Sometimes Love Means Not Complaining

 

I love my husband for a zillion reasons. He can make me mad faster and laugh harder than anyone I know, sometimes simultaneously. He makes a mean hamburger, pot of chili, poached egg, margarita, or whatever else he wants. He’s solid. He’s trustworthy. He’s generous and loyal to those he loves almost to a fault. He’ll make you mad. He’ll drive you crazy. But when push comes to shove he’s got your back if you’re one the ones lucky enough to be called family or friend.

The reason, though, at this particular moment I so love my husband is the mess in our house. It’s my mess. It’s art mess. Our house is not big. My easel is. Currently three rooms of our house hold canvases that may not, under any circumstances, be moved. There’s an easel in our “dining area” right next to his chair. There’s a reference drawing tacked (literally tacked) to the wall beside the window. However, my husband (whose hyperbolic diatribes regarding annoyances inflicted by the rest of humanity are almost legendary) doesn’t say a word about the art supplies taking over our house. He just turns scoots his chair over, looks at the painting, and complements my day’s work.

Behind every artist is someone willing to overlook some mess.

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Waiting for Spring 

  
It’s cold. Our flannel sheets make it hard to leave the bed. The air outside makes it hard to leave the house. This southern girl is spoiled. I know that Bostonians and Minnesota natives would laugh at me huddled here in my soft Black Crowes sweatshirt, hugging my coffee cup and longing to turn up the heat. Laugh away. I’m ready for spring. 

Flipping through my journal this morning I found this watercolor I painted last summer of my little girl and me at the water’s edge. I can feel the warm sand between my toes and the setting sun on my back. For just a moment I am there, and I am reminded that spring will come again.

Want to try something new?

Love to paint but want to try something new? Try painting on metal! To promote an upcoming class at Samford Academy of the Arts, as promised I’ll be posting pictures of paintings I’ve done on metal such as copper or aluminum. Here’s another one of my favorites:

New Beginnings, 20"x24", Oil on aluminum

New Beginnings, 20″x24″, Oil on aluminum

This painting won “Best In Show” a couple of years back at the Birmingham Art Association’s annual competition. The thing I love about painting on metal is the luminosity you can achieve. I often paint on traditional supports such as linen and canvas as well, however with metal you don’t have to compete with the texture of the fabric below. No matter how many layers of paint you add, the shine of the metal seems to glow through.

Painting on metal has its challenges as well. Which is why you should probably learn it from an experienced teacher. Like me! Check out this link for more info: http://www.samford.edu/academy-of-the-arts/ or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SamfordAcademyoftheArts

Confessions

As I sit here, hands poised over the keys, reaching out to you, my friends in cyber-space, something weighs on my mind that I think you must know about me.

I’m not into this computer thing.

Yep. I said it. On my blog. The irony is clear to me. But it’s true. It’s just not my thing.

My husband has online calendars that he refers me to and reminders set-up on his phone for different events, but those things just will not jive with my brain. Words on a screen- be they reminders, events, meetings, birthdays, etc. just pass through my head like smoke leaving me feeling a little lost and confused (picture the tilted head and furrowed brow of a quizzical golden retriever) and unsure of how I could be this disorganized with so many organizational tools at my virtual fingertips. (And how I could have forgotten your birthday AGAIN despite the fact that I found you the perfect gift 4 months ago).

But give me a pen and paper and aaaah… life makes a little more sense. Perhaps my ego is in the way of progress (“If I did not create it with my own two hands then it does not exist!”) or perhaps it’s my artist brain. Visual artists are, at the core, manual workers. Our brains and hands must work together.

So this post was first written out by hand. That way I know you’ll see it. Because that way I know it’s real.

My apologies and thanks to the trees for supporting my antiquated paper habit. I promise to recycle the evidence.

Little darlin’, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter…

 

Molly's Tree- pen and ink doodle

Molly’s Tree- pen and ink doodle

There’s a certain pleasant tension, a pressure of life that’s seems palpable in Spring. Moist air weighs on tender new grass, which in turn stretches up toward the sun. Buds push their way through branches’ fingertips and unfurl into fleshy leaves. Tulips and daffodils press their way upward through soft, fresh dirt. It feels like all of nature is pulsing. Can you feel it? Whether you realize it or not I bet you can. Is your step just a little lighter? Do you long to shed un-needed layers, whether of clothing, flesh, or sadness? It’s Spring. Get outside and soak it in.

Daffodils- watercolor sketch

Daffodils- watercolor sketch

Violets- watercolor sketch

Violets- watercolor sketch

An Homage

Those of you who have been following me for a long time may remember a post that I wrote on my former, blogspot blog. The post was entitled “Pockets of Joy” (click to read it). It was a sad post, and a happy post – A post in mourning of my dear dog Shag (aka The Shagster) who had recently died.

Now, around a year after the anniversary of his death, I painted his portrait. It was therapeutic and a celebration of the best dog ever. I present to you, The Shagster:

"The Shagster" Oil on linen

“The Shagster” Oil on linen

April Fool’s Tradition

My cousin Chloee (really she’s more like an aunt to me) started a tradition years ago. She spends all year searching for a recipe with a crazy, unexpected ingredient. Then, she bakes up these unusual goodies and sends them out to family members, always timing it so that they arrive on April Fool’s Day, and challenges us to guess the secret ingredient. IMG_1222

These are not mean April Fool’s pranks… oh no! These are delightful. They’re always delicious, despite (or because of?) ingredients that may not otherwise seem very appetizing. Pinto beans in your muffins? Velveeta in your brownies? Rose petals in your cookies? Hey, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

 

So, this year when I received my April Fool’s treats, I couldn’t wait to open the box. Tiny muffins awaited me. I looked carefully. Hmm… green slivers. I sniffed. A hint of citrus. I took a tiny nibble and held it on my tongue. IMG_1223

Nutmeg, maybe…not too surprising. What else? Pecans? That’s not unusual either. Orange peel. Delicious, but not weird enough. What was that green? Zucchini? Not broccoli… chives maybe? Wheatgrass. Finally I settled on chives. There was a slightly herbal taste. I peeled back the label on the back of Chloee’s note, beneath which she had hidden the answer. Asparagus!? I don’t even like asparagus. But I like these muffins! Just goes to show, you never can tell.

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What I love about this tradition isn’t just the fun of it, or the craziness of it, or the effort Chloee puts into finding recipes and making sure they get here on just the right day. It’s the attention it requires on my part. It’s permission to take my time and notice every subtle detail of my food from the smell to the texture to the nuances of flavor. It’s the reminder to savor and enjoy.