Tag Archives: open floor plan

Artist Erin Blayney

October 2, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

For visual artist Erin Blayney, who grew up in the great outdoors, it’s all about light and space. She has plenty of both at her Old Market apartment that doubles as her studio.

Natural light from six large, south-facing windows cascades over her easel and houseplants. “Not only is that perfect for the type of lighting I need to do my best work, it’s healthy for my overall well-being,” says Blayney.

erinblayney2Exposed brickwork, high ceilings, and an open floor plan contribute to a sense of spaciousness. Extra-wide windowsills provide great perches for her collection of succulents.

“I love nature and the outdoors,” she says. “This apartment allows me to integrate that love into my living quarters, and not feel cramped or experience cabin fever.”

Her spot above Urban Abbey in the historic Windsor Hotel building puts her right in the thick of things. “The Old Market for me is very welcoming, unique, and nourishes a diverse group of people of all ages and backgrounds,” she says. “It’s urban yet has some aspect of a small neighborhood as well.”

A Florida transplant and Art Institute of Chicago graduate, Blayney creates figurative drawings and paintings. She previously worked as an art preparator for California museums.

Her mother preceded her to Omaha to be near a sister, and Erin followed. “My mom lives three blocks away from me, so it’s wonderful to conveniently meet for coffee or go for a bike ride together,” she says.

This self-described “people person” is drawn to the human form. She variously works from live models or photographs.

“Drawing and painting people, mostly gestural, seems to be pretty consistent for me,” she says. “It’s capturing the physicality of a person expressed through facial expression or movement. I love capturing the realness of their character, even if it’s subtle.”

Recently, Omaha restaurant mogul Willy Theisen commissioned her portrait of his granddaughter for his new Paragon eatery in Dundee.

When approaching a new work, she says, “I never know how it’s going to look, so it’s a little adventurous. If I stop thinking about what I’m doing and just let it flow, it comes out naturally. That ‘diving into it’ mindset is what I have to be in for the work to really evolve. It’s mysterious.”

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Blayney’s work is not all figurative. “Occasionally, I’ll do still life,” she says, gesturing to an in-progress oyster shell rendered in a swirl of pastels. She is contemplating an oceanic-themed series motivated by her love of the water, marine life, and nature.

“I was brought up on water. I swam in the Gulf of Mexico. So that’s in my bones.”

In Omaha, she has twice worked at Jun Kaneko’s studio (most recently in 2006 as a painting assistant). Of the celebrated artist, she says, “We had a good connection. He’s very quiet, polite, observant, receptive. He was very trusting of me. Like when I did some mixing of colors, pigments—he trusted my instincts. I’m not a ceramicist, but I felt in my natural element.”

She feels at home in Omaha, where she says, “The connections I’ve made are so important.” The same for her day job at Alley Poyner Macchietto, where she curates art shows. She admires the local art-culture scene.

“I feel the creative community in Omaha is very supportive rather than super competitive. The friends I’ve made here are very authentic, genuine, and loyal.”

She enjoys what the Bemis and Joslyn offer as well as how “smaller, contemporary, progressive galleries like Project Project and Darger HQ are pushing the envelope. I’m a huge fan of Garden of the Zodiac. 1516 Gallery is just gorgeous.”

In the spring of 2016, Petshop Gallery in Benson exhibited her portraiture work. She regularly shows in the Bemis Benefit Art Auction and had a piece in the October 28 show (she described the colorful abstract portrait as “a little mysterious looking”).

Blayney also contributed to the Old Market Art Project; hers was one of 37 banners selected (from nearly 300 submissions) to be displayed outside the Mercer Building as renovations followed the M’s Pub fire.

“It’s an abstract painting that took forever,” she says. “There’s a lot going on in it. Finally, it just came together. I collaborated with another artist in the process of painting it, and then I finished it.”

She sees many opportunities for local artists in Omaha, but there is room for improvement, too. “There’s definitely room to grow—I’d like to see even more galleries because there’s so much talent here,” she says.

Going into the fall, several commission projects were “consuming” Blayney’s time. Her projects come from anywhere and everywhere. “Lately, it’s been more people coming to me and asking either for a portrait of themselves or of a family member. I can be surprised. I’ve given my card to someone and then a year later gotten a commission. It’s unpredictable.”

Visit erinblayney.com for more information.

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From the Ground Up

August 7, 2015 by
Photography by Tom Kesler

This article appears in July/August 2015 Omaha Home.

“You know what I like.”  The expression repeatedly danced off the tongue of our client throughout the months of planning and preparing that went into building her family’s new home in west Omaha.  Good thing…a tried-and-true, trusting relationship between client and designer is critical to the success of any design project. After helping this couple with a few previous homes, designer Nancy Pesavento, ASID, owner of Interiors Joan and Associates, did indeed know just what they liked.

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Working with Advanced Design & Construction (ADC), Pesavento guided her clients as they navigated the transition from a woodsy, earth toned, deeply traditional home to a new, more contemporary residence.  Crisp and clean, the new home perfectly answers the client’s request for a sleek, upscale design; a home that allows them to function day in and day out; and provides comfortable, convenient living spaces.

The home’s entry is defined by an exquisite chandelier, resembling a modern flurry of iron, whirled together, setting the tone for the home’s whole design concept. A linear iron rail and custom front doors complete the space.  The focal wall in the great room, featuring a horizontal fireplace encased in natural travertine stone and flanked by natural walnut shelving, anchors the entire main living space. Perfectly accessorized, the shelves embody the home’s “less is more” attractiveness. One’s hands can’t help but to gravitate to the sumptuous fabrics that upholster the sofas, chairs, and pillows in the great room. Soft velvets, leathers, and natural textures in shades of pumice, white, charcoal gray, cerulean blue, and citron compose the home’s sophisticated color palette.

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An open floor plan exposes the kitchen and dining space to the main living area in the home; and the selection of natural walnut wood with horizontal grain detailing and glass display niches creates elegant cabinetry meant to be an artistic display case. The design left no detail unattended…two colors of quartz visually separate the preparation and dining spaces of the kitchen island while allowing the surface to remain on one plane. A chrome plate under the countertop, linear hardware, sparkling pendant lights, and an architectural backsplash reinforce the home’s sleek appearance. Glass paneled pocket doors slide open to reveal a large room adjacent to the kitchen and dining area. This flex space, outfitted to function as an office, a space with extra seating, and as an entertainment hub with a bar, has proven to be invaluable to the homeowner.

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Notable details like a sizable pantry disguised as part of the kitchen’s cabinetry, granite and quartz countertops that push the proverbial envelope with their thickness and shape, an elevator that will allow the homeowners to continue to enjoy both levels of the home as they age, and a myriad of materials and finishes all tie together exquisitely to give the home a cohesive, organic look.

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New construction allows a design team to plan an entire home to perfectly fit and accommodate a client’s lifestyle. Not working around existing structures or components that don’t gel with new objectives makes for easier construction and evolution. When this client left an old home and metamorphosed it into a new contemporary residence, the transition was seamless…guided by a trusted friend and professional.

 

 

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