Here’s a tutorial for how to teach (or just paint) one of Artistic Abandon’s most popular paintings, Solace. Enjoy!
I finally got around to uploading a new painting tutorial. Uploading it took ALL. DAMN. DAY. During which time I debated whether or not I could get away with making cock jokes since it’s a painting of a rooster. But I’m a classy lady, so instead, I’ll leave you to make the jokes for me in the comments if you so desire. If not, just enjoy the video:
We used to do Pet Portrait classes at my sip and paint studio, and one of my customers (who has since become a friend) came every time and painted one of her cats. She did a bunch of great paintings of her furry friends, but her favorite kitty, Gertie, was a fluffy, black, little thing. She was Sarah’s other half.
Recently, Gertie passed away, and Sarah decided she wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate her little buddy. She sent me a sheet with several watercolor kitties, so we decided to combine her painting of Gertie with the style of the watercolor kitties:
I was so honored to be part of this. First, to get to help her make a great painting of her buddy while she was still alive, and then to help her commemorate Gertie now that she’s gone. This is the kind of thing I was really looking forward to when I decided to learn to tattoo. I love being able to help people document a part of their lives and do something that really means something to them. Here’s the final tattoo:
I just realized that I uploaded another instructional painting video about a month ago and never posted it here. So guess what I’m doing? Posting it here. I know. You didn’t see that coming, did you? I’m just full of surprises. Anyway, sit back, eat some nom nom, and watch a painting happen. Or grab a paintbrush and paint along. Either way, enjoy!
Today is the 2nd anniversary of my dad’s death. I still think about him every day. I still go through bouts of serious grief. I still picture those final, horrible, painful days with him as we sat by his bedside and watched him die. I still have nightmares. But, very slowly, I’m also starting to remember some small things from before his dementia, or at least in the very early phases of it. They’re not huge things, and there aren’t as many of those memories as I’d like compared to memories post-diagnosis. But they’re there.
I’m not going to lie and say that time has made this all easier to bear. It hasn’t. Life without my dad in it is lonelier. It’s a little less colorful. I feel less confident without him there to cheer me on. And I go through periods where the world seems bound and determined to remind me of him and make me cry. I want him back. Now. I want him to stop by and check on me, though I don’t even know if that’s possible. It’s hard not being a person of faith. Sometimes I think that his soul might be floating around out there, still tethered to mine somehow, like some big, transparent, elephant-shaped balloon. Other times that seems ridiculous. It feels like I’m looking for signs that aren’t really there. Or maybe they are.
In this time of transition in my life, I need him more desperately than ever to help confirm that I’m on the right path. Closing the paint and sip studio was hard, because it was a huge chapter of my life that he never got to see. And closing it reminds me of how many more chapters I’ll begin and end that he won’t be here to witness. But even if those chapters can’t be ours, they’ll still happen.
As we gear up to open the tattoo studio, I’m so sad that he’s not here to hug me and tell me how proud he is of me. I still need that paternal affirmation. So, I find myself doing little things to make him a part of things there. And that’s where this painting comes in. Long time readers know my dad was a huge train buff, so I created this painting for the tattoo studio lobby in hopes that I’ll feel like he’s taking part in this next phase of my life.
And in case you don’t already know: Know a caregiver, or someone with dementia, or someone who knows someone with dementia, or someone who knows someone who knows someone else who’s a caregiver? Or heck, do you know a person? Well, you should tell them about my book, Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too. Part memoir and part coffee table art book, I recount my family’s heartbreaking and hilarious journey through my father’s dementia. Available to purchase here (this is my favorite way if you live in the U.S.), here or here if you’d rather get the eBook than a print copy, and here (especially if you want a hard cover copy).
acrylic painting, Artistic Abandon, Emily Page Art, instructional video, paint and pour, paint and sip, painting, painting instructional video, painting video, Raleigh artist, sip and paint studio, wine and paint
Hi everyone! Hope you all had a smashing Thanksgiving yesterday, and are now lazing around with bloated bellies until it’s time to dig into your leftovers. To give you an excuse to avoid getting into another political fight with your crazy Uncle Albie, here is another instructional video for one of Artistic Abandon’s paintings, Blue Window.
If you’re interested in licensing our paintings (all of which are copyrighted) for your own paint and sip business or classroom, please contact us at email@example.com. If you’re a budding artist and just want to paint along at home (not to teach or to sell as your own painting or financially profit from in any way), you are welcome to use this video free of charge. Have fun!
I’ve created videos for how to teach a few of Artistic Abandon’s paintings! I’ll be releasing more over the coming weeks. While these videos are meant for instructors, and give tips for how to avoid the pitfalls of teaching them, individual budding artists are welcome to paint along at home. If you’re interested in licensing our paintings (all of which are copyrighted) for your own paint and sip business or classroom, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a budding artist and just want to paint along at home (not to teach or to sell as your own painting or financially profit from in any way), you are welcome to use this video free of charge. Have fun!
I’m sad, guys. I don’t know why I’m sad now. I just know that I’m grieving my dad HARD right now. I know grief comes in waves. I think partly that this is because I’m in a period of real transition now that I’ve closed the paint and sip studio and things have stalled with the next adventure. Insecurity in my life isn’t helping. I think it’s also because it’s the time of year that I tend to get a depression flare. It happens just about every year around this time: my depression kicks it up a notch and my brain starts telling me I’m a giant loser and a miserable person who makes terrible, cowardly choices, and the future is very, very bleak. Again, insecurity in my life isn’t helping.
I’ve been having nightmares about my dad again. I say “nightmares,” but they’re not really scary – just really, really sad. I’ve woken up crying several times. And my dreams always share one feature: he always has dementia. He’ll be in different stages, but he’s never just him. In a dream a couple days ago, I was dancing to “Come Rain or Come Shine” with him, and for a split second, he was dancing and interacting with me like he was normal and healthy, and I thought, “This is a dream, but it’s a fantastic dream. I’ve got to keep this going.” I very rarely am aware that I’m dreaming, but I knew it this time and I was desperate for it to continue. And then, in an instant, he changed and I kept grabbing his arms and trying to force him and my dream to come back. I woke up so bloody angry that I couldn’t even remember him as my fully functioning father in a dream. Why can’t I think of him that way? Why is it always him in some stage of dementia?
Two nights ago, I had a flashback. I was feeling really tired and a little nauseated and lay down, and suddenly I was convinced that I was crumpled up, crying, in the hallway outside of the room where my dad was dying. I could hear the oxygen machine going and smell the nursing home stink. I could feel the carpet underneath me and the wallpaper at my back. PTSD, anyone? Ugh. I just want to forget those final three, pain-filled days.
So yeah, it’s been a hard couple weeks. And Wednesday is my 40th birthday. How can I celebrate it without including my dad? How can he not be here for it? He’s supposed to be here for it. I miss him so damn much all the damn time.
But there’s nothing I can do about it. And since I’m in a depressive cycle, I need to focus on the good things. I’ll share one with you. This is the pit I discovered when I cut open an avocado for lunch today:
How cool is that? It looks like a tree. Or Audrey II (there was that total eclipse of the sun a little while back…). Or brains. There is an excellent possibility that I chased the cats around the house with it chanting, “braaaaaaaains.” I may have also tried to chase S around the house with it and he may have taken it from me and thrown it out when I wouldn’t stop. It may also have attracted fruit flies and I may also being currently trying to get them drunk/kill them on cheap white wine and dish soap. Hey, it’s not the worst way to go.
Life goes on, come rain or come shine.
It’s been a long time since I last posted. This is partly due to laziness, partly due to being totally overwhelmed by life, partly because it’s the time of year when my depression usually kicks things up a notch, and partly due to the hurricane coverage that has sucked me in. A LOT has happened over the last almost-month that I’ve been an absentee blogger. And as I got farther and farther behind on posting, the harder it’s been to make myself sit down and actually write. So, because I’m out of practice, this post may be total shit. Apologies in advance for shitblogging.
As you may or may not recall, our landlord for our sip and paint studio decided to be a total douchefuck and double our rent. If you missed that post, go back and read it to catch up before you come back and finish this post. I’ll wait (I won’t really wait. I’m not typing this live, as you read it. I shouldn’t have to explain this to you people.).
So, now that you’re caught up, you’ve probably figured out that we did, in fact, close the brick and mortar location. I taught my last in-studio class on the 19th, and then we had 2 weeks to clean the space out, during which I also had to travel to Colorado to train artists for a new sip and paint studio for which we were doing some consulting. ‘Cause there was so much time for THAT. Aaaaaaaagggghhhh! Cleaning the studio out to close down the business completely wouldn’t have been that big a deal, because we could toss, donate, or sell most of the stuff filling the 1400 square foot space. But because we’re still doing mobile events and offering consulting services, we had to keep a lot of it, which means that we had to find storage for it all. Double-aaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhh!
We had to go from this (which doesn’t even show the back rooms which were also choking on art supplies):
The room where-art-goes-to-die was already packed to the gills, and we need the space we have in the buildings at the haunt to make more fun things like the creepy trees. So we had to spend a few days emptying everything out of the already packed spaces so that we could put shelving from the studio into them and re-pack them even more. I had to throw out some old art, which isn’t a happy thing to do, but, realizing that they hadn’t sold since college and aren’t really representative of the work I now do, I said “fuck it” and tossed the paintings out. I also renamed the room from “the room where-art-goes-to-die” to “clusterfucklandia.” (I think maybe I’m German or Dutch. I keep combining words to make a newer, longer words. I must have germandutchitis.) A local friend also generously allowed us to store a solid crapton of stuff in the space above his garage, which saved us a whole heap o’ trouble. So we worked it out.
Except for the desk. My dad’s desk. We’d brought it down to serve as our check-in desk at the studio after we put my dad into the dementia care facility. Try as we might, we couldn’t figure out a place to keep it now that the studio is closing, and it was insanely heavy and damn near impossible to get into the back of the pick-up truck for easy moving. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but for some reason, I got really, really sad at the thought of giving it up. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think that maybe, on a subconscious level, it was a way of having my dad still be a part of a chapter of my life that he’d never see in person. He was contributing to the studio, in a way. And now here I am closing that chapter, and it feels weird that there’s an entire chunk of my life that he never knew, and as I move forward into the next chapter, I won’t even have his desk along for the ride to make him a part of it. It’s silly. I know. It’s just a desk, not my dad. But I just can’t help feeling really sad that I had to let it go.
And then, suddenly, everything was sold or donated or in storage, and I had nothing to do. Except think about that damn desk. And my dad. And now I’m grieving hard again. And, of course, things keep popping up to ensure that I continue to think about it: References on TV; lucky pennies; someone he knew, while growing up, contacting me out of the blue because they read my book; going to a friend’s wedding at which her father said to me, “You know, your dad’s band was supposed to be playing for this,” and at which she and her father danced the father-daughter dance to “What a Wonderful World,” which is what my dad and I danced to at my wedding; cleaning out old emails and discovering a bunch from my dad from his early days with dementia; and on and on. You get the idea. And now I’m reeling a bit and have kind of shut down and hidden from the world for the last little while.
But, as we all know and sometimes like to pretend we don’t, life goes on. And we have plans. All the plans. The best plans. But those plans are for another post. For now, we have bourbon. All the bourbon. The best bourbon. And right about now I’d really like to get all the drunk. But I won’t. I need to save some of the drunk for you, dear reader, because I’m generous like that.
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.
Me: It’s home.
Him: Why were you here?
Him: What do you do?
Him: Wow! That’s so cool! Do you make a living at it?
Him: Do you live in a house or an apartment?
Him: A big house?
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?
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.
Him: But –
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.