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Moving Out, Moving On

I’m not sure if Holly is pissed, or if that’s just her face, but she must be confused for sure, because once more I’m putting all her stuff in boxes, which is obviously very rude. Maybe in order not to shock her, or maybe simply because other things are much more fun, I’m moving at a snail’s pace. I’ve just gotten my boxes, recycled from a friend’s recent move, and most of them are still in the car, still folded flat. Oh well. It was more important to spend quality time with my sister, and more important to go to see the newly reopened Menil collection together.

Also, I’m getting ready for my move out of the Chrysalis, and that is daunting too. Next Sunday, October 28th, I’ll have my last event there, and offer collectors a last chance to buy my paintings before I move them out.

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Buffalo Energy

The day has been bittersweet, but overall good. My little sister, Lily, is going back to India soon. The news came to me unexpectedly last night, while I was at the Asia Society helping another friend sell her jewelry. It made me so very sad. And in the context of the Asia Society it was sadder still, because I remembered going there with Lily to see Chitra Divakaruni. Anyway, today we finally got to talk about it, and while we are both sad to be separated we know that this is best for Lily, her career, and her projects. Also we both feel very grateful to have met, and grateful for everything we have achieved though the Escapist Mentorship Program. It’s been life-changing for both of us, and we’ve both grown and learned a lot. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing either. Here’s a confession: my little sister and I have fought during this program. We are feisty little things, passionate and occasionally obstinate, and the program threw lots of challenges our way, at times things got stressful, and well… I wish we didn’t fight, especially considering that our time together was so limited, but in a way it has actually brought us closer together. And also, in the end, I’m grateful for everything, even the fights. The program, I must say, requires a lot of cooperation among its students, and as a bona fide lone wolf, cooperation is not really my forte. But I am glad to have stepped out of my comfort zone, and I know it has made me stronger, as a person, as an artist, as a small business owner. So yes, I’m happy about everything.

It’s not surprising that the image of the buffalo keeps coming to me these days. Last time I’d encountered buffalo energy was three years ago when I needed to stay strong and grounded and on my path. These things are, of course, still true today. But I’ve learned there is more to the buffalo. It is, apparently, among other things, a symbol of gratitude, of being happy with the gifts one has received, and also a reminder that gratitude attracts abundance.

Also, Holly and I are starting to pack for our move to the new place. We’re taking our unicorns and our ruffles and everything else too. We’ll keep you posted.

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Wrapping Up

It’s been a great day, yet once again an overwhelming one. This morning, during my meeting with Ryan, we started planning my move-out from the Chrysalis, my last event there (because yes, I will have one last event in that beautiful space and give collectors a chance to buy my paintings before I move them out), and the best way to start my events in my new space, and to keep the momentum. It all feels very exciting, if a bit daunting. I do know that I’ve learned enough to be ready to be on my own, and I feel confident that I can do it. But it does feel like the Escapist year has gone by so fast, and even though I’ve been very lucky in that the circumstances of my life have really allowed me to spend a lot of time with John and Ryan, and learn a lot from them, I still wish I could have been there more.

Between moving out of the Chrysalis and into my new gallery space, next week is bound to be intense and interesting. I’m also trying to wrap up a few commissions projects I’ve been offered during the mentorship. My paintings today are part of such a project.

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Everybody Loves Paris

Everybody loves Paris. It’s what I’ve learned at the Gala on Saturday. People either have fond memories of it, or it’s a place they someday hope to go. So yes, I am planning a whole series of Paris paintings with a special unveiling party for my collectors. There couldn’t have been a better moment for my mentor, John Ross Palmer, to announce an the unveiling of his Paris series, painted during his trip last month. This will take place at 1218 Heights Boulevard tomorrow evening, October 18, 6-8pm. I painted two Paris paintings of my own for the occasion, though I’m still planning to paint a series later on.

Also, on another happy note, one of my favorite artists, Saralene Tapley, is reading Stray Dogs and Lonely Beaches, and posted about it on Instagram. I find it serendipitous that there’s a Paris episode in that book.

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The Great Road Trip

With my new novel, Lone Wolf, nearing publication, I’m inspired to drive to West Texas and revisit the really small town of Valentine (population 217!), where some of the action takes place. It’s a beautiful desert landscape. The sky, at night, is as dark as I’ve ever seen it, the stars shining brighter than I’ve seen them shine anywhere else.

Also, I have a painting to deliver, and it’s definitely time for an adventure. I was in the mood today to dream of such things.

The weather changed. It got cold out of a sudden. Not the sad and depressing kind of cold, though, but nice rainy weather to get cozy in, to make some chili and dream of road trips and Airstreams and desert skies.

Photo (below) taken by my writer friend Donna Birdwell.

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After the gala, today came the graduation brunch. But first there was a really lovely morning. A morning on which I woke up at 5, while it was still pitch black outside because I was too wired and too excited to sleep. I didn’t know quite what to do with myself: not only was I awake at an ungodly hour when I badly needed rest, but I was out of one of my most vital life essentials: milk for my morning coffee. Luckily the Starbucks by my house is open 24 hours, so, after walking the dog, that’s where I went. I was gonna just take my coffee home and drink it, preferably in bed, while scrolling social media. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. But the night was starting to give in to day, birds were whistling, my coffee was strong and good, the streets were empty, and I had a good car. And so I drove. I drove through the park and through the downtown, drove to the Silos to photograph the sunrise against the skyline. I drove to Sabine Street to pick up my naked man painting that my collectors were buying for their friend and wanted prominently displayed in the gallery. I ended up at the Chrysalis doing some very fun early morning party prep. And then, finally, later today there was the brunch, complete with entertainment that was absolutely hilarious. Also, I had some very delightful people look through my watercolor portfolio and beyond. I am beyond thrilled to have sold so much art my graduation weekend, and also to have made so many wonderful new connections.

Also, I got to have Chinese food with my friend in the Galleria, to catch up on important things going on with both of us, and to tell her all about graduation. All in all, it’s been an amazing weekend!

(And I think I’m getting better at drawing cats).

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The Gala

Today was the graduation gala and it was extremely exciting and fun and actually quite overwhelming. Everybody wanted to buy my Paris paintings. It made me wish I had made more. In fact, one of my first events after the program will be the unveiling of a series of Paris paintings!

Also, I got to meet my friend’s cat. But that might be a story for another time. Tomorrow we have the graduation brunch and I need to make sure I get some rest.

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Baby Rhino

Today I drew a baby rhino because truly, few things are as cute as a baby rhino. But also, because this image spoke to me. The baby rhino is looking up to the wiser, grown rhino, who is teaching it things. This is how I felt after my morning meeting with John where, overcome by all kinds of emotions in the eve of graduation, I behaved like a big baby and he needed to talk me down from the ledge. It wouldn’t be the first time either! I’m lucky that I have a mentor like that and that I can tell him all the things that worry and upset me. I love that he’s so very practical and no-nonsense about my neuroses and helps me trim down excess drama and baggage and get down to the essentials. Which are making art, being happy, making other people happy too. No matter what worries and concerns I have, I always leave our meetings feeling happy and like I can totally take over the world.

So today was a really good day. I even got a haircut in anticipation of the gala tomorrow, and I got to walk Nancy – which was the cutest thing ever.