I didn’t really do much today. I woke up late. The weather was warm but rainy. I ate leftover king cake for breakfast. I froze most of it – including the baby – but saved some for two decadent mornings. I wrote a little bit, puttered around online, added some stuff to my online store. I like mornings best, the writing and the coffee-infused dreaming. After that it’s all goes a bit downhill. But I tried to fight that today. I went to pick up my new glasses and they are perfect. I’d resisted changing my frames for almost twenty years, thinking they were the only flattering frames for me. Not true, apparently, the new frames are so much better. Makes me wonder what other kinds of changes I’m resisting.
Then in the afternoon I went to Magpies and Peacocks to sort fabric. I like going there, love the warehouse full of scraps and fabulous fashion, mannequins and art. There’s even a cat mannequin. It stands by the bathroom.
Afterwards I stopped by one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants and by Kroger. I was cheerful on the way home. And still, I feel like something is missing, like I’m searching for something I can’t find. A deeper meaning and purpose and what not. I know I’m lucky because I get to write and make art. I don’t take those things for granted. But in my perpetual quest to live my best life, I can’t help but ask myself what’s next.
There are two horses in my upcoming novel, Storms of Malhado, that survive the Great Storm of 1900 by climbing up the stairs of their master’s mansion and watching the deluge from a bedroom window. I’m pretty much obsessed with horses in general, and with these two fictional horses and their survival story in particular. It’s why I want to create some really big horse-themed art in my gallery this spring.
I’m happy to report that today was the first in my series of Make Room for the Horses events, and that I sold the four paintings below. I still need to sell (or put into storage) twenty five more, but things are looking up for my horses.
Today I actually had a really good day, and one of the great things about it was volunteering at a Magpies and Peacocks. There, while sorting fabric, I eyed a magnificent gold dress by designer Jerri Moore, and I just had to try it on. It was beyond magical but a little out of my price range given that I’ve just returned from a pretty extravagant trip and am getting ready for the horses. I mean, horses are expensive. But look how fabulous the dress is! Even if I decided not buy it (for now), it made me feel really good, and reminded me of all things fun – including Mardi Gras, which is this weekend, and which I sometimes wish to celebrate, sometimes wish to avoid. I’m leaning towards celebrating right now, so I bought a beautiful cream cream cheese king cake and some very dark roast coffee for my first horse-related event tomorrow. I might not get to wear the gold dress, but I do have another pretty fabulous outfit in mind, and I might play some Kevin Anthony and G-Town for atmosphere.
It was so cold today, the kind of cold that gets into your bones no matter what because it’s accompanied by the most insidious humidity. The kind of cold where you can’t even get comfortable in your house with the heat on. It sneaks in through nooks and crannies. It is evil.
My silver fox still added a little bit of fun to my morning dog walk, but even with its glamour, the day was difficult at best. I tried to concentrate on work. I wrote, sent out emails, created another Instagram post to advertise my upcoming Galveston novel, and I even managed to sell one of the paintings I love best (the Mourning Doves below). Still, through it all, the cold creeped in with its wet persistent claws, and there were moments I swore I don’t want to put myself through another February in this humid climate.
Ok, so perhaps things are far from ideal. The weather was miserable today – the kind of wet and cold Houston winter day that gets into your bones – and taxes suck and there’s a lot I still don’t understand, but the truth is that my favorite part of any day are the coffee-fueled hours in the morning and early afternoon when I’m writing and brainstorming and creating posts to advertise on social media, and coming up with ideas for events, and writing newsletters, and scanning my work to turn into products or sell in my online store. Today it was precisely those hours that made me feel optimistic and made me realize that I can break even an unwieldy project like taxes into bite-size pieces and tackle it somehow. Meanwhile, I can enjoy my addiction to an app called Canva, which lets me create fun Instagram posts with quotes from my novel, I can have fun with the last of the editing, I can start getting ready for the horses, and I can work on my online store. Which, in case y’all didn’t know is attached to this blog. Click on ‘Shop’ in the Menu and you’ll see. The nice thing about creating so many works on paper is that I can offer originals at unbeatable prices.
Of course, prints are nice too, and so are products featuring my art, so, if you’re interested in those, click on the ‘Buy Prints and Products’ link instead and it’ll take you to my Society6 page.
I just made all these horse-themed products and more! Also, here’s today’s Instagram post created in Canva.
On top of all this I also made it to the gym. There I took a fairly cute selfie wearing my green jacket I bought ten years ago in Barcelona and loved ever since, and that was extremely satisfying, because sometimes, even in dreadful weather, when I’m having a good day I can enjoy the small things quite a lot.
Today I got stressed about tax season – which this year is more complicated as I now have the company – and about other annoyances mostly to do with scheduling and other stuff I’m not good at. I was kind of hoping the feeling of panic that’s been with me ever since I started my own business would have subsided by now. It’s gotten better, but it’s still there, this feeling that I might mess up royally, and that it’s presumptuous to even think I can make this work. Today I tried to push it aside, to compartmentalize as best I can (spoiler alert: I can’t!), to address issues as they arise, and in between dealing with them, to try to actually enjoy life. I also decided I needed to focus on a few things that give me a sense of order. So I had an eye exam and ordered new glasses. I also baked bread, just for myself this time, and the crust turned out really crusty. I watched the Democratic debate, because like, seriously, the primary is around the corner, and (drumroll!) I went on a date with a man who actually seemed nice. It’s a first date, so let’s not get our hopes up, but, whatever follow-up there is or isn’t to this first meeting, it’s still good to know the potential is there to, every now and then, actually meet someone I might actually fancy.
It’s all coming together: The two horses in my new manuscript, Storms of Malhado, the life-size horse statue I saw in SoHo, even my obsession with Alexander Ross last year. I have an idea for some really large and exciting art that needs to happen here in the gallery over the next two months. And it involves horses! Horses take up a lot of room. I literally need to make room for the horses! I need to either sell or otherwise move into storage about 30 paintings! So stay tuned for some party invites where I’ll explain all about the horse project and offer some sweet deals… Also, if there’s a piece you’ve been coveting, please reach out to me.
Today my friend went back to Austin, and after breakfast with her at Pondicheri, where I hadn’t been in such a long time, I embarked on a new adventure. Time to reveal where I started volunteering: Magpies and Peacocks is a nonprofit that recycles clothing and creates sustainable fashion. They’re housed in a warehouse in EaDo, and that’s where I spent three hours today sorting fabric and talking to a new friend. That’s also where I saw the gold rabbit brooch I just had to paint. I have to say, I love going there, and totally love their mission. So this will be a welcome addition to my life.
Afterwards I worked out at the beautiful YMCA Downtown, which wore me out since I’m a little out of practice, but which gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Then I went home, walked the dog, and formulated a game plan. I have ideas for two really large-scale art projects. I don’t yet want to reveal what these are, as I want to round up my bestest collectors first to let them in on the secret and celebrate with champagne. But it’s something big and exciting that might pose certain logistical issues – which I already know how I might overcome.
Today was the vintage party featuring my friend’s books. We ended up having a lot of fun, and she met some new readers. I also sold a few paintings, including Don’t Blame the Goddess, one of my all-time favorite pieces, which I painted back in 2017.
Today my friend arrived from Austin and we went to the Menil together. One of my favorite things we saw was a dragon. It was a little bit of a strange day for me – strange dreams and sleeplessness last night – and I felt a little bit in a haze. Anyway it was a nice day after all, and tomorrow my friend and I are throwing a vintage-themed party that goes with our books, and hopefully that will be fun!