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Next Level of Magic

Today I got back to my old love of drawing buildings – complete with pigeons taking shelter on a ledge. I’m getting ready to announce my next commission opportunity, just in time for Christmas, which involves me doing personalized watercolors of houses!

I also got to go to John’s today, where he was performing surgery on Alexander Ross, the carousel horse, in order to insert a light inside. But, as magical as that sounds, I was actually there for something else: I was there for a preview of MoNique LeRoux’ solo show, which totally blew me away. I fell in love with a large blue and gold painting. So in love that I might actually have to have it. It’s interesting to experience this art buying adventure from the other side – not selling, but actually wanting to buy someone’s work because you feel a deep personal connection. I haven’t entirely granted myself permission yet to purchase the beautiful painting. I tend to be impulsive with my splurges – Remember how I bought a dog at a charity gala? – but sometimes I try to teach myself restraint. Though, really, who am I kidding? The whole purpose of restraint, after all, is to enjoy some spectacular lack thereof every now and then.

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Fragments of the Story

Today it rained and I set out to make a large painting that would serve as the cover art of my new novel, the Galveston ghost story featuring Betty, Edna, Suzanne, and Josephine. I had collected many watercolors and drawings from this blog that are inspired by that manuscript. I decided to copy them in black and white, but was totally at a loss as to how to incorporate them into a large painting, and what exactly the background should be. It pretty much took all day, involved a lot of soul searching, and a lot of physical labor, but I now have something I really like! The final version of this painting will be revealed during an exclusive event at the gallery at the end of this month – when I will also reveal the title of this new book. But for now, here’s a sneak peek. Also, it’s totally surreal that it’s raining while I’m working on my hurricane story.

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Group Photo at the Presidential Library

Today I felt inspired to create a watercolor inspired by the group photo we took at the Bush Presidential Library last week when collectors and friends traveled to College Station to have a museum tour with my mentor, John Ross Palmer. It was such a wonderful occasion, and talking about it over coffee today with John made me want to paint it! I’m receiving some really nice reactions on Instagram, so I might offer signed prints as well as the opportunity to buy the original.

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The Horses

“Everyone knows those horses lived,” Gina said. “There’s nothing wrong with them saving their horses.”

There’s a story, probably apocryphal, about two horses rescued from the 1900 storm, that keeps coming up in conversations among the characters of my new novel. I really liked inserting that into the manuscript. And the longer I work on it, the more such ideas come to me.

I also made a different kind of abstract painting today. I’m calling it Layers of Identity. And I also did something I rarely do: I went to the movies with a friend and saw Hustlers, and really really liked it. It made me miss New York though, and made me think of how strange it is to have lived such different lives in so many places.

At night I saw the heron again. He appeared as an elegant silhouette in the grass just as I was thinking of some new ideas for my business. I took this as a good omen.

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Chocolate Bear

I totally fell in love with the cuteness of this chocolate bear in the supermarket today. I ended up painting him instead of buying him because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, and I was really mostly intrigued with the shiny foil he was wrapped in. These are the things I’m interested in.

Today was a restful day. I wrote a little, went to the gym, did grocery shopping, and had my friend come over for a visit that was long overdue. We speak on the phone a lot, but hardly ever get to see each other. Also she had some clothes for me – more Chanel if you can believe it, and a whole bunch of other stuff I love, including the perfect black pants. I’m so excited about my loot!

Meanwhile the gift I’d sent to Amsterdam without the dreaded customs form or any tracking made it there in record time and caused the desired reaction. Funny how sometimes things can go so smoothly. Makes me wish I was happy go lucky in general, but I know myself better than that. Usually I fret and that’s ok.

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DYI Dream Interpretation

Last night I had a weird dream. It involved eating conch raw, something I’ve never eaten. I’ve had conch fritters in Jamaica, but never uncooked conch, which I might actually like, but in my dream I didn’t. It was too salty and there was too much of it. I decided to put away most of it for a later time, knowing full well I would never eat it.

In the morning I was in a very good mood. Today was the day we were all going to the Bush Presidential Library to have a special tour with John, who had a special relationship with President Bush. It was sunny, I was drinking my really good coffee, and I was looking forward to the day ahead. Still, I googled the meaning of my dream. I couldn’t find it. Conch shells have very good symbolism. Among other things they stand for patience – something I’ve yet to acquire – and also for staying on your path. But I had not dreamt of conch shells. I’d dreamt of eating the meat. I found some explanations of dreams of eating fish. A sea snail is not a fish. So, I figure that in the end we’re the ones who get to decide what our dreams mean. We’re the ones choosing what kind of guidance we seek and the symbols we choose to fixate on are indicative of the path we want to take.

Also, the tour of the library was very nice.

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Gifts from Betty

Today I was feeling rather tense. I decided to take a short swim, and it turned out that it was just what I needed. The day was still hot, which I love, but it held a newfound kind of freshness, an ever so subtle hint of seasons changing. The water was warm and there were a few fallen leaves floating in it. It was a glorious time to swim. The water glimmered just so, it danced in darker hues cut through by undulations of light. I’ve always liked the patterns of pool water, the aqua blue spots, the bright silver lines cutting through. It’s a beautiful thing to look at, and it’s a beautiful thing to paint. But I’d never seen the rainbows before. There are tiny rainbows hidden in the corners of the ripples of light, right where they intersect. Betty would have surely seen that, because Betty has a talent for noticing things. I felt like the rainbows, or rather the ability to see them, were a gift from her.

Later, much later, I walked Holly through our neighborhood and we saw the night heron who lives in one of the trees. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, and now he was standing in the middle of the side walk. Such a beautiful, magical creature! I felt that this encounter, too, was a gift from Betty.

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There are no colorful leaves in fall in Texas, and I can’t say I’m sad. I personally prefer summer to go on a little longer. Anyway, today I felt compelled to paint these leaves, because they go well with the name of the new project I’m launching, a new type of commissions opportunity called Framed Seasons. I’ve updated my website to include it, and I’ll officially announce it tomorrow, but I figured people who actually read the blog should get a sneak peek before everyone else finds out about it! I’m so excited to get this going!

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Temperature Check

Here’s how to make sure the pavement is not too hot for your dog’s paws: Step outside barefoot. Stand next to the shadow of a palm tree. Let the heat relax and ground you. If you are happy your dog is happy.

Today was definitely a good day. I had a lot of ideas for fun things for my business, including some very sexy door prizes people can win at my next party if they wear white – because white will look so amazing with the Blue Sea paintings as background.

I also had a really good lunch, at a new place called Craft Pita, which opened close to the YMCA, a good workout, and a nice dinner with a friend I don’t get to see very often these days.

Tomorrow I’ve promised myself to work on my various websites, so maybe if I put this out in the open I will actually do it? We’ll see…

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On Mondays We Monday

Somebody told me today was National Teddy Bear Day so I painted a teddy bear. You might notice he looks kind of unhappy and that’s because today was a Monday and the dog and I had to a Monday pretty hard. I was upset because I had to get up early and go on an errand. She was upset because the errand consisted of having her nails trimmed at the vet. Afterwards I had to go to the post office, where sending off the Pink Arabesque to its new home was actually a joyous occasion and also very straightforward, but sending my friend’s birthday gift to Amsterdam was more complicated. I had to decide if my unwillingness to fill out a customs form trumped my desire for a tracking number. It did. I have such an aversion to forms, I can’t even begin to tell you! So the package commenced its journey to Amsterdam untracked and I went to the Y where my mood improved slightly after my workout, then went to grab a Mediterranean chicken pita thingy to take home because I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store. The pita thingy was actually very good, and I had a long talk with my friend about some things that have been on my mind lately. We ended up laughing, and as the day wound down I realized I’m more at peace about a lot of things. I still think one of the dog’s dew claws is rather long, and it bothers me a little, but probably not enough to go back to the vet – especially if it involves waking up early. Tomorrow I shall resume my ritual of not setting an alarm clock, and savoring my coffee while writing. Oh, and I also did a lot of laundry, including of the actual hand-washing variety, just in case you think perhaps my Monday wasn’t Monday enough.