In honor of my new found resolve to stop and throw the tennis balls, I am really trying to notice the perfect moments that come throughout the day. Yesterday at about 4pm I had my office widows open, the cool breeze that promised fall around the corner was softly blowing in. With it, I swore, was the smell of someone cooking home made vegetable soup. It drove me crazy for about 30 minutes. I even IM’d a friend about it. “It just smells so good!” I wrote! “It makes me feel so safe and cozy, like when i was a little kid. Was it real? imagined? None of my neighbors were even home! Well, after that 30 minutes I could stand it no longer. I ransacked my fridge and cupboards and pulled out every fresh and canned veggie we had. Wow, lots…who knew?! So I made this huge pot of wonderful vegetable soup. After simmering for about an hour the kids wandered in the office. “Mommy, what smells so good? It makes me happy!” Sophie said. “Me too, Sophie!” “Mom, I may even try that soup it smells so good!” the world’s pickiest boy exclaimed.
I looked out the window, the evening sun was hitting the tree trunks making that amazing gold color, I could smell the fresh breeze mingled now with the very real smell of my soup. I was finishing up my day with two sketches for paintings I would finish that night and I realized that in that moment I had given my kids the same safe cozy feeling I had been having. It was a very perfect moment.
Dogs may not be able to talk, but as all you dog owners can attest, they will make themselves heard! So I have been working a lot lately. Too much. Yesterday was the height of craziness. I admit it. Today many projects are done or just about done. I have been ignoring my dogs sad eyes looking longingly at the front door begging me for our morning walk. I swear they sigh resigningly as I instead open the back door and send them there. Just like my kids when I send them to their room, they have been playing together a lot more. But, they have made sure that I know this arrangement is not to their liking. This week I have lost two shoes. Both from different pairs. Granted, I am a total low maintenence gal and one was a $3 jobbie from a thrift shop and the other was a Target find from 2 years ago, but still, I wore them all the time. I think now they realized that. Now, Rufus has eaten couches, pillows, the occasional Barbie, but that was months ago. He had stopped this and no longer even was in his kennel when I went out. But the past two nights this dog plotted. There were other shoes to choose from, a towel left out, a pillow on the floor. Rufus is not the brains of the operation, and I know Lucy would never get caught doing something so unseemly. I can just see her, “No, Rufus, not Noah’s shoe, this one here, see, it smells like her! Eat this one!” And together they said, “No walks?? We’ll teach her about no walks!” So I woke up, scolded the dog, but got the message. I just got back from an hour’s walk where we stopped at the park, found a tennis ball and I ran those two ragged! Then we sat on the porch at home, me with my coffee, them lapping their water happily. I swear they are looking at me different. Dogs can smile and I think the smile they are giving me is more smug. Yep, dogs can teach a human that is rushing about a lot a lesson or two. Sometimes you just have to stop and throw the tennis ball. Thanks Rufus and Lucy!
My name is Michelle and I am addicted to taking work. Even when I don’t have the time to do it, I take it. Today I make a committment in front of everyone that I will not, after this week, take another design job until at least January, preferably after a week in the Bahamas with my honey, a good book, and a nice tropical drink filled with a lot of rum. What was I thinking???14 banner ads to do the same weekend I had to finish a brochure and my husband when out of town? Not to mention the poster design, website design, 6 paintings and having festivals to be painting for? Hello McFly!!?? I think it is high time I trust that the universe will send me the work I want and I don’t have to take everything that comes down the pike. I feel like life is tossing me about when all I want to do is have an extra hour with my kids and an extra 30 minutes to walk my dogs! Not too much to ask! Ok, back to work… oh, did you see my art in the store?? if not, go look! On my homepage! Go! Off with you! Go see my two cuties in the card section!
Last night I went by to take pictues of “Barnaby”, a very cute, wiggly, dachshund, lahsa, poodly mix. The kids loved him and Sophie decided that our dogs are way too big. What? Two huge slobbery dogs that knock her over with their tails are no good? What’s not to love??
But I digress. The reason Barnaby is special is that he is my 100th commission since last October. I can name every dog I have painted almost without looking at paperwork. I guess when you paint a portrait it just gets ingrained in your head. So here I am 11 months after beginning this adventure and at my 100th painting. Pretty cool.
Yesterday I dropped off my art at Donna Van Gogh’s (pics to come!!). My lovely husband was with me and the owner asked him what is felt like to be married to the newest emerging talent in Atlanta. Wow. That felt pretty good. It was a pretty wonderful day yesterday. After we dropped off the art and I got my fill of gushing from the owner, we ate lunch at the mexican place next door and had a mojito. Oh my….love at first sip. And Miss Scoutdog? Add sipping mojitos on a weekday afternoon with my husband to my list of guilt free pleasures!!
I am trying very hard to live in this moment. I am trying hard to balance many projects of equal priority. I am trying hard to be inspired by other artists but not feeling guilty that I should be tring to do what they are. I fill up my plate at the art project buffet than I look around at others and want a try some of theirs too! I have lots to do and I fight wanting to be doing more. Then I lose my moment. I lose the sheer pleasure of enjoying the painting of the bulldog I am working on. Watching each new “mini smile painting” being finished. Smiling with satisfaction as each webpage links and loads correctly for the website I am creating for a photographer. So why do I still feel like I should be doing more? I guess it goes back to looking at other artist’s work. Inspiration versus jealousy. Yes, I said it. And I know you feel it too! We look at someone else and we say we are so happy for them. But we all know deep down that part of us is actually jealous. Why can’t I quit my job and do that? Why don’t I have a book deal yet? Why don’t I have a gallery show? How come I can’t take a dream vacation yet? Come on, we all do it. We need to let go of it. I truly think when we let go, find satisfaction in all WE have done it is an amazing thing. Today look at all you HAVE accomplished so far. Write down a list of things you have done so far in your life. You will be pleasantly surprised if not downright proud! I love this online community I am in. Whenever I need a pick me up I check out my favorite sites and realize that these other artsits are just like me, and we all need to support and encourage each other. Then I realize jealousy has no place here, because I have written and either made contact with or friends with so many of these artists. And we all truly want to help each other and encourage each other to succeed. Because then when one of us does get the bookdeal, lands the agent, takes the dream vacation we all breathe a little sigh of relief because then we at least know our dreams are indeed possible. So today I will be satisfied with what I have, what I have done, and what I am going to do. I don’t need any new ideas on my plate, my plate is full and I like what I have.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why people kept asking me what I was doing this weekend. And why alot of my clients kept referring to Tuesday and midweek for deliveries. Huh? Finally my sister mentions going to the lake on Monday with her boyfriend and I ask her, “What?? Is nobody working Monday?!” Ahhhhh, Labor Day. I am working today, finishing up some paintings, sketching some new ones. Finishing my order for the store. Holidays don’t have that special feeling of relief for me anymore. And that is fine with me. That “Thank God It’s Friday!” thing? No more meaning. And that’s is ok with me too. Ya know whay? Because that, “Oh, man, it’s Sunday night, and tomorrow is Monday!” icky feeling? Don’t have that either. I love waking up everyday knowing there is not a task on my list that I don’t want to do. Sure, I can still get overwhelmed with the amount I have to do, but how amazing that I HAVE so much to do. A year ago I was working full time and painting a whole bunch of canvases with an assortment of dogs for a festival that I had no idea how my work would be received. What a year it’s been. And I am more than happy to labor on Labor Day. I hope everyone has as wonderful a day as I will today. Go enjoy!
Remember pizza day at school? One of the only days I bought school lunch. The other lunch days I was strictly a peanut butter sandwich, apple and milk kinda gal. Not so much picky, just that I liked routine. My son? He’s picky. My daughter? She will eat anything! Or at least be willing to try it once. She is an adventurer. Noah likes to know his situation. But what do they both agree on? That same rectangular pizza served up at school lunches across our great nation with the tiny containers of milk and that canned fruit cocktail. At 10:55am and 11:25am I will be eating lunch with my kids. A nice perk for working at home. Especially since they have to hear every other minute, “In a second baby, Mommy just has to finish this.” I stop working when they get home, maybe taking occasional client calls. But then I work as soon as they are in bed. Most nights when they sleepily awake to use the bathroom or asked to be tucked back in, they find me in the office or in the living room painting with canvas and tubes of paint everywhere. They pretty much always see me working. I realized yesterday that seeing all this they may never ever want to work for themselves. It consumes you. You work every spare minute. You almost always think about work. A new marketing idea, getting the money for a new ad, calling connections, finding festivals, and then of course the actual painting with the occasional design job thrown in. And don’t get me started about hunting down checks people owe you! (the design jobs, not my painting clients.) I work way more than 40 hours a week. But, the thing is, I LOVE it. Absolutely love it. And, while I may stay up until 1 or 2am most nights, in about 3 hours I will get to go have lunch with my kids, forget about the rest of the world for a while and focus all my attention on two of the coolest kids I know. Oh yeah, and eat some great rectangle pizza!