Sometimes I come across a picture so fabulous I just have to paint it. The one that inspired today’s painting features one of the most fabulous ladies I know, eating crawfish with so much gusto that it made me crave them – although I don’t even care for them so much. So there she was, Aphrodite eating crawfish and I just had to paint her and couldn’t even really do her justice. If you’ve been to my gallery you’ve probably seen another painting of this very cool lady, in the kitchen, featuring two lemons (It’s actually called When Life Gives You Lemons). She’s one of my favorite muses, and that’s not just because she’s a very striking brunette, but also because she’s a survivor with an indomitable spirit, and that despite the many difficulties she’s faced, she’s always up for a good time and a good laugh and she knows just how to enjoy everything to the max. Like those crawfish!
Also, I like the idea of including a little bit of Louisiana into my upcoming Bastille Day celebration. And my muse is perfect for representing Louisiana. She’s even once lost all her possessions in a hurricane. But never ever ever her joie de vivre or her sense of humor.
I’m starting to get ready for my Bastille Day party which will be all about Paris! Also, I’m starting to enjoy my new routine and my new space more and more. It took about six months, but I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings, settling comfortably into my new life.
Also, there was a very special party I was invited to this evening, honoring two people who have helped me a lot, and it was a good moment.
There was once a Chanel paper clip. It was given to me as a gift, together with a teeny tiny notebook, when I bought Chanel makeup at Charles de Gaulle airport many years ago. I thought it was just about the most beautiful thing, and I took to wearing it on a necklace as if it were a pendant. It’s featured in my favorite picture of me from Ibiza, the year I quit yoga teacher training, a sunset-soaked picture on the beach at Beniras, where I’d gone to hear the drums. It was a good moment.
Then at some point I grew tired of wearing the Chanel paper clip. I stuck it in a drawer at my parents’ house in Bucharest and forgot all about it. I found it by mistake this summer and texted a picture of it to John. He said he wanted it, so I brought it with me to Houston, where I lost it again in the jet lagged confusion of my first days back. I found it thanks to my Marie-Kondo-inspired decluttering frenzy and wore it to John’s last night for an event. I paired it with my Chanel vest and one of my brand new skirts and I started feeling torn about giving it to him. Then we horsed around with the dogs and I think I lost it for good. I hope Nancy has it. Or maybe it’ll turn up someday at John’s. The end. Maybe.
I feel so much better today than yesterday. I seem to be settling into a nice routine which includes consistently working on the novel. I’ve reached a part that deals with jasmine and chocolate cake, also a mysterious rosary buried in the yard.
The writing made me feel better, but other things started happening as well. I held an online auction on my Facebook page and sold the last one in my Benvinguts a Barcelona series. I started thinking of some fun new events for July and was approached for a dog portrait commission. There was some other correspondence that was most satisfying. In other words, I feel like it’s been a productive day. I suppose it’s time to curl up next to my freshly washed dog and call it a night.
I did a little more revising on the Galveston story. I’ve reached the part about Betty, the 1961 episode. I think of the 1960s as the most unfortunate decade. To get myself in the mood, I drew something inspired by a Chanel ad from 1963 (though poor Betty and Edna would not live to see 1963, and neither of them wore Chanel) featuring Brigitte Bardot. In the background I drew some things featured in the book. I ended up liking the drawing a lot. It made me feel a little less adrift and aimless. I suppose the writing should do that too, but I’m constantly plagued by guilt for not promoting my books more, for not knowing how to properly do so. Sometimes I just wish I could merely release them into the world and they could find their own readers. Why isn’t that a thing?
To make myself feel better about everything, tomorrow I shall wash the dog with oatmeal shampoo. I feel like that should be quite satisfying for all parties involved.
Today I took the car for its yearly inspection, and while waiting I walked to the Galleria and bought two very spectacular and much needed skirts. This was a bit frivolous, I’ll admit, but after going through all my clothes Marie-Kondo-style and setting aside several bags of things that no longer spark joy for Goodwill, it was pretty self-evident that two well chosen and well fitting skirts would offer many possibilities to wear some of the items in my wardrobe I do in fact enjoy – such as the black Chanel vest my friend gave me months ago. Maybe it’s not quite revolutionary, but I do feel that putting order in my things, and having a closet that no longer strikes me as both overwhelming and terribly dissatisfying solves a lot of my problems – if not quite all of them.
Having completed my car inspection makes me feel terribly competent too. Last year I had to get it done in a rush while I was getting ready for my solo show and freaking out about life in general. I managed to run into the Galleria and buy two dresses even under those dire circumstances, but since I hadn’t preceded that with any major closet overhaul, I shall conclude that I am so much better at life now.
One of the highlights of my day was a short visit to Sakowitz furs, a Houston institution. I frankly had no reason to go in there, other than the fact that a store full of fur coats makes me feel nostalgic. I didn’t want to try one on. I definitely don’t need one, having inherited several I hardly have a chance to wear. Instead I asked questions about the craft. With only one furrier remaining in my family, and her business being reduced to mere alterations – although she knows how to make a fur coat from scratch, and that is cool! – we were under the impression that modern fur coats are somehow industrially produced. Perhaps this is an urban myth meant to scare good old fashioned furriers and their extended families. The nice man in the shop assured me that all the many sleek exquisite coats in there had been hand made. I asked if they had been hand made by someone who first stretched the furs by nailing them onto boards. Such details are important to me. He assured me that yes, indeed, the furs had all been stretched on boards, massaged with a wet brush. This answer I found highly satisfying. It brought back many childhood memories of sitting in my grandfather’s workshop, the scent of mothballs tickling my nostrils. I left thinking that perhaps, after all, this is not a dying craft.
Things are not as they seem. Night herons, for example, are beautiful birds. But they make lousy neighbors. If they move into the live oaks in front of your house, it might seem like a miracle, but it’s not exactly cause for celebration. They will poop a lot – mostly seafood – and shriek loudly at inconvenient hours.
It’s things like these and many more that one gets to learn on the Island. It was, as usual, interesting to return. The heat today was oppressive even there, but it gave in to a nice breeze in the evening when my friend and I walked on our favorite beach.
I thought a lot about the book I’m writing. I talked about it to my friend. Ideas are actually coming full circle and this feels good. Also, I’m tired. Walking the beach does that. I should sleep well tonight.
Ok, so maybe I had a teeny tiny hangover from yesterday’s Pride vodka, but today was a good day. I was so happy my party yesterday turned out well, and just happy with life in general. I went to John and Ryan’s Pride party. I also went to have Chinese with a friend in our favorite little Chinese place in the Galleria. I did some writing too, this morning, added another layer to the 1900 portion of the ghost story. I’m feeling that even the parts of the book that were difficult to fix are coming along somehow. I hope I will be motivated to continue.
One of the paintings that sold last night was something I’d painted for my art show in Barcelona four years ago. It brought back so many memories, from a time that seems eons ago, even if in some ways it’s in the recent past. It’s just that my life has changed so dramatically since then. I don’t miss my confusion about where I was heading, and there is so much knowledge I’ve acquired since, so much progress I’ve made in my art career and in my personal development too. But I do miss the city, and some days I really long to revisit. Perhaps in September when I go pick my grandmother’s grapes I could stop there for a few days?
In the meantime I painted something inspired by an old picture of the Cathedral I found in one of my many Barcelona blog posts. I displayed it on the wall for tonight’s party. The party ended up being really fun! Some very nice people showed up, and we had a very nice time.