Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Looking Forward

I hope you had a lovely holiday (or stretch of December, whatever you celebrate or don't!) We had a weirdly warm Christmas. On Christmas Eve, my daughter and I ran out to get some ingredients for the traditional buttermilk Cinnamon rolls we always make... and it was 79 degrees.

I wore shorts. I died a little inside.

I know it sounds silly, but cold weather and snow are a part of my blood. I have never lived somewhere where I am likely to have little to NONE of the fluffy white stuff. I'm not contradicting myself about the -40F the teens and I suffered through all by ourselves in Vermont last season, because there's simply no way to enjoy that. However, I have always lived where there has been a decent winter season, at least a few good snows worthy of building snowmen and forts and snuggling down in front of a fire inside and appreciating how lucky we are to be surrounded by our warm comforts in the form of hot chocolate and soft pajamas.

I know, they can get cold weather here in North Carolina (Raleigh area) too. I'm just... not very optimistic about it all right now.

However! We still did holiday decorating and baking... and the new neighbors beat me to the punch in bringing everyone cookies. It was like a reverse trick-or-treating bonanza! We ended up with cookies, ornaments, wine, and other gifts. I felt a bit intimidated just giving a bag of different cookies we baked and a miniature gingerbread house we baked and decorated, but they seemed to go over alright:

All the little houses we baked and decorated, before we bagged them in cellophane for delivery.
My parents came over for Christmas Eve dinner, where we did one gift (always PJ's, but the kids still look forward to them) and crackers!

My daughter, mom and dad, and my husband. Mom was a little afraid of the crackers, but most of them didn't go off with a big bang. There was one or two, though!

Christmas itself was lovely and low-key. I crave low-key. So, this made me happy! Not a lot of pictures from the actual day...
I did snap a picture of myself real quick, though.
Ok, it's time for studio and stuff talk!

2016 is FAST approaching! I have plans, big plans for this coming year. My thoughts are that I have finally relocated after that horrible, long, drawn-out move. I have settled, and unpacked, and even (mostly) organized my studio. Nothing should be standing in my way but me.

Before I get to all of that though, here is a painting I finished for Thrice Fiction Magazine, and I actually really like it:

"Ripples" 9x12, oil on canvas (available)

I made the decision that this year, since I am new to NC, I am not going to be seeking out any gallery representation until perhaps the end of the year. I am also not going to book any spots in art fairs or what-have-you, because I just don't know what all is out there and what are best suited for my stuff. I do plan on visiting any that look promising to scout them out. Reconnaissance!

Because I'm not doing any shows, I have set a hard schedule for 2016. I mean, really hard. I have 56 paintings scheduled. That includes finishing up some commissions and Alice in Wonderland pieces to finally close that series out, as well as auctions, and then I'm very excited to be starting THREE new series!

The first is for my surreal, that was built off my snowy elephant from my last post. I have elephants on my brain, and have had for a very long time. I'm going to do a surreal set of 12 paintings.

The second is my Nox series that I was supposed to do this year and did not. It's all about a surreal stars/sky figure paintings, another set of 12.

The last is a NEW fairy tale! YAY! I just haven't picked it yet. I need to do that soon, though. I'm trying to decide. But it will be another series of at least 12.

Balanced on my business plans is the plan to get my act together and lose this darn weight which has been creeping up for the past few years. I'm not even fit anymore, as the move put a stop to access to my exercise equipment. I have it all once again, and so that all starts anew as well! This is a big thing, because I have been having health issues I think are directly related to how unhealthily I have been living since we moved. Time to undo the damage (boy I hope I can! I hope it's not forever now with these problems. It's like being punished.)

The last thing I need to do is schedule an eye exam... because I think being over 40 has caught up with me. I'm having pain in my right temple, and I thought for a long time that maybe it was a sinus thing. And then I wondered about my eyes and how they seemed to be getting worse, so I put on my not great reading glasses and amazingly the pain was less. I think my eyes aged out on me, TRAITORS!!!

Anyway, I'm excited and all charged up for 2016! Hopefully LESS changes than 2015, and a whole lot more work and progress in the studio!  I hope all of you have a wonderful New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Where Are Those Sleigh Bells?

Hey, look! It's December!

I can't believe it's December though. I mean, I know I said it was, but it really feels like October in Vermont, compared with December in North Carolina. Although, I hear it's been weirdly warm back in Vermont, so perhaps not all that different right now.

When last I checked in on my moving saga, I was stuck in the temporary apartment, but thinking the house was going to be done soon. That would have been nice, but instead the builder delayed our closing all the way out until mid-October. We lost the apartment in September (when the short-lease was up, and they said SURE! They'd be happy to extend it... for $4,000 a month. I kid you not.) So, we ended up putting everything in storage and staying at my parents' townhouse for a few weeks. Sleeping on the floor is not as easy as it once was, I think. Or maybe it's never easy.

We finally closed on the house, and moved in. It was a long, and difficult process even then. I know moving is always hard, I just don't remember it being this difficult. As a parent, I feel like I'm just letting my children down left and right. I know it's not really my fault... but it feels that way.

One very positive side is that I have my studio! Now, the movers, when they didn't want or know where to put certain boxes decided to just dump them all in my studio. So, I didn't get to really set things up the way I would have liked. However, I've worked through about 85% of the boxes now and I have been able to paint some. It's not comfortable yet, and I haven't found everything, but that's a start!

This is my newest painting, from sketch to finish:

The theme was "Winter Wonderland"

"Snowshoe" 9x12, oil on stretched canvas (Available)

Not only am I on a HUGE elephant kick, like this one before it:

"Somnium" 16x20, acrylic on canvas panel  (SOLD)

But I've also FINALLY been able to switch back over to oils. That's something I have been planning to do for a long time, but I knew the move would ruin oil paintings, so I held back.

This is another new painting:

"Candy" 9x12, oil on loose canvas (SOLD)

Candy was really more of an experiment. I had something I needed to paint for, but I wanted to dip back into my oils. So, this was my toe back into the oil-water, so to speak.

I've been feeling that my style is getting ready to grow, and make a bit of a jump. I think that now that I am in my house, that I will finally be able to let that happen. I feel a little like I want to barricade myself, stay off the computer and just paint for a few months. I don't know how to allow that to actually happen without shooting my business in the foot, however. My hope is that once I get the studio (and house) straightened out, that I will feel more relaxed about painting and it'll all just start flowing like I know it wants to.

On a side note, I ended up test ordering some pillows with my art on them, and they came out so cool!

I ended up selling a bunch, as a one time offer. The problem is that they're cost prohibitive for me. They seem very popular and are probably something I should stock when I do another art fair, but I need to find a cheaper way to make them. Anyone know any good wholesaler pillow/fabric type of businesses?

Well, anyway... Today, as I was looking up foxes for a new painting, I realized I hadn't checked in at all on here for a very long time! I'm going to do better with that!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Art in Transit

My original intention while moving was to just take a break from my business. I had been painting flat out for a very long time, lots of assignments and projects galore!

My thought was that we were supposed to be in our new house by the end of August, and that I could simply wait until I had my full studio with me! Of course, I have all my paints with me because the movers weren't allowed to touch them (something about hazardous materials. One guy who came out to estimate moving needs beforehand actually suggested that I just toss out all my art supplies and buy new stuff in NC. Obviously that guy had no idea how much art supplies cost! I set him straight on that one very quickly. Good grief!) But my canvases are all stored away with other studio equipment. If it isn't flammable or likely to explode, it's in storage.

And then we were informed that our house MIGHT be ready by mid-October (instead of August 21st.) Oh, and hey, the temporary apartment lease is up before the end of September, so we have no idea where we're going to be staying. And hey, the house still hasn't sold in Vermont. And hey, all sorts of scary things are starting to swirl... and hey I'm SO BORED, and we can't even go anywhere (although, I'm currently contemplating a trip to the Raleigh museum of natural history sometime here. Everything has to be short trips because of the dogs in the apartment.)

I need to paint.

Not want.



Even though my "studio" is a corner in the apartment that looks like this:

I have projects that are due anyway by the end of September, so I don't have the luxury of putting off working any longer. Plus, I'm going a bit batty. I tried painting at one point, but the painting ended up trashed. I don't know why, it just went sideways. I tried two more, again, sideways. I put away the paints at that point, but now I need to push through.

SO! I ordered canvas, since I can't access it in storage. Actually, first I went in person to the Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh, and when I asked about portrait fine (or super fine weave) canvas, the clerk said "I have been working here for years and I have never even heard of such a thing. No, we don't carry it."

OK, that's just weird.  Maybe out here everyone doing fine work has switched to boards? I almost grabbed those instead, but I have several and some other samples that I have yet to play with in storage, so I don't know what my preference is and the marked up prices in the store was no time to experiment. So, I went home, logged onto Jerry's online and ordered what I needed there.

When the box showed up, I was actually super excited! YAY! ART STUFF!

I had a couple quick sketches I needed to do for Thrice Fiction Magazine's upcoming issue, and I figured that was a good ice breaker. Only one of the sketches am I really in love with. It might not make sense without the written piece I was assigned for it, but here is a beagle puppy with a banana peel on his head:

About 2 1/2 inches high to the top of the banana, so he's a little guy, pencil on sketch paper

I actually really like him. Have you ever taken time off from something and then worried maybe you lost your touch? It was nice to see not everything had rusted up on me. Artist insecurity, I suppose.

After I finished what needed to be sent into the magazine, I started on some of the other work I needed to do. However, one of the things I forgot to share was a painting I started in Vermont, depicting our move to NC. I just started painting in the piece when we packed up and moved and here is where it sits today:


I'm the elephant, and I asked the family what they saw themselves as. My husband is the falcon, my son a polar bear cub, and my daughter is a tiger. The pets are represented by the turtle and three birds.  Vermont is behind us with the mountains and hot air balloons, and... well we're just going forward. I still don't know how to represent North Carolina, so I'm just leaving it as the unknown.

I tied my house to my foot because it was giving me anxiety, but I'm contemplating removing it entirely. Yes, the house was weighing us down, but you know... we'll figure this out somehow. Heck, part of me doesn't want to let it go. I know we have to, but I just yearn for that view and the sweet air and open spaces. I miss it. I feel less dragged down by the house and more wistful now.

Plus it might make a nicer picture without it. So, there's that!

That is a personal painting, but here is the first of my many to come projects. This is for the upcoming auction La Luna in the Rabbit Hole Artist Collective:

I know, I have an elephant theme going on, but I have always loved them.

I'm really excited about this painting, because it's one I would have painted without the prompt (and maybe that's why the connection to the moon is so light.) I had been doing a lot of thinking about my art recently, which I think the break contributed to. You see, our time here in finite. I'm lucky enough to be doing something I love. But if I am doing something I love but not what I had in mind to leave behind me as what I want out there in the world (i.e. always painting what someone else commissions when it's not my vision, or painting "for the market because it's what sells") I am wasting my precious time on this earth.

If you only got to paint one painting, sing one song, write one book, etc... what would it be? What would it look, sound, read like? THAT is what I need to get back to doing. More, when I do it, it still sells. My heart is in it, and the circle feels complete. I get off track because I get distracted, I just need to work harder to keep my eye on the ball.

So, I'm on the ball now. I have my little star-girl elephant painting on my easel. I have my moving painting on the side. I have a monster painting (just wait!) coming up, and more! And best of all, I'm going to love all of it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So, This is North Carolina

I really thought I had posted before now, but it turns out I didn't! I'm sure I remember sitting down and writing something out...  Well, clearly this is just more evidence of my brain not quite managing to keep up with all the details in my life I found so easily manageable before we started our relocation. I probably complained back then too, but now I know I should have appreciated how much easier it was to keep track of things when you're settled.

So, when last I left you, I had the big move in front of me. What a bizarre series of events that ended up being! The movers showed up, but the main guy had (for some bizarre reason) underestimated the help he would need. That was the start of things going wrong. It really started going sideways when the driver couldn't navigate the truck correctly and ended up sinking about 10 inches into the wet ground in our front yard:

He had to call a wrecker to pull him out, because he was in DEEP. This left HUGE gouges in the yard, and he managed to slaughter one of my special big trees flanking my driveway:

That gouge is wider than my hand, and you can see where we had to cut the huge limb off, which made up about half the tree.
gouges and such in the lawn, off the driveway

My husband and I spent time going to a nursery and getting grass sod and tree tape, and trying to save the tree and repair the ground. This made me irrationally sad. Sad, maybe angry, is an appropriate response, but I was a bit beyond the norm with overwhelming feelings of leaving in the first place and remembering when we planted these trees, and, well... *sigh*

Now, the movers were hired to pack, load our stuff, and move it. I started helping a bit with some boxes and what I could as I realized they were falling way behind. WAY behind. The movers were supposed to be done in the early afternoon on July 2nd. We were then supposed to clean the house and get a good night's sleep and then leave on July 3rd at 5AM for our 15 hour drive to NC. However, by 3AM on July 3rd the movers still had a while to go and then gave up and went to bed. I don't fault them for going to get some rest, I fault them for not telling us that they had and we stayed up an extra 45 minutes before falling asleep on the floor.

Long story short, they finally got out of there after noon on the 3rd, and leaving us with a box of trash that they said they were going to take. A sort of last "Screw you" from them, I think. For the record, I never yelled, got mean, or even demanding. I pitched in where I could, and so on. It was just an ugly situation overall.

And then we drove. We got going over seven hours past when we were supposed to, and we knew we had to drive the whole thing through because hotels all said NO to the four of us, two dogs, a cat, and a rabbit. Even worse, it was a holiday weekend. So, on about two hours of sleep, my husband and I took turns driving straight through. We finally got into town around 3AM on the 4th of July, and we were so tired, we were literally poking each other in the shoulder to stay awake and not drive off the road. It was kind of scary, actually.

Lily thought the trip was great fun, at first. The rest of the animals were less excited than her.

This was not a good beginning to our move. I kept reminding myself that we were moving for better schools, cheaper colleges, more opportunities, and a bigger studio space (OK, that last one is purely selfish, but it's on my list!)

Since then, we've been living temporarily in an apartment while our house is being built.

Our first visit to the house when we got here. My husband has been living here since October and I've been doing the single parent thing up in Vermont. He'd been coming here often, but for the kids and I it was the first time. The kids could really only see wood, sticks... this becoming their house is a surreal concept.

I have to tell you it's been very strange doing the apartment-thing after so long. I last lived in an apartment in Chicago about 19 years ago. In some ways, even though I know it's temporary, it feels like back-tracking. No one is happy here. I can't fault the kids for feeling unhappy. We don't even have most of our things. A normal conversation is "Where is my..." "It's in storage, with everything else... sorry!" I don't even have shoes beyond flip-flops and a pair of cheap sneakers I bought so I can use the apartment gym. I was supposed to, but they all got snagged by accident by the movers. Nature of the beast, I suppose!

We had originally planned to take some family trips before school started, make this a fun and wonderful summer, but instead we had trouble figuring out what to do with the dogs and my daughter made Varsity Cheerleading so her practices started almost immediately tying us to the local area. I have immense guilt over this, as this is her last summer really with us, since she's a senior. They both miss their friends, too. While my daughter has made a few already, my son hasn't met anyone yet. (I'm hoping when school starts next week he'll meet some amazing people and be happy and excited about it. *crossing fingers*)

We did finally make it to a local lake-beach. At least that's something.

I just have "I'm a sucktastic mother" feelings going on because I pulled the kids away from their friends and didn't manage to take them anywhere fun, like we had promised (for example, we were going to drive or fly to Orlando and visit Universal Studios, but it turns out with the long drive and current schedule demands, we can't seem to make that work at all.) Normally, our summers are filled with catching fireflies and bonfires and friends. This year has been staying in an apartment and not really doing anything at all. I think I really underestimated the time I would need to make things happen.

We're STILL waiting to sell the house in Vermont. We got word that a few people are interested in the property just this past weekend, so we're hopeful! (cross your fingers for us! We need good thoughts!) So many moving parts and things still need to come together. It's funny really, because there is a part of me that just wants to go home to Vermont. Not sell the house, and just go back. That ship has sailed, of course, but it's there. I think the thing I miss most is the peace and quiet with beautiful views. I have none of that here. (It's almost the anti-Vermont. Almost. I think the total anti-Vermont would be Phoenix... ha!) It's sorta quiet where we're building, but with this being a suburban area, views are just not on the table for anyone.

I miss this:
This picture seems to represent every single thing that is missing in my life right now.
It actually makes me tearful. I took it right before we moved, from our deck.

I will say that on a general basis people do seem nicer. They also are far more inclined to chat than anyone was in Vermont. I still haven't made any friends, however. I think there just hasn't been any real opportunity. I'm actually not quite sure how to go about doing that. I got quite rusty living like a hermit in Vermont, so I'm not quite sure what to do with myself!

I'll address the art front in a later post. This one became far too long as it is, even though I have left so many things out! My sincere hope is that by Christmas all of this stress will have settled. The house will be sold in Vermont, the house will be settled into here in NC (the studio will be cranking away!)

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...)


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


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.


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


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:


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!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thawing Out

My goodness, I certainly slacked off on my blog! I didn't realize that the last time I had posted was New Year's. Today, I spent time getting my website back together, because I was told I needed to get my "public face back in place." I had been avoiding my website for quite some time, as it never seemed like the right time to work on it. I could always find something I'd rather do... like advance mathematics or scrubbing the bathroom.

Still, my site, www.KWilsonStudio.com, is finally done!

Life, well, life is about the same as it was around New Year's. We are still waiting on an offer for our house. While we didn't get slammed with snow like the folks in Boston did, we got plenty along with just awful temperatures. There were mornings it was -33F with -60F windchill. One such morning, I had to go out and use the snowblower on the driveway at 4AM. Within minutes, even through thick gloves, my fingers started burning and aching! That kind of cold is a whole other kettle of fish when it comes to winter. So, with the weather being so hostile, it's not really a shock that people haven't been looking at houses for sale. No one was. Heck, going to the grocery store was tough!

We finally had a showing last weekend, but they wanted a one-level house. *sigh* Oh well, Spring is around the corner and people WILL be out and about again! We've also signed a contract to build a house, which means I know where I'll be living in August! Yay! (plus it didn't require that we sell this one yet, so we have time.)

My husband had been gone since New Year's also, but he flew back to surprise me for my 40th birthday at the end of February. I took this picture on my birthday, because I took one last year too:

me, 40!

But you know, while I like the picture... I'm a lot goofier (and more wrinkled) in person. I think these "selfies" really don't represent how we really are (translation: I can be kind of pretty if I'm not breathing and the camera is juuuuust right - but that's not real life.) My daughter takes pictures of herself all the time, and I just don't get it (but she's goofier in real life too, so that makes me feel a little better!)

Well, at least I've been getting some work done in the studio.
"Barry" 3x3 inches

I gave this one to my son.

"Hush" based off the Grimm tale, the Six Swans (12x18 inches)

My valentine's day, digital painting

I'm also working on the White Queen from Through the Looking Glass, a commission piece for a client. I admit, I've been struggling with a touch of avoidance here too, but it's finally going.

All sketched out (16x20):

Where I was at as of last night:

I'm really looking forward to my new studio in our next house, rather than working wherever I can here because my studio is filled to the brim with supplies and NO room for me. I think it'll help my productivity to have it all sorted like that, rather than my easel next to my bed, or a painting on the kitchen table and always in the way. Life gets in the way, true, but the way things are now I seem to be getting in Life's way as well!

I hope everyone is well!