Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kitchen Transformation -

Before......... and the next step - not quite an "after" picture yet. I want to change the counter tops to a butcher block wood and a plain white tile back splash. But for now, i just needed some encouragement. It seems to be taking forever. I didn't realize what an impatient person I've become - this house is going to teach me that's for sure.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Creating and the Day Job

When I got home from work yesterday evening, I found the new Anthropology catalog in my mail box. Quickly I put everything away, changed into warm lounge clothes, boiled hot water for some tea and finally, HAPPILY, sat down to devour those beautiful pages of great clothes and furniture, accessories and styling that makes me want to cry because it's so DANG creative and interesting. I save these catalogs because they are works of art. I'm overwhelmed with inspiration and wanting to try my hand at making these things and growing in new directions as an artist. I want to run upstairs to my studio and work the night away - not sleeping - just painting! making! creating! But I close the catalog because I have things to do - paper work for my day job, laundry because I wear clothes, food to prepare because I'm hungry, working out because I'm getting fat, returning e-mails, wiping up cat puke, painting the second coat of paint in the hall... So much to do and yet I'm rarely doing the thing that makes my heart beat and sing - create. WATERCOLOR!

Even this morning, as I'm writing this I feel the pressure of the day's duty's on me already. I'm constantly at work in my head trying to figure out how to manage life's requirements and my passion. To have only days filled with art stuck in a studio is not what I want either. The outside provides so much energy and inspiration. So how to do it? Here is my list that I'm working on.

1. Get to bed at a decent hour - so you can wake up earlier. I'm a morning person so my best work and creative energy comes at this time. I like to write, paint and plan my day during these morning hours.
2. Make a to do list and get the days' priorities done first. DO IT. If you don't do everything - fine, put it on the next day. Eventually you will get it done.
3. Plan exercise - not so much for looks but for a mental and spiritual uplift - afternoons are best for me because I tend to drag and this is a good boost.
4. Don't forsake your friends for art. There's nothing worse you can do than to isolate yourself. You need people. At least once a week meet a friend for lunch or tea.
5. Plan creating time - so far I've not been good at this. But this needs to happen. I plan everything else, but not this and maybe because I think this time needs to be spontaneous. That needs to change!!!
6. Finally don't try to make it all yourself. As a creative person I see so many things that I feel I can make myself. I can do a lot of things but when I spread my creative self too thin I become a master of nothing and a jack of mediocre crafts. Find out what you want to really be exceptional at - one or two areas - and dive in. Don't try to make all the curtains in your house when you could use that time painting magnificent paintings. This is where I fail the most. I think I'm saving money - but really I'm just increasing my frustration with my life. So I really need to think through certain projects and be reasonable and honest with what I really can manage.

This is a huge reminder to me and I hope this helps others too. Life is so beautiful and short and it really pains me to think that beautiful art, stories, crafts and ideas are just never going to be completed and given to the world by the working artists because we have to fold the towels and unload the dishwasher. NO!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

La la laaa deee da la dee da laaaaaa

This is what I was humming while I did this on a page of a really old dictionary. The actual page of the dictionary is a pretty creamy white - nicely aged looking. But on this scan it looks rather yellow. What to do? I might do a series and frame them... we'll see.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

First Watercolor Completed in New Studio!

... ahhhh finally. I have finally come to the place where I can at least work in my new studio. It's such a nice tree house like nook. Pictures to come - I'm waiting for a sunny day and there haven't been many of late - lots of rain here in the Mid-west. I might just have to post dark pictures. But more importantly here is the painting - A first home this new little family is getting ready to move from and they wanted a keep sake.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009




Monday, October 5, 2009

Home Decor Inspiration

I'm still working on the bones. But it won't be much longer until I get to do the fun stuff and that is the decorating of my new place. When I get down or tired I spend a little time looking at my favorite blogs and soon I feel rejuvenated. Decorating is the light at the end of the tunnel.

The number one design and art blog I look at daily is decor8.
(photo taken from decor8)

I love the European flair that defines this blog and am SO overwhelmed by the great homes I see on on the site that I think I'll pop. And I LOVE that Miss Holly features artists as well. Great art can really pull together a room and speak volumes about a person. It's as defining as the clothing one wears. I learn so much from her site and I admit, my decision to paint all the rooms "Super White" was greatly influenced by this blog. And I'm very pleased with my decision so far.
(photo from Design*Sponge)

Next would be Design*Sponge. I just started looking at this site. A little retro - but I always find something that tickles my fancy, makes me happy and gets my creative juices flowing also known as drooling. Finally, Yarnstorm because she's English, clever and colorful. She finds beauty in gardening, books, yarn and cookies. And, I love, LOVE, LOVE her photos.

(Photo from Yarn Storm)
Sigh.... so many great ideas out there.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Light of Fall

I do love the changing of the light and it just kills me that I'm not out there painting. I did this painting last fall. I love our local botanical gardens! Sigh.... But the house, the job, the squirrels, the "everything" that is not in its place has got me pretty down. I don't operate well on stress, and sugar. And then I get angry at myself. And boy you know what's next - mental explosion...

Last week I had to go out of town on business. At the hotel I vegged out one night in front of the TV for over four hours. (Let me add here, I don't have cable at home and tend to only watch movies or PBS so this was a treat for me.) I caught this home show where two brothers bought a condo and were going to work on it and flip it in 4 months. They were stressed to the max and one of the dumber brothers made me feel like a home renovating genuis. This little show gave me perspective. What I'm trying to do is hard. It's hard when there's two of you, ten of you or one of you. It's just hard.

I think I need to unpack some of my watercolors and set them up around the house - they make me happy. I need a more balanced perspective.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For...

A saying I hate because it's so true...

Since I divorced in 2002 I've been wishing, dreaming and longing for my own home. Shortly after my divorce, my Grandpa told me I would never own a home without a husband. And for a while there I was starting to believe him too. Three months ago, at a time most unlikely, in the middle of the biggest recession I can recall, I own this home - my very own (well in 30 years.) I think the biggest surprise is just how much time it takes to keep up a home let alone fix up. There's always something to buy and something to deal with that just wasn't part of that great fantasy in my head. Like...

- the snake my kitty caught and brought me as a gift... I'm so glad it wasn't very big and half dead or I would have probably fainted.
- the endless painting. By the way, expensive paint is worth the money. You will spend more time cleaning up cheap paint and repainting over and over. Just spend the money on Benjamin Moore. (And no, they aren't giving me any money for this endorsement.)
- the barrage of solicitors that come to my door either selling me goods or religion. I'm sad to say, I have a new rule - I don't answer the door. Living in apartments all these years had some benefits I'm now seeing.
- squirrels living in my attic - they aren't paying rent and I've been trying to get them out for two weeks with loud music, foggers, traps with peanut butter and pounding on the wall. I might be making headway.

When does the dream come? When do all those pretty images in my head come to reality? Will they? That's the interesting thing about dreaming and fantasizing, time is never factored in in any realistic way...
Anything of any value takes time ... another saying I don't really like either. Probably because it's too true. Dealing with alot of truth right now. Lots!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Old House Photos

I painted and cleaned most of the day and I'm whipped!!! There are moments like these where I really wished I bought a spanking brand new house. But then I realize there's no way that would have ever happened - EVER!!!! I mean look at the last ten years. I'm an avid reader of home decor magazines and have all the old Victoria magazines with pages marked of rooms I like. I've day dreamed and wished for so long and I have collections of books, magazines and pictures of homes to prove it. In fact, over the years I've collected old black and whites or sepia photos of houses - they're hard to find - most old photos are just of people that I see in the antique stores. After I scanned my little old house photo collection, I realized it was inevitable - I was bound to buy an old place.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Tools

This renovating a house thing really isn't that fun when you have ADD and would rather be painting on paper than on walls. So I decided to paint watercolors of the three new tools I bought. This is a molding claw bar. I bought it to yank out tacks and nails that are embedded in my wooden steps that were once covered with carpet. I'm hoping to strip these stairs of layers of glue, paint and stain to reveal something truly stunning. So far the only thing that I've discovered is the importance of wearing a nose and mouth mask while using stripper because YES you can get one killer head ache. The next tool I bought is a nail puncher thingy. It taps in the heads of tiny nails so you can hide them. After you tap in the nail, you squish putty down in the hole, let it dry, sand it, prime then paint it. DETAILS - IT'S in the DETAILS!!! You can not believe how many nail heads need to be sunk. So this little yellow bugger is used with a hammer ... and yes, I already have one of those. Finally I had to buy a chisel because the previous owner/renovator forgot to chisel out a hole for my dead bolt to go into. I mean why would you go to the trouble of a deadbolt and not make it work. I roll my eyes constantly while working on this place. But WOW what an education I'm getting. Tomorrow I play with wood glue...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One Very LONG Month

It's been a month since I moved into "this old house". I've gone through a wide range of emotions. Mostly regret and remorse at buying a house that needed so much work. I love a good project but this is the mother of all projects. I work full time, and try to work on my watercolors and writing my stories and now this... "WHAT WAS I THINKING" comes in my head alot.
(carpet was pulled of the stairs because a cat had weeweed on it and it stunk badly)

It was especially rough as I moved in and uncovered more and more hidden problems the the previous owners hid from me - strange stuff. One problem was fine but by the time I reached the tenth I was in a puddle of tears. I mean who puts the dead bolt on the door but doesn't put a hole for the deadbolt in the frame? Tell me WHO DOES THAT?

So I bought a six pack of wine coolers.... and now I completely understand all the beer bottles on construction sites.

Now that I've been here long enough to settle down emotionally, remember all the great and beautiful parts of this home - which was why I bought it in the first place -I might, just maybe, eventually be able to enjoy this place...

(this is the front room -I hate the baby blue walls, but once I cleaned it, well actually my mother cleaned it and we put my things in it, it wasn't so bad)

Here are some "before" pics and even now as I post them and look at them, I realize that before really isn't that bad. The biggest change will come with the paint. All the wood work and walls are painted a shade of white called "smoker's teeth" - really that should be the name of this white and I think I smell smoke.
(Oh, and Baby Kitty found the opening to the third floor attic - she was a mix of grays and blacks before she got a very bad hair cut. Here she is posing in a much cleaner state)

But this is my favorite place so far - the dining room. I took off the curtains and huge roller shades. Cleaned the windows and I might add they were filthy black - why don't people clean? huh? I think that's the number one decorating tip.
Everything looks better clean. Anyway, I digress, I plan on painting the room all white - true white. I can't wait to see what it looks like when I'm done. I've been working on it a little every night...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Looking in the Fish Bowl

This is one of my favorite watercolors. And now that I'm in the middle of the "Fish bowl" course with Marisa Haedike, it's especially fun. Listening to her podcasts and reading comments from other artists has been VERY helpful. However, I am so overwhelmed with this move, this BIG house that needs so much work, my job... Oi Vay. It's seems like I'm constantly battling between the life I have and the life I want and to make the two meet would be a miracle. Maybe I just need to hoist up the white flag and surrender. But which side needs to surrender? I'll figure it out. For now, I paint when I can get a moment.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Art Happened Here

This is the place where I've been painting for the past year and a half. I love the light.
It will be a nice change to not have share the "studio" with my dining room. I'm actually looking forward to leaving a mess and not worry about it. Just picking up where I left off. Still, this has been a nice nook. You really can create anywhere.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My To-Do List

I have so much going on in the next week - at times it's definitely overwhelming but also quite exciting and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. So here's my to do list.

1. In less than one week I am moving here. (This is a pic looking at the backyard. Big Yard! Lots of mowing!I can not believe it. This is a huge dream come true. I'm actually buying my own house - all by myself. I feel both overwhelmed with fear and thanksgiving and I hope the thanksgiving eventually clobbers the fear in my heart. It's a 122 year old Victorian house with a third floor which I will use for my art studio. Yippee no more messy dining rooms!!!

2. I have three painting commissions that came about all last week!!!! All want them in the middle of July. I'm always torn about commissions - very stressful paintings for me - mostly because I'm having to work on a deadline, and I create in my head this intense pressure - I so want to please the client. I hate all that pressure. And, I've done LOTS of commissions, I would like to think someday that heavy dreadful feeling would go away. Come on, they wouldn't have hired me if they didn't already like my work. Maybe the pressure is good???? But let me end by saying I am thankful and always so completely blown away that someone will pay me for a painting.

3. I just started an on-line course and am so enjoying Marise's point of view and calming affect on my agitated creative spirit. It's been a god send and I'm so glad to meet other creative types. There are over 75 people taking the class and I want to visit every blog and website of my class mates.
4. And... I gotta work my job through it all.... hmmmm

But what a fabulous to do list huh????

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Charlotte Cox - Watercolor Artist and Friend

This week I've been encouraged to think about being true to myself and the artistic voice inside me while at the same time putting my work out to the world and doing so bravely and boldly. I find that spending too much time looking at other artist's sites and blogs leaves me feeling very down. And for me it's important to limit that time. I can feel my spirits moving from "wow" and really appreciating their work to making it about me and how "I'm not good enough" That stops me dead.

How do you look at another persons art and just enjoy it and let it inspire your art work? Why must I always compare?

One of the purest and most important times for me as a new watercolor artist was when I lived in Texas several years ago. I dived into becoming a better watercolor artist and took many classes. Through those classes I met many artists and created some great long lasting friendships. I would have to say that these friendships improved my art as much as the class.
(art work by Charlotte Cox)

One friend in particular, Charlotte Cox, helped me a great deal. That woman painted! She was learning too and dragged me with her to paint many of the area missions. We always had great fun and laughed alot. But besides painting more, she also helped me "see" my art better. She would point out what worked in my painting while at the same time offering helpful criticism. We had healthy competition yet, I rarely felt the cloud of comparison come over me. It has been years since I've had an artist friend like Charlotte and I'm hoping to find that again in my new hometown. It once again reminds me that we silly human beings aren't meant to be alone, that being in community is really the best way for all to thrive.

These watercolors are from Charlotte's "sketch book." She's working on an art book of San Antonio now and I can't wait to see it when it's done. Her website link is here. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Like You Already!!!

Before you even could open your mouth to prove you are good enough, rich enough or smart enough, what if someone said "I like you already" ... because you are present, you are smiling, you are you? Well I heard/read that today when I logged into to my first class of my first on-line course (lots of "firsteses" here.) Immediately I knew this woman, also known as Marise Haedike, could speak to me because she could speak to my heart and that's where I hear the best. Check out her blog here.
Sometimes us creatives need to get together, refocus and slow down and listen to that voice in us that told us to pull out the paint brush in the first place. I really need help in that area because over the years I've gotten a bit lost; working jobs to pay bills, allowing relationships to pull me way too far from painting, thinking this or that will bring me happiness. I'm finding the best days are the ones where I spend time creating. Even better are the ones where I'm painting while eating a chocolate cupcake. :) It's really that simple.

Friday, June 12, 2009

There's nothing like a Peony...

or the smell of them or sitting and painting them WHILE smelling them!