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Painting Party

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.

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Paris, Texas

“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.

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My Halo Sits on My Horns

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.

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Lights and Drama

So the Spring Biannual is tomorrow, which is one of Houston’s most exciting art events. And guess what? Our brand new building at 1907 Sabine Street will be included! Please come by and see me between 4-9 in Studio 145.

To prepare I hung a painting on the wall outside my studio. I also got my hair cut. I took a much needed nap with my dog. And then I fretted a lot about lights. I have not yet gotten around to buying spotlights to point dramatically to the art displayed in my studio. Note: professional spaces with professional art generally include such spotlights. The building will even put these up for us if we give them proper instructions, but one can’t really expect them to do it last minute before the Biannual. So I decided to get up on a ladder and do it myself. Then I realized my ladder is too short. And I don’t really have the physical strength necessary to manipulate a bigger ladder.

You’d never imagine the drama that ensues if you post on Facebook “I need a man with a ladder.” Prepare to be shamed as a disgrace to the feminist cause. Oy vey!

I decided to either lie down on the railroad tracks by my studio and end it, or to give up on the spotlights for now, go buy overpriced guacamole and a bunch of tulips at Whole Foods, and try to have a moderately nice evening. I ended up crushing the tulips with my groceries because I completely fail at life. Not just at feminism. Luckily tulips are pretty resilient. And so am I. Come see me during the Biannual! It’s totally cool if you don’t bring a ladder.

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And somehow I survived. One more exam to give, and this horrible school year is over. Between the hurricane and its aftermath, selling the house, the brutal winter, and the excitement and steep learning curve of my first few months in the Escapist Mentorship Program, this year has been an avalanche of exhaustion. I often felt that I was sinking. There was support I counted on that didn’t materialize, there were a few people who disappointed, but also quite a few wonderful surprises, especially being admitted into the Mentorship Program and receiving the help, affirmation, and constructive advice it offers. Not to mention the laughter. There is a lot of laughter. And as soon as I rest and reset there will be even more.

Still, it’s useful, too, to remember the lows. The moments when I don’t know how I managed to summon the force to swim towards the light: the time when I thought the house wouldn’t sell, when I felt overwhelmed tackling the repairs in a post-hurricane town where all the contractors were busy, then happened to come down with the flu while dealing with a mega-crisis at work. Yes, I believe that must have been the low-point of it all. Though the realtor rudely pressuring me to get my stuff out of the house asap in order to accommodate the buyer, at the busiest time of the semester, no less, was no picnic either. Neither was my drafty apartment that smelled like burned electricity whenever I turned on the heat. Still, somehow, I made it through all that and more. And now I like remembering how dark and lonely and discouraging some of it was. It’s good not to forget such things. As a measure of your own strength and magic. And as a way to put the better times ahead into perspective.

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There are herons nesting in the live oak by my friend’s house here in Beaumont. I like to see them sitting there. I like to see them fly too, spreading their vast grey wings in the morning light. I also like the creatures at dusk, the many songbirds, but above all the bats. It’s something to counter the boredom and listlessness of this small town. Perhaps I might not have grown so attuned to nature had I not been so bored and miserable here. So this is something nice I get to take with me, something to remember this place by. Though nature is beautiful and wild and wonderful in so many places. Even in Houston, especially in the park and around the bayou. It’s a real revelation there, in the middle of the city, where one is not forced to observe it out of boredom but simply because it’s alive and magical. After all, it was there that I saw the armadillos. And last week I also saw a heron.

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Broadway Cemetery

My friend posted a picture of a monument in the historic cemetery on Broadway, and it reminded me that the cemetery will be in full bloom soon. It’s what happens in Galveston in May. Yellow wildflowers bloom everywhere and they’re most lovely in the cemetery on Broadway. Next week I might go and take pictures of them.

Also, my birthday month is almost here. Just so you know, the cemetery tends to bloom during my birthday month. I like that very much.

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A Deer Wearing a Tiara

A lot happened today: Most importantly I met some lovely young women for brunch who have a book club and read Dogs with Bagels! It was a lot of fun! Especially the part where I asked them what other books they’d read recently and we discovered that some of them were books that absolutely haunted me.

Something else that happened today was that I realized my Escapist Solo Show on July 27th falls on a full moon, and not just any full moon, but the Buck Moon. The Buck Moon is when deer get new antlers! How fabulous is that? Especially since, if we went by the book, my spirit animal would probably be a deer (Native Americans had yet to encounter giraffes when they discovered spirit animal symbols!). So yes, this will be the perfect full moon for me. In its honor I painted a deer with a tiara. I hope it’ll help everyone remember the date of my solo show!

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Pearls for Barbara

This morning I watched Mrs. Bush’s funeral on TV, which was surreal considering it was taking place so close to my house. In fact, when walking the dog around the block this morning I saw police lights, that’s how close the church is to us. Anyway, it was quite touching to see the ceremony. I watched it with a friend of a different political persuasion, and I thought that was the beauty of it: someone like Barbara Bush was liked and appreciated equally by all. It was nice, in these troubled political times to have something to agree on, a common denominator that was positive and gentle and dignified.

A lot of women wore pearls today in honor of Barbara Bush, all throughout Houston and around the country too. I realized all my (faux) pearls have been sold in the Estate sale. Oh well. I figured I’d paint some instead of wearing them. And that’s ok. I also figured I would think of this special lady often and try to learn more about her life.