Commission Season


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Guess what time it is, kids? It’s Commission Time!!! Yaaaaay! It’s the time of year when people begin thinking about what on earth to get for the person they love who already owns all the ties, mugs, or earrings a person can possible own. It’s the time of year when people think, “Let’s see, my mom really likes apples. And unicorns. You know what my mom really needs for Christmas this year? A painting of a unicorn dressed like an apple.” But where does one find such a specific thing? From an artist, of course! That’s the beauty of commissions: you dream it, we make it!

unicorn apple

But here’s the thing: a lot of people don’t realize they need to commission their painting soon if they want it done by the holidays. And so they wait, and then they scramble, and Mom ends up with just another pair of earrings and a black hole in her heart because she thinks you don’t really care. Why would you do that to your mother? Why? WHY?!!

PLUS, you’ll be helping me earn enough money for that pair of earrings that my mom really wants. Come on, y’all, I’m unemployed.

This year, be one of the smart ones and contact me ASAP at to put in your order so it’ll be ready in time for the holidays. Or you can purchase a painting here that’s just waiting to be adopted into a loving home. <cue the sad Sarah McLachlan song they always play for those SPCA commercials> Do it now, before it’s too late!


Happy Accidents


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If Bob Ross taught me anything, it’s that afros just don’t work on white guys. And if he taught me anything else, it’s that sometimes in art you have happy little accidents. As mentioned in my last post, I managed to spill a whole cap of ink onto my painting and threw my back out cleaning it up. I thought the whole thing was ruined, but when I finally made it back into the studio today, I discovered I actually kind of liked the ruined painting. So rather than scrapping the whole thing, I decided to embrace the mess and roll with it.  So here’s the next Chickadees painting video. Please excuse the hairdo – I hadn’t planned on filming myself today.

I’m Back. And I’m Old. And My Back Is Old.


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A couple days ago, I got to work on a couple new painting videos for you. The first one went fine and you can view it below. But during the second one, three things happened: 1) my phone stopped recording for no reason, 2) when I realised it, I got distracted and knocked a ton of ink all over the painting, and 3) when I stood up and reached forward about 20 degrees, I threw my back out. Awwwwwwesome. Is this what 40 looks like?! So then I stood there for about a half hour afraid to move, all the while screaming obscenities in my brain and wishing I could scream them out loud but knowing it would hurt too much. Greeeaaaaaat. I finally managed to sit, but that made it worse, so I kind of oozed and rolled my way to the floor and lay there for a while. By the way, there’s a lot of dust under the guest bed. I know that now…not that I’ll be cleaning under there any time soon.

Eventually, the need to pee convinced me to do my best Walking Dead impression and I zombie-walked to the bathroom where I stood and stared at the toilet for a while trying to figure out how I was going to lower myself onto it. First time in my life I actually wished I was in a public restroom because there are handicap bars for this kind of thing, y’all. Finally managed to sit and then had to stay there for a while trying to figure out how to wipe without screaming.

Since then, I’ve been stuck mostly in bed with the exception of when I need to get up to pee. I fear the process of getting in and out of bed looks and sounds disturbingly like a cow giving birth, but S married me for better or for worse, so tough shit, Sweetums.

I did manage to shower today, so I smell a little less like a cow giving birth. So there’s that. And I could sit up enough to get this video uploaded and onto my blog because that’s how much I love you.

Happy Birthday, Dad


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Today would have been my dad’s 75th birthday. In honor of the day, I thought I’d share a fun little gift from the universe. In 1810, a man named Nicholas Murrell Page was born in Nelson County Virginia. My grandparents didn’t know that dude existed. In 1942, my dad was born and christened Nicholas Allen Page. As an adult, he moved to Nelson County, not knowing about this distant relative of his. When we did find out about him, we found a picture and were holyshitted. “Holyshitted” is when you’re shocked to find something out. I’m sure it’s a real word. But maybe don’t look it up. Anyway, check out the pictures below and you’ll see why.

Nicholas Page

The pics on the left were of my dad in his dirty, dirty hippy days when he had a similar haircut. The pic on the right is Nicholas Murrell Page.

Holyshit, right?! My mom and I were talking about how strange it is that we never dressed Dad up and made him pose next to Nicholas M. Page’s portrait that hung in our living room. It just seems like something we would do. Ah well, lost opportunities.

Anyway, this doesn’t really have anything to do with his birthday, but it’s one of those crazy things that the world sometimes throws your way to delight and astound you, so I thought I’d share it.

Happy birthday, Dad. Miss you. Hope you’re out there somewhere being delighted and astounded by all sorts of other things that I can’t even imagine.

Watercolor Butterfly


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People keep telling me I need to do videos of myself making art. The problem with that is that realist paintings take a looooooong time, and it’s tiny little paintstrokes and it’s pretty boring to watch. So I’ve decided to do a few quick and dirty watercoler with India ink paintings. I don’t have a ton of experience with watercolors, and I haven’t used pen and ink since college, so for now I’m having fun experimenting and letting you watch. I did two paintings today, but my phone is an asshole and stopped recording half way through the second one. And now it’s getting dark and my studio has shitty lighting, so I can’t try again. But at least I got one done and uploaded.

I should also note that I don’t have any fancy set up for getting the camera focused on my painting, and I don’t have the money to buy a fancy set up. So I did a little artist hack and jerry-rigged a harness with some twine and hooks in my ceiling. Super hightech over here, people.

camera harness

And now, for your view pleasure, here’s a little watercolor and India ink painting of a butterfly.

Me, Too


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Watching the #MeToo thread on Facebook and Twitter the last couple days has been heartbreaking. The details of my own sexual harassment and assault aren’t really important. They’re very much like what so many other women and girls have experienced on a regular basis. My own experiences could have been so much worse, and they aren’t what’s heartbreaking here.

What I find really heartbreaking is how many women I know who’ve been assaulted and, many years later, are still too scared or ashamed to simply post two little words, “Me, too.” As bad as the massive trending thread looked, it’s actually worse. And even in the midst of the bravery of so many women standing up and demanding to be counted, our society still hasn’t given all of us enough of a feeling of safety for everyone to do so. It’s not a failing of the women for not feeling safe enough to post the truth, but of the rest of us who haven’t provided that safe place –  a place like, oh, you know, the world.

For all of those women and girls who are grieving silently, I want you to know that you are, in fact, heard. If you never feel okay telling anyone, that’s alright. But I hope you eventually find someone who you can trust to believe you, embrace you, and help you understand that you don’t need to be ashamed and you are not at fault – someone who will help you forgive yourself even though you are not the one who needs forgiveness. I hope you rise, my dear.

Me, too

Prints and other merchandise with this painting on it can be found here and here.

It’s a Christmas Miracle


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It’s a Christmas miracle! It’s Christmas now, right? Or a Halloween miracle? I’m not really sure. I’m unemployed, so I’ve lost all sense of time. After several months of trying to find a space to open a high-end tattoo studio, we are officially under contract!!!!! It’s been a long, strange trip, and it’s not over yet, but we’re farther along than we’ve been thus far. Let me back up a bit and explain.

We’re opening a tattoo studio. But maybe you figured that out from the first paragraph? I’ll be training to do permanent make-up, scar camouflage, and other para-medical tattooing (like giving women areolae following reconstructive surgery post-mastectomy, and giving people eyebrows after they lose them to chemo), as well as traditional tattooing. While I’ll be doing pretty much any kind of tattoo people ask for, my goal is to focus on transformational tattooing, helping people document life transitions. I’m super excited, because it means learning a new medium, and it’ll hopefully mean that I’ll be doing something meaningful for my customers. We’ll have a couple other artists there, too, that I’ll be learning under, and between all of us, we should be able to handle just about any style requested.

But first, we had to find a space. If you’ll recall, we had to close our paint and sip studio because our new landlord decided to double our rent when we tried to renew our lease. We really didn’t want to go through that again, and we’d already run into an issue with trying to lease a space for the tattoo studio and getting rejected because tattoo studios, are apparently, portals to hell. So we decided to buy a space.

We fell in love with one in Cary, NC, and put in an offer. The seller agreed to the terms, then emailed that he was un-agreeing. Apparently that’s a thing? So that fell through. We licked our wounds and resumed the hunt. We found two spaces in a plaza in Wake Forest, NC, one of which was going to auction. So we decided to bid on that space but given the issues we’d run into regarding plaza’s not wanting a tattoo studio, we sent out a letter explaining our vision so that the other owners would know we weren’t opening something seedy. But the other business owners really didn’t want us in there. Not only are tattoo studios portals to hell, but our clients are actual minions of the devil. Here’s a quote from one of the nastygrams we received:

“As property owners and fellow professionals, we have all worked to maintain the professional atmosphere of our buildings. In our opinion, the placement of a tattoo parlor at this location is wholly inappropriate and will diminish the reputation and image which we have sought to cultivate. In addition, it will bring a clientele into the area that will not enhance our reputation, and in our opinion, damage our  financial investment.

The commingling of the typical tattoo parlor clientele with business professionals, patients of medical providers, individuals and families seeking counseling services, and many others does not create a welcoming or professional atmosphere.
This situation certainly will not attract desirable owners or tenants in the future.
The letter sent by Attorney Herman is manipulative and disingenuous in that it commands those who object to remain silent and only those in agreement with their plan to speak up.

In addition, the letter from you, the proposed owners of the tattoo parlor, seeks to mislead and whitewash the true nature of this type of business. Despite the carefully chosen wording, this is not an upscale spa regardless of the reasoning behind the tattooing.”

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I was sorely tempted, after that one, to send a newsletter out to my 10,000 person email list letting them know that, if they have tattoos, their money isn’t wanted by any of the medical providers, counselors, or other businesses in that plaza. But no, I’m taking the higher ground.

While, legally, they couldn’t stop us from moving in, but we decided not to bid because we didn’t want to walk into so much negativity. The same day we made that decision, the owner of the original space we’d wanted in Cary reached out to our real estate agent and said he’d resolved the things he’d gotten stuck on before, and would like to revisit our offer. So we sent over another offer (that’d he’d agreed to on the phone and via email), which he promptly refused to sign again. So we modified and tried again. And again, he turned it down. The whole thing was getting kind of ridiculous, and everyone was getting pretty pissy with each other, but S and I sat down and talked it out and we decided to compromise one last time. And, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the seller finally signed. So now we have to go through inspections and the other due diligence stuff.

Jeez, I feel like such a grownup. Cross your fingers and elbows and toes and knees and eyes that the rest goes smoothly and I can stop feeling like I could vomit any second and maybe not actually become the alcoholic this whole thing has tempted me to be. Thank goodness I had the cats to snuggle away the stress.


Thingsies I Want To Wear


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Y’all. There are women who make matching outfits for themselves and their kids. There are kids who make matching outfits for themselves and their dolls. And then there’s me. I want to dress like my paintings all the time. Allsies. For my birthday, I splurged and got one of my paintings printed onto a dress. I’d been coveting this thing for months. I’m a serious coveter. If there was a gold medal in coveting clothes that look like your paintings, I’d win that shit. Here is me, in my painting.

Thousand Goodbyes Dress.jpg

Where’d Emily go? Can’t find her. Oh wait, there she is, blending in with her painting!!

I even wore my art to an art opening that celebrated last year’s grant winners from the United Arts Council. Because I’m cool like that. And then I stood next to one of my paintings holding my book that I won the grant for. And every time someone complimented me on my dress, I opened up my book to this painting and awkwardly showed them how “awesome” I am. Because, again, I’m cool like that. And also because I’m totally terrified in situations like that and forget that I know how to speak English (not the best thing when you supposedly wrote a book in English).

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Who’s obsessed with elephants? I swear, it’s not me.

Luckily (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), there are sites for such obsessions as putting your artwork on all sorts of merchandis-y crap (I’ve already shared several examples of my art on swag with you here and here). And probably support groups. And I discovered a new site. And now I want all the thingsies. There’s just one sliiiiiight glitch. I don’t have all the monies. But if I did, holy shit. I’d dress only in my own artwork. Fuck LuLaRoe. This is LuLaEm.

I’m totally addicted to VIDA design now. A few examples of the schtuffs that I want:


And yes, I’m just getting started. Now that I’ve discovered this site, I can’t stop. I can’t actually buy any of the things I’m making, but a girl can dream. Someday, when I’m rich and hopefully not too famous (a girl does like to be able to run to the grocery store without getting all dolled up for the paparazzi), I will match every painting I’ve ever made. Yaaaaaaaaasssssss, bitchez. You can check in and see what’s included in my collection so far on VIDA here.

Now, quick! Buy all my thingsies and make me jealous (and rich so I can buy them myself)!



Apple Twist


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I gave up for a bit on another lemon painting I’ve been working on. It was trying to kill me. It was pouring lemon juice on my wounds. So I switched over to painting an apple. And I loooooove this one. It’s the apple of my eye.

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Apple Twist 12″ x 12″ oil on board

This particular apple became the feature ingredient in apple pancakes later that day. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nothing says fall like apple pancakes.

Original is available for sale here. Prints and swag and lovely schtuffs and thingsies here and here.

Cassie Bustamante’s Review


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This whole real estate thing is still madness, but I’ve had some time to paint and will hopefully be posting a new painting soon. Distraction is good right now, between the stress of daily life and the trauma we’re feeling as a nation following the shooting in Vegas. If any of you are in need of a little distraction, too, here are some book reviews Cassie Bustamante posted, including one of my book, Fractured Memories. And while you’re there, look around the rest of her blog. She’s got great decorating ideas and a project gallery.

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).

Book cover 1