Vive la vie de Boheme!

I finally did it. I finally updated my living room artwork! I’m pretty pleased with myself and thought I’d share the project with you.

It all started with my couch. It’s 14 shades of 1960s avocado, with exposed wood detailing. Maybe not the most beautiful couch, but it came from my Mamo, sleeps like a dream, and has great potential. But potential is for people with income, so my couch must maintain its avocado spectrum for now. Somewhere along the way I got these really awesome red/crimson houndstooth pillows on super-extra clearance at Pier 1. That meant that my new living room would have green, gold, and crimson. Hmm.

Avocado couch, crimson pillows, what's a girl to do?

When I moved back to Tuscaloosa last December, I knew I’d need some artwork that could help unite my living room, so I started poking around for vintage ads.

I finally hit pay dirt: the 1896 Absinthe Robette ad

Absinthe Robette by Privat Livemont

The colors are rich and beautiful and perfectly fit in with my accidental jewel tone decorating scheme. I put the 24″ x 36″ print in a plain black frame from Hobby Lobby (1/2 off poster frames, what-what!), but it still looked lonely up on the wall.

I decided to paint 4 small (7″ x 9″) canvases with color-complementary patterns and write phrases from Moulin Rouge! on two of them. One features a swirl of silver text repeating “Beauty * Freedom * Truth * Love”  on a bright blue background. The other was a wanna-be tie-dye mess on top of which I had block-printed “Vive la vie de boheme.”  Not so cute. It’s been bugging me for a year or so, and tonight I finally felt like doing something about it. But what to do?

I knew I wanted to do something blue, since two of the canvases are “green” and two are “blue.” I started Google-ing for “Bohemian patterns” and came across a really basic paisley outline.

Simple paisley pattern

THIS was something that my simple hand could easily replicate! I re-painted the canvas with an all-over double-coat of navy blue, and then decided to use a different navy blue to paint the paisley pattern on top. Sort of a tone-on-tone.  I didn’t want to jank up my (really awesome) freehand paisley with some bad freehand lettering, so I decided to find a cool font to copy.  I Googled “1900s font” and came across this beauty:


Isn’t that an AWESOME font? I did a couple practice runs on scrap paper, both to practice the letters and to work on the spacing. I decided to use a bright blue for the lettering to carry on the tonal theme.

It took some time, but here’s the finished product:

Vive la vie de Boheme

It’s kinda hard to see all of the detail, but I am SUPER-pleased with the outcome.

And here’s what it looks like grouped with all of the other Bohemia:

Budget Bohemian Bliss

Not too shabby, huh?



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2 responses to “Vive la vie de Boheme!

  1. Mama

    Looks good! It is rewarding to have an art project turn out well. :) When you are only marginally talented like me, art projects are somewhat of a crap-shoot. Then after all the time spent of it, if it doesn’t turn out well it’s pretty frustrating!

  2. oooh I love Art Nouveau. and that font, very nice.

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