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!
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined. ~Thoreau
Once again I am reminded of my personal philosophy that the difference between those of us that achieve their dreams and those of us that don’t is very, very simple. The ones that achieve success began to try. One day they decided to try. And the next day they decided to try again. Even the tiniest progress each day can be monumental at the end of a week, a month, a year. “You cannot fail if you do not stop trying.” And my personal fave? “Life rewards action.” And with that, I better go. Because these dogs aren’t going to paint themselves and while I love computerland, it has been known to suck the productivity out of my day! “Action!”, I constantly remind myself!
Now go have a beautiful day!
I’ve never been a Selma Hayek fan. Actually, she’s always irritated me. Not sure why, maybe it was that increadibly tiny waist??? (just kidding!) But then. I saw Frida. Isn’t it funny how seeing an actor in a different role can make you love them? (happened with Nicholas Cage too.) I now love Selma! So the movie. It was my treat to myself last Friday night. I knew the moment it began I would fall in love with it. It opens in a Mexican courtyard. The colors. They were intoxicating. The walls were cobolt blue and the accents a deep barn red. And the cactus green. Oh the green! Look for this combo in a future painting! So I knew at once I was smitten. The movie. The woman. So much passion lived in her life. So much pain, both emotional and physical. I have never really studied her paintings. But now I know I am changed. Her artwork will be in my house. I have been influenced in the past by Mexican pottery with the bold colors they use. When we go to El Paso (my husband is Mexican-his whole family lives there) I love going to see the pink houses and all the green cypress trees, going over the border to see the painted pottery. I have a mexican tile that is right at my desk as I type because I love to look at the flower pattern on it. I want to paint my living room and dining room a warm terra cotta. Bring so much more color into my life. I try to be bright and vivid with my art, maybe that is why this movie touched me so much. The color, the passion. Frida lived her life on her terms and even in the most terrible moments, she never said she was sorry for who she was or how she lived. And the best part was it showed those moments. Her insecurities as an artist, always being humble, insisting she was not that good. But she always followed her her heart, even when it meant having it broken. And one of the best lines from the movie came from the character that played her husband Diego. He said, “If you are a painter you will paint. You will paint for the rest of your life because you must.” Exactly.
One of life’s simple, sweet pleasures for me is when we gt to see how very much alike we really all are. Last night I took my kids at 10pm to go to a planetarium to see Mars through a telescope with a 36 inch mirror. When we arrived the line was not too long. There I was with my two kids whom I teach as much astronomy as I can hoping one of them wiill one day be a great astronomer so I can live vicariously through them. (I was a physics major for 2 1/2 years before switching my degree to fine arts-yeah, that made daddy REALLY happy!) In front of me is a man with his two sons. We begin the friendly chit chat that strangers stuck on line do, making jokes about how this is educational for the kids but we both know we are really here for us. We then talk for the next 45 minutes getting to know each other as much as two strangers can while intermittedly picking up kids, putting down kids, telling kids that it is not much longer, breaking up fights and explaining that no, we will not die of thirst or heat on this line. We finally snake our way to the telescope, see Mars closer to the Earth right now than in all of recorded history and never to be this close again in our life time. It was magnificent – you could see the polar ice caps! And after this once in a life time event we simply turn to this stranger we just met with the same interests and say, “Nice talking to you, have a great rest of your weekend!” I love that. People being friendly because deep down we all really just want to be nice and have people be nice to us. At least that is how it works in my head – and I like it like that.
I wonder, why is it that when things tend to be bad, downright abysmal, alot of times we find reasons why we deserve it. “I didn’t work hard enough, I should have tried harder, I should have been more helpful etc.” But when things are going amazing, wonderful, better than we could hope for, we tend to think we DIDN’T deserve. “Wow, I sure got lucky, how in the wolrd did I pull off that, how crazy is it that that happened?” Maybe if we reversed our first responses, instead thought, “Well sometimes bad things just happen, and wow, my hard work is really paying off-that sure feels good!” Today I am enjoying the fruits of my labor and relishing in it. Tonite I will reward myself with a nice Merlot, the movie Frida, and actually NOT working until 2am for the first time this week. I worked hard this week and I was rewarded. And I deserve it.