NEW STUDIO!!

I felt exactly like I was moving into my new dorm room on the first day of school. Boxes and bags overflowing with loot, a handful of canvases to work and my stomach in knots. I can't actually remember the last time I felt nervous...about anything. Which is crazy - you grow up and stop challenging yourself? I'm pretty sure it's in the pushing of myself where this nervousness is coming from. It's scary - and really worth it. Damn...I hope it's worth it. 

The Studio Boulder is like a dream. Owned by my very good friend so it already feels super comfortable. And made for photo ops. Every corner is styled with something cool. New level of nervousness: will I live up to their expectations? Will I live up to my own expectations? 

Day 1: a little scary. Mostly totally awesome. Few snapshots from move-in day. That floor...amazing!

Oh Lucky U!

Two years ago The Don (hubby) and I stepped foot onto a magical cabin property in the mountains and decided right there and then that it should be our family retreat. Birds were singing, the sun was shining, a unicorn jumped across the perfect emerald grass (you get the picture, it was freakin amazing)...it was everything you could want in a cozy mountain getaway for the family.

Then came the flood. One month after we maxed our accounts and signed the papers to make it ours. All along our mountain road, cabins crumbled into the rushing, and now significantly derailed, river. So we were actually lucky that the water stopped right at the front door of our new cabin. Lucky that all we suffered was a lost bridge (any idea what that costs? I didn't either. I cried when the mountain bridge builder handed me the first invoice. Cried. He was terrified of me.) and a devastated property. I sobbed over our horrible decision to buy the place, the terrible timing, the work it would take to fix it up. All the projects that had at first seemed charming were now overwhelming. The Don listened, and nodded, but didn't agree. He stood by our decision and promised that it would be one of the best we ever made. Easy for him to say when I'm the one busting my butt up the mountain to meet with the contractors! 

So here we are, 2 years later. I busted my booty up there again today, fitting in time between school drop-off, prepping for studio move and back in time for school pick up. Met with more contractors, found just the right place for some new striped feathers I found on the property, laid down a new cozy rug in the big bedroom, spent some quiet time stacking rocks in the river and scoped out all the places on the, now green and and budding, property where I want to do some painting this summer. 

It was on my drive back down the mountain when I realized The Don was right (I hate when that happens and I won't admit it unless he sees this!). I freakin love that place. Love the smell of the pines the minute I step out of the car. Love the real white noise coming from the roaring river instead of our plugged in machine. Best decision ever (ok...we could have waited an extra month and have someone else pay for that stinkin bridge, but otherwise...). I leave every visit feeling refreshed, recharged, ready to paint, ready to work, ready to be happy with my kids instead of naggy. How perfect that we decided to name our little slice of heaven Lucky U after the U-shaped horseshoe we found at the doorstep of the cabin after the water receded. It's exactly how I feel. 

A couple snapshots from in and around the cabin today: 

It takes a Village

It takes a village to keep our lives together. And last night I had the extreme pleasure of hosting a Village dinner for the extraordinary women who pick me up and keep me going. After an evening of cooking real food for people who actually enjoy it (as opposed to my kids who are force fed their veggies!), and several rounds of Cards Against Humanity, I started composing a mental list of some of the many things I love about my Village of friends.  
I love not having to clean up my house before they come over.
I love falling in love with their children, who have become an extension of my family. 
I love not having to be up or witty or anything other than exactly how I'm feeling when I'm around them. 
I love that they remember stories about me that I don't even remember anymore. 
I love laughing till we snort when we're around each other. 
I love knowing that they've got my back no matter what I need. 
And I LOVED taking the time last night to celebrate our Village with good food, good wine and lots of snorting. 
 

Media madness

Over the last 2 weeks or so I have kicked off this website, a new Instagram account for my studio, and pretty much gone crazy with my Pinteresting. All of this has been in the interest of...what? Developing followers? How creepy does that sound? Um...kinda like a cult leader. Then I found myself getting anxious. First thing in the morning I would run downstairs while my kiddos were still sleeping, check to see all the new posts, 'like' some, get nervous about what I was going to post that day, what hashtags to use to maximize exposure...

Then yesterday I took a beat. I came downstairs and made some tea instead of reaching for my laptop right away. And I evaluated why I was feeling so off and unconnected, even though I was actually more 'connected' to the world (and Pinners everywhere!) than ever before. All of the striving for online approval and notice has been taking a strange toll on me. Instead of feeling full I've started to feel empty. 

So I'm changing my tune - and my strategy to online input. I will no longer post/pin/peruse for the sake of gaining attention. I will see these online vehicles as a gift and use them as I think their creators probably intended them to be used anyway.

I will use this journal as a way to work through my own inner conflicts, joys, and struggles with my work, and browse others' blogs the same way. Because if I'm dealing with stuff, God knows millions of other artists out there are too. I will take pictures of beautiful things that inspire me and share them if I think they might inspire others too. 

I have learned SO much from seeing other artists' work online and reading about their stories. And we are SO fortunate that we're living and working in a time when we have access to all of this inspiration. I will be grateful when I open my laptop from now on. I will be inspired. I will hope to inspire others. 

The Fear...it will try to eat me alive.

I've heard from other artist friends that the constant up and down roller coaster of emotions over my work is normal. But damn, that doesn't make it any easier. I had a show a few months ago, it was fabulous, amazing crowd of friends and locals, art was sold...I was on a high that night feeling proud and grateful. Then woke up the next morning thinking maybe I should just give up painting! I was knocked back down that quickly with fear. All the usual suspects were there: thoughts of being unoriginal, uncertainty about my next steps, fear over not being able to make a living. But this time I didn't put my paint brushes down and retreat like I have so many other times, waiting for months to paint again (and letting commissions just sit on the sideline). I forced myself to muddle through the fear and FREAKIN PAINT every single day. Even if I wasn't happy with a piece at the end of the day, I forced myself to paint SOMETHING every day. And it worked. 

So here I am again, staring down the face of fear this morning. I'm in between studios (again), waiting another month to get into my new space where I will once again unpack all my things and stretch out. In the meantime it feels like every day is a battle to convince myself that I am on the right path.

But dammit, I will paint. EVERY DAY. And trust that it will all work out in the end.