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I’m not quite where I want to be in terms of painting hands, but I feel like I’m getting better. This is another Instagram-inspired painting. I picked the image because it’s so delicate.

The weather continued to be nice – actually absolutely gorgeous – today and as I set about doing mundane but important tasks, such as cooking very healthy food, bits and pieces of good news trickled in. I feel like my art business is starting to resemble a live organism, something lovely, like the jade plants I keep propagating because they’re supposed to bring luck and money, but also because I love them, and they’re so easy to grow. It all started with two jade plants I found in my house in Beaumont when I bought it. Now I have more than ten and they are lush and beautiful.

In the evening I went to John and Ryan’s for their monthly Relax event, and it was very good to see them and some of the friends, collectors, and Escapists who frequent these gatherings.

I didn’t get to write today, but I did get some time to enjoy reading this afternoon. I’m reading the most remarkable book: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. If you haven’t read it, I totally recommend it!

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How to Look at Things

Today I ended up thinking about Betty a lot. I decided she needed something – something to make her special but also to underscore her loneliness. Because Betty is very lonely, and it’s one of the things that make her compelling and relatable. She doesn’t fully belong in the world she’s been cast in. So I decided that Betty needs to have her own unobtrusive way to escape. I decided to give her a superpower of sorts, and it lies in her talent for being especially observant, for looking at things in a way that helps her truly see them. Her mental escape from a life that’s dull and oppressive are the details she notices about even the most mundane objects. The way the light falls on a glass of ice tea, the way the droplets of condensation on the glass each contain a sparkle and a patch of darkness. Betty perceives the world the way an artist would, truly paying attention, noticing things. She’s not able to translate this talent into creating anything she likes, and it frustrates her. But still, her inner world is rich with the complex visuals of experiences most people gloss over. She can find comfort in fine-tuning her observation of everything that surrounds her, and it helps her achieve a blissful state of solitude even when she’s surrounded by other people – especially those whose company she doesn’t enjoy. It’s like having a secret playroom to withdraw to.

Also, the bottlebrush trees are in full bloom and today was a legitimately warm day. I discovered a car wash in Montrose where they have swings outside for people to use while waiting for their vehicles. There was also a beautiful white cat inside.

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One Step Closer

The dry cleaning has been picked up, the taxes figured out, and I’m one step closer to being ready for Paris! Meanwhile I’ve displayed another large canvas in my studio at Sabine Street and tomorrow I’ll reach out to collectors to see who wants to come by and see it and everything else that’s still in there.

The weather was pretty nice today, nice enough for the shadows of trees to stretch like blue roadmaps onto the concrete. I managed to go to yoga and also to treat the dog to two fairly decent walks. I’m starting to feel more motivated to move around. And now I’m sore and tired sitting in my studio upstairs drinking a manzanilla, and I’m hoping this will all lead to good sleep tonight.

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Selfie with Dog

In which I discover that I no longer feel fat and also that I like my new haircut. Also, I finished the first draft of the Galveston ghost story. It’s far from polished, but at least I got it all down. I also took my dry cleaning to a place that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg (here’s hoping they do a good job) and went to the bank to have my accounts reorganized and simplified – something I’d been hoping to do for ages now. It doesn’t seem like a lot for a whole day (except for finishing the first draft – that does feel like a milestone) but I’d say for a Monday I’ve made some progress towards things being a bit more organized and manageable. Tomorrow I plan to learn about filing my business taxes for the first quarter. Wish me luck!

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Can Cats See Spirits?

I had a dream in which my cat sitter friend gave me a cat. It was a pretty tabby cat and I liked it, but I freaked out. I remember worrying about everything the care of two animals instead of one would entail. Everything from a pet deposit to boarding to the thorny matter of whether the Biggest Dog in the Universe would tolerate a feline presence. Luckily I awoke cat-free, but thoughts of the dream stayed with me throughout the day. I started wondering whether I should incorporate a cat or dog into my ghost story manuscript. All of my books have animals in them except this one. Then I wondered if perhaps there’s a reason I’ve omitted animals. Can cats feel spirits? Would a cat have sensed that the Broadway mansion was haunted and would it have run away? I’m not sure yet how, but I want to work a runaway cat into the story.

Also, I bought these mini-daffodils at Central Market today and I absolutely love them. Other than that I’ve been mostly lazy and sluggish and haven’t really done much at all.

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Today was such a fabulous day! My large paintings in my studio at Sabine Street are literally flying off the wall, going home with some of my favorite people. My mysterious smoking girl has been adopted by a very chic smoker. My very first large painting that I produced during the Escapist Mentorship Program – and which was the source of some heartache on my part when I learned the hard way that I’m not strong enough to stretch canvases – went home with someone who was on the committee that accepted me into the program when I applied. It’s a street scene of Bucharest in the 1940s, and I always thought it was sad that, because it was unstretched, nobody could see it!

After my collectors fell in love with it and decided they wanted it, we went out to dinner at Cuchara – one of my favorite Houston restaurants. I hadn’t been there in quite a while, and it felt good to be reconnected. Then we went to Discovery Green to see a night market, and I remembered again how much I love downtown Houston and being outside in the park with people and music and art installations, all surrounded by modern tall buildings and buzzing with the energy of the city on a Saturday night. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, it’s hard to believe that life can be this sweet.

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A Kiss in Paris

I didn’t get enough sleep last night, and the weather turned cold again. But the cold no longer has the strength it used to. As for me, I was tired but happy, and I managed to paint one more large painting. Tomorrow I will start reaching out to collectors so they can come see these big pieces and help me say goodbye to my studio at Sabine Street. Actually, one very VIP person, member of Sky Club Elite, is already coming by tomorrow afternoon and I’m so excited!

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Sky Club Elite

Today was the day of my VVIP pool party, and while I couldn’t with all my magical powers hex the jasmine into bursting open, my prayers for beautiful sunny weather were most definitely answered – and that’s what’s truly important. Except it’s not. Because the most important thing of all is having the support of wonderful friends and collectors who wanted to be in my Sky Elite Club – a very exclusive organization that benefits from an insider view of my upcoming trip to Paris, Berlin, and Bucharest, and all the art inspired by this adventure.

So today we opened a very large and especially lovely bottle of champagne and celebrated poolside. My mentor John Ross Palmer joined the party and helped me entertain my guests. There was also a floating unicorn in attendance – because one shouldn’t have a pool party without one! And John took the most wonderful pictures of my dog. As for me, I’m still on Cloud 9 long after the party is over. This was such a special gathering! I’m very very lucky to have such a wonderful constellation of people around me right now!

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Another Big Painting

In which Instagram is down, and my evening yoga class got cancelled, and it rained. Also, am approaching the end of Daisy Jones and the Six for the second time around. I’m feeling restless but also tired, and I bought a ton of food for my pool-side party tomorrow evening and now all I can do is hope it won’t rain.

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Looking Forward to Café de Flore

It wasn’t quite Café de Flore, but when John and I met at Adair Kitchen this morning it felt special. We talked about Paris, where we have big plans, also about some of my upcoming collector events, and about all sorts of random stuff.

In the afternoon Holly and I had a visit from a new collector who is very lovely and who bought two of my favorite paintings. She asked if Holly would be sad to see the paintings go. I explained that Holly hates art.

Things have been really good lately. I have to say that spring is bursting everywhere, there’s a new energy all around, and my business has caught it too. Perhaps Holly, the art hater, has cast some kind of spell, because the paintings have been flying out of here. I need her to devote her energies to the jasmine by the pool next. I really would love for it to bloom by Thursday night!