Marta Locklear » Art . Style . Life

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The intention was to post this once the project was complete. But after getting all kinds of comments on FB and Instagram about my progress Instagram photo, I thought it would be fun to share my thought process behind my decision for this wall. And once it is all done, I will share the “after”…so keep an eye out for that.
Living room TV wall before

This before image, is how the wall has been for years. Completely pitiful. I love the trio, and the prints are lovely and of my kids, but the scale for the wall is completely off. I had have high hopes for a full wall of built in shelves, but that is pretty far down the list of home renovations right now. I think I have been secretly hoping it would happen sooner than later.

As you can see, I evaluated the wall and took stock of what it needed to have the updated, comfortable, but elegant look I wanted. This is our only family/living room and the most used room in the house. It was time to do something about it.
Living room TV wall before notesYears ago I started a Pinterest board called “the home . wall decor“. It is full of wall galleries, TV wall galleries, and just wonderfully placed wall art. I pin a ton, even ones that are not right for my own home, because these days, I don’t just pin for me, I pin for my readers too. Here are some of the images that inspired my wall. I know I don’t like a lot of randomness (severe issues with symmetry, balance and lack of visual chaos). You will see that I like clean, simple, and slightly elegant. But my main goal, was to get the scale of the TV to fit inside of the gallery, instead of a lot of small images around a very large item. I started obsessing over pins of large scale prints and frames in wall galleries.
I adore this image, and have been in love with it for some time. I have analyzed it over and over trying to figure out what it is about it that I love since it is pretty much polar opposite of my style. And I think it is just the scale…and the grass print…love that print. This was my jumping off point of going bigger and being ok with it.

Large scale wall gallery

Home Stories A to Z

The two images below just solidified my love for the scale, so it was just a matter of how many, how big and the arrangement. Click for sources.

Large scall black and white   Large wall large scale prints

Then I wanted to figure out, large mats, no mats, matching frames, or eclectic frames. I have always had a passion for gallery style matting. Lots of white space, keeping the focus on the image. It also balances nicely with giving more white architecture to the wall. Here are some inspiration pins I found.
white mat wall gallery around tv  white mat wall gallery above console

wall gallery with white mats

Being the dork that I am, I measured everything on the wall, and made a visual of the pieces and played with different frame sizes and ideas. If you are not super computer program savvy, you can do this on graph paper as well. It really helped me see if my ideas would work or not, and what would need to be changed. As I am deciding on prints/images I will place them on this to see if they go well together and create the color story I have. Ignore the measurements, they are not the correct ones.

Wall gallery plan Marta Locklear

I finally found the frames on sale at a local art supply store for Buy 1, Get 1 Free (can’t beat that for large scale frames) and nabbed them up 2 whole months ago. Yesterday, I got the guts to actually hang them. You would think with all of this leg work, I wouldn’t have been so paranoid to put them up…but I was. Over thinking is a royal pain in the arse.

Here is the current progress report. It still needs a good bit of work, but I think it is going to be amazing. I still need a new pot for my Fiddle Leaf Fig, paint the console a deep dirty teal gray, cut the matboard for the frames (DIYing that to save $70) and find prints.

Progress of Gallery Wall

I am taking bets on how long it takes me to choose 4 prints that go well together. Post your best guess below :)
Keep an eye out for the final reveal!

Emily Jefford

So. I have been a little MIA lately and I apologize. Things just got crazy busy. The kids’ sports schedules kicked in full swing, work got a little hectic and some new and interesting opportunities have started to unfold that had taken my attention away. More on that when things begin solidifying!

As I am working on redecorating my home, I have found myself scouring Pinterest, Etsy and the Interweb for new artwork for my walls. I really want to find fun, interesting and unique work for each room of the house, whether it be paintings, drawings or photography. Today I wanted to share a few artists that I have been drooling over since I discovered them. Be sure to click to each of their galleries to see a plethora of wonderful work. Good news is, many of them are still in the reasonably priced range…so get them soon before their popularity takes completely off!

First, above you will find Emily Jefford’s Sundown. I have a few of her paintings in my The Art Pinterest board and I really do adore so much of her work. There is so much color and movement in her paintings and I am sucker for anything that has emotional clouds in them.

Next is Lola Donahue Pink Landscape. You may recognize her style from my March Wishlist post (she is clearly still on my wishlist). In college when I studied fine arts, I was never much of a lover of abstract work, but over the years, my tastes have definitely changed, and I could hang just about every single one of her paintings in my home.Lola Donahue

Year ago I had pinned several paintings by Karen Appleton and it wasn’t until recently that I ventured back. She has a distinct use for color, and depth of the ordinary objects. Her work is big and bold, has an impressionist flare and a touch of whimsy. I think it is perfect for a transitional or modern home.Karen Appleton

Teil Duncan is an up and coming Georgia painter. I first found her via one of her abstract cow paintings. Yup, I have a thing for cows and clouds…odd…I know. But it wasn’t until I visited her site that I realized she has a large body of work of figure studies. In college this was my focus, and immediately it made me miss drawing them. Personally, I focused on a more realistic take of the figure, but her abstract, colorful, and not so “detailed” versions peaked my interest and are a bit more realistic for a home crawling with pre-teen boys.

Teil Duncan

I stumbled on Clare Elsaesser’s work via an interior designers blog one day and wanted to purchase a couple immediately. I adore her color palettes, and the subject matter is a bit ambiguous and whimsical  with a feminine flare that I thought would be perfect for my daughter’s room makeover.

Clare Elaessar

I am honored to say that I actually own a similar original painting to the one below. In a whopping 32″x45″. It hangs directly over my computer at my desk and was a wedding gift from my Dah (father) and my Stepmother Heidi Edwards (the painter). Since I have the original there wasn’t an image of it on the site, but check my Instagram for a shot of it hanging above my desk. Her work is large, colorful and a stunning impressionist take on the Florida landscape.Heidi Edwards

This lovely found me one day during a stroll through Pinterest land and I couldn’t help but like it. I love a thick and chunky painting and this one has such a vibrant color palette, movement and depth that caught my eye. I think it would be gorgeous in a guest room, romantic bathroom or girls bedroom. Siiso has a number of images that you will just love.Siiso

Remember I mentioned that I have a little bit of thing for cows. Why? I am clueless to that answer, but I have honestly always love them. This lovely lady by Cari Humphry stole my heart on an early morning Pinterest hunt. From the perfect cool palette all the way to her doe like eye lashes. Be sure to check out more of her work, especially if you are partial to farm animals.

Cari Humphry

I actually have a few prints by Amber Alexander that I purchased for my son’s bathroom (back when it was still green). It was the Octopus, Alligator and Toad. They hung as a trio together. Her work is stunning and her prints are divine. She has some wonderful Moth’s, Feathers, birds and even some whimsical storybook type illustrations that would be adorable in a nursery.

Amber Alexander

Do you have some favorite artist that you are loving right now? If so, share their links below!

going gray gracefully...or not?

I have been wanting to write this post since the beginning of the year. Mentally, I have written it about a 100 different times. I consider myself a pretty low maintenance girl. For well over 5 years I cut my own hair and I cut all 3 of my kids’ hair; I don’t go to the nail salon, and I have a very small make-up bag. Don’t get me wrong…I love a good pedicure and salon trip, but those are the things that take the back burner to the crazy schedule we keep and honestly I rather spend $30 bucks on new stuff for the house than my toes that I can paint myself.

Over the last couple of years (this last year mainly) the gray hairs have been popping up in full force. If you remember from this post I am just a few months away from being 40. The number itself I am not at all afraid of and I don’t mind telling anyone how old I am if it comes up in conversation. It is all the crap that comes with turning 40 that has really given me a run for my sanity. The physical changes really amped up the last 2 years and I am having a hard time keeping up with and dealing with them. So come January…the good ol’ resolutions month, I decided that I was going to just give into mother nature and allow it to be what it was. Or so I thought.

I dug through over 2 years worth of phone photos trying to find you a good “before” but it appears that 1) I like to backlight my images and that makes it so you can’t see the grays. 2) I conveniently cut off the top of my head in just about every image I take. I think my subconscious was already screaming at me. This is the only one I could find where you can kinda see the gray “frosting” near my part. I am only at the 10-20% ish gray (how do you really estimate hair?). Not a ton, but all in the most obvious areas, my peaks, hence, my part. Although it is not a lot, on my light brown hair those perfectly white (not gray…I got the white ones) strands stand out like beacon lights. I think if I was at least 50% gray this may be an easier battle. But this tweener stage is a fight I just wasn’t prepared for and there really isn’t a lot of people out there talking about it or doing it.

2014-05-05 13.41.47 2

This past summer I had finally had enough and did what I thought any self respecting woman would do and went to the salon for the first time in 5 years to get my hair done. Specifically to mask the new “frosty highlights” that had showed up. It looked amazing…zero complaints. Until it started to grow. My hair grows REALLY fast, like 1/2-1″ a month. For those that dye regularly know that is a root job pain in the bum. Not to mention $$$. I was battling the frequent trips, the $$, the time (2 hours in the chair) and the quick grow outs. There seemed to be way more reason to not bother, than to bother. (please excuse the silly cheesy selfie Instagram images…only ones I could find that I didn’t crop my  head out :))

2014-06-05 14.32.28-1

I spent hours, maybe even days researching “going gray naturally” on Pinterest. I read article after article, pinned images of gorgeous women with wonderful gray locks and motivated myself to my resolution of just being me the way mother nature made me. I started washing out as much of the color as I could to blend out my roots and started the year feeling insanely empowered and ready to take on the world. Yeah. That lasted until my first outing. I started noticing the glances to my head. Ya know, the “what the heck is in her hair” glances…”are those gray?….Girl needs to hit up the salon, asap!” looks. My confidence and fortitude immediately started to crumble. I am not sure if I am strong enough for this.

Still, I lasted about another month quietly fighting my self confidence each time I stepped out of the house. Then one day, I casually joked with my super adorning husband about me going gray and being his Silver Fox now. I think because he didn’t quite know the lengths I had gone through to convince myself this was the best idea, he told me “…you look way too young to have gray…”

No S&*T Sherlock…ya wanna tell Mother Nature that?

He of course followed it with, “…you will be beautiful with gray or not, but you just look to young to have gray hair.” I didn’t take this as a personal attack. It was a compliment in disguise. One side of me was cheering that I looked too young to have gray hair, but my new found o’natural self was back to square one with what the heck to do. Maybe I needed to buy myself a bit more time. More time to go more gray? More time to age? So back to the drawing board I went.

I knew for a fact that I didn’t want to permanently dye my hair again. Those vicious root lines, with grays in them, are worse than just the gray. And it doesn’t matter how close to your root color it is, the grow out is painful. I considered highlights to blend in the gray. I was a blonde in my past. Born a blonde, and was a blonde until I had kids. But I have since fallen in love with my brown hair and just can’t see myself having the streaky highlights it would take to blend these crazy things in. So again, I was back to just letting it go, dealing with it, and everyone is just gonna have to kiss my bum and maybe I will look as amazing as Sarah Harris one day.
Sarah Harris by IMAXTREE / vincenzo grillo       Sarah Harris

Source: IMAXTREE / vincenzo grillo, Retail Therapy

Then two, yes TWO more people literally said the exact same thing as my husband, not even knowing my situation. And the other day I was in the hospital having a little procedure done and one of the lady doctors literally double took my chart and asked me my name because she didn’t think I was 39. Flattered of course…but confirmation that maybe I need to hang onto this youth just a bit longer while I have it.

The struggle is real people.

After a little more research I found demi-perminant hair dyes. Temp hair dyes that kinda sorta blend the gray in. Not a full cover up, but enough that they are not those icicles that seem to be catching everyone’s eye. Plus, when I do want to just let it grow out and go, the color fades over time not leaving a crazy root line, the silvers will start to peek through as normal.

For now, I am caving. This could change in a week or so. I am secretly hoping my natural summer highlights will help blend them in a bit more and maybe once again I can just let it go. I feel this will be a constant ongoing battle. I hate treating my hair over and over, but I think this will be the least damaging way to buy some time until I am ready to commit or look my actual age. I could of course go to the salon and get my hair done, but I like living life on the edge,  I am a compulsive DIYer, and I really like spending my money on my house. For now I am doing my own demi-permenant coloring and it is going great. It is definitely not a 100% coverage, and lasts a few weeks or so, but it has softend the root line grow out from my past coloring, and given the grays a tint of color so they are not stark white.

If you are battling the tweener gray phase, talk to me! Tell me how you are dealing with it!

  • Meghan Ely - Marta! We have the same (hair) life! I’m been greying (runs in the family!) since I was 15 and project that I’m at least 50-60% grey. I have to color it once every 8-10 weeks in the salon with root maintenance at home every 4 weeks. Everyone says “oh it would look great all grey” but I have a 2 year old, so that’s not going to happen any time soon. I imagine I’ll give it another ten years (when I’m in my mid 40’s) and consider it. My greys are incredibly stubborn so a demi-permanent doesn’t work for me. :(ReplyCancel

  • andrea - I am right there with you, thus the highlights as of recent, but man are they a pita! I get my hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks, I’m trying to grow it out (for now), and highlighted every other time. I cry a little every time I lose a gray hair because that puts me further away from my goal of eventually going gray all over, though I’m not holding out much hope for that these days as my mom is in her 60’s and still only partially gray.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Marta!

    OMG this is such a good read! I feel your pain on this and welcome to my world!
    I was 28 when the “grays” started…I have tried perm hair dye and semi perm, and then the highlights….
    so then it was a trip to the salon every 6 weeks to cover the “grays” and re do highlights…uh uh no way…too expensive and time consuming… then even took it to the next level as a brunette naturally I attempted blonde in hopes they wouldn’t show up as much and blend in naturally, that was a myth…
    there is no escape…easiest solution to cover I have found is using a “filler” first… so that it controls the porosity of the hair allowing even absorption of the color.. it truly has worked wonders as like you my hair grows pretty quickly ,gives me a lot more time before touch ups. I also find the color needs to stay on much longer than 10/20 minutes as some advertise… usually at least 30 min sometimes 40.
    on another note…people with “grays” struggle with what we call “hot roots” example… using a color to touch up that’s not dark enough and your roots are lighter and brighter than the rest of the hair, not a good look lol
    question I keep tormenting myself with is why cant I allow my self to go naturally gray? for me I feel maybe my clients will judge me or assume I am older than I am… or that my husband will gasp lol which he doesn’t…he says “let it go” easier said than done.. men go gray gracefully, they even seem intriguing with it. sigh. not fair.

  • Marisa - I’m 36, and probably 5% gray. My plan is to let it all come in naturally, but who knows what kind of color variances I’ll have to deal with as that happens? My issue now is with the texture. I’ve always had coarse, curly hair, but the grays come in downright wiry. There are a few on top of my head that are so wiry, they tend to stick straight up or pop out when the rest of my hair is laying down. For now, I pluck those radical ones. But what if my hair is completely untamable when I’m all gray? It’s the unknown that I fear.ReplyCancel

  • Bree - I’ve been going gray since about 18. My grandmother went gray really young too. I have thought about letting my gray just grow in, but every time I bring it up to my hair dresser (all of them, I’ve had a few) they all refuse to let me do it. And frankly, I’m not ready yet either, despite thinking that is beautiful. And to really let it happen, I’d need to go super pixie, and that is scarier to me than being naturally gray. So I go every 5-6 weeks to get my roots done. In the winter I am darker, and when it warms up my hair gets lighter. I do love being able to change the way I look so easily.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - Ugh! Girl woes!! I’ve been graying around my temples since I was probably 28… I’m 36 now. Fortunately the progression hasn’t been as quick as I’d feared 8 years ago, but the side streaks are fairly significant now. Wearing my hair down hides them since I’m not really graying on top… yet. My hair is dirty blonde and naturally varied, so that has helped for awhile, but the white hairs are starting to band together and become more obvious. I’ve never colored my hair and hate the thought of starting, but I’m not ready to go gray/white!ReplyCancel


Everday Basic #2


It was a long busy weekend with my youngest turning 8, snow, and a lot of kids at my house. Quite honestly, Sunday came and went way faster than I anticipated and I didn’t get a chance to complete the post I was working on. So today, a quick little post of another one of my go to, every day, easy, inexpensive, mom approved outfits.

Shirt- I found a great white (and I bought the black too) drapey tunic from Target last month and I wear them to death. I cannot for the life of me find it on their site, but they are still in most stores if you want to check for it. But this one from JCrew (of course) is a great option as well. Gap, Old Navy and most other stores have white shirt tunic options if you want to shop around. I tend to tuck mine just like the model is doing here.

Jeans- I wear my American Eagle jeans cuffed or rolled so they are a little more of an ankle jean, and over the winter I wore this with tan/natural colored suede wedge booties I scored from Target 2 years ago.

Shoes- Since Spring is teasing us a little more each day, I figured I would pair this with a bit of a transitional sandle to show how it will last an entire new season.

Accessories- I throw on some gold midi rings and long layered necklaces to dress it up just a little. And of course I finish it with my Jackie O glasses, as my hubby calls them. I am rough on sunglasses, so I have yet to invest in a nice pair, so I get mine at American Eagle. They fit my face shape nice and they are inexpensive enough that I can get a few finishes if I want. Tortise shell is my favorite, because it goes with just about everything…even black.


  • laura issa - Omg this is so funny I have this exact outfit on today! I think I have the tunic from target that you’re talking about :)ReplyCancel


Last Friday I posted about my everyday easy outfit and in that post I mentioned I wanted the new Madewell leather tote. My current purse is in a serious sad state of affairs. It is a simple Target hobo style in a buff color that is starting to fall apart and really just isn’t my style. It was purchased in a pinch, and somehow made it this long as my day to day bag. Embarrassing.

After that article a reader told me that JCrew put their similar Downing Tote Bag on sale. I had seen the bag in the new catalog just a week before, but I didn’t expect it to be on sale already. Since I had a JCrew gift card via a return I made last year, it was a no brainer. Plus, I kinda like the pinked edge detail near the bottom half of the bag.

One of the main things I love about this bag is the size. It is perfect in scale to my frame, soft leather so it molds close to me (rather than being hard and stiff), and large enough to carry all the stuff I tend to carry (with 3 kids).


I won’t lie. The inside of my current bag was a hot mess, full of change, receipts, gum wrappers, 4 glosses, 2 chap sticks and a chubby stick (why so many….I have no idea), gym lock, ear buds and much more. But that is all part of this Mid Life Make Over adventure. Time to start taking care of all the little things, getting organized, stylish, and simplifying my day to day life. I dumped out the bag, took stock and omitted all that was unnecessary.

I went shopping in my daughters closet again and grabbed this gold faux snake skin bag one to put my ancillary items in. Ibprofren, ear buds, pen, hand sanitizer, and gym lock are all tucked inside so they are not floating aimlessly around the bag.

In early Feb I had a bit of a medical thing that went down. No worries, I am at 100% now, but I have to make sure to drink my water. So this 33oz Camelbak water bottle from Target goes everywhere with me. Much to my surprise it fits perfectly inside the tote with a lot of room to spare; since they are spill proof there isn’t any risk to my bag.

This Rifle Paper Co. notebook has been with me for a year now, and clearly has seen some love. But it holds notes from phone calls and measurements of all the areas in my home I am working on. Ya know, just in case I happen upon that perfect item! Side note: I am definitely not a hand model (working hands…man hands).


My makeup bag doesn’t travel with me every day. But there are definitely those days that I have touch up on the go when racing the kids around town. You can see what is in my makeup bag in this post here. I also carry EOS lip balm with me. It is one of my favorites and I think now everyone in my family owns one.

Of course my iPhone. But check out this whimsical phone case I just got! It was designed by Hugo Guinness for JCrew. It was already on sale and I got an additional 40% off of it. So why not? Plus, I was playing roulette with my phone being case free for some time now.


I found my wallet at Target a couple of years ago. This is my second one, and each season they put out new colorways. I love the easy of the open, and that I can just drop my bills/cards into it and snap it closed quickly. Plus it just looks sleek.

The little green Dino was my youngest son’s from about 4 years ago. He was obsessed with dinosaurs and somehow during an outing this little guy found his way into my purse. As I have changed and cleaned out bags over the years I just kept adding him back. He makes me smile each time I see him, and is on call in case of boredom emergency.


Depending on what I am up to for the day, even with all of this in the bag, I have plenty of room to add more. Flowers (cause we all like to pretend that we run around buying fresh flowers all the time), gym clothes, day trip camera (even my big Contax), small shopping trip items to save on plastic bags, and/or snacks for the kids. This is why I switched to a tote…the options are endless. Just using little pouches or makeup bags to organize the smaller items will keep it from being a mess in the bottom.

GET THIS LOOK / Links above or click image to Polyvore for shopping



Here are a few options from other retailers to give you a similar look!

Leather Tote OptionsForever 21  /  Urbanoutfitters  /  Madewell  /  JCrew


Skimlinks Test

  • Trude - Thanks for sharing, I always love peeking into women’s bags this way! Such a creeper, I know. :) Do you do the ol’ wrap-the-camera-in-your-scarf trick, or do you use something else to protect it? I’m considering a neoprene sleeve, but I’m on the fence.ReplyCancel

March Wishlist | #luluandgeorgia #jcrew #loladonoghue

Those looming cherry blossoms must be speaking to me through the winds as I am feeling very Springy for my first Wishlist post. My mind is fighting the gray gloomy late winter world extremely hard these last few weeks. Hopefully this wishlist will help inspire a bit of color and style into your lives as well.


Art- Lola Donoghue has been on my radar for some time now. There are 2 pieces that I have been drooling over and this one in particular encompasses all the tones in my home, and draws me in every time I look at it.

 Rug- This Lulu & Georgia rug makes my girly side squeal. My living room is a gray blue color with a large white sectional on maple wood floors. I would LOVE to see this large Pari pink rug laying under that sectional.

 Mirror- There is a wall in my living room that is begging for a round mirror. This Opal Lulu & Georgia one caught my eye and will pop nicely against my  Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp wall paint.

 Vases- Yes Please! I have a garden of pink Peonies that are starting to peek out of the ground. They are begging to go into these geometric vases from, once again,  Lulu & Georgia (seeing a theme here…definitely a favorite site).


 Nails- In my Everyday Easy Wardrobe post I mentioned that I have a new obsession for nail polish. A good friend of mine mentioned that she loves Zoya…and after doing some research, I am obsessed with getting my hands on their Matte Dovina polish. While shopping I couldn’t resist this Brittany Pink either for my more muted days.

 Rings- Along with polishes, I now want rings too! For a while I have wanted to adorn my hands with some danty gold rings. This set would be perfect with a bit of an early summer glow and either of those Zoya polishes.

 Jeans- I am currently losing weight. So I will not buy these until I am down at least one more pant size (I hope to be down 2). These JCrew jeans will fit in perfectly with my current wardrobe, and be a nice Spring transition with my tees and button ups.

 What is your favorite item here? Are you feeling the Spring pink itch too?

  • julia - That art piece and that gorgeous rug!! I’m preparing for a big room renovation this spring…your post has me aching for it to finally get here!ReplyCancel

    • Marta Locklear - Julia- I need to figure out how to rob a bank to get both of those items. They are HIGH on my list of wants. I can just see them in my home this very second…sigh.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - Xoxo those colors are gorgeous but that painting!ReplyCancel