Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ciao Bella

I am writing a book and it is difficult, exhilarating, frustrating, enlightening and the thing I can not not do so therefore I plug along, even when I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about it, shaping it and knowing it's the right next pebble in my path. What I'm most passionate about sharing this exact moment, is that everyone, EVERY ONE, is an artist, creator, maker and not everyone needs to manufacturer their hobby to be considered a success, but whatever the Thing is, the gnawing, niggling, itch you must scratch no matter what, that is the thing you must follow no matter what. That is where the joy lies. It has been my experience that the overwhelm in too big of a project is enough to put it on ice for…a decade? You laugh, but I know what the unused art supplies look like…I have that closet no guests are allowed to look at. Bottom line, you must do one tiny thing at a time.

Which is why I'm writing about it, doing something about it, addressing it. How do you do it? How do you plug your socket into joy? How do you paint one corner of a canvas when your art looks like a ransom note but your heart wants it to look like Matisse? How do you write an entire book when you can barely write one blog post? You practice. I practice. When I first started painting with my mentor-friend-human being extraordinaire, she casually mentioned that one needs to paint for three years before they know what kind of painter they are. Um…? Three years? I was hoping for three weeks. I listened to that comment, did not want it to be true, filed it away in the mmmm-hmmmm, we'll see about that box, and painted away like a fool. Guess what? She's right. Three years later, I'm here to report that I have made improvements, I did not graduate to become the kind of painter who shows in fine art galleries, but I have developed a style unique to me and an aesthetic that is my own voice and sell quite a few paintings. I have miles and miles and highways ahead of me to practice and develop but she was right in that it requires practice. And practice is code for mistakes. Ugly. Ugh. What's the point. Really? What was I thinking? And then, occasionally, the sweet, oh, I didn't expect that. Wow. Fun. Really? I'm glad I didn't over-think that.

Progress not perfection. Ciao Bella. xo

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Reigns Supreme (Court)

I'm not very political. I'm an American resident and Canadian citizen. I can't vote. I lean liberal on all topics but rarely know all the details, mostly I'm just anti-intolerant people, especially on all social issues. Having said that, today made me so proud to live in the United States and to witness many friends absolute joy who are directly affected by the historic Supreme Court ruling today. This is 2015. It is time. And I'm grateful, in awe and blown away by, what appears to be, an outpouring of love and acceptance. xo

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fancy Lady

Per yesterday's post, this painting could have been called "Oops, I Did it Again" but I'm calling her "Fancy Lady" instead. Born from some crevice in the brain, created through joy and a love of color and  playing dress up in my mind and in real life, I think I've discovered something that plugs in my creative socket for no reason at all and that is the best kind of reason. It's been suggested to me to do a small series: blonde, brunette, redhead and beyond. We'll see. I'm feeling it. And having fun and feeling fancy even though as I write this there is a unicorn pony tail on my head, no make up, a grey t-shirt the gap might have made in it's first year in business and not a strand of pearls in sight. But I feel fancy! xoxo

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fur Collar

Today's topic is brought to you by Rejection & Fear, two of those sneaky bustards that rear it's head in every artists life. Not what you thought when you saw that sexy blonde, right? Well, it's true.

Most creatives I know, myself included, have a repertoire of their things, their icons, their repeat images that they have doodles, sketched, painted in every notebook, text book, daytime, receipt or scrap of paper they own. One of mine is faces, portraits, woman's figures & fashion. They are random and prolific, adorning literally every corner and edge of all my sketchbooks. They rarely turn into anything, they are doodles, after all. But they are prevalent and go back, um, decades now. Why it hasn't occurred to me earlier to bring some of these ladies-faces-figures to life, I'm not sure, but they've stayed within the confines of notebook pages. The few attempts I have made painting them have not translated the way I had intended. (Insert entire chapter, BOOK, on what you want to be on the canvas rarely shows up.) So what happened what this. I found an artist, one of a zillion I admire, but this one particular, that resonated with me. Our styles are different but there was something in the way he captured quirky feminine elegance that captivated me and alerted my internal This Is My Next Thing radar system. So I tried it. In private. No one watching. No class or workshop. Just me and my cat and NPR and what happened was pretty cool. She told me who she was. For real. I outlined this painting, knew it was a version of my fancy parlor series, but Blondie here, appeared in her zebra-leopard print-red skirt-white shirt glory, and might have even said, don't forget my sunglasses. I have lunch with Anna Wintour at 1. (Okay, I made that last part up, but seriously, she spoke to me.)

Is this a new direction? Maybe. Maybe not. Is this painting how I wanted it to turn out? Nope. The big part in this is that I let myself do it. I picked a big canvas, a "good" one, the equivalent of writing in an italian journal, the one you're "saving". And then, just when I was about to high five the sky, the aforementioned rejection and fear, rang the doorbell. Avon calling. Turns out this piece is not quite right for the boutique I normally send my pieces to, they're going to pass. Rejection!!!! Fear!!!! Fear of rejection!!!! Okay, I got that out of my system.

This is the deal. She's not a fit for their store and that's ok. If this was a manuscript I'd be sending it out to 20, 30, 100? publishers before any feedback, let alone a yes. There is something about producing something that is different or fragile or raw that makes us feel protective of that thing. But I can't grow and produce more painted ladies if I stay stuck on validation or approval. I'd never paint or draw or write again if I was worried about it being good enough. Good enough compared to what? That's my lesson for the week. It's ok to put something out in the world and have it not accepted. Or not accepted the way you anticipated. This is a lesson that seems to mushroom up a few times a year so I'm not sure I'm done with this rascally rabbit but each time it shifts something in me that feels closer to ok.

p.s. She's hanging on my entryway hall.

"Fur Collar" 22x28"

Sunday, June 14, 2015


When I was in grade seven, a kid in my class, the other aspiring writer-poet-artist-good speller, Travis O'Brien, announced that his two favorite words were geranium and linoleum. This is apropos to absolutely nothing other than that memory hit me like the brick pot this is planted in when I wrote the blog title. Geranium. He said it with such confidence, as if he had been mulling over this favorite word idea for weeks. Linoleum. It does have a nice ring. He also had a shout out for the word onomatopoeia. Show off.

I am writing more these days, a little blog, a little personal, and the more I write, the more these random perfect memories pop into my head, the perfect nothing-ness they used to be but when recalled, are little patchwork pieces that make our quilt. Personal lesson of the day, writing begets more writing, painting creates more painting, practice makes…imperfectly perfect?

"Geraniums" 8x10" available at ElizabethW Carmel-by-the-Sea (email: kelly@elizabetbw.com)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


There are days when my I can't believe how good my job is. Or I should say, how brave blind unknowing naive excited scared I was to jump off the self-employed ledge and say, Whhheeeeeeeeeeeee and realize that today, one more day, the parachute did indeed open. The landing is messy and I'm not winning any awards for dismount, but when my dear friends have a new baby and they want to commission a piece for the baby's room, I say, push me out of that plane, I'm jumping!

And that is why I love my job today. Because I can create something meaningful and long-lasting for people, in this case, friends, that has nostalgia and sweetness that they will look at every day. Art was important to me as a child. I had lots of it on my walls. Weird stuff. Cool stuff. Things my parents had probably bought at garage sales or church bazaars. Pieces that meaning and I knew they had meaning, even then. Maybe not monetary value, but significant in their stories they held. The remember when we bought that from a store in Toronto the time Nana Kay was visiting?

I'm going to visit these friends next month to meet this little baby, adorable new munchkin and can not wait to sit in her room and be part of her history in the making. xo

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Chanel No. 5

Classics are always, well, classic. There's something so lovably sweet and chic about old perfume bottles, especially this one, the icon of all parfumeries. This makes me especially happy because it sold to a friend who has a nostalgic connection with her mother and Chanel No.5. When I create something that offers that kind of heartfelt pull, quirky burst of color and sweet sentimentality for a customer, I know I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. xo