Horse-Drawn Streetcar

Today during Facebook Live I painted this horse-drawn streetcar. The picture I used for inspiration was taken in Bucharest sometime around 1900, but Galveston, too, used to have horse-drawn streetcars. As my new novel progresses, I find myself thinking about Galveston circa 1900 often. Today I spent a considerable amount of time daydreaming about what I’d like to happen to the characters I’m currently imagining.

Also, I’m getting ready for Storms of Malhado to go on tour with Lone Star Literary. I’m so excited! I will let y’all know the tour stops in a few days so you can follow along. For now, if you’ve been meaning to post a review, please do. I’d like for the book to have as many reviews as possible as it meets its new readers on the blog tour.

Fast and Fun

Today I was preparing for a gallery visit, so instead of a more elaborate painting, I had to draw something fast and fun. I chose a horse because I’m obsessed with horses. Also I have a little model horse on my drawing table. I bought it back when I wanted to make a life size horse sculpture. Remember that? It now seems like a whole lifetime ago. And perhaps I’ll get back to that idea one day when things are more normal and I am in a different mood. For now I’m grateful to be writing and painting every day.

Salt Air and Sunshine

“You can’t write books about Galveston if you don’t live here,” Ronnie said laughing as I was enjoying my fish soup. The fish soup tasted like Maceo’s and we were sitting outside where the Island breeze made sure we were properly sanitized and the sun replenished our Vitamin D. Though I think the fish soup alone probably was as strong a virus-fighting potion as any.

“Well, if I sell lots of books in Galveston, I might just have to move back,” I said. I was so happy I came down. The Island, with its usual tranquility and relaxed vibe was a great antidote to the general anxiety of the world right now.

I’d brought Ronnie a face shield. Ronnie ain’t gonna wear no face shield, but it was nice giving it to him, as a symbol of my wish for him to be protected. I also did a little magic thing and coated him in white light. But what with the sunshine and salt air and his mastery of spices, Ronnie probably doesn’t need that either. Still, it can’t hurt. And he said he’ll let the cashier have the face shield. Although he did have plexiglass installed for her.

It’s weird out there, but perhaps more normal than most places on the Island. The only truly disconcerting thing were the doors of the Tremont House, my favorite hotel, locked with a chain. I sure hope they reopen.

Other than that, my friend and I walked around and saw lots of positive signs of life. Restaurants with tables outside, many pelicans flying above, and Mary Star of the Sea in the church parking lot all beautifully restored, her golden crown shining, ready to go back up on her perch on top of the Basilica and protect the Island.

Also, I really really love my car. I had forgotten how fun it is to drive fast with loud music. I feel like I have all these powerful horses and I’d forgotten to take them out of their stable for a while.

Cava

Today Instacart brought me cava, white wine, and tempranillo, some of the favorite beverages of my VIPs, which I needed to stock up on in order to proceed with socially distant gallery visits. Instacart shoppers are the sweetest young people and I enjoy the interactions I have with them through the app. Today’s shopper and I talked about cava, and she was able to find me a good one, Perelada, which is really nice. I decided to paint it on Facebook Live, and this little act of magic summoned one of my friends from Barcelona, whom I’ve drank many a bottles of cava with, to log in and watch. I had a really nice constellation of people watching, and it made me happy.

Tomorrow I’m thinking of driving to Galveston to see the blooming cemetery and breathe some salty air.

Ryan on the Coffee Plantation

Idea: Maybe I need to do a series of people on horses. Or maybe I only paint my mentors on horseback. But when Ryan posted a picture of himself riding a horse on a coffee plantation in Colombia, as a response to my portrait of John on horseback, I knew I couldn’t resist! I was very nervous because this is my very first time painting Ryan. Portraits are tough, and not only is Ryan very very handsome – with quite an impressive Instagram account too – but also he doesn’t cover his face with sunglasses like John does. Sunglasses make portraits so much easier… Anyway, for a first try I’m happy, and it was fun to do this over Facebook Live.

What else is new? I’m seriously thinking about a sequel to Miss Vulpe, and also possibly a new cover.

John and Little Joe

“Are you sitting down?” John asked. “I’m about to send you this picture you’re not going to believe.”

“Is it a carousel horse?” I asked. “Is it a celebrity? It it an English Pointer?” It turns out it was him riding a beautiful white horse called Little Joe. Of course I had to paint it during Facebook Live today. A bunch of our mutual friends watched and it was a lot of fun. We are currently considering building a statue on Heights Boulevard.

Also, I published the deleted scene from Storms of Malhado. I think it’s a good teaser or a good supplement for the book, depending on who reads it. I decided to call it Waiting for the Storm, and for the cover image I chose my very first abstract painting. That painting was such a struggle, and thus it’s well suited to illustrate the growing pains of the artist in the book.

Special Light

Today I painted this watercolor inspired by @andraandreescu on Instagram, and Holly wrote a Mother’s Day poem about how I am not her mother. I’m so proud of her many talents!

She’s Not My Mother

 

I am an elderly dog

With a young disposition.

I’m pretty sure I’m an orphan

Though I really don’t care.

The human I watch over

Bristles slightly,

Her feminisms all

Standing alert

Like the quills of a porcupine

When people wish her

Happy Mother’s Day

For being a dog mom.

How can she be my mom

When I am old and wizened

And she still has

Edges so sharp?

How can she be a mother

When she never wanted

Her identity entangled

With a bundle of joy?

She always thought pregnant bellies

Were cute

Under polka dotted dresses

But babies she finds boring

And children too loud

And messy.

She doesn’t mind it though

That I occasionally

Eat poop.

She googled it

And learned

That dog mamas sometimes

Teach their babies to do so.

She likes imagining my mother.

My mother was a dog.

Deleted Scene

Since yesterday I painted Nancy, I felt like I had to set things right by painting Holly today. The scene is a selfie I took of the two of us reflected in a glass door as we took one of our socially distant walks. I especially like Holly’s pose.

Other than that, the day would have been just a normal one, had I not come across an unexpected revelation. There is a scene in Storms of Malhado that never made it past the fifth draft. I’m not sure I really had the intention to delete it, but it got lost somehow. It’s a good scene but probably not necessary – after all I went through five subsequent drafts and the slow meticulous processing of comments from my editor without realizing it was gone. Still, it holds a certain appeal, so I decided to send it to my VIP readers as a special treat. If you want to get it yourself, join my Mother’s Day campaign and I’ll send it to you too! All I need is the email of someone you love whom you’d like me to send a free ebook to!

I Miss Nancy

Today over Facebook Live I painted Nancy because I miss her so! John watched me paint her live and bought the painting – which was very exciting.

I was pretty hungover after my margaritas extravaganza last night. I kept having flashbacks of my early twenties when hangovers were pretty frequent. “Your hangover is like an old friend you forgot you don’t like,” my friend from grad school texted when I told her about the experience.

Anyway, I’m feeling better now and it’s almost time to go to bed, which is a good thing. I miss Nancy.