“Have nothing in your houses…”


I have a lot of favorite artists. I credit my brother, Jeremy Bangs, also an artist, for introducing me to  classical art at a very young age both here in Kansas City and as we were traveling in Europe. When I visited him  in Holland at age 16, I became familiar with Arthur Rackham and also William Morris . I started paying greater attention to illustrators, especially children’s book illustrators. I was lucky to be raised in a “golden age” of children’s literature. This designation doesn’t just give a label to the written work, but to the illustrations as well.  Some of these artists  feel like best friends to me, because their work still strikes me with amazement every time I see it.

I have a comparatively large collection of original art here in my house. Not huge like a wealthy art collector always searching for something special to add to a list, but it’s still a collection.  These are things that came easily to me. My own works hang on the walls, but I also hang many of my brother’s works.

Jeremy does touch-up work on Mt. Rainier.

Jeremy does touch-up work on Mt. Rainier.

I also  have paintings done by my ancestors, and things I inherited from my parents. Most of what I have are originals. But I also collect those children’s books with the great illustrations and some prints from museums. Having all this around me comes under the category of what I “believe to be beautiful.” I’m very grateful that the concept of art appreciation was instilled in me at such a young age, that I’ve always been surrounded by artists, and that I have a lot of extra beauty and creativity in my life as a result.

If a stranger came in to my place, they would probably be amazed at the amount of “stuff” that I have all around me. I’ve always done my decorating with the idea that what I want to look at, and what makes me feel good, has to be visible or easily at hand. Sometimes I’ll rotate various craft projects in and out of storage, but if it is something I “know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” it’s right out where I can see it and get my hands on it.  To an outsider, it might look like clutter, but that’s just because of the size of my current apartment. I discard things occasionally, but only with William Morris’s quote in mind.

Perhaps later I’ll show you some of the art hanging here in my house, but for now, here are  more of the decorations I’ve been drawing recently.






I do have one favorite artist whose work I don’t yet own, Jennifer Cavan.  I’m planning to ask her to do a commission for me when I can see my way clear to pay for it.  I first saw her paintings at a gallery in Bernalillo, New Mexico.

Do you collect original art work? Where do you find your favorites?



5 responses to ““Have nothing in your houses…”

  1. I used to draw but I haven’t done anything in at least 25 years because I’d rather write. My mother was an artist; she drew and painted the first artwork I was exposed to. I added a swirl of white lipstick to the sea foam on an oil painting she did when I was a little kid in the 60s. I have some original works and some signed numbered prints. Every time I buy something, I say it will be the last one or that it will be a gift for someone else… .

    • I think if writing was satisfying to me, I’d spend more time on it. When I realized how far I had to go to be any good at it, I decided to continue focusing on drawing, probably because there’s more latitude in judgement as to what is pleasing to look at.

      • I write by the seat of my pants, Jeanne, just hoping for the best. Drawing is much harder for me and oddly criticism was difficult to accept, maybe I was more sensitive 25 years ago!

  2. Thomasyne Flynn Bangs

    Jeanne – this is such a lovely website; certainly your artistic creativity is apparent in so many aspects of it. Jeremy and I really enjoyed looking through it. We admire your perserverence – and it’s results – keep up the good work!

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