Last night I had a horrible dream in which my dog died of a punctured lung. It was awful, but in the light of day I was elated to be awake. My dog, very much alive, and with lungs that appeared to be functioning, was wagging her stump of a tail asking for food, walkies, and other niceties of the canine existence. A friend who spent the night was here too, lavishing attention on the living breathing little monster. Life seemed fully and completely magical. Because it is.

I’ve carried the energy of my happy morning all through the day. And I decided to do something with it. I bought 3 large canvases, took them to my Escapist studio and decided to paint fast and colorful. Something John said yesterday stuck with me, as his insights always do. He was talking to someone about his Justice series, which is brilliant in its dynamism. He said he painted it fast, and that when one paints slowly it generally feels contrived.

So yes, today I wanted to challenge myself to paint fast. I realized while I was doing this that one of the things that’s always moved me about certain pieces of art, is the energy of the brushstrokes. I always knew I loved texture, but never realized how much the energy and movement speak to me. So yes, this was completely satisfying. Also a good workout.

When I got home the dog was alive, perky, and pointy-eared. I took her to the park. She was so happy! I almost wonder if somehow she hypnotized me in my sleep, causing me to have a nightmare that’d get me to pay attention to her today. I wouldn’t put it past her. After all, she hangs out with witches.

Dirty Hands and Other Fun Things

Today was the unveiling of John Ross Palmer’s Justice series benefiting the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work. It was such a fun event! I had a great time visiting with people, and having work displayed in the gallery below the Escapist studios was wonderful! It gave me the opportunity to talk to many of the guests about my work and even to sell a small piece and a few books! The energy at the event was wonderful, a lot of great people I enjoyed meeting! I’m exhausted but very happy.

I started working on a series of hands, dirty artist hands with paint on them, to be exact. Also, I decided to make a new Betty collage.

Worm Moon

Tonight it’s finally fully upon us, the full moon known as the Worm Moon. In Native American tradition this moon marks the time when the soil thaws enough for worms to crawl through it, getting it ready for seeding. And don’t be disgusted with worms! They’re very very useful!

And just like the worms prepare the soil, us Escapists got busy today hanging work in the gallery below our studios. Tomorrow, during John Palmer’s unveiling of the Justice Series (and by the way, I got a sneak peek and the paintings are fabulous!), people will come see our space and we want them to enjoy it.

I spent seven hours framing and hanging work! And it was an exciting seven hours! It’s been a whole exciting month. I feel like the soil is ready now for us to plant all kinds of wonderful seeds. Come summer the Chrysalis will bloom in a million different colors with our solo shows.

Howl at the Moon

So the full moon is here, it’s beautiful, and I’m in a silly mood where it amuses me greatly to remember that the woman who bought my house has beagles. Beagles, in case you didn’t know it, are notorious for howling! The noisy neighbors have definitely found their match. Howl at the moon, beautiful babies! Howl to your full lung capacity and be merry! I’m sure your vocal chords can out-blast the music coming through the amplifier on the porch next door! You got this, beagles! I believe in you!

So I drew beagles today while my students took a pop-quiz. Haha! I also drove to Houston and loaded my car up with art from Hardy and Nance because we now get to hang stuff in the gallery below our Escapist studios. How awesome is that?

In the middle of all of this, one of my favorite students from 14 years ago, when I was teaching at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, reached out to me and we started to plan for her visiting Texas and us taking a road trip together! I’m so excited! She’s now a yoga teacher, has traveled the world, and lives in California. And I can’t wait to see her and catch up after all these years!


This one goes out to cat lady for being such a good friend! Also, I managed to have a great day, even on a Wednesday in Beaumont!

It’s a full moon, and though its energy brings a certain kind of heaviness, it’s also a happy anniversary. On the last full moon us Escapists had our very first meeting with John and Ryan. Looking back now, I can’t believe it’s only been a month! Life has changed so much, I’ve learned, expanded, gained in color, boldness, but also in perspective. And I’m very excited about what lies ahead!

A Sensation of Space

Today my friend and I headed to the Island to look at houses. It was fun and it wasn’t. There was certainly lots of laughter, but I also felt pressure. Pressure to find “the one,” and you know that’s never sexy!

Did we find this elusive home? I’m not sure. There are two that have potential. Two lovable ones, two cottages that despite being tiny, offer up, in yards where the Island sky is ever expansive, the sensation of space. Whether I wish to commit to either of these prospects I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is that both my friend and I are exhausted. Also, that if you’re gonna go look at real estate on a subtropical island it’s good to bring a friend along who alternates between saying things like: “you need to look at the comps to see if it’s priced right” and “I like that one because it’s a pretty color.”

Open Studios

Today was the first open studio event at John Palmer’s studio and gallery since I started the mentorship program. I found that, despite having done so many open studios at Hardy and Nance, I felt nervous greeting new people in this new space. It was also an uncharacteristically cold day, as if the spring that’s already in full swing was temporarily suspended. I painted a window from Valencia, which I saw on Instagram. I also applied another layer of gloss to yesterday’s collage. Later I went home to the biggest dog in the universe and cooked a big satisfying pot of chili with 4 different cans of beans. Tomorrow cat lady is coming to the Island with me to look at houses. And the weather will hopefully be glorious. And the biggest dog in the universe will hopefully not mind being left alone again.

Ghost Story In the Making

Today was an absolutely magical day in the studio. AVM was there working on her 12 quick pieces (she got the same assignment I had, and Paula did it too!). It was our first time working in the studio together and the energy was great in there! I felt inspired to do another Galveston collage, a ghost story in the making. I ended up being there for five hours and I made a lot of progress. Then I went home, fed my monster, and sat down to draw the girl in the collage. It occurred to me that as hard as I thought I was working on my art before (and I did think I was working hard because I made something every day!), that truly was nothing. The mentorship got me to kick the art making into high gear. I realize that I simply must make a lot more stuff. This tends to be John’s advice to us too, and I totally get his point.

Beer and Intellectual Conversation

Today a friend said something I found really cool. He said people in Spain don’t go to art shows for the art, they go for the beer and intellectual conversation. Mind you, it sounds cooler in Spanish. Tomar cervezas y intelectualizar. It inspired the painting I was working on while we were talking. It was a quick spontaneous painting (though I worked on the background for about four hours). When I was done with it, or at least as done as I was gonna be today, I wasn’t satisfied. Not sure if I don’t like it because I’m tired or because allowing myself to be spontaneous and free in my art is hard for me. But I felt like I hadn’t truly made something that counts, something worth posting on the blog. So I went home and drew something inspired by the same comment, and I don’t like this either, but at least I feel like I’ve tried. And now I’ll walk the biggest dog in the universe and go to bed.