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!