What’s another task on my list?

I finished transferring all the final approved sketches to the final illustration paper. I will begin painting the illustrations for my books tomorrow! I am so excited!! And of course I got an email from a lovely woman asking me for the third time if I want to donate a painting to her charity – the Labrador Friends of the South. She had emailed me a month ago and of course I had not gotten back to her. Along with several other people I TOTALLY owe an email or phone call! (I am so sorry! I am getting to you, I promise!)

The funny thing is, I had thought about this women and the charity just this morning. And I was regretting not getting back to her and wondering if I was too late. And of course she emailed me today! Because I thought of the painting idea today. SO I HAD to paint it. And so she emailed. And they need it this Friday. And I will deliver it this Friday. Along with everything else to do this week like a chorus concert for Sophie, a band concert for Noah, work, a dentist appointment for me, starting my book illustrations and the pet portrait I have due. And did I mention I want to blog more and document the progress of my first ever childrens picture books for all the people that want to do this too?? Oh, and starting my training schedule for the half marathon in February. Ah well, I love life like this. I am a liar if I say I don’t. (Oh! And I promised Sophie to do the house decorations this week! May have to push that the weekend.)

For the past two years I have donated to this labrador rescue.The first year I did a summer scene with a yellow lab. Last year I did a winter scene with a black lab. And this year is a spring scene with, of course, a chocolate lab. I just finished sketching it and I can hardly wait to paint it. Here is the sketch:

It will be turquoise, green brown and pink – cherry blossoms!!

Now if I didn’t have to go to stupid ol’ work this week I could just paint all week instead. Darn bills and money! One day maybe I’ll be like Picasso and I can pay people with dog paintings. heh. 😉

I’ll totally get right on that. The second I finish these 25 made up tasks.

This past weekend I cleaned my house. Every nook and cranny. Baseboards. Shelves. Dusted. Everything. Now let me explain – dusting to me can be as simple as blowing really hard and waving my hand in the air. I am not exactly what you would call a Martha Stewart/June Cleaver type. But Saturday I was a machine. I took all the knickknacks and pictures down, dusted them individually, cleaned the mantle and shelves and put them all back. The next day I cleaned the studio. I ORGANIZED it. That is no small feat. I am comfortable with chaos and I am fine with figuring out where whatever tool I need is when I need it. Not efficient, but there is a method to my madness I suppose. Point to all this? I was a cleaning FOOL. Heck I even vacuumed the dog! He was shedding all over the place so I took a vacuum to him. He loved it. See?
He totally is happy with me!

Then I saw a painting I did. “Ya know? I really should frame that.” I thought. “Hmmm, I painted it an odd size. I need a mat. I know! I’ll cut a mat.” So I did. Then framed it. Woohoo more time passed. And look how cute:

Now what?

You know what I need? A new goal! A project! Yes! I need to run another half marathon! That seems simply logical and rational. What with the holidays all coming up. Oh look! Here! There is a half marathon at Tybee Island February 5! Perfect! And before my husband could protest or speak any logic into my head I had us both signed up and a beach house rented for the weekend. You’re welcome dear husband. 😀

Ok, so another half marathon in a few months. You know what would be really cool? If I could beat my time from when I was 19 and ran my first half marathon. I will be 38. 19 years later. How cool would it be if I could beat my time??? It is a really FLAT race! Of course I can!! So now, I am not only training to run 13.1 miles, but training to run at least 10 minute miles. BRILLIANT. Look! I even found the picture from when I ran and found my time. And I am TOTALLY on the cover of the newspaper that had all the official times in it! How cool is that?? SO. COOL See:

And shall we take a good look at that BABY FACE in the pic that was ME at 19! NINETEEN! I thought I had a CLUE about life! AHAHAHAHAHA! I had the opposite of a clue. I was a nincompoop!

So cut to today. The day before Thanksgiving. Errands! Let’s do errands! That will take up some more time. So off we went to get Noah some new headphones he wanted, Sophie some art supplies she wanted (they paid) and the husband and I needed haircuts.

On a side note – I don’t get my hair cut very often. I know, I know. I am simply lazy. I hate it. I hate the small talk involved. So once a year I have to listen to some lady tell me how horrible I am being to my hair. Split ends!!! And then the split ends get split ends!!! Oh MY GOD! My head is one big mass of split ends!! And it all ends the same way. I promise, Laura, or Helen, or Ann that I will be back in 8 weeks. I PROMISE!! And then I find a different Quickie Clips next November where I will suffer the tongue-lashing of a hair stylist that cannot believe I have the audacity to live with split ends!!

Anyway. We get our hair cut and go to the grocery store to get the stuff for the queso and pico de gallo I have promised to make for appetizers. Yay! I am helping with food! And also: More time spent doing other stuff.

But first! I should run. Five miles! On account of that will take me just about an hour. I will try to run it fast! Yes! 11 minute miles! (that is fast for me people. I am not built like a runner. My body is more the shot put-ter type of body. Read: Not made for speed. Moving on.) So I announced to the husband who was working diligently on his book on account of he is RESPONSIBLE that I was going to go run on the treadmill. See lookit him being all responsible. Can you believe HE married ME? I know. My family doesn’t either.

 

And here is where I run when I don’t run outside. It looks like the scene of a horror movie right? Good times.


(for the record – I did not run 11 minute miles. Sad face. Note to self: Try HARDER next time.)

 

Now to make the pico where I will transform some simple ingredients into a party for your mouth for my family tomorrow! More time to pass! Woohoo!

Now what? Oh! I know! I have that pet portrait of Jack, the golden retriever to do! I should totally do that this weekend too! See? So cute! Those are the Colorado Rockies behind him!

 

 

So why all this procrastinating? What am I putting off? What is it I am trying so damn hard to avoid with running faster miles, making tasty dips for chips, torturing my dog by sucking his shedding hair with a vacuum? Well this past week I signed something.

Here this is me right after I said I would produce all the art for my two books by January 28. I don’t look like I am gonna throw up, do I? I totally am.

 

 

Right now my book looks like this:

And Kane/Miller Publishers will make it into a book. Once I paint the illustrations. And I will meet their deadline. Of course I will. It is what I do. I make goals and I reach them. BUT. BUT. Once I begin the paintings? It will be a blur. A whirlwind.

10 weeks will go by like a moment. Like a breath. And suddenly it will be over. And in the hands of a publisher. And then I will wait for my books to get made. And figure out how to publicize them. And then I will have to wonder if anyone will buy them. And OH MY GOD, people need to buy them!! And I need to sell anther book. And I need that to happen. And how will I get another publisher to buy another book if these books don’t sell? What if they don’t sell??? And oh my god this is my dream! I want to go to schools. Make books, sell books. What if it doesn’t work. What if I fail. What if I never manage to make a living with my art? What if, what if, what if?????? Oh, I’m sorry. Don’t mind me.

So my mind kind of goes to Crazyville in a heartbeat. And the voice in my head is the voice of a nut job with NO rational or logical thinking skills. But. BUT. If I can put off starting this book just a wee bit longer? That train to Crazyville is delayed.* So I am delaying it. With dusting and cleaning and pico de gallo and haircuts and blogging and now, with wine. And just look at that hair! Not a split end to be seen!

And thank you Kane/Miller for taking a chance on me. You won’t be sorry. Crazyville is a fun place to live once you get there. 😀

*Just until Friday. It all begins Friday.

I *heart* The Howard School

Yesterday I had the honor of visiting The Howard School. Before I say anything else, I have to say that if every school in the world was like this, the world would be a very different place. Yes, it is a private school, and yes, they have money, but it is not those things that made it special. I didn’t even see very much of it. I went down a hallway and into the art room. But what I FELT when I walked through the door? THAT is what was so special. It felt happy. It felt nurturing. It felt alive. This is not an art school, yet art was EVERYWHERE you looked. Children’s art exhibits were on the windows, in displays, on walls. I passed a display of sewn monsters the children had made that literally made my mouth hang open. It was pure eye candy. I think if more people got that art and creativity go hand in hand with success in life, we certainly would NOT be cutting art and music programs like we are. This school obviously gets it.

Then I walked into the art room. It felt just like my studio at home. It felt like home. Any artist would love to be in that room. Heck, anyone would. There was inspiration on every wall, in every nook and cranny. I knew my afternoon was about to be exceptional. I was invited to give a presentation of my art for The Pet Club. (how awesome is that??) They were using my book, Pop Pooch Portraits for a guide on how to make pet portraits (how awesome is THAT???) and wanted the artist to come and talk to them.

Here are some pics I snapped while waiting for the pet club and the teachers to arrive.




See? Right? Totally amazing and inspiring!

Then the teachers and kids came in. The teachers were fantastic. The children even more so.

My presentations always end up being about not just art, but having a goal and working really hard to achieve it. I told them how I wrote the whole book, had to do all the paintings in the book, showed them some of the actual paintings from the book. I talk about how it all started out with a little chalk outline on a side walk while playing outside with my kids that turned into a dream and a whole career. I make sure to say that the best part about being an artist is that you can ALWAYS be an artist AND anything else in the world. You can be an artist and a doctor. You can be an artist and an accountant. You can be an artist and a dentist. An artist is not just a profession, an artist is really just who you ARE. It is part of you when you are born. And if you want to be an artist AS a profession? Get ready to work REALLY, REALLY hard. I showed them sketches and sketches and sketches from my coloring books and painting book and picture books. I told them about editing and researching and getting it right. I told them about my book idea that I worked REALLY hard on and the two years of rejections I got before I redid the whole thing AGAIN and finally got someone interested in it.

I said ANY dream you have is achievable with three things: Hard work. Perseverance. A little bit of luck. (and that last one comes if you do the first two – I promise.)

And they listened. And they asked questions. And they had fun. And I had ridiculous fun! And then we broke out the coloring books and colored and drew and talked. And it was amazing.

And I got so many hugs that I think the world should use hugs as currency. It would totally work! Well, in my head it does. I am totally gonna try to pay my electric bill in hugs this month. 🙂

Here are pics from my amazing afternoon at at amazing school with amazing teachers and amazing children.






It was a magical afternoon and I am so very grateful to have been asked to share my art with these wonderful children. Their teachers and parents should be very proud to have such awesome kids in their lives. 🙂

And Kate and Isabel? I hung up your art in my studio just like I promised I would! I LOVE IT! Thank you girls! See? I hung it right next to some art I just bought last night at my daughter’s school: