The Fly

My friends requested this watercolor of a fly. We have a text group called Exercise Girls, which hasn’t discussed exercise in about three months, but is proving to be very supportive and fun.

Today went by pretty fast. I went to see John in the morning, and he taught me some cool tricks for Aimée’s letters and gave me a good fountain pen. Then I dropped off a copy of Storms of Malhado for two new readers in the Heights, went home to eat, and went to the postoffice to mail off one of the many pieces of art I have to ship after my online sale. I managed to pack some of the other items, which feels like an accomplishment.

In the evening I went to see a close friend I hadn’t seen in almost a year. She looked good and she has new art in her chic little house – a piece by one of my favorite Island artists, actually, Rachel Wiley Janota, whose seascapes and skies are glorious.

Letters from Aimée

Today the Louisiana commission found its way to the lovely young woman it belongs to, and I was left thinking about my Kickstarter project for The Glory Days of Aimée Bonnard. The image of the magnolia I painted on the Louisiana watercolor stuck with me, and I envisioned something similar, something beautiful, personal, and unique I could send to my backers. I realized I could send them hand-written letters from Aimée, written in her own voice, detailing episodes in her life that are not included in the book. Some of these letters could include watercolors or small prints. I could mail them from New Orleans when I go there in January.

Tomorrow I am going to consult with the most charming letter-writer I know. Some of y’all might guess who that is.

Tiger Balm

Today my Mega Friends (well, one in particular…) sent me a stand for my iPad so I can have an easier time filming and painting during my Facebook Live show. Isn’t that amazing?

I used it to paint a watercolor of Tiger Balm. Why Tiger Balm? My eyes fell on a jar of it while I was trying to decide what to paint, and it occurred to me that it was shiny and thus a worthy subject. Also, John loves to make fun of me when I paint mundane objects, and true to form, his guest appearance on my Facebook Live show did not disappoint. We talked about snorting Tiger Balm like cocaine (please don’t do that!) and possibly setting up a vending machine to sell it in the Bush Bathroom. Sometimes I’m not even sure our jokes make sense, but we all had a really good laugh and we all needed it. See, Tiger Balm cures (almost) everything. Just don’t snort it!

I spent some time today looking through pictures from my year in the Escapist Mentorship Program, as I wrote this email to my collectors telling them about how it’s changed my life and asking them to please consider buying tickets to the 2020 Gala.

Look at this cute picture I found of me and Bobby in February 2018! I think it’s our first picture together!

Study of Blue

Today I worked on this very special bluebonnet commission for a new collector. I also finished another important commission, this watercolor of all things Louisiana.

I really love how it turned out!

Something else exciting: The website for the 2020 Art Launch Gala is live! The gala will be a virtual one this year, so wherever you are in the world, please consider buying tickets and participating. If y’all have followed this blog for a while, you know how much Art Launch and the Escapist Mentorship Program mean to me and how instrumental they were to my success as an artist. If you’re new to the blog, Art Launch in a nonprofit whose mission is to forever destroy the stereotype of the struggling artist. For over a decade they have helped artists learn crucial business skills through the Escapist Mentorship Program. All of the proceeds from ticket sales for the virtual Art Launch Gala go to funding this wonderful program and helping artists such as myself.

Timeless Elegance

Yesterday’s inspiration continued today. I got to have some very good interactions with some of my favorite glamorous ladies (you know who you are!), including even a masked walk with one of them. And yes, of course, the mask itself can be worn with flair and style. At some point we talked about Jackie O, so I felt inspired to paint her. I’ve always been in awe of her timeless elegance.

The day continued to be great. I’m literally 3 book sales away from raising $300 for the Houston SPCA, and actually, wait… Someone bought a book today so that means only 2 books to go! Click on Horse Money if you’d like to learn more.

I also had quite a wonderful and empowering adventure in my journey as an entrepreneur: I finally managed to upload enough works into my online store to make it interesting and fun. I really had been meaning to do this forever… Today it was finally presentable (though there are so many works I still want to upload) and some of my favorite people bought some of my favorite things!

Case in point, this sweet little watercolor featured on one of my favorite blog posts from way back when I was trying to rescue my Chanel Paseo de Gracia painting out of a consignment store in Barcelona. I love remembering all that, and I love that painting!

Also, I wore a red dress for my online show because sometimes you just have to.

So Much Fun!

Today was a day full of serendipity and fun. From a chance encounter at breakfast this morning between my mentor and my new friend and collector who owns a lot of my art, to the nice walk I took with my friend (with masks on, of course!), to this Louisiana commission I’m working on for a very special collector, the day was already shaping up to be magical, but then my friends texted to ask if I would join them for open studios at Sawyer Yards. We put our masks on and went. It was definitely my first time in a place with so many people, but everyone wore masks and was respectful of distancing, and seeing the studios again and some of the artists I know and love was such a treat! I miss having fun and bubbly interactions with people. I miss going out and seeing art and soaking up inspiration. The event showed me that with a large enough venue, with masks and ventilation, this can be done safely. I even encountered a friend who wanted to buy one of my books, and was able to sell it to him on the spot!

Frankly, the day reminded me of why I am in Houston, of the art scene I love so much, and all the fun connections and interactions that can happen here. It’s easy to forget after more than six months in isolation that this city has so much to offer.

Also, what do y’all think of this look for the cover of Glory Days?

Reflection of a Dog

There’s a picture I took during a sunset walk on the Island in which a black and white dog casts a really cool reflection in the wet sand. Sometimes when the whole world seems out of whack it’s good to focus on things like that. Today I painted that dog, and that was fun and relaxing.

I also looked through my large rolled-up paintings trying to find a cool auction item. I came across Smoking Girl #2 from 2019. Isn’t she fabulous? And by the way, she’s still available, so let me know if you’re tempted.

I also played with a new idea for the cover of The Glory Days of Aimée Bonnard. I’m making progress with the editing and thinking that maybe I will be able to release the new book in December. Thus 2020 would be the year in which I release two books. I’m also thinking of doing something else new this time around: I’ve learned from the Fabulous MoNique LeRoux how to set up a Kickstarter campaign, and will set one up for the new book. Not only do books cost so much to edit, publish, and promote, but it would be fun to get some buzz going for this project. And it would be fun to learn how to use Kickstarter so I can maybe come up with larger more ambitious projects later on.

Let me know what y’all think of this cover idea. I will still tinker with it, and might come up with something different in the end, but I definitely need a cover image before I set up the Kickstarter.

Always Look for Horses

There are old horse posts all over the historic district in Galveston, and there was this particularly beautiful one close to the house we rented.

The dog and I went home today, and we left a little gift behind for the owners of the house. Can you guess what?

We already miss the whistling birds and the salt air, and our friend bicycling to our house, our other friends there to visit from across the porch. It was, of course, good to see Matilda and she was happy to see us too. But Houston feels big and loud and after two days of Island peace, a bit nonsensical. But perhaps we’re just tired? At some point while I was drawing downstairs, the dog was snoring so loudly in her bed upstairs that I had to go check and make sure that’s what I was hearing. Surely if a small dog can sleep so hard, the human needs some rest as well.

Full Moon on the Island

This year September has two full moons – can there be more of a symbol of things coming full circle, of endings and new beginnings? It was a good day to spend on the Island, awakened by salt air and whistling grackles. It was a good day to walk on the beach twice, absorbing the healing energy of all those tiny crystals, a good day to let the dog swim in the ship channel chasing egrets, a good day too to visit Betty’s house where Josephine’s window is broken and clumsily boarded up, and finally a good day to sit on the porch at night eating chocolate cake with my friend and see a coyote run diagonally across the park and cut through the intersection towards downtown. We also found a labyrinth on the beach and tried to walk it but couldn’t find the way. Could this day possibly have held more symbols?

Salt Air Retreat

Dogs love traveling as much as humans do, at least my dog does. So when we checked into a beautiful Victorian AirBnb on Galveston Island, Holly was extremely excited. It’s lovely to be here, and the house is a dream. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Just know that I had to play around a bit on Canva to see what my paintings would look like in here. I think Storm Survivor would fit the color pattern perfectly.