Sunday, December 12, 2021

Holiday Art in the House

Do you rotate art in your home during the holidays? I do. Well, at least some of it! In the case of my hallway, the Paris wall comes down and the holiday wall comes up! Most of this year's wall features the work of Muppet master Caroll Spinney, along with a special piece by a good friend. (Cue the music!)


The centerpiece of the wall this year is a costume design for The Ghost of Christmas Present, done by the late Gretel Geist Rutledge. Gretel was a mainstay of the Michigan State Theatre department during my time there as an undergrad and until her retirement, probably about ten years ago. She went on to pursue her art in a variety of ways. After her death, her family allowed friends to choose from her many costume renderings. This watercolor holds pride of place.


Most of the rest of the wall is donated to the wonderful Caroll Spinney, whose death left a hole in the hearts of many who knew him. You knew him too -- under his name of "Big Bird" and "Oscar the Grouch." I was lucky enough to meet Caroll and his lovely wife, Debi, when they came to our station in 2004 for our anniversary and have been fortunate to exchange holiday greetings with them every year since.


These are a few (I need more frames!). In addition to being a master puppeteer and author, Caroll was also an artist.


Each year he would take his beloved characters and incorporate them into a holiday card.


Caroll Spinney died in December 2019. He left a remarkable legacy of two of television's most endearing characters and to those of us who met him, a lot of wonderful memories.


Big Bird lives on in a new actor but Caroll (and Debi, who sent the one below last year) are always in my heart, but no more so than at Christmas. 

Here are a few other pieces I see each year -- a lovely cat-snowman scene I got at a gallery in Sonoma decades ago...


...a pressed paper piece I did long ago... 

...a lino block print I did a few years ago, thanks to my friend, Kate's, tutelage!


And this very special Christmas card my dad made for me. 


I did this abstract angel in an art workshop long ago.


 And this was from a Southern Exposure workshop, more recently.

 Soon enough, these will go back into their storage box and the other art I've collected will return to the walls. 


I'll miss them.

Sharing with:   Love Your Creativity  /     Pink Saturday  /   Tuesday Turn About   /     Share Your Style   /   All About Home  

52 comments:

My name is Erika. said...

I do change out a few things, but I don't have any wonderful Big Bird inspired art. That is so cool. And I love the piece from you dad. That has to hold a big place in your heart. I do have some art my cousin makes-each year he carves and pressed his own Christmas cards and although they are all lovely, some of them are great to frame. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pieces in your own personal gallery. Hugs-Erika

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I've never changed out the art in my house, but it sounds like a delightful thing to do. You have so many pieces of art that have poignant memories attached to them.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

A Beautiful tribute to dear family and friends.
Changing art for the balances the indoor landscape with the holidays.

Valerie-Jael said...

Love the art from Caroll Spinney, fantastic. hugs, Valerie

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

What lovely artwork! I'd be tempted to leave those cards up year-around. I toured a neighbor's apartment recently and she rotates her art according to the season, too.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I love all your Christmas art. I'm also jealous of your meeting Carroll! I remember when Sesame started my freshman year in college. So cute. I, as you know, also move art around for different seasons. I'm wishing you a wonderful hoiiday season.

Deb said...

Such beautiful cards from Caroll Spinney. I think he was a cat lover, too. They are such a treasure for you to have now since his passing. We do miss those that meant a lot to us, especially at Christmas.

Mae Travels said...

The Big Bird Christmas cards are so wonderful! He always had a great personality, and I’m sure it was the creation of your friend. Your other CHristmas art is also great.

best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

anno said...

Hmmm..... we've talked about switching up the art on the walls, but not specifically for the holidays. And so far, we've never succeeded on actually switching it up on the walls, either, at any time: once something comes down, it disappears into the basemenent, never to be recovered.

What a great wall you've made, though, featuring the art of your friends, loved ones, and mentors. So glad you included some of your own, too. That linocut print is charming, and I enjoyed your abstract angel, too. Lovely, Jeanie. Thank you!

DUTA said...

You're surrounded by so much beauty (art pieces and people like Carroll Spinney)!
I particularly like the cat-snowman picture. There's something "je ne sais quoi", about it, that made it difficult for me to take my eyes off it.

Lowcarb team member said...

So nice to see your artwork.
We very rarely change our art, but we do change our ornaments from time to time ...

All the best Jan

William Kendall said...

Very well decorated.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

What marvelous art with Big Bird, and such memories you have. I do have one spot that I change with the seasons on the wall, but what I have is quilted wall hangings.

Parisbreakfasts said...

I love that costume sketch! So glad you showed it in detail. (Its Really a sketch or drawing with touches of color). It reminds me of the French artist, Antoine Watteau.
https://thepracticeofdrawing.org/18th-c-france-page
You knew Big Bird! So lucky Jeanie!!

Parisbreakfasts said...

Ooops…I forgot. I have almost no art up…just a few scraps. Odd as an artist…hmmm

Linda Sue said...

Very cool Sesame ST. bird cards! You are so lucky to have know the REAL big bird. I would be keeping that art up all the time!

Betty said...

What lovely art and with history, you are very lucky to have such meaningful and special pieces. I love the one your dad did for you and also the cat snowman too.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

There are two things I don't change in this house: wall art and furniture. This house is so small and I have each piece dedicated to a specific spot. Everything else (furniture) I have given away. I have created vignettes on my walls, so it would be difficult to find similarly shaped items for my walls. However, if I had those Big Bird cards, I would leave them up all year long. They are beautiful and you are lucky.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

What a lovely collection of Christmas art!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It's great when art has a personal connection and much of what I own does. Once it's in place, however, it tends to stay there. I have some stashed away in a closet which I should give to some worthy young birders. I say I will rotate the art on the walls, but never do! As for decorating for the holidays it simply doesn't happen in my world.

Rita C at Panoply said...

I so love your Christmas art! How very special!!❤

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I LOVE them!!!!!!!!!! I was so glad you posted the close ups!!!! Big Bird, Oh my gosh!!!!!! All of them, wonderful!! I rotate some of the art & displays in my home. I worked at an art museum several seasons and got into "curating" my art & objects. Great fun!! When Christmas is over, can you show us your Paris wall?

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Jeanie,
WOW!! That is all quite amazing!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!
I appreciate you taking the time to do so!!
Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
Hugs,
Deb

Carol @ The Red Painted Cottage said...

Jeanie, You have some very special and memorable Christmas art, especially from Caroll and the card your father painted for you. I love them all!

La Table De Nana said...

A treasure trove.I love how you cherish special things.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Each one is so special! It must be like seeing old friends every year when you display them.

Sharon in Las Cruces NM said...

love this post. I change out art all the time. it is fun and gives me a new perspective when I do. and it makes me happy. thanks for sharing your special thoughts and art with us.

shoreacres said...

I've rarely changed art on my walls. When I do, it's because I've come by a new piece that has to go up -- but there's no room for it! I have three or four pieces in the closet that were up at my old apartment, but just didn't seem to fit here. And I'm slowly culling the amount of Christmas decorations I add, so what I put out lives quite nicely with everything else.

gigi-hawaii said...

Oh, those Big Bird pictures are so wonderful and special. And they are by Big Bird, himself! You were fortunate to meet him in person.

JJ Jacobs said...

Your collection of Holiday art is stunning, and the creator's Big Bird cards are true treasures! As an artist and an art collector, I shift my art around often (in fact at the moment my walls have no art on them because I'm supposed to be getting the walls painted, but I rather like them bare for now!). I've never collected Holiday art though, and your collection and stories have inspired me to start. Happy Holidays and thank you for the lovely post!!

Joanne Huffman said...

How lovely!

Red Rose Alley said...

Jeanie, I love that you put artwork out on the walls for the different holidays. The snowflakes are so pretty and perfect for the Winter season. I like the red house with the trees also. And the "Joy" picture is wonderful. Nel does chalk art every year at Christmastime, and she has done one with the word "JOY." Big Bird looks content sitting there by the cozy fire. What a dear photo this is of you and Caroll Spinny and Oscar the Grouch. My children grew up watching Sesame Street. : )

Have a merry December week, Jeanie.

~Sheri

Marilyn Miller said...

They are all amazing! I love your Christmas art wall.
I do have one Christmas art that my son made that comes out at Christmas. I have a couple others he did that I need to frame and bring out too.

Hena Tayeb said...

I do not change out my artwork.. once its up it'll be there forever now.
Those big bird watercolors are amazing.. what a treasure.

Dawn P. said...

I totally love your holiday art collection, that you change out each year. And yes, that is something I do too; change out my gallery wall at Xmas for special pieces.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

My daughter's favorite Sesame Street muppet was Big Bird when she was a little girl so I am always touched with fond memories when you post these photos of Caroll and the Big Bird drawings. Jeanie! You have a wonderful collection of artwork--especially your Dad's and your own creations!

Merry Christmas! Enjoy and stay healthy!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

My goodness, Jeanie, your treasured art certainly should take a place at Christmas. How lovely to have pieces from Carroll Spinney! Your father's piece is quite special as well. Thank you for sharing your collection!

R's Rue said...

So beautiful

thepaintedapron.com said...

What a fun idea Jeanie! I need to hang some Christmas art!! So many memories you have from yours, just like ornaments, it must make you smile to see the favorites for the holidays!
Jenna

Pamela said...

What a wonderful wall! You have the best seasonal decorations. You must love being in your home, in every season.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, you have some very special art that you can enjoy during the holiday season. How it must thrill your heart to hang wonderful memories on the wall.

Iris Flavia said...

Ohhh, Oscar steals the show! I still thank you for recommending the book of "Big Bird" - I enjoyed it immensly!

Ohhh... scrolling down is even more fun!
Have a very happy Holiday Season!

Anca said...

Aww, these are so cute! I like that you are changing your artwork. It must feel more Christmasy this way.

Rajani Rehana said...

Mind blowing blog

Sami said...

You have an amazing collection of beautiful Christmas art Jeanie.
The "big bird" ones are special and will probably be very valuable too. And of course your Dad's Christmas card is quite special too.
I don't have any holiday art, but have walls full of family pictures and other art that I painted a long time ago, but I haven't changed any of it since I put them up.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, WOW you have a lovely and most special collection of art. I know it must make you happy and in the spirit when you bring out Christmas.

Love a lovely week, time is marching on.

Sandra Cox said...

I did not know Spinney was both Oscar and Big Bird.
Beautiful art.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I enjoyed seeing your holiday wall art display, and I do not change any of the wall art in our apt for the holidays. But I do hang up a few things bought at local craft shows over the years. Your friend, Carroll, was very talented both as a performer and as an artist. Thanks for sharing your special memories with all of us, jeanie.

Pam said...

Wow...those are neat. I meant to ask, what is Rick coming to Nashville for?

SingingRiverSoulSpa said...

I have a few canvases that I paint over regularly at holidays or change of seasons but i love your idea of a Christmas collection! To frame meaningful art and cards to bring out each year feels so good to my heart.
I'm inspired.
Looking around to see what I want to incorporate from your ideas
in my coming year.
Thanks for the creative nudges!
- Jennifer

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I don’t think I knew that your dad was such an artist! What a painting to treasure, along with the others. We love Big Bird in this house although he is not on the new shows very much! Elmo is the central character and there are lots of new-to-me characters!

Sandra Cox said...

All the photos are grand, but that first one is just breathtaking.
Happy Holidays.

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