An amazing day…

it started out cold and wet and rainy and icky. The day before was 65 degrees and sunshiny. It was the worst possible weather one could have for a children’s event. It was miserable out. And it turned out better than I could have ever hoped. Parents brought their kids in all afternoon. From the moment the open house and the arts and crafts began, I had a houseful of children. It was amazing. See for yourself. (The evening party was great, but the children stole my heart and I felt more at home than I ever have before. A quick story that will melt your heart: A two year old little, blond boy named Marshal finished a painting. I asked him if I could hang it up in the hall gallery. He said yes and I asked him to watch me. I helped him pick out just the right little clothespin to hang it with. He then watched as I hung it up. Afterwards, we both took a step back and admired his work. Then he said, “Wow, I did a pretty good piece of art, didn’t I?!” And he walked over to his mom beaming. That moment was what this whole thing is about. Enjoy the pics!

Almost there.

I am very tired as I write this. I wake up as tired as I fall asleep. But time is closing in on me and there is so much more I would like to do. It is coming to the moments of realization that certain projects will not be possible for the opening. I wonder why I constantly look at what still COULD be done or is NOT done instead of looking at all that HAS GOTTEN done in 6 weeks time. I guess I am trying to paint that picture in my head and I want it as close as possible. It is pretty darn close. Right now I have a houseful of contractors installing a fire alarm and security system. By the way, when you go to open your business, PRICEY. Expect shock and awe at the quote. Expect tears. Then pick your little ol’ self off of the floor and figure it out. It still smarts, but they won’t give you your occupation certificate without it, and uh, yeah so I still don’t have my business license. Yes, I open in 2 days. No, I’m not nervous. Or panicked. Or completely freaking out. Luckily I do have about 20 things on my to do list that HAVE to get done before Saturday, so I don ‘t have much time left for worrying. It will happen. There is no other choice.

In the meantime I will leave you with some feel good words. Here is the artist statement that hangs outside the front door of Little Peeps Art Gallery:

You are about to enter Little Peeps Art Gallery. Inside you will find things that should make you smile and laugh, grin and giggle. It is a place built on dreams and hopes. It is a place where can’t, shouldn’t and don’t are not allowed. It is a place that has been forming since a little girl made a cat sculpture in second grade over 25 years ago and thought she would get rich by selling them from signs posted on telephone polls. It is a place where what you wish for most in the world seems not just possible, but likely. It is a place where children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to remember or realize what dream they have in their heart and want to let out. It is not just about art, but believing in yourself. Everything within these walls was created by hand and with love. Every single piece of art is unique and should you choose to give a piece of art from here a home, you can be sure no one else will ever have anything in the world exactly like it. I hope you enjoy your visit and I promise that at the very least, you will leave with a smile. I welcome you to my dream, I hope it helps encourage yours.

Most fondly,
Michelle

Coming along, coming together.

Wow. I can’t believe it is coming together. I have paintings hung with many more to hang, tons of things still to do, but there are moments as I am walking from one room to the other that it takes my breath away. Have you ever envisioned something in your head and then had the opportunity to see it manifested? It is not that often for me. Usually it is close, or sort of, or pretty darn near what was in my head, but this…This is almost like, I don’t know what. Like when I went out shopping for 7 hours on Friday looking for the perfect things to put in here. People asked to help. “What do you need, I will look for it and pick it up for you.” they would ask. “I don’t know,” was my reply. “But I’ll know it when I see it.” It is like not even seeing it in my head, but feeling it in my heart. Knowing this is right, or this is wrong. Trusting in my instincts. I have managed for the most part, to do that with this whole process and I think that is why everything is working so well. I have never been more overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, family and strangers in my life. I tell perfect strangers what I am doing, and they offer to help. Or random things end up on my back porch that someone dropped off because they thought I could use it. Not just once, many times. I have cried often before I have gone to bed these past few weeks not out of fear or frustration – tho there has been plenty of that – but out of joy and gratefulness. I try not to question too much why I seem to be getting my dream handed to me. Which, yes I am working hard, but I love every moment of it. It somehow seems like cheating when everything you do you adore. I know I have worked for 10 years selling art in local shops and galleries, moving up to festivals, having my own tiny studio a year back…But this? I am, like I said before, overwhelmed. I am so grateful, I don’t think I have words to fully describe it. I hope with all my heart that people walk into this house and are as overwhelmed with happiness, love, joy and gratitude as I feel when I am in here. Because I feel like I radiate joy when I am in this house. And I can hardly wait to have it filled up with people I love next Saturday to share in my joy. Any of you that read this and live near Atlanta, please, PLEASE come by!!I would love to see you!!

so. much.

So I want to write and tell you all the new things. So many. I am so, so, so, tired. But for any of you following the progress, I want to let you know what is going on. But for the record, i might not reread this and check for typos or if this makes any sense. I have been focused on two things. The kids and the gallery. I make sure there is plenty of kids food in the house. I make sure that they have clean clothes. I make sure they get showers…pretty often. I made sure Sophie had new shoes for her Valentine’s outfit. i made sure when i picked them up I had cards and bears and chocolate. (ok, withthe pms, perhaps the chocolate had other purposes.) For the business I got the bank account, oh lord thank you I got the bank account. And I had to be a bitch to do it. pardon the french, but sometimes you gotta get mean to get what you want. I was kinda proud of myself for that one actually. I called the fire alarm people. the security system people come tomorrow. I have exit signs. I have tables. I have stools. I have an almost finished office. I have my certificate of incorporation. I am almost done with complying with everything my business ispector wants. i have called back the moms who left messages. I have had an article written about me in the AJC. That I totally forgot to get because I was working 12 hours on Sunday and totally forgot I had an aticle aboutr me in the Living section. Anyone that saw it feel free to mail me a copy. I ordered advertising today. I will do another ad tomorrow. I will do an html email tonite and send it out to everyone whom I have ever worked with, painted for, been friends with or other. Basically if your email address is in my outlook, you are getting and invite to my opening. I will find all the local mother’s groups and send one to them as well. So yeah, busy. And I still need to get my cash register on Monday, set up a merchant account, get quickbooks, set up my sales tax account, set up my irs tax payment account, find an accoutant, pay my lawyer, get my back porch redone, hang the art, get the other artist’s art in her, finish up all the detail decoration, by more furniture and display furniture and buy art supplies. And the other billion things I am not thinking of. All by next Sat. Soooo. the point of all this is that I have neglected a few other things. The dogs went a meal and a half without eating because I had forgotten to buy dogfood. But thos cunning dogs managed to figure things out when they opened the pantry and ate all the bread products. I guess hot dog rolls and bread are easy targets. Then this morning I went to wash my hair. Out of shampoo. I went to put a load of laundry in. out of detergent. Put the breakfast dishes int he dishwasher out of dishwasher detergent. Made coffee and when I poured it I realized I was out of coffee. yeah, I almost cried at that one. So after i picked up my kids we went to the gallery did some stuff there, then went shopping. It seemed I went as long as I could. So now i am tired and am going to watch House. Cause that show ROCKS. Then make an online invitation to my shindig. Cause it has to go down onthe 25th no matter what. Cause the AJC told all of Atlanta I was opening that day. No pressure.

Today

Today was a good day. I have accomplished so much in the past three days. I have had wonderful people in my life helping me and I am learning that it is ok to not only need help, but to accept it. I could not have gotten the things done this weekend and today that I did, without these people. There were truly things I had no expertise in and even if I had wanted to just roll up my sleeves with determination and do it, I could not have. Like, install a utility sink in my class room. Or make a table. Or install track lighting, or wire an Exit sign. It is very hard for me to admit I cannot do IT ALL. And boy, do I try. I am still kind of stunned that people are so willing to help me with all of this. And so selflessly. I can’t express how much it means to me that people, some who have only known me a short while, and some a longer while, believe in me so much. It gives me so much strength and courage and helps me in the moments of “what was I thinking?!?!”

Today Noah and Sophie came to the gallery after school for the first time in over a week. A lot has gotten done. Noah was sitting on a couch in my office that is becoming cozier by the moment, and said, “Ya know mom, when you showed us this place the first time, with the dead birds on the floor and the trash everywhere I thought you were crazy. But now, I get it. And it is great. Mom, you are doing a really good job.” Yeah, and it is moments like that that a mom lives for. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t doing all this for me, of course I am. I am making my passion a reality. But, in the end it is all for Noah and Sophie. My lovelies.

Trusting

Things have been going. I had taken the past few days to get the painting done. Everything seems to be a priority. Nothing seems less important than the other. It all is important. This morning things seems on track. And they are. But there are moments. Moments that seem to be an inititation of sorts. I talk to other small business owners and they laugh and commiserate with me. This morning I felt together. I felt strong despite a lot of emotional turmoil from the past few days. I got a call from the building inspector. My papers were ready. Great! I take that over to the business license place and another thing to check off. Easy peasy. No. After 2 hours of waiting I get in and he tells me things I have to fix or prove and take care of. Like my security system, my fire alarm system, my exit signs, some lit, some not, a diagram of parking, what I will do about parking if I have an event, and that I might need to get an electrical contractor out there to check things. Sigh…. So I review what I need to do before I come back to him. Somethings HAVE to be done, some don’t, they are suggestions. Which are which? Not very clear on that either. From what I can tell a diagram of smoke detectors, exit signs and a diagram of all the security system strobes should be it, then they will issue me the certificate of occupency and fire code certificate. Then I can get my business license. So I need money for all this, right? Right. And I should use my new business account right? Right. And I did what I was supposed to do and filed my corporation papers weeks ago. Papers the bank needs to have for a business account. Online it shows up all legit. Great. But they have not mailed me my paperwork yet. And so I can’t deposit the check made out to the gallery which gives me money. Oh, and they are going to hold my funds for 5 days once I do deposit it. Nice they already told me that, right? At least I am prepared. But it is money I need to call the security sytem company and get everything set up. Which I need to show to the building inspector to get my C.O. Which I need to get the fired code done, which I need to get the business license…do you get the picture? Yeah, fun. So I had my momentary break down and for a split second was ready to go put my application at Target in. But then I remember that none of what I am going through is out of the ordinary. It is all necessary. And most of it is not within my control. And, most importantly I am choosing to do all of this. I am creating the life I want moment by moment. And it is not easy, but then should it be? Aren’t things we really truly want hard work? I need to trust that this is what I am meant to be doing. And when I get to the point that everything is close to how I want it, there will be a moment. Such a moment of satisfaction and pride. I guess because I can see it all so clearly it is frustrating to not be able to make it happen as quickly as I would like. I just realized today that I began this all Jan 6th. That was the day I called my now landlord. Barely a month ago I put all this in motion. I guess what I need to do is have some patience. I am one person. I am doing a pretty good job and it is hard work. And if I could just slow down and trust that this is all happening as it should because I KNOW I am meant to be doing this, it will all be ok. So now I really have to slow down and do a portrait for a commission for Valentine’s day. The great thing about what I do, no matter what, you have to take time and allow the paint to dry. Off to do what I love most in the world. Paint.

If I can’t have the beach house now, I’ll bring the beach house to me!!

So when you ask my kids, “Where will mommy be when Sophie goes to college?” They both answer in unison: “The beach!” Anyone who knows me knows I have a um, slight, er, obsession with the beach. I would live there year round if I could. I don’t just want to live near a beach, I want to live on the beach. Ya know, one of those amazing houses with three floors with my studio on the top floor with a windows walk and lots of light and where the whole family comes up all summer long and you have at least three generations at a time there. Where you have a wrap around deck that you all sit on in the evening sipping a glass of wine watching the kids run around on the sand below while you watch the sun set and talk late into the night to the lovely scent of salt water wafting in the air… not that I have thought about it at all. Uh, no. Not too much. So anyway, I figure I have 10 years to get my life to the point that I can afford to send both my kids to college AND buy my beach house. Cause ya know, how cool would it be for my kids to say, “Hey man, why don’t you come to my house for spring break, my mom has this killer beach house!” What? Artists are known for their vivid imaginations. And you have to visualize to make it happen, people. So anyway. This amazing dream of mine happening now is all part of the plan. The beginning. And I am in love with this house y’all. In. Love. It is quirky and tilty and so old. And I love it. And it loves me, I can tell. This house has been waiting for me to come in and paint it beach house colors. Bright, happy colors. I swear last night when I finished the hallway it sighed in deep contentment. (see? back on the meds!) I still have the kitchen and bathroom, but I will leave that until last. The walls in those rooms are a nice taupe color and in nice shape. So when everything else is done I will paint those. But now this lady needs to get furniture in there and art on the walls. And enjoy my beach house in Decatur. I took these pics last night at 6pm. It was just dark outside and the house was so warm and cozy and the colors were just so happy. Have a look, don’t you hear my house sighing a nice happy sigh? Yeah, you hear it to. Admit it.






Green and pink

The pink and the green room got done today thanks to my awesome friend, Maggie. She totally rocks. Not only did she help me finish two rooms up in one day, she also entertained me by singing and talking about random subjects. Maggie, girl, you certainly make sure there is no boredom. But then, that is pretty normal for us as whenever she comes over to watch a movie we end up just talking for hours. Aren’t friends like that great?

So all I have left that I really want to paint is the hallway. It is very large and will be used as a third gallery space. After that I just need to touch up porch railings and various wall trim and window panes. Then I just have to get furniture. Then I need to get the art on the walls. Then I need to get displays up for the other types of retail. What kind you ask? Well, you will just have to wait and see. Cause most of it I really don’t know yet. I do, but most of it is in my head, and one thing at a time, people. Oh yeah aand open the bank account so I can have access to money and all. Hello, secretary of state, would y’all mind getting on my paperwork and making me all official so the bank takes me seriously and lets me deposit a big ol’ check into your institution to get to money I really could use right about now… Yeah. Right. Just paid all my bills and all and need to buy stuff. And so I have all this business-y stuff to do still and wouldn’t ya know that all I want to do is paint my little heart out with acrylic and canvas and get every idea in my head out. I’m dyin’ here! So much to do and while I know I have to be patient and do it in the right order I feel so completely excited that soon I will have all this space to work in! And create! Art! No more living room, oh who am I kidding, ottoman studio late at night, no more office right next to my bed. No more filing my jobs all over the bed. No more drafting table to catch my hip on everytime I leave the bedroom. So excited!!! And terrified. Just, ya know, to give it all perspective, I am having not just daily, but perhaps hourly panic attacks. I call up a friend when they occur and say, “What the hell? How did you let me do this?? Why did you let me stop taking my meds???” (just kidding, it’s a joke, I use alcohol to cope, not meds people. sheesh.) Luckily they all seem to say the same thing. That I will do great, and this is a good idea. Either they all think that, or there is a big ol’ plot against me and all my friends want to see me fall on my face. But I doubt it. Most of my panic attack friends don’t even know each other. Which will make the grand opeing so much fun. Cause so many of them will be there. So cool. Ok, it is late, and I need to go to bed. I have a hallway to paint in the morning.