Pink seems to be the color of the day. A very special collector bought La Vie en Rose, the big painting I stretched last week. I’m so excited to have sold such a big piece, and to someone who loves it so!
I also found pictures of my sweet little puppy from when I first adopted her, and she’s wearing a pink jacket!
I decided I needed even more pink in my life, so I made another pink abstract piece. I also painted some mussels.
Then I cleaned my studio and the gallery and in the evening collectors came. One of the happiest encounters was with my French collectors whom I’ve known since way back when I was trying to make a life for myself in Beaumont. They bought a wonderful Barcelona painting from me at the Beaumont Art League five years ago. They’ve since moved to England, and I miss them. So it was wonderful to see them again tonight, wonderful to show them John’s studio and gallery and the Chrysalis, wonderful that they even found a painting they will be taking with them back to England. It is a yet unstretched canvas, so tomorrow I’ll be shopping for a cardboard tube.
This painting is inspired by a conversation I had with John a few days ago (we talk about the most random things), which ended up with us googling pictures of various animal embryos – all very cute, all very similar. We came across a picture of an egg getting fertilized which looked totally amazing and sci-fi. I decided I wanted to make a painting like that, except instead of the egg paint a full moon, since I’m obsessed with it anyway, and it represents feminine energy and all that. So, this is how this came about.
Also, it’s been an awesome day. My cousin is still here, and in the evening he got to meet John and hang out with him and the dogs. That made me really really happy.
My mentor is taking a very special trip to Paris, and he’ll be staying at the Hôtel Ritz. We’ve both been inspired to paint it. So here’s my version. Maybe one day I’ll stay there too. Until then, I’ll really miss John, and I hope he sends me pictures!
Remember my girl sleeping with the fish? The one from my novel about hurricanes and ghosts? Today I felt compelled to get back to her, to work her into a collage. It’s still a work in progress, but it felt good to get back to that story.
I cleaned a lot today too, cleaned my apartment and my art studio. My cousin is here visiting from Alabama, and although he is staying with friends now, he’ll stay with me and Holly over the weekend. Also, collectors will be coming into my studio on Thursday to enjoy celebratory pricing on my existing works, and collectors were also there tonight, because AVM had a party. So, I’m glad everything is more in order than it was before. And I’m so glad my cousin is here! Also, I painted a pair of shoes.
Today I tried out the watercolors my friend @gpsart made me last week. They are quite luscious! I painted on Winsor and Newton watercolor paper he gave me, which was also quite a treat.
I also went to a dog birthday party at a fun dog park in the Heights with John, Bobby, and Nancy. I didn’t bring the biggest dog in the universe because she hates dogs.
It was a fun, relaxing day, full of laughter. Yet I couldn’t stop thinking of all the things I need to do in anticipation of my Escapist graduation next month. I want to paint all new paintings for my graduation Gala! Which means I need to make some room in the studio… So, on Thursday, September 20th, during John’s Relax event I will offer collectors massive discounts on the works currently available in the Chrysalis (1218 Heights Boulevard, 6-8). I’m quite excited! Nothing like bare walls to get a girl motivated!
Here are some of the paintings currently available: La Vie en Rose, 55×72 inches, acrylic on canvas, originally $2,800; Calea Victoriei, 24×24, acrylic on wood, originally $500; Seagulls, 24×24 inches, originally $500.
“You’re a Nancy in human form,” he said. I took that as the highest compliment, because I like Nancy, the English Pointer, very much. Nancy is full of energy, has the silkiest fur, and she will cuddle but won’t kiss. Except she kissed me on two separate occasions and nobody believes me.
Anyway, I was sitting in the very exclusive archive of the John Ross Palmer studio holding Nancy. John was holding Bobby, and Lily was taking our picture. We were both giddy with excitement, Lily and I, having returned from the Asia Society where Lily had introduced me to one of my literary role models, Chitra Divaruni, a fellow Bengali. I have been reading and loving her work for over twenty years now, so I was quite starstruck. In fact, I was so nervous before the meeting that I was feeling out of sorts and Lily had to feed me butter chicken at the Pondi Cafe and tell me everything would be ok. Of course, Ms. Divakaruni was very nice and friendly, as I knew she would be. I gave her a watercolor I painted years ago, inspired by one of her books. That was a good moment for me. I thanked her for her beautiful writing that has helped me many times.
“We are so proud of Lily,” I then told her. “It was so brave to come join us all the way from India.”
“Why did you say that?” Lily later scolded. But I know why. I know from her writing, that Ms. Divakaruni, who writes so well about homesickness and distance, would not underestimate the magnitude of a very young woman traveling all the way from India by herself to a continent she has never before visited, bringing with her a top notch camera and a lot of dreams.
Later, I went to Aqui, a fusion Filipino restaurant with another good friend. We ate the most amazing Waygu beef carpaccio and a lot of beignets. I’m pretty sure Nancy would have loved that.
What a day this has been! It rained in the morning when I set out for EQ, the coffee shop in the Heights where my mentor, John Ross Palmer, and I like to meet. We talked about Paris. John is going to Paris and I almost decided to go with him, but I must stay here and paint paint paint in order to get ready for my graduation gala on October 13th. This will be a group show of our Escapist class, and my part of it will consist of brand new works! So John is going to Paris; I am not, but I’m excited for his trip and hope that he will text me pictures of Chanel mannequins and other things. We talked about Coco Chanel a lot today. We talked about how she lived at the Ritz for so many years, but also about her contributions to democratizing fashion. My favorite Chanel quote? “Luxury should be comfortable; otherwise it’s not luxury.”
The biggest dog in the universe seems unimpressed, but I’m getting better at painting cats. Also, here’s a picture of my watercolor case. It’s a messy little thing, but I love it!
A beautiful day with lots of inspiration: The hummingbird is a digital drawing inspired by the Instagram feed of @stephanirae_ who never ceases to amaze me. The big painting was stretched with the help of my artist friend Jill Hakala – the same Jill Hakala who helped me hang my solo show, and who I share booth space with at First Saturday Arts Market (look for us October 6th!). Ok, so I admit that when it comes to stretching I simply don’t amount to much! I’m weak and clumsy. Jill ended up doing most of the work because I can barely get a heavy duty staple gun to staple (nor can I shoot a pistol; just a shotgun). Still… I will try stretching a smaller piece by myself next week and we’ll see what happens!
Also today my sister Lily’s book arrived and it’s so very beautiful! I’m proud to say I took the picture of her looking at one of the books!
“I understand why you kept it hidden for so long, but you have to publish this book,” my friend in Amsterdam said about my new manuscript, which I sent her. She knows me very well. Also, I’m happy that she likes it.
On my commute today, I also got to talk to my witch friend. It’d been a long time, and I felt somewhat disconnected. But fall is full-on witch season and we have all sorts of plans for our magic. She’ll even be here, come December. We might get to celebrate the Solstice together.
And just like that, despite the rain and the long commute, it’s been a good day.