Be Yourself

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I know, I know, I know. I’ve been slacking on the whole blogging thing. But I’m almost ready to post live links for my book, and I’ve been elbow deep in research about how to promote the damn thing once it’s available. And being elbow deep in research is SO much less fun than being elbow deep in paint. Which is why I spent a fair bit of time today (while teaching classes and in between classes) playing with paint. I’ve created a line of paintings with text called Page’s Ponderings. Here is my first offering:

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Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the series up on Etsy soon and post a link for purchase. Until then, you can get prints and other fun merch here and here.

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Aurora Borealis

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My favorite part of owning a paint and sip studio, is creating new paintings each month to teach to our customers. Here’s a recent addition that I think will be a fun one to teach:

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Can’t get to my studio to paint, but love the painting? You can buy a print or other fun swag here.

A Girl and Her Book

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Last night at my sip and paint studio, I had a lot of paint leftover on the palettes I had poured for my customers. I hate wasting paint. Hate it. It hurts to toss perfectly good paint, but it’s generally been sitting out too long or has been contaminated with other colors on the palette by the end of class, so it can’t go back into the bottles. So, instead of tossing it last night, I decided to take the leftovers and do a new painting before heading home. Knocked this sweet little one out:

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Prints and other swag available here.

More Creepy Trees, Y’All

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It’s time to reveal another creepy tree for the haunt! Woohoo! Just in case you missed it, here’s the first one. This one was kind of a different process. I used the corners from the first block of foam that I’d trimmed off to shape the original tree. I glued them together, then sculpted a bunch of skulls from some other waste pieces of foam from that first tree. Then I got messy. I adhered the skulls to the core with spray foam, and once that had dried, covered the whole thing with foam coat. Then I slapped a few layers of paint on that bad boy and now we’ve got ourselves another fun set dressing!

Because I love you dearly, I documented the process along the way:

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On the right, you see just the foam core, skulls, and spray. On the left, you see the foam coat that’s applied on top.

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First, I painted the whole thing dark brown.

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Then I added lighter browns and greens on top to make it look more like bark and bring out the skulls.

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It’s Been a Year

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Sorry to have been missing for awhile, peeps. February 5th was the anniversary of my dad’s death, and I’ve kind of been hiding a bit. It was both harder and easier to deal with than I thought it’d be. It doesn’t feel like a year. A year. It still feels pretty damn fresh. To mark the anniversary, I went up to VA and met my mom out at the property we used to own. We’d okayed it with the current owner, who’s a really nice guy. We took some of my dad’s ashes down to the railroad tracks and scattered some there.

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Then we headed into the flatwoods that have a lot of meaning to me, and were pleased to discover that the current owner also thinks it’s a special place. He left the jars there, undisturbed, set up some chairs facing the creek and added a little fire pit. Mom and I scattered more ashes into the creek and hid a couple pennies.

The next day, my mom and S and I went out to the cemetery to inter the rest of the cremains. They installed a nice bench under a huge old tree, and we put the box of ashes in and placed a penny with the word “thanks” written on it. When they put the top of the bench back on, we said a few words of thanks and placed a couple more pennies, then, since it was an absolutely gorgeous day, we wandered the cemetery and visited the graves of some friends and family that also reside there.

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Was it hard? Yes. I miss my dad’s hugs so much – even the ones he gave towards the end of his life when he was a little stinky. There’s a finality to interring those ashes – the nail in the coffin, as it were. But there was also something healing in finally closing that chapter. There is nothing left to do now. There’s nothing hanging over our heads that needs to be done to take care of him. That’s a weird feeling, after so many years of making him our lives. There’s also some comfort in having somewhere to go if I desperately need to visit, though I doubt I’ll do that much. It’s time to move on.

So now it’s time to focus on the book. More on that soon. For now, though, thank you to everyone who helped us get through the last year since his death. It’s appreciated more than you know.

Buddha

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It’s been a tough few days for me. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of my dad’s death, and I’m missing him somethin’ fierce. Images from his final, painful days keep creeping into my head and stealing my breath, even though I thought I was past that trauma. I’ve been in duck and cover mode as a result, and wanting to just hide under a rock somewhere far, far away from the world. But that’s not how life works, so I’m turning to paint. With brush in hand, I’ve been tapping and dabbing and flicking my way through the pain, trying to find a more meditative state. It’s been hard, so I took the whole meditative, zen thing a little more literally, this time focusing on the Buddha.

My dad had loved yoga in the years prior to the dementia hitting, and he still practiced it for awhile after we moved him to a dementia care facility. There was a statue of the Virgin Mary in the courtyard of the facility, and every morning, my dad would go outside, bow to the statue and say, “Namaste.” Thinking of that now, even in the midst of all this sadness, brings a quiet smile. Namaste, papa.

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Buddha 7″ x 5″ oil on board $150

Original available here. Prints here.

Dem Creepy, Creepy Trees

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Okay, I finally – FINALLY – finished one of the creepy trees that will be set dressing at Eerieville (the 21 acres we’re transforming into a haunted attraction). This was my first time working with foam, hot wires, and foam coat. Paint, though, I am obviously familiar with. This is the total opposite way for my brain to create, as it involves whittling away as opposed to building up. I’ve done very little carving since college, and I’ve certainly never done it with hot wires, so it was incredibly challenging (especially since I’m accident prone). I’m also not working with the ideal tools because they’re hella expensive and out of my budget, so it’s taking me way longer than it would otherwise. I’ve been documenting the steps along the way, specifically for you, dear reader. So here is our first creepy tree:

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First, we had to unload these 8’x 3′ x 4′ blocks of foam. Yes, I injured myself doing this.

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Then I had to carve the block into the basic shape of a round tree. Yes, I injured myself doing this.

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Then I drew on the skeleton that I wanted to be emerging from the tree. No, I didn’t injure myself doing this, but I did lose the cap to the pen, which hurt my heart.

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Then I got to carve in the skeleton and add texture so that it resembled bark a little more. Yes, I injured myself doing this. 

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Next, I coated the tree with a product called Foam Coat that dries to a concrete-like finish. Yes, I injured myself doing this.

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Then I painted it dark brown, let that dry, and dry brushed on two lighter shades of brown and some green. Yes, I injured myself doing this.

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Then I stood back and was proud of myself. I did not injure myself doing this, but I did trip over a bottle of paint while I was backing up to take this picture.

And there you have it. Several more trees to go, along with a whole bunch of other props, and I’ll try to remember to take pics for you but I don’t have the best memory (too many fumes from the burning foam), so I’m not making any promises.

Starbucks Cup Music-ing

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So my body has been full on shitacular lately. Not sure if this is a fibromyalgia flare, because it feels more like it’s in my joints than my muscles, but I could barely lift my arms the last couple days and actually had to wear my left arm in a sling because my shoulder hurt so much. So no great painting getting done. Sigh. I hate that. I’m feeling moderately closer to an approximation of what I imagine a normal human should feel like.

I did discover something a couple night ago, thanks to S, that gave me the giggles and terrified the cats. No idea why. I think S may be regretting that he taught me this by now:

Now I’m just waiting for the viral video where a “band” perfects the art of Starbucks Cup Music-ing and does a whole song this way. Get on it, people. I’m waiting.

Mondays With Muddy

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Here is the second to last excerpt from Beatrice Allen Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape With Figures:

“People are beginning to pack up and get ready to leave right after Labor Day. The Rosenblums have already gone. Three or four other people said goodbye to me on the beach this afternoon. In another few days I shall be virtually alone again. This is where I came in – but with what a difference! I shall miss the friends I’ve made but I find I no longer dread being alone.

It seems that without quite knowing when or how it came about, I have decided to stay, at least for the time being. And after that? After that all I can say is what I heard someone say quite seriously on the radio a few nights ago: ‘The future lies ahead.’

Indubitably!”

Dizzybutt

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Just in case you had a long day, here’s something sweet for you. My long time readers will know all about Dizzy, the pitten, but just in case you don’t, you can read about him here. Despite the fact that he’s a little defective, he is, finally starting to grow up and act less like a puppy and more like a cat. For about a month now, he’s taken to sitting on me as long as I don’t touch him. And today – GASP – he let me scratch his head while he sat on me. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! Anyway, even though he’s a little mutant-y, he’s got a truly great face, so I decided to paint him. Or, well, do a painting of him, not cover him in paint. I shouldn’t have to explain this to you people. When I posted that on Facebook and Instagram, a disturbing number of my friends suggested I actually roll him in paint and smear him on a canvas. Clearly, I have all the right friends. So here’s my little Dizzybutt:

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Dizzy 5″ x 7″ oil on board $150

Original for sale here. Prints available here.