Monday, September 15, 2014

Looking For Normal

Wow, it's been weeks since I posted. I would love to report that I've been working on art, but I haven't. Getting my house ready for the market was far more work than anticipated, and I've been simply buried in house projects since I last checked in. My parents did move out in of my basement in that time as well, but left their cat with us. It was very helpful to get my house reduced back down to just us. I simply couldn't even think straight with all the extra chaos in the house.

But it's done. We're done. The house is officially live on the market. I admit, I was rather hoping we'd get some calls this weekend, but instead it was just silence. My biggest worry now is that we've missed the real estate window here in Vermont. You see, if we hit November, the odds of us selling before next spring drop to almost zero. Vermont is simply not like other places. So, cross your fingers for us that someone is looking and interested!

Now that we're finally settled and just ready to show, I can finally start working again. No more false starts, but actual working! I just have to be really careful about where I work and how messy things get. Oh, and I also found out that the movers won't touch my paints. This is frustrating, so I'm trying to figure out a workaround, but there doesn't seem to be one. UPS said they probably would accept mailing any water based paints, but any oils (of which, I have a lot) any aerosols, any fixatives, anything else not solely water based and with any sort of chemical composition is out. You see, you have to be licensed to ship them... but not to receive them. That's why you can order paint online and get it, but you could never send anyone paint yourself.


So once we get to move, it looks like I'll have to pack my car high with art supplies and drive myself there over a day or two rather than have my car moved and being there in a few hours of flight instead. I know there are people who love road trips, I'm simply not one of them though. I get car sick even when I'm driving, plus I'll be worried about the changing conditions on my supplies (too hot? too cold?)

All these little logistical things are driving me crazy and making me very unhappy. I could deal with those, if we could just get the house under contract, I think.

But in the meantime, it's back to actual art work! Well, in a day or two. My husband surprised me with taking today and tomorrow off, because it's our 19th wedding anniversary!

It's hard to believe that it was 20 years ago out on a date with my then boyfriend that I got this in my fortune cookie (and I saved it! Good thing too, because otherwise no one would believe me.)

We met, total fluke after having mutual friends for five years and never meeting. We started dating. We were engaged six weeks later (yes, I know, if my kids did this I would probably have a stroke.) We were married 14 months from the day we met (and the only reason we waited that long was because we up and moved from Colorado to Chicago, so we had the transition to deal with as well as planning a wedding.)

19 years later, and here we are! Hard to believe how fast the time goes!

Off to paint... eventually!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back From My Travels

I'm late for my Monday post, but that's because I've been in North Carolina for over a week! I finally got back yesterday, and I cannot express to you how wonderful it was to sleep in my own bed! Not that the bed in the hotel was bad, but there's nothing quite like your own spot, is there?

This plant was outside our hotel. Every morning it had a big new bloom, and every evening it had withered and fallen off. Isn't that amazing? My friends on Facebook think it may be a Mexican Petunia. I can't imagine how long it can go through blooms like that, but it never ran out the entire week we were there!

We hit a huge wall on the house-hunting because of a stupid (I have other descriptive words, but they're less ladylike) "due diligence" fee. You can look up what it is if you're curious, but what it amounts to for us is that we cannot put a house under contract with a contingency to sell our house as is normal in most places. Not without paying a lot of money, anyway (think a couple thousand a month,) given the area we're shopping in. It's just insane and totally unreasonable. I have no idea how people who are local and don't have all the benefits we do for relocating sell their house there without ending up homeless in a hotel for a few weeks while trying to find a new property and close on it.

And this is extremely frustrating as we DID find a house we would have put an offer on. It had a studio space (probably meant for an upstairs game room) with a big storage closet, AND an additional drywalled but unfinished space attached to it. I practically drooled at the idea of what I could do with it. The rest of the house was fantastic too. BUT STUDIO, PEOPLE! STUDIO SPACE!!!

This was all after realizing my dream of having a house in the woods on a couple of acres evaporated when we found out that the schools listed were NOT the actual schools on the properties we thought would fit the bill (whether error or lying by the listing agent - not ours-, we're not sure.) It has been really hard for me to let that go.

I...almost feel threatened at the idea of living in a neighborhood. I know that sounds absolutely silly. I used to love to go out and meet people and be a part of things. Somewhere over the years that has changed. People are scarier, the world is louder, and I like my little slice of privacy and nature. It makes me feel safe. A neighborhood doesn't. But if I have to do this, that house was lovely (more than we wanted to spend, but lovely.) Yet, the best we can do is hope to sell our house quickly enough to offer on that one before it sells.


I did meet a cicada up close and personal after it scared the daylights out of my husband (wish I had been filming then!)

After house hunting, I did manage to find a few art galleries and spaces. It was Sunday by the time I was able to do so, and everything was closed... but I got to see some through the window (probably looking like a creepy patron while pressed against the glass.) I even found places with artist in residency and that sort of thing that maybe I'll get involved with when I'm there.

I was also able to visit Jerry's Artarama there, but I was kind of disappointed. It was smaller than I had hoped with less selection and higher prices than online. So for me, I suppose I'll still be ordering most everything online and only hit the stores when I desperately need just one little thing. We've all been there, smacking our heads when we just needed that tiny little thing. At least I'll have somewhere to go now and hopefully get it!

Jerry's did have the GIANT canvases though:

That's a 60x72 inch canvas right there, folks! I WANT!!!
Might be worth it to buy just one ($92 each), instead of a box of three online ($249.) Yes, yes it will be worth it. Oh, the things I want to paint! They'll be epic, and detailed, and might take a horribly long time. But oh, I can imagine so many wonderful things. A whole adventure on one canvas!

Beyond all that there were restaurants galore (I ate way more than I should have.) Malls. Stores. LOTS of stores. Potential, if I can just figure it all out!

On a totally unrelated non-art topic, I just had to share that I'm so ready for Autumn! On this trip, there were Starbucks. I went into a couple looking for Pumpkin Lattes and left disappointed. I know, it's still August... but I was hoping nonetheless! While I was unable to appease my pumpkin-craving tastebuds, I returned home to find my order from Bath & Body Works. This means that while my tastebuds may be sad, my nose was not! They have my most favorite candle back in stock!

I don't even like waffles, much less pumpkin pecan waffles, but this just smells divine. I think I'm lucky that I'm not someone who really likes cinnamon rolls or sticky buns (although I make fabulous ones, they're just not my thing. I make an award winning apple pie too, and I don't like it either.) If it smelled like triple fudge brownies or ice cream (does ice cream smell like anything, really?) I would be in trouble. I'd probably be ready to crawl into the pantry and not come out again. Being that I don't actually like pumpkin pecan waffles, this just smells SO good, like something I'd LOVE to eat, but in actually I never would. It's a calorie-free dessert for my nose. It also makes me think of warm hearths, crisp autumn air and falling leaves. These are a few of my favorite things...!

Monday, August 18, 2014

An Adventure

I fear that I am yet again not accomplishing much from my studio, but I will say that great plans are starting to fall into place for it! I fully intend on getting back to my Queen of Hearts now that my work for Thrice Fiction is finished with this last piece:

"Lotus" 9x12 inch, acrylic on studio painting board. Available in my Etsy Surreal Shop.
I actually wasn't sure about this piece, but by the end I was in love with it. My daughter really likes it. It's one of those pieces that if it doesn't sell, it may mysteriously show up in my daughter's room. My art that she likes tend to magically show up there when I'm not looking (actually, my son will sneak a few pieces here and there too.)

On the Alice in Wonderland front, not only is my plan to work hard on my Queen of Hearts (who has now officially been reserved, but prints will be made eventually), but there are also plans in the work for the White Queen (who lived backwards) as a companion piece, and little paintings like the "eat me" tea cakes and so on. I'm nearing the end of the series, but I see a few more coming. I may not be painting much physically right now, but there is a lot going on internally in my mental studio! (I know that sounds wrong, but go with me on it. I paint many paintings in my head before they ever show up in reality!)

As I said in my last post, the move is on for North Carolina! That's all well and good, but there is a lot that needs to happen in order for us to get there. We're going on a trip to find a new house. At the top of my list is a REAL studio space! My husband is all on board, I imagine due to my studio here sprawling out over all levels of the house. The tiny bedroom upstairs that initially housed my entire studio doesn't even hold all my supplies at this point. Wedging myself in it to paint is near impossible! With my parents living with us temporarily, I've even pulled my painting back from the kitchen table to my bedroom. Neither are good places, but it's what has to happen in the chaos!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to looking at homes with a true eye to a good creative space! It's all very exciting! After we get back, my parents should be relocating within a week or two, and then things will settle down some. I can't move until the house here sells, and so I'll just be working on my studio projects and biding my time. It's actually a good thing I have work to focus on.

In fact, I've been perusing my unfinished pieces. There are a LOT, and I think I'm going to work on finishing them in between working on the queen (it's a sort of break, even though you're still working.) I'm not sure what to work on first, but I have some options:

The top left is the acrylic dragon/girl piece I was doing for autumn last year. The top right is actually in oils and I was doing a painting time-lapse of it. There are to be two castles, both crystalline/impressionist and one black and one white (white and night, black in the day) with lightning in between the two. The bottom left was my Christmas one from last year that I didn't finish on time as my Christmas card, but I'd like to finish it for this year's then. I wanted to paint a new Christmas painting every year! The last is a surreal landscape, with a big tree.

I have no idea why I wandered away from any of these. It's not as if there was a huge distance to go on them. I never used to do this. I would work on one piece and finish it, then move onto the next. Now, I have oodles of unfinished work... how did that happen?

Monday, August 11, 2014

It Starts As A Trickle

Well, I finally have news! We ARE going to move to North Carolina!

It took forever (since February), but it's finally official. You would think that I would have had some huge sense of relief, but honestly I didn't feel anything. At first I was disappointed that I didn't feel wildly excited. Wasn't this was I was waiting for? But then I slowly realized this quiet numbness was actually an improvement from feeling frustrated all the time. After being grumpy about our situation for so long, having that answer finally silenced all the internal grumbling (and colorful cussing.) There wasn't any jubilation, just quiet.

Quiet isn't so bad!

I thought that would wear off too, but it hasn't yet. Not totally. Instead it's like a trickle of awareness starting to sneak in, whispering "This is going to be hard..." I had to call and schedule appointments and cancel other appointments (along with some snide "WHY are you canceling?" questions, they don't like that. You would think my calling to cancel a December appointment would be looked at as thinking ahead and respecting their schedule and business, right?)

Things are going to pick up quickly. I have no time line, no real idea when we'll be moving, but my vague understanding is "soon". In the meantime, my parents are still living here, and their cats are still knocking things over. One of their cats figured out my big lovable ball of fluff has no instinct for fighting (he's an indoor cat) and decided to attack him. My poor boy (all 22 lbs of him) came flying out of the basement after the yowling with his little nose bleeding from a nasty scratch.

Socrates, taking my spot where I was reading. No pictures of his cut nose, he wasn't in the mood. This is a picture from a while ago.

My muse for my Cheshire cat is so patient, he decided he'd rather stalk me and snuggle me than fight with the big bully that my parent's cat feels he is (he's even taking on the dogs.) Luckily, my parents were very upset at the behavior, and we're working on keeping them apart and their cat out of my cat's territory. Socs is much happier now.

Socrates is a lover, not a fighter!

Minus feeling protective of my furry inhabitants of the house, I've also been cleaning up messes like crazy. How, in the name of Crayola, am I supposed to work like this?

Well, I managed to get one piece done for Thrice Fiction Magazine, the wolf:
"Wild" 8x11 inch, pastel on pastel paper
I can't say that I'm thrilled with it. I feel like I could do a better wolf, more flowing hair and such... but I used pastels and sort of constrained myself. Part of me still likes it though!

I'm also finally putting up my embellished canvases in my Fairy Tale shop. These are fine art prints of my paintings on stretched canvases (gallery depth) that I then enhance with paint to make them original in their own right. This is a good example...

Here is the print of Cinderella, from the original painting (long since sold, but one of my very favorites, I do so love Cinderella):

Cinderella print

Now, here is the actual embellished stretched canvas I completed:

Embellished canvas print, ignore the glare - that's just from not tweaking the image for printing, and showing the actual canvas instead. You can see how deep the colors are on the picture below.
You can see the stretched sides are just black canvas.
You can see that the moon is completely different, more like my current moons. Plus, the original was in oil and so I wasn't able to make it all sparkly. Now that I can? I put copper and gold and other iridescents on it! Sparkly pumpkins and hair and more, oh how I love iridescent paint!

I really do love these canvases. I actually plan on making several for my own collection and keeping them! Sometimes I'm so sad to see an original go because I have fallen in love with it, so I'm grateful I can create more of them, so to speak. Not as wonderful as the actual original, but still fun. I'm sneaking little things into them that aren't on the original too (like a lady bug on my Garden Party painting, etc.)

Now, I'm off to try and finish the last piece for the magazine. Wish me luck! It involves swirls and an eye and... well, I'm not sure where I'm going with it. I suppose that's a good metaphor for my life right now!