuchsia geranium - and dianthus -
soulful purple petunia -
ruffled marigold - startled auricula.
The day ends - an exotic vibrant rhododendron.

Leaves - heart-shaped - rounded - pinnated.
Pointed gray blues echo the ticking.
Vivid greens - setoff the flowers like jewels.

Some whimsy -
cooing turtle doves - tall handled parasols -
bobbing flower buds and blueberries -
a line of snapdragons.
I leave it there - for now.
I am dreaming of -
blue butterflies - soft flower petals -
a souvenir - a keepsake -
a memento. -MMR

Saturday, August 16, 2008


This Art is for the Headboard and Footboard of the "Tree of Life" Bed that We are designing for our Guest Room. Painted with Acrylics on Canvas: 40"x48"&18"x24"- By Mary Maki Rae-2008

"The Art was painted to evoke a feeling of a Persian Garden with a Stylized Tree of Flowers, Birds, Butterflies, and Berries-! It has become a Light-hearted Fantasy - Floating on a Pristine White Background - and has Inspired the Theme for the Rest of the Guest Room - to be designed and completed one project at a time-!"