Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Orange Vespa


Orange Vespas and imaginary flower-vined walls on a possibly European cobblestoned road makes me feel good.  I've been painting a lot recently and it also feels good. And the reason for more painting? Deadlines. The miracle workers of creativity. At least for me. I thrive under a wee bit of pressure. Just a little bit, too much and it's overwhelm and chaos and I'll never get it done hand on forehead melodrama. Not enough, days go by like the calendar in a black and white movie, pages flying through the air marking the passing of seasons. But if I can get it just right, said Goldilocks, things-life-art feel pretty darn good. Deadlines for an artist/writer/producer of anything-er, I believe, CRITICAL.Yes, all caps important. Take for example, my book. There is no deadline. So where is it? Nowhere! All patched together in pieces of blogs, essays, saved files, scraps of papers, drawings, and lists. And my card company? There are customers who place orders with a ship date which is a deadline so I pack it and get it out the door on time because….you get it. Paintings, same thing. I have two customers in California who sell my work in their store and guess what, they need it by a certain date. So I produce and paint based on their….DEADLINE!!! Oh, the simplicity of it. I know this, we know this, it's the clean house before the guests come over syndrome. Oh, this shiny counter? It's always like this! Same for our art. Oh, this finished product? I'm always working on something in my spare time while sipping tea and flipping through art books. Not. I create and paint because I love it. But I finish it because that's the home stretch and get it done deal we make as full-time artists and creative entrepreneurs. Thank you, almighty deadlines. As much as I curse you and fret and 11th hour you, deep down, me and my orange vespa brigade thank you. xo

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Still Life


Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things. And Daniel Smith paint. And recycled Laduree tea canisters. And well used paint brushes. And single stem flowers in vintage blue bottles. And. And. I could go on but that is today's still life. Life that is still. This was an impromptu photo I took last week of a few gems in front of me. It was one of those happy surprises where I realized that my work station had become a miniature still life and maybe that was the painting, the moment to capture, not the elusive image I was searching for on Pinterest. And it was. I painted it twice and today, maybe thrice. My best most heartfelt pieces come when I feel a personal connection to my subject. My heart does a little dance and giggle (my heart giggles!) when I remember my visit to Laduree in Paris, a complete and total meltdown of joy paralysis and the definition of losing one's cool. And here it is, years later, making a ballet pink cameo with it's buddies Paint Brushes and Daniel Smith Acrylics. Painting is a snapshot of life for me. When I started painting and turning paintings into greeting cards, I subtitled it (because not so secretly I want to write a book and books have subtitles so why not companies…??) "An Illustrated Life" because that's what my images capture. A patchwork snippet of life, the simple and joyful sweet spots. Merci, bonjour, and ladureee to the croque monsieur. C'est la vie. Still. xo

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same, 

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back. 

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bonjour


I'm searching for a topic theme ain't life grand moral of the story fall down pick yourself back up kind of pithy nugget to write about but I look up at my screen and see a cat wearing a beret and red striped sweater. With a heart Oh, and rain boots…because my french bakery cat might puddle jump later? Moral of the story is this. I got nothing today and sometimes that's how I roll. Still showing up, going to the studio to paint today, blogging, packing an order, doing all those one foot in front of the other type Wednesday type things. Today, I have "Bonjour." xo

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Explorer


It's raining today. Or promising to. Or it just has. But it's definitely gloomy and dark and misty and foggy and I love it. It's an inside kind of day where there is no guilt that maybe only an artist or writer feels when they are not playing in the park or running 50 miles or hiking a hill or whatever those athletic fresh faced people do when the sun is out and spring has sprung. Today I paint and write and it's an inside job and I'm all the way on board. And like a universal cherry on top, it's a Sunday, the permission slip of all permission slips to lounge between easel, lap top and kitchen (snacking tea making cat patting a critical juncture of aforementioned activities.) Today I explore. In Hunters boots and puddles other people are jumping in and that's ok with me. I'll explore from my imagination and memory and see what kind of adventure I can get myself into. Happy Sunday. xo

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I❤️SF (the sequel)


This is yesterday's companion piece to I❤️SF. I used to have some resistance to painting the same subject multiple times, as if each painting had to be original thoughts, a fresh idea, ripped from the headlines, Never Before Seen! And then I realized that is total crap and every artist repeats themselves and not only is it normal but it is good and necessary to find your voice. What a relief. I love looking at artist's portfolios either on their websites or books or Pinterest and see, with a nod of recognition, that we all repeat our stories. It's our language of expression, our own personal dictionary of icons. Mine happens to be fancy parlors, chairs, bikes, sailboats, chandeliers, typewriters, eclectic vintage finds, quirky animals and words and quotes. And color! I love my dictionary. It feels like going home when I'm not sure how to express myself. It's a safe and comforting place to revisit if I need to reconnect.

With that in mind, this red bike will most likely be joined by it's sister fleet in the days to come. And if could add an audio to this post, it would be the chime of me ringing my beach cruiser bell. xo

Friday, March 20, 2015

I❤️SF


I❤️SF. It's true, I do. I lived there and in it's lovely sister, Marin County for many years. But what I love maybe even more is that here I am living in southern Oregon, a different kind of lovely, a lifestyle lovely, and I am drawing on memories, instincts and a knowing from my internal scrapbook for these new paintings that will celebrate San Francisco and I don't feel a longing to live there, but a sweetness that all the bread crumbs in life really do lead you home. 

My friends are opening a new gift store, a third location for EizabethW, at SFO, Terminal 2, opening April 1st and that ain't no April Fools joke! Although life is funny. The entire time I lived there I doubt I painted one single Golden Gate Bridge, rarely rode a trolley and, full disclosure, baseball is not my thing. (True story: I once brought a book to a game. And read it.) But that's the way of life in any iconic city, you rarely celebrate the tourist attractions but they absorb into your skin, become the backdrop for your daily life. 

So today I paint pink bikes and billboards with San Francisco ephemera and think about the hundreds of times I crossed the bridge in the morning with my Buckeye Roadhouse drive-thru coffee in the console, gauging the day by the way the fog came in, how many boats were in the bay, how hard the rain was coming down and always, even on the best days, there was a little piece of me that thought, wouldn't it be lovely to be at home, painting writing cooking creating, owning a business, writing a book, living a more simple, less stressful life. Maybe one day. 

Little did I know…xo


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Carpe Diem


I'm back from a little writing painting creating hiatus. Mostly the break was from writing, blogging, book writing and I find it so curious (aka, annoying) that the very thing I must do, that calls me, that screams my name is the very thing I avoid.

Painting. Yes, love it, occasionally drag my heels, procrastinate, find projects that satellite the actual art making like running a small greeting card company that reminds me of painting but eventually…eventually I always come back, I show up and sit down or stand up but find that place to create. Somehow I have incorporated an internal habit that will bring me back. Not always quickly but my compass knows where home is.

Writing. Why can't writing be the same way? The not so quite voice in my head just yelled at me, actually yelled, PRACTICE!!! Because I haven't practiced that showing up muscle the same way I have in painting. Inteeeerrreeesting, I say, as I stroke my imaginary academic beard. It's true. I paint a lot. I paint things I love that are sold to wonderful clients but I also paint things that turn out so atrocious I literally wince when I pull them out of the blank canvas pile to reuse. I paint commissions, fancy parlors, dogs, cats, beloved VW bugs, sweet treats and sailboats. I often paint them again. And again. That is what I was taught. Do it over and over and eventually you will find your voice. My very wise painting teacher and mentor told me it takes three years to become a painter and to find your voice. And that three years is assuming you're doing your art all 36 of those months! My interpretation was, oh great, I'll just go hang out for three years, come back and won't that be fantastic that now I'm a painter/writer/calligrapher/chef….insert your own creative passion pursuit. Nope. I got to do the ugly stuff. Put the miles in.

So practice, my voice says. Hmph. You taught yourself to go back to the canvas and that's working out ok for you. You didn't die of embarrassment showing your work in the world. (Ok, once or twice I might have actually had a pre-heart attack of anxiety, shame, panic or humiliation. But that's another blog post.) Practice. Today, in the spirit of practicing, I have set my iPhone timer for a whopping 15 minutes! That's right. Fifteen minutes, per suggestion of Sam Bennett's very wise book. As I write that, I recognize how tiny that increment of time is and how for the love of god shouldn't I be able to show up for that and yes, I did. (The beeper just went off.) I seem to have plenty of time for the rest of my life and it's varied commitments. Today, just for today, I showed up for one of my creative passions that keeps tapping me on the shoulder. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful that the habit of painting has informed the habit of writing that I am hopeful that I can remember this feeling, this itty bitty time frame that really isn't scary at all, has shaped my day in such a nurturing positive way I might even head over to the canvas to practice and stretch a few more of those muscles. xo