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.


  1. Aw, the puppy sketch is adorable, you certainly captured those large, sad, puppy dog eyes perfectly.

    Can imagine it's rough right now, living in an apartment and not having your much needed studio space, but the time will come when your home is finally finished. Then you'll be able to get settled again and make your new house into your home.

  2. What an adorable sketch of that puppy! You are very talented. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)


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