Monday, September 29, 2014

Trying To Find The Calm

Since I took a picture last week of Autumn starting up here in Vermont, I decided I'd do one every week, just to show the changing season right now. So, here is this week's Fall foliage photo, taken from my deck, Sunday morning:

You can see that the colors are definitely heating up! Peak season falls around the first two weeks of October, so we're right on schedule. It gets flat out brilliant. I'm waiting for my oak on the left there to start turning orange!

I finished my piece for the live auction on Facebook on The Rabbit Hole Artist Collective:

"Sail Away" 8x10" acrylic on fine professional canvas panel.

I really am happy with the way the auction piece came out, and I am planning several paintings. I've just got the whole hair-turning-into-night-thing stuck in my head. I've got all sorts of ideas. Luckily, that will fuel my surreal side very nicely for a while.

I also painted a mini that was months past-due:

And then with all those obligations finally taken care of, I was finally able to start back to work on my Queen of Hearts (which I am sure the client who has reserved her is relieved about! Heck, I'm relieved too!):

This is where I had last left it, and started back in...

And the light was gone by the time I stopped (hence the bad lighting in the photo), but this is where I ended it. 
Now, I know I covered up a lot of the spiral trees, but that's part of how I paint. Maybe I didn't need to spend as much time on them, but the truth is that *I* know they are there and I'm not 100% sure how my paintings are going to come into being. They tend to have a mind of their own, and if I try to control too much I end up messing them up. So, I complete a lot of the painting that perhaps no one will ever see (like the wall on the White Rabbit painting, for example) because it's important to me to do it right and not have gaping holes if it goes in a direction I didn't expect. So, while no one will see how much went into those spiral trees, I know they're really there.

I went with a yellow flowering tree in opposition to the purple flowering tree (and if you look beneath them, they have opposite colored iris flowers too.) I plan on making the garden an explosion of floral color, so although it just looks very green now... it won't for much longer! I have to be careful though, because I know those flamingos are going to be a huge wash of pink!

I'm sill trying to decide about her skirt too. All one color? Red? Black? What about red and black stripes down? The center will be white ruffles, of course. But this is how the painting grows on its own; I'm never quite certain how it'll all end up. Just mostly certain. Mostly.

That wrapped my busy week up. Then it was time for two house showings on Saturday. There was a live bid on the house, but it's dead now because the other side was looking for a cut-throat deal and that simply isn't going to happen. I'm well aware we're past the Vermont real estate window, and I'm simply preparing to be here until next Spring. We're actually fine with that, because it is better for us financially anyway, we'll be likely to get a much more reasonable bid on the house, and I get to have one last winter! Win-win! If we got a reasonable offer, we'd take it, of course, but until that happens I'm happy with where we are.

All this back and forth is messing with my calm, though. I just found it, just started back to work on painting, and now I'm having problems keeping my calm because I want to yell at someone. The truth is that we're fine. Better than fine, actually. So, I should be calm and all this should be background noise. I just like things settled. Calm. I need to find my calm.

Saturday also brought with it a fever for me, which wasn't a huge surprise as my kids were sick this week too, and I'm worn down by all the unsettled energy going on. A cold isn't all that much of a shock. It's kind of like the other shoe finally dropping, actually!

I've been trying to take a few more "selfies" because my daughter pointed it out that it's fun to look back years later and see yourself. As I have avoided the camera as much as possible, there are actually very few pictures of me around. So, what the heck, right? This is me on Saturday with a fever, a migraine setting in, and laying down for a nap. For the record; I have a lot more wrinkles than this... which is probably why I like the picture! Sure, I feel like heck, but I look 10 years younger! HA!

I felt a bit better Sunday even worked out! Saturday was just a very big day after a very big week, I guess!

I'm typing this out on Sunday, and it's my day off... but I think I want to paint. Because it's a day off from the major studio work, I have decided to paint some Halloween minis! So, I'm off to do that! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

(I did start a halloween mini, and we had a last of the season fire last night)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Welcome Autumn!

It's the first day of Autumn here, and I have to tell you it's just perfect outside! I typed that sentence, then ran outside to snap a picture from the back deck:

Now, it's harder to see in the photo, but trees are just starting to turn. Some orange and red ones are scattered about! I'm told that's one thing I won't lose in North Carolina, the brilliant autumns! That's good, because it really is my favorite time of the year. The air turns crisp and the world lights up with color! It's something I never experienced in Colorado. We drove up into the mountains to see the aspens change sometimes (all yellow), but in general autumn in Colorado was all about trees starting to change, a sudden major snowstorm, and then all the leaves were gone. This subtle meandering through color and raining leaves, it's something I've grown to adore! I don't think I'd do well living without it.

I am a bit nervous to be living without snow, however. We'll see how I handle that transition.

Speaking of, we finally got our house on the market. There has been some interest from a couple different parties, but it's one of those things that simply may not work out (I'm an optimistic pessimist; I don't think things are going to go well but I really, really hope they will!) We hope it does, but I am also preparing myself for being here until next summer when the real estate season comes back around (it's very seasonal here with most people buying in the Spring and Summer.) We could sell our house for far less than it is worth and leave now, of course, but that would hurt my family financially and there is no bonus for doing that on any level. So, perhaps I won't miss out on snow this year. Maybe I'll get one more season in my pretty house in the Vermont mountains after all? 

It actually doesn't bother me all that much, if we sell fast or not. I see positives in going now if we can, but also for staying. I suppose that's a good place to be in! The panic has faded, the urgency. The only fly in my wine (wine sounds better than ointment, really) is keeping the house clean for showings! Seriously, people who live in spotless houses naturally, how does that even work?

In other news, I FINALLY got back to painting. Really painting. I missed two auction deadlines for the Rabbit Hole Artist Collective. *head*desk*

BUT! This month's prompt is The Lovely Bones. Now, I don't know if the group meant the prompt to be from the book or movie, but I remember it clearly (a girl who was murdered, watching over the people in her life.) It was hard, and sad, and... well, anyway. Many of the collective went a very different way with the prompt, and I decided to fall somewhere halfway between the two.

I decided on an 8x10 fine tooth canvas panel:

All sketched out
Adding in the background...
Night sky and moon in, body in, working on dress

Now, her dress morphs into a bone-boat. I debated the color of the dress being red, because it creates a blood and bone image that might be too much. Yet, I don't think it could have been any other color. Not only would another color blend too much, but frankly? The blood and bone boat makes a significant metaphorical point if you know the story. This is about journey, personal sorrow, and transition.

I'm already in love with this painting. I've been meaning to paint a series where the hair or dress of my figure is causing a shift (from day to night, spring to fall, etc) for about two years now. This prompt and where I went with it gave me my excuse. 

This is definitely more surreal than fairytale, so this is coming from my Abstract and Surreal art page, rather than my Fairy Tale one. I have a yearning to paint more and more of these as I've been working on them in my mind for a very long time, but I also have a strong desire (and a client) to finish off my Queen of Hearts and her companion piece (the white queen) along with the secondary characters I had meant to paint as well (i.e. humpty dumpty, etc.) And then there is the urge to get on the holiday stuff too! I never finished my kittens with the stockings last year either!

Basically, while I didn't intend to take this long off from painting (it's been months now if I add up my parents living here and getting the house ready until now), but I'm charged up to make things happen! PAINT! PAINT! PAINT!

I expect this current painting to be finished today, and up for auction this week at the collective, so pop by if you are interested! I also expect I'll have a lot more painting progress to share next week!

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.

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...!