Beginning The Countdown

As I contemplated what to do tonight the old 99 Bottles of Beer began to sing in my brain. You know, 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer…except my version has something to do with 90 more projects to do. I’d write out the whole thing but:

A. You really don’t want to read it

B. It makes no sense at all.

Anyway, I’m feeling a little pressured these days. The three hundred sixty-five day project is three-quarters of the way through. As much as I have accomplished, and it is a lot, my studio is nowhere near cleaned out, which was in the beginning the idea behind cleaning out my “artistic refrigerator”. I still have multitudes of supplies, and worse yet I bought more! I also feel like I didn’t get to enough drawing, or oil painting in the last nine months. Both are things I’d like to spend a little more time on, but there is also the random supply crap. You know, the bits a pieces that one might pick up along the way and say, “Don’t throw that out, I can make something with that.” I have lots of that stuff. The unfortunate thing is that with my random stuff it tends to be on the larger side, like Theresa’s kitchen cabinet doors. Remember those from a few months ago? I took a stack, did a few projects, had a lot of great ideas, and never followed through. I have decided I need a list of what I hope to accomplish in these last three months. I’m going to work on the list tomorrow…what’s the line from the other song? “I love you tomorrow, you’re always a day away…(I think the blood may have pooled in my brain from the two hours I spent in the dentist’s chair today)

Tonight I decided to grab one of those cabinet doors and do something with it. One of my favorite pieces of the last few months was the reproduction of a business card I did for my husband. It was from the restaurant in Paris where we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. The piece now hangs in our kitchen. I took a larger cabinet door, some drop cloth fabric, glue, and gesso, to turn the door surface into something I can paint on. I prefer turning the door over where the trim is a flat panel. I glued the drop cloth down, not cut perfectly, but I plan on trimming it out anyway, and right now I am waiting for the first coat of gesso to dry. At this moment I’m not even sure what I will be painting on it, but I have drying time to brainstorm…Brainstorm is over. Valentine’s Day ahead, I’ve got an idea. A heart, not a cheesy red Valentine, but a tone on tone, thinking sepia, in the center, a lovely quote, again tone on tone, and random crap to be added to frame. Unfortunately the gesso isn’t dry, and it still needs another coat. Looks like a two-day project. While we wait for that to dry (Because aren’t we all waiting for me to be finished?), I have another project. Years ago I picked up a vintage souvenir box from Mount Vernon at an antique store. The box was trashed on the inside. I redid the inside with some beautiful moss-green velvet. Tonight I replaced the top with one of my photos from Paris (note to Dan…Dear Dan, I must return to Paris, running out of photos to use, must return to replenish my supply…) The top had some flaking on the inside of the glass frame that I chose to keep, I like the patina of it.  I think it came out really nice. Definitely one for etsy. Tomorrow I will return to my cabinet door. I hope to add an additional coat of gesso before bed tonight.

Before photos…


IMG_9734After photos…





Dreaming Of Provence

Its been four and a half years since Dan and I were in Paris, and there isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t dream of going back. We talk about the trip often, it was for our twentieth wedding anniversary. We couldn’t afford a honeymoon when we got married. Next June we will celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary, and the plan had always been to go back to France for it. With our current financial situation, and a new business (hopefully) in our future, that seems unlikely. But we can dream, and plan, and we do. We spend time talking about the places we didn’t get to, the places we would like to return to, and our ultimate dream, which would be to take a boat leisurely down the Seine, and explore the villages along the way. Dan is an Air Force brat, has traveled the world extensively. I have spent some time in three countries aside from France, but for both of us France is the place to calls to us both. Dan speaks of moving there, I’d love to, but I’d never move away from my kids. (I realize they will move away from me, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it) If we had gone to Paris on our honeymoon when we were young and first married, I believe we would be living there now. So for now all I can do is sit with the one I love, and share a dream, and sometimes paint a picture.

A field of Lavender in watercolor. Painted from a photo, let’s just dream that at some point I’ll paint one again plein air.11 25


Good Things Can Come In Small Packages

5 25I have to admit that there was so much I didn’t take into account when starting a year-long project, particularly one that requires writing and the creation of a piece of art each and every day. I know that I have touched on this before, but life got in the way again today. It’s a holiday weekend, we had friends and family over today, and so I find myself once again rushing to finish something for my blog. I seriously had several false starts. It seemed as though I wouldn’t get anything done for tonight, and as tempting as it might be, I refuse to put up older work unless I am near and dear to my bathroom floor (which I was, by the way, last week). I feel like I’d be cheating myself if I did, and I have been cheating myself for far too many years. Not every project has to be a big one. Just creating is the idea. I mentioned the 365 Project when I started this, and the tag line on that book states, “Do something creative every day and change your life.” It is so true. Here I am not even two months in and I can feel the difference. Like so many artists, and more so, so many women, I don’t place enough value on myself and what I do. That is changing, I’ve learned a lot about myself in ways I never considered. I’m so excited about the months ahead, wondering where this journey will take me, and anxious with anticipation to see what work I  will produce.

Back to the subject at hand, life getting in the way of my project. I realized tonight that there might be days ahead where it will be difficult to get my work done. There are birthdays, and our wedding anniversary, and other holidays, all of which will require my attention elsewhere. I guess I will just try to take them as they come and hopefully still be able to create a little something. I did just that tonight. From a photo outside Claude Monet’s house in Giverny. I saw a gardener standing still studying the garden and took a photo. It is a photograph that I would like to paint some day, but for tonight a pencil sketch on an artist card. It is only a two and a half by three and a half-inch drawing, but this one I love. I captured the essence of that moment.  It took me back to Monet’s garden, and our journey there. We took the train from Paris to Vernon, and chose to walk the rest of the way to Giverny instead of boarding the bus with the other tourists. The air was filled with the fragrance of  flowers, and each cottage and garden we passed was more beautiful than the last. When we finally saw Monet’s house and garden, I turned to Dan and said, “How could you live here and not paint?” Now I have to ask myself, “How could you have been there and waited so long to paint?’

It was one of ten days in France with the one that I love, and that makes this little piece of art priceless.