Sunday, June 28, 2009


I can't help it. I'm an optimist. My husband says I'm an idealist. He calls himself a realist (which, let's admit, is pretty much just a slight upgrade from being a pessimist). I was mildly surprised when he didn't call me a dreamer. I was prepared to argue. I won't argue with being an idealist though--because it's true. I tend to walk around with an ideal version of what I want things to look like or turn out like or...yeah...I keep it tucked somewhere at the back of my eyeballs and I'll be damned if I'm gonna give up trying to manifest it on one level or another. I do this with painting, with living, with writing, with everything. Leah says I'm stubborn. And, yes, that would be true, too. Dang, I just love her--because she's honest and I couldn't agree with her more.

Sometimes my version of "ideal" changes. But one thing I'm fairly certain of is that my ideal version of life doesn't look like most people's. If it did, I'm pretty sure that I would not get so excited about the potential of a dirtly ol' garage in the middle of nowhere.

The garage, an earth-home constructed workshop, is about to become the home of the Stray Dog Arts studio. I've been letting my imagination run away from me on a fairly regular basis and am looking forward to the two larger-than-life paintings that I'd like to start once I get moved in. One will be of an English Mastiff named Beatrice. The other one will be of my grandpa. For some reason, it fascinates me to paint the two of them at the same time. I admit that painting my grandpa scares me. I'm afraid that painting him is going to make me love him even more. This scares me because, no matter how lucky you are, grandpas don't get to live forever. I guess that's one thing that grandpas and dogs have in common--and I love both, dearly. Come to think of it, that old garage that I am turning into my studio reminds me of my grandpa--completely--and that's probably one of the reasons I like it so much.

It even has a window that looks like it belongs on the side of a ship (not that my grandpa ever had a ship). On the other side of those big windows is where the garden starts. Despite the late start, I am planting bright red sunflowers and riotous bursts of zinnias. We'll also scatter some butterfly garden seeds, carrots, and sugar snap peas. I like imagining what it will be like to get lost in work up to the workbench and then look up into a world of bloom. I've been calling this year my year of "wild bloom." I had no idea that it would manifest itself so literally. Then again, this year has been full of surprises. This surprise just happens to be heavenly.

Although we don't technically move in for another 2 weeks, today Vinny and I spent several hours tilling the new garden space (and if you've ever done much gardening, you probably know just how difficult this is to do!). Behind the studio we'll plant tomatoes, more sunflowers, moon flowers, potatoes, peppers, string beans, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, zucchini and some basil. I love it that I am going to be surrounded by growing things! Anyway, I've been meaning to give you a brief introduction to our new place and so here it is.

Here's to the optimism of growth. Here's to turning a dirty old garage into the best place on earth. Here's to bursting into wild bloom. Here's to turning inside out in the process. Here's to remembering who we are. Here's to living authentically. Here's to breathing deep and being crowded with unexpected joys.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wreck This Journal :: Stress Reducing Activities.

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction"
~Pablo Picasso.

This is the post where I break in my new book. I'm quite positive that there were other things I should have been doing, but what can I say? I was feeling inspired. ;)

The Next Chapter: Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

rambling little snap shot of here and now (including a pre-introduction to me as I begin to Wreck this Journal)

Wow, I am incredibly tired. It is 11pm and I have not even had time to check my email yet today. This is unheard of. The same thing happened yesterday. It is normally one of the very first things I do every morning. And I mean every morning. I fear that I will have a mountain of emails to catch up with, but I am not even going to attempt it tonight. Right now I'm not even going to try and put together interesting sentences. I simply want to write. I want to tell you about my cat who is laying upside down in the warmth of the lamp glow with her paws stretching out towards me. She wriggles around and purrs and drives me crazy because she's messing up my stuff. And, yet, I love the expression on her face so much that I let her do it anyway. I want to tell you about how much my fingers hurt from working so much all week. Gawd, they hurt. And yet, today I noticed that, for the first time in my life, I am enjoying my hands and the way they look. I've always hated my hands because I have short, stubby fingers. But today I fell in love with them because they are doing exactly the work they were meant to do.

I also want to tell you how much I am enjoying this process of change. I feel like I am finally returning to myself after being away on a long journey. I admit, the journey wasn't even all that interesting, but I was away, nonetheless. I want to tell you about how much I am looking forward to what is to come. What is to come, you ask? Well, in a way, it is merely more of the same. The only thing that will be different is the location and angle of light shed upon my days. But who am I kidding? There will be lots of little things that change--and that is exactly what it is that I'm looking forward to.

In other news, this past weekend's art fair was a great success. It was my first "real" art fair, starting on Friday and ending on Sunday. I sold out of all my prints (had a ton of them) on Friday. Stayed up all night making more. Saturday was cold and rainy, but Sunday I nearly sold out again. I also managed to land 6 more commissions. This makes me supremely happy. Or maybe relieved would be a better word? Happy, relieved, tired. That's how I feel.

It was a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to the idea of doing more of these sorts of things in the future. Am I becoming an art fair carnie? Ha! Well, probably not, but I have decided that it is worth the pain and agony of schlepping my artwork and tent around in the cold and rain. Not to mention, I met some very cool people in the process. Mostly in the form of customers.

Today I hung a show. Funny, but it's not even a big deal any more. I did it by myself (normally my husband or brother helps me). Threw it in the car 15 minutes before I had to be there. Got frustrated when things wouldn't hang straight. Didn't waste time with placement. Didn't get nervous or worried. I just did it. Some things do get easier with practice.

Tomorrow I will attempt to climb the email pile, excavate mountains (closets, drawers, cabinets, boxes) of junk in preparation for a big moving (art and yard!) sale this weekend, meet with someone whose organization is using my artwork for an animal rescue event, declutter my studio (which looks like an art fair explosion), and let's not forget the most important part: I need to paint.

This post is boring. Mostly I'm just busy blowing magic out of my ass. And, actually, this is something I feel like I'm getting awfully good at. I do, however, notice an ever rising need for rest. You the sort of sleep that comes in the form of long afternoon naps, in hammocks and on couches; relaxation that takes the form of books and movies; and quiet connection that is possible only through the act of letter writing.

Somehow I'll get through the next month. I'm not sure how, but it will happen. In the meantime, here I am recording my life in order to make sense of it later.

By the way, I am also looking forward to blogging about a current endeavor of Wreck This Journal. God, I love that book! At the moment, my book is still in pristine condition. This is gonna change as of tomorrow morning! For now, please consider this an introduction to the current state of my life.

If you don't already know me, I'm in the process of moving. I'm also in the process of learning and growing. I'm in a perpetual state of having bit off more than I can chew. I tend to dive, not jump. Life interests me greatly and there is just never enough of me to drink it all in. I figure that there are worse problems to have.

Here's to making a beautiful mess.

Peace and love to you, friends.