Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pink Layer Cake


This blog post brought to you by time passing very quickly, a new website being built, many workshops, a social media and marketing overhaul, travel, and truth time, the fear and inability to log into  and navigate my new website on my own and forgetting my blogger password. Yup. Sometimes it's something that little to derail several months of momentum. I've been BUSY. Not so busy I couldn't take a deep breath and ask for help or god forbid reset google. But busy nonetheless. Since last post, I've rekindled my love of all things patisserie and cake like. Taught a painting and pie and oh my workshop. Fallen in love with doing sea and sky series. Traveled for said sea and sky series for a show. Taught another workshop. Painted more cakes. More ocean. More sky. More pie. And this past two weeks? I've been in Carmel and San Francisco, working and playing, reconnecting with my customers and clients and thrilled to report that I'm so excited to be get back to work! Can't wait to paint tomorrow. Found the gumption to reset a silly password. Made the call. Sent the email. Mailed the check. Crossed "Procrastinate" off the list today. Celebrating with cake. Literal and figurative. xo

"Pink Layer Cake" 8x10" SOLD

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dahlia in a jar


Hello Dahlin. What's up in the world of art painting running a small business? On today's menu, we have Website Redesign! I hear you, collective groan all around from those who have done it, are doing, are resisting doing it. There have been some bumps, nothing unsolvable but artist types aren't exactly jumping out of bed to talk Wordpress and SEOs and themes. So I paint little things in between, little pieces like a postcard painting of a dahlia in a jar, just to keep the creative engine running.

The other side of website redesign is that I am excited to have a digital overhaul. It's overdue and needed and pushing me out of some comfort zones and that is good.  Back to the easel, back to the content writing, back to the future. xo

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Breaking Surface by Mark Nepo


A lovely friend shared this poem with me today. I like Mark Nepo a lot but had never heard this before. In the spirit of keep on keeping on at our art and craft and whatever it is that is calling us.

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won't let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can't be done.
Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.
You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.

Mark Nepo, "Breaking Surface"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Poets & Painters (& Pie!)

Family! Friends! Friends that are like family! Anna Elkins and I are offering a fun, no experience needed writing and painting workshop at the charming Pennington Farms in the Applegate. The environment is inspiring, the pie is delicious and the writing and painting will be loose and free, designed to complete a poem/prose and painting in one afternoon. All supplies provided, just bring you and your country drive adventure spirit.

Hope to see you there!
Details:
Saturday, November 11th
11-3pm
$95
Pennington Farms
Registration through email: ae@annaelkins.com

Saturday, October 7, 2017

More


These are things in my kitchen cupboard. Seriously. I know there should be things like alphabetized spices and cereal boxes and folded linens and all kinds of sundry kitchen things like pasta in tube shaped tupperware but somehow several of my cupboards turned into a prop staging center and shows no signs of changing. Vintage bundles of airmail envelopes, letterpress numbers, old acorns, maps, ink, sugar tongs, tea cups, doilies, a miniature silver trophy, a Steiff donkey, tins in every sugar-tea-coffee-biscuit variety, china plates, some matched some mis-matched, cake stands, Italian marbles and pen nibs have real estate.

There is more. It is constantly evolving. It's the I Know I Have a Rusted Old Key and Bone Handled Fish Knives somewhere compartment of my brain. I know that if all these disparate charming useless once loved, now beloved, items all live together, the sum of their parts becomes so much more. They are props for my workshops, props for me, inspiration jumping off places, the leading ladies in many paintings, the prized treasure at the funky antique store that has that too chatty lonely owner. They are my creative fuel that keeps the house warm. I could be more organized. Or more focused. Or more precise. Or more streamlined. But why?

More the merrier, More is more. xo

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Pumpkins on a Stick


Are these found in nature? Engineered by Trader Joe gardeners in a some creepy Halloween lab? Growing wild in Pumpkinland, USA? How exactly did "pumpkin branches" become a thing and when you google them how did they exist as so matter of factly as "Pumpkins on a Stick". Actual name. Never mind the how or why, they are freaking fantastic and so orange and adorable and autumnal that I just want to say autumnal over and over.

Pumpkins on a Stick in a mason jar are on my art table exactly like this. Jar, water, branches. Perfection. I will stop scoffing at all things pumpkin spice latte because I'm clearly feeling it this season and see no signs of stopping. Wait, pull over, I see a pumpkin patch!!!!!!!! xo

"Pumpkin Branches" 8x10" SOLD

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pink Sails


Exciting news here! I took the leap into putting my artwork onto a variety of print on demand products and I am having so much fun playing with these new formats. Pouches, tote bags, art prints in all forms, mugs, eye phone cases & chargers...duvet covers & shower curtains! Ok, maybe the last two a stretch...but still. SO FUN.

Check out this link for more. And thank you for supporting this art adventure.

xo

Monday, September 11, 2017

Court 4


It's no secret I'm not that much of an athlete. I really love being active but I missed the hand-eye co-ordination team sport gene and since I can remember, I was that kid picked near the end for sports. (The agony!) I've always assumed "I'm not good at sports" and I've faithfully lived up to my belief but there are some, that despite my skill level, I adore. Namely, tennis.

I played growing up, high school, had regular lessons, dabbled in university, my 20's, always a little, never consistently. But it was always there. As my sport. The one I didn't play frequently, but mine nonetheless. I owned a racket after all!

This has been the surprising summer of rediscovering and playing tennis. I have a fabulous partner to hit the ball with, take lessons and attend a weekly clinic. I'm all in. The suffocating smoke that has descended on our town has temporarily derailed outside playing but I've found indoor courts. If I'm not playing this week, I'm watching. The US Open has never been more exciting and action packed! Is this an obsession? Maybe. And that's ok. I like obsessions when they lead me down the path of joy and distraction. When I started painting regularly I was absolutely obsessed. Still am. To me, these are the human green lights on our highway. Keep going. Rev the engine. Hit that ball!

It's also been a summer of challenges. Unexpected expenses, major household repairs, brutal fires all around us, hazardous smoke and close friends moving away. And that's before I turn on the TV and watch the devastation happening in Texas, Florida, the world, the orange person in charge. I'm a piece of sand compared to what's going on globally.

During these times, I'm trying to rise to the challenge & continue to follow the obsessive joy markers when I can. I notice myself needing to fill up the well more frequently. My nerves are frayed. The gentle quirky little life I have here packing orders, painting commissions, going to trade shows, selling my wares, all feels a bit tender.

So might as well smash some tennis balls, hang out at Court 4 and pretend, for just a moment, that I'm Maria Sharapova. xo

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'd Rather be Sailing


Literally. I'd rather be sailing. I'd rather be doing any number of those bumper stickers you see in parking lots and the freeway. But I'm not. I'm working. I'm digging in. I"m doing the behind the scenes not so cute part of creating and running a small business. There are so many not cute parts! Who knew!?

A couple of people reached out yesterday and asked if "I was ok". Maybe I shared too much. Maybe I shared just enough to remind us that life isn't always glossy. Sorry, matte finish. Yes, everything is ok. There's just more than my share of stressors at the moment and part of my job is working through the stress which is a noticeable challenge when your job is to make....see previous blog...HAPPY ART!

It's very smoky in the Rogue Valley right now. Air quality is poor and the town feels vaguely apocalyptic. Tourists are wandering the streets with ice cream cones and looking into the sky to see a red ball through the smoke, like a confusing eclipse sequel. Vendors at the farmers market are wearing masks like it's downtown Bangkok. Local news is updating the fires on an hourly basis. The bucolic town is under a blanket.  I drove to the lake yesterday to clear my head and it worked, a little. I parked and took some photos.  I've taken those same photos in many seasons, clear skies, torrential downpours, wind storms, smoky summers, soft spring evenings and autumnal crispy mornings. Life keeps moving forward in all kinds of water. xo

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Smooth Sailing


This is what calm waters, smooth sailing and charming summer days look like. My day, my week, does not resemble this. In fact,  if it was a painting, it would resemble an ocean liner hitting a big iceberg and I'm not sure Leonardo is throwing me a life raft.

As my dear imaginary friend Anne Lamott would say Life is Lifey this moment. Plumbing issues in the house that are complicated and costly. Loved ones are going through some challenging times and I can't make it better. Some big positive changes that I was hoping for myself and my business just got yanked for reasons beyond my control. You know, Tuesday.

I'm not sure what the next move is other than turn the page to Wednesday. Pack an order. Paint something. Reach out to family and friends. What we all do. Keep on keeping on. I notice that it's these moments, these gullies in life, where I don't want to paint or write or reach out or do anything nurturing. I like to eat pizza. But I'm experimenting. Because I had to leave the house anyway BECAUSE MY BATHROOM DOES NOT WORK (see paragraph 2), I'm sitting at a cafe, working, emailing, blogging and thinking, what would a wise old friend say?

Honey, it could be worse. Ok, maybe not a warm fuzzy response, but the one I needed. It could be worse. And it will get better. And this creative life isn't all Insta-charming 24/7 and pipes break and pets get sick and humans are fallible and maybe disappoints are just a re-direct. So go paint some damn boats and cheer yourself up! (Said me to me.) xo

"Emigrant Lake" 8x10"

Friday, August 18, 2017

Happy Art


Someone told me recently, your art is happy. I was both flattered and deflated. Of course, any mention or acknowledgment of what we are creating is a luxury. I should not split hairs on the quality of compliment. But the museum loving gallery junkie in me longs to make art with meaning, depth and that je ne sais pas quoi. But who am I to decide what that certain something is that makes someone stop and look twice or purchase or smile or feel good or all of the above. I'll take happy these days.

I'll take keep going where my natural aesthetic and creative pulls lead me. I do know that when I keep going and paint day after day, the work does evolve. And the artists I look up to and admire change over the months and years. Which means my art, too, is changing over the months and years. Is "happy" as a description so terrible? No. It's not. In context it says this. It says it lightened someone's moment. Maybe it inspired. Perhaps it made someone laugh. It's likely it pulled some nostalgic memories. It made someone feel. Happy. And that is why I paint and create. Because it makes me feel good and complete and happy.

Tag, you're it. xo



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cherry Tomatoes


The world appears to be falling apart. Or imploding. Or both and I'm scared and angry and frustrated at how helpless it makes me feel. Domestically, the word "Charlottesville" will sum up a national outrage for years to come. Internationally, Korea, Barcelona, Sierra Leone are top of the harrowing news. I don't know what to do. So I keep going going with the small parts of my life where I do know what to do. Bringing a tiny slice of joy into someone's life through art or an unexpected kindness through snail mail or....there are so many different "ors" for all of us.

I'm not born a political crusader, I shy away from conflict but the climate right now is so heated, so tender and raw, I can't write without acknowledging it. And still, after mulling over this post with fingers pausing on the keyboard, I still don't know what to do so until I do I'm going to go deeper and stronger into the creativity I do know.

I know how to capture little moments that make life sweeter. Like cherry tomatoes from the local farmer's market. Or writing thank you notes. Baking treats and sharing. Picking fresh flowers. Running my small business with huge heart and attention to details and loving the real live kind folks who order from me. I know how to appreciate what I have and be grateful.

Today, cherry tomatoes. xo

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pot of Clover


I have an affinity for 5x7 flat panel canvases. They are relatively inexpensive in a world of spendy art supplies. They make charming postcard paintings, one of my pet side projects.  But most of all, they are the secret sauce in my creativity equation.  Often a canvas looks too big, a project too long to complete, an email too complicated to start, a catalogue mailing too boring, taxes too daunting and the list goes on forever. A lot of us creatives love the starting line...but the finish...? Well, there was a cafe I had to sit down at, a house I had to clean, dogs to walk, cats to pat, texts to return, Netflix to consume, I mean really important things!!!

But the minis? They are petite and approachable and unbelievably satisfying to complete. They are my reminders that frequent small painting will propel me further than large intricate occasional dabbling. These little pieces keep the paint wet. They keep me sitting down at the easel. They make me smile because there is something so silly and frivolous and ok about painting a donkey or dandelion or pot of clover. Do I need them wall size? No. But the spark of joy these miniatures bring me is priceless.

Often it is the days I do a mini that I open the channel to start a larger project or complete a task that's been lingering. They are also an excellent place to experiment with supplies and techniques. Composition, value, paint opacity, brush strokes. Sometimes I pay attention to these things, but often not. So much of painting is intuitive but when I use a small piece to execute a technique there is greater chance for me to slow down and practice.

People frequently ask me, do you paint every day? No. But I do paint almost every day and that has changed my life, changed my career, changed my joy level, changed my acceptance of my own work, changed my acceptance of other peoples work, so what I'm trying to say is that it has basically changed everything. xo

"Pot of Clover" 5x7"

P.S. Coming soon as direct result of these minis!
A beginner's painting course: "Wait, Wait, I Don't Paint: A Workshop for Beginners, the Curious, and the Creative." No experience necessary.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pink Roses


"I must have flowers, always and always." Monet

Well, one could argue Monet was on to something. For me, the inspiration is endless, regenerative, serene, peaceful, easy, difficult, contemplative and familiar. I paint florals frequently not only because I love the beauty of them (and what a great excuse to buy fresh flowers) but also for the complexity. They continue to challenge and delight. There are florals I do that flow naturally, and those I really need to study and correct and deliberate over. As often as I create them, each one is unique.They are my teachers. My muse. My faithful inspiration. xo

"Pink Roses" 11x14" SOLD


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dandelions


My garden is not really a garden. It's a yard. Actually, it's manicured dirt with some bushes. My house is on a hill, a steep ravine, so the backyard is more of a girls gone wild flower fest with things that bloom on their own time, mostly because it rains about 11 months of the year. The front has trees, bushes, one single rose plant that I bow down to every May, and a couple of rhodos that don't do much. Not compared to the neighbors at least! I live in a gardening jurassic park neighborhood. Peonies are wild, not from Trader Joe's. Lawns are the color of golf courses and daffodils sprout exactly the middle of March to let us know spring is really almost here even if you're wearing a puffy. One of my neighbors has a sign, an adorable little sign, painted by her gardening club that her house is on the "tour".

My garden, yard, area in front of house, does not look like that. It doesn't look bad. It just doesn't look like that. I have tried gardening several times. In the ground, in pots on the front porch, in pots on the back porch. I have a natural interest in flowers, I just don't seem to have a natural interest in GROWING them. Fast forward record scratch over to my dandelions here. My dandelions, my sweet, airy hippie blowing in the wind dandelions, however, are growing so beautifully, so perfectly, I wanted to capture them. They are abundant and healthy. There are more of them every morning when I go outside. I'm oddly happy with them and have no intention (today) of cutting them down. I am a dandelion gardener. I picked some. I blew on a few. I made a wish. Then I painted my wish. xo

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Steiff Donkey


I paint a lot. It is mostly my profession, my job, my hobby dare I say, one of my obsessions? And yet, the well can run dry. Or you just look at your canvases and think, nope, I can not paint one more flower. Or seascape. Or apothecary jar. Or..or...or.

I'm listening to "Theft by Finding" by David Sedaris right now and apart from my complete and utter devotion and undying love for him as a writer and satirist, I am in awe of his ability to chronicle the mundane and fascinating in his daily life. An apple, a chance encounter with a waitress, a taxi ride, anything, everything, is fodder for the ridiculous and sublime. I look at my world differently when I read him. I've always tended to see the world through slightly Seinfeld-ian glasses but Sedaris takes it to another level. His insights are sad, profound, hilarious, gross, loving, sensitive, profane and charming. And in walks my donkey.

I'm listening to Sedaris and I think, my version of chronicling my life, my diary as it were, are my paintings and subject matter. The minutiae of my world, the collections, the vintage treasures, the insights and humor I add. My miniature Steiff Donkey is one such nugget. He is a birthday present, purchased in Aajiic Mexico but presumably born in some German Steiff factory meticulously crafted 50 plus years ago. He is old, he is in mint condition. I love him and can't explain why but the second I saw him in a thrift store the obsession was ON. A love like that bears memorializing in a portrait.

I'm reviewing my obsessions and deciding they are good things after all. They are the fuel. The scratch you must itch, the novel you must write, the donkey you must paint. xo

"Steiff Donkey" 5x7" NFS

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Land and Sea


Sitting on a bench looking out at the ocean, a marina, a beach, a wharf; that is my slice of heaven and inspiration. Where the thoughts melt and the ideas have a chance to c a l m d o w n. This little piece of paradise is loosely based on Clover Point, a look out in Victoria, BC. Fresh and salty air, wind in the hair and the sound of seagulls. Home away from home. xo

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 
Henry David Thoreau

"Clover Point" 11x17" available at elizabethW Carmel (kelly@elizabetbw.com for questions)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

La Vie en Rose


It's been raining here in southern Oregon for about four months. I'm not kidding. I'm no weather stats expert but it has been the wettest soggiest blusteriest coldest are you effing kidding me how can the sky produce so much water kind of winter/spring season. I'm antsy. A little stir crazy. Yes, I can leave the house and water doesn't melt me but I admit, I'm affected by the non-stop grey skies, whipping winds and deluge of rain. It just doesn't inspire the cute outfit and a walk along Main Street. It inspires hibernation, yoga pants and a rotating selection of sweatshirts that moved from the Never Be Seen in Public Moving Day wardrobe to Don't Bug Me, At Least I'm Dressed pile.

The up side of all this weather related dreariness is that it's been a very productive prolific season of creating. The rain has literally grown my garden and I am painting, writing, shipping on a steady pace. That feels good. There are flowers on the easel, lots of flowers. In fact, so many that I have created a new category "Vintage Florals": a series of custom paintings, greeting cards and…who knows what else. They have literally and figuratively blossomed. Okay, one point rain.

In other art news , I released a fun new card launch to my customers (well received, yay!), reorganized by itty bitty office that holds my inventory (ah, space!), and dipped my toe back into painting seascapes (heaven). I also held a spring floral still life painting workshop at my home, purged a whole lot of clothes, books, art supplies and thought a lot about exercising while not doing it. This has been the season of hibernation, creation and resting. There has been a lot of travel in this season (and thank god other cities have sunshine) and a lot of coming back home to the "boring". The necessary. The list making. The Mailchimp setting up. The website. But upon reflection on this rainy day, it's been this wet season that has created a lot of beauty. I feel ready for something fun because I'm not tired. I am rested and restored. I've leaned into this season. It hasn't always been with a smile on my face but but I have somehow managed to grow a vintage floral garden in this la vie en rose life of mine. xo

"La Vie en Rose" 11x17"
Available at elizabethW Carmel

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Boats on the Bay


I did a brave scary exhilarating thing yesterday. I sent a detailed book proposal to a literary agent in New York.  It's taken me at least 4-5 missed self-imposed deadlines, a year to meet with an expert editing friend to get me to twelve sample chapters and one chaotically messy living room where there is art and paper and more art on every inch of the floor for easy viewing. What goes where, what stack belong to which and on it goes.  I had all of the individual pieces ready for months; the chapters, the art, the sample cards, postcards and catalogues from my company. The fabulous box I had to have to put the whole thing in! (Priorities!) It was the assembling of the pieces, the bigness of the project, that put me in Tomorrow Overwhelm.

I'll do it tomorrow. It's Sunday, I've got nothing planned. Tomorrow. It's Monday. The printer is open in case I need to run down there. Tomorrow, it's Thursday, I'm always productive on Thursdays. Really? I am? Tomorrow starts today. Please don't' mistake me for someone who can follow my own advice for overcoming procrastination. I'm a work in progress. I do know though, that I've made strides. There are tools. It's not willpower. It's action and accountability and telling your most productive organized friend your plan to start (and finish) and knowing you'll have to face said friend the next day and you're no longer in the mood to wiggle out of the why it's still sitting on your coffee table excuse. It was hailing! In April! The cat was moody. I had no groceries, had to run to Trader Joe's. I got a phone call. I had to ship an order. I've been traveling, I have to unpack.  (Your excuses are probably much more exciting and elaborate, mine are that boring and embarrassing that I have not been able to push through this block.)

So, I did it. I'll save the details of the proposal, the agent, the why I did this the way I did it for a later post because today, after lovingly packaging up all the pieces for this person i have never met on the other side of the county, I know that it was the doing it that mattered. I have no control of the outcome. I can't be pre-disappointed that it's a long shot. Because it is. It's a long shot. But if this doesn't work, I'm not the right fit, I know I can do this again. I broke through some invisible self-imposed barrier that New York agents and publishing world are "out there" and I am "here" and the two can't quite meet their fingers a la Sistine Chapel. But they can. They do all the time. I see it, I read it.

And what do boats on the bay have to do with this brave scary exhilarating thing I did yesterday? Not much. But I like this painting, took risks with it that are new for me (sensing a theme here!) and it took me outside my comfort zone. So maybe it has everything to do with my scary thing. I've written about this a lot but bears repeating, mostly for myself, this painting would not have happened unless I had done hundreds before it. Writing, running, cooking, sending proposals to literary agents. It's no different. Practice. Show up. Rinse repeat. Hit send. Write the letter. Put a stamp on it. Buy a box. Go to Fedex. xo

"Boats on the Bay" 16x20" SOLD

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Upcoming Workshop!


I am teaching a workshop in Carmel, CA next week!!! Hurray! Hooray! Details above but the important stuff:
Thursday, March 9th
The Rotunda at Il Fornaio Restaurant on Ocean Ave, Carmel, CA
5pm-8:30pm
Snacks & refrehsments
SO MUCH FUN AND NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED!!!

Would love to see you there! xoxo

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Large Cappucinno


I often write these posts n the morning, coffee hot, still dark outside. I'm an early bird. Always have been. I like this quiet hour because all is fresh. No plans, no jolting out of bed, nothing frantic, no to-do lists yet. Just possibility of the day. To paint or not to paint. To write or not to write. Work is rarely an option, must do that, but those "extras", those creative paths that we trick ourselves into thinking our luxury paths, are really the essential fuel that keep me going. If I didn't paint, I couldn't work. If I didn't write, I couldn't express. So really, these stolen hours at the crack of dawn, aren't stolen at all. They are the log on the campfire that keep me warm.

There is a lot going on right now. More than usual. Just home from a string of trade shows, the order packing and follow up that comes after, an art show at a local winery, a reception, a commission for a series of paintings for a local shop tied into the Shakespeare Festival. All good. And. And the time to take extra special care of my creative hours. This is when it is so easy to slip into more of a "business" role, an administrator-sales-organizer-marketer girl and less of an artist. Because making art is luxury! Right? Wrong. At least for me, it's a little white lie I tell myself. I can paint tomorrow. I can write next week. I can sketch tonight. True, I can do all those things. But I need to do it today. The business of my business will only get done if I show up for the art. What a topsy turvy concept for someone like myself who has subtly been brainwashed into thinking art is frivolous, the thing you do on the weekend, or at a workshop or an afternoon. Even now, or maybe especially now, when other parts of my business are calling me, I have to remind myself that it's ok, no permission slip needed to go and create.

So here's to a fresh 24 hours to show up for our art, our "thing", whatever that looks like. Cooking, writing, painting, sailing, running, sculpting, drawing, weaving, rowing, gardening, baking…all of it. xo

Sunday, January 29, 2017

What is Done in Love


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”  Vincent Van Gogh

I love that. What is done in love is well done.  Ok. xo

"Vintage Florals in Silver Tureen"  8x10" $225 
Please email mcarpenter@carpediempapers.com




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Les Fleurs


I'm back from a week long of travel for work, wonderful inspiring exhausting community building, week of travel in Atlanta where it was unseasonably warm, low 70's and the air, when I was outside a building, already smelled like spring. Pure delight.

The Rogue Valley, on the other hand, is knee deep in wet cold winter and deplaning last night was anything but fresh and dewy. But it is home and there's nothing like unpacking and doing those back from a trip life chores that settle you back in. For me, one of those things is fresh flowers. Trader Joe's had an electric colored assortment of roses a couple of weeks ago I couldn't pass up. Most have gone bye-bye in the second week but there was a small arrangement on my kitchen window sill I had put in an old glass milk jar, a color combo of watermelon, tangerine and butter yellow that were alive and well, greeting me as I walked in the door. A beautiful splash of color against the stark wintery landscape. Three stems. That's all. But that's all I needed.  xo

"Amber Floral" 8x10" Sold

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

You Can't Sit There


“Ma’am. Excuse me, M’AM?” These are the three words I heard this morning in SeaTac airport while looking for somewhere to sit at the gate. I didn’t look up as certainly, they couldn’t be directed at me. Ma’am? I’m not generally ma’am material and I’m in Seattle, not a parish in New Orleans.

I spied a bank of chargers, Mecca in airport real estate, swivel stools full, except one. My lucky day in an otherwise bumpy cancelled flight kind of morning. I sit down on the stool and I hear it again but louder. “MA'AM! THAT’S MY PHONE!” This is all-caps because she was talk-shouting, not speaking. I look around and a woman sitting 6 feet across from the bank of chargers is “watching her phone” and doesn’t want me to sit where her charger is. For real. I look at her and muster my last little bit of polite upbringing when I really want to make some “Realllllllyyyyy, eye rolling shitty remark, but I don’t.
I say, “No one is sitting here. There are two outlets, one for each of our phones.”
She says, “But my phone is there and all my credit cards are on it.” She’s pissed. She’s enunciating very clearly so me so stupid can understand big problem.
I say, “Ok, I won’t touch it.” (Weirdo.)
She says, “Ma'am! I just said, my PHONE is already there. YOU CAN’T SIT THERE.”

Wha??

Insert a crowded gate of people that is listening intently, watching my face go from apologetic to embarrassed to lady you’re a rude moron but I’m not going to get into it with you so I unplug my charger, stand up and move. So both she and her phone can have somewhere to sit.

Then the magic. A lovely soft-spoken man who is sitting beside the empty stool-phone, says to me, you take my seat, I’m tired of sitting. (True gentleman. Who is ever tired of sitting?) I say no, he says, yes, please take it. I say no again, he says, I insist. So I sit. And angry ma’am chair hog lady is the whole time is breathing and huffing so loud that I can hear her even though my back is to her. Nice tired from sitting gentleman is standing near by and says to me, it’s ok, I got your back. Really? I’ve gone from ma’am with attitude to draping a cloak on a puddle so I can keep walking, all in a minute. I could cry.

And what does this have to do with painting, life, art, showing up, and entrepreneurship? Everything. Because as an artist and small business operator, I am often in my girl nest with art supplies & books & tech devices and all the things that keep my motor running and none of the things that derail me, like, people. And airports. Or people in airports. But hustling in airports and traveling in inclement weather is also part of the creative gig, life on life’s terms. Today’s bump with humanity was a minor nothing hiccup but a reminder that kindness is king. Leading with kindness and a sense of humor is the softer gentler way. It is easier. It gets you results. Like smiling and feeling good! After I’m done writing my little rant, I’m done. It will be one of a throwaway anecdote to my travels because today my dear friends, the tradeshow, the good stuff is on the other side.

But, “Ma’am”????” My ego can be found flattened on the tarmac.

"Kindness" 8x10” Sold



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Baa Baa


I have mentioned here more than once that I am part of a magical weekly painter's group. We meet on Thursday, we work with Ashland artist Suzanne Etienne. In February, we are doing a small group show at a local bedding store. The show is called "The Flock" as we are all contributing sheep and lamb and over the years, we have become a flock of sort to this wonderful teacher and to our commitment to each other. 

I love working alone, it suits me. It's necessary as painter and writer and small business owner. But there is that fine line between being alone and productive and being alone and isolated and this group is that perfect touchstone of community. This group also stretches me. It's a human calendar marking important dates, checking in, what have you done, where are you going, look what you did, look where you are now. I need that. It's so easy to be on the low side of the hill looking up the mountain thinking how much further to go. But when you're checking in weekly, monthly even, you see the progress in others and you think, wow, if they are moving forward in this current of life, I must be too.

And sheep! It's not a subject I've ever approached but an afternoon of painting wooly sheep  with women jacked up on coffee and chocolate proved to be pretty entertaining. (Hint: little lambs are both ridiculously easy to paint and infuriatingly difficult. Who knew? But the in-between progress was pretty hilarious…sheep in clothing, cross-eyed sheep, angry sheep, old man sheep, too baby room sheep, startled sheep, tired sheep, flying sheep, are you on drugs sheep, you get the picture.)

If you are in Ashland, OR on February 3, please join us for The Flock at Shepherd's Dream, 629 A Street. First Friday Artwalk, good people, refreshments and I'm sure a few wooly stories. xo

"Baa Baa" 11x17" 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chrissy Field on a Snowy Day


To confirm, it did not snow at Chrissy Field. Not today, nor perhaps, ever, but I'd have to check a Farmer's Almanac. It is snowing here though. Here being Ashland, Oregon and by snowing I mean, wind, sleet, snow, rain, pellets, ice…frogs falling from the sky? I'm barely exaggerating. Locals are calling it Storm Watch 2017. I'm calling it a Multiple Personality Disorder. I get that there are four seasons and all but I'm officially over the igloo trapped inside too icy to drive, too slick to walk, too everything to even bundle up and do an errand. People are falling over town like beginner ice skaters and the windows are howling with the wind.

So what does one do other than binge watch all of the Netflix? Not sure but I know I look at lovely pictures of times when the sun set at…night. Not 3pm in the afternoon. I'm waxing nostalgic today and a wee bit cranky because my outdoor plans were thwarted again (but day strangely salvaged right now as I got to use the word "thwarted") and I've answered all the emails, read the articles, eyes glazed over from reading, napped more than a cat and I need to breathe some fresh air.

This little piece was half way done so to honor the day, the week, the SEASON of storm weather, I sat down with it again, and finished. Definitely a mood changer. I remembered the beautiful November day last year, the view from Chrissy Field looking over at Sausalito, the otherworldly sunset, the conversation with Stacy, the unseasonably warm afternoon, the all of it. It is my Chrissy Field on a Snowy Day. xo

"Chrissy Field" 11x17" available, email mcarpenter@carpediempapers.com for information

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Coffee Talk


I love coffee. Like, really love it. A lot. And all the things that go with it. The right mug (see yesterday's post), blend, accessories, and environment. It's one of those simple affordable pleasures that goes along with all the things I love. Morning quiet time. Getting together with friends. Painting. There is something about the making process, the brewing, the smell, the anticipation of the fresh pot that sets the stage. It says, Universe, watch out, we are about to embark on something good.

Today, a Thursday, I have said coffee in hand, and I am about to embark on something good. It is my Thursday paint group, all of us somehow getting there despite the snow and icy weather, a chain of enthusiastic pioneer type emails last night zipping through the ether. We will not miss it. The dedication is palpable. Updates on who's driveway is plowed, who has what supplies they can lend, who is stranded on the hill (that would be me) and who will drive half way up to meet me. There's talk of an art sherpa. Ha!

But back to coffee. The paint group email reminds us to bring a mug today because we're gathering in a new location, the regular studio is occupied. There will be fresh coffee but we need to bring our own  mug. Check. And we will gather round that pot, laughing, catching up about our holidays, first day of class in 2017,  knowing we are about to embark on something very good. xo

"Ann-Britt's Coffee" 8x10" Sold

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Write Like a...


I recently taught a still life painting workshop with lovely ladies, charming props, delicious treats on china and strong coffee in Polish pottery mugs. It was a snowy day, gloomy outside but sweet and cozy inside, with a patter of conversation and music in the background. Everyone's paintings were so adorable and quirky and perfect and mine was going down that path minding it's own business until….THIS MUG. I've often said that paintings have a mind of their own once you start and this was a perfect example. The still life props were rated PG. Lemons, limes, dominos, old ephemera, books, marbles, apothecary bottles, tea cups. The things I love and collect. But for some reason, this bright white shiny new mug demanded I not only drink my coffee out of it but be placed smack dab in the middle of the painting. I did it, the class laughed, not thinking I would actually paint it, but it worked.

Life is like that. All sweet and warm and planned out then plunk, life's equivalent of Write Like a Motherfucker Mug in the middle of your day. Huh. I didn't wrestle with it this time. I took my own advice, listened to that little voice, and added it. It's a sign to me. A sign to have more fun, to listen to creative intuition, to teach workshops because damn they are nurturing, and yes, the obvious, to write like a motherfucker. (Thank you Cheryl Strayed and The Rumpus for the quote. And the mug. Available on her website.) Adding the unexpected brought me more joy, more laughter. The unexpected can be exactly what I need to get my good crazy back. The painting is mine now. Not selling it, propped it up in my kitchen to remind myself that unexpected can be the best part of your day. xo

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Vintage Florals


It is not just snowing. It is blizzard snowed in snow plows snow boots snow suits snowing. BUT! Spring can not be far around the corner…can it? The irony is not lost on me that I am painting more florals than ever in a winter white village where I'd be lucky if a half-chipped pine cone served as my floral inspiration. Thank god for Trader Joe's flowers!!!

My vintage florals are available at a few west coast boutiques, ElizabethW (San Francisco and Carmel) and Watson Kennedy (Seattle). I'd be thrilled to find a few other shops to partner with, Portland perhaps? Or some east coast cities? Please feel free to call or email (above) if this strikes your fancy. More blossoms and blooms for everyone! xoxo

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year


It's 2017. I'm not going to recap 2016, lots happened, lots good, lots happened not so good, and that is life. Big picture, the fun, the opportunities, the artistic growth, the community, has far outweighed and I'll take it. No looking back.

I did not have a New Year's Eve that involved Veuve or party hats or confetti and that's ok too. It was quiet and reflective because that felt right for me this year. But I love NYE imagery the party favors, paper horns, sparkly magic of new things to come. So that's how I celebrated, capturing a feeling.

Here is to a new year, new momentum, projects, ideas. Putting to bed ones that just aren't working, re-igniting ones that might still have life, and lighting a fresh flame under the things that excite me. I'm following curiosity, excitement, love and joy this year. Things that LIGHT ME UP FOR NO REASON. That's the path.

Happy New Year. Happy Sunday. Happy Taking Down all that Christmas Stuff. Happy I'll Never Eat Chocolate Again. Happy See You at the Gym Tomorrow.  Happy days. xo

"Veuve" 12x12" SOLD