So the walls of my room have been painted, and now I have these fresh, clean expanses to decorate. Since they’re too crumbly to hold up shelving, I’m going to have to go with art. Which is really too bad, because few things look as good as a wall covered in books.

But what to choose? What do I want to look at all day, what do I want to surround myself with when I am at rest, relaxing, at home and in bed? I took some time to think it over, to consider what has struck me and stuck with me over the years, and here are some of the pieces I’m considering ordering from

Magritte’s The Empire of Light

I love how subversive this is, the gentle sense of ominousness, the meshing of the stately and proper, the genteel and decorous with the mad and improbable. I am a huge fan of the absurd, the surreal, and this painting perfectly fits the bill.

Van Gogh’s Image of Wheatfield with Crows

I was never really affected by Van Gogh’s work until I saw his actual paintings, and was blown away by the thickness of the paint strokes, how much pigment is layered onto the canvas, the three dimensional texturing that results. Powerful, visceral, beautiful, I love the vibrant colors, and especially the darkness swirling in from above on the golden wheat, the threat of impending night, of danger and trouble coming from over the horizon.

Hopper’s Image of Gas

Hopper specialized in the transient and ephemeral, painting scenes of hotel room and diners, gas stations and offices. Places where humanity ebbs and flows but leave no mark, areas that are impersonal, indifferent, and where our natures are most exposed by contrast to the blank settings. This shot in particular attracts me; the colors are rich and intense, the gas station archaic and pleasant, but the road curves away into the forest, a forest as dark and potentially dangerous as any wood from a Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. A final outpost of light before a long voyage, an island of security before the traveler sets off alone into the wilderness.

Schiele’s Sunflower

I love Egon Schiele. I’ve raved about this painting in a prior post, so I shall not do so again, but I particular admire and enjoy the gangly, awkward nature of the plant, how it seems almost human, all shoulder blades and shoulder joints, shins and knees. There is a resonance to the dark flower head, and a subtle beauty to the whole, a flower that would otherwise be ignored if crossed in a field, given strange and rich power here in this painting.