This morning I helped my mentor at the World Series of Dogs Show at NRG Stadium, where he has a booth advertising his pet portraits, which are amazing (he did, among others, paint President Bush’s dog!). I’m not going to lie, I had a blast at the dog show! There were all kinds of dogs there (Holly would have hated it!) and they were cute, and we had all kinds of fun conversations (mostly with the humans, but sometimes with the dogs). I invited everyone to my show, of course, which is coming up quickly, and for which it turns out that John can’t help me hang stuff. Which is kinda scary because the hanging is tomorrow! Talk about pressure! Enter two fabulous, amazing, awesome, life-saving girl friends! Both with a keen eye for art, both with experience and flair. I am so lucky they said yes to helping me at the last moment! So, onward and upward. I can do this! Tomorrow should actually be fun!
It’s done, y’all! I have 40 paintings!!! I also went back to Saks and bought the red version of the blue dress I got yesterday. I also bought body glitter oil (because everyone needs that), some lovely Chanel makeup, and a decadent lunch at Peli Peli. It included a carrot ginger soup my waiter advised against. He said it tastes lovely but has the texture of baby food. I said: “Please bring it! Baby food is just what I need! I want to pretend I’m a baby and all I have to do is eat and sleep.” It was lovely indeed, warm and comforting, like a hug, and after eating it I took my shopping bags home and slept like a baby.
Things improved tremendously when I awoke from my nap. I got an email from a collector who loves the commission piece I made for her, another from a former student I’m very proud of who is moving to Houston for law school. I also had a brand new red dress and a party to go to.
Today was the unveiling of John’s Bogotá series, which he painted during his trip to Bogotá. It was quite the party and I’m not gonna lie, tired as I was, the red dress made the occasion very fun for me. I got to talk to a lot of lovely people, and of course I invited them all to come see my show. I even had a friend offer to maybe help me stretch the large canvas. So no, I no longer feel all alone, and all the other bad feelings have shifted. I get a little down on life at times, especially when I’m stressed and tired. But I’m ok. And I’ve learned a few things. Such as: Don’t paint anything you can’t lift! Seriously. It might be my new mantra. And on that note, love y’all and good night!
In which I run around like a headless chicken all day feeling stressed and overwhelmed and finally end up in Saks Fifth Avenue, while my car’s at Firestone getting its state inspection, and buy a blue dress. Anyway, as hard as this day was, let’s take stock of the good: Aside from the blue dress, which is lovely, I also did two new paintings (which puts me at 39 out of 40 completed!), mailed two of the watercolor commissions (properly wrapped, of course), bought D-rings and wire for my 40 paintings, got the state inspection done on my vehicle, found a nice little Thai place with great lunch specials, and overall just hung in there, doubts, exhaustion, sadness and all. I’ve two more days to go until hanging the 40 paintings. There are a few large canvases to stretch too, but that might or might not happen. I wish it was the kind of thing I could do by myself, but it’s not. And asking for help doesn’t always work, and a guy who does it professionally gave me an outrageous quote, and… Well, I’m sick of even thinking about it, frankly. Maybe some day I’ll have someone I trust to do this for me for either love or money. Or maybe I’ll just stick to painting on pre-stretched canvases and ready-made panels. Maybe it’s not important at all. Maybe the real test in all this is learning how to be ok with how very little help I have. Maybe it’s also about learning my limits. Maybe it’s about learning that I don’t have to do this at all – I don’t have to be a professional artist. Maybe it’s simply not a career for skinny women with virtually no support system (except for my unofficial party planner who is pretty much my support system in all this). Just a thought. A recurring one, lately. I also find myself again wanting to run away. After all, if part of what I’m learning is that I’m so very alone here, why stick around? Maybe I’d be happier in Malaga. Maybe I’d meet people I like. Maybe even someone to stretch the occasional canvas.
Several good things happened today: I got together with my friend Jill Hakala and painted seagulls. I figured my show needed seagulls. I also had the amazing Aubrey, John Ross Palmer’s assistant, show me how to properly wrap framed watercolors (containing glass!) so that they don’t get damaged in the mail. She’s a pro, y’all! So it was definitely worth waiting for her to teach me. The delay made me sad and antsy as I wanted to send off my summer watercolor commissions sooner (especially the one painted for a very special lady who reads my blog each and every day ❤️) but what I wanted most of all was to do this safely. So, yet again a situation in which I had to exercise patience, that elusive virtue I’ve very little of.
I rewarded myself with my absolute favorite sandwich from Local Foods. Also with an hour curled up on the couch in John’s studio next to the beautiful Nancy, in which I pestered him with my irreverent (but hilarious) conversation. And because today must be the day the Universe decided to teach me that good things come to those who wait, something wonderful happened: I finally finally finally got to see one of John and Ryan’s cats!!! I wasn’t even sure these felines truly existed. They stay in what John and Ryan refer to as The Residence, their fabulous hotel-like master suite complete with infinite closets and tons of art, and in there they hide as soon as anybody enters. Can you spot the kitty?
In which I’m really really tired from making stuff for my show, so I decide to go get a massage. There’s a fish tank in the lobby of the massage place. I’m annoyed because I have to wait and because I’m like the most impatient person on the planet and also some days I’m cranky and really easily annoyed. In the end, the massage is good, though. I go and order food for my party. Profiteroles filled with stuff. My mom used to make that kind of thing. Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto di Parma. Teeny tiny bottles of Italian sparkling water. Some other stuff as well, but I’m not gonna tell you everything, am I?
I find $5 in the parking lot and remember I owe $5 to John. I go to his studio to harass him (apparently he hates it when people keep repeating the word “profiteroles” over and over again. Go figure). We end up painting together and I remember the fish in the fish tank and also that time in my life when all I made was fish (because I was afraid to draw). So I decide some fish should be included in my solo show, especially since one of the paintings I sold yesterday dates back to that time (see below). 36 paintings completed. 4 left to go. I think I can do this. 4 days until the hanging. It’s starting to look manageable.
Something magical happened today, though it started off as a day that seemed not inclined to magic. Then again, it’s these kind of days that need it the most.
I was feeling overwhelmed and down, tired and cranky and wondering if maybe the art thing wasn’t even worth it (not making art, I never question that, just pursuing it as a profession). What if, when this is your main gig it becomes as unpleasant as just about anything else? The frustrations with people, the worries, the feeling overwhelmed…
Then out of the blue the nicest lady came to the Chrysalis and bought my two largest paintings to date. She fell in love with them right on the spot and wanted to take them home! I made a lot of unexpected money today, y’all, and it sure did a lot to dispel my doubts. But it’s not just that. Those paintings were so very special. They meant a lot to me. It was quite magical to see them find true love.
Then John took Lily and me to Tony’s, his favorite restaurant, one he made a whole mural for, plus some other amazing art. The food was really good, and we laughed a lot. In the end, it was a very good day.
“Oh! Here comes Hollywood!” the homeless man on the train platform screamed. Lily and I walked faster, but we couldn’t stop laughing. “He thinks you’re hot,” Lily said. I looked down at my pink shorts and bright orange top, usually a striking look for me, I must admit, then at the legs splattered in blue paint. More of a hot mess than hot, I had at least survived the creation of some very colorful abstract pieces and was happy to be downtown with my sister, taking pictures of the tall buildings and the Sahara dust.
John had to help me finish some of the paintings because as hard as I struggled, after hours and hours and gallons of paint, my creations still didn’t feel done. I watched in awe as, within mere seconds, with a few quick brushstrokes he added that elusive je ne sais quoi that had been missing. Someday, I told myself. Someday I’ll be that confident. And as the sun set over downtown Houston and my sister and I retreated to the safety of the car, that thought made me happy.
Today’s Open Studios involved a lot of painting. Here’s a detail of some doves I particularly like. It was a good day, talking to people, telling them about my solo show, and in the evening rewarding myself with tacos. I’m nearing the completion of the 40 paintings I’m making for my show, and I’m starting to get really excited about it!
There are several things I realized today:
1) I can’t really post pictures of the watercolor unveiling just yet, because some of the collectors have still not seen their watercolors and I want them to be surprised! I will be mailing them out early next week!
2) Tomorrow is Bastille Day, and also Open Studios at Sawyer Yards, so come see me at 1907 Sabine Street (Studio 145) from 2-5, and have a glass of champagne!
3) I’m in a much better mood now after my friend’s visit then I was before, more relaxed about my solo show, more confident, more happy. Her visit was like a breath of fresh air, and I wish she’d stayed longer.
4) I am addicted to watching House (as in the cranky doctor who walks with a stick).
Today it’s been hot and humid and my little dog slept a lot. My friend helped me organize my watercolor unveiling party, which was fun. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow!