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Keys and Such

I usually tend to really freak out before a big trip but today I managed to actually have a nice day. I got to see three people who are very special to me, and although one would think so much social interaction might get in the way of packing and preparing it actually kept me content and motivated, got me to clean the gallery – all the paintings I brought from the other studio are now upstairs! – and to pack my stuff without too much anxiety and procrastination. Rolled up, I managed to fit nine dresses, two pairs of jeans, a few leggings, and an array of shirts and sweaters into my little suitcase. What didn’t fit were the few copies of Lone Wolf I wanted to bring – but seriously, people who really want one can order it on Amazon and get it delivered in Europe too, so I don’t feel bad for not bringing any with me.

Also, I’m happy I managed to revise the entire Betty and Cornelius section of my new novel. It will need more work for sure, plus there are still the other two story-lines which are still in very rough shape, but it feels like an important milestone. And the collector who bought my small painting of Betty reading and smoking on the moon came by today and bought my painting of a girl in a soap bubble. It made me so very happy, as did my entire day.

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Where’s Nancy?

I had such an amazing day! It all started in the morning, when, although I woke up dogless, and that’s never a good thing to be, I felt inspired to spend whole hours working on my Galveston ghost story manuscript, revising the Betty and Cornelius section– so far my favorite part. I’m really getting to love the book, and I’m so glad that I’m becoming a bit obsessed with it.

In the afternoon I went to John’s for the unveiling of his Landscapes show benefiting Trees of Hope. The paintings were breathtakingly beautiful, and I had such fun visiting with collectors and Escapists. I ended up buying the Landscapes scarf, which has beautiful pastel colors, and which I know I’ll wear a lot in Paris.

Later, John and I took the dogs to a local bar where they like to play on the astroturf outside. Then I went to a friend’s housewarming party, and by the time I got back home I was pleasantly worn out and all around happy.

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One of my friends and collectors who reads this blog each day (yes, there are such people, and I treasure them!) congratulated me on my consolidation. I loved that word! It’s so perfect! Though, of course, nothing is simple, not even being consolidated. Because I feel that now that I finally have everything in one place, I need to somehow reformat myself. I spent a lot of time puttering around the gallery, rearranging paintings, finding the perfect spot for them. I was, among other things, procrastinating, as today was the day I took Holly to boarding. I already miss her so! Of course, spending the afternoon and evening with my friend in Galveston after dropping her off, and a long walk on the beach helped a lot. Still. I feel slightly less consolidated than I did this morning, because an essential part of me is missing.

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Seven Year Cycle

“Doesn’t it feel good to know all your stuff is here?” John asked as he brought my easel through the front door. He was there because I can’t carry the easel, but also because moving out of Sabine Street was a momentous occasion and I wanted him to be part of it. Also, he has a talent for organizing things in the gallery and so he told me exactly where the easel should go, then carried one of my work tables upstairs, where with its legs snapped to the shortest position it now functions as a much needed coffee table.

And so today I turned in my keys to my Sabine Street studio. This marks the end of a long period of time – seven years in fact! – when I had two places to live and sometimes a rented art studio as well. It started with renting an apartment in Galveston to spend weekends in, when my life in Beaumont was closing in on itself and causing me both loneliness and claustrophobia. What followed were several apartments, first on the Island, then in Houston, then later in Beaumont once I sold my house (5 apartments total), and three different art studios. The maximum quota of dwellings was reached in the fall of 2017 when I had the house in Beaumont (which was on the market), an apartment in Beaumont (because the noisy neighbors made it impossible for me to stay in the house), an apartment in Houston, and my studio at Hardy and Nance. Though there was a time too when I had two apartments and two art studios… All in all, it has been very interesting but exhausting, and I really look forward to a simpler life.

I started reading up on renewal today, and how some think that life progresses in seven year cycles. I like that idea, and if that’s true, my seven years of having several homes/art studios were all about searching for who and where I want to be, and trying to change. I feel like I have undergone quite the transformation.

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Yoga Saves the Day

Today Puppy and I came back home. It was a sunny beautiful day to drive and we saw patches of wildflowers on the side of the road, the most colorful of which I couldn’t stop to photograph. I bought a fresh poppyseed kolache at a bakery in a gas station in Sealy. The gas station was dominated by a large taxidermy bear and also contained a huge fish tank. I learned that certain South American catfish look a lot like sturgeons – except for the face. It was all a bit surreal, surreal enough for me to be revisited by all sorts of nostalgia, ghosts from a time when I did the same drive under very different circumstances, and gave myself permission somewhere outside La Grange to be very free and perhaps a little reckless – hey, you only live once! Today, though, my adventurousness was limited to a poppy seed kolache. That and a long nap once I got to Houston. I was still feeling tired when I got to yoga this evening though. Tired and all kinds of sad. But yoga helped. The teacher told me I just needed a good stretch, and so I did. Afterwards, I felt lighter. I was in a happy, bubbly mood when I met two lovely collectors for the very last visit to my Sabine Street studio. I was still in a good mood later when I filled my car with paintings to take home. The moving process is underway. Tomorrow John will help me move my easel. I’m starting to feel good about the transition, though. Actually, right now, I feel good about everything. Yoga really did save the day.

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What Have We Learned about Bluebonnets?

This morning we awoke in Bandera to roosters crowing. We took a long, leisurely walk, found a taco place for breakfast, purchased a vintage belt buckle, visited the old Catholic church, then finally got on our way to look for the ever elusive bluebonnets. We found some, though never a whole field like I’d hoped. In fact, we learned that the lushest bluebonnets tend to grow on the side of highways. Which is a nice thing, because it means seeds were purposefully planted there, and a world in which people make an effort to grow wildflowers is a good world for bees, butterflies, and people alike. We also learned that bluebonnets have quite a lovely scent. In the end, once we returned to Austin we found the best bluebonnet photo ops at the Wildflower Center. But we felt richer in experience and adventures for having taken the road trip. And as I sit here next to a very tired dog, I can only conclude that a little country air has done all of us a lot of good.

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Cowboy Capital of the World

Tonight we’re spending the night in Bandera, a town that claims to be the Cowboy Capital of the World. Our day was full of adventures. We didn’t really see that many bluebonnets, but it was fun to stop in Luckenbach and listen to live music. That was probably the highlight of my day. Also note that it’s most fun to visit Luckenbach wearing a spectacular green dress, and bringing a Boston Terrier on a leash. Even the musicians remarked on our appearance.

Somewhere between Luckenbach and Bandera I got to see a huge buffalo. It really was not friendly, but luckily it was behind a fence. In Bandera we saw a whole bunch of deer. We also got to visit a bar where Hank Williams Senior had carved his name on a table, which was pretty impressive, but sadly there was no live music, neither were there cowboys in attendance. Still, all in all, it’s been quite an interesting and eventful day.

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Off on a Bluebonnet Adventure

Today Holly and I drove to Austin. With the wildflowers in bloom, and the trees coming back to life, it was such an amazingly beautiful drive. There were patches of blue, orange, and yellow so intense blooming just off the side of the interstate I would have stopped if I could. Though tomorrow we are truly going into solid bluebonnet territory so I figured I’d take my best shots then.

Here in Austin I got to meet my friend’s bird. Her name is Duende and she’s a Pineapple Green Cheek Conure. Holly the monster had to be kept away from Duende’s room, though she was very intrigued by all the whistling. We made it up to her with two solid walks.

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Revisiting the Smoking Girl

Today I got to visit the home of the friend and collector who bought Smoking Girl. This was so awesome! I love love love seeing my art in people’s homes. It’s the best feeling ever!

Also, I got to see some pieces by John and some other artists I love, and I got to meet two precious dogs – one very friendly, one very skittish.

Earlier in the day I spent some time in my Sabine Street studio showing two friends who just got engaged the art that’s still in there, including a very big colorful piece displayed on the wall. In less than a week I’ll be out of that space completely, and while I will miss its beautiful white walls and its light, I will not miss the drive and moving things around from place to place. Even today I felt like it was silly to have to drive twenty minutes to meet friends I could have easily entertained here at the gallery, when I could have spent those twenty minutes with my dog.

I really wish I could take my dog to Paris. I’m gonna miss her so!

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Holly Got a Bath

One of my proudest achievements in life is teaching my dog to not entirely hate baths anymore. Anyway, this was a success. We are planning a trip to Austin and a road trip with my friend who lives there to see the bluebonnets. We will be riding in her brand new Prius, so I thought a bath was in order. I don’t really have much else to report. But surely a dog bath is a meaningful enough achievement for a sunny Friday in spring?