Friday, January 17, 2014

Queen Me

I haven't had a lot of free time to work on things I should for the studio, and yet I haven't done other things that I should have instead. For example, my house does not look ready to receive guests. As a matter of fact, the UPS man pulled his truck into my driveway and I stood out on the porch barefoot in the freezing rain, rather than risk him catching a glimpse of the state of utter disaster that my house is in. Because, you know, clearly my UPS man is Martha Stewart in disguise and would have a heart attack...

I truly wish I was one of those people who can juggle a spotless house along with everything else, but I'm not. I strongly suspect I would be if I lived alone, but then there'd be a lot less fun in my world. (That's my subtle way of blaming the chaos on my family, but seriously if the hamper is right there, how dang hard is it to get your dirty clothes IN it instead of next to it? RIGHT there. RIGHT THERE!!! And if you miss, pick it up! Why is that such a foreign concept? Don't even get me started on toilet paper rolls.)

I have a limited amount of energy for the day. I struggle with exhaustion, and I budget my energy like it's precious gold. I allot time for exercise, because if I don't get it in I actually start feeling pain. I allot time for working on the computer side of the business in the morning, because it has to be done. Usually about 30 minutes into that, I start having problems staying awake. Sometimes I'm defeated enough that I crawl back into bed and guiltily steal an hour or two, but it's not restful because I didn't earn it. Guilt-sleep stinks.

Then I move on to some basic upkeep like laundry, figuring out meals (like what I should be doing for dinner for the family - because I would just eat dry cereal or ancient leftovers and call it a day if I was left on my own) or running errands that must be done. My brain starts to wake up enough to paint after noon, and I slowly go in that direction, but then I often have to run and pick up my kids from after school activities (which takes out at least an hour right there, as the school is almost 30 minutes away.) Then it's working between helping with school work, or just general mom-stuff, getting dinner going, and trying to get other things done like laundry (it's never ending. I've never seen people go through so many outfits in a day) or whatever emergency has cropped up.

I end up doing most of my painting in the evenings, in the middle of the family bustle, right at the kitchen table (I can't work in my studio anymore, it's too full, no matter how I organize it.) This works, because I am there for my kids, but I am able to work at the same time. Yet, I feel bad about it because I should be focusing on them fully. Or scrubbing something. ANYTHING.

On the scrubbing front; the days I do clean things, I don't have the energy to paint anymore. I cleaned all three bathrooms, and I needed to take a nap later because of it. Painting goes out the window when cleaning is front and center. I have discussed this tiredness with doctors over the years - since I was a teen, but they just blow me off. I mean, I ran a marathon like this, so I'm fine, right? Never mind that the marathon training was the only thing I was basically able to do for the day at all. The rest, I just survived. Barely. My new and current doctor is taking more of an interest, but we'll see where this leads.

Well, that was a tangent (sorry) to get to this: I did manage to squeeze in some time to work on my Queen of Hearts, finally! I started painting her, and this time I got to start on the face (normally, placement puts that later in the painting, but this time I could jump right in.) This was good because she's the centerpiece. It would be awful if I worked hard on the rest, then painted her and watched the painting fall apart!

Working on the skin. I only realized after I was painting her that her eyes follow you wherever you are in the room. It's creepy. I'm being judged by the Queen of Hearts! GAH!

I'm planning on her hair being raven black, but that's at an in-between part of the painting. Once I finished her face, well that's where it gets messy. Some painters are clean painters, and can work on any detail anywhere in the painting. Me, I work in layers. When I work on a part I have to ask if there is another layer in front of it or not. I have to work on the furthest back layer, and make my way forward to the last. I think I'd like to learn how to develop a painting all at once, but this is my current process.

So, after her face, I lightly under-painted her hair and then blocked in the sky:

I'm going to tone it down and push it back further into the distance, but the first blocking of blue was nice to see anyway.  I'm working in acrylics, and this is 16x20, stretched fine-tooth canvas.
So, I work messy. It all cleans up as I refine the painting, like bringing it into focus, but it's messy. Oils, you're able to push back, but with acrylics it's all about the layers.

I have to say that my heart is more into this painting than it has been in any of my others in a long time. I can tell the difference too. The quality is just better, I'm trying harder? I don't know. I try hard at everything I paint, but I think I have given myself permission to take as long as I want on this, and that takes off a lot of pressure. That means better results... I hope the rest of the painting keeps turning out!


  1. I hear you about the hamper, I can't understand how it can be any more difficult to open it and put the clothes into the hamper than it is to set the clothes right next to it on the floor. But apparently it is!
    Of course when I really realized I had an issue with laundry was a couple of summers ago when we had an exchange student from France staying with us. My kids were showing him how to take care of things and they told him, "you put your dirty clothes in here and they just show up folded and clean in your drawer." The kids put their own clean clothes away now as I never set out to be the laundry fairy!

  2. Oh I don't miss the days when so much responsibility was in my lap.It is no wonder you are exhausted, added to the weird accident your daughter had. Anxiety was my constant companion when my kids were growing up and I had SO much on my plate, AND, as I was a single mom for 10 years, I had to bring home the bacon too. SO I can relate to your feelings and your messy house! The Queen of Hearts is another real beauty, I love the delicacy of her features. Just take all the time you need.

  3. Queen of Hearts is looking stunning!
    Please take care of yourself! You are doing a lot! Make sure you are eating your dark greens, to keep your energy going ;o)
    Big Hugs ;o)

  4. Keeping the house clean and do all the task can be exhausting! And it never ends....
    Love your Queen of Hearts! I think she will be beautiful.

  5. I am having the same days as you lately it seems. And yes I too would stand freezing in the rain if a delivery came. The Queen of Hearts looks wonderful! So detailed and I love the eyes. I am so far behind in everything that I am living in 2014 yet finishing up December, lol!!! Have a great day and rest is good. Nice soft hugs to you!

  6. Hi, Kyra,

    First, I wanted to thank you for coming by The Marmelade Gypsy! I hope you'll come back again.

    And I have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog, your lovely queen, the photos in the other post (It must have been hard to choose the head shot -- I think they are all great!) But I especially loved this post because it was like you were channeling my life -- except for tending to the kids. I grinned when you said you were painting in the kitchen because the studio is too full. Today I have to tackle the work table -- it's nearly Valentine's Day and I have to get working but on what space, I'm not sure! It just made me smile. Can't wait to see the Queen in full regalia!


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