Right now, this minute

I am having a total flashback to my childhood. I picked up my kids and two of their friends after school. We came home and they went in the pool for an hour and a half. We all went back inside and I gave out snacks and drinks. Right now Noah and his friend are playing in the “boys” room and Sophie and her friend are playing in the “girls” room. Sophie has two other friends that have joined her as well. Sophie has Backstreet Boys playing while they are playing with their Polly dolls and dollhouses. They are talking about other kids and playing pretend. It is taking me back to summer afternoons with my sisters and my friends. I felt so safe. I knew my mom or my friend’s mom was in the other room. We just spent the afternoons playing, not stopping until it got dark or someone’s mom came to get them or it was time to walk home. It was all about make believe, all about pretend, all about thinking life could not get better than friends, sleep overs, and playing for hours and hours. I love having a houseful of kids I think, because I hope that I give them what I had. A place to be little kids. A place to just hang out and have a mom that brings in a bowl of popcorn or a plate of cookies. Right now I don’t care about anything else except hearing the voices of a bunch of little kids doing exactly what they should be doing. I know it’s corny, but its so good.

Resting, soon. Really.

Yesterday Sophie had her birthday party. She had a great day and it was ALL ABOUT THE SOPH. She had a fatabulous day and her friends came and we painted and crafted and rocked out to The Back Street Boys and Hillary Duff. We had ice cream cake that I took out way too soon and was almost a melty mess, but we ate it in time. YUM. Ice cream cake!! I cannot believe my baby is now 8 years old. She is 8 going on 16. We ended the day by going to the pool then she got to have two friends sleep over and Noah got to have his best friend sleep over. I was utterly exhausted by the end of the night and after cleaning up the destruction this morning and breakfast for 5 kids I had an empty house since their dad took them for the afternoon. I know I should be resting, but I had a job to finish up and took the opportunity. I am, however about to go to Starbucks, grab a cup of coffee and people watch for at least an hour.

Two other things, I am going to be renting out a room in the gallery to either an artist or a designer. I am not using some space here and I might as well make some money for the rent. Any local artists that want to work in an increadbily cute (if I do say so myself) house with a super cool mom artist (that would be me), contact me via email: michelle@littlepeepsartgallery

And second, my art is being shown at The Stationary Show in NYC today and tomorrow. My agent emailed me this morning that they are going to be showing the dummy for my latest children’s book I just completed!!! I am requesting all fingers, toes, ears and noses to be crossed for good luck!!

later taters!

Yesterday, not my favorite day ever.

I have been really busy catching up with clients and such from last week. Last week I got ready for my show and festival and got a 130 page book to the printer’s. It was a busy week that meant this week would be even busier. I have also been in the process of trying to organize my life more. It has been out of cotnrol since opening the gallery. I have been overwhelmed at how disorganized my house has become and I decided Monday things had to change. My brain has been so scattered and I know that my home is the main reason. I have no calm place to come home to at night. I am changing that. Anyway, yesterday I had a class, then had to go to the art store to get supplies for Sophie’s birthday party tomorrow. She wants an art party at the gallery. I got supplies, came back to the gallery and emailed some clients then went and picked the kids up from school. Then I went to the grocery store and got some things for dinner and the cupcake mix for her school party today. Then we went home and I decided I would clean one room. The worst one was Sophie’s. Can’t even explain the destruction. I cleaned out two closets and got rid of a mountain of toys that she no longer played with. That took almost 3 hours. Then I made dinner. After dinner Sophie wanted to help with the cupcakes. At which point I realized how little I cook because it never occurred to me to have oil and eggs. Back to the store at 8:30pm. Came home, made the mix, put the first batch int he oven, put the kids to bed and started laundry. All I wanted to do at this point was sit and sketch the painting I need to finish for a charity event on Sat at 12pm. So I took the first batch of cupcakes out of the oven, let them cool and put the second batch in. Then I went in my room and took a minute to breathe. I closed my eyes for a second when I heard a fork fall in the kitchen. In that second I knew what was happening. And it was bad. I ran into the living room just in time to see a really guilty looking dog coming out. Twelve cupcakes gone in less than a minute. I began to yell at him, but didn’t want to wake the kids up and ended up just crying instead. You know those moments when you know you could just as easily laugh at the absurdity of the situation, but you are just so tired that you cry instead? I was so tired and now I was down 12 cupcakes for a party at 11am. With the kids asleep I realized my morning would now be a crazy one of getting them off to school then running to the store for more mix. Luckily a wonderful friend (Hi Maggie I love you!!) went and got me mix. So at 11:30pm I made another batch of cupcakes, put them on top of the fridge to cool and went to bed. I am about to ice them then bring them up to the school in a little while. And I am still not talking to Rufus yet. Stupid dog.

Coffee time

I had to wake up at 5:45am this morning. For the first time in a long time I am not rushing in a frenzy. I am actually sitting with some coffee with a van fully loaded ready to go in about 25 minutes to a festival. Last night the show went really great. I had a lot of traffic and mostly from people that picked up my postcard. Mostly strangers. So good. I had wonderful comments. “Everything in here makes me smile!” “This art is fantastic!” “I just can’t help but be happy in this house!” Every comment filled me with joy. Every smile from every adult and child makes every bit I do worth it. Right now I am far from rolling in money. I am not counting the bills and laughing on my way to the bank. Honestly? I just paid all my househole bills and my gallery bills and I think I might have some money left over. Might. Like $20? Ok, I am exaggerating. I forgot the $5 in my back pocket. But I have jobs coming in, freelance checks are due. It will work out. I will get commissions today at the festival and I will get some from last night. I am writing this to let the people that want to quit their jobs know that the reality of living your dream is different than you might think. You will work harder than you ever have. You will spend days in a row staying up until 1am or later, spend money for your supplies that you don’t have, fanagle your bills so that you have money until the last possible moment. No matter what, you WILL stress out. You will wonder at times why in the world you prefer to live like this than to get a “real” job you can walk away from every day at 5pm and have a check to pick up every two weeks. And don’t even get me started on my envy of healthcare plans. So why will you still do it? The answer is easy. You simply cannot do it. You will get to that moment when you won’t care anymore. You will have to be who you are, create what you were meant to create. You will make it work because you will realize that it is far more stressful and paintful to not do what you know you are meant to do than the stresses that come along with it. And then after all your hard work, someone buys a painting, orders a commission, or simply walks into your dream and beams with a smile so bright that you know you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing. And that, that makes everything worth it. I am living my life and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now at this moment. And it doesn’t matter if I am doing it exaclty right, or if I am making mistakes or most of the time I haven’t a clue as to if it will work out in the end. I make people happy with my art. I can’t tell you how filled with joy that makes me.

Wish me lucky today. The reality is I need to go grocery shopping soon, so some sales won’t bother me at all! 😉

The Big Dog Show TONITE at 7pm

Yeah, so don’t forget, it’s TONITE. And me in my infinite busy-ness is realizing that maybe I did not get the word out enough? Let me tell you people I do this every time. Everytime I have a show or event I FREAK at the last minute. I am sure no one will come, but then people do. Lots of people do. But this time, maybe not so much. So many of my friends can’t come. Oh no! What if no one comes? I will be sitting in my little ol’ gallery, just me and a bunch of wine, cheese and grapes surrounded by lots of giant dog paintings. But I suppose that is less sad than me all alone surrounded by lots of cat paintings. Ha! Such a funny weird, dog lady I am….

Seriously people, come. Or I will cry. And tonite when you go to sleep how guilty will you feel? SO. GUILTY. And then come tomorrow to Taste of Intown Festival at Ponce and N. Highland. Cause I will be sitting all alone in my booth surrounded by big dog paintings…which I guess is less sad than surrounded by big cat…. Oh you get it. COME SEE ME! (yes, I don’t mind begging at all.)

New Adventures

I have so much going on and so much to keep track of. I am hoping to be able to simplify in the future, but right now I have to juggle a lot of balls. I like it to an extent, but let’s face it, it is not always fun to feel like there is so much to do. Something has happened recently that I have wanted to to write about, but I couldn’t yet. I have been focusing on it and doing so much extra work since I opened the gallery for it. The timing was perfect and horrible all at the same time. When I was about to open the gallery I had decided I would start to look into art licensing. This has always been my long term goal for financial security. You can make a good living if you have a body of work that is suitable for this field. I had sought out experts in the field and had received very positive feedback regarding my pet art. I told myself that once I was settled in the gallery I would begin looking for an agent or try to license myself. The Sunday after I had my grand opening I decided to take the day off. I went to Starbucks and ordered a big ol’ vanilla latte and sat and people watched and relaxed. then I began sketching ideas for new paintings because relaxing is just not really in my blood. I was there for hours and so happy. i was so peaceful. Life was so good. I was going home and I decided to stop by the gallery to check some emails. Day off – whatever. I had received a very interesting email from a woman in New York City. She had, somehow, through a colleague seen my url announcing my gallery opening. She asked me if i was interested in art licensing and thought my work would be perfect for it. She told me to check out her company and if i was interested, to please contact her first thing Monday morning. I checked out the company site, i checked out her name. Thank you google! I learned a lot about her company and who they represent. Then I called Monday. She was interested in my art, my ideas, my future ideas, my children’s book, everything. We were both really excited. She told me that she was one of the main people that got the Teletubbies into the U.S., and she worked with some really great artists whom I recognize and love their work. She explained that licensing takes time, but that she really believed my work is very unique and has a place in the industry. She needed me to get copy shots of all my art, she needed me to make comps of products to show certain companies. After deciding to make this company my exclusive agent I had a ton of work to do for them. Right after I had just opened a gallery and was going through the end stages of a divorce. The past 2 months have been almost insane. I have had a ton of work to do that right now pays nothing, been getting ready for licenisng shows and running the gallery and keeping up with design work that pays the bills. It has been a really exciting time, and to a certain extent I have not rally been able to sit and think about much of any of it. there was no time to think. I will have my art at the Stationary Show in NYC in two weeks. My agency is having me come out to The Licensing Show in June!!! Which is huge! They want me there painting in their booth. I cannot wait! All the art I am doing for my show is also for my agent. Licensing is an interesting thing. it takes time. Or it doesn’t. The industry gets you, or they don’t. You just don’t know; Right now there is a major brand looking at two of my images to possibly purchase for beach towel designs. I am crossing my fingers. I am hoping this is my break that might make life a little bit easier so i can slow down a bit. Maybe not have to do as much design work. We’ll see. I am hoping people get me and my art. I want to have someone want to publish my children’s books, listen to my ideas, use my art on products so maybe people can smile when they see my silly dogs. My dogs make me so happy and I just want to keep painting them for as long as i can. I hope they make other people smile too. they are just plain old silly and I love them. I am now represented exclusively by Big Tent Entertainment and they seem to get me and my art. I hope it is a long and successful partnership and that they are rewarded for taking a chance on me. I know I bleieve in me and I am ready to show that to the world. Thank you Big Tent for seeing me and believing in what I have to offer.

stupid sore throat

I am up late painting and taking a break because my foot fell asleep. I am painting a 36×36 canvas and because I am at home I have no easel, so it is up against the back of my couch and I am sitting on the floor in front of it. With acrylics and painting this large I have to paint fast and concentrate a lot. I forget to move, blink, breathe. I am coming down with some stupid cold which I think my daughter has too. My throat is hurting and I have a swollen gland behind my ear. I would love to go to bed and sleep until whatever time I wake up. I don’t even remember the last time I did that. I have 5 more large scale paintings to do by next Friday. And I would love to do three smaller ones in another series. I imagine that is wishful thinking, but ya never know. As long as I finish a large painting a day I am good. I have a mother’s group that scheduled a private toddler class with 9 kids tomorrow. Luckily yesterday I taught offsite at a private mother’s day out preschool for 6 classes and feel pretty confident for a large class tomorrow. It is a surprise to me how much I really enjoy the toddler classes. I look forward to them so much and love the creativity of 2-4 year olds. They don’t worry about if it is good or bad, right or wrong, they just are having fun and the work they do is amazing. They truly live in the moment. I have a lot to learn from them.

I got my postcards from the printer for my show yesterday and I spent about 2 hours this afternoon putting them all around town. I am hoping to get another hour in tomorrow of passing them out, but we will see.They turned out really great. Even if they did accidentally make 500 instead of the 250 I ordered. Which would be great if it wasn’t a one day event. Let’s just say I can paper the neighborhood with these babies! Or wallpaper my bedroom with a big st. bernard head! anyway, I am beat and I feel pretty bad and I have two big brown dog ears to paint before I can get to bed, so I better go. Today was a chocolate lab, tomorrow is a giant corgi. heh. makes me laugh just thinking about it. later taters.

‘Cause really, who DOESN’T need a giant painting of a hippo?

I am busy, busy, busy with my toddler classes, design work and painting up a storm for my big dog show. I get my postcards from the printer tomorrow and get to leave them all over town. Yippee!

And I will post shortly to let you all know how life has been. The past few weeks have been no fun at all. Some really hard life things have been going on, and this isn’t the place to go into any of it, but I want to share with you how hard it can be to be supposedly living your dream and the rest of your life feels like it is swirling down a drain. When you work for your self you lose the luxury of taking some sick leave and hiding from the world. Your world might feel like it’s crumbling, but you still have to put on a happy face and keep on top of your business so that when things stop swirling you still have a business to have. And those bills don’t put themselves on hold because you didn’t feel like taking a freelance assignment, or have not been promoting your paintings or art classes. Talk about juggling emotions. Not to mention putting on a brave face for your kids and being a strong mommy when all you really want to do is crawl under the covers and wish that maybe after a nice long nap everything would be happy and shiny again. You moms know what I’m talking about… But shiny, happy days are coming. I feel it.