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.


Samosas for One said...

When are you coming to New York?

Connie said...

Here's to loving your beautiful self for all its ideals, dreams, and optimistic thoughts of life. I love you Jessie. You rock in my book.

I plan to visit you in your beautiful home one day too. That I promise!

Plus, I just wanted to add...that right before each of my grandfathers died I had the silent, blessed moment to sit in their room with them and draw them one last time. My grandfather, who last passed away--his name was Connie. He died ten minutes after I finished the drawing. I hadn't seen him in years before that day. I think he waited for me--for our last moment together--for that drawing to be completed.

Blessings to your new home Jessie--and let all the goodness of the big blue sky sprinkle love over your studio!!!

Peace & Love.

Rowena said...

We must have the same vision, because I think that dirty old garage looks GLORIOUS.

Those cabinets! Those windows! The porthole! The wild outside!

You could even set up a little picnic table outside and have a place to stare at the sky and have a cool drink and pet some dogs.

Pia f. Walker said...

I've been dying to see some pictures of your new gem and I'm so glad that you've posted these!
I can't wait to see how you turn this space into the vision that is so real in your eyes :)

swampgirl said...

As always, dear Jessie, I love to see how your dreams continue to come true. I'm so excited about your new dwelling and look forward to new adventures on your blog.

big hugs!

Amber said...

I love idealist. Why can't you be both an idealist AND a realist? I think I am. And I think you being an idealist, isn't saying you don't know reality. Too many people just put a cap on 'what can be', and you don't! They don't know what can be done, but you do! I think your ideals ARE reality.


The Bodhi Chicklet said...

Here's to unbridled optimism! What a wonderful studio space, I'm all inspired just looking at it and it's not even my space! I imagine opposites attract - a realist and an optimist. One keeps the other from flying away in the clouds, I suppose. Yes, tilling is very, very hard work but necessary to reap the rewards of the flowers and vegetables.

Anonymous said...

The idealists are going to save this planet, if anyone ever can.

Give your grandpa an extra hug from me next time you see him. I miss mine.

maddie said...

wild bloom

i love this so

and am carrying it away like a gift

may your garden be a literal
canvas of wild bloom

and your heart a home for wild
blooms of love:)

WrightStuff said...

I'm so jealous - I keep telling everyone I want a studio as my artwork steadily overtakes my house. It looks great - just perfect for letting loose all that creativity in your own special place - and wonderful that you already have plans for some painting of loved ones to christen it.

Colleen Malia Wilcox said...

I love how you said, "bursting into wild bloom," it means so much. I accidentally found your blog when I googled that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, "do something that scares you everyday." I'm an artist too. I'll be a follower now :)