Sunday, June 21, 2015

No-Control Freak

We're in the final stages of getting ready to move, and trying to sell the house. Part of that is finishing all pressing projects in my studio. Which I have...

"White Queen" 16x20, acrylic on stretched canvas (sold, commission)

Magpie, 5x7 watercolor/acrylic on watercolor paper (commission, sold)

Those two were finally it! Finishing those meant I was finally on vacation. I should be so happy.

I'm not. I'm not sure what to do with myself really. Sure, I felt pressed to get things done and it was hard to deal with, but I had something occupying a lot of my time too. With the kids out of school, the paintings all done, and packing to be done by the movers, I have MORE time to sit around and contemplate a panic attack when I think about moving and not having the house sold.

You know, I thought that if I just had hit my break from painting, I'd be more relaxed and feel like a weight was lifted. But all I can focus on is the fact that we keep dropping the price of the house, and the market just stinks up here. It's freaking me out, to be honest. I wish I could just let it go, but it turns out I'm a complete control freak, and I have no control in this. The only thing we can do is drop our price (which we have, below appraisal by quite a bit now), keep it clean, and just keep waiting. I'm totally not OK with that. I'm a do-er. I want to DO something!

There's only so many times I can clean the house without getting frustrated too, and I'm not sleeping as well because of the stress - even when I exercise like I'm supposed to and follow my diet (it's on and off at this point.) So... I pulled out a canvas, and I'm sketching out a surreal hot-air balloon. Because I think my studio is the only thing distracting me right now. I guess I can't just put it all away.

I keep telling myself this will work itself out, but it just feels scary. One giant ball of scary. And because of that, I am unable to close my studio down. Not yet. Maybe not until the very last second.

I wish I could be excited about everything. About starting this new chapter in my life, but not having the house under contract makes me feel as if I can't look forward to anything at all. (I wonder if that's true. I wonder if we get a contract on the house, if I'll find something else to be freaked out about - maybe the house is an excuse? I don't think so, though...)

GAH!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June Bug

Well, it's been about another month since I checked in. I know, I know. But you should also know I write at a fitness/life blog of mine elsewhere, and that's part of the reason I think I don't write here as often as I should. I think I must subconsciously think that I'm just repeating myself!

Well, that's actually coming to an end. My fitness blog will be no more. What this means in actuality is that I'm kind of a windbag, and that will likely have to end up somewhere (here... 'cause, that's all I'll have left.) I'm ending my other blog because there is just so much one can say about fitness and weight struggles before it's kind of boring. I want to focus more on my life. My Art. My world.

OK, fitness and my weight will still be a part of that (because seriously, my chocolate addiction is legendary), but I need a more positive focus. So, I'm going to share more here with everyone than I have been. More art, more life, more stuff. Stuff is good.

So, first up I have to say that I'm still waiting to move. I'll be headed down to North Carolina over the 4th of July weekend. I'm both excited, and really nervous because it's like a big cliff coming my way and I can't seem to see anything beyond it. The house still hasn't sold, but we actually have a showing tomorrow. I'm hoping that means the market is beginning to pick up (it was a hard winter and I think everyone here is just behind the curve.)

Because of that, I have the attention span of a firefly at this point. I get excited about something, get ready to work... and then it's gone. (Where am I, again?) Seriously annoying from the studio side of my life. I'm really at this point where I feel like I need to pack up my art supplies and just exist. I need to just exist. Just take care of my family, keep the house clean, start packing, and not think about anything else. Maybe a few trashy romance novels, but nothing else. Unfortunately, I have projects that aren't letting me.

In truth, I really only have two left. If I can just get them done, I plan on packing up my paints and calling it quits until after we move. The first is this little watercolor/acrylic piece that I can hopefully get done quickly:

It's a magpie/bone boat. It needs to fly far, far away, its new owner is waiting for it.

The next is, of course, my Through the Looking Glass White Queen. Now, this one is a commission and my poor client has been so patient with me. She understands that if my brain isn't in it, I'll mess it up. But at the same time, it NEEDS to get done. I've never struggled with painting like I have been this past year. It's really quite ridiculous. It has nothing to do with the painting and everything to do with my moving-brain syndrome. But here is where she is at (sorry for the blurry cell phone picture):


She's coming along. I believe she'll get done. I'm hoping. Otherwise, I won't get that break I need, and I'll be trying to paint her in an apartment with the whole family on top of me while we wait for the house to be completed.

Side note: I can't WAIT to have a real and final place for my studio! I'm so excited! Squeeee!

I did finish this painting. You might remember her from an earlier post with red and all sorts of work done beneath her. Well, the leafing went wrong, and I ended up using the blue variegated leaf over the whole space. The mistake turned into something I just LOVE (two pictures because it is hard with the metal to get a good picture.)

Without light shining right off it


And with the sun on the leafing.

It's closer in color to the top picture, but the gold looks closer to the bottom one. It's one of those that's so cool in person, that I don't mind if it doesn't sell. I'll frame it and put it in my house. I see a dark, thick walnut frame...

That's pretty much it on the art front. See how bad my attention span is right now? Yeesh. But in other news, my daughter went to prom (and I did her hair, make-up, made the corsage and boutonnière, cooked dinner since they ate here, and took their pictures. I was exhausted by the time they left!)

Aren't they cute?
That's "the boyfriend", and they've been together about 7 months now? 8? I can't remember. Sweet as can be!

 And then shortly after that, my daughter turned 17. 17!?!  GAH!  We made a triple chocolate strawberry explosion cake:

Making dipped strawberries for the cake

THE. CAKE.

I gained 10 lbs before I even took a bite, I swear.

And that's been my life! I'm looking forward to all sorts of things, and I plan on sharing a lot more here as they happen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Checking In

I'm alive! I think I've been hiding with the idea that the next time I wrote something, I would have wonderful news. That strategy isn't working. I have news, but I'm still like a cat with its claws in the ceiling with circling sharks beneath it. Because I'm all Zen like that.

So, it's been over a month... It's finally Spring! It stopped snowing! I'm happy to report that the leaves are almost out on everything here (not quite, but we're getting there), and with everything turning green I am hoping that people will start looking in the housing market here again and make us an offer on our house. It's a huge stress for me that I think might even be making me a bit ill.

With Spring has come the weird and kind of freaky thunderstorms. This is from just the other day, taken off my back deck:

I tried that panorama setting on my phone. Looks kind of crooked, but you get a real shot of the sky!

Let's see. We had Spring Break in there, and my husband visited! It was nice to see him. We're only seeing each other about once every couple of months or so. We learned to make raviolis from scratch together (it was on my bucket list.)

He was happy to be home for a tiny bit!

Nice, right?! Need to make the dough thinner though. Next time...
And then he was off again. I DO have a time line now, though. We move the weekend of the 4th of July. It's going to be scary, because while our things are going to be moved by someone else, we have to rent a passenger van and load it with all four of us, two dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and all my painting stuff that the movers won't touch because they're afraid the paints will blow up or something. That's going to be one very LOOOOONG car ride (we figure about 15 hours. We're trying to decide whether to do it in one go, or two parts.)

We then won't be going to our new house. Instead, we'll be in a temporary housing situation that is... wait for it... a two bedroom apartment. It sounds like the premise for a sitcom. Our new house won't be done for a month, or two... hopefully not three.

*sigh*

With that in mind, I'm actually having a moving sale of new and old art right now and through this Friday on Facebook. My Surreal work for sale is here, and my Fairy Tale work is here. If you are interested in anything you see, just comment on the one you'd like or let me know and I'll make note of it. I'd just rather sell them than pack them.

Speaking of new work, here is what has been happening in my studio:
This piece was for a story in Thrice Fiction Magazine. It has the whole Jack & Jill thing going on.

Another piece for Thrice Fiction, the story hit on some domestic violence issues.


I don't like redoing paintings, but you might remember a sketch similar to this one? Yeah, that piece bombed. I was determined to get it to work out with the double irises, so I re-sketched and switched mediums from pastels to watercolor. I LIKE this one!


Me... working on a dragon...



Experimenting with some oils. I ended up really liking this. I'm going to need to learn how to mount loose canvas to a board.

I know I'm going to move heavily back into oils after I'm finally settled in my new house. I'm a bit sad I can't play with them anymore, since we'll be moving and they might not be dry by then!

I'm working on a new piece that will be up for auction in a few weeks. The theme was Art Nouveau, which... I really don't like. The only thing that I like from the genre is actually Klimt, and I can't figure out why he's classified with it? All the rest look like soap labels to me and remind me of Green Gables... and I LOVE the Green Gables series, but I don't want to paint or hang soap labels in my house. If that makes any sense, anyway.

So, I went Klimt-ish with my piece. It's going to be my midsummer night's dream kind of piece. Night above, blanket below, and I ordered gold leafing so I can make it super sparkly. I just need it to show up. I feel like I should be pressing my nose to the glass of the store I ordered it from! Even though I'm not ready for it, I want it here!

Figure, grey undertones

Figure, adding in flesh tones. I feel like I'm sort of waking her up. This was my progress just last night.

And I still have the Alice in Wonderland series commissioned piece of the White Queen that I'm still working on. It's slow going, but I think we're getting ready for the "click". When that happens, the rest just flows quickly. I need that click!

And that's where things are at! I hope by Christmas I can look back and think about how grateful I am that the hard parts are over. I hope they will be by then, and if I can just hang on a bit longer, I'll be OK. That's what I keep telling myself!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Struggles

Normally, I think I'm so-so in the production department of my studio. It might be sort of slow (I wish I could knock out big complicated pieces every week! Sometimes I get on a roll and knock out all sorts of work, while other times it's a bit more tough going), but generally it's a fairly steady stream of work. However, lately I just feel like my head isn't glued on straight! I'm going through so much doubt and struggle, and it's very frustrating.

I have a feeling that this year is all about change, refocusing, and clarity. In other words, a very uncomfortable year all the way around. Let's face it; life is a bit of a mess for me at the moment.

I'm still living here with my kids and trying to get the house sold in Vermont while my husband lives somewhere else far away (in lots of hotel rooms.) It's been a long 6+ months of living like a single parent. We signed contracts to get the house going (built, and it's not gone smoothly) in North Carolina, but that just makes everything a little scarier somehow.

I'm trying to lose about 40 lbs in the middle of this... I'm not certain I'm doing well, but I'm not failing either (boy, if I could just figure out a way to give up eating, I'd be all set! Why couldn't I be one of those non-eating during stress types?)

I can't seem to make everyone (or anyone) happy in the family department...

All of that translates to me sitting down at my canvas and instead of exercising my demons and finding peace and balance at my easel like I used to, I think the top of my head sort of explodes. Once, art was an escape. Now that it's a business with demands and deadlines to be met, it's... lost a lot of the peace. That is on me, my own fault. I need to find my way back to art. I'm trying.

My commissioned work is slow going. I'm fighting it for some reason, suffering from a lack of focus I guess. My current piece is the White Queen, still. I painted in Humpty Dumpty, and I'm working my way slowly through the painting, but I'm... fighting it.



Actually, I don't think I'm fighting the painting itself. I'm trying to figure out how to get my life in order. I feel like everything is out of my control, and that's scary. Even my art, right now. It's my life, and yet everything seems to be at everyone else's whim (and some things, like waiting for someone to buy our house, is just so far out of my control that there's literally nothing I can do. Nothing makes a control freak more insane than knowing the major things tormenting them are completely beyond them. Plus, controlling the little things doesn't help any because the big ones are still around to give you nightmares.) So that makes me feel scattered. But I'm still trying to get it together, have a plan, and move forward.

I made some decisions. I applied to join a different art collective on Facebook in the hopes that it would help support my surreal artwork. You see, I have a venue right now for my fairy tale work, but not my surreal. Not really. I already know that I need both styles in my life to feel balanced, but that both smooshed together on one place is confusing to clients. So, I split my pages on Facebook so all my Fairy Tale work is in one place, and my Surreal is in another.

That was a good first step. The next was finding a place to get my work out there. Well, the collective I applied to turned me down. Rejection always bites the big one, but honestly? I'm okay with what happened. Instead, I have partnered with someone else to create a new collective with the same goal in mind. It's a lot more work, but it's going to happen.

The process is making me realize how much work has been stuck in my mind and not making it to paper or canvas. In my head, I have a vast portfolio and so much more to do. In reality? It's been on the back burner. I would have said no to me too as the other collective did, looking in from the outside. How could they possibly know where I'm going to go with things? It's a hard thing, realizing that the only person really paying attention to you is... you. No one is going to take your word for it.

Anyway. I realize I need to quickly develop my surreal portfolio. Sure, I have my old one, but that's out of date and out of step for where I am now and where I am going. I haven't been able to complete much of anything right now, though, yet I feel intense pressure to knock out a ton of work.

I recently finished a piece, and I feel like it straddles between both the Fairy Tale and Surreal work (which makes sense, since I was trying to figure the whole venue thing out for myself at the time):

"Cat's Cradle" 9x12 watercolor (little acrylic in her hair) on 140lbs hot-pressed 100% cotton professional watercolor paper.

I like it. It reminds me of the Graeae.

And then I worked on two others, and they totally crashed and burned. The sketches were good, even if the execution was a total melt-down:



*sigh*

I'll figure it out. I think that's going to be the whole point of this year for me, in the studio and out. I need to change, develop, move, refocus, and gain clarity about myself on multiple levels. That's a tall order. I'm just trying to hang on and keep going!