In It to Win It!

Can a sweltering summer in a pandemic hotspot still hold a lot of magic? Yes, it can. And on that note, let’s take a moment to be grateful this is 2020, not 1918 when women had to wear corsets in addition to masks! Talk about not being able to breathe… And, since we’re talking about what women used to wear in bygone eras, let me remind you of something magical coming up, something that can still be fun despite the pandemic: I’m a contestant in this year’s Galveston Island Beach Review – a hundred-year-old vintage swimsuit pageant in which I will participate via video wearing my 1900 bathing dress, complete with pantaloons, but mercifully sans corset (because beachwear even back then was more forgiving). The contest has moved online and you can watch it live on August 1st from 2-4pm at Beachreview.com

You can also support me in a major way by buying into today’s Crazy Good Deal! You can now purchase art credits with the Sandovici Gallery, which are half off. And I promise to double your art credits if I win any of six prizes offered by the Historical Foundation! So if I win, you win!

I already raised some money this way and two of my favorite collectors are hopefully going to see their credits double! I’m practically on top of the world to have such support and also feeling empowered because I realize I’ve learned from my mentors how to raise money for projects I wish to invest in. In this case, the money I raise will go towards making a professional video to submit to the contest with the help of Buburuza Productions. They also helped me with my vintage photoshoot and the cover of Storms of Malhado among other things.

But I was telling you about magic and how it can sometimes happen at the most unlikely times in the most unlikely places. I was walking the dog this evening. Even after dark, it felt like being in a sauna. The dog got fixated on eating some kind of dry worms on the sidewalk. (This is not the magical part). I got so frustrated with her stubborn ways, I decided to pick her up and carry her for a while. So here I was carrying 20 pounds of dog on a hot summer night, and the dog’s belly against my arm felt like an oven. Still, insects were buzzing in the trees and the heat even felt so surreal it was kind of fun. I advanced past the dried worms and put the dog down. And that’s when we saw an animal come out of the bushes and bounce across the street. It stopped and looked at us. The dog hyperventilated with excitement. It was too far to see the animal well. I would have thought it was a possum, but it was too round, too bouncy, and there was a little glimmer on its back as if it were shiny and hard, not covered in fur. I stood in awe next to my hyperventilating dog realizing I had just had yet another rare sighting of my favorite Texas critter, the armadillo! I think they’re magical, and lucky, and the serendipity of spotting one in my very urban neighborhood seems like a sign from nature or the dearly departed that maybe everything will be all right after all.

Midnight in Paris

Sneak peek at one of my auction pieces for my upcoming Bastille Day auction. This one does different things in different kinds of light because of the metallic paint I used. Also, this is just a small section of it, as I’m not sharing the whole image until these are ready to be unveiled to my top collectors.

It makes me want to paint more urban night scenes, city lights, taillights of cars, that type of stuff.

Today we had the Zoom Party for Sky Club Elite and it was a lot of fun. Not everyone was able to attend, but for those of us who made it it was good to catch up and to laugh together. Despite staying home it’s been a very full week.

Oyster Love

Today I painted an oyster. I miss these slimy guys. But it’s neither oyster season, nor tempting to go out there with the rising number of cases. Painting the oyster, of course, was immensely satisfying. So are the two new reviews I got for Storms of Malhado. Nothing like reviews to make my day!

I think I broke some new ground in my editing of The Glory Days of Aimée Bonnard as well. I managed to transform a chapter that was a bit clumsy into something I quite like.

I think a lot of Aimée these days, as I contemplate the wealth of time before me and my freedom to do with it as I please. It occurred to me that although her story is so different from mine, she’s a character I’ve created as a metaphor for the ways in which I always wanted to free myself, to have full reign of my time, and no oppressive entity or unwanted activity stealing it from me.

Fiona

Today I got to paint Fiona. She was my friend Dr. Susan Catlett’s horse for 13 years, but now she has new owners who also love her and keep her well taken care of and happy. At my friend’s house I’ve seen some amazing art featuring Fiona the horse, including a portrait painted by John as part of his Jane & Friends pet portrait series, so naturally I’m totally psyched that my little watercolor will join this collection. We had a lot of fun too with the live painting and chatting throughout the show.

A muse not only to the visual arts, Fiona inspired the name of one of the two horses that end up playing an important role in Storms of Malhado. Having learned more about her today (she’s a Leo!) I think the Fiona in the book shares more than her name. In fact, I feel like looking up that section of the book now.

I also have been secretly working away at my Paris series. And if you check out my online store, you will find a brand new Crazy Good Deal!

Teaser

Today’s painting is still in progress. It’s just a little teaser for my upcoming Paris Series. These paintings will be unveiled shortly after Bastille Day during a virtual soirée for my top collectors. With encouragement and help from my amazing friend who works with Zoom all the time, and with inspiration from my mentors who hosted a really fun and very successful art auction via Zoom on the 4th of July, I decided that I need to attempt this. If you’ve bought art from me lately, you will be invited. And if you haven’t but want in, go look at my online store and see what Crazy Good Deal you can snatch up!

The Paris paintings will be fun, fresh, très chic, and for now, my progress on them will be a well-guarded secret.

Meanwhile, there are some very special projects in store for the online show. I’m very excited about tomorrow, because tomorrow I get to paint a beautiful horse called Fiona. You might want to make time to watch me paint her at 5:45pm CST if you can.

Jack Russell Puppies

I’ve always loved Jack Russell Terriers, and even the episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte adopts a very spirited on that almost destroys her apartment didn’t change my mind. They are so adorable! Besides, what’s wrong with having a strong personality? I might have been a Jack Russell myself in a different life.

Anyway, today John sent me a picture of his great grandfather holding two Jack Russell puppies and I thought it was the cutest thing ever and I had to paint it! It’s true that I didn’t know from the beginning what breed the puppies were, but luckily one of our most VIP collectors has Jack Russell Terriers and was able to enlighten us.

Anyway, this was so much fun! I’m really grateful for the fabulous community around my Facebook Live videos. They make me happy every single day! Who would have thought it would be possible to have such fun in the middle of these strange and anxiety-ridden times?

Also, today’s Crazy Good Deal is totally amazing! Y’all don’t want to miss this one!

Fougère Royale

More research for The Glory Days of Aimée Bonnard! Today it took me to a men’s fragrance called Fougère Royale, which has been around for a very long time and could’ve easily been worn by one the characters in the novel. I love this bit of editing where I add scents and tastes and a bit more texture to the story.

Other than that, it was a quiet day dominated by a long nap. I didn’t update the Crazy Deal of the Day. I decided to give myself a pass on this lazy Sunday, so y’all can still access yesterday’s deal, but I will make sure to post a new one tomorrow.

Independence Day 2020

The inspiration for this year’s 4th of July painting is my dear friend Margo, one of my fashion icons, who once upon a time worked at The Firm, the boutique in Galveston I still dream of at night, and which is mentioned in Storms of Malhado. Margo sold me my very first pair of designer jeans, back when buying luxury fashion was new to me. She’s the first friend I made in Galveston, way before I moved there. Nowadays she works at HEB (for those not from Texas, this is an awesome grocery store who prepared for the pandemic and showed great foresight), which makes her a hero in my book. I really loved the picture she posted the other day, wearing her red bandanna, her cool aviator shades, and her blue mask, with the flag as a background. I thought it was the perfect thing to paint for the 4th of July.

Don’t forget to check out today’s Crazy Good Deal.

Old Fashioned Candy

Did you know Necco Wafers have been around since the mid-1800’s? Neither did I, and in fact I’ve never had one, but some of my favorite viewers on my Facebook Live show said they have fond memories of them. How did I stumble upon such a nostalgic item? I was doing research for my upcoming novel, The Glory Days of Aimée Bonnard, and I wanted to know what type of candy people were eating in 1900. Because it’s more fun to describe the candy than just mention it. One of my top readers for Storms of Malhado said that she could taste and smell the story, and that was one of the best compliments I’ve ever had about my writing. I myself love books where one can imagine the taste and scent of things.

In other news, I baked a flag pie, but it burned a little. Is this a metaphor for 2020? Luckily the Supreme Court protects me (Texas v Johnson, 1989). And I managed not burn the flag pizza I also made. The pie, for all its charred stars is, however, tastier than the pizza. I think tomorrow I will eat the stars for breakfast. Happy 4th! Definitely not going anywhere, though I have some fun online activities planned.

And don’t forget to check out the Crazy Good Deal of the day!

Bobby is a Scorpio

This really sweet picture of Bobby came up in my Facebook memories today. It’s from two years ago when I was in the Escapist Mentorship Program and painting up a storm for my solo show, The Platform. Bobby, sweet loyal soul that he is, was hanging out in my studio offering moral support. In case you didn’t know it, Bobby is a Scorpio, and Scorpios make great friends.

If you like discussing astrology and are wondering whether it truly applies to English Pointers, you might like the Zoom Book Clubs I’m planning for my new novel, Storms of Malhado – the historical novel everyone is talking about this hurricane season! How about a virtual book club where the book-related questions are things like: Would you date a drug dealer? Do you think horses can descend stairs? Who were you in your previous lives? Is it better to cheat on a spouse or leave a marriage without explanation?

If this virtual book club sparks your interest, check out today’s Crazy Good Deal!