with a lil’ imagination…

It all happened very suddenly. I have always wanted to have a studio/gallery/shop but was never in a position to afford it alone. Yesterday through a friend I found out about a pet supply shop that was moving to a larger location in an ultra cool part of town. I knew this was what I was looking for. I literally jumped in the car and drove to this woman’s shop. I knew of her and she knew of me (pet industry is small even in Atlanta). I proposed my business venture and she jumped at it. I will have a small studio in the back, but most exciting I will be in the main window of the store. I will have retail space and I will have an area right in the front store window where I sit and create. My friend that told me about all this is going to be renting the space next door for her second grooming shop. Between the three of us it will be pet owner heaven! I am going to be painting a mural on the front and rear entrances of the business.

It is all to exciting and I have tons and tons to do to get ready. The space will be ready in a matter of weeks and I am meeting with the contractor next week about how I want my spaces designed!! I am going to redo my website in honor of this and am so looking forward to the coming holiday season! Honestly, I was considering stopping painting all together and had just the night before burst into tears in front of my husband telling him I couldn’t take not knowing what I was doing with my future much longer. I said I needed a sign soon or I just did not know what I would do. The very next morning all this happened. I have to tell you this summer has been tortuous trying to figure out where life was leading me, but I feel like I finally know. This has been 2 years in the making. All my past work and networking is what made this go off without a hitch. The shopowner said that because she had a good friend and several of her clients that spoke so highly of me made partnering with me a no-brainer. Sigh….this feels so good I can’t tell you. So off I go to get work and ideas done. I will let you know the progress of everything soon! It truly is a dream come true.

Simple, sweet childhood.

Remember when life was so sweet? Remember when something as simple as watching donuts being glazed on a conveyor belt could keep you endlessly entertained? Thank goodness we can recapture that feeling just with the act of observing children. They get it. Why do we forget it so easily?

Oh my. Too good. Too good.

How do I begin? How do I begin to describe my roadtrip? It began with a 10 hour drive that was so amazingly beautiful. I drove through 4 different states. I began at 5am with the moon still up and the stars still out. I turned on the radio and an old song from my college days played. I smiled and took this as a sure sign this was meant to be. After the song ended I turned off the radio and drove in silence along back country roads of North Carolina that would get me to a main highway. I thought about why I was doing this, who I was, what I wanted to gain from all this. I enjoy silence so very much. I enjoy my thoughts. I enjoy the simple process of thinking. So the drive alone was nothing less than delicious. I was selfishly in my own little world.

I arrived at my old college friend’s house and we played catch up all night long. We did the kind of laughing that makes you cry and your sides ache. We remembered all the increadibly stupid things we did and realize the saying is true, “God watches out for fools and babies.” What stupid things we do when we are young. I am amazed I survided those years!

The next day I drove from north Philly to south Jersey. I got stuck in a 2 hour traffic jam, got lost not once, but twice and can say with much confidence that driving a stick no longer scares me. I arrived at some aother college friend’s home where there were 3 of us meeting up. I met all their kids (2 two year old’s and 2 infants), had jersey pizza (seriously, any of you in any other part of the country have not really had pizza until you have sampled jersey pizza!), and again laughed until I cried. It is such a warm feeling to know that 10 years after seeing some friends, that the bonds you made are still intact.

Tuesday. What a magical day. I woke up so excited to meet Jill and Elena. Jill was meeting me and then we would drive together over to Jersey and see Elena. When Jill arrived it was as if I had just seen her a week ago. We hugged and I knew we would be friends forever. Jill has this light inside of her that shines so brightly that you feel so warm and happy being around her. Her eyes sparkle with inspiration and perhaps mischief. Being around her makes me so excited by life. We went and had coffee and talked, and talked, and talked. And laughed. And cried. And laughed. Amazing, amazing, amazing. The connection I knew would be there was 100 times stronger than I thought it would be. I looked down at my watch after what felt like only 5 minutes and realized 2 hours had slipped by. We hurried to the car and drove off to Elena’s home. Elena. What to say about this amazing woman? She is like meeting a painting palette come to life. She is all the colors of the rainbow and exudes a goodness that seems too rare these days. Her children are complete testaments to the person she is. Her daughter (so beautifu!) is such a confident 17 months old, so full of joy and wonder that you know she surrounded by deep love. Her twins were sleeping so peacefully to classical music in the middle of great chaos. Again, I think that is reflective of Elena’s persona. An increadible mother is just one part of this increadible woman.

We went to lunch in just about the cutest little town ever and closed down the restaurant with our chattering. Then we went and got gelatto and did the same thing there. There was no an awkward moment, or even a pause. It was one of those days that I can only describe as magical. We hated saying goodbye, but knew we had cemented our friendships and truly met kindred spirits.

Wednesday. Kate. Oh Kate! Oh Maggie! Oh Andrew! Just the cutest family you could ever, ever meet!! I was a bit more nervous about Kate because we had talked less over email and more just read each other’s blogs. But I knew I needed to meet this woman and the timing worked out so perfect I knew it was meant to be. We almost immediately talked like old friends. Having so many blog friends in common we had so many things to reference and be familiar with. When we went to lunch we discoved how alike we were as children. Once again, I talked and talked with such ease that I almost wanted to laugh. Kate is such a beatuiful person. Her art and outlook on life glow from inside of her. I realize as I write that I could mix and match any of these descriptions with any of these artists, friends. We are all cut from the same cloth, that is obvious. I look forward to us supporting each other in the future years as all of our solo careers take off. We all want similar things: to make a living from our art, our way. After meeting all these women I have no doubt we will all make it.

Jill, Elena, Kate Chris, and Bridget, Thank you. Thank you for letting me into your homes. Thank you for letting me into your lives. I drove home smiling the whole way. This trip has been increadibly liberating and inspiring and I feel ready for the next part of my journey even if I have no clue what it is or where it will lead me. But I do know that I have a group of amazing friends that I can lean on and can lean on me. And that feels so good I can’t begin to tell you.