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This one goes out to cat lady for being such a good friend! Also, I managed to have a great day, even on a Wednesday in Beaumont!

It’s a full moon, and though its energy brings a certain kind of heaviness, it’s also a happy anniversary. On the last full moon us Escapists had our very first meeting with John and Ryan. Looking back now, I can’t believe it’s only been a month! Life has changed so much, I’ve learned, expanded, gained in color, boldness, but also in perspective. And I’m very excited about what lies ahead!

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Buffalo Energy

Sometimes I feel the need to channel the energy of the majestic buffalo. The buffalo is a symbol of abundance. It’s also a symbol of strength and consistency. These are things I wish to channel in my art practice. I believe in setting such intentions often, and I believe in the prosperity such intentions can attract.

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A Sensation of Space

Today my friend and I headed to the Island to look at houses. It was fun and it wasn’t. There was certainly lots of laughter, but I also felt pressure. Pressure to find “the one,” and you know that’s never sexy!

Did we find this elusive home? I’m not sure. There are two that have potential. Two lovable ones, two cottages that despite being tiny, offer up, in yards where the Island sky is ever expansive, the sensation of space. Whether I wish to commit to either of these prospects I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that both my friend and I are exhausted. Also, that if you’re gonna go look at real estate on a subtropical island it’s good to bring a friend along who alternates between saying things like: “you need to look at the comps to see if it’s priced right” and “I like that one because it’s a pretty color.”

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Open Studios

Today was the first open studio event at John Palmer’s studio and gallery since I started the mentorship program. I found that, despite having done so many open studios at Hardy and Nance, I felt nervous greeting new people in this new space. It was also an uncharacteristically cold day, as if the spring that’s already in full swing was temporarily suspended. I painted a window from Valencia, which I saw on Instagram. I also applied another layer of gloss to yesterday’s collage. Later I went home to the biggest dog in the universe and cooked a big satisfying pot of chili with 4 different cans of beans. Tomorrow cat lady is coming to the Island with me to look at houses. And the weather will hopefully be glorious. And the biggest dog in the universe will hopefully not mind being left alone again.

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Ghost Story In the Making

Today was an absolutely magical day in the studio. AVM was there working on her 12 quick pieces (she got the same assignment I had, and Paula did it too!). It was our first time working in the studio together and the energy was great in there! I felt inspired to do another Galveston collage, a ghost story in the making. I ended up being there for five hours and I made a lot of progress. Then I went home, fed my monster, and sat down to draw the girl in the collage. It occurred to me that as hard as I thought I was working on my art before (and I did think I was working hard because I made something every day!), that truly was nothing. The mentorship got me to kick the art making into high gear. I realize that I simply must make a lot more stuff. This tends to be John’s advice to us too, and I totally get his point.

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Beer and Intellectual Conversation

Today a friend said something I found really cool. He said people in Spain don’t go to art shows for the art, they go for the beer and intellectual conversation. Mind you, it sounds cooler in Spanish. Tomar cervezas y intelectualizar. It inspired the painting I was working on while we were talking. It was a quick spontaneous painting (though I worked on the background for about four hours). When I was done with it, or at least as done as I was gonna be today, I wasn’t satisfied. Not sure if I don’t like it because I’m tired or because allowing myself to be spontaneous and free in my art is hard for me. But I felt like I hadn’t truly made something that counts, something worth posting on the blog. So I went home and drew something inspired by the same comment, and I don’t like this either, but at least I feel like I’ve tried. And now I’ll walk the biggest dog in the universe and go to bed.

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Running Free

Today I painted this horse running free from a picture by @dragoslumpan I saw on Instagram. I also taught three classes, met a friend for happy hour, and drove back to Houston. I realized in the middle of all this that I too am running free, that I’ve let go of some of my baggage, some of that things that were holding back. Things that were important to me are not anymore. Time really does cure all, or perhaps it simply rearranges things, making some inner monsters shrink to a manageable size.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with my mentor and I’m really excited!

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Rough and Tough

This morning I woke up to torrential rain. I wasn’t happy. How was I going to walk the biggest dog in the universe? How was I going to walk around on campus getting my 10,000 steps in? How was I going to summon the willpower to get up? How was I going to summon the willpower to write? Remember that manuscript I’ve been neglecting? It’s bad enough being in Beaumont, but being in Beaumont in the rain is worse.

Luckily the sun came out. The biggest dog in the universe emerged from under the blankets all perky and pointy-eared. My troubles were far from over, though. Just when I thought the day was salvageable, I was served divorce papers. It turns out when you opt out of buying a house you have to sign a termination agreement. It made me feel sad all over again. I contemplated my attraction to ruins. What in my poetic soul steers me towards rescuing houses and people and really big ferocious dogs? I remembered L in Lost Path to Solitude, and one of my favorite quotes from the book: But if you were not lost and confused would you still be a poet?

I decided to drink caffeine and courage and carry on. Because sometimes you’ve gotta be rough and tough. Like the biggest dog in the universe.

And so I wrote 2,000 words today. I also walked 10,000 steps, ate my veggies, washed my hair, signed the divorce papers, and had lunch with a friend. Oh, and Fancy was on the radio while I was driving to school and that sorta made my day.

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Keep Searching

Today I found a random picture in my phone of a cute little Galveston house I’d photographed on one of my walks. I decided to paint it as a reminder that cute little houses are out there, that I need to keep searching.

Meanwhile in Beaumont everything strikes me as surreal. The city seems asleep, paralyzed, slow as if it were trying to walk through a deep murky swamp. Someone told me the woman who bought my house has very loud dogs, dogs that bark and howl. I couldn’t help but laugh. I guess the noisy neighbor’s found his match!

As to myself, hopefully I will find a peaceful little island place. I flexed my negotiation muscles a bit. I think I’m getting better. I asked for a large chunk of money off the house with the pretty chandelier. They didn’t want to go that low, so I walked. But at least I think I’m learning and making progress. And hopefully something lovely will turn up.

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More. That seems to be the word of the day. I wanted four grackles so I made two more. I wanted another Betty so I made her. I also worked out for a whole hour with my trainer instead of half an hour. I went out for Indian food and yummy taro with my friend. I also entertained, on and off, thoughts of the house with the chandelier. It feels like a breakup. Social media pictures made me sad and I want to call her even though I’m not sure can give her what she needs. She needs a lot. Perhaps too much. I feel like I need to focus on my career. And still…