Painting weekend

With a tight deadline looming in my future I need to get used to painting Thursday- Sundays. I am so excited for it. The past few weekends have been filled with lots of house type things and running errands and actual running. The half marathon I am running in is next weekend and after that no more 2 hour exercise sessions! Back to 30 minute dvds. Yay!!! So this weekend I am gearing myself up for getting used to what is ahead. And I am happily working on a pet portrait, a painting study for a book I am working on and a surprise painting for a friend that is long overdue.

I am not sure of my blogging over the next few months, so I was thinking I will post pictures of my studio table when I can. That alone tells a story of my doings. I am a messy, disorganized, chaotic person. How I get anything done is out of sheer determination. I am forever on the lookout as to the secret of organizational success, but it continues to elude me.

So today I have to visit the art store and just paint. And I could not be happier. (ok, and get a 5-6 mile run in at some point, but I will squish that in somewhere) 😀

Sleepless ramblings

It’s 4:12am and I can’t sleep. I have watched two episodes of The Tudors and know if I go back to bed I will just lay there. My mind is turned to ‘on’. As a side note, (and be prepared this whole post is likely to be rambling and make little sense – you’ve been warned) my bestie friend Melinda turned me on to The Tudors just yesterday. I am on episode 8. I have an obsessive and addictive personality. And it has nothing at all to do with the awesome sex scenes. Nope. Not. At. All. Or the beautiful men on the show. I have seen paintings of these people. I am glad they decided not to go with historical accuracy when it comes to looks. And I like to pretend that deodorant was invented back then. And the clothes were washed frequently. As were the people. And there was indoor plumbing that worked awesome. Suspension of disbelief says I. 🙂 And this is what happens when something catches my interest. I become consumed. And so, I am watching this series and and at the same time googling the history of Henry VIII’s six wives. Sadly, I was not much of a history student and all of this seems new to me. Things I should have learned and committed to memory so that in conversations I do not appear stupid. Did you know that by often staying silent in a conversation that you know NOTHING about, people will assume you are thinking, pondering an intelligent remark? When in fact you have no clue what they are talking about. It works. I think. What is that quote, “Stay quiet and let them think you a fool instead of open your mouth and confirm it.” Or something like that.

I am sitting on the couch in a hot pink Snuggie that the husband bought for me as a joke. But I really love it. I do. I am also sitting next to my old girl Lucy – she is 12, farts a lot and snores in her sleep. She gets up on the couch every night when we go to bed. She used to jump off when she heard me coming down the stairs. She doesn’t bother any more. She just looks at me and is all, ‘Um, i am old. Deal with it.” But she does still wait until we go to bed to get on the couch. I adore her. She is getting old and crotchety but makes no apologies and takes no shit from the other dogs. But she loves me and she lets me know it. I swear she looks at me and knows that she is the muse responsible for my career. She is. Her eyes show she knows it. I do love my Lucy Goosey.

My career. I cannot believe it is all happening. The things I only dreamed of and wrote of in journals over ten years ago are coming true. I am finishing the contract negotiations with the publisher on two of my books. TWO. I worked my butt of for years and years, pulled myself back up from rejection after rejection and wow. It happened. Of course now my next thought it: Will they be good enough? Will they get noticed? Will they be hard cover? Will they be board books? Soft cover? Will anyone buy them? Will anyone care? Can I sell more books? Will I be able to sell a book that is not rhyming? Will I be able to ever do this full time and quit my part time job? The questions and doubts it seems, never end. Sigh. But, that is life, right? The not knowing. The moving forward. The taking chances. Risking failure for success. The possibility of the unknown is what drives me. Wakes me up each day. What will happen today? What might I try that could work today? What is going to make me feel joy today? I am so grateful my art always seems to.

Lately, past clients whose pets I have painted have contacted me after several years. I wrote of them in the past post and another a few weeks back. When I wonder if I am doing what I should be, those moments help. When I wonder if I am making a difference, wonder if my life will matter, those tiny moments where I brought joy to another mean something to me. Even if I never sell any of my books, even if I never have the career I hope to, those other simple moments make it worth putting a pencil to a pad, paintbrush to a canvas.

I am truly rambling now. I don’t know where this is going. Maybe this is why I have had such large gaps in my entries. I never know where they will go. I guess it doesn’t matter. Some posts will have a clear point, like that last one, and some will just meander along. Like this one. 🙂

I miss my kids. Last week we had to switch weeks so that my weeks would work out better with Soph’s girl scout schedule. Which meant I kept the kids three days longer and then went to their dad’s. He has had them for almost a week and a half now. Funny how it seems so much longer than the week I am used to. I get crazy without them after a while. My kids ground me. They make me know who I truly am. Without them for too long, I feel like I begin to float, not knowing where I should be or what I should be doing. The moment I am with them I know. I am Mom. And that is my most important role in this life. They are both going to Halloween parties tomorrow. Sophie will be The Red Queen from Alice and Noah is a zombie from Shawn of the Dead. They will send me pictures. If I beg them. A lot. Teenagers. They do what I ask after eleventy billion requests. I can’t wait to see pictures tomorrow. Tonite Sophie was telling me all about her step mom doing her make up. You would think that would be hard for me. I suppose it should be, but it is not. I can tell that her step mom loves her. I can tell Sophie loves her step mom. How can I not be ok with another adult in my children’s lives that will love them, watch out for them, care for them? Yes, it makes me happy. I will be happier if I get to see a picture. Even if I have to ask eleventy billion times.

I guess I should end this now and try to go to bed. It is almost 5am. I am super glad it is Saturday. I will leave you will a picture of my lovely snoring Lucy. Isn’t she the cutest?

Why I do what I do…(and you should do what you do)

This is Stout and Yoda. I painted them for an awesome couple back in 2007. For some terrible reason, I do not have an image of the painting – but I painted them in their life vests on the lake- just like in this photo. It was super cute! And I got to see it hanging in their hallway and look out the back door to see the real life Stout and Yoda just a few weeks ago! It is a huge treat when I get to meet the actual pets I paint! Love it!

It is an even bigger treat when I get repeat clients. People get new pets or order for others as a surprise. Sometimes, I get requests for a commission to paint a pet that has passed as a gift to the owners. I actually get that a lot. I think it has to do with my style. It is hard not to smile at how I paint, even if through tears. Well, Stout and Yoda’s mom and dad asked me to paint Rudy for a friend of theirs. Rudy had recently passed away from cancer. His parents were heartbroken. I heard that Rudy had an awesome summer tho – they only went places that they could bring Rudy along. They took him where ever they went, wanting to spend as much of his last days with him as possible. What a lucky dog. What lucky owners. That, my friends is what life is about. Love. Caring. Family. Pets.

So what an honer when they asked me to paint a portrait of their beloved Rudy. They gave me a photo of him in the gazebo at Decatur Square. I knew it well – I had been there many, many times over the years with my kids when I lived there. I decided to paint Rudy as he was in that photo with the gazebo in the background. I sent shots of the painting in progress as I did it to make sure I was getting Rudy just right. Here is the completed painting.

After delivery, the friends promised to tell me how it was received. They did better than that. They sent a link showing them giving the painting. They gave me permission to share it with you:

As I watched, my heart overflowed with gratitude that I could be a small part of so much love. Love of good friends. Love of good pets not to be forgotten. May we all have such love in our lives and care about each other like this group of friends so obviously does.

I am so truly grateful that I can put a piece of myself out there and share my art with the world like this.

If you have something to share with the world, please do. It matters. More than you know. 🙂

***POST EDIT***
Stout and Yoda’s mom just emailed me a photo of the painting! How cool is that? (See? Told you it was totally cute!) 😀