Storm Before the Calm

You may have noticed I’ve been a little…lax about posting this last week or so. Well, there’s good reasons.

Ch-cha-cha-anges are a brewin’.

Oh my sweetums, SO MANY good things happening in Arty Life land these days! Good things! Uber good, super good absolutely freakin’ AWESOME good things!!!

This is the week ALL the construction loose ends get wrapped up in the new! improved! Studio Grande! At least the interior. The part I need to be finished so I can move in and make it my work place home.

I am SO excited!

But to get there we’re going through the storm before the calm. Oh indeed we are. You cannot walk anywhere in the house without seeing the chaos that will morph into studio orderliness.

This is what the living room looks like right now. Imagine those drawers in the studio. Loaded with art supplies in an ORDERLY manner. Sigh… I can’t wait.

I even bought drawer organizers.

I don’t have to wait much longer. This is Mr. Spouse doing manly things involving the soon to be major suck exhaust fan. The fan that will be my best friend when it comes to stinky art stuff.

The slate that will be the windowsills and firesafe back splash for encaustic land. Because building the studio is Mr. Spouse’s project. His art. And I’m not complaining. And the tiles will be beautiful splashed with beeswax, don’t you think?

While all these changes are going on in studio land, changes are going on with Arty Life too.

Oh. My. YES!!!

I’m in the process of adding a store and lots of art. You can see the progress on that if you click ‘latest art’ up on the nav bar. Still figuring some details like shipping and the boring behind the scenes stuff so it will be a couple of weeks before it’s operational. And I’ll be adding prints as well.

There will be price points for every budget.

Including FREE!

Yep, I’m going to add some freebies for download!

And that’s not all…oh no, my sweetums, not hardly…I have a BIG surprise!!!. Yes. I. Do.  But like all surprises, I CAN’T TELL YOU. Not now. You have to wait.

So to do all that, I’m taking the next week off. Off from posting, that is. I’m going to be working my tail off. Finishing the studio. Moving in. And making some MAGIC happen here in Arty Life Land. Like I said, SURPRISES!!!

So come back Monday after next (July 9) and check it all out.

I can’t wait to share it all with you!


Who Knows Where the Time Goes

Who Knows Where the Time Goes

Thirty years ago today, on a sunny Saturday in upstate NY, the first Saturday without rain in six weeks… Mr. Boyfriend became Mr. Spouse. Poof…Just. Like. That. Said, “I do”,  gave me a ring, signed some papers and hitched his star to mine.

And vice versa.

The next day we hopped in the Rabbit and headed out to northern California. Back to Mr. Spouse’s job. Back to the place I went to school.

A few days later, somewhere in Colorado, I wondered if I’d made a mistake. A big one. Driving cross country in Volkswagen packed with everything I owned (except the dogs who would fly out later), looking for all the world like the 80’s version of the Joads, was NOT my idea of a honeymoon.

It was only the thought of my maid of honor slapping me silly that kept me heading west.

I’m glad I did. 

Thirty years. Like any long term relationship there’s been up and downs. Growing pains. Growing together. Over the years we’ve lost four parents, one brother, several friends and too many dogs and cats. We’ve birthed two children, one who’s gone on to have his own. We’ve been through the terrible twos, the teen years and hormonal hell on both ends.

We’ve been through Little League. And Iraq.

Basketball. And Berkeley.

Remodeled houses, three of ’em. Built another from the ground up. And stayed together through construction madness. Which was nothing, really…

Because we’ve built a life together. Layers and layers and textures of life.

This one’s for you, Mr. Spouse. Happy Anniversary!




Big Boy Mud

Big Boy Mud

Mr. Spouse likes to play in mud. Big boy mud. Concrete. He has his own mixer. Actually, it’s his second one, the first having gone belly up a few years back. Because he used it that much. Seriously. One concrete marvel after another.

But until this weekend he never got to realize his big dream…countertops.

It was the one thing he was adamant about when he offered to build the new studio. I agreed, as long as he understood it’s a working art studio. His countertops will not be precious. They will be used. Most likely abused.

He was okay with that.

First he built the forms on the base cabinets. The lower section is my office area. Computer, scanner, printer, stare out the window at the squirrels office area.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early. Too early for me since I’d only gone to bed a few hours before.

My job was to mix the color into the dry cement. I don’t remember how many buckets I mixed. I do remember grasping the stir stick in both hands and feeling like a witch hovering over her cauldron. My lower back remembers it too.

I had black concrete dust in all my pores. On my clothes. Under my clothes. But not in my lungs because I wore a mask. Which in the end was the only part of my face that remained clean.

The first plops buckets of wet concrete hit the forms.

First layer gets troweled.

Then covered with a sheet of steel mesh before layer number 2. The edge is reinforced with rebar. You’ll have to trust me on this.

Lots of troweling. Lots of waiting. This is Mr. Bobby, our concrete friend, with his handy-dandy concrete vibrator. This excited the concrete and allowed Mr. Bobby to have his way with it. ‘Nuf said about that.

By late afternoon it was looking good. Starting to firm up. Forms were popped. Edges repaired. More troweling. Mr. Bobby and Mr. Spouse were both adamant that I NOT scribe into the oh so tempting, oh so succulent, oh so WILLING countertops in process.

So I decided I had better things to do. I headed down to the old studio to photograph art. I’m setting up an e-commerce site and need better photos.

Sunday Update

Show and tell!

Yee-haw and Yowser! Doin’ the happy studio dance, oh yes I am! Because Mr. Spouse is a handy man indeed. The weekend construction man super hero!

And in a couple of days we’ll be coming up on our 30th anniversary. The traditional gift for 30 years is pearls. The modern gift, diamonds. In our family it’s looking like concrete. And that’s okay with me!



The Scream

The Scream

You see that face? That sweet, innocent face?

That sweet little innocent face put TEN YEARS on me in a matter of three seconds. Turned my hair white. Sent my heart leaping from my chest in fear only a mother can know. Only a mother who KNOWS that the end has come.

She was around the age you see up there, outside in the backyard playing with her brother. I was in the kitchen making lunch. Or dinner. I don’t remember exactly what.

But I’ll never forget the SCREAM.

High C. Higher than that. A stratosphere piercing wail capable of bringing down passing aircraft. I. Am. NOT. Exaggerating. Not at all. A cry so awful, so dramatic it could only mean one thing. Three things. Blood. Broken bones. Death.

I saw it in my mind’s eye. AWFUL THINGS!!! Arterial spewing. Jagged bone jutting through muscle, flesh and princess tights. Lifeless children (except the screamer) tangled in the swings.

I dropped what I was doing. Raced out the backdoor. Took in the sight before me in a nanosecond. Two children, both alive. The screamer upright, standing next to the swing. Looking for all the world like she was posing for Edvard Munch. Her brother standing nearby begging her to stop.

No blood. No broken bones. No fallen aircraft, monsters or rabid dogs.

Just. A. Spider. A little, bitty spider. A spider that wasn’t even there anymore, most likely incinerated by her hot flaming piercing FREAKIN’ scream.

I fell to my knees, hugged her tightly, kissed her sweaty little cheeks. And then when things settled down I told both children that screams like that were only for  the most dire emergencies. For blood. Broken bones. Severed body parts. And that Mommy most likely would not survive another one.

Well, I gave them the kid version. But they knew what I meant.

We all survived. They grew up.

The screamer graduated with honors from one of the world’s top universities.

And moved back home because there aren’t any jobs.

I was sitting on the sofa an hour or so ago. Exhausted to the point of vegetation. It was late. Probably 10. Quite dark when she took one of the dogs out in the back yard. Not a fancy civilized back yard, just a fenced in area to keep the coyotes out. And the bears. And mountain lions.

I was sitting here thinking I was going to skip writing a post tonight. I was too tired. I was okay with that decision and was settling in even deeper on the sofa…we have very comfortable furniture, a little ragged but comfy… I was almost drifting off when I heard THE SCREAM.


The same scream. Except this time she’s an adult. And we live in the country. Wild animals. Hungry animals. And dogs so small, they’re no protection, just appetizers.

Oh. Dear. God.

I tossed the laptop aside, ran to the door, fully prepared to fight off a bear, wrestle a dog or my daughter from the jaws of a lion. We reached the door at the same time. Me from the safety of the living room, daughter from the wilderness. The dog was with her. I saw no blood, broken bones, gaping wounds.

WHAT??? What what what what WHAT?????

It took a few seconds for her to settle down, to explain what happened. And when she did, she sounded like she had a world class wedgie and a few hits of helium. But I was able to piece it together. Mothers can do that, you know.

We have to.

And if she ever sees another moth and screams like that again, well, I’m not about to lose any more decades over creepy crawly flying things, if you know what I mean.

Even if it was a really BIG moth.

Behind the Scenes

Arty Life is moving at warp speed these days. Got a new studio to finish. Estimated move in date, three weeks.

Mr. Spouse, AKA Weekend Construction Warrior, assures me I will be in by July 8th. He has yet to tell me the hour or the minute but I have no doubt about his intentions. If he says by the 8th, he means by the 8th.

He is often mistaken for an engineer.

So here’s where we stand as of this weekend. Got electric. YAY! Cabinets are in, forms are made for the concrete countertops. They’ll be poured next Saturday. I will be mixing the color. Black. Mr. Spouse trusts me to do this. He says they won’t be black, more charcoal. It doesn’t matter what color they are once the paint comes out.

The lower section in the photo is my office area. Computer, printer, scanner. You have to pretend you see them, just like you see the countertops.

I’ve been working behind the scenes. Building cabinet drawers. There’s a few of them posing with the box from the exhaust fan. Buddying up because soon they’ll be at opposite ends of the studio. Drawers in the office, holding pens and files. Tape. Clips. Rubber bands. Chocolate.

Mr. Exhaust fan will reside against the real wall, heroically sucking up toxic art fumes. I do so adore him.

Then there’s the easel, seen up above with cabinet parts. The reviews all said it’s a great easel but a bi-atch to put together. Sounds like migraine level on the fun-o-meter to me. So I’ve been putting it off until I get a better attitude or the night before the move. Whichever comes first.

More behind the scenes, this time warp speed snail version. I’m restructuring my official art site, the one I never direct anyone to because it was thrown together last fall right before my show. The work doesn’t represent any of the new things I’ve been doing since then. I hadn’t realized how much I’ve done until I began organizing the photos for the galleries.

Not just any galleries. I’m taking it to the next level with an on-line store. Right now it’s limited to originals but prints will follow after I get set up in the new studio. This is where we get into the speed of slow. I’ve been pulling out my hair all day figuring out the ‘intuitive’ e-commerce plugin.

Intuitive for a code junkie, maybe.

But I tend to operate on the right side of my brain.

Ah, I’ll figure it out. I. WILL.

Because I’m too stubborn not to.

Okay, my sweetums…time for me to end this fascinating (WAKE UP!) one sided discussion and go back to e-commerce land. Wishing you all sweet dreams and productive days. One of us got to have ’em.