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Hotel Suites and Back Alleys

We woke up in the plush luxury of our bed at the Tremont House with oil rigs and cruise ships and whistling grackles just outside our windows. I tried to take in the details that make these rooms so enticing to me, the tall ceilings, the hardwood floors, the glass tables whose four legs have little copper hooves, like sheep that might run around at night to a rhythm meant to put us to sleep. In the end I settled for painting one of the doorknobs. I felt mildly satisfied, as if I’d absorbed some of the essence of the room. Still, checkout came too early. And wanting to stay on Island to hang out with our friend, Holly and I went from being princesses to being virtually homeless. Welcome to our vagabond lives!

Easter weekend is not a good time to seek outdoor nourishment in the company of a mildly aggressive dog on tourist-swarmed Galveston Island. I’m afraid I had words with the humans of a pair of Jack Russel terrors who wouldn’t leave us alone. Other than that though, the logistics of seeking out food places that are mildly peaceful and allow beasts were actually rather inspiring. If it was so hard for us to go someplace with Holly, where, we wondered, would Cornelius have been able to take Betty back in 1961? Betty, of course, was not a dog, but given their relationship and the times they lived in, a canine dining companion would have been a lot less shocking.

In the end, we ended up at Trattoria la Vigna, at a nice, quiet table, in a nice, quiet alley. And we figured that was just it. Cornelius would dine with Betty in the back alley of a restaurant where friends of his worked and could serve them on the sly. Hidden from view, he’d be able to treat her to candlelight, romance, and fresh seafood. Perhaps, over grilled snapper, or maybe later, over dessert, he’d say: “I’m gonna take you to Paris so we can live like people.”

On a side note: I got all of my paintings from Tangerine, as I’m replacing them with brand new stuff to fit the newly remodeled store! They’re all in the trunk of my car. Except for Betty. Betty sitting on the moon talking to Cornelius, the first Betty I made back in January, she’s nowhere to be found. As always, it’s Betty who’s the troublemaker. It just fits!

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Iguana

Drew this iguana inspired by a social media friend who’s posting pictures from Mexico. Drove back to Houston with a bunch of dresses. John wants us to have a photo shoot tomorrow. That should be fun!

It rained hard last night and everybody was scared. I guess we’re all still traumatized from the hurricane. I wonder what alligators do when it rains. I wonder if they like it.

The moon is almost full. The jasmine is in full bloom. There is a mix of magic and anxiety in the air. And quite possibly this tension will birth something interesting.

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Famous Artist Meets Giant Reptiles

I was lying in bed on a blah morning in Beaumont when my mentor, John Ross Palmer, the world famous artist, texted to say he was getting on I-10 and coming to see me. As soon as I realized he was serious about driving 100 miles to get a glimpse of my alternate life, I called Gator Country and asked if they were open. For those not in the know, Gator Country is an alligator theme park full of giant reptiles. Some escaped during Harvey. Some are still there. “Yeah, we’re open,” the man on the phone said. Also: “Bring me a sandwich!” and “I love you!” Note: We’d never met. More significant note: John stopped at a gas station off I-10 and bought the man a sandwich, a Coke, pink snowballs, and some chips. Even more significant note: When John pulled up in the parking lot in his art van with “John Palmer Art” written clearly on its side, we heard some women screaming loudly, not because a gator had attacked them, but because one of them is a huge fan of his art! They had come all the way from California and the serendipity of the encounter was positively surreal, but hey, when you’re world famous you meet hordes of screaming fans everywhere! Even in a gator park in Beaumont. After having our picture taken with the group of women we proceeded to buy tickets, find the man who professed his love for me in exchange for a sandwich, and contemplate some philosophical questions such as: Is it wrong to wear alligator shoes to the alligator park? The rest is history.

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Fabulous

Surviving the full moon madness. Made it to Beaumont bright and early, while my mentor was texting me to remind me of all the fabulous things I was missing in Houston. I liked that. I mean, it’s what a good mentor does. Gives you perspective, and reminds you you have a fabulous new life, even when you’re wading knee-deep through your old one and start having that sinking feeling.

So yes, the day ended up being pretty good. I ran into one of my favorite students and she told me about all the progress she’s been making learning Russian (I told her to listen to Russian songs in her car and she’s doing it!). I taught good classes, walked my dog with my friend, then finally, in the evening had a visit with another friend – the one who calls me Candela because he knows me so well.

Oh, and I booked a suite at the Tremont House for me and my dog to stay in the near future, because we simply haven’t done anything absolutely fabulous in a while.

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The Real Me

So today I painted this woman in her underwear and somebody wanted her immediately and I sold her. That was pretty awesome. I also painted a squirrel. I got the inspiration for it from my dog’s Instagram (@biggestdogintheuniverse).

I also went to the gallery, did my weekly cleaning, and played with the dogs. It was a pretty day though I was under the impression of last night’s dream, probably one of the craziest dreams I’ve ever had, with some beautiful imagery in it, but crazy no less. In it I had a two-story house, and I was watching from an upstairs window as someone who has let me down in real life was putting Christmas lights up in one of the trees in my yard. The person was shrouded in darkness, wearing a hat, and handling the lights in anger, as if grudgingly fulfilling a promise. I was wearing a short white embroidered nightgown that once belonged to my mother. I only went to the window because the person was making too much noise. I was hoping they wouldn’t see me. I had no intention of going downstairs. The next day I was in my backyard eating gumbo with someone else and having fun. And then I woke up.

I felt, in the morning, that the dream was somehow bittersweet. All the intense dreams, good or bad, are things I cherish, things I’m fond of. As if they are a gift from a secret friend, a gift from a voice deep inside, from someone who is there to guide me on a deeper level, someone who navigates for me on the meandering paths of the subconscious. Perhaps it’s the real me. And perhaps I only meet her, very briefly, at night. Maybe that’s why I love being asleep.

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My Spirit Bird and the Moon

My friend (@serialcatter on Instagram) took this beautiful picture of my spirit bird with the waxing moon. It really spoke to me. That moon has been affecting me today. It’s got me under its spell! The more it grows, the more I sink into my various states of anxiety.

This morning I was having trouble painting a cup of coffee and it made me doubt everything. Confession: Each time I don’t like a painting I make I overreact and become convinced I’m losing my skills. For good measure I also fretted about losing my looks, my charm, and many other things. The friends who came to Open Studios at the Chrysalis helped me laugh this off. I know, of course that it’s all because of the moon. But sometimes knowing it only helps so much.

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Red Nails

The jasmine by the pool has started blooming filling the world with its sweet scemt. I figured it was time to paint my toenails red and wear my Birkenstocks. It was a beautiful day today. I prepared my studio for the open studio event tomorrow, but I also snuck in all kinds of fun: an arts market I went to with John and AVM to see Stephanie Ramirez, a former Escapist, an almond croissant and a visit to a used bookstore in Rice Village, 1,000 words on my ghost story, and the spiciest ramen I have ever tried at Tiger Den in Chinatown, where I have always wanted to go. All in all, it was a fabulous day.

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Nancy and Bobby

Today I painted Nancy and Bobby, John and Ryan’s beautiful dogs because they’re quite important in my life and I am very fond of them. Nancy and Bobby are English pointers, very elegant dogs. I suppose the biggest dog in the universe has good reason to be jealous!

I also tried my hand at some abstract works. These tend to be so difficult for me. I don’t know why. I like working on them while talking to John, but I hardly ever like the end result. A friend was trying to teach me some things about composition today, which might help. Maybe. We’ll see.

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A Good Day for a Little Monster

Some days it’s hard to be a dog, and some days it’s quite the joyful experience. When the weather is crisp but sunny and your human takes you on two very long walks, plus a car ride, it’s definitely a good day. So yes, today my little monster had a lot of fun. She sure deserved it after the long winter and all those days when I left her alone for hours to do my art, and cut her walkies short because I was cold and miserable. Now Memorial Park is exploding in lovely displays of bluebonnets. We even saw a magnolia that’s opened up before its time. The weather is getting nicer and my mood is improving. Hopefully conditions will stay favorable and I’ll make my dog smile from ear to ear every day.