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One of my friends and collectors who reads this blog each day (yes, there are such people, and I treasure them!) congratulated me on my consolidation. I loved that word! It’s so perfect! Though, of course, nothing is simple, not even being consolidated. Because I feel that now that I finally have everything in one place, I need to somehow reformat myself. I spent a lot of time puttering around the gallery, rearranging paintings, finding the perfect spot for them. I was, among other things, procrastinating, as today was the day I took Holly to boarding. I already miss her so! Of course, spending the afternoon and evening with my friend in Galveston after dropping her off, and a long walk on the beach helped a lot. Still. I feel slightly less consolidated than I did this morning, because an essential part of me is missing.

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Seven Year Cycle

“Doesn’t it feel good to know all your stuff is here?” John asked as he brought my easel through the front door. He was there because I can’t carry the easel, but also because moving out of Sabine Street was a momentous occasion and I wanted him to be part of it. Also, he has a talent for organizing things in the gallery and so he told me exactly where the easel should go, then carried one of my work tables upstairs, where with its legs snapped to the shortest position it now functions as a much needed coffee table.

And so today I turned in my keys to my Sabine Street studio. This marks the end of a long period of time – seven years in fact! – when I had two places to live and sometimes a rented art studio as well. It started with renting an apartment in Galveston to spend weekends in, when my life in Beaumont was closing in on itself and causing me both loneliness and claustrophobia. What followed were several apartments, first on the Island, then in Houston, then later in Beaumont once I sold my house (5 apartments total), and three different art studios. The maximum quota of dwellings was reached in the fall of 2017 when I had the house in Beaumont (which was on the market), an apartment in Beaumont (because the noisy neighbors made it impossible for me to stay in the house), an apartment in Houston, and my studio at Hardy and Nance. Though there was a time too when I had two apartments and two art studios… All in all, it has been very interesting but exhausting, and I really look forward to a simpler life.

I started reading up on renewal today, and how some think that life progresses in seven year cycles. I like that idea, and if that’s true, my seven years of having several homes/art studios were all about searching for who and where I want to be, and trying to change. I feel like I have undergone quite the transformation.

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Yoga Saves the Day

Today Puppy and I came back home. It was a sunny beautiful day to drive and we saw patches of wildflowers on the side of the road, the most colorful of which I couldn’t stop to photograph. I bought a fresh poppyseed kolache at a bakery in a gas station in Sealy. The gas station was dominated by a large taxidermy bear and also contained a huge fish tank. I learned that certain South American catfish look a lot like sturgeons – except for the face. It was all a bit surreal, surreal enough for me to be revisited by all sorts of nostalgia, ghosts from a time when I did the same drive under very different circumstances, and gave myself permission somewhere outside La Grange to be very free and perhaps a little reckless – hey, you only live once! Today, though, my adventurousness was limited to a poppy seed kolache. That and a long nap once I got to Houston. I was still feeling tired when I got to yoga this evening though. Tired and all kinds of sad. But yoga helped. The teacher told me I just needed a good stretch, and so I did. Afterwards, I felt lighter. I was in a happy, bubbly mood when I met two lovely collectors for the very last visit to my Sabine Street studio. I was still in a good mood later when I filled my car with paintings to take home. The moving process is underway. Tomorrow John will help me move my easel. I’m starting to feel good about the transition, though. Actually, right now, I feel good about everything. Yoga really did save the day.

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What Have We Learned about Bluebonnets?

This morning we awoke in Bandera to roosters crowing. We took a long, leisurely walk, found a taco place for breakfast, purchased a vintage belt buckle, visited the old Catholic church, then finally got on our way to look for the ever elusive bluebonnets. We found some, though never a whole field like I’d hoped. In fact, we learned that the lushest bluebonnets tend to grow on the side of highways. Which is a nice thing, because it means seeds were purposefully planted there, and a world in which people make an effort to grow wildflowers is a good world for bees, butterflies, and people alike. We also learned that bluebonnets have quite a lovely scent. In the end, once we returned to Austin we found the best bluebonnet photo ops at the Wildflower Center. But we felt richer in experience and adventures for having taken the road trip. And as I sit here next to a very tired dog, I can only conclude that a little country air has done all of us a lot of good.

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Cowboy Capital of the World

Tonight we’re spending the night in Bandera, a town that claims to be the Cowboy Capital of the World. Our day was full of adventures. We didn’t really see that many bluebonnets, but it was fun to stop in Luckenbach and listen to live music. That was probably the highlight of my day. Also note that it’s most fun to visit Luckenbach wearing a spectacular green dress, and bringing a Boston Terrier on a leash. Even the musicians remarked on our appearance.

Somewhere between Luckenbach and Bandera I got to see a huge buffalo. It really was not friendly, but luckily it was behind a fence. In Bandera we saw a whole bunch of deer. We also got to visit a bar where Hank Williams Senior had carved his name on a table, which was pretty impressive, but sadly there was no live music, neither were there cowboys in attendance. Still, all in all, it’s been quite an interesting and eventful day.

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Off on a Bluebonnet Adventure

Today Holly and I drove to Austin. With the wildflowers in bloom, and the trees coming back to life, it was such an amazingly beautiful drive. There were patches of blue, orange, and yellow so intense blooming just off the side of the interstate I would have stopped if I could. Though tomorrow we are truly going into solid bluebonnet territory so I figured I’d take my best shots then.

Here in Austin I got to meet my friend’s bird. Her name is Duende and she’s a Pineapple Green Cheek Conure. Holly the monster had to be kept away from Duende’s room, though she was very intrigued by all the whistling. We made it up to her with two solid walks.

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Revisiting the Smoking Girl

Today I got to visit the home of the friend and collector who bought Smoking Girl. This was so awesome! I love love love seeing my art in people’s homes. It’s the best feeling ever!

Also, I got to see some pieces by John and some other artists I love, and I got to meet two precious dogs – one very friendly, one very skittish.

Earlier in the day I spent some time in my Sabine Street studio showing two friends who just got engaged the art that’s still in there, including a very big colorful piece displayed on the wall. In less than a week I’ll be out of that space completely, and while I will miss its beautiful white walls and its light, I will not miss the drive and moving things around from place to place. Even today I felt like it was silly to have to drive twenty minutes to meet friends I could have easily entertained here at the gallery, when I could have spent those twenty minutes with my dog.

I really wish I could take my dog to Paris. I’m gonna miss her so!

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Holly Got a Bath

One of my proudest achievements in life is teaching my dog to not entirely hate baths anymore. Anyway, this was a success. We are planning a trip to Austin and a road trip with my friend who lives there to see the bluebonnets. We will be riding in her brand new Prius, so I thought a bath was in order. I don’t really have much else to report. But surely a dog bath is a meaningful enough achievement for a sunny Friday in spring?

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I’m not quite where I want to be in terms of painting hands, but I feel like I’m getting better. This is another Instagram-inspired painting. I picked the image because it’s so delicate.

The weather continued to be nice – actually absolutely gorgeous – today and as I set about doing mundane but important tasks, such as cooking very healthy food, bits and pieces of good news trickled in. I feel like my art business is starting to resemble a live organism, something lovely, like the jade plants I keep propagating because they’re supposed to bring luck and money, but also because I love them, and they’re so easy to grow. It all started with two jade plants I found in my house in Beaumont when I bought it. Now I have more than ten and they are lush and beautiful.

In the evening I went to John and Ryan’s for their monthly Relax event, and it was very good to see them and some of the friends, collectors, and Escapists who frequent these gatherings.

I didn’t get to write today, but I did get some time to enjoy reading this afternoon. I’m reading the most remarkable book: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. If you haven’t read it, I totally recommend it!

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How to Look at Things

Today I ended up thinking about Betty a lot. I decided she needed something – something to make her special but also to underscore her loneliness. Because Betty is very lonely, and it’s one of the things that make her compelling and relatable. She doesn’t fully belong in the world she’s been cast in. So I decided that Betty needs to have her own unobtrusive way to escape. I decided to give her a superpower of sorts, and it lies in her talent for being especially observant, for looking at things in a way that helps her truly see them. Her mental escape from a life that’s dull and oppressive are the details she notices about even the most mundane objects. The way the light falls on a glass of ice tea, the way the droplets of condensation on the glass each contain a sparkle and a patch of darkness. Betty perceives the world the way an artist would, truly paying attention, noticing things. She’s not able to translate this talent into creating anything she likes, and it frustrates her. But still, her inner world is rich with the complex visuals of experiences most people gloss over. She can find comfort in fine-tuning her observation of everything that surrounds her, and it helps her achieve a blissful state of solitude even when she’s surrounded by other people – especially those whose company she doesn’t enjoy. It’s like having a secret playroom to withdraw to.

Also, the bottlebrush trees are in full bloom and today was a legitimately warm day. I discovered a car wash in Montrose where they have swings outside for people to use while waiting for their vehicles. There was also a beautiful white cat inside.