Happy Doesn’t Pay the Bills

Happy Doesn’t Pay the Bills

2008, I first think Obama, then it says Time For Change in a circle boarder with three paws and it says PETCO. Then I think that’s the year my mom died, and I realize 2008 was a long time ago. I grab a scoop of Billy’s dog food, that’s what I came in the pantry for in the first place. I ripped off the cardboard tag of the re-usable shopping bag. That date, 2008 has stuck in my mind all day. My clammy cold feet mind. I got a call from a woman from Readers Magnet. Before I called back I looked up the info about this company. “Beware of this Scam” it says when I type in the company. I take every criticism I read on the internet with a grain of salt. When I talk to the woman she gives me her sales pitch and tells me a bunch of new stuff about selling books. It gives me anxiety! But it’s informative. She talks about E-commerce and Pay Pal. Selling my books, myself straight off my web site. No Amazon. She also talked about SEO’s which I am befuddled by from my last interaction with SEO’s and advertising on WIX, the perverts the word “mom” brings out of the wood work. I don’t know how to sell my books or paintings or if anyone will ever buy them, it leaves me with the same question, how much time, energy, focus should I do on the marketing and selling side of things? I just want to write and work in my studio. My art show hasn’t panned out any big sales, I just get feeling like this sometimes. Things were so different in 2008, before 2008, there was a big change, for me and for the United States with Obama being elected. My mom died right before the Inauguration. She missed a time of hope and optimism. Even after she died I kept focusing on art and painting, getting into graduate school, I felt like the time would come when I could do what I love, which it has. I am doing what I love. I love painting and writing, and my life as a mother and wife and person in the community, I couldn’t be happier or prouder of myself. But Happy doesn’t pay the bills or store the art or pay for the publishing costs, only cash will. It’s not a choice, I won’t ever stop writing or painting, but, Do I let go of my dreams of my work I produce to cover the costs itself? And what about the hustling I need to embark on to try to sell my book and paintings? The time and the money, it’s overwhelming. With my disposition the only thing I can hope for would be a Gallery and a Traditional publishing company to pay me and sell my work! And that’s just a pipe dream, right? I mean what would I have to do?

Self Indulgence

Self Indulgence

To interact, that is one of the reasons I write and make art. To communicate. To express myself. The internet helps me connect with the world. People make fun of social media and call it dumb, but it allows me to share my thoughts, my paintings, myself, with the world. To find shared experiences. What would I be with out the books I’ve read, the people I’ve known, I’ve always wanted that. I’ve always searched for that connectedness. I listened to a woman on the news last night, talking about net neutrality, which is protecting the rights of peoples right to information. Keeping the internet equal for all, allowing everyone equal access no matter where they live and how much money they have. Free internet at the library. I just finished publishing my new book, Nap Time Paintings, Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist”.  I am so happy with the cover, it is beautiful. I am sure it will read beautifully now, after revising it so many times. And my art works shines in the book. I decided to really give my book its own identity, apart from my art career, I started a new Facebook page for my book and had to write about why people should click on my new link. I talked about what I’m writing, had to express why people should read what I’m writing. I though about why I like reading. I like hearing other people stories and experiences. I like being inspired to paint and to be a better mom and human being. I like feeling connected to people in that way. It makes me feel things I wouldn’t normally feel. It gives me hope. I love reading. I love looking at Art.  By having my book accessible in places where there are no galleries or museums, or where cost prohibits people to go visit places with fine art, an art book, my book can allow more people to view abstract, contemporary, strong, interesting art. At the Fourth Wall Gallery we talk about the Democracy of Fine Art all the time. Fine Art should be accessible to more people. It shouldn’t all be outrageously priced. I guess the internet for me, sharing my work on line and in galleries, writing my blog, and self-publishing my book is about democracy.  Net- Neutrality is a MUST! The book feels different than the painting. I started wondering the other day if writing about what I write about is self-indulgent? “Indulging one’s own desires, passions, whims., especially without restraint.” Dictionary.com. I am indulging in my desire to paint and write, it’s my passion, my whole art practice is about restraint vs. indulgence.

Fruition : the point at which a plan or project is realized

Fruition : the point at which a plan or project is realized

Sunday I bring my work to the Fourth Wall Gallery! I am looking forward to seeing all my pieces for “Never Enough Time” in a beautiful Gallery.

Strange how time flies, I say this all the time. But time never stops surprising me. There are a few ceremonial blank pages left in my largest notebook. I am pleased with my Note Books, my paintings and drawings. My WHOLE art show fit in my car! A whole year of my life packaged up. There is Never Enough Time, except sometimes, there is enough time to do the things we want, enough space to devour, enough oxygen to breath. To the last breath, all in sync. Coloring books, pens, blocks, toy cars, a toy shark, and a “Sound Storybook Treasury” surround me. Yesterday Fiona and I went to a children’s book reading at the bookstore that I and The Book Reader enjoyed most. I think I’m gonna make my deadlines, even my Book, “Nap Time Paintings, Motherhood from the Eyes of an Artist.” I can’t wait until I see my new book. It’s gonna be so cool.

To Nap Time Paintings and Nap Time Notebooks, I owe you my life.

To Nap Time Paintings and Nap Time Notebooks, I owe you my life.

Jacks watching Sponge Bob, it’s such a strange show. Funny and strange. I never watched sponge bob as a kid. I went into my studio to paint today. I worked on my notebooks with golds, purples, charcoal, big paintbrushes, drips and fine lines. A portrait, I call “Mirror Image”.  I write on it, I scratch on it. I love it. Maybe it’s the cover of my book. The most amazing thing is happening to me. My book editing is influencing my painting. My painting editing; gathering my works to get photographed tomorrow is influencing my book layout. The pictures have become an integral part of the book, the emotion, they mirror the writing, the writing mirrors the paintings, it all mirrors me and I mirror it all. It’s like I’m in the HOUSE OF MIRRORS. The paintings start to mirror the other paintings. The babies mirror me. The writing mirrors the babies and the babies mirror the writings. The NOTEBOOKS are the glue that holds the whole body of work and of SELF together. The blog is community, a vast ecosystem where I let words and images trickle out into the giant internet ocean. This is gonna be epic for me. My website has been SO under used. I am going to fully avail to all that is available to me to get this project out with a bang. I’ve been working on this for so many years, all of it. Everything I’ve done has led me here. Everywhere I’ve been has led me to this beautiful, full circle OPEN place I am right now. Nap Time Paintings, you taught me so much. All the teachings I ever had have converged in NapTime Paintings and NOTEBOOKS. The babies, being a mom. Everything I’ve done has led me here, my blue finger nails, bleach blond hair. My suburban, yoga, minivan, mama of Marin. My beautiful stiff, strong body and soul. It’s laid out, raw and bare for all to see.  

How it was, what its like

How it was, what its like

“Time to go for a walk babies, do you want to take Billy for a walk?” I say. We just finished eating pasta for dinner, “This is how we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face, this is how we wash our face early in the evening.” I sing as I attempt to clean Jack and Fiona’s spaghetti sauce faces. I do a good enough job, grab both babies out of their high chairs, carry them down the stairs, Jack slipping out of my arm, I make it to the bottom without dropping one, set them both down. I open the door to the garage, “Look Daddy’s home.” I say. Alan is putting out the trash. Jack and Fiona scurry around the garage, touching things they shouldn’t touch, playing with a half put together toy dump truck we got for their birthday. (Alan put the wrong screw in one of the wheels so now he needs a long screwdriver to get it out, the kind of thing that eventually goes to the dump without ever being used) I go upstairs and put on  Billies leash, she’s shedding like crazy, big clumps of hair falling out, there’s no way to control it. I bring her downstairs and Alan has Jack and Fiona in the B.O.B. for me. “You guys need to learn how to do this” I say as I brush some of the clumps of hair off Billy. I imagine Jack and Fiona brushing Billy, loving her, taking care of her. She’ll probably be dead though before any of that actually happens. First we walk down the hill, “Billy’s sniffing, she loves to sniff, come on Billy, whoa!” she stops and pulls me backwards, “Billy, come on, you’re not going to pull me backwards on hills today, LET’S Go Girl!” I say. “Look at the trees guys, oh my god it’s going to be a bad night for pollen, can you feel the pollen in the air?” I say. Past the Bret Harte playground, I ask myself, is it really that bad? (I can’t get my first visits out of my mind, the dog poop, the dirty diaper in the corner, I won’t know until Jack and Fiona are older and we spend more time here, I think to myself.)  I really like the big Oak Tree. Up the next hill I’m laughing out loud. Smiling, wondering if I’m crazy? Crazy happy? Why do I have so much energy tonight? I imagine People think I’m crazy when they hear me talking and laughing while walking Billy and pushing the stroller. Before the babies came Alan used to always tell me, “Stop talking to yourself.” Now technically I’m not talking to myself any more, I’m talking to Jack and Fiona. I’ve always talked to my dogs. It’s natural. “Do you see the trees? The half-moon in the sky? The single dove on the telephone pole? Look at this pinecone.  The sun, no wait the sun is already down. Babies the sun is already down, but we’re lucky, we’ll make it home before dark. Oh my gosh, what if today was the last day we saw the sun? ” I think about it, the last day, that day will come. My new motto is “Keep on Movin’ Keep on Groovin’. Keep the wheels turning, that kinda thing. Yesterday it happened again, I got the babies down for their nap. I had to give them a bath, I didn’t use wipes at the park today. (the park I drove too, because at the time I think it’s a nicer park than my neighborhood park.) They have dirt on their legs, food on their faces, just messy! I watch the other moms at the park wiping the hands and faces of their babies several times. Sometimes thoughts appear in my mind, self-conciousness, “Do they think I’m a slob? I’m really dirty?” Even Alan has made comments after meals that I haven’t cleaned Jack and Fiona’s faces good enough and they are going to break out. Interesting huh? I wonder why people are so into cleanliness. Anyhow the babies were taking their nap, I had all my workout clothes on the floor, I was going to go through them and turn some into painting rags. I tell myself, “Just do it really fast” and I did. But I came upstairs to get some water, I decided I NEED to go to my studio and paint for a minute. Kaboom! I see the kitchen is a complete disaster, after the park I brought everything up and set it on the center Island. (The babies are asleep right now) I find myself walking around in circles picking stuff up, putting things in the sink, in the fridge, in new piles of like items. “STOP!” I say to myself. “Grab the baby monitor and water and Go to your studio!” I can finish cleaning later. I get into my studio. I’m feeling super inspired, is it the babies? Their passion for life? I don’t know but I’m feeling freedom. I paint fast and into new territories. I’m excited by the drawing I’m doing, the unconscious feeling I have when I paint with my few remaining usable paintbrushes, (I ruin all my paintbrushes, they turn hard as rocks) I grab a palette. The colors show up in my mind, I mix them. I use restraint not to overwork every single piece. I already have a huge pile of overworked pieces. (I may turn these into collage down the road) Its 5:30PM, I can’t believe the babies have slept so long. I finish up in my studio and go inside the house. (my studio is in the garage, built into the hillside. It stays the same temperature all year long) All is quiet, but I realize I had the wrong baby monitor. Oh well, they needed that rest and I needed to work in my studio no matter what. I walk in the house expecting to hear crying babies, but the house is still quiet. Sweet little babies, in their nursery, in their cribs. On white cotton sheets, a quiet peace surrounding Jack and Fiona as they sleep like babies, a sweetness I’ve never know before. Maybe comparable to a sweet late spring day, where the chimes chime in the breezy afternoon. The doors in the house, windows open, letting the light and smells of the day filter through my body. There are always sweet, lovely things to hang on to in life. Even on the most stressful, busy  days.