Get Your Sh*t Together

When it rains, it pours. Sometimes it shit storms.

About a month ago my live-in relationship had come to an end. Once lovers now strangers/friends/roommates? We tried harder than you should have to and it didn't work out. I was sad. I was relieved. I was scared. Thus began the rain.

I was able to use the money I had saved for a trip to Peru later this year, towards a down payment on a house. After some stressful clearing up of inaccuracies on my credit report (THANK YOU Student Loans!) I qualified to make an offer on a home.  I found a "perfect" 1960's ranch with the best little sun porch (soon to be Spring/Summer studio), killer deck, and best of all, a large fenced in yard for my beloved pups.  WINNING!  

Until I got the inspection report...a nightmare-ish list: leaky roof, ungrounded electrical outlets, new furnace-needed and lots of plumbing band-aids, NOTHING up to code. As adorable as this "dream home" seemed, (did I mention the beautifully refinished hardwoods throughout?) I had to walk away, out four figures worth of general fees. OUCH. And then it pours.

Adding to this barrel of laughs, after a year of experimentation with my diet and digestive track (I even quit drinking!) my specialist had decided it was time for a colonoscopy.  I eat a relatively clean diet, very little processed foods and hardly any sugar.  I usually feel great.  But now, sitting teary-eyed in the exam room, all I could do was imagine my insides riddled with cancer. Then my doctor said it, "You'll need to have someone bring you to the appointment and stay until it is done. Do you have a person?" Nope Doc, I sure don't. While my break-up had been amicable up to that point, this question put a big ol' spotlight on the place in my heart where "my person" no longer resided.  The tears flowed like the poo soon would during my "procedure prep." 

A vicious cycle: the break-up, the house buying excitement, and the uncertainty of where my two doggie girls and I will be staying after May 8th (my original closing date) all continue to add to my digestive distress, including stressing over what the colonoscopy results might entail.

While not always successful, practicing mindfulness has been my best friend. Also just learning to be a friend to myself has been helpful. Why is it so tough for me to be nice to me? Like a cliche sign from the social media heavens, I was grateful for this quote that popped up on my Instagram feed a few weeks back:

I miss the comforts of having "a person." I miss feeling in control (haha). I miss having an appetite and eating delicious food. I miss energy and getting through a Crossfit WOD without feeling like I am going to pass out.  People have commented on my weight a lot recently, "I'm so sorry about your break-up,  but at least you look fantastic!"  My response, "Ya it's this thing where your body doesn't absorb nutrients and you feel like crap all the time, also YOU ARE CRAPPING ALL THE TIME." Don't get me wrong, I know people mean well and my friends and family have been amazingly supportive over the past month.  Anyone receiving this response would expect nothing less than my brand of comedic sass. You can thank my parents.

So, I'm doing it.  Tapping into myself, crying when I need to let it out, accepting the help people have offered graciously and unconditionally, and striving to be my own hero.  I am getting my shit together, or out anyway? The funny thing about colonoscopies is that when you mention them, people come out of the woodwork with their own experiences. This has been so very comforting. I am making colonoscopy lemonade... no really, you have to drink this stuff to "prep" your system, and I am putting lemon flavoring in it. So bottom's up (pun SOOOO intended) and bring on the shit storm!

Because this is an "Art Blog" here is a donut I painted last week:

 

Special thanks to my Mom, Dad, Jenn, Katie, Tanya, Christine, Kristin, Kim, David, Todd B, my Crossfit Goliath peeps, my real estate agent Todd H, and my TJ's Family- heart you crazy 746'ers! 

 

 

 

Inspiration

I recently bought an inspiring book called Urban Watercolor Sketching, by Felix Sheinberger.  Not only are the images in this book completely delicious, but I have found the author's advice to be very insightful and helpful in my day to day practice.  Working in watercolor is both challenging and freeing for a "type A" personality like mine.  Sheinberger challenges one "to not think in terms of results, of 'finished pictures,' but rather in terms of hundreds of minor intermediate steps."  He also states there is "no right or wrong in painting."  Great stuff!

I did a 15 minute sketch exercise of my favorite spring bloom, forsythia.  I was able to cut twiggy blossoms from my yard and work from life.  I sketched in ink and went back in with a quick bit of color.  I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed creating them!  Pick up your copy of Urban Watercolor Sketching here.

Connecticut

Next on the list is Connecticut whose state flower is Mountain Laurel.  Painting these lovely blossoms with the window open, listening to the rain, was such a pleasant jump into spring!  It has been uncharacteristically chilly here in North Carolina thus far.

United Floral States of America

March Freebie

I don't know about you, but I am sooooo ready for Spring!  Here is a free downloadable coloring page of flowers to bring some springtime into your world.  Click HERE to download and enjoy!


Colorado

The Colorado state flower is the Rocky Mountain Columbine.

The United Floral States of America

February Freebie

An early Valentine's Day gift for you.  A free printable of my original watercolor painting "Hearts" for you to print, cut and frame at home.  The final image is 5 x 7 and prints on standard 8.5 x 11 pape.  Keep one for you and print another for a friend!  You can access the PDF file here.  Enjoy!

Arkansas

The last "A" state is Arkansas and the state flower is the apple blossom.  

The United Floral States of America

Arizona

Arizona.  The state flower is the Saguaro Cactus Blossom, which are usually white.  I improvised some and made mine pink.  Enjoy!

United Floral States of America

 

Alaska

Next up...Alaska!  Made up of alpine forget me nots, the state flower.

United Floral States of America

Alabama

The United States, in floral and alphabetical order...Alabama!

The United Floral States of America

Last summer I completed two floral, watercolor versions of the outline of North Carolina.  They received a great response and recently I was commissioned to create a similar version of California in "Dodger blue."  I have decided to begin a new series completing versions of all 50 states in the U.S.  While the originals are spoken for, 8 x 10 prints are available.

Floral California, watercolor and pencil, 9 x 12 in, 2015

Floral California, watercolor and pencil, 9 x 12 in, 2015

Floral NC #1, watercolor and pencil, 12 x 9 in, 2014

Floral NC #1, watercolor and pencil, 12 x 9 in, 2014

Floral NC #2, watercolor and pencil, 12 x 9 in, 2014

Floral NC #2, watercolor and pencil, 12 x 9 in, 2014

Art and Loss

Sometimes, as an artist, an image will appear in my mind that I can't stop thinking about.  It is usually something that I want to paint or draw.  If I am not immediately able to do so, I'll think about it obsessively until I have the opportunity to 'get it out.'  The other day it was a piñata, a few months back, a walrus.

On Saturday, a mere 3 days into the new year, the image stuck in my head was that of a leopard print high heel shoe with a red bow.  I had just received the news that a friend had taken her life.  Like the images before and those to come, I got it down on paper.  Sherri this one is for you.

 

And lastly a poem by artist and poet, Kim Stout:

"The next is"

Weighed and measured

Deed by deed 

Or

Strewn about like chicken feed

However swallowed by the pot

One moment here

The next

Is not

 

 

Happy New Year!

It's a brand new year and I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what it brings.  Last year I started the tradition of creating a free printable calendar for folks to download and print at home. I was just really getting into using illustrator then and needless to say after a year of practice this year's calendar came together in about half the time.  Hope you enjoy it!  You can download the PDF file here.

Printable-Ornament-Bird.jpg