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Take Heart, Keep Singing

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“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
— Leonard Bernstein

As I watched my hometown get invaded by those sick, sick assholes, I was heartbroken. I still am. But I have several reasons to hope, and that’s the only way I can keep moving and not huddle under my blankets sobbing (anymore).

1) The reason violence errupted this weekend was that counterprotesters showed up. They showed up and said, “No, you don’t get to do this.” Would it have been better if violence hadn’t won the day? Yes. But was it important to stand up and say that that kind of hatred won’t be tolerated, and let minorities know that we have their backs and value them them as assets to our community; to let them know they’re not alone – that “they” are really “us.”

2) My friends are arguing about whether it would have been better to show up or to stay away completely so that the white supremacists didn’t get the attention they so desperately want. Let them shout into a void. They stayed away, thinking that if you don’t give them someone to scream at, eventually they’ll just disappear. Some showed up and marched peacefully and silently. Some thought showing up wasn’t enough and decided to fight violence with more violence. I’m torn about what the appropriate response is. I’m not sure there even is an appropriate response. But whatever their opinion on the best way to make the white supremacists go away, they still want to make them go away. That means there are a lot more of us on the side of love than hate.

2) At Jason Kessler’s press conference the next day, counterprotesters showed up and shouted him down and said, “No, you don’t get to do this.” Again, I’m not thrilled that someone ended up punching him, because that makes him look like a victim and I’m not okay with violence, but the people who showed up with pots and pans and cymbals to bang on to drown him out are heroes. They are beautiful, beautiful people standing up for our beautiful, beautiful city and country.

3) On Twitter, people have “outted” many of the white supremacists who attended, and at least one has been fired by a boss who said, “No, you don’t get to do this.” We should be sending equally clear messages to racist and hateful business owners by boycotting their businesses.  Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do since, again, I think there are more peaceful, accepting business owners than white supremacists.

4) I attended a vigil in Durham in support of Charlottesville yesterday, and when protesters showed up and started trying to shout over our speakers, we sang them down. We drowned them out with song.

People are speaking up. Yes, more need to, but it’s a start and this weekend was a wake-up call for a hell of a lot of people. However we choose to stand on the side of love, we need to stick together and remember that we are all, still, on the same side.

We need to keep singing. Sing until the hatemongers get the point that their hate isn’t welcome. Sing until our allies know they’re safe and loved. Sing to comfort those trying to heal from this weekend and the hundreds of years of strife in America that came before it. Sing a little extra love and joy into the world.

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Vandela Rose

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As mentioned in my last post, I was up in NJ training art instructors for a new paint and sip studio earlier this week, and when I travel, I like to bring along a watercolor palette so that I have something to do while I’m in my hotel room or the airport. I pack my watercolors (dried, not tubed) and brushes and a small pad of paper, and just bring an empty water bottle and fill it at the airport once I’m through security. Then voila, I can paint on the go! Here’s a little rose painting I did on this last trip:

 

Vendela Rose.JPG

Vandela Rose 6″ x 8″ watercolor on paper

To The Guy In Line At Security In Front Of Me

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I just got back from a trip to NJ to help a new paint and sip studio open (near Newark in Totowa for anyone who lives in that area http://www.aspirepaintstudio.com/), and am exhausted, but had to tell you about a really weird conversation I had with the guy in line at security in front of me. Keep in mind, I was bleary-eyed and just barely functional, and he decided I looked like the perfect person to chat with, and I really wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t tell if he was just bored and trying to pass the time, or if he was hitting on me, or what, but I’m not a morning person and I hadn’t had time to stop for coffee and couldn’t have taken it through security anyway and please just leave me alooooooone! Note that I’m avoiding eye contact and giving one word answers whenever possible:

Him: Where you traveling to?

Me: North Carolina.

Him: Why?

Me: It’s home.

Him: Why were you here?

Me: Business.

Him: What do you do?

Me: Artist.

Him: Wow! That’s so cool! Do you make a living at it?

Me: Yup.

Him: Do you live in a house or an apartment?

Me: House.

Him: A big house?

Me: No.

Him: Wow, so you’re really living a charmed life, huh?

Me: I guess.

Him: Hmmm, so do you have any troubles, or if everything perfect?

Me: Everyone has troubles.

Him: How do you deal with them?

Me: Medication.

Him: What medication are you on?

Me: <finally making eye contact> Dude. Am I going to tell you what medication I take?

Him: <nervous laugh> I’m not, like, asking for some of it. Just curious.

Me: No.

Him: But –

Me: No.

WTF? On what planet is it acceptable behavior to ask a stranger what medications they’re on? And how do you not pick up on the fact that I am SO not into this conversation?

To be fair though, there was a bird flying through the airport, and a few minutes later I said, out loud, “That bird has a hole in it’s butt.” No idea why I said it out loud, but the guy said, “Um, all birds have holes in their butts. They have butt holes.” To which I said, “Technically, they have cloacas. But that’s not what I meant. It was missing some tail feathers so I could see daylight through it. I don’t know why I’m saying this out loud…must be my medication.” And then he was off and running and talking to me again, and it was totally my fault because I had spoken out loud to no one in particular. Sigh.

Paris - Tuilleries 8 cropped

Fiddle Quartet

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Awhile back I posted a series of paintings of a friend’s fiddle.  It’s seen a lot of wear and tear, which gives it so much character. I love the scars that document the roadmap of its time in the world. It’s a good reminder that all the bumps and bruises we all accumulate along the way are the things that set us apart, and they don’t make us any less beautiful.

I decided to put the four paintings together as a print, which is now available here on a variety of products.

Fiddle Quartet.jpg

Are We Really Doing This Again?

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Every single day, my husband and I have this conversation:

Me: Stop putting plastic bags in the recycling bin.

Him: I didn’t.

Me: (holding up the plastic bag from inside the cereal box) You did.

Him: Not even that?

Me: Is it plastic?

Him: Yes.

Me: Is it a bag?

Him: Yes.

Me:

Cranky me in Detroit

or…

Me: Stop putting plastic bags in the recycling bin.

Him: I didn’t.

Me: (holding up the plastic bag from the frozen garlic bread) You did.

Him: Not even that?

Me: Is it plastic?

Him: Yes.

Me: Is it a bag?

Him: Yes.

Me:

Cranky me in Detroit

or…

Me: Stop putting plastic bags in the recycling bin.

Him: I didn’t.

Me: (holding up the plastic grocery bag) You did.

Him: Not even that?

Me: Is it plastic?

Him: Yes.

Me: Is it a bag?

Him: Yes.

Me:

Cranky me in Detroit

You get the idea. Sometimes, we like to change it up by having the same conversation about styrofoam because we are fascinating people.

me annoyed reversed.jpg

 

 

Angel’s Envy

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If you’ve been reading my blog for more than a minute, you know that I like bourbon. A lot. Bourbon is awesome.  It is the wind beneath my wings. Which is why I decided to do a second bourbon painting (you can find the first one here), this time of Angel’s Envy bourbon. Because wings. It’s like Red Bull, but for badasses. Granted, I’ve never actually tasted it, but that bottle… I was at a friend’s house, and was taking pics of her various bourbon bottles (as one does) and just loved this one. Hopefully, I can sample it in the near future. So here’s my second bourbon painting:

Angels Envy_compressed

Angel’s Envy 5″ x 7″ oil on board $125

Original available here. Prints and such available here.

Low Hanging Fruit

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In the middle of the night a few weeks ago, I woke up with thought that I needed to do a “long hanging fruit” series of paintings and laughed outloud (prompting a grunt and a kick from my sleeping husband). I have no idea why. But, being the weirdo that I am, instead of just going back to sleep, I started sketching and plotting. We’ll see if this actually turns into a full series, or just stops at this painting, but it makes me giggle nonetheless. If life hands you lemons, paint them.

Low Hanging Lemons

Low Hanging Lemons 9″ x 12″ oil on board $300

Original available here, prints and other swag available here and here.

Lipstick for Dogs

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We offer Paint Your Pet classes at the sip and paint studio that requires customers to email me their pet’s photo in advance so that I can sketch it onto a canvas before they arrive for class. You never know what you’re going to get – we’ve had some strange animals (including a kinkajou and a stuffed teddy bear) in strange settings (on the toilet, mostly hidden under a large chair), and sometimes people wait until the last minute to email me their pics, so there’s no time to consult with them to suggest a different photo. I often have to do some creative editing. For the class I just had, something in the photo really “stuck out” to me, and I wasn’t sure if I should sketch it in or not. You’ll see what I mean:

dog lipstick

 

Now that you’re as scarred as I am, you can go about your regularly scheduled programming.