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She’s Back!

Today my Galveston ghost story, which I really should start referring to by its name – Storms of Malhado – came back from the editor. I haven’t really had time to fully delve into the comments, but I scanned the letter the editor sent, and they are exactly the type of insights I need, suggestions on how to build tension, how much of the different story lines to reveal where, etc. I’m looking forward to getting back to Katie, Suzanne, and Betty – though of course I’m also a bit scared because the work left to do is meticulous and important. I’m so happy though! The editor has pointed out some very useful things. For example, although I wrote it and did so purposefully, I hadn’t realized where a turning point is for Katie that completely changes her fate, and had not given enough attention to underscoring the significance of that moment. Also, I have not named the horses. How do y’all feel about Fiona and Jack?

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Small Business Saturday Was Amazing!

Best day ever! I wish every day were Small Business Saturday! So many lovely people came by, and the atmosphere was warm and happy with lots of wine and laughter. At some point, however, the biggest dog in the universe decided to make a statement: she demanded I pick her up and she lounged on my lap the rest of the night in a clear statement of ownership. Note: she usually doesn’t let me pick her up!

After the event my friend and I went to have tacos at 100% Taquito, which is now my favorite new place! I felt happily exhausted and grateful for the wonderful day and all the support my business has gotten from collectors over the past year. As I walked my possessive little dog later down Post Oak Boulevard among the beautifully lit up Christmas trees I saw the Sagittarius new moon that’s been wrecking havoc on my emotions over the past few days. It was low and red, a thin red line really, incredibly beautiful. And I had a revelation about my own mental patterns: When I’m stressed, tired, or overwhelmed, I go back to a particular set of memories and emotions from the past. It’s a hiding place of sorts, a reflex, like picking on a scab. Realizing that I’m doing this feels liberating. Perhaps this is the insight and renewal the new moon is giving me, its way of helping me move forward.

I feel incredibly light today, and incredibly grateful for everything.

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Small Business Saturday – Where to Go in Houston

I love Small Business Saturday aka the Saturday after Thanksgiving when small businesses open their doors to people who wish to support their community by shopping locally! For the second year in a row I’m excited to host this event at my gallery (Sandovici Gallery, 2320 McCue Road #4), but were I not open for business from 10am to 6pm here is where I’d go. As my favorite artists are also celebrating the occasion, each in their lovely and unique gallery spaces and with special celebratory touches (expect signature drinks, cute dogs, collectible Christmas ornaments, and then some!), here’s a little tour of Houston’s Small Business Saturday you can treat yourself to:

Uptown/Galleria:

Sandovici Gallery, 2320 McCue Road #4, 10am-6pm

You want to go here because it’s the home of this blog, also of a cute Boston Terrier, also of about 30 carousel horse paintings, and an incredible collection of highly giftable original works on paper. We have mimosas, a gift wrapping and framing station, and a gingerbread house you can win.

Heights:

John Palmer Art Gallery and Studio, 1218 Heights Boulevard, 10am-6pm

This is my absolute favorite place in Houston. If you’re unfamiliar with John Ross Palmer’s art you are missing out one one of the greatest contemporary artists, also one of the most fun people you’ll ever meet. Check out his amazing art, but don’t miss out on silk scarves, Christmas ornaments, coasters, and play time with his beautiful English Pointers. Bonus points if you can spot the inspiration behind my carousel horses!

Washington Heights:

AVM Hawkins, Paula Hawkins, and Alfredo Ott III in Studio 24 (upstairs) at 2101 Winter Street. 12pm-5pm

Very cool vibe, magical abstract art, interesting conversation!

Bogdan Mihai and John Bishop in Studio 111 at Silver Street Studios (2000 Edwards Street) 10am-5pm

They do everything from painting to photography to video production and they have a fun new zine out that might just be the perfect stocking stuffer for any kids in your life.

Emancipation Ave:

Tatiana Escallon at 3715 Emancipation Avenue 10am-6pm

Here’s a charming old house that has been lovingly restored by an artist and turned into a studio! The venue itself is unique, but wait until you see and fall in love with the art! Also, I heard that in addition to champagne, there’ll be Colombian coffee!

EaDo:

MoNique Leroux at 201 Roberts Street, 11am to 3pm

Houston’s only fire and resin painter is having her very first open studio event! I really wish I could attend this one, as I’m an enthusiastic collector of her art and her beautiful one-of-a-kind serving trays!

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Shine Through

Thanksgiving Day. I made another abstract painting. I called this one Shine Through. It’s about letting one’s authentic feelings show, not questioning what comes naturally. So much for wondering about having said the right thing, about having said too much or too little, about having worked too hard at something or not having done enough.

My friend and I enjoyed a lovely lunch at Eunice – one of my favorite restaurants these days because it’s so pretty. We talked about how we both need to have more adventures.

In the evening, while my little dog hid under the table, afraid of the fireworks, I made more abstract carousel horses. I also finished some commissions, and I started feeling more light. I guess working makes me feel good. But still, I need to remember to also have adventures.

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Portals

Today I was processing all kinds of feelings and I felt like I needed to make some abstract art. I was thinking of situations where I’ve expressed myself poorly, people I don’t communicate well with, and wished that my paintings could be some sort of portal – a way of sending love and good energy without having to use actual words. Sometimes I really wish these paintings could accomplish acts of magic. Right wrongs. Soften edges. Bridge chasms. I’m feeling haunted by all the things I said that came out wrong. Also by things I did not say, and things I simply couldn’t help because at times, despite my best intentions, I had no idea, and still don’t, what the right words or right gesture would have been.

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Dog v. Gingerbread House

Today a hot new listing hit the Houston real estate market. You might want to contact Bob Pollard to inquire about it. It’s brand new construction and very coveted, especially by a four-pawed little diva who would gladly eat it. You can visit it during Small Business Saturday here at the gallery! Just wait until you see the beautiful lot with exceptional landscaping and an actual snowman! You definitely don’t want to miss out on this listing!

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Adventure with Ducks

I think it’s important to have adventures in your own city every now and then. It’s what inspired me to go to the YMCA Downtown today instead of the Y in my own neighborhood. I love Downtown and I figured I could make this into a fun excursion. The facility is absolutely beautiful and I had never been there before. My favorite: the indoor walking track with views of downtown. Though of course it was too lovely a day to be indoors. And so after my workout I drove to Les Givral in Midtown for my favorite $3 Vietnamese sandwich. I took my sandwich to the park, and after eating it I walked for quite a while. At some point I got tired and sat on a bench. That’s when the most beautiful duck came very close to me. It was obviously not afraid of me at all. Maybe it thought I had food. Or maybe it thought I was food. I realized that the duck was not afraid of me but I sure was afraid of it. I walked away as fast as I could.

Also, unrelated to ducks and such, I decided to start a book club! Let me know if you’d like more information.

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Yin Yoga and Leftovers

After the party I slept late but woke up with a headache – too much champagne with apple cider? – and deep in the fog of a dream. I was with my top collector and we were in Venice but maybe it was New Orleans. A blonde girl in a gondola said she understood how I felt, she loved Venice too but couldn’t be happy, all the water was not good for her. Then we found jewelry in a drawer of the credenza, a gold brooch and some other stuff. Have you ever had a dream where you felt strongly that you needed to write it down because you felt like it spoke to you yet you were not sure why? Speaking of dreams, I wonder how Suzanne is doing. She’s with the editor now and I miss her on mornings when I used to write and now I don’t. But she’ll be back…

Also, today was the second round of the Romanian presidential election, and I drove to the Romanian church all the way in North Houston to vote and because of the time difference by the time I got back it was already clear my candidate had won, but I’m glad I did anyway.

My farmhouse commission got picked up by the collectors today. They were happy with it. And at the end of what seemed like a long and ambitious day my friend and I went to yin yoga at her very fancy new gym. Then we feasted on leftovers and on the fun recap of the party that comes with. All in all, it’s been a great day. And I think I’ll sleep well tonight.

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A Day Full of Art

Today was beyond ambitious but so amazingly fun: In the morning there was an information session for future Escapists at John’s. It was so well attended, and among the prospective applicants are some very good artists who asked very good questions. After the information session, my two top collectors, the Pollards, and I had a quick taco lunch, then went to Art Crawl – one of Houston’s most fun events. We saw four different studio buildings and got to chat with artists about their work. I fell in love with a ceramic rabbit, learned some things about oil painting, and visited with a few artist friends. We could have visited studios all day, but we had a dinner party to go to – a dinner party I was hosting and had to put the last finishing touches on, though I’d been wise enough to cook the shrimp soup and poach the salmon the night before. Also, at tonight’s dinner party I got an award from my mentor for being consistent. I have a medal and everything! It’s proudly displayed in my Bush bathroom and I really hope lots of people will come see it.