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The Gypsy. Aka the Last Romantic

Last night I had a dream about a transatlantic flight – I dream about such flights often. I was getting an upgrade to Business Class, and I had three live pigs on leashes, which I was bringing on the plane for the cabin crew to cook for me. Yes, my dreams are pretty weird, and this one might have had something to do with pictures of pigs on a farm John’s been sending me from Vietnam.

I was a little blue when I woke up, but after having plenty of good coffee and talking to a friend, I cheered up considerably. I decided to start wiring and hanging some of the paintings, and in the dim light of the gallery the saints’ halos glowed and I realized that I’m very happy with how this series turned out. Later, still puttering around I got obsessed with an old Gypsy song. I hung more paintings. I painted one last one too. It actually included a Gypsy. Can you find him?

In the evening I met a dear friend for a belated birthday feast at Adair Kitchen. She gave me a really fun shirt. I came home, took selfies, listened to the Gypsy song some more. Tomorrow there’ll be more wiring and other preparations. Slowly but surely I’m getting ready for Sky Club Elite, and I feel like I’ll have some cool things to show them.

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A Hope and a Prayer

The painting above is inspired by my visit to the monasteries of Moldavia, and by Orthodox iconography in general. It’s called Prayer. Though it occurred to me while I was painting it that I’m not sure what I’m praying for. I’ve learned that it’s almost impossible to predict what outcome would truly make me happy. So I decided to pray for letting go, for being at peace. And, at least while I was working on the painting, but even after, I did actually feel at peace.

I also worked on some water lilies inspired by my visit to Giverny with John, but also by a picture he sent me from Vietnam.

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Obsessed and Inspired

Today I painted the sea again. I guess I’m truly obsessed. Also, I started feeling happier because I figured out how to deal with one of the huge historical issues in the Galveston ghost story. My solution even involves cats, and I definitely wanted to incorporate more cats, so there! Other than that, I got a really good massage (gift from a friend!), walked the dog, and cooked healthy. It’s been, all in all, a pretty good day.

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Revisiting the Carousel

Today I painted another carousel horse inspired by a picture Dana from the Amsterdamian took while we were in Paris. Other than that, my day was quiet. I swam, I walked the dog, I met a friend for a casual dinner. I set up the rest of my Sky Club Elite dinners – they all have a date now! I also wondered about some of the issues with my Galveston ghost story, and how to solve them. I drank half a cocktail at dinner and it was delicious. It had rose petals in it. But once my buzz faded, I started feeling sad. Perhaps I should go back to not drinking again. Just a thought.

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Blue Sea

Today I voted in the European elections, then later painted this seascape, so I suppose it was a good day. Although I was sad to not actually be in Europe, where I’d be able to comment on the elections with my family. As things stood, at the time I could have called them, I ended up taking a nap, exhausted from sitting outside in the heat to eat mici and coliva in the yard of the Romanian church after voting. I think the coliva, especially, was a nice touch. It’s a sweet made of wheat and walnuts, generally served at funerals, but Romanians really love it, so we felt lucky to be offered such a treat.

As to the blue sea, I painted it pretty late in the evening, as today I felt lazy and listless all inspiration took a while to manifest. But the painting turned out quite lovely – it’s absolutely magnetic in person! – and I was happy. I realized seeing the Black Sea was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.

Also tied to the sea, but to very different shores, my two beta readers for my Galveston ghost story both sent me feedback today. One is an expert on Island history, the other has never been to Texas. Together they create a good balance, and both make useful points it will take me a while to process and address. And although I’ve quite a bit of work ahead of me, I’m happy, as I feel like the project is gaining depth, just like the blue sea.

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Black Horse

Today I painted a black horse with red tassels. I did something different to the background, applied a sheer, shimmering coat of yellow, leaving the patterns in the wood to shine through.

I also had an install this morning, in a tall building that looked a bit like a hotel. And in the afternoon I hung out with some of my most important collectors and they took me out for a birthday celebration in a tapas bar. You can definitely say it’s been a great day – also very relaxed. I think a lot of people left town for Memorial Day weekend, so the city doesn’t have the party energy of a regular Saturday. It feels peaceful and quiet, the way it usually feels on Sundays, the way I like it best.

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It’s been a day full of celebrations – from an Italian lunch with a friend who shares the same birthday, to a decadent steak dinner at Provisions with a friend who just moved back to Houston. Everything seems brighter today, full of sunshine. My exhaustion from the flight is fading, and I’m settling back into a life that might as well be a vacation: painting and swimming, walking the dog, and occasional get-togethers with friends. The air is moist with tropical lushness, and it feels a little bit like I’m living in a resort.

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My two paintings today pay homage to the two luxury hotels I visited on behalf of my collectors, where I did some very enjoyable loitering in order to stock up on inspiration: The Ritz and the Plaza Athenée in Paris.

Also, happy to report that I managed to sleep until 7:30 and that I was in an excellent mood today. Those endorphins are a real thing! Of course, it’s nice too to know that every day my only job is to paint stuff inspired by my trip, that there are boxes of wood panels waiting for me, and that I can start working before I even finish my coffee.

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I woke up at 4am and I really wasn’t a happy camper. I dragged around for the first part of the day, feeling annoyed at everything. What saved the day was painting – I am so loving being able to do so in the gallery! – and swimming in the pool for a really long time. I figured I need plenty of endorphins. Also some vitamin D. Hopefully soon enough I’ll be fully functional. At least I can say I’m already in a much better mood.