What does the fox say?


At my last and possibly favorite sparkling water and peach vodka wine and paint night, we worked on pop art animals. The moment I saw our instructor’s gorgeous, whimsical, colorful lion in my Facebook feed, I KNEW I had to get in on this. Something about it resonated with me right away. It was the same sort of feeling I get when I hear a really good song and have to immediately Google the lyrics and listen to it a thousand times on repeat, living inside of every measure until the whole thing sounds like home. Painting this fox was like that. I already have an owl planned, and perhaps even some human faces. I find myself thinking about the colors I’ll use next and how satisfying it will feel to spread that black paint all over the background… I agonize over backgrounds, you see, so this “paint it black” concept is right up my alley.

Meanwhile, I’m developing a spoken word poem… This is something I’ve never in a million years considered doing, but a friend (aforementioned art instructor) mentioned that such an opportunity may present itself and that I should get in on it. Perhaps it will blend my love of theater, that I sorely miss, and creative writing. Or it will scare the shit out of me. That’s life, right?

Happy Accidents

I may decide against my crazy idea to stop this painting with just the background finished, I reserve that right. But as of right now…I don’t know. I think it says more unfinished just like this than if I colored it all in. 

In art school I did a black and white sketch of an ash tray, then remembered that the assignment was supposed to incorporate a single color somewhere. I drew a half assed scribble of a dark yellowy color around the outside of the ash tray and hoped for the best. My teacher ended up being very impressed, saying that the little bit of yellow gave a vivid indication of the stink of the cigarettes and the yellowing of skin and teeth and so on associated with smoking. Score, right?

Anyway, this painting reminds me of that “happy accident” (thanks, Bob Ross). The color being everywhere and messy and dripping…but the artist, canvas and paint tubes being black and white, as if unable to capture all that color and channel it cohesively. Story of my life.

And now we’re going to make up an enchilada recipe. If it’s any good, I’ll post it tonight!

The Lovely Bricks (and Facebook Cooking)

After a rough couple of days, the last thing I wanted to do was figure out a way to replicate old, weathered bricks on a sample board for a client. I was dreading it, truth be told, because I think I’ve had enough experimenting with new things for a while. But along with breakfast the other morning, my husband surprised me with this:

Whether he wants to admit it or not, he’s an artist at heart. While I was off bragging about my painting from Friday’s class, he quietly took home his own wicked cool piece. And that wasn’t the first time–he’s come to not only support me but work alongside me at several of those classes. And then with his set design experience, he laid this foundation for me and lifted a huge burden from my shoulders. He knew how much I needed a fucking break. And with his guidance, I powered through and sanded the piece:

then he whisked me away to Home Depot for paint. He carefully navigated me through a near meltdown as he rummaged up some additional dark brown paint from the garage in mid sponging the shit out of this square of drywall. And so it is entirely because of him that I can preview this:

The client still has to approve it, mind you. But those fake bricks mean the world to me. I even like the things I don’t like about it, which is a complicated emotion you should have an artist near you explain.

And so tonight, a celebration with a Facebook video recipe…

Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini

As seen on a Facebook video thingy. Ingredients are:

1 20oz package of tortellini (we always get the mixed spinach kind)
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 small onion, diced (I had a glass of wine so somehow I read this as a whole onion, minced. Which is what we did and I stand by that decision.)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (it was probably 5 or 6…because there’s never too much garlic)
3 tablespoons of flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I don’t do whole milk. Can’t drink the stuff, and I hate buying shit for one recipe and never using it again. So we used 2%)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
5oz baby spinach (we used 6, because I don’t get how to measure ounces in food)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely shredded (I used a few handfuls. Until I really felt satisfied…)
Salt and pepper (of course)
Red pepper flakes (naturally)

So I cooked the tortellini like the directions say, which ashamedly I have memorized. Melt the butter, cook the onion in the butter, add garlic, smell garlic, add flour. Stir it around a bit, until you’re nervous that it’s been too long since you’ve done anything, then add milk and cream. Bring to simmer, add tomatoes (with juice) and spinach. It takes a deepish sauce pan for this since spinach starts off like a million times the size it ends up as in your dish. Add salt, pepper and pepper flakes to kill the spinach and when it’s wilted add the important stuff…cheese and tortellini. It turned out pretty freaking delicious, actually!

I’m aware those directions sucked. But recipes are SO boring to write. Sorry ’bout it.

Pets and Flowers Class

I really enjoy attending these local drink-wine-while-you-paint classes, complete with a theme and the watchful eye of a very talented friend of mine. It challenges me in a few crucial ways:

1) I must finish within 3 hours, so no overworking and overthinking is allowed,

2) there is a theme and lovely demonstration piece by our instructor, so no excuses about not being inspired or not having any direction,

3) other people are there and often do watch you, which is usually something I shy away from but this kind of forces me to deal with it and be okay with not being perfect all the time.

This class was pets and flowers themed, and I was inspired to paint Tigger for my parents. Tigger was our second family dog and the very sweetest little soul. She left us way too soon…

sometimes the silence guides your mind

I’ve been ruminating on this concept for a while, and now it’s beginning to take shape! Hurray! Although, this is always the scary part for me… I’m very comfortable drawing, but painting is another story. I enjoy the process (mostly), but there is an element of chaos to it too. Kind of like walking my dogs. I love my dogs and they’re super cute, but they pull on the leash, dart after rabbits, stop to sniff mailboxes, and just make pests of themselves in general. Drawing comes easily and I’m always in control, but then I long to incorporate color. Ideally I would choose something like colored pencils or pastels, which work well for me… But there’s something attractive about the layers and texture of paint to me. I can’t get it out of my head. Eventually I’ll allow myself to redo some of this stuff in another medium, but I already know how that will look. With paint it’s always a surprise…and I kind of like that. It’s like surrendering to the universe…

That’s a little what this painting is going to be about, actually. Getting covered in blobs of color and attempting to find some design in the muck. I lack the restraint and discipline to use actual techniques, after all. I sort of just assault a piece of canvas for a few hours until I’m tired and hangry. #livingthedream