Thursday, February 26, 2009

Divine Inspiration...

"Lou, the Singing Dog"
Oil on Canvas

I've been meaning to post a photo of some of the work that I've been swallowed by. For now, I offer you "Lou, the Singing Dog." It's different and perhaps better than anything I've ever painted before. I've finished 4 more large paintings since this one and will complete a 5th (and perhaps a 6th!) today. I try not to think about how much more I have to do. I've never had to sustain a feeling of "staying in the moment" for such a long period of time. I'll tell you, it is a discipline. Preparing for this show feels strangely spiritual. I have always felt deep emotions when I paint dogs, but this is different. This is something that exists beyond me. It's not about me, it's not even exactly about the dogs I'm painting. It's about how we experience the world. It's about being alive to the smallest moments, those nanoseconds that contain something of the entire universe.

"First Month"
Oil on Canvas

This particular time in my life feels immensely strange to me. Strange, that is, in a (generally) good way. Difficult too, but good. Maybe it is the long hours that I've been putting in, day after day, but this work feels a bit out-of-body.

Last night I also applied to two major art fairs. And right now I need to make a pot of coffee and head back down into the studio. I'm working on another big one. There are so many large paintings! I can't complain though. Painting big is what I love best.

I'm sending love to you, my blogging sisters. Although I'm unable to blog much right now, I am thinking about you with my whole heart!

with love,


Friday, February 13, 2009

a little pause...

Well, my friends, it's true. I have to put my "WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time" project on temporary pause. I want to continue posting words, but as I prepare for the show, the biggest one that I have ever done, I simply just can't do it all. Taking photos, cropping, uploading, listing, and writing a post...yeah, it all takes time that I just don't have right now.

I will say, however, that even when I haven't posted a word, I have gotten in the habit of choosing a word each morning and really, really living with it inside of me. This project started out as a fun way to boost Etsy sales and get me back into blogging. I had no, absolutely no idea how integral it would become to my existence. I have lived and breathed every word I've posted and each word has helped me to move through my days just a little bit more gracefully.

So here's the thing...I hang my show on March 3rd. The opening is March 12th. I have a feeling that I am going to be in over my head until the very end. I am OK with this. I mean, I've been working 12-16 hour days in my studio at home and, in some strange way, am loving it. I don't know if it's my imagination, but my hands feel swollen from holding paintbrushes for so many hours straight. How's that for weird?

What I need more than anything right now is to just lose myself in this project. At the moment I am working simultaneously on 2 paintings. One is of a new mama asleep on her couch holding her sleeping newborn infant and her little pug perched in the bend of her legs, keeping watch over them. It is made up of deep colors and the purest forms of love. When put on its side, the painting is almost as tall as me. I'm also working on another large-scale painting of a musician and his singing dog, Lou. It is made up of moodiness and color and and howls that make me want to stretch my neck and face towards the sky. Then there's the stack of 20-some canvases stacked behind me still waiting to be filled with love and personality. I breathe because the only way to get this work done is to do it. I breathe and I ask myself: what do I need to get through this time? The answer is the same every day. I need to strip my life of everything that isn't absolutely necessary and just paint.

Between now and March 12th, please send me some creative and loving vibes. I'll be stopping by this space as time allows or when I need to feel like I'm actually connected to this world. I will be thinking about all my wonderful blogging friends and feeling grateful for your existence in my life.

Speaking of love and gratitude and must go visit Connie at Dirty Footprints Studio. Several weeks ago Connie started a radio show. Let me just say for the record that I am addicted to it. There is so much creativity in the air! I am very proud to be one of this week's sponsors. Connie and her guests keep me company in my studio while I paint. Their discussions are interesting and honest and I always feel like I've just sat down for a cup of coffee with a couple of really good artist friends. Seriously, her show keeps me feeling grounded.

Check out other Dirty Footprints Studio Talk sponsors via video...

Enjoy. Be inspired. Connect.

The word of the day project will be returning as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are plenty of words to choose from, but even better, I invite you to build the words that will most serve you. Let me know what word is whispering to your heart and I will be happy to make a reserved listing especially for you.

Wish me luck as I prepare for my upcoming exhibition: Dogs of Linden Hills.
And Happy Friday the 13th! :)


*Beautiful paint brush image borrowed from ...and protest.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

QUEEN--5 little letters to celebrate your inner diva

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Meet Top Model Dog, Trixie...

Italian Greyhound extraordinaire
and (dare I say?)
QUEEN of Florida!

She is my most recent painting....the one that I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning putting the finishing touches on. She possesses more bling than I have ever known. Oh, but those jewels, that wink, and posture!

In honor of Trixie's portrait I dedicate today to celebrating the diva that lives inside each of us. I hereby announce you: DIVINE!

Trixie knows her inner Queen.
Do you?

"Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail.
Failure is another steppingstone to greatness." ~Oprah

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is QUEEN. Rule your own destiny.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Monday, February 09, 2009

DON'T PANIC--9 little letters to help you keep your cool

Today is brought to you by two very important words:


"Don’t panic, especially when things get bad. Remain focused. React to danger sooner, not later. Don’t listen to rumors, just deal with what you know. Stay indoors, stay informed and don’t leave unless you have to...Fighting will draw attention and slow you down, so don’t do it. Don’t panic, keep moving, drink lots of water and avoid people." ~Popular Mechanic Reader

My apologies for the sporadic "Word of the Day" posts. I was about to force myself into temporarily abandoning the project for the next few weeks...and then I realized how necessary these little words are to my sanity and survival.

I have to be honest here...I have more paintings to do in the next 3 weeks then I know what to do with. I am in full-on panic mode. I find it nearly impossible to function, much less breathe, unless I'm doing one thing: painting. What I'm noticing is that panic is a dangerous thing. It is debilitating. It distorts perspective. It's not getting me anywhere.

I got lost deep in the north woods once--and I panicked. You know that white-fear feeling? The feeling that races into your fingertips and the length of your body? The feeling that overwhelms you with instant confusion? A feeling of desperate peril? Yes, that feeling. Words to the wise: never panic. I got lucky and accidentally stumbled upon some hunters building a deer stand in the woods. It was getting late. I've never been so relieved to see people in my whole entire life.

Another time I got lost while kayaking in dense fog in the middle of a great big ice encrusted lake. It was nearly winter and the water was hypo-thermic temperatures--but it was so beautiful that I couldn't help but paddle just a little ways into the fog to see what it looked like. Mmmm...enchanting. But did you know that it is just about impossible to steer a kayak straight without a point of reference? Neither did I. When you turn to look behind you, it only makes it worse. I was found later that day by Search and Rescue, the fire department, and police department--as well as my dad and brother who were also dumb enough to go out in a canoe looking for me. I've never been more embarrassed in my whole life. That was waaaay more embarrassing than getting lost in the woods and even more embarrassing than the time I passed out at the front of the church in front of an entire congregation.

I also nearly got lost in the Himalayas during a 3 week trek. My group and I were coming down from a 17,000 foot pass and bad weather rolled in. There were avalanches all around us. Despite nearly impossible visibility and high altitude delirium, we kept our heads on straight, stayed together, and eventually found our way. Coming into a village never felt so good.

Ok...I'm starting to feel safer now. But my point? Never panic.

25 (mostly large, some very large) paintings isn't nearly as life-threatening as cold water, mountains, and bad weather. It's scary, but not life threatening. It only becomes life threatening when I forget to breathe. But this is what I mean when I mention distorted perspective.

I was going to put the "Word of the Day :: Living Life One Word at a Time" project on hold...but, as you can see, it has become a survival tool.

Seriously, people. This is about survival.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's words are DON'T PANIC. Remember: Panic will get you nowhere.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.

**shark attack image borrowed from Travel Nooks.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

ASPIRE--5 little letters to remind you to never give up...

This is an image that I have posted on my vision board.
I look at it every single day.
I love that little girl for the determination she possesses.

Today I took that image outside and hung it from the
big pine tree in my back yard.
It looks good there.

My word of the day is ASPIRE.

Today my head is full of ideas.
I write them into my little book.
The sky is the limit...
and I feel energized, excited.

This afternoon I have been invited to my niece's birthday party
to teach all of her 7 and 8 year old girlfriends how to paint dogs.
I feel honored.

When I turned 8 I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer
(watch this video, it will make you laugh),
a piano teacher, a veterinarian.
I climbed a lot of trees...
especially the apple trees along the garden that my mom grew.

Today's message: NEVER GIVE UP.

I believe in you.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is ASPIRE. Go ahead, climb trees. Climb mountains. Succeed.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Friday, February 06, 2009

DESIRE--6 little letters to fuel your inner fire


I want my world to open up. I want my life to include more. How is that even possible? All I know is that I have an insatiable desire to grow and learn and experience this existence to its absolute fullest.

Lately, I've been spending time hanging out with The Pioneer Woman--on her website, that is. After voicing a desire to start painting and spending time with horses, the wonderful Amber sent me there. Now I can't seem to pull myself away.

This morning I've been hanging out with all the horses. As I scrolled through one incredible photograph after another, I imagined myself standing in the middle of wild openness surrounded by the movement of horses and dogs. That's when it happened. Up came the sting of tears that tells me when I'm in the middle of something real and important. It probably sounds strange, but when I find a string of inner truth that pulls in the direction of my physical body reacts the same way every time: with tears. It's weird and amazing and I am grateful for this ever-consistent nod from the universe that says: "YES. This is it. Follow it."

These days I have been painting a lot. I wish I could find the words to describe what happens in the act of painting animals--specifically, right now, a dog named Roxy. I am pulled deeply into the center of myself. It makes my skin feel thin. The layers between myself and something that I cannot explain seem to disappear. In short, I feel connected. But the feeling is more ethereal than that. Words fail to describe whatever it is that happens.

When I paint, my desires become clear. I can feel them from the inside out and when this happens the creation of those desires begin to take form. It is the beginning, the knitting together of a new reality--even when I don't yet understand what or how or why, there is something in the center of it that I know and feel my soul being pulled towards.

These days I feel a bit like a caterpillar in chrysalis. I don't know that I'll emerge as a butterfly, but I do know that a transformation is in process. Leaving the partnership and studio knocked me off track...but in a strangely good way.

This past year I have spent a lot of time pushing to get my dream off the ground. I pushed my work, my self, my abilities, my levels of bravery, motivation, and determination. I pushed myself physically, mentally, spiritually, and creatively. Over and over again, I nudged myself well beyond what I thought I was capable of--and, in the process, I have built something out of nothing.

But right now I don't want to push. Right now I just want to give myself over to the work at hand. I want to dive into it deeply--and I want to dream. But please note, this dream space is by no means a passive environment. It is fueled by something akin to fire. The caterpillar cloisters itself in the chrysalis because every last ounce of its energy goes into the manifestation of desire, into the creative/creation process of transformation. My chrysalis is made of paintings.

And, in this process, I am finding what has been waiting for me all along...

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is DESIRE. Live your desire. Be your passion.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

HOPE--4 little letters that hold the power to change everything

In the words of Obama:
"We have chosen HOPE over fear."

Live hope.
Believe in hope.
BE hope.

In the words of my uncle:
"There is always hope."

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is HOPE.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

MUSE--4 little letters to get your creative blood pumping

I dedicate today to my inner muse.

My list of things-to-do has grown out of proportion. These days, I feel as though I'm in over my head. I spent a lot of time and energy yesterday being stressed out about what the next 4 weeks of my life will entail.

Have I mentioned that I have almost 30 commissions to complete in the next month? Er, um....yeah. This is for a big project that I have been promoting and preparing for since July. The pressure is on! I will say, however, that no matter how many paintings I have to do, I always give myself completely to each and every one--and I want it to stay that way.

Last night before going to bed I decided that I can either continue to be completely stressed out and make my life hell (like I did yesterday) OR I can just hand myself over to the inner muse and simply enjoy diving deeply into the work ahead. Yesterday I worked on a painting for a top model dog named Trixie. Trixie is an Italian Greyhound and probably one of the most refined looking canines I have ever painted. Her seductive expression (just wait until I'm done with that winking eye), rhinestones, and print background has been like little candy treats for my muse. The detailing is a bit obsessive, and yet that is just the sort of thing that feels good right now.

Today I will continue working on Trixie. I will stretch canvases and begin sketching out more portraits. I'm not going to worry about life's other details. For now, I'm going to simply focus on the small picture, not the big one (the big one is too overwhelming). I'm going to continue breathing and smiling and listening to music. I'm going to drink chai and paint myself into a patterned ecstasy.

Today I am inviting a friend to join me in my studio.
Her name is: My Inner Muse.

She is really happy with me for finally noticing her. The poor girl has been neglected due to my incessant stressing, migraine fighting, and running around. I didn't realize how much I missed her, but it's nice to have her back. However, just now, she has just informed me that she would like a better name. I'll let you know what we come up with. In the meantime, who is your inner muse? What is she like? And does she have a name? Tell me about her. I want to know. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if our inner muses already know one another!

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is MUSE. Invite your inner muse to play!
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.


Monday, February 02, 2009

BREATHE--7 little letters guaranteed to get you through anything

Guaranteed: Breathing will make you feel better.

These letters are part of an ongoing project:
"WORD OF THE DAY :: living life one word at a time."
Today's word is: BREATHE.
See more letters and words at my Patch of Sky Etsy shop, here.