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Winter Solstice Party

Today was very special. I got to spend a few hours in my mentor’s studio with his beautiful dogs, while he taught me how to use the sublimation press to make coasters with my art on them. If you come by the gallery tomorrow, I have some!

As usual he gave me very good advice: “Surround yourself with people who are doing so much, they make you feel like you’re not doing enough.” That’s just one of the things he said.

Later, I drove home to prepare for my Winter Solstice party. I decided to wear my sparkly top from Tangerine. My little four-pawed gallerina was very happy we’d be having guests again. The surprise of the evening? John came to join us after his own event and he brought me a gift: a scarf with my art on it which he printed for me today. It was beautifully wrapped, as is his style, and came with a rose! I felt so honored that he was there for my event! It ended up being a really fun party!

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Gallery Dog

Seated by the window, the gallery dog waited patiently for collectors to arrive. She could see the reflection of the Christmas tree in the window, also her own face, and some of the paintings. She cared about none of that. She was hoping collectors would share their food or let her lick their faces. The collectors did neither, but they were all very nice and the gallery dog loved them. After they left, the gallery dog took her human for a long walk, then curled up on the couch in the studio and slept for a very long time. She was happy because the human told her that tomorrow night collectors would come again.

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A Christmas Carol

In which my witch friend came home for Christmas from Virginia and we went to Galveston to see Ronnie, then went to the Alley Theater in the evening to see a Christmas Carol. It was very neatly done, with steampunk skeleton dancers, and it was actually a bit scary, but it got us in the Christmas spirit and for that I am grateful.

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Airstream Sunrise and Other Adventures

I finally finished painting my ten West Texas commissions and I’m so very happy with how they turned out! I also got to spend a lot of time with John today, first at EQ, then at his house. It was so good to be able to talk to him about some of the stuff I’m going through, in terms of hosting my own events, hanging my new show, and just in general trying to run my business. It ended up being a very good day, happy and inspiring, a break from the pressure I’ve been feeling lately. The dogs were also very happy to see me. But they would not, despite my best efforts pose together under the Christmas decorations.

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Get Ready for the Magic!

And finally today was the day to hang my West Texas show! It was overwhelming and exciting all at once. I love the paintings in this show! They are all magical! Also, although I’m not completely done yet, I was amazed by how proficient I’ve become at creating and hanging a new show. I’ve learned so much this year in the Escapist Mentorship Program! With over 40 paintings, my solo show this summer was a real baptism by fire, and I’ve grown so much from the experience!

The large paintings are all hung, and I now just have to frame and display the ten watercolors that are the featured pieces, the ones painted especially for the collectors who commissioned art during my trip to West Texas and who are also the producers of my upcoming novel, Lone Wolf. One of these paintings is pictured above. It’s inspired by a picture taken by Claudia Curici, which a very special collector chose when I showed her our Marfa photo book.

Well synchronized with the new exhibit and the parties, there’s a lot of magical stuff in store: My witch friend is coming to Texas for Christmas. I’ll get to hang out with her on Wednesday and she promised to do a ritual in my gallery that attracts abundance. Then the Winter Solstice is upon us, a time of darkness but also renewal, a time for introspection, for going within, for getting ready to re-emerge with new energy in the spring. The Winter Solstice is followed by the Full Moon in Cancer, a time of strong emotions, but also a time of special intuitive power. I’m glad that my show and the parties associated with it will coincide with these events. I feel like this is a magical and auspicious time, and the magic in the paintings reflects this.

Also, today was the last day of my free promotion for Dogs with Bagels. I’m curious to see the results over the next few days. As for me, in between buying hanging supplies, wiring, etc, I managed to have a wonderful Indian lunch.

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Champagne and Bagels

The watercolor is a commission of Salamanca, and unrelated to today’s party, which I was going to tell you about in this post. The party was nice. Eleven people came out to celebrate my book. We had champagne and bagels and the schmear I whipped up last night after realizing that Central Market doesn’t have much to offer in the way of schmear.

Tomorrow I will start hanging the West Texas show! I’m very excited but also a bit anxious. So far I’ve had two small parties in my new gallery space. Unveiling a whole new body of work feels a lot more momentous.

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Getting Ready

Today was happy and sunny. I had brunch with my friend at Adair Kitchen, one of our favorite spots. She gave me two chairs for my gallery, and a bunch of scented candles. I hung more art, made price tags, cleaned, prepared a table full of easily giftable art. But the most important thing is that whatever heaviness was with me over the past few days has lifted. Today I felt light, productive, excited. In between preparing the gallery, which looks great, I found time to paint and also to go to two events hosted by friends who make some pretty fabulous art. I even gave the dog a longer walk than I have lately, and I was happy to do so.

Tomorrow morning I’m picking up my bagels, sliced and toasted, lighting my scented candles in the gallery, dressing like Liliana, and waiting for people to arrive!

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Dogs with Bagels: Interview with Two Fashion Victims

Inspired by a Twitter thread on which character of Dogs with Bagels I should dress like for the book anniversary party, here’s some info on the two main divas, each a fashion victim in her own way.

Quick Intro:

Liliana: 23, looking for a job, size 0

Maria: Younger than she looks, older than she feels; sales associate in luxury department store; size is just a number;

Favorite Outfit:

Liliana: Dolce & Gabbana dress borrowed from roommate;

Maria: Beige linen suit bought on sale;

Favorite Color:

Liliana: Black. This is New York, after all…

Maria: Red! Though she hasn’t worn it in years.

Preferred Nail Color:

Liliana: Beige please. Looks understated and sophisticated. Like you have money.

Maria: Red!!!

Most prized possession:

Liliana: An Italian leather bag that comes with its own skincare regimen.

Maria: Hand-crafted taupe suede pumps circa 1980. One size too small. Long story…

Style secrets:

Liliana: Uhm… Check out Italian Vogue?

Maria: Buy classic pieces. They don’t go out of style.

Other secrets:

Liliana: Feels lukewarm about her fiancé.

Maria: Left her husband and children. Came back like nothing happened.

Wishes she could buy:

Liliana: All the shoes!

Maria: An apartment. And books. Lots of books.

Diet Staple:

Liliana: Bagels. They’re cheap. Do you know of any other cheap meals? Though, frankly, if you want to buy her a steak she won’t say no.

Maria: Broccoli. It’s good for you!

Fashion Sins:

Liliana: Once rode NYC subway in her pajamas. Also, doesn’t actually own anything nice, Italian leather bag aside. All her good outfits are borrowed!

Maria: Used to wear shoulder pads in the 80’s. Also, carries her shoes in a tote to work, and wears sneakers on her commute.

Talents:

Liliana: Speaks to herself (fluently!) in several foreign languages.

Maria: Excellent cook. Also, can charm people into buying things they don’t need.

Wishes she could be…

Liliana: Still hoping to figure it out!

Maria: A librarian.

Pet peeve:

Liliana: Being described as “exotic”

Maria: People. Crowds. Parties. Her husband’s friends.

You can still download the free ebook over the next few days!

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Anniversary Promotion

Some of you might have guessed already: For the five-year anniversary of Dogs with Bagels I’m doing a free promotion! You can download the ebook version for free here during the next few days.

A book about family drama, disappointments, estrangements, but also redemption and reconciliation, this will make for a fun Holiday read! Also, you’ll find out why that dog has a pretzel on its tail. I mean, wasn’t it supposed to be a bagel? In the end, you’ll even find out it’s not a pretzel at all, but rather a fairly similar baked good, yet so delightfully different! But for that you might have to read the sequel, Lost Path to Solitude.

Also, for something fun to look at, here are my top nine pictures on Instagram this year. Not sure they even begin to capture how much fun this year has been, but still…

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Painting with the Dogs

Today I enjoyed a special treat: I got to hang out with John, and paint in his studio, on the couch, with the dogs! Y’all have no idea how much I missed that! While I was there Bobby got a bath, and Nancy sat in judgment of us all, because she’s very regal and has high standards. Also, she’s a Virgo. They are perfectionists.

So, that was the highlight of my day. Tomorrow it’s time to celebrate the five-year anniversary of my first novel, Dogs with Bagels! I can’t believe it’s been five whole years since I published it! It’s led me to a lot of fun adventures and new friendships so far, and I trust it to lead to more fun stuff in the future!