How did you select the painting for your website?

the kitchenmaidSometimes when I give people my business card I’m asked “how did you find or select the painting?” The short answer is, of course, searching through websites on the internet. The selection reason is a bit more involved.

When I decided to continue my career in the Kitchen & Bath Industry I wanted to use an image that would be different from the standard beautiful kitchen photograph. I’ve always enjoyed fine art so I thought it would be fun to find an old painting or engraving showing a kitchen scene. Initially I looked for a black and white line drawing or engraving, but couldn’t find anything that captured my imagination.

Then I searched through many websites showing paintings and finally found “The Kitchenmaid” by Guiseppe Crespi, an Italian artist who painted from about 1680-1735. Crespi is best known for his baroque genre (scenes of everyday life as opposed to portraits of wealthy patrons) paintings. He utilized “chiaroscuro”, which is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark areas in a painting.

When I found the painting I was immediately attracted to its intimate setting and the depiction of light falling on the maid. Months later I realized that there were other reasons I liked the painting. The maid is standing on a footstool to be able to better complete her tasks. Since I’m only five feet tall, (well almost!) I can appreciate the need to stand on a platform to reach things. As a child I would help my mother wash the dishes by standing on a chair and then later a footstool when I got a bit taller.

The other reason I especially liked the painting is the use of color. The dusty blue of her shirt and soft orange-brown of her apron provide a nice contrast. On the Color Wheel orange and blue are “complementary colors”, or opposite each other on the Color Wheel. When placed next to each other complementary colors create the strongest contrast and reinforce each other.

Recently, though, I had a moment of second thoughts about the selection- what if people think that’s what their kitchen will look like when I design something for them (poor lighting, no storage, wrong work counter height)? I hope not!  Rather, I hope people will think about how warm and intimate the painting is and will want to create the same feeling in their own home.