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A room can be remade using what is there

I recently visited south Florida to deliver several paintings that people living in that area commissioned me to create. I have a number of friends who live there, and I always enjoy the opportunity to visit paradise.

@MA BodyRR:There is just something about the turquoise waters, balmy breezes and white, sandy beaches that invites the inner artist in me to come out and play.

The paintings I delivered were very large and tropical in feel. Palm fronds in various styles, luscious pineapples and other tropical fruits filled the canvases with all the bright colors that naturally come with them. The temperature gradually climbed as we made what seemed like an endless eight-hour drive down the turnpike.

I felt as though we were transporting very large citrus fruit and tropical greenery back from where it came.

Before the car motor had even cooled from the trip, I had two of the palm paintings in position above cabinets in my friend Sharon’s kitchen.

There, against a red wall, they seemed to be at home. In fact, they didn’t even appear to be tired from their trip, quite unlike the man who painted them.

The other three paintings had to wait until the next day to get to their new home. Two of them consisted of large, ripe pineapples against a vivid coral background. Daphne, who had ordered them, needed a colorful focal point above the sofa in her newly redecorated family room.

She had sent some photos of the room to me that included close-ups of her new rug and sofa.

I was thrilled when she left the subject matter of the paintings entirely up to me. I think an artist does the best work when their hands are not tied behind their back with tons of restrictions.

We were to replace some larger prints that were dull in color with the two new paintings.

We could not retrieve the hammer and nails quickly enough to allow the pineapple paintings to come to rest above the sofa in their new place to live.

Just like when the film turned from black and white into color in the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Daphne’s family room came alive.

When everything perfectly lines up in a decorated room, everyone who sees the room knows it.

Being a dramatic person, I asked Daphne to close her eyes before she entered her family room for the first time after the installation. To say she was pleased is an understatement.

Just like a new dress often requires a new pair of earrings, one change in your home decor calls for other things to get in line for somewhat of a face-lift. I spent the afternoon with Daphne, a hammer and nails and some great ideas.

After surveying the entire interior of her house, we proceeded to move accessories she already had into new locations. Like a creative whirlwind had blown into her rooms, for a moment everything was scattered around. But when the decorating storm passed, we were all pleased with the results.

It is amazing how, just by changing the placement of an accessory, the entire room can take on a whole new look.

When the creative dust finally settled and the hammer and nails were neatly back in place, it looked like we were in a brand new home.

You can do the same thing by relocating some of your accessories.

Without spending a dime, you can make major changes in your living space.

Even though Daphne did invest in the new paintings, most of the other changes were utilizing things she already had.

As we looked around her house, Daphne said, “I can’t wait for my husband to see how much money you saved us by using things we already owned.”

As my time in south Florida came to an end, I must admit I was a little sad. Not only was I leaving the palm trees, sandy beaches and sunny skies of Florida, I was also leaving all the tropical paintings I had brought with me.

Deep inside, I felt as though I had just dropped off my paintings at a wonderful summer camp. I can’t wait until the next time I can visit them.


@MA BodyRR:Ÿ Check out Mark’s Web site,, for current projects, recipes and lots of other fun stuff for spring.

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Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208 or fax them to (478) 474-4930 or call (478) 757-6877.