Friday, February 12, 2016

Let It Fly

My husband left for business (Paris, France... then Bangalore, India.) Fortunately, he's currently on a plane back, and we (the teenagers and I) have successfully survived another few weeks on our own. It's gotten easier since we spent 10 months on our own in Vermont. It used to be that even a short business trip threw everything out of whack, but I guess we've sort of gotten over that given how long we were on our own.

Still. It was a hard couple of weeks for me anyway. His trip coincided with my Bermuda triangle of doctors appointments that all happened to fall within the same week. It wasn't supposed to be like that, but that's what happened. Moving out here, it's been tough "establishing care" because you have to wait forever to get in to see a doctor if you're new. Once they know you, it's like you have the secret password and they're allowed to talk to you and schedule you... BUT NOT BEFORE! We can't just schedule people! It would be chaos, woman! CHAOS!

Anyway, among those appointments I was informed that I was over 40 (you don't say) and that, lucky me, I get to go have my first mammogram! I went home and called one of the numbers on the sheet they gave me for the places that do them, and my plan was to make my appointment right away because I was being responsible. I was very proud of myself. Right up until the woman on the phone said "We could see you right now," and I actually blurted out like a whiny six-year-old "But... I don't wanna go right now!"

She laughed at me. I laughed too, but I was also completely serious. I agreed to go the next day though. That whole being responsible-thing, and all. I have to say, I got it done and endured it, but... is it possible our ta-tas (and I just looked up alternate words for them here - that was quite an adventure, I think sweater-stretchers was my favorite) well, that maybe they don't re-inflate all the way after something traumatic like that? I swear I have more room in my bra than I did before I went in. Would that work on my derrière? I'd happily submit, in that case.

The day after that, I went to the eye doctor at Target and got a prescription for new reading glasses for when I'm painting, and an education about drive-through medicine in a big box store. I can't decide how I feel about it. They had all the machines. Everyone was nice enough. It was just super fast, very uncomfortable to be in a super-bright room while my eyes dilated, and it just felt... cheap. I'm sure everything was just as precise as anywhere else, but it still felt that way. I was also told my distance vision in my left eye is starting to kick off too, but I was able to hold off getting actual glasses to wear all the time just yet. I might not have long, but I was able to squeak by this time!

Getting older bites.

On the weight front, I was doing great with my workouts and pretty decent with my food... and my number wasn't moving down at all. Very frustrating. It started moving again today, but that's always a frustrating thing and it just piled on to the whole "I'm not enjoying this" time I was having.

In the midst of that, I found out that prom is a deadly serious event down here in the south. Even though prom is in April, apparently everyone pretty much has their gowns already (and they're wicked expensive here, too!) So, my daughter and I went dress shopping. I tried on one myself, but it felt like either an "older/mature gown" or I don't know. Just... "off"

This thing was really complicated too. It has a slit that goes up to the waist that you can kind of see on the side there? Underneath, is a really complex lacy beaded secondary sheath. Also, it cost more than my first car. I was careful to hang it back up very gently. We had wandered into Saks Fifth Avenue, and had never been there before. Who pays $150 for a pair of underwear?! Who are these people?!

We eventually made it through some crazy prom shops where I think the moms were all ex-pageant contestants vicariously living through their daughters (it was very unsettling) and found David's Bridal. They didn't have a huge selection, but they had "the one" my daughter wanted, and I wasn't going to have to sell her brother in order for her to have it.

I can't believe she's going to be 18 in June. Sigh. Also, I wish they had prom dresses like these when I had prom! 1992 and 1993 was not good fashion years. At all.
I hope those photos never see the light of day.

On the work front, I just felt frustrated all the time. ALL the time. I'm trying hard to get these Alice in Wonderland commissions done, because I really need to move on. They're important, so I'm going to do them right, but I feel like I am fighting myself every step of the way. It feels like that scene in the Neverending Story where the kid is slogging through the swamp and can barely go on. It's so ridiculous at this point, I'm annoyed with myself.

Which doesn't help, just in case you were wondering.

I'm still trying to sketch out the whole Queen Alice piece. She's big, and complicated at 18x24 inches. There are a lot of elements the client needs, and I'm trying to fit them in so they all flow nicely.

Queen Alice. That's the Jabberwocky behind her, all dragonish.
One of those elements is the Mad Hatter, which is an 8x10 commission for the same client. But I needed to sketch him out on his portrait so I knew who I was adding to the big one. He's finally done, and ready for paint:

He'll look less old, hopefully, when I paint him in. I needed shadow and line markers, and they always make a person look old on an outline sketch.
And now I can add him, and the white rabbit, and the Cheshire cat... and we'll see what else is needed. It really is like trying to figure out a jigsaw puzzle at this point. I'll get there. Eventually.

I was so frustrated, that I decided to blow off steam, art-style. I started out professionally as an abstract artist... here's an oldie, but popular one from 2003:

They're really quite freeing when you've been working so precisely. So, I just started throwing paint. I started letting it fly, and just putting it where my gut told me too. Very zen of me, I suppose. I got to a stopping point, because it needed to dry, and posted a few pictures on Facebook. This one in particular set of a very unexpected reaction:

People loved it the way it was. Said I should stop. Sell it like this.

Like this?

I've done abstract, I started in abstract... but even I never went this abstract. I stepped away from it. I added a tree with just a knife to another smaller one, while I was thinking about it:

And landed a fast commission for a matching tree, and a big moon in the middle. (still working on that one.)

And still, people carried on. Liking the plain, abstract purple piece. Encouraging me to do more. Messaging me, and backing that up with inquiries.

I have to admit, I'm a bit floored. I had never considered really working that abstractly. Not to mention, I had absolutely no direction, no purpose in mind. I was blowing off steam, letting it fly... and people liked the result.

I've done a bit of thinking about all of that, and I've decided to keep with my original plan of my three series (Nyx, Elephants, and 12 Dancing Princesses), but that I am also going to do a 5 piece Element Series and put it out there to test the waters. I feel conflicted and surprised on several levels, and I imagine it'll take a bit more thinking on my part, as well as whatever happens with the series, to come to some sort of peaceful resolution... but perhaps, just maybe, a new door is opening to me that I never expected. I'd be a fool not to walk through it just to see what's on the other side.

I'm just going to let it fly, and see what happens! Perhaps that is an attitude I should start taking with different areas of my life as well. I've lived with such fear and worry and feelings of inadequacy... what good has that ever done me? I can always crawl back into my cave if it all goes wrong. Right?

So, here's to letting it fly!


  1. Hi Kyra! I have to say that your daughter is a little Mini-You, although I am sure you know that already. I think the dress you tried on was such a beautiful color on you. Your daughter's dress is gorgeous...and she is going to be 18...yikes!

    I really liked the blue painting background and I could see that hanging on a wall in a place that needed a calming effect. Then you showed the added tree, WOW! I LOVE the tree!

    So glad your hubby is on his way home to hopefully relieve you a little bit so you can rest up from the crazy last couple weeks. May you get some rest, Rasz

  2. Where you are living now, is sure a change from where you were before! You made me laugh about getting your mammogram! In Canada, they wanted to start all the women after 40, but now they said it wasn't needed, so they start after 50 now. You look great! Maybe if the dress was in a different colour? Your daughter looks amazing! Gorgeous dress! Amazing drawings for your paintings! I started laughing about your abstract, because everyone has asked me for the same! I have started painting without crows! I am letting it fly! I think you should too! Glad your hubby is coming home soon!


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