Artist Colette Cosentino was raised in the Midwest in the small farming village of Clarion, Iowa where, she says “the sky is astounding, clouds extraordinary, fields are vast and fireflies mesmerize in summer”. Growing up, her mother used to let her draw all over the kitchen walls. “I was aged 4 and using the walls as a mural space,” she says. “It was foretelling of what I would do for a living.” Now based in the coastal town of Santa Barbara, California, the decorative artist is known for her trompe l’oeil representations of bucolic landscapes, rural life, and florals in a Spanish colonial style with classic touches. “My art is inspired by the sky, twinkling stars and the sea,” she says. “I’m always seeking to portray a sense of calm and sanctuary, on canvas.” Among her most recent projects was a 400-foot-long decorative mural for the Lotusland botanical garden’s “Avant Garden” summer fundraiser in Montecito and next up is a wallpaper collection with the renowned Schumacher design house. Her Santa Barbara studio Colette Cosentino Atelier serves as both an art gallery and workshop where she can be found painting vintage headboards, theatrical backdrops and murals on canvas. We caught with her to discuss her artistic process and the inspiration behind the custom color bedding capsule she designed with Flaneur.
FLANEUR: Explain your Flaneur bedding color selections.
Colette Cosentino: In my work and life I am so inspired by the sea and sky, this spills over into my design aesthetic. I chose these colors to reflect a white sandy beach, or a bright white sky. And then, add the wave of turquoise, just like the sea.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Most everything in my home is vintage. I imagine I’m a maximalist minimalist.
Where do you find inspiration for your art?
I grew up around a lot of weather, and so I believe that the elements emerge as memories onto the canvas. I live in the beautiful seaside city of Santa Barbara, so there is no shortage of inspiration in all directions. I especially draw from the sand, sea, sky.
I’m always seeking to portray a sense of calm and sanctuary, on canvas.
What is your process in your studio?
For my paintings, the process plays out in layers and layers. I start out with an idea, and begin layering color in translucent tones and continue to build in thickness, and then reverse the process out.
When it comes to your art, how do you approach color?
I am a believer in creating compelling but calm and comforting environments. My colors are almost always soft, heavenly. Nothing jarring.
If you were a color, which one would you be and why?
I would be white. I would be invisible when I wanted and shine brightly when I wanted.
What’s the last thing you bought for your home or favorite object in your home?
I purchased a new pillow to go with my Flaneur sheets.
What design element do you think makes for the perfect bedroom?
The perfect bedroom for me, means a very comfortable bed is right next to a large window. This way you can look up and see the stars at night and the leaves through the trees and the sun rising in the early morning. It feels a bit like you are sleeping outside. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Do you have a morning ritual?
I wake up and have a good stretch and put on the kettle.
What are you currently reading?
Naked Came I by David Weiss. It’s a delicious novel about the life of Rodin.
Where is your dream travel destination?
There are many places I have in mind to go, but next on the list is Capri.