I often write these posts n the morning, coffee hot, still dark outside. I’m an early bird. Always have been. I like this quiet hour because all is fresh. No plans, no jolting out of bed, nothing frantic, no to-do lists yet. Just possibility of the day. To paint or not to paint. To write or not to write. Work is rarely an option, must do that, but those “extras”, those creative paths that we trick ourselves into thinking our luxury paths, are really the essential fuel that keep me going. If I didn’t paint, I couldn’t work. If I didn’t write, I couldn’t express. So really, these stolen hours at the crack of dawn, aren’t stolen at all. They are the log on the campfire that keep me warm.
There is a lot going on right now. More than usual. Just home from a string of trade shows, the order packing and follow up that comes after, an art show at a local winery, a reception, a commission for a series of paintings for a local shop tied into the Shakespeare Festival. All good. And. And the time to take extra special care of my creative hours. This is when it is so easy to slip into more of a “business” role, an administrator-sales-organizer-marketer girl and less of an artist. Because making art is luxury! Right? Wrong. At least for me, it’s a little white lie I tell myself. I can paint tomorrow. I can write next week. I can sketch tonight. True, I can do all those things. But I need to do it today. The business of my business will only get done if I show up for the art. What a topsy turvy concept for someone like myself who has subtly been brainwashed into thinking art is frivolous, the thing you do on the weekend, or at a workshop or an afternoon. Even now, or maybe especially now, when other parts of my business are calling me, I have to remind myself that it’s ok, no permission slip needed to go and create.
So here’s to a fresh 24 hours to show up for our art, our “thing”, whatever that looks like. Cooking, writing, painting, sailing, running, sculpting, drawing, weaving, rowing, gardening, baking…all of it. xo
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” Vincent Van Gogh
I’m back from a week long of travel for work, wonderful inspiring exhausting community building, week of travel in Atlanta where it was unseasonably warm, low 70’s and the air, when I was outside a building, already smelled like spring. Pure delight.Th…
“Ma’am. Excuse me, M’AM?” These are the three words I heard this morning in SeaTac airport while looking for somewhere to sit at the gate. I didn’t look up as certainly, they couldn’t be directed at me. Ma’am? I’m not generally ma’am material and I’m in Seattle, not a parish in New Orleans.
I spied a bank of chargers, Mecca in airport real estate, swivel stools full, except one. My lucky day in an otherwise bumpy cancelled flight kind of morning. I sit down on the stool and I hear it again but louder. “MA’AM! THAT’S MY PHONE!” This is all-caps because she was talk-shouting, not speaking. I look around and a woman sitting 6 feet across from the bank of chargers is “watching her phone” and doesn’t want me to sit where her charger is. For real. I look at her and muster my last little bit of polite upbringing when I really want to make some “Realllllllyyyyy, eye rolling shitty remark, but I don’t.
I say, “No one is sitting here. There are two outlets, one for each of our phones.”
She says, “But my phone is there and all my credit cards are on it.” She’s pissed. She’s enunciating very clearly so me so stupid can understand big problem.
I say, “Ok, I won’t touch it.” (Weirdo.)
She says, “Ma’am! I just said, my PHONE is already there. YOU CAN’T SIT THERE.”
Insert a crowded gate of people that is listening intently, watching my face go from apologetic to embarrassed to lady you’re a rude moron but I’m not going to get into it with you so I unplug my charger, stand up and move. So both she and her phone can have somewhere to sit.
Then the magic. A lovely soft-spoken man who is sitting beside the empty stool-phone, says to me, you take my seat, I’m tired of sitting. (True gentleman. Who is ever tired of sitting?) I say no, he says, yes, please take it. I say no again, he says, I insist. So I sit. And angry ma’am chair hog lady is the whole time is breathing and huffing so loud that I can hear her even though my back is to her. Nice tired from sitting gentleman is standing near by and says to me, it’s ok, I got your back. Really? I’ve gone from ma’am with attitude to draping a cloak on a puddle so I can keep walking, all in a minute. I could cry.
And what does this have to do with painting, life, art, showing up, and entrepreneurship? Everything. Because as an artist and small business operator, I am often in my girl nest with art supplies & books & tech devices and all the things that keep my motor running and none of the things that derail me, like, people. And airports. Or people in airports. But hustling in airports and traveling in inclement weather is also part of the creative gig, life on life’s terms. Today’s bump with humanity was a minor nothing hiccup but a reminder that kindness is king. Leading with kindness and a sense of humor is the softer gentler way. It is easier. It gets you results. Like smiling and feeling good! After I’m done writing my little rant, I’m done. It will be one of a throwaway anecdote to my travels because today my dear friends, the tradeshow, the good stuff is on the other side.
But, “Ma’am”????” My ego can be found flattened on the tarmac.
“Kindness” 8×10” Sold
I have mentioned here more than once that I am part of a magical weekly painter’s group. We meet on Thursday, we work with Ashland artist Suzanne Etienne. In February, we are doing a small group show at a local bedding store. The show is called “The Flock” as we are all contributing sheep and lamb and over the years, we have become a flock of sort to this wonderful teacher and to our commitment to each other.
I love working alone, it suits me. It’s necessary as painter and writer and small business owner. But there is that fine line between being alone and productive and being alone and isolated and this group is that perfect touchstone of community. This group also stretches me. It’s a human calendar marking important dates, checking in, what have you done, where are you going, look what you did, look where you are now. I need that. It’s so easy to be on the low side of the hill looking up the mountain thinking how much further to go. But when you’re checking in weekly, monthly even, you see the progress in others and you think, wow, if they are moving forward in this current of life, I must be too.
And sheep! It’s not a subject I’ve ever approached but an afternoon of painting wooly sheep with women jacked up on coffee and chocolate proved to be pretty entertaining. (Hint: little lambs are both ridiculously easy to paint and infuriatingly difficult. Who knew? But the in-between progress was pretty hilarious…sheep in clothing, cross-eyed sheep, angry sheep, old man sheep, too baby room sheep, startled sheep, tired sheep, flying sheep, are you on drugs sheep, you get the picture.)
If you are in Ashland, OR on February 3, please join us for The Flock at Shepherd’s Dream, 629 A Street. First Friday Artwalk, good people, refreshments and I’m sure a few wooly stories. xo
“Baa Baa” 11×17″
To confirm, it did not snow at Chrissy Field. Not today, nor perhaps, ever, but I’d have to check a Farmer’s Almanac. It is snowing here though. Here being Ashland, Oregon and by snowing I mean, wind, sleet, snow, rain, pellets, ice…frogs falling from the sky? I’m barely exaggerating. Locals are calling it Storm Watch 2017. I’m calling it a Multiple Personality Disorder. I get that there are four seasons and all but I’m officially over the igloo trapped inside too icy to drive, too slick to walk, too everything to even bundle up and do an errand. People are falling over town like beginner ice skaters and the windows are howling with the wind.
So what does one do other than binge watch all of the Netflix? Not sure but I know I look at lovely pictures of times when the sun set at…night. Not 3pm in the afternoon. I’m waxing nostalgic today and a wee bit cranky because my outdoor plans were thwarted again (but day strangely salvaged right now as I got to use the word “thwarted”) and I’ve answered all the emails, read the articles, eyes glazed over from reading, napped more than a cat and I need to breathe some fresh air.
This little piece was half way done so to honor the day, the week, the SEASON of storm weather, I sat down with it again, and finished. Definitely a mood changer. I remembered the beautiful November day last year, the view from Chrissy Field looking over at Sausalito, the otherworldly sunset, the conversation with Stacy, the unseasonably warm afternoon, the all of it. It is my Chrissy Field on a Snowy Day. xo
“Chrissy Field” 11×17″ available, email [email protected] for information
I love coffee. Like, really love it. A lot. And all the things that go with it. The right mug (see yesterday’s post), blend, accessories, and environment. It’s one of those simple affordable pleasures that goes along with all the things I love. Morning…
I recently taught a still life painting workshop with lovely ladies, charming props, delicious treats on china and strong coffee in Polish pottery mugs. It was a snowy day, gloomy outside but sweet and cozy inside, with a patter of conversation and music in the background. Everyone’s paintings were so adorable and quirky and perfect and mine was going down that path minding it’s own business until….THIS MUG. I’ve often said that paintings have a mind of their own once you start and this was a perfect example. The still life props were rated PG. Lemons, limes, dominos, old ephemera, books, marbles, apothecary bottles, tea cups. The things I love and collect. But for some reason, this bright white shiny new mug demanded I not only drink my coffee out of it but be placed smack dab in the middle of the painting. I did it, the class laughed, not thinking I would actually paint it, but it worked.
Life is like that. All sweet and warm and planned out then plunk, life’s equivalent of Write Like a Motherfucker Mug in the middle of your day. Huh. I didn’t wrestle with it this time. I took my own advice, listened to that little voice, and added it. It’s a sign to me. A sign to have more fun, to listen to creative intuition, to teach workshops because damn they are nurturing, and yes, the obvious, to write like a motherfucker. (Thank you Cheryl Strayed and The Rumpus for the quote. And the mug. Available on her website.) Adding the unexpected brought me more joy, more laughter. The unexpected can be exactly what I need to get my good crazy back. The painting is mine now. Not selling it, propped it up in my kitchen to remind myself that unexpected can be the best part of your day. xo
It is not just snowing. It is blizzard snowed in snow plows snow boots snow suits snowing. BUT! Spring can not be far around the corner…can it? The irony is not lost on me that I am painting more florals than ever in a winter white village where I’d be lucky if a half-chipped pine cone served as my floral inspiration. Thank god for Trader Joe’s flowers!!!
My vintage florals are available at a few west coast boutiques, ElizabethW (San Francisco and Carmel) and Watson Kennedy (Seattle). I’d be thrilled to find a few other shops to partner with, Portland perhaps? Or some east coast cities? Please feel free to call or email (above) if this strikes your fancy. More blossoms and blooms for everyone! xoxo
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