Celia Lees: Adding Personality to Your Home with Abstract Art

Contemporary artist Celia Lees breaks down how abstract artwork can be used to elevate any space in your home.

Your home should be your sacred space. Whether it’s your bedroom, living room, or home office, you should feel comfortable, relaxed and inspired at all times. There’s also something special about enhancing your environment by making it reflective of who you are – and artwork is a great place to start. Abstract art, in particular, can instantly add a splash of personality to your home – just ask contemporary artist Celia Lees.

The Canadian artist is known for her abstract painting style, which is often vibrant, flowing and contains lots of visible brushstrokes. Celia, who regularly takes on commission work from clients, always takes the intended space into consideration when creating a piece. Her signature style is an example of how abstract art can bring out the very best in your home. 

Celia Lees

Create Energy and Atmosphere in Your Space

Abstract art is often misunderstood. There’s an idea floating around that abstract work has no real meaning – and it’s understandable to an extent. The style of painting often doesn’t contain any concrete subject matter.

Celia, who herself gravitates towards suggestive themes that are open for interpretation, challenges this notion. “I actually feel like it has even more of a narrative because each person who views it can create their own,” she says. “If I go and paint a flower, every single person who looks at that piece will see a flower. Abstract art is more of a complex object that you have to figure out on your own.”

These abstract narratives allow more room for the viewer to have their own interpretation. “I think that’s why so many people are connected to abstract pieces and they don’t know why,” adds Celia. “They see things in the artwork and they feel this energy that they can’t explain. That’s something beautiful in itself, not having a narrative so blatantly in your face.”

Instead, abstract work creates a unique feeling that can tie any space together. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create in the room? The lack of concrete subject matter means the creative possibilities are endless. A wild splatter can add some upbeat energy, while a graceful line lends romance and intrigue. 

Establish a Focal Point in the Room

It’s important to take your space into consideration when thinking about adding artwork to your home. This is something that Celia knows well through her commission work, often creating the “finishing touch” that will become the focal point of the room. “Artwork is the first thing your eyes are drawn to when you walk into the room,” she says. “People always ask a lot of questions when they see original work, which adds a lot of value to the room.”

There’s no right or wrong answer in choosing a piece to anchor the space. You ideally want something that you gravitate towards and still matches the atmosphere that you’re after. “It definitely depends on the environment or what the room is asking for,” adds Celia. “If you have a minimalistic space already, you could totally go either way. You could stay minimalistic with a very soft vibe, or you could bring energy into the space with vibrant colors. It’s really just about preference.”

Size is another important factor to consider when anchoring the room. “I see a lot of people who will buy something very small and put it on a very large wall space,” says Celia. “It just doesn’t do it justice most of the time. There’s a big wow factor if you get a very big piece of art into a space.”

Celia Lees

Stand Out with an Original Touch

Having an original piece of art adds a layer of depth to a space that’s hard to come by these days. It’s something that you can have in your home that adds a dimension of personality. “When you have replicated artwork, it just doesn’t serve the same purpose as seeing something original made by somebody else,” says Celia.

“If your furniture is incredibly well-designed, then that could also bring energy to the space,” she explains. “Most of the time though, furniture is pretty standard and it serves a practical purpose, but an original piece of art is so powerful and unique to your space. You literally can’t find that anywhere else. You don’t see brush strokes on furniture the same way you do on a canvas.”

There’s something special about tailoring an original touch to your space and personal taste. “You always want to make sure that you have a good vibe from a piece of art when you buy it because it will be surrounding you all the time,” says Celia. “It’s reflective of the space you want and you as a person.”

Celia Lees

Keep it Simple

Matching artwork to its surroundings can be great when done right, but you don’t want to overdo it. “It can certainly work very nicely, but at the same time, you don’t want it to be too cohesive that the painting blends in with the furniture,” says Celia. “There should be a balance of finding something that matches in a way but that also still pops on its own and has value in itself aside from all the other pieces of furniture in the room.”

Celia also prefers having one large artwork over two separate pieces. “A big canvas is really powerful to me,” she says. “It has a lot of unity and harmony versus two pieces on their own, which are more balanced and reference symmetry. They’re two different compositions, so you’re drawn in two separate directions. Whereas with one big piece, you’re drawn into the center of it, which is a completely different experience. It’s something to keep in mind as well. What kind of vibe do you want?”

Words by Braeden Alexander.

Director of Content