Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Amazing Women No. 4: Jeanne McKay Hartmann

Jeanne painting in Chianti.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann
Artist, fashionista, blogger
Seattle, WA
Jeanne is my "blue and white" friend. I also recently learned that she’s a leopard print girl too!  Her blog, cleverly named “I dream of,” is beautiful and colorful and full of fashion, home, art and life inspiration. According to Jeanne, she has her “dream job in marketing in the fashion industry (at Nordstrom), a dreamy husband, a happy house, lovely friends and family.” (Lucky girl!)  She is quick to add: “to be truly alive, you need dreams that you're still chasing, not just dreams that have already come true.” In her blog, she explores her dream of growing up to be a professional artist, plus the other aspirations, daydreams and musing that keep life interesting. It’s chock full of pretty pictures (eye candy), happy thoughts and her beautiful watercolors.

Here she answers some of my burning questions about her fascination with blue and white, fashion trends and her artful life. Enjoy!

Q. What is it about blue and white that you are drawn to?
A. Gosh, I’m not sure where or why it started! I’ve long been fascinated by John Singer Sargent’s The Daughters Of Edward Darley Boit, so perhaps it was the Alice In Wonderland sized Chinese Export urns in the painting that first wormed their way into to my consciousness and sparked it – or maybe I find the painting so mesmerizing because of the blue and white? I do know that I developed an early interest in porcelain (my Grandmother Rose had an extensive collection) and picked out a Royal Albert china pattern with little blue forget-me-nots when I was eight years old, and collected it piece by piece until I had a full collection before I went off to college! I have faint memories of my Grandmother’s house and know that there are certain elements that have made their way into my own interior style DNA – vintage crystal chandelier, Berger chair, lots of white, etc. My guess is that there must have been some blue and white pieces scattered around, even though I don’t have a specific memory of them.

Q. Besides blue and white, what is your favorite color this season and why?
A. You know, the funny thing is that I’ve have never have had a true favorite color. Color just makes me happy and I’ve never met a color I didn’t like. It must be the Gemini in me--I’m flighty and can never stick to just one! A color will catch my eye, get under my skin, and then I’ll see it everywhere and get obsessed. For instance, in December it was Orange, by January Yellow. That turned to bright Green in March and now is Turquoise and Pink. Red is always a favorite. See… I can’t be faithful to just one. Which is probably why the most prominent color in our home is white – the perfect blank canvas.

Q. What is your favorite fashion trend this season and why?
A. I’m not as inspired by seasonal trends as I am about finding something that I love, that works for me and then thinking about ways to keep it new and current. I love watching what others are wearing—whether it be Anna Dello Russo and the parade of other editors on the fashion blogs or people I see on the street. I like taking apart what they are doing, and pulling out the little details that speak to me and then putting it back together in my own interpretation. I’m kind of a fashion magpie that way. I’m also a great fan of contrasts – for instance, the more aggressive shoes became over the past few years, the more I wanted to pair them with very feminine dresses. I’m currently obsessed with some turquoise earrings I picked up this spring, as well as this terrific Marni dress that has that contrasty thing going for it – a lovely feminine silhouette, a funky bright floral pattern, but it’s trimmed with black leather. It’s a once-a-week go-to piece that makes me happy whenever I put it on.

Q. When did you start painting?
A. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t playing with color crayons or a paint brush – Tempera was my favorite medium in preschool, and I still have a very strong memory of the smell of the paint powder when our teacher would mix it with water for us. They also let us go to town with some weird chocolate-flavored finger paint pudding stuff they would put in this big bin that we would all get our little hands into – I’m not kidding—you could finger paint with it AND eat it!

Q. What are your favorite subjects to paint and why?
A. My favorite thing to paint is something that reflects back to a person who I care about – something that they love, or something that makes me think of them. What I paint is often a message to someone about what I love about them. I’m happiest when I’m painting something with a certain muse in mind, and I tend to be drawn to the little things that I think make life a bit more civilized and beautiful – so a pretty dress, a great pair of shoes, a vintage chair with great legs, a blue and white ginger jar, etc.

Q. Do you have anything else to add about art, fashion, color, life?
A. Everyone has different things that make them happy. The key is to figure out what those things are and incorporate them into life wherever possible. Sometimes it’s the littlest details that bring the most pleasure, the smallest, everyday moments that we build a life on.

Jeanne's watercolor from her Obsessed With ... Blue and White blog post.

Happy Birthday Jeanne!! Thanks for the inspiration to start my own blog and for your friendship.

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  1. LOVE THIS POST - and love Jeanne. How great that you put this together, Amy. What a brilliant birthday present for a beautiful friend!!!

  2. Thanks Amy! What an honor to put in an appearance on the blog of such an inspiring friend!!! xo