Mission Accomplished!

Do you remember last November when I wrote about an upcoming experiment?  Well, even though I’m a few beakers short of the scientific method, I still think I’ve proven my hypothesis is true:  I am most productive when I can focus solely on painting and nothing else.

I was a little nervous to broach the subject of a painting getaway to my husband.  ”What if I went away for two weeks just to paint?” I asked, wincing.  ”It is worth a try,” he replied.

And I have been pawing him in gratitude ever since.

The thing is, our current schedule hasn’t been working great for me to fit in painting.  I’ve built in painting into the homeschool schedule but when that time rolls around, I’m either too busy with other stuff or I start painting only to stop when I’m on a roll because it’s time to start dinner.   What if when I homeschool, I only homeschool?  And when I paint, I only paint?  I could rearrange our whole schedule to fit in painting weeks, extend homeschool year round, and take breaks in a more natural flow for our family.  So we launched the experiment over the last two weeks.

Now it is no small feat for Mamacita to go away for two weeks.  It takes an army–and to them, I am so grateful.  So grateful.  After stocking the house with food, catching up on everyone’s laundry, and checking out 75 books at the library, I packed up my car and headed to the mountains.

For the first few days I cried many times for joy at this amazing opportunity.  Sure, I missed my family, but this was such a different kind of bliss.  I felt undeserved of this time.  There were so many God-moments–like the first day, the first brush, the first song said, “I made a break, I run out yesterday, tried to find my mountain hideaway…”  Yeah, I think that God uses aging British pop rockers to say, hey, this is where you are supposed to be: relax and enjoy this gift. Oh, Simon and John…

By Friday of the first week, I was ready to get my hands on my kids and husband.  I had watched a video on my phone over and over through the week of those devilish angels.  They came in for the weekend and it was like Happy, Happy Home on steroids.  There was more crying and “this is great!”  My husband and I both agreed that the week had gone smoothly.  The kids were excited to see my work.  It was wonderful.

Then on Sunday night the four of them hopped in the car and drove back home.

Ugh, my heart split as I watched them drive off.  Week two was harder–mentally and physically.  I haven’t painted that intensely for a long time.  I am out of practice.  By the second Friday when my dear four returned, we were in agreement:  two weeks is too long.  One week is perfect.

But, whoaaaa!  Before you say, Angela, you must have accomplished a lot in two weeks! I will say:  I would not characterize my time away as prolific.  I worked on only one painting that first week…and finished it on Monday of the second week.  I brought unfinished canvases to work on–figuring if I finally completed them then I could start afresh on new ideas at home without the burden of a lineup of halfway paintings (a year in the making).  This was my chance to clear the slate.  And I did!  Feels so good.

I plan on sharing here what I worked on, but I have fun outings to post about, too.  Working and living in solitude is crazy, man.  Having a few fun fieldtrips saved my sanity for sure.  I even had the pleasure of lunch with the very talented Shannon Berrey, who–I discovered–has even more talents now that I’ve gotten to know her better.  Read her blog–it’s good!  A DIY queen she is.

So much we learned on our experiment, which makes it a success.  To my family, thank you for such a gift of time.  To all of you out there in a relationship with someone of a creative spirit, God bless you–it is a challenge.  So now, onward!

Back to the Beginning

What is your beginning?  Mine starts with Rita.

I was a little girl at the farm when my Aunt Rita led me to the pond.

She had brushes, paper, paint, oil, and turpentine.  She taught me to look, see, and paint what was in front of me.  She sent me home with leftover paint smooshed in wax paper and little jars of oil and turp.  And that was it: the beginning.  She created a passion within me–or a monster, depending on the day.  Either way, I’m so happy it started with Rita.  Dear Sweet Reet.

What is your beginning?

Art School Files

I had the chance to revisit some old paintings from college on my last trip to Texas.  I dumped a ton of paintings on a handful of friends and family after graduation–my sister was one (un)lucky recipient.  These live in her house.  Clearly I had a thing with hanging dealies.

Can you see how my love of interiors manifested itself here in these paintings?

Imma Be Stenciling

There is a cabinet in our dining room that originally was intended for media storage under the TV in another house.  Now in our rancher, it holds our entertaining pieces–a butler’s pantry of sorts all stuffed in there.  I’m finally ready to paint it and do something with the lonely tabletop lineup there.

My inspiration image is this:

[photo via MFAMB]

And I hope I can achieve this wondrous beauty without losing my ever living sanity by using a stencil from Modello Designs.  I’ll let you know how that all pans out if I don’t go mad.  Squares, squares, diamonds, diamonds, is that you, Q*Bert?   Someone save me!

Hot Brazilian Style

My mother made a baby with this man.  (Me.)

But when these photos were taken of a young man in Brazil, my mother was just a toddler in Texas.  This is just how this love story goes.  A girl never knows where she will find true love.  For my twenty-something mother, it was a middle-aged foreigner with an international fashion sense.

I was digging through old photographs recently when I was struck with how beautifully chic everyone looked.  Almost timeless.  My dad was a hottie on the beach in his snug swim trunks and billowy unbuttoned shirt.  And a day at the beach was an opportunity not to be missed for the ladies–up-dos and bold lipstick and gorgeous bare shoulders.  My dad, on the left, sports a tiny ‘stache, while it’s “hello, sailor!” on the right.  Three dudes and two ladies.  Someone got the raw end of the deal that day.

Hot, hot, hot!

Have you heard of this Brazilian group Bossacucanova?  Holy merda!  This music is hot.  Like get-naked-quick hot.  Uma Batida Diferente has been playing nonstop on my ipod–just wish I knew what they were singing.  I’ve got one beef with my late dad–he didn’t teach me Portuguese, possibly the sexiest language on the planet.  Or my mom could have let my non-English speaking grandmother babysit me more.  I think it would be appropriate for my Amazon legs to have a sultry Portuguese accent to go with them, no?

Boa noite, meu querido…

Instead I sound like some Warner Brothers half-wit speaking Spanish.

Kay towel, Wabbit?

Dear Spanish speakers, I’m so sorry that I butcher your lovely tongue daily.

Anyway, is it wrong that the only word I remember my dad teaching me in Portuguese is merda?  I guess it is irresistibly adorable to hear an American five year old say “shit” in another language.  So utterly charming.

(Happy birthday, Mother!)

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