Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's not quite 2014 here, but it is mere minutes away (well, about 60 of them.) Still, this year I am finding myself a bit sleepy and happy to see 2013 go.

I put together a painting quilt of my work from 2013:

In some ways, I am happy with that. In others, I see so much more room for improvement. More focus on the big, complicated and detailed paintings will be a priority for 2014. The minis were good, and will come back around here and there, but my goal is to reign in the ADD artist personality and start a more serious push through the bigger pieces like my Queen of Hearts, and Red Riding Hood is definitely coming your way!

One of my resolutions is to open up a little more on here. So, I plan on doing that. More about me and the art, not just art.

So, on that note this year I will also be focusing on my health as well as working on trying to make things better for my family and I. It was a tough 2013, with many things out of my control and sad or scary. I'm hoping for a much better 2014! But no matter what happens, I know I'll have paint brush in hand and paint splatters on just about everything I own... which is just about perfect!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Post-Holiday Hello!

Boy, I sure haven't checked in for a while! I thought I had! Sorry about that! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday?

We went on a cruise, which turned out to be a bad cruise (I'll briefly explain below.) However, there were some nice highlights to my trip and I thought I'd share!

First, we drove into NYC to stay the night and get on the ship in the morning. Our plan was to play around in NYC and show the kids Time's Square (and my daughter had her sights set on Forever 21, because that's her favorite store... one of mine too!)

She's so happy, I wish we could get this store in Vermont!

Unfortunately, Mother Nature was busy stirring up one heck of a storm! We beat it into the city, though! NO traffic coming in, I couldn't believe it! However, by the time we were wandering around it was cold. Cold-cold. Bone-chilling cold. By the time we walked back to the hotel we were frozen and beaten down by the storm. Still, I had fun! My son decided we were specifically torturing him, but the rest of us were happy!

We saw the Rockefeller Christmas Tree (I took a 4 second video of it):

Hubby and I at the Rockefeller Christmas tree, FREEEEEZING!
No, I didn't pack gloves, we were going on a cruise!

These were just ridiculously cool. I wanted to play on them.
The next morning the storm had passed and we were off to the boat!

We cruised on the Norwegian Breakaway. I'm going to stop here to make something very clear: I am VERY angry at Norwegian Cruise Lines. This was a bad cruise. The crew on the ship were absolutely miserable, and it was evident from the moment we got on the ship. When people are going on a cruise to get away from it all, to be surrounded by an angry and miserable crew just makes everything worse. When we were all disembarking at the end, strangers were asking one another if they had a bad cruise too. This was not unique to us, and NO ONE said they had a good time. A good example would be that when they canceled the stop at Stirrup Cay (one of the islands we were so looking forward to), we personally witnessed crew members celebrating with high-fives over the decision. That was one of the only times I saw any smiling from them.

Norwegian's policy on board was that the guest is always wrong. I'm not exaggerating, and we had direct experience with it that was just sickening when we simply asked a question about something that wasn't clear to us and they immediately went on the attack. I was completely flabbergasted by this attitude, I've never seen anything like it anywhere - but most especially never in a vacation company.

I'm always polite, I never get angry unless the situation truly calls for it with the person directly responsible. I am not that awful traveler you see on videos. I wait my turn, I'm respectful, and I'm patient. Being mean or rude accomplishes nothing, so I don't go there even if I'm having a problem. Not ever. It's unfortunate that the staff didn't have a similar perspective (I witnessed one yelling at a little old lady who was just trying to understand... oh it was just awful on that boat!)

The beds were horribly uncomfortable, they charged for anything they could think of, were completely disorganized, and on the last night they endangered my daughter's safety. My daughter loved the teen center on board, and on the last night a group of teens showed up drunk at 1AM (when they were closing.) Rather than call those teens' parents or security, my daughter (who had been in the teen center safe all night) was asked to walk some of them back to their staterooms.

So, my 15 year old was walking drunk teens back to their rooms at 1AM by herself.  The top of my head blew off when I found out. The things that could have happened, what could have gone wrong. She came back to our room late (we were waiting up for her, panicking and my husband had been out trying to find her but the center was shut down when he got there and there was no one to ask) crying and told us what happened. My daughter is the good girl. I mean that, I'm not just being a silly parent here. She is on the honor roll, student council, cheerleader, soccer goalie, charity volunteer, helps anyone and cares about everyone, respectful of authority - she is the poster child for the good girl. (I know, that she is related to me is one of life's great mysteries.) So, when an authority figure - the teen center counselor - asked her to walk those teens back to their rooms, she did.

She was wrong to have done as they asked. We had to have a long talk about doing the wrong thing when the authority figure asks you to. What a bizarre conversation that was, but in the end I suppose it was a good teaching moment. Just because someone is supposed to be trusted and in control, it doesn't mean that their direction or requests will be the right thing to do. We talked about how she should have high-tailed it back to our room and told us what was going on. We would have gotten involved, believe me. After the fact, there was simply nothing we could do. She learned a lesson, and I learned that Norwegian is a company to NEVER cruise with again.

They called me yesterday to ask if I would like to book another cruise with them. You can imagine my (polite, if angry) response. Their response? "Uh... sorry." And that was it. I've written a comment and review to them, but I don't expect to hear anything because they simply do NOT care. So, I'm putting this out there: avoid Norwegian, they're awful.

(I've really enjoyed other cruise companies though! If this had been my only cruise, I would never cruise again. Fortunately, it was not. I love cruising, and we plan on doing lots of it in the future - hopefully with a company that respects and cares for their guests. My favorite so far? Disney. You wouldn't think of them for cruising, but I've never experienced such wonderful service, kindness, and organization from a cruise line. Even without children, they offer adult only options and I would pick them without a doubt. The cost difference when compared with their service is worth it.)

OK, enough about my anger. I'm working on letting that go. *sigh*

What saved parts of the trip were the stops. We only got two, because they cancelled one of the islands, but we stopped in Port Canaveral, FL and Nassau, Bahamas. In Florida, we booked an excursion to see the manatees. Alas, they weren't there (too cold), but we loved kayaking! I was in a boat with my son and we saw some wild dolphins and fish that tried to jump in our boat! It was a lovely day.

In the Bahamas, we booked an excursion with Dolphin Encounters on the Blue Lagoon island. We chose them over the Atlantis option because we heard they were better - and I think they really were!

My girl and I on the boat going to the Blue Lagoon Island!

Oh, you have no idea what it was like to swim with dolphins! I have always wanted to, but it was always a sort of bucket list type of thing. Well, I've done it!

I have more pictures and video coming... but the video is not here yet. We swam with them for over 30 minutes, and at the end they pushed us across the water by our feet! (I'm hoping to have that video to share when it arrives.)

Here are the two professional pictures we have from the swim:

My girl, doesn't she look like this should be on the brochure cover?
OK, I'm biased, but even so!

This is my family! I didn't catch that my son was wearing his hat and shades until later
*face-palm* He also refused the wetsuit, but the water was CHILLY, so it was a good thing to be wearing!

I also have a few I took on my phone after we were done swimming:

Saying hello!


The beach on the Blue Lagoon Island

Those two shore excursions were wonderful. That's what I'm trying to look back on, and what great companies those two were! Swimming with the dolphins was amazing. Kayaking was fun. Warm weather (not hot, just warm) was such a nice break. It made Christmas seem a million miles away. I don't think I could live in a warm climate year round if I didn't go somewhere cold for Christmas. It's so pretty there, a perpetual summer of a sort (compared to Vermont, anyway.) But I would miss my snow!

So, not great trip, but some excellent moments. And in the end? We needed a break, even if it was a bad one. I sincerely wish it had been good, and the money we spent for what happened makes me want to cry, but at least it was a break of some sort. And hey, no food poisoning, plague, or loss of life or limb, so it's a win, right? *wink*

I now have the desire to paint some dolphins... I wonder why?

We got back and I braved the mall and big stores to finish my shopping (in a dead-on panic, yes I was that woman.) Then finally the day was here and we made our once a year cinnamon rolls and enjoyed a quiet day. It was very nice, although I learned that in the future I'll be scheduling any winter vacations for January or February, because there is too much to do in December and not enough in those months!

That's how I've been, how have you been?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wrapping Up

I just finished a double commission of two holiday chinchilla paintings. I actually had chinchillas for a little while, so I have a special place in my heart for them:

The gap in his ear was actually the customer's request because the chinchilla in question had an injury when he was just a wee little fellow. 

We couldn't have him eating candy, that wouldn't be healthy for a chinchilla (actually, I'm not sure they can have popcorn either... but the cranberries are probably OK.)

I'm running so far behind this year. I haven't even finished the painting I had meant to be released for my official Christmas Card for 2013. *head*desk*

As I've said before, my studio is so stuffed full of things now (organized, but there is simply no room for me anymore) that I have been working at the kitchen table. In the middle of that though, we were supposed to do gingerbread houses. So, half the table is covered with my paints and things, and the other half looks like this:

Since I finished the commissions, I'll actually be piecing together the houses tonight so my kids can decorate them. Everything feels so rushed, but I'm hoping that will change starting today. There are only a few hours left that my online store, www.KWilsonStudio.com, will be open (I couldn't close it down when I expected to because I was notified that the cart hadn't been working all this time. Eeek! So until midnight tonight I have a 10% off sale going with the code SORRY, and everything will ship out on Friday.) I'm going to paint and ship and what have you for the rest of the day along with constructing the gingerbread houses, but I think the biggest hurdles are out of the way.

This year, I'm closing down things a bit earlier than I normally would. In general, my business would be open and I would be painting away commissions and mailing prints and other items right up until the last minute for folks. But this year is different. We're going on an early vacation! We're going on a cruise! (Did you know that cruises leave out of New York year round? Yeah, neither did I!)

My parents are going to house-sit and take care of the animals and probably polish off whatever cookies are left from the holiday baking that I didn't snarf down (let's just say that my swimsuit experience on this cruise won't be pretty.) I'm glad that my parents will be taking care of things, even if I know my cat won't be speaking to me until New Year's because of it.

Now, this was all very exciting when we first booked it. We're supposed to be going kayaking with the manatees and swimming with the dolphins - two things I have always wanted to do. How cool is that? However, I now realize that going away for a week right smack-dab in the middle of the holiday season means I just shortened my shopping and decorating days by a third. Cue the panic.

Upside about the cruise; not too much shopping to do because this is kind of it for my husband and I, and we have main gifts purchased for the kids already (we don't do huge Christmases,) but there are still lots of little things to do. The in-laws, cards, neighbors, teachers, etc. It's amazing how big that list is, and how much harder it gets when you cut out a week. But I can push through! I can!

We need this vacation so badly. Our family is so burned out. I am so burned out. My eye has even developed a tic. It's actually been a very hard year for us on multiple fronts from personal and professional issues to things like us having to put Cosmo to sleep a few weeks ago. We're hoping a nice vacation for the family will help us just sort of... reset.

We're staying overnight in Times Square before the cruise. I'm planning on seeing that Rockefeller tree all lit up in person, something I always wanted to do too! Maybe go ice skating if it's possible as well? Anyway, it's an early holiday for me, and I'm hoping it'll kick the season off the right way for us and that we can finish 2013 on a high note and set up 2014 to be a fabulous year. That's the goal!

Now... I wonder if I can get that kitten/mouse/stocking painting finished while doing laundry and trying to pack?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Little Bits of Progress

First, I want to thank everyone for your thoughtful comments about Cosmo, and us having to put him to sleep.

Things seem to be moving along a little better in the household, and we had an uneventful Thanksgiving (with way too much food.) I hid out from the Black Friday shopping, and protested the day by staying in my pajamas instead! Honestly, it was a little odd. I felt a little left out, and it was just so quiet. Maybe that's why Black Friday has become so big? After the cacophony of the holiday, the day after is so silent! I knew people were out shopping, in the hustle and bustle... and I was in my pajamas.

I did work, however. I've actually been working on lots of new little things (and all of these are available either in my shop (I'm having a 10% off sale until midnight tonight, it's been going all week. Code HOLIDAY2013), or on Etsy:

"Making Friends" 4x6 acrylic on hard canvas panel

"Snow Day" 3x5 acrylic on hard canvas panel

"Mini-Snow" ultra mini, 2x2 acrylic on stretched canvas

"Snowy I" 4x4 acrylic on stretched canvas

"Pepper" 3x3 acrylic on stretched canvas

And I also finally, finally drew out my official holiday painting for 2013:

This is an 8x10, I believe - hard canvas panel.

I don't know WHY it took me so long to do. I knew what I sort of wanted in my head, but I danced around the issue. Finally, I just did it. I built it as I went, not really having a clear picture, but just a vague idea. I rather like how it turned out, actually!

I started painting the fireplace, and I spent HOURS on the bricks to make it look like embers were burning low. I really don't understand why it takes me so long, but it does. I need to look up tips or techniques on how to speed things up. I only got the back wall finished last night. I'm very frustrated with myself, even though I like how the back wall looks.

Still working on the side walls, obviously.
I'll be working on that after I finish this post, actually!
I have a couple of commissions I'm working on, and a few other things, but I'm really feeling tired lately. We have a family trip coming up in two weeks, and I really hope that and the holidays in general give me a new kick in the pants to get things rolling again!

Lastly, I wanted to leave you with a picture from my son's rabbit's modeling session. My mother wanted to have an ornament made for my son, and Smoke (the rabbit) had to put up with modeling in a Santa suit:

Smoke spent the whole time modeling, not bothered at all. Is that a fabulous rabbit, or what?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's The Details

We put Cosmo to sleep yesterday afternoon. I made my husband call the vet to have him come to our house to do it, and while he scheduled it a little close, I thought it would be fine. He scheduled the vet for 3:30. The bus should have been here at 3:20, giving the kids 10 minutes to hear what was going on and spend some time with Cosmo. Not a lot, but excess time for a horrible event coming on would be worse. So, this should have played out fine.

Instead, what happened was that the bus pulled up from one direction 10 minutes late, my husband was turning into my driveway from the other, and the vet's van was behind the damn bus all at once. My son figured it out once he saw the cars and came tearing down the driveway already in tears. My daughter was a bit slower on the uptake, but once she walked in and we said we were putting Cosmo to sleep, she ran sobbing up the stairs to her room. Basically, my kids ended up in an unintentional ambush. I think I win the crappy mother of the year award for this one.

The vet was kind once they saw what was going on, and gave us an extra 15 minutes alone so the kids could say goodbye. Cosmo perked up, wagged his tail, went from person to person, but kept coming back to me which surprised me a bit. I think, in the end, it's because I'm here. Because I work at home, I spend more time with the pets than any other person in the house. They might prefer one person or another, but I'm their biggest constant. All the tears and high emotions, I think Cosmo kept turning back to me because of that, because I was his normal.

We all said goodbye, and my husband took him out to the vet's van (rather than do it inside in front of the Christmas tree. At least I made one right decision when put on the spot.) I didn't go with him. My husband reported back that Cosmo might have had all that energy for his family, but in the van he didn't even have the energy to stand up or deal with the vet. He just laid down, too tired.

It was time. I know that. Maybe he did too.

My son was inconsolable for a while, but my daughter stepped up to the plate surprisingly well and comforted him. While we were outside, he cried himself to sleep.

One of the things about living in the country that's so different from suburbia is that people bury their own pets here. Growing up, my parents had pets cremated and we spread the ashes. If it was a tiny thing like hamster, we did bury it in a shoebox (and if it was a fish, it was the "So long, Sailor!" toilet send off.) But burying a cat or dog in your own yard? Never happened.

There is something so awful about digging a hole in your yard to bury a friend. My husband and I worked in the setting light with the icy wind howling around us, digging the hole for Cosmo's body just a yard or so away from where we buried Max just last year. But while digging the hole was bad, putting Cosmo's body into it was worse. It was so horrible to fill back in that hole. The sun had well and truly set by the time we finished, and our fingers and faces were frozen.

I just wanted to pull Cosmo back out of that hole. Death is so damn wrong. It just is. I get that it's the natural cycle, and that Cosmo was sick and suffering. He probably felt like he was drowning with every breath since his lungs were so full of fluid. It was probably a relief to finally sleep, finally rest, without gasping, without struggling. Maybe he was even fearful because breathing was so hard. Even though he only lived HALF his expected lifespan, I get it. I'm the one that pushed and said that it was time - no one else did that. I get it.

But I can still feel the baby-soft fur on his head beneath my fingers not even 24 hours ago, and it hurts. It's those little details like the fur on his head, wagging tail, big soulful brown eyes, or the final sprinkling in of the dirt on top of his body with his little bright red sweater still on him and shining through those first clumps that hurt the most. That, and for some reason I always think of everything I ever did wrong, that I should have done better.

My hope is that things will start feeling better. That the family will start doing better. My hope is that this is our low point, because honestly this has been a really rough year. The truth is that we've been on a Death-watch with Cosmo since he had his leg amputated in January because of the cancer. They said he'd only live about three months, but he showed them. We had a lovely, NORMAL and healthy summer. It was only in the autumn that things began to turn swiftly downward. We had more than we thought we would, but even so there was always that looming specter of what was to come. It's come and gone now, so perhaps that will ease... something.

I'm sitting here this morning with my paints. I have work. I have commissions that need to get done. But I realize that I miss him. A lot. I can feel the difference. I can feel that he is gone.

Cosmo would only play fetch if throwing the ball involved going up and down the stairs.
Otherwise, he wasn't interested.

Max and Cosmo, together. They're buried side by side now too.
(As for the sweaters, it's Vermont. It can get pretty darn chilly, even if you have your own fur coat!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hanging In There

Last week I traveled to Colorado for a wedding, and I have to say that it was an eye-opening experience to be back where I grew up. I managed to finish my snow queen before I left town, however.  This is the evolution of the painting (I always like to see other artists' works in progress like this too):

She's a little zombie-looking without any red tones, don't you think?

This picture bothered me, until I figured out it was her lack of eyelashes that seemed so weird.

See? Much better with eyelashes!

"Snow Queen" 9x12, watercolor & acrylic. Prints available.
I think she turned out pretty well! She's prettier in person with all the iridescent paint (I really can't help myself at this point. If I can't make it sparkly, I'm just not happy I guess!) She has snow-freckles in white iridescent paint on her face that I just really like for some reason. I was also looking at how she looked with all the white background. I may do a second one that plays on the white of the paper and her being "barely there" just for fun!

Back in Colorado was a strange experience. I've only been back a couple times over the past 16 years, and honestly, I hadn't been back in 10 years this time at all. It's funny to see what changes and what stays the same. I have to say that all those shops and restaurants, malls, and whatever else... it was both nice to be able to go out and get something quickly if I needed it, but it felt like everything was crowded too. I don't know how you run a business with so many businesses on top of one another, often offering the same things 100 times over! There were more Targets and Walmarts in a square block than I have ever seen, they must compete against themselves at that point!

Colorado had the better drivers though. It may have been crowded, and wickedly high speed limits (65 MPH on many non-highway roads I traveled, with stoplights! That made me very nervous. How can you properly stop at a stoplight if you're flying around at 65MPH? I did it, but it was a bit strange to me!) Not five minutes back in Vermont, and I was already cussing out the drivers here after being cut off twice and then stuck behind someone going 25 MPH below the posted speed limit with no way to pass. That's Vermont for you, I suppose. It's pretty, but we're lucky cars don't have the ability to launch rockets at one another.

While out on the trip, my father's office was having a fun contest with hand-turkeys! This is like what you probably did in gradeschool where you trace your hand and then make a turkey out of the thumb, and the fingers are the tail feathers. My dad wanted me to do his (I made him make one too) so we picked up Crayola pencils and cheap paper from Target (oh, how I miss Target. None in Vermont *sigh*) and off we went:

Love my dad! His ended up with a hat on it.

And I decided I was going to do a non-standard turkey. It was MY turkey, after all. So here he is in all his colorfully confused glory:

While out there, my father and I got to visit the big Flatirons mall. Oh, a real mall, a REAL mall! I'm not much of a shopper, but when I go into places like that it's like a man lost in a desert for a week discovering a working slurpee machine. I even bought a pair of boots. I never buy shoes. Especially pricier ones. Clearly the mall went to my head.

I enjoyed visiting with family I hadn't seen in a long while, and the wedding was fine. I snapped a few pictures from my lap while we were waiting for it to start:

Mom & Dad
ME! Sorry for the sort of up-the-nose kind of shots, but I was trying to be stealthy about it...
I discovered this champagne that tastes like Fruity Pebbles:

So all in all it was a good trip. I'm really glad to be home though. It's taken a week, but I am finally back to painting again. I'm way behind the curve, but things have been way too stressful, so I'm trying to tell myself it's OK if I don't meet all my business goals this year. I don't see how I possibly can at this point. *sigh* But it's OK. Maybe next year, right?

And really... fruity pebbles champagne, people. How bad can it really be if that exists?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Admitting It's Hard

When you are writing about your passion in life, which also happens to be your career, as I do with art, it's hard to think about posting about the bad things. I have to be honest, however. When people ask if I am OK right now, I have to say "I'm fine" with that twist in my gut... because I'm not.

I cannot be completely open with what's going on, but no one's deathly ill or anything like that. No one has lost their job, no one has died. But at the same time, it's big. It keeps me up at night with tearful worries, watchful and always on the alert. Which is exhausting, it's flat out exhausting! Having this sort of soul-deep worry all the time is... I don't even know how to explain how awful it is. 

And it's totally out of my control. I'm doing what I can to make things better, but it's like throwing pebbles at a mountain and hoping it'll move. It's just not in my power to make any more of a difference than I already do, and instead I get to spend my time fearfully. 

So, I'm sharing. I'm saying things are not OK. That I would break down and have a sob-fest, but that would just further exhaust me, so what's the point?

I cannot say that I have a silver lining, but I can say that apart from that mess things are not so awful. It doesn't cheer me up, because it's not enough, but at least I have some positive things to report.

The first is that I worked and worked, and I finally got my new website up and running! This is a big deal because I had to move providers and work on the layouts, and everything. More, I can finally offer prints and other merchandise (like fine art magnets, cards and more) directly from me - AND it's easy to add new products instead of a major exercise in web design every time I finished a new painting. I just didn't realize how wide an inventory I had until I did this though, wow.

Greeting Cards

Postcard sized magnets

So, YAY! And it's at www.KWilsonStudio.com or www.KyraWilson.net, just like before.  It's nice and clean, and works wonderfully!

I finished the last of my Halloween minis for the year:

White Owl, mini 2x4 inches acrylic on stretched canvas $35

Screech, ultra-mini 2x2 inches acrylic on stretched canvas $25

And then I felt I was done with Autumn and Halloween. I'm now in a distinctly wintry mood. I sometimes put artwork on Facebook in the art auction forums, and this week there is a theme for a snow queen. I had been thinking about doing one anyway, so it was perfect. I decided to pull out my watercolors and I sketched this out on a block:

The block for her is 9x12. I'm putting in little snowflakes and such all over. 

And then I got scared about painting her in. Totally irrationally, but it's been a little while since I did watercolors. So, I decided this morning to do a super fast sketch and painting just to remind myself how I do it. The result is this:

I'm calling her Jess. I think she'll be up in the art auction group tomorrow. It looks better than this in person. I snapped a quick pic with my cellphone, and well... there ya go.
I'm relatively pleased with how she came out. Her eyes and the highlights on her lips and hair are iridescent. Shiny, I can't stop making things shiny. It's still not up to what I'd want it to be, but it was good practice. I think I need to work on pushing some areas farther back, and of course I see all sorts of errors... but I still like her!

So, with that picture behind me, I've started on my snow queen. I'm layering in the shadows right now, working the skin and face first. I hope she comes out nicely! I also have a painting rolling around for my holiday card. I'm still working on the composition, but I'm leaning towards a row of stockings with mice and a cat... and maybe a squirrel. We'll see. 

Lastly, there are mice living in my car. Yes, mice. They're even in my ceiling (it's very creepy to be sitting at a stop light and hear scrabbling from above you.) It's turning into a full scale war right now, and they're winning. I'm waiting to see my car drive off one of these morning with a mouse at the wheel!

So, that's where things are at. Hard. Exhausting. Just moving forward, because progress still needs to happen. I sure hope things get better.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Checking In

There's a kiss of winter in the air here. No snow, but a frosty morning. I was out snapping pictures of one of my mini-paintings, and I looked beyond the tiny canvas and realized it was actually quite pretty out:

From my deck. A lovely, crisp Autumn day!

It's been a long while since I updated. The art fair went well, and I sold lots of prints and mini-paintings.

The house we were offering on, we had to pull our offer for. Things started changing (good changes, but stressful) for my husband at work, and it put us in a situation where it possibly would be foolish to buy a new house at this time (but talk to me next summer, and we'll see!)

Part of the reason I haven't checked in as much is that my community here suffered a tragedy when a girl in high school committed suicide. She was a year ahead of my daughter, and they went to school together from elementary on. When they were younger, they were friends. As they got older they had drifted apart and were not close. But it seems that in the midst of something this tragic, everyone is close to the fire of it all. It touches everyone in some way. The funeral was last week, and it was heartbreaking. My daughter had been having a tough time before this happened with a few things, and this just changed everything in a frightening way.

"Pieces" 6x8, acrylic on canvas panel

So, I've been focusing on my family rather than anything else, for the most part. Crisis mode, and it's exhausting. I have to confess that this hasn't been an easy time for me. I've had days where I just want to cry. Not work, just cry. You don't truly understand how much you can hurt, or how terrified you can actually be until you are a parent. There is nothing more precious to me in the world than my children, and to lose one of them would break me. Completely.

"Perch" 3x3 mini-canvas, acrylic

"Just Hangin'" 3x5 acrylic on stretched canvas

I did manage to do a time lapse video of the two minis I just posted:

I realize now that I should do the time lapse on my art desk instead of the kitchen table. The slant on the desk allows for the camera to see past my hand better. I'm contemplating doing the time lapse for the Queen of Hearts. I haven't had a chance to start painting her, because it's time for all the holiday paintings, but I'm getting close to starting! I did the time lapse on the white rabbit, so I know how much work is involved with painting and shooting at the same time. I just haven't decided if I want to go through that trouble again, yet!

I finished off this mini yesterday:

"Kitty" 3x3 acrylic on stretched canvas
I think it may be the last Halloween one I do... although I never got to my owls, so maybe that's not the case. I just sort of feel ready to start in on the Christmas ones!

So, that's where I'm at. Where I've been. Lots of stuff happening, much of it not good, but I have high hopes that things are starting to get better and will continue to do so!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Busy, Busy, BUSY!

I'm conducting a giveaway on my Facebook art page for a free custom ACEO painting, so if you're interested here is the entry:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This weekend I'll be at the Chaffee Center Art in the Park event in Rutland, VT. I've done this event once years ago, but I haven't been back since. I've learned a bit about art fairs since then, but I still feel unprepared for this one. It's a two day event, so we'll see how it goes. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll go well! In the meantime, I'm painting minis as quickly as I can so I have stock for the event:

I've also been under a lot of stress with the MAYBE new house. We still haven't heard anything on our counter back to the owners. I'm starting to give up hope, and I'm feeling quite down about the whole thing. I've actually been struggling with the stress level and life things over all. I'm actually feeling pretty depressed right now. It's likely that this is just my brain finally cracking up with all the things going on all at once, and that once things calm down I'll be fine. But I just feel... sorta sad right now.

However, that doesn't mean I can close my door and get away with it:

He likes to grip the door and shake it too.
So, I'm out. I'm painting and matting prints, and talking to Tax Departments on the phone, and managing children's schedules, and working on house stuff, and...


At least painting is fun! I think I'm going to try another time-laps video of one of the minis today. I'm thinking a mouse in a Christmas stocking? Or something like that...