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Halloween

Oh, this was magical! Perhaps you think a day spent moving the contents of a very full art studio, mostly in the rain, cannot be so, but magic seeped in like the rainwater, and everything took on a happy, glowing kind of quality. Yes, there was lots of stuff to move, but I took breaks to enjoy wonderful things – the Dia de los Muertos altars at Casa Ramirez on 19th Street, a delicious açai bowl I ate on John’s couch while watching scary videos, an impromptu picnic with my friend at Whole Foods – and also wonderful stuff happened: my friend came to help me, rain and all, and we loaded a lot of stuff in her big SUV (though I have to say my little car fits way more than I would have thought). She gave me a homemade lotion that smells absolutely amazing! And I think it was after we’d unloaded her SUV, and had our impromptu picnic at Whole Foods, after I took a quick shower and changed into clean clothes so I could run back to the gallery to finish spackling the walls, that I realized the most magical thing of all: my new place is starting to feel like home. I’m comfortable here, happy to return. It feels good. Despite being a large place, on two levels, it’s even starting to feel cozy. And I haven’t even hung the paintings yet!

Then I returned to the Heights. It was dark and drizzling and it definitely felt like a magical night. John and Ryan were waiting for trick or treaters with a big bowl of candy. Bobby and Nancy were afraid of the thunder. I went into the Chrysalis and went to work. The lights went off and the neighbors gathered on the porch next door all screamed. It occurred to me that it was Halloween and I was alone in the dark during a thunderstorm. I remembered the time I told Lily that the Chrysalis was haunted. The lights came back on, though. I continued spackling. The pink unicorn – one of my favorite paint stains on the floor of my studio – seemed to smile. I can’t believe I’m out of the Chrysalis, the place of so many experiences and memories over the past year. I will miss it a lot. But then again, I will come back to visit.

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I Love Bobby

Here’s a sketch of Bobby, the English Pointer. I got to see him briefly this evening when I stopped by the gallery to pick up some more of my things and do some light spackling. It turns out I find spackling very zen, even after a long commute and teaching three classes. Also, it turns out I’ve a tremendous amount of stuff in the Chrysalis, not just paintings, but other things as well. I feel like I’ve been practically living there for the past year and now it seems surreal to move out.

A few nice things happened today, though, which need to be acknowledged: a student hugged me and said I was a good teacher and that she loved that I have so much respect for Civil Rights. That made me very happy, because more than ever I’m finding some of the topics I have to address in class difficult and uncomfortable. It’s one of the many reasons why I’m happy to be done teaching soon. Still, I want to give the students a valuable learning experience this semester, so the positive feedback meant a lot.

Also, my friend who has an amazing flair for design and beauty complimented me for starting my online store. She’s known me for a long time, and pointed out that I am doing what I’ve always wanted. That made me very happy. Of course, the store is in its emerging stages, but still, it’s there, and I will make it grow. It was good to have someone I care greatly about, and who has impeccable taste, acknowledge that this is a milestone.

Also, I really love Bobby. Nancy too. I promise that even after the program is over I’ll go see them often.

Buy Original Drawing

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The Real Me?

With thanks to Fify Mahoney’s (934 Royal Street, New Orleans) for inspiring me with their posts of fabulous wigs! One day, my friends, one day I will go wig shopping in New Orleans!

I suppose I should thank my own subconscious too, though, for concocting a nightmare so surreal I awoke wondering about things. The wonder stayed with me throughout the day. The nightmare featured a frenemy who used to be very critical of me in an unpleasant, cutting kind of way. She is no longer in my life as frenemies are definitely one thing I have no time or patience for. Anyway, in the nightmare she accused me of being fake, of trying to be someone else, because I love to wear wigs and to dress up and to be crazy. She particularly singled out a relationship that meant a lot to me, and accused me of not being honest about my feelings throughout it. I awoke pretty shaken and started questioning myself. It took a while to remind myself that I have actually been honest in that particular relationship and that dressing up is simply part of who I am. Then I remembered, of course, that that particular friend used to first and foremost question my authenticity when it came to my art. “If what you want to do is have a gallery, why are you teaching college?” Yes, yes, she was on to something, and yes, perhaps it’s natural for her words to haunt me again now that I’m opening my own gallery space. It took most of the day to process all this and figure out that maybe what the dream was telling me was that I am in fact transitioning to my most authentic self.

Other than that, the day contained the task of moving my paintings out of the Chrysalis – not that I managed to move them all out just yet. I did fill the car to capacity though (and my small car can hold a lot of paintings!), and it dawned on me once again that I have painted a tremendous amount during my Escapist year.

What did I do with my car full of paintings? I took them to my studio at 1907 Sabine Street (Studio 145). My next event there is Saturday, November 10th, 2-5. I will also, of course, take some to my exclusive new gallery space uptown. And… here comes the big surprise: It might still be a little bit scrappy, and it might take me a while to load it full of watercolors and other goodies, but I’ve actually added a store to this blog (see top right corner). I promise to have it full of giftable items before the Holidays!

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Flamenco and Other Things

So I promised details on yesterday’s flamenco show at EQ Heights, but for now all I have is this one sketch. I’ll definitely do more, as the show was amazing. It was actually the type of show you’d be hard-pressed to find even in Spain if you didn’t know where to go for an authentic flamenco experience. I actually think I’d only been to real flamenco show once, in Lavapies, in Madrid. It was very late at night and my date and I were drinking manzanilla wine, a white wine I was probably too drunk to appreciate. The Gypsies danced and my date said something I back then considered profound. He said it wasn’t the beat that made flamenco special, but the silence. Last night, when I told this to John we both realized it was silly. Some things just don’t translate. By that I mean they make more sense on late drunken nights in Madrid.

Also, today was our last event for the Escapist Mentorship Program at the Chrysalis. Tomorrow I’ll start moving my paintings out. It was strange that I got very nervous during the event, even though I was talking to people I by now know well, who are all lovely and supportive. After the party was over, I felt very tired and also kind of sad. I was happy my friend wanted to have dinner. We went to Thai Bistro, where I ate a lot, and I was so grateful for the company. It’s going to be an adjustment, going from the Chrysalis, where there were other artists, to being by myself in my new place. Also, I have so much to do to set up, and I am feeling quite overwhelmed. Tomorrow I will sit down and make a list. And I’ll take it from there.

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Another Carousel

Today was a very very happy day. I awoke well rested in my new room, which is sunny and overlooks a crepe myrtle. I spent some time on social media advertising tomorrow’s event (my last event at the Chrysalis – 1218 Heights Boulevard, 2-5pm), and came across a picture of my friend and collector sitting in the airport in Maine reading The Adventures of Miss Vulpe while waiting for her much delayed flight. I was so happy to learn that she’s enjoying it!

Then I got to buy a few things for my new gallery (fun things, mind you, like scented candles, soaps, and little towels), and to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time. As if that wasn’t already amazing, he bought me a scrumptious Ethiopian lunch. Afterwards I took him to John’s, and while there I painted the carousel, which is a commission for a little girl’s room, and which I’m hoping the parents will love – the little girl is still too young to express her opinion in actual words, but hopefully she’ll love it too. Also, the picture only shows a detail of the painting, as I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

After I painted I got tacos (because how can a great day be complete without tacos?) and I accompanied John to a flamenco show at EQ, a local Heights coffee shop we both love. But, more on the flamenco show tomorrow…

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Lighthouse

Two of my very dear collectors are in Maine this week, and they posted a picture of a lovely lighthouse. Meanwhile, here in Houston, I took Lily to the airport this morning and we both cried as we hugged by the security line. It was still dark when I drove back home to my new townhouse. I went straight back to bed. In fact, between unpacking various boxes and trying to straighten things out, today I managed to take two naps. Also, John came by to see the place and give me advice, and we went to dinner with a collector who is absolutely fabulous.

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Unsheltered

Ok, so I’m purposefully posting a somewhat blurry picture, because when it comes to commissions I really don’t like to reveal more than a teaser before the collector sees the original piece.

It’s been all in all a nice day, though a little bit of anxiety related to my upcoming move has crept in. I still have only packed the one box. I have, however, called the utility company and had a frustrating 20-minute conversation at the end of which I think I managed to transfer my electric service to the new place. I will call tomorrow to confirm because sometimes I worry about really silly stuff like that.

In an odd kind of symmetry, I got to see a friend today who’s very special to me and whom I haven’t seen much lately because she has a baby and a business. I remember going out for brunch with her shortly after I’d moved into the little apartment I currently live in. I remember the anxiety I was feeling back then, the doubts, the fear that I had made a big mistake. Yet this apartment ended up being my favorite home so far, or at least my favorite home where I’ve lived on my own (and I’ve lived on my own in 11 different places in 3 different countries). So hopefully seeing my friend before the move is a good omen. Also, we had quite a fun night. We ate spicy carrot pizza, kale salad, mushroom hummus, and cornmeal crepes at Weights and Measures, then went to the University of Houston campus to hear Barbara Kingsolver, an author we both love. She talked about her newest novel: Unsheltered. Again, this spoke to my constant search for a home I feel comfortable in. In fact, I’ll probably start listening to the book in the car tomorrow on my way to Beaumont.