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!