a sneak peek



Inspired by a very dear friend (you know who you are), here is one of four illustrations I have done for Valentines cards that I will be selling at the boutique and online beginning tomorrow.

waiting

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for work is no fun. January, as many of you self-employed peoples out there know, is usually slow. People are either paying off bills or scrambling with taxes. I have calls into my graphic design temp agency, resumes out to various folks for different things (Maybe even full-time! But the job would, I dare say, be worth it) I also have people deciding on paintings to commission – a possible very big order, waiting to hear feedback on my children’s book. So the waiting continues and we eek by day by day getting just enough money in to pay a bill that is due. I have absolute faith and trust that this will pass and things will get back on track to their usually busy, cheery ways. But in the meantime I tend to second guess just about every career choice I ever made. I should never have quit persuing my degree in the sciences! I should never have freelanced out of art school! I should have taken that full-time job. I should never have quit that full-time job. I should never have….the list goes on and on. Awful. I need to instead remember all the great things all those “wrong” choices HAVE gotten me. Like today. I was able to go help out my daughter’s kindergarten class with their hundred days celebration. Her little face was so bright and happy all day long because mommy and daddy got to be there. One day it I won’t be nearly so cool and I will be dropping her off at the movies…a block away. So no more pouting and boo-hoo-ing. There are plenty of things to be doing. Marketing and self-promotion, getting ready for a show in February, finishing up a few paintings that I am embarressed to admit are actually late. Funny how when I have the least amount of work to do I am the least productive. Ok, time to end this rant and pull up the bootstraps. My whine session is done, aren’t you glad?

Jessie Willcox Smith



If you have never seen this amazing woman’s work, you really should go check her out. I have her bibliography of collected works put together by Edward D. Nudelman and The Red Rose Girls by Alice A. Carter. If there was ever an artist’s work that takes my breath away it is hers. There is such emotion in the tiniest details of each painting. Her story is remarkable. She was a school teacher that didn’t even know she could draw until after she finished college and was a school teacher.

She accompanied a friend who was going to a sketching class and describes “the accidental beginnings of her auspicious career.”

“I knew I wanted to do something with children, but never thought of painting them, until an artist friend saw a sketch I had made and insisted I should stop teaching (at which I was an utter failure) and go to art school – which I did.” ~Jessie Willcox Smith

It amazes me that this unbelievably talented woman had no idea she was an artist. She did not have a burning desire to draw from a young age. She had no idea she could draw. This gives me so much faith and trust in God that he absolutely will show us our way in this life as long as we keep our eyes open along the way. It is about constantly moving forward even in the times you want to hide under the covers. I have had time to think about my future the past few days and have come to realize that as long as I continue to be open to what life has to offer i really can’t make a ‘wrong’ decision. Trust and patience, which have been the theme of many of the blogs I read, is in the air for all of us. I think we all make these spectacular resolutions on the first of January and then when they don’t begin to come true on the second it is an utter letdown. Our instant gratification culture is a strong tide to fight against and sometimes I really envy the tales of quaint foreign villages where people live for the moment, eating, drinking, spending time with others. I think that is why Ms. Willcox’s work speaks to me so. Her paintings are of simple moments caught in time. There is no flurry of activity, no urgncy to complete a task, just a quiet moment that looks like it will be remembered forever. I certainly can use a few more moments like those in my life.

Stubborness

I stayed up late last night finishing a painting. Felt like old times. 😉 I was going to finish it Saturday, but painting with a 5 year old girl that wants nothing but to play with Mommy is a hard battle to fight. Besides that, playing with her is not something to pass up. She is a lot like her mommy. Stubborn – likes things her way. She tells me to pick the what we play. “House,” I say. “Nope,” she replies. “Barbie’s.” “Nope.” “Dolhouse.” “Nope.” This goes on and on. Finally I say for her to pick. “No Mommy! YOU pick. I’ll say yes if you pick veterinarian!” she finally says, very exasperated with me. Technically, I suppose, I picked. Then she tells me my line before I am supposed to say it. She tells me what to say, what to do and how to do it. Basically she is the director and I am just an actor with a part. Like I said. Stubborn. But I remember doing the same thing as a child with my sisters. I wanted things my way. After all, that is the best way, right?! All that control is so exhausting. This past weekend I have spent letting go control of my life – really giving up my ideas of exactly how things should happen and in what order. It really allows for a weight to be lifted. Then there are no failures, just different directions. Sure disappointments are there, but not with the same intensity. Like I said, I feel lighter knowing that life doesn’t have to bend to my desires. Not that it really ever has. But accepting that is so much better. As much as I would like my life to be scripted by me, I am not the director. And I am finally realizing that isn’t so bad at all.

the road not taken

Sometimes you really don’t realize how you feel about something until you actually have to deal with it. Sure, it’s easy to say that you can take what life gives you, make lemonade out of lemons, etc, etc, etc. If I am meant to go down this other path so be it. I am totally ok with that you tell your self. Then that day comes. Life puts a big old stop sign in your face and says, “Um yeah, this road is closed. Go use that one.” And you think, “But I know this road. I know all the short cuts on this road. I know all my favorite coffee places and book stores, and I have lots of people I know on this road. I LOVE this road! That other road is scary. I don’t know anyone there, and they do things different there. And when I imagine my dreams I am on MY road. Not THAT road!” And then Life shrugs it’s shoulders and says, “Yeah, well that is great and all, but the road is closed. You have no choice. Go use the other road.” And I angrily mutter, “Um can I at least have a map??” “Nope,” says Life, you found your way on the first road, you’ll find your way on this one too.”

Ok, so my head is a busy place and I like metaphors (or is it analogies? – I never did get that straight in school!) a lot. Some things are going on. I have no idea where life is taking me and I realize that I have quite a death grip on my dreams and how I want them to go. I have always claimed I will go where ever I am lead, but it is hard to put your money where your mouth is. And not to say that the opportunities presenting themselves are not good. They are great, amazing even. They are just not what I had planned. And that is so much harder to let go of than I had realized. Again, I will let you know more details down the line. But for now I am doing my best to enjoy this adventure. Or at least remember it so that I can enjoy it later when things are a wee more comfortable.