I did it! I drove down to Galveston to see the statue of Mary Star of the Sea. It was so lovely! She was indeed waiting for me in the church parking lot, and there were two people there to watch for her safety (along with a sign saying “do not hold onto or grab the hands”). They gave me all sorts of useful information. Here’s what I learned: She was added to the church later, so she’s only been up there since 1878 (the Basilica dates from 1848). She was made in France and weighs 3,000 tons. The day she was supposed to go up to her place on top of the spire was a very windy day and people were concerned it would be impossible to get her up there (even nowadays it’s quite difficult, involves plenty of insulation and a crane that costs $3,000 a day). Despite the stormy weather, in 1878, people believed that if she wanted to get up there, she would. And she did!
Also, she is standing on a serpent, to show her victory over evil. It will take about two months to restore her and we might get to visit her again at that point or not. After all, the crane is expensive and she might want to get back up there as soon as she can.
Needless to say, this was all very satisfactory information and I enjoyed seeing her up close immensely. She looks very happy and peaceful and I think she liked seeing me too.
Afterwards I went to Maceo’s and ate a very good sandwich. Ronnie then fed me a pumpkin cannoli, which was amazing, and a very good espresso. It was so good seeing him! It’d been too long.
Then my friend and I loaded the carousel horses into my car and I drove them home to Houston. I’m absolutely thrilled to have them back. I’d missed them so very much!
I didn’t make it to the Island today to see the statue of Mary Star of the Sea. But my friend posted a picture in which the light does a funny thing: It forms into a Crescent – a powerful symbol of the divine feminine.
I’m hoping maybe Friday I can make it down there to see her myself. Today was busy with pretty mundane stuff. Though I also got to buy new makeup to wear to the Gala next weekend!
I always look for the statue of Mary Star of the Sea when I go to Galveston. Standing on top of the Basilica, she’s a symbol of Island survival. In fact, they say that as long as Mary stands proud, the Island won’t go under. This superstition has even made it into my new manuscript.
But last week I noticed Mary was absent. The spire stood empty, which was upsetting in more ways than one. The friend and collector I had lunch with told me she was being restored. After all, she’s been standing up there since 1848. She was due some TLC. Still, a little voice inside me protested: Couldn’t they restore her once hurricane season’s over? Who’s going to protect us in her absence?
Three different friends texted me today to report on her whereabouts. It turns out one can actually visit her in the church parking lot until October 6th, and I think I will go. In the meantime I painted her. She does, of course, go very well with my large Storm Survivor painting.
From pelicans to Turkish carpets, this day held everything. A quick trip to Galveston Island with my collectors and good friends was absolutely lovely. They even bought me a bouquet of wildflowers from Moon Dog Farms, as well as a scrumptious lunch at Katie’s Seafood House – the new restaurant adjacent to Katie’s Seafood Market, where the fish is so fresh they’ll tell you what boat it came off that day. I also got new Melissa shoes at Tangerine, a new skirt, and a new book on the Kempner family which I will read for research.
You might wonder where the Turkish carpets came into play. That was later, in Houston, and quite a different 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.
“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.
Today marks the anniversary of the Great Storm of 1900. It was a perfect day to work on my Galveston ghost story. Spoiler alert: neither Suzanne nor her nurse, Josephine, survives the Great Storm, but they house they live in does, so it occurred to me that in the 2008 chapters it should have one of those plaques marking it as a storm survivor, and that the characters should acknowledge this plaque, maybe even touch it for good luck.
The rest of the day was brightened by a trip to the Chrysalis, a meal with my friend, a half an hour reading outside at sunset, and a phone call from my mentor who wanted to check on me. All of this was nice and comforting, and I feel that the week ahead looks promising.
Today I finished the fifth draft of my Galveston ghost story. I’m starting to be really thrilled with the depth it’s gaining, though it’s a slow process. Things come to me gradually, and they work their way into the book. I will try to stay patient with this one – not always an easy thing for me to do.
I also painted a seascape inspired by a picture taken by one of my friends in Galveston, a place where the sea isn’t always blue, but it’s always lovely! And I had the closing reception for my Dog Days of summer project, which was quite a good time! For the first time I had a child visit the gallery, a nine-year-old boy who made fast friends with Holly, and who, while the adults were all busy talking looked at the art carefully and identified a small painting he wanted to buy. He negotiated a discount like a pro, and paid for it with his own money! I was so impressed!
Also, I raised $300 for BARC Houston and I can’t wait to give it to them next week!