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The Raven

Today’s painting is a raven, inspired by yet another brilliant picture my friend @stephanirae_ published on Instagram. Perhaps some people think ravens are bad omens, but their symbolism is much more complex and positive. Ravens symbolize wisdom. They are seen in some cultures as oracles. They also can symbolize communication with our own shadow self, the dark side – often neglected and even repressed – that each person has. Paradoxically, true healing can only come by accepting and embracing this aspect of ourselves as part of our whole being. A well versed witch will tell you about the importance of shadow work – by which I mean the work of getting to know, accept, and love our own shadow self, that part of ourselves that might not be easy to like, the one we often try to hide from others and even from ourselves. In helping us communicate with our shadows, the raven brings truth and balance. It helps us achieve wholeness and peace. It is, thus, quite the magical bird. I think I’m going to paint a lot more ravens.

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More Mannequins

Today I painted another mannequin painting. I also ate the chile en nogada taco again – I actually had two! – and overall tried to have myself a lovely day despite the weird muggy weather. Meanwhile in Galveston it rained a lot and a flotilla of unicorns took over the downtown.

Tomorrow I get to see John – freshly returned from Paris! – and we are having open studios!

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The watercolor above is inspired by the Dolce & Gabbana show, which I loved. As to yesterday’s mannequins, I think I’ve fixed the messed up face. I’m not sure about the background, but I will let it be. John has this thing he says about not “killing” a painting by overdoing it. Hopefully I haven’t crossed into that territory.

Also, the chile en nogada taco at Tacodeli is seriously good. And my mood improved very slowly, but it finally did. I think I might actually have a good day tomorrow.

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Baby, Don’t Cry

Today I started working on these Chanel mannequins and I kept messing up this one girl’s face and in the end I got frustrated and cried. Or maybe not immediately. It took a few other things: a trip to Saks to refill my Angel bottle, then the realization that the unfriendly person who helped me must have given me something else – it just doesn’t smell right! –, but most importantly a visit to haunted territory. It turned out that a benefit for Art Launch, the nonprofit behind the Escapist Mentorship Program, took place in a bar where I last went with someone. Someone I wasn’t happy with despite my best efforts to be happy. And in the red lighting of the bar, I sank into a dark space inside myself – both then and now. I guess it’s the ultimate disappointment to realize this is as good as things will ever get. There is no place to go from here. No progression to hope for. People have their limits. They cannot give you what they don’t have. Sometimes you hit a wall and have to backtrack.

Of course, the evening ended up being nice in its own way. Collectors came to support ArtLaunch. They dragged me out of the dark hole I had sunk into. (And I have to say that’s not easy. After all, a Taurus is a big heavy beast; it requires some heavy lifting).

Later I went and sat outside at Velvet Taco and ate elote and tacos and cake. The evening was getting cool and for the first time this year I needed a jacket from my car. On the drive home I called my cousin. Then I burned sage and walked my dog. I contemplated the mannequin painting again. I shared with some friends on Instagram that I cried over it today. “Baby, don’t cry,” one of them said. Perhaps that should’ve been the theme song for my entire day.

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Let me tell you something: Holly Golightly might be the biggest dog in the universe, but Bobby, the English Pointer is the Coolest Dog Ever. I mean, he even wears sunglasses like his human, John Ross Palmer, and everyone knows Palmer is totally VIP.

Today, for example, the famous artist was drinking champagne at the Ritz in Paris with a glamorous entourage, including a very beautiful blonde. Back in Houston, Bobby the dog seemed completely unfazed. The orchids I’ve been asked to ice in my mentor’s absence, however, looked a little droopy. Although I’ve lovingly named one of them Gina. Apparently orchids need more than ice and occasional conversation. The orchids seem to miss him. Or perhaps I should ice them in silence?

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Confession: Few things make me as happy as the unicorn floating in the pool of an apartment building off Memorial drive I see whenever I’m on my way home from my grueling commute. This beautiful object has been missing for months now, and I feared it was gone forever. But I never stopped looking for it and hoping and today it’s back! One more sign that summer in the South never ends. Also a sign that magic is ever present, and that we shouldn’t stop believing in it.

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The Appeal of Autumn

I saw a joke on social media complaining that in the South fall is just like summer, but with pumpkins. Personally, I can’t complain. I love summer above all things, and I like pumpkins a lot too. Yes, there is something mildly unsettling about feeling that hint of a cool breeze in the mornings, then afternoons giving in to the same old Texas heat, but it’s ok. I’m fine with fall being nothing but a whisper. Because, frankly, whenever I’ve lived in places where I could experience it, I’ve never liked it. For all its explosion of colors, the anticipation of winter made me depressed. A real fall is a bit like a Sunday – my least favorite day of the week. It’s gloomy, somber even at its most colorful.

So yes, as I was painting an image of autumn in Bucharest, which I found on Instagram, I was fully grateful not to be enjoying falling rust-colored leaves and a true change of seasons here. Because sometimes I feel that fall can make me sad even at a distance. Or maybe it’s the full moon in Aries messing with me. All I know is that today I felt sad and tired. But after painting I felt so much better.

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Just Playing

Here’s a drawing of my cousin playing giraffe with Holly. We had a really fun day, even though it rained. We slept until 10:30, which was much needed, had rugelach and coffee, Puerto Rican for lunch, went to a bunch of art places, including Hardy and Nance, had pho and bubble tea for dinner, and gave the dog a long walk. The day went by really fast, and tomorrow he’s already leaving, but I’m glad we got to visit at least for a little bit.

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Champagne at the Ritz

My mentor John Ross Palmer is on his way to Paris today where he’s planning on a very special drink with his friend Laura Parkan at the newly renovated bar of the Hôtel Ritz. I can’t wait to hear more about his adventure and will keep y’all posted too.

Meanwhile in Houston I’m painting up a storm and hanging out with my cousin. Tomorrow we’re planning a day full of art. I’ll keep you posted on that as well.