Painting

I’ve had my paints out a lot more recently. Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.29.21 PM

After a few months working on floral artworks for my next two books I suddenly longed for the fluidity and inventiveness of watercolor.  I set up a card table with a white board on top in my office and set out all of my paints and brushes. Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.29.46 PM

I didn’t use it for anything but storage and printing when we first moved in because I needed to be in the same space as my babies. Then the other day it suddenly occurred to me…I can actually use my office! It’s like our house grew a new limb. I’m so excited to find a perfect painting desk and make the room a little more homey. It’s already cute because it’s an attic, but it feels cluttered and a little drab to me. I saw a faux bamboo BRIGHT green lacquered desk the other day and I may just go back for it. It reminded me of the Moon Maiden. Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.30.12 PM

Best of all, I think taking a break from my painting may have made me a little better at it. Or perhaps it was learning to paint with petals and figuring out what works with color and form. I don’t know. It’s as if the painting part of my brain needed some farrow ground or needed to “sleep on it.” I mean I’ll be honest I’m not, like, the best painter in the world or anything, but there are less and less absolute wrecks in between the good ones :)Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.30.31 PM

My dream has always been to paint some pretty scenes for my chapter book. Will that thing ever see the light of day? Time will only tell. But I feel just that much closer.Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 4.30.49 PM

 

 

Specimens

The other day I gathered a few natural items for the boys to look at more closely. Oliver was the most excited about the butterfly wings. He quickly found which ones they were in our field guide.Harry declared the whole thing was BORING because he wanted his turn.Finn was most fascinated with the magnifying glass itself.when Harry got his turn he was finally happy!

Oliver showed me something I had never noticed before: the delicate purple zigzags on the sea urchin. There’s always more to see and discover! Now I need to get my macro lens out and get some pictures! 

Self promotion is sticky

I hear it time and time again, “I love creating, but I hate self promotion.” It’s a strange, sad truth that those who have the introverted stamina to sit and make something beautiful in a studio often can’t make a living on the beauty they put forth.

One of my friends makes the most incredible, intricately detailed paper cut creations. They should be selling for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in a museum. But she says her art is too precious to her to ruin with the stress of trying to sell it. I get that wholeheartedly.

When you’re trying to sell something you have to be careful. You can’t come on too strong, you can’t come on too soft. You can’t have too many opinions about things having nothing to do with your art, but you have to have a voice people want to hear. I find myself curating my thoughts sometimes. There might be something I’m passionate about that I want thousands of people to hear, but then I’ll remind myself that I’m trying to sell a book, and the jobs of my publisher, our income, and my own sanity when the negative comments roll in, are at stake.

I’ve been honest on here about how I have social anxiety. I have it under control now, but there are days when I get thrown back into old patterns of thinking trying to please the world. The other day I was having a lovely time with friends and enjoying every minute, then afterwards collapsed into Beau’s arms and he said, “exhausted by talking to too many people?” Imagine me at 3 in the morning, glancing at my phone to check the time, opening up instagram, and reading 500 comments!

I posted a picture of my journal this week, then got nervous people were tired of my self promotion and deleted it. I posted a picture of a robin I made, then got nervous it wasn’t good enough and deleted it. I posted a couple pictures from the tv show I was on, then got nervous and deleted it. Then I had a phone conversation with publicity at Sasquatch and she said I could reveal the cover of my next book and I got so nervous about how it didn’t match the other posts I had done that day and would throw off the look and feel of my instagram page that I had a stomach ache the rest of the day.

There’s no good answer for any of this. I just needed to take a moment to write it out. Hey…if you need to write something out you should buy my journal.  It’s on sale at Amazon!

^that’s a joke in case you couldn’t tell. I mean, I know you can, but I got really nervous about how you might not get it.

^that’s also a joke.

Anthro love

Here’s a few favorites from the Anthropologie spring line!collages200 I’m particularly adoring their dining room chairs carved into woodland animals, their floral wallpaper, and their seafoamy upholstery option. While I cannot afford any of these pretties, I do love discovering what style I enjoy and it’s almost a treasure hunt to try and emulate it. (And I’m a lucky girl…Anthro is just half a mile down the street from me so I can walk in any time. It is for me what Breakfast At Tiffany’s is to Holly Golightly!

Seeing the beauty

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” ~Fred Rogers

As I made this mandala I was trying to breathe. I’ve seen so much hate online and it’s scorching my heart, crushing my lungs. From people wanting to rip the throats of liberals, to mosques being attacked, to Christian leaders trying to justify the exclusion of people fleeing death.

Instead of absorbing and reflecting these painful sights, I want to breathe in the beauty and light I have been witness to during these times of uncertainty. I have seen friends and sisters speak out for outcasts, differing cultures loving and encouraging eachother, countless people funding the arts, and big corporations and leaders of countries speaking up for the environment. I’m choosing now to see the beauty and uplift the brave instead of responding to hateful rhetoric.

 I want to see sparkling innovation and kindness. I want to see joyful voices drowning out oppression. I want to see loving arms taking in the least of these.

I am the granddaughter of immigrants. One from the U.K. who fled from hunger to Canada. The other, a Jew who fled Nazi Germany to… the U.K.

Now I see with tears of joy my city and state standing against the banning of immigrants and refugees, though we have so many homeless of our own. I am living proof there is room in this world for everyone to have a safe haven if we open our hearts.

And yet it moves

When Galileo had to denounce his scientific belief that the earth moved around the sun, he said under his breath, “Eppur si muove.” And yet it moves. dahlia-solar-system

About a year ago I read a bunch of dystopian novels. 1984, The Giver, Lord of the Flies, The Handmaid’s Tale… Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that 1984 is currently the bestselling novel in the US because of the apparent gag order on scientists and “alternative facts” talk. 2+2 does not equal 5!

It’s been fascinating to see the current political landscape after having read those chilling stories. I feel like I was given a foreshadow for my perseverance now. I’ll say this: it’s not as bad as some people are making it out to be. But it feels a little like the days Winston compares to the paperweight; isolated coral inside its bubble, love, truth, and thoughts free. How soon before it shatters to the ground? (Interesting how progressives are said to live inside a bubble, ha!)

I was thinking about how mad I was about Trump’s lack of care for the environment (enacting pipelines, wanting to withdraw from the Paris agreement), his claims to environmental awards (lie), and replacing our previous energy secretary, Dr. Ernest Moniz, a strong proponent of clean energy, with Rick Perry, who wanted to get rid of the DOE.

But then I remembered a quote by Trump’s ex wife Ivana from The First Wives Club: “Don’t get mad, get everything!” It’s a play on “don’t get mad, get even,” and is in reference to how she cleaned him out when they divorced.

That was when I started my fundraiser for planting trees. In just 24 hours, friends, family, and followers donated enough to plant 10,210 trees! It’s a drop in the bucket of what is truly needed to combat climate change, but it’s proof that if you believe you can make change, start a campaign, and ask people to help…it works! I don’t want to sit and stew as the ship sinks, I want to stick my oar in. And then maybe I can encourage others to do so, too.

I refuse to be silenced! Eppur si muove!

If you’d like to follow some comical resistance, check out @Altnationalparkser twitter account. (workers for the national parks gone rogue, citing climate change facts on an alternate twitter account).

 

Help me plant trees!

One gallon of gasoline produces 20 lbs of carbon dioxide. One tree eats up 48 lbs of carbon dioxide a year. 
The average person uses 500 gallons of gasolene a year. That’s 10,000 lbs of carbon dioxide. 
Planting 208 trees would delete your carbon footprint, not just for one year, but year after year.
How much does that cost? $20

Help me reach my fundraising goal of $1,000. That’s 10,000 trees!

Donate here

Painted Ladies

My butterflies are emerging today. It feels so symbolic for the current state of affairs. What could have been a dark weekend has turned into one of the most inspiring, lovely times of my life. 

Yesterday I marched with my sister and millions of other women the world over. I felt so empowered, supported, and proud to stand up, speak out, and celebrate our different beliefs. In the midst of thousands of ladies laughing together, encouraging one another, and flying through Seattle, Beau texted to tell me my first Painted Lady butterfly had emerged. 

I haven’t been silent on here about how disillusioned I am about Trump being president. At first I thought I was one of very few. The way he speaks about women, and countless who condone him made me want to do something tangible. I made my female symbol out of red and blue and posted it here, then started following grassroots movements online. On Pantsuit Nation I read countless stories from marginalized women, some of hope, some so hard to read I couldn’t stop crying. It’s been such an interesting time of discovery for me, realizing the fight women have been through in our century, and how much of my own views have been distorted by society. Just because a law says we have rights, doesn’t mean they’re still followed, and people saying we at least don’t have to cover ourselves up like in other countries cannot understand how demeaning that sounds: as if the very basic right to show my skin should be a triumph for me.

I marched for the environment. I marched for my friends struggling with gender roles in their private and professional lives. I marched for love and acceptance. I marched for those who have experienced sexual violence. For those who are physically or verbally abused. I marched for the girl me who was scared, the woman I am now, and the future me. Yesterday I was inspired by a quote by Feminist Nellie McClung, who fought for women’s voting rights:

“Women are going to form a chain, a greater sisterhood than the world has ever known.”
I think that happened yesterday, and I wish the suffragettes could have been there to see it.