Today finally it was warm enough to swim in the pool. You’ve no idea what a difference it’s made in my mood throughout the day. I was cheerful even when it was time to clean the studio. I was almost ok with driving to Beaumont (well, not really, but it’s the last trip here this school year), and now I’m delightfully tired and hopefully will sleep well, even here, the place of eternal insomnia.
Tomorrow is a big day. After my exams I’ll drive back to Houston and will have to transform into my prettiest most sparkly self for Lily’s gala party! It’s hard to summon my prettiest most sparkly self after a trip to Beaumont, but I’ve got yet untapped reserves of magic for just such occasions. I even know what I’ll wear and it’ll be fabulous! And who knows, if the stars conspire, maybe I’ll get another little swim in.
Once again I felt inspired by a friend’s Instagram post to paint an image of Bucharest. I’ve always loved these type of windows on old houses. A little bit of European flair, a little bit of decay.
The resulting painting is 20”x20” acrylic on panel. $400
I painted it while Lily was also painting next door. There will be a huge gala in her honor Tuesday night, and she wants to have a few paintings ready to show. So we went to the art supply store again today where she picked the colors she wanted. They are so pretty, precious in their little tubes! They look almost like makeup. It’s interesting, how we’re all drawn to different things, different materials to play and experiment with.
Anyway, other than that, the day was kind of dull, infused with the particular kind of sadness most Sundays have for me. Though I have noticed something, maybe. Lately my sadness has been losing its depth, or maybe its edges. It’s still there, coating everything, like a blanket, but perhaps it’s beginning to grow thin. One day I’ll reach for it and it’ll be gone, and I’ll realize I no longer need it.
“It’s like a big mouse!” John said. We all could hear the squeals as my dog jumped up and down trying to reach the door handle, hoping to escape the gallery and possibly conquer the world.
I was a little concerned for the jumping mouse, but mostly proud at facing one of my biggest fears: I finally brought Holly to the Chrysalis! I brought her because I wanted her to meet Lily, who totally loved her, but also because John encouraged me to. I was really nervous because I knew my little monster might try to kill Nancy and Bobby. Luckily we were able to keep them apart, for the most part.
Holly was very happy to see the gallery and to meet Lily. She ran around the way she does when we check into luxury hotels, there was the same level of excitement to exploring this new space.
There were also fun new ways to misbehave: She nipped at Nancy (sorry, Nancy!), drank Lily’s paint water, and drank Lily’s coffee too. That all, however, did not prevent her from taking a little afternoon nap with me in one of the armchairs downstairs.
Overall, I loved having her there, but in some ways it also felt like having an extra limb or something. By the time we got home we were both completely exhausted. I think we might have to call it an early night.
It’s a wonderful time of year. Frogs are loving on each other in the pond outside the gallery. Frogs are laying frog eggs and John is trying to figure out ways to keep Nancy the English Pointer out of the pond. Yes, it’s a wonderful season and I had a wonderful day!
First I had really good meetings with both Ryan and John. I painted labyrinths on little round canvases my friend gave me during my meeting with John. We talked about a lot of things, we drank strong coffee at EQ Heights, and it was all useful and fun.
After that, I decided to take my new sister, Nabarupa aka Lily to lunch and to the art supply store. We had Vietnamese noodles. Then, at the store, I shared with her what I’ve learned: Don’t hesitate to buy art supplies! If you don’t buy stuff you can’t make stuff and you can’t sell stuff. Buy art supplies like they are grocery staples. Fill up your cart with no fear or hesitation. Do not pause to contemplate exchange rates. Exchange rates can only hold you back! (I learned that ten year ago when I was living in Norway where everything was too expensive). Buy what you need, or rather what you think you need, as truly you can’t be too calculating. Try to have fun!
We took our loot home and painted together in silence. We didn’t need to talk because we were both happy, and the energy in the room was so good, flowing freely between us. We made some very cool stuff. And John came and brought us chocolate covered blueberries. Tomorrow I might bring the biggest dog in the universe with me to the gallery. Wish me luck!
Confession: I steal my mentor’s paints. He started it! Anyway, I got into the habit of cheerful retaliation and now as soon as I get to the gallery I raid his stuff first and pick what I like best. Stealing paint is lovely not just because it’s funny and free but also because you get to try colors you would have never bought yourself.
So yes, I made a big elephant painting with paints I (mostly) stole from John. I also stole gold paint for an abstract painting that matches my new shoes.
In the evening I got a bit obsessed with labyrinths. They’re fun to draw, relaxing, magical even. But do you know the difference between a labyrinth and a maze? A labyrinth is unicursal. A maze offers diverging paths, some leading to dead ends. So, I suppose the more interesting question is: Do you think life is a labyrinth or a maze? Do you think we have choices?
Today’s painting, La Devociòn Andaluza (also known as Oración, which means Prayer in Spanish) is inspired by several things: Staying up way too late to finish Tangerine, a story about a crime in Tangier that ends in Malaga, remembering that I’ve wanted for years now to move there, and realizing that maybe I still should. It’s also inspired by something a friend said vis a vis my whole ladder/ lights conundrum. She said “asking for help is a dying art form, and the only type of prayer I still believe in,” or something to that effect. I liked that, especially since, relying on the kindness of strangers is an act of faith in the Universe and in the goodness in people. So, of course, I was happy today when perfect strangers working on our brand new studio building agreed to point my spotlights to my paintings. See, the Universe can be kind.
Later, in my Escapist studio, I was working on Oración, when Lily arrived. Lily is actually called Nabarupa. A talented photographer, she came to us all the way from India. She is our fourth Escapist sister who finally joined us today after a journey spanning more than 30 hours. It was so wonderful when she arrived! She is a warm and joyful person and we had an instant connection. Like real sisters we jumped on her bed and acted like children, totally excited to have this opportunity to meet and play!
So yes, I would say that even in our occasionally lonely modern times, prayer still works. When you believe, the Universe unfolds its magic for you.
Today I made my annual pilgrimage to the historic cemetery on Broadway in Galveston. In case you didn’t know it, the cemetery blooms bright yellow with wildflowers this time of year and it’s a sight to see.
I was a little hesitant to bring the dog, out of respect for the dead.
“But they might actually like dogs,” my friend pointed out. “They might be very excited that someone finally brought a dog. A dog is much more fun than the usual mourning stuff!”
And so, the dog came with. I must say she was on her best behavior. Also, I seriously doubt the dead are really there. I think they roam around freely. Everybody knows that. Especially on the Island. But if they chose to hang out at the Broadway cemetery today, I do hope they like Boston Terriers on leashes.
Sometimes on Monday nights, AVM Hawkins, Paula Hawkins, and I paint together. We love these Escapist painting parties in Paula’s studio. Tonight was special because John invited guests as well. And also, I bought pizza from a place within walking distance in the Heights that makes legit pizza. Even by my New York standards. Happiness is walking with warm fragrant pizza in two stacked boxes and knowing you have a painting party to go to.
Earlier in the afternoon I got to send my Spring in Bucharest painting to Paris, Texas, and that was exciting. I also got to hang the new little Bettys. So yes, ladders and such were still an important part of my life. But let’s focus on the positive. And the pizza. Bobby the English pointer provided emotional support through it all.
“Is that Paris?” John asked, knowing full well that the painting with the spring flowers I hung outside my studio at Sabine Street was of Bucharest. But this is how he likes to mess with me. “You should say it’s Paris! It will be easier to sell that way.” Ha! He knew I wouldn’t do that, but the opportunities to tease me, given my complex identity issues he perpetually mocks, were endless.
Well, I am happy to report that a very special collector reached out to me today and bought the Spring in Bucharest painting. And serendipity will have it, that the collector lives in Paris, Texas. Which is why I painted the mansion above. That, my friends, is in Paris. Paris, Texas, not France.
You can imagine I am very happy! Another big painting (my donkeys from the Transalpina!) sold today at Open Studios at the Chrysalis, and it’s going to Galveston, to a house full of local art. So yes, as you can see, good things are happening under the auspices of the full moon, the Pink Moon of April.
I feel that I’ve learned a lot this weekend, or that a lot of lessons have finally sunk in. I think I’m finally learning how this unfolds, the process of making, showing, and selling art. You’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to do things with purpose, yet not be desperate. It’s all a lot like falling in love.
Highlights of the day: A woman artist showed up to help me with a ladder! A very light ladder. One we could both lift. The lights are up!
Also, this lady who came into my studio during the Biannual said something really cool. We were talking about my self-portrait as a cow and she said: “My halo sits on my horns.” I really loved that!
Overall the Biannual was well-attended. There were lots of people in our brand new building at 1907 Sabine Street. We officially exist! We’re on the map, part of Sawyer Yards, and people know about us.
That was the good. The bad was that I carried a lot of sadness with me throughout the day. The full moon is upon us, and I know it’s affecting me, but there are multiple layers to this sadness, and in the end I think it comes down to feeling alone and lonely. Today was a big day for me, but it was very much (aside from the amazing helpful gesture of the young woman who brought me the ladder) a solo production. I tried to remind myself that worse than doing art events all by my lonesome is doing them with people who cause drama, make demands on me while I’m working, or otherwise cramp my style.
There must be, I keep hoping, other kinds of people out there. People who are reliable and helpful. Perhaps I just haven’t met them yet. And perhaps the unexpected helpful gesture of the ladder is the Universe trying to remind me they’re out there and I shouldn’t give up hope.