It’s not quiiiiite spring yet, but the pastel shades, perky plant life, and effervescent energy emanating from Mary Finlayson’s new edition are enough to put winter in the rearview. Girard Dolls, Books and Plants also makes a strong case for starting your seasonal mood adjustment with a few inside updates—a shelfie reorg, some fresh greenery, a different mix of coffee table tomes, and of course, new art. If the weather won’t play nice or you can’t clock out of work to enjoy it, a new addition to your collection can be your bright spot, and this vibrant, painting-turned-print is particularly good at melting the gray away.
Where Finlayson’s debut edition captured a cozy studio setting, Girard Dolls, Books and Plants takes an even closer look at just one corner of a thoughtfully decorated domestic vignette. Both pieces serve up so much more than a straightforward still life. Fantastical tones, flattened perspective, bold linework, and dynamic layering animate an otherwise everyday scene, transforming the tableau into something much more intimate—a conduit of emotion, memory, and movement. Girard Dolls, Books and Plants broadcasts pleasure and optimism from the playful, off-center arrangement and happily clashing colors. There’s familiarity in the painting’s simplified, stylized forms, affection in its asymmetry, enthusiasm in its pattern play. And there’s an unmistakable love for the little details, for textures, fonts, and items Finlayson is fond of.
The SF-based painter fills her Potrero Hill home with all sorts of visual inspiration that regularly makes appearances in her art: plants in pretty vessels, curios, her kids’ drawings, art books, found ephemera, flea market treasures, textile pieces. The quirky, blocky wooden dolls posing as a duo in this painting? They were originally designed by Alexander Girard in 1952 to adorn his Santa Fe home, and you’ll see them in Finlayson’s home here. In her In the Studio, the artist told us, “I like to give these objects a special place, in my art and home also.” Finlayson seeks out meaningful objects and finds the joy in purposeful placement—whether we’re talking about her carefully curated still lifes or the spaces she actually occupies.
“I don’t like homes that feel static,” Finlayson told us, a sentiment that clearly extends beyond actual interiors to her representations of them. “I like there to be a presence of life and an evident story of the people who live there.” We couldn’t agree more, and there’s nothing so static as a bare wall (especially if you’ve been staring at the same one for the better part of a year). Call on a new artwork to activate your space, to springify it or just give it some soul. If the piece you pick has as much personality as Girard Dolls, Books and Plants, you’ll de-static stat.
With art for everyone,