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A Rose By Any Other Name

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This is an old one, and I have no idea what I did with the original, which sucks, because I’d like to frame it and hang it in my home now. But it’s still one of my favorites. I did it probably around 2004 or so, and hadn’t painted with watercolors in years, so I kind of surprised myself when it was finished and it actually turned out well.

Rose

Peace Rose 8″ x 10″ watercolor 

Prints and merchandise featuring it available here and here.

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Guest Post: Letters To Strabo

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While I’m away, I asked some blogger friends to guest post for me. David Smith, from https://davidsmithauthor.blog/, was kind enough to agree to it. He’s got a new romantic, coming of age book that was recently released. Here’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek interview with the “store manager of Shakespeare and Company.” Check out his book!

David Smith guest blog:

Publicity Interview at Shakespeare and Company, a bookshop in Paris, with best-selling author Adam Finnegan Black for his latest novel Letters to Strabo

(with apologies to Before Sunset)

stabo.jpg

 

Bookstore Manager: So Adam Black, welcome back to Shakespeare and Company, it’s been almost thirty years, hasn’t it?

Adam Black: It has indeed, but it’s great to be back. I see you still have the famous sign upstairs.

Manager:  “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise?” Yes, of course. Now, tell me about the title of your latest novel Letters to Strabo, well my first question is: who is Strabo?

Adam: Strabo was a Greek scholar, writing at the time of Tiberius. He wrote the most comprehensive geography of the Roman world, but it was hardly used until translations in the fifteenth century. I came across it by accident when researching the opening of my book which is set in Olana, the amazing house of the American painter Frederick Church in the Catskills. His wife gave him a copy in 1879 and they named their house Olana after a location cited in the book.

Manager: And I see you replicated both Strabo’s chapter structure but also a similar journey Mark Twain made for his own travel book: The Innocents Abroad.

Adam: Yes, Twain was a friend of the Churches and a great travel writer too. There are some fascinating stories about him and his daughters that I’ve weaved into the plot.

Manager: And why did you call your protagonist Finn, exactly?

Adam: Well, my middle name’s Finnegan and it sort of has a Mark Twain link with Huckleberry Finn and to James Joyce too with Finnegan’s Wake. Strabo often referred to Homer and The Odyssey, which is the inspiration for Joyce’s other masterpiece Ulysses.

Manager: I see, so is it actually a travel book or a book about literature?

Adam: Well, partly both, but it’s mainly a romance, a sort of coming-of-age story. Finn falls for Eve, the archivist at Olana and they correspond throughout his journey round Europe. He has quite a lot of adventures along the way and relates them more or less faithfully to Eve. Her replies are the Letters to Strabo, in which she gradually reveals more about herself. Some of it increasingly disturbing I’m afraid, but you’ll have to read it to find out more about that. I don’t want to spoil it for you.

After some more background, the bookshop manager opens the floor up to questions

French Journalist 1: So do you consider the book to be autobiographical in any way?

Adam: Well I guess everything is autobiographical in a way. There are bits of me in there, but bits of a lot of other people I’ve met too.

French Journalist 1: And the section set here in Paris, in this very bookstore. Was that about you?

Adam: Well, I was here about the same time as Finn visited yes, but the events are of course completely fictional…

French journalist 2: So there was never a girl called Françoise that you met in Spain and travelled with by train to Paris?

Adam: Well, that’s not important; it’s just a story after all

French Journalist 1: Do you think they ever met again after they split up in Venice? In real life I mean?

Adam: No. I’m afraid that I don’t think they ever did, sorry would have done.

French Journalist 2: Maybe a subject for your next book?

Adam: Maybe.

At the back of the room he notices a face in the crowd, a beautiful woman wearing dark glasses. He leans over to the bookshop manager and whispers.

Adam: Look, I’m terribly sorry but I will have to leave now. I have a plane to catch and still have to shop for my wife.

Manager: No problem…Well thank you Adam, we really appreciate you coming here today. I hope you won’t leave it so long next time!

Adam gets up, talks to one or two admirers and then goes over to the woman waiting patiently.

Adam: Françoise?

The woman: I said you’d include me in one of your books one day.

Adam: And I said I wouldn’t ever do that

The woman: Menteur, I think you already did. Do you want to go for coffee somewhere?

Adam: I think I’m gonna miss that plane.

 

Author’s bio

David Smith is a British author who has now published four works under the Troubador imprint. His first novel Searching For Amber has been described as “A powerful and notably memorable debut” with a review describing it as “masterly and confident” and another as “Extraordinary, poetic, enchanting, sublime”. In addition to writing, he is currently CFO of a blue chip UK public company and lives near the South Coast in England with his wife and three teenage children.

https://www.davidsmithauthor.blog

Guest Post: WTF Wednesday – The Legging Spread

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Today’s guest post comes from Katie over at Fatty McCupcakes, who I’m pretty sure is the sister my parents never revealed existed. She has a WTF Wednesday series that kills me, so she agreed to let me repost a past one for your entertainment. When you’re done reading, please head over and give her blog some love. It’ll have you crying with laughter. But first, read this:

It’s no secret that it’s my belief that leggings are life. They are insanely comfortable, they don’t cut painfully into your fat, and they don’t feel the need to remind you every time you yank them on that you’ve been laying the butter on pretty heavy lately.

I seriously have a definite love affair with my collection of leggings. It’s almost sick, guys.

I treat them better than my poor boyfriend.

I never dry them, and I bought a deliciously scented fabric softener to make them smell irresistible (is it weird I feel the need to have my pants smelling irresistible?) I also bought special hangers, because you don’t put these babies in a drawer.

Because I’ve been so comfortable and happy, I’ve hardly noticed it.

Noticed what, you ask?

The Spread.

Due to the elastic, forgiving nature of leggings, it’s easy to not realize when your girth starts to spread in all directions.

I’ve been ignorantly blissful about my weight these past few months.

That is, until I decided to wear jeans to school. Whatever possessed me to think this was a good idea is beyond me.

Because all of my jeans have a ridiculous amount of stretch, I didn’t really notice it until I sat down in my chair at school.

Thank you, Baby Jesus and all that is holy, that this occurred before my class was present.

When I sat down, due to the sheer force of my stomach, my pants jumped ship as Bertha spilled over the top, like overflowing bread dough in the oven.

It happened in slo-mo and I just sat, stunned, watching my spilling fat.

The rest of the day I spent sucking as much in as possible as to not knock an unsuspecting kid in the face with my fat.

Fuck. I’m disgusting. 

I’ve figured out what the real purpose of jeans are-they are your First Alert Weight Gain System. If you can still breathe in your buttoned jeans, you’re golden. If you need an inhaler after buttoning, you fat, friend.

Real pants are assholes, but they are like those true friends who don’t feed you any bullshit. They both won’t hesitate to tell you you’re looking like a polar bear in a puffy jacket.

Maybe real pants aren’t as useless as I’ve been believing. As soon as I can fit into my jeans again, I’ll maybe put them back into the wardrobe rotation. But, just so we’re clear, I’m still wearing leggings the majority of the week. I’m not about jean-everyday- life anymore.

fatty 1

Bend your knees for the added power and energy you’re gonna need to cram yourself into your neglected jeans.

fatty 2

When the button doesn’t take the first try…

fatty 3

Jump. Because jumping into your jeans is the obvious answer. Sorry, neighbor. No, I’m fine. No, a large piece of furniture didn’t fall over. Just fuck off, OK?

fatty 4

Is it just me, or does this look like my butt is on backwards?! Something doesn’t add up here.

fatty 5

Screw it. I’ll just wear my leggings.

An extra special “thank you” to my boyfriend, who just said, “You want me to do what?” and “OK, let’s do this” when I told him I wanted to recreate squeezing into my jeans.

Ladies, learn from me. Even if you don’t plan on actually wearing those asshole jeans, try them on, at least once a month, to monitor how far your Leggings Spread has grown.

You’ll thank me later.

 

Now go read more at her blog!

Searching For My Soul

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In my effort to not leave you totally hanging while I’m living the good life as the youngest person on a boat cruising down the Seine for the next couple weeks, I’m randomly posting some of my paintings for your viewing pleasure. Several years ago, I photographed a group of young dancers to paint from, and I let them all name the paintings. This little dancer had a flair for the dramatic. She chose to call hers “Searching for My Soul.”

Searching for My Soul_compressed

Searching For My Soul 36″ x 24″ oil on canvas

Original available here. Prints and other cool merchandise available here.

 

Guest Post: Ben’s Bitter Blog

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There’s this bitterly funny blog I follow called Ben’s Bitter Blog. Read one of my favorite posts here. He cracks me up on a regular basis, so I asked him to guest post while I’m living it up in France for the next couple weeks. Who knew he’d compliment me in his post? A girl can never get enough of that. Read his post below, then go check out his blog and maybe offer him a job so he can afford his all-pizza diet:

As a long time follower of Emily, she has graced me with the opportunity to guest post for her on a number of occasions. And as a bitter person, that thinks his time is valuable, I’ve always said yes, and then subsequently forgotten about it, pretended to be too busy, then left her hanging like a banana on a tall tree. Enough was enough this time though. I’ve always been really honored that she would want me, an uncooth and bitter old man to guest post for her. In contrast to my bitter old man routine, she is this amazing artist that works on a number of mediums. I’ve always been envious of the talented. I’m especially envious of my daughter (who I gave 50% of her genes!) who already can draw a stick figure much better than me.

There are two things that I know about art. First, art is subjective. While an untrained eye like me can appreciate all kinds of art like cartoons, comic strips, and super realistic art, there are some that I just can’t appreciate. I can’t believe these artists who draw dots, although really amazingly precise dots, that take almost no talent or creativity at all, except for the talent of swindling a super rich gentleman or lady to buy this “work of art” for more than a penny.  In that case, they should be salesman or criminals, because a dot should not be worth any kind of money. The only thing that dot should be worth is the dot in front of .01 (a penny). (Speaking of which, a penny to Emily actually means something. Ask her about the significance sometime.)

The other thing I know about art is that there are all kinds of different art. For instance, there are baseball pitchers that are so good at their craft, that they can pitch a 100 mile an hour pitch so precisely that it can “paint a corner” of the strike zone, or an architect that is so precise in his measurements that he can build the plans of a building that is 100 stories high, that lasts a 1000 years.

In other words, we can all be artists, but I think it takes a few things. I bet Emily will tell you that for her to be an artist, there are a few characteristics you need. First, you have to have a passion for what you do. I’m pretty sure if she was only doing her art for the money, she would be doing commercial advertising or graphic artistry somewhere. She has a passion for art, despite the fact that she isn’t making a million dollars for her various artistic mediums that she does.

Second you have to have a talent for it, and you need to work at it. Some people are the most naturally talented people at doing something, but they don’t work at it. I think that naturally gifted people that don’t work at something, can lose the talent and I think that is sad. I often wish I could sketch or draw or sculpt like some people I know, but have never been given the gift. But I’d rather be bad at something and try really hard, than be really good at something and not really work at that talent.

Which is why I blog. For years, I had this talent of humor and the talent of writing (and bitterness) and I never did anything with it. Until I read about a gentleman that was bad at something and he decided to work at it until he became good at it.

I may never be good at drawing, but I am good at doctoring words in a way that others aren’t good at. And not sharing that talent would be a shame. So get out there, find what you are good at, and share that art. Whether it is drawing, painting the corners, writing, engineering, accounting, or even making concrete smooth on a sidewalk. Everyone is an artist in some way, and when they share their art it makes the world a better place.

Oh and there is one more thing I’m good at. Shameless promotion. So, check our my blog at www.bensbitterblog.com and subscribe to it, follow it, share it with a celebrity that will promote it for me, so I can get rich.

ARRRRGGGHHH

Bitter Art is for Everyone Ben

The IndieView Author Interview

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The IndieView just posted an interview with me about my book, Fractured Memories: Because Demented People Need Love, Too. Head on over and check it out! Then browse the rest of their site for other great author interviews.

Why Did I Ever Become An Artist?!

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Uuuuuuuggggghhhhhh. Why did I become an artist? Why can’t I be good at coding, or rocket science, or accounting, or marrying rich men? Why do I have to be good at something that is so damn hard to make a living doing? I need to rearrange the room-where-art-goes-to-die so that I can bury more art in it. I’m out of art storage space. I mean, really, that room is so embarrassing I’m not even going to share a picture with you.

But Emily, you say, you do make a living as an artist. Don’t you own a paint and sip studio? Yes, yes I do. Which means what I’m really making a living at is teaching. Yes, I’m teaching people to play with paint, but that’s not the same things as being an artist.

What they don’t tell you in art school is that you’ll need to spend more time marketing your art than creating it. This holds true for other kinds of art, too: acting, singing, writing…pretty much everything for which I have any vague talent. Hell, I wrote a damn book full of pictures and words and chortles and sniffles and now am overwhelmed trying to just sell one book every couple weeks. I am not a marketer. I hate sales. Schmoozing is my worst nightmare. And when you’re selling your art, you’re selling yourself as much as the painting or manuscript or recording. Selling should really just be called begging. I often say that I’m not a writer despite this blog and my book, and I think one of the reasons for that is that I’m hesitant to own yet one more thing I’ll never make a living doing.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m really-uber-super-extra spinning my wheels. I’ve tried so many things to get my work out there, and none have panned out. I’m tired of feeling like a failure. It’s not that I doubt the quality of my work, it’s that I doubt my ability to get it seen by the people most likely to buy it (whoever the hell those people are). I get shut down so easily by rejection, so it’s really hard for me to keep pushing and rolling with them as they come. I am, admittedly, too sensitive. I hate that about myself, and I’m trying to toughen up, but so far, I’m still all soft and squishy.

And so, as happens every couple years, I find myself in an existential crisis: how do I justify spending so much time, money, and effort making art that’s just going to sit in our third bedroom collecting dust? Do I really need to paint? Could I just…stop? What would that be like? Do I do it because it’s a habit or because it’s what I’m passionate about? I don’t read art magazines or follow the latest art trends. I studied art history in college, but I’m still woefully ignorant and disinclined to correct said ignorance. So if art isn’t in my blood per se, then why the hell do I keep doing it? Boredom? Maybe I just need another hobby. Maybe I should take up wingsuit flying, or collecting swords, or falconry. I swear, half the time painting’s not even fun. There’s always a step or two you have to get through to get to the good stuff. But then, I guess, half the time it is fun, and maybe that’s why I keep going? Though the let down when I add a new painting to the piles of other art that haven’t found a forever home (or maybe they have, and it’s in storage, which is even sadder) kinda negates the fun of making it.

I’m leaving in a couple days for a trip down the Seine with my mom. I’ll be gone for about 2 weeks. I’ll be bringing my watercolors, but maybe I’ll experiment with not painting for awhile and see how that feels. Maybe I’ll see so much great art on the trip that I won’t feel like I need to make more. Maybe there’s already enough. Or maybe I’ll be totally inspired and feel like I absolutely have to waste more time and energy. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ve lined up a couple guest blogs and will post some old paintings and such while I’m gone so you don’t end up totally bereft without me. Drink some French wine in my honor until I return! Or better yet, drink some bourbon.

old tub

This bottle has my name all over it. This is what happens when you talk about bourbon all the time: your friends bring you awesome gifts like this!

Don’t Forget To Have Some Fun

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Facebook reminded me recently about taking my dad out to fly a kite. So this is just a reminder for anyone else going through the caregiving experience. Dedicate some time for fun with the person you’re caring for. It can’t all be about the daily caregiving grind. You need to find a way to enjoy the person and remember why you love them enough to care for them in the first place.

For the year that we all lived together, we made Sundays a day to go out and do something fun as a family. So if it was a nice day, we flew a kite or went to a playground. If it wasn’t, we went bowling or out to dinner. Look for ways to rejuvenate yourselves and your love for each other. Get chair massages. Go out for ice cream. Have a picnic in your living room. Watch kids playing at a playground. Enjoy your favorite movie together.

And take pictures. I promise you that you’ll be so grateful later to see pictures of the person you love smiling.

dad with kite 3

dad with kite 2

The memories you build on those days will be a comfort once your caregiving experience is over.

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Thanks so much for reading my ridiculous thoughts! If you’d like to see my ridiculous thoughts translated into art, visit my website, or follow me on Facebook and Twitter. 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).

Mother’s Day Gifties

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching, which means you’re now scrambling to figure out a gift to give to your mom or the mother of your children. Much like you or your father, she doesn’t really want a neck tie. What she really wants  is art. Glorious, wonderful art. Or art on awesome shit, courtesy of yours truly. Need some ideas? Ask, and ye shall receive.

On FineArtAmerica.com, Pixels.com, Redbubble.com, and CafePress.com, you can find most of my art available on a boat load of swag – not that you need a boat load. You don’t even have a boat. Or maybe you do, in which case, can I go on a boat ride? Here’s a small sampling:

Is original art more her thing? Well I just so happen to, you know, make art. I also just so happen to, on occasion, sell art. You can purchase said original art through my website. And if you purchase from my store between now and May 3rd, you can get 10% off your order! Just use coupon code ILOVEMOM when you check out. Here are a few paintings to choose from:

And finally, give her a hug from me and tell her she’s kicking ass at this whole life-of-a-mom thing, ’cause that shit’s no joke, y’all.