trends, inspirations, and mothers.

Last week I heard a little blip on talk radio about how aprons used to be an endearing symbol of a mother's love. You probably get the idea~ tears wiped, food made, hands dried. But I started daydreaming of this image and the idea of the mother in the middle, wearing this magic fabric as she manages and loves the household. Now for starters, as evidence from these pictures (Alex is showing Lil his floury hands from baking) I am not in the center of our house. Alex is often cooking and baking and care taking Lili.
To help myself stay focused I have been trying to give myself some guidelines lately so I am not all over the place, flitting from one thing to the next with my art. So the apron started to emerge in my painting dreams. I started picturing all of these cute vintage aprons painted as the focal point in a series of paintings.
Then tonight I hoped over to Stephanie Levy's blog (you should too, she is a wonderful artist!) and scrolled down to see this cute new series she did. And that is when I saw that in a few of the paintings she has a very nice apron, very close to what was in my head. As I stared at it these mixed emotions swelled through me.
We live in a day and age where we can see images from around the world in a split second. It only takes a quick google search to see that what you are doing is far from original. This happened after I had started my "rest" series. I had painted a few chairs and then decided to see if anyone else was painting chairs. I did a search on etsy and wham there were hundreds of artworks with chairs in them. All of a sudden chairs seemed to me to be a ridiculously trendy thing to be painting. Birds I know are trendy, but chairs? *sigh*

I am reflecting back to one of my best friend's mothers telling us that EVERYTHING has been done before. You can't do anything new. We were maybe 10 and we were MAD about that. We will show her! we thought.

and what is more depressing now? The fact that I am painting things/ideas that have already been done, or the fact that I am turning into the grown-up who believes my friend's Mom?

And on the flip side, I feel like it IS amazing to be able to take part in the interconnectedness and various takes on archetypal themes and images. I am SO grateful to have access to thousands of talented and inspirational artists from all over the world.

Overall: I think I am confused about it all.

p.s. I just noticed that Lili is wearing one of her doll's apron in these pictures. That's funny!



Alex and David spent the better part of yesterday and this morning building our chicken coop in the rain. This is the third (fourth?) straight day of rain. This area really needs it so I am grateful, and on the other hand I am feeling a tad bit claustrophobic. I kept watching them from out our kitchen window this morning and couldn't help but think of the irony that they were out there building a coop, and Lili and I felt so cooped up inside. Would that be irony or something else?

Anyhoo. The coop (the chicken one) is 8'x8' with a shed roof. I was really hoping for a gable roof, but it knocked $100 off the cost to go with a shed roof~ Nonetheless, I still think it looks pretty good. I think our 32 chickens are going to be snug as a bug and happy. We put in a little trap door to shovel the poop out, and it will have a few windows too. We plan on putting linoleum down on the floor so it is easy to clean. We will have to build laying boxes (8) for them, and still fence them in an outside area. And after that we will once again have backyard chickens!

I would like to encourage anyone and everyone to start their own little chicken thing. If you had three birds you would get about 2 eggs a day. Chickens are super easy to keep, and you can even keep them in the city often. Just a fun idea. My sister's doing it. :)
Here they are, buliding out in the POURING rain:
The rain let up this afternoon and we decided to take advantage of it and go for a family walk in the fog. Much of the time Lil does not want anyone holding her hand while she walks- she wants to do it herself. So today when she willingly grabbed my hand as we were heading down our steep driveway I was pleasantly surprised. Then Alex came up and she reached up with her other hand. He took her hand and she loudly exclaimed:
That one word washed all my cooped up grumpiness away.


In the studio...

Some studio shots. From a couple of days ago as today is dark, rainy, and foggy. I tried to take a few pictures with me in them- self timer shots~ I would set the camera on a chair then run to the table, grab a paintbrush and look like I was in mid concentration. They all looked posed and unflattering on top of that. Maybe someday I will have Alex take some action shots of me. In the meantime...
My company: the cd/radio player. I have been enjoying listening to "The Diane Rehm Show" from 10-12 am while I work.
The cute little stove that keeps me warm on a chilly morning:
My Talas Jade PVA glue that has been an important part of my newer paintings. I have been mixing it 1/2 and 1/2 with SOBO glue. Both should be flexible and non-yellowing.
Spraying some small paintings outside on the deck:
And lastly, Look what Alex did for me: just when I was experiencing a mid afternoon slump he came with some decaf coffee and a little thing of cream and sweetener. It brings a smile to my face just thinking of it...
I hope everyone is having a cozy, treaty, cuddly sort of day!



The two of them...
Alex burping at the dinner table, and me swatting him every time he lets one rip.

ALex: "Lil listen.... RUUUUUUUURRRRRP!"
Me: "Allllllex!" swat swat
Lili: giggle giggle.

Me: "That is grossing me out...." Whine, whine.

Me: *SIGH*
Lili: Looks at me, looks at Alex.... "Ruuuuurp!!!!" giggle giggle. (not a real burp, but an imitation that could fool you). giggle giggle.
Alex: giggle, giggle
Me: pause, giggle giggle..

Lili: very satisfied.



Exploring the watering can.

I admit, I spent way too much money on this can, way back when. When we had more disposable income I guess. I believe it cost $35.00 at an antique store.
It was a valentine's day gift for Alex... A sort of romantic-symbolic-cheesy sort thing...like we both like to garden/watering our love sort of thing. Plus it was probably a little of a for-you-for-me sort of gift as I totally fell in love with it's dinged up edges and big spout head.

When I excitedly told my Dad about my score he really squashed my enthusiasm by insinuating I was an idiot to spend that much money on a used watering can. "You were ripped off" I believe he said. "You can get a new can for $5.00 anywhere."
"But... I don't want a $5.00 can. This way it is more symbolic... Don't you get it???"
"No... I don't see why you need to pay that much for a watering can. That is crazy."
pause. "You were ripped off."

Alex liked it. Or so he said...
Lil likes it.
I still think it was worth it...


art front

I got an exciting call last week from a woman who owns K2 studio downtown (It is a high end furniture/design/gallery store). She had contacted me because she bought a painting of mine a couple years ago was wondering if I would be interested in putting some of my work in her store. I met with her today and she was very nice and her design studio/store was spacious and tasteful. I thought it was a good sign that my friend Ursula had her paintings there as well. I ended up leaving all 10 paintings I brought in to show her with her. Here are the two paintings that I left in the big city that I am really excited about.

"Two Limbs on the same body" 12"x12" mixed and a detail...
"Still moving through my dreams" 12"x12" mixed mediaand a detail...
I have been super focused and productive the past couple weeks. Nothing like having a baby to make you move in high gear when given a little time away... I used to laze around my studio, futzing and playing. No more. I am now a painting superhero. (in my own mind anyway..)


heeeeeeeeeere chicky chicky x 32

You heard it right. 32 chickens.

Excuse me while I digress...
When I was typing up a new little profile for myself recently I was having a lot of difficulty describing what we are doing with our lives. Most of the time I don't feel all that different from the average joe, but then it hits me every once in awhile that no, we are living really differently than a LOT of people. This realization can be hard on me, because I am someone who would rather not stick out. I don't want to be the spokesperson for composting your poop, or drinking raw milk, or living in a small house, ect. I wholeheartedly believe in what we are doing, but I honestly don't think is for most people, and I don't think it is the one and only way to live.
I don't even know how I ended up here. I didn't have any particular dream to build my own house and have dairy goats, and chickens, and be a stay-at-home mom who lives so far from the city... I guess one thing leads to another, and then one day you just are.
( If I had to guess, 10 years ago I would have said I would be owning a little bookstore/gallery on the coast of Maine. And I would live upstairs and have a cute little walled garden in the back where I would have a little studio, grow tomatoes, and lanterns would glow at night. ..)
Anyways... All this to say that I feel like we are completely flying by the seat of our pants most days. So, despite not having anywhere to house them, we decided, went and bought, and brought home a lot of chickens. Last night the brothers (Alex and David) had the extension cords and flood lights out as they finished up the temporary chicken housing. David drove 35 minutes one direction to pick up 1/2 the birds, and Ema, Gita, Lili, and I drove the 35 minutes other direction to pick up the rest. We got two different ages~ 2 1/2 month and 5 1/2 months. The older ones have just started laying. Here's what 10 chickens in a minivan looks like:

and the sun was setting as we drove away from these brown-leghorn's former home...
This weekend we will be building them a proper home in our backyard.
Cluck Cluck :)


pitter patter

Just look at this beautiful printing press I found on ebay. If I had 55,000 dollars I probably would spend it other ways (maybe a bathroom?) but, I have to say my heart would lean toward this just a little bit:
p.s.~ something exciting and animal-ly is happening tonight. stay tuned!


felty mail!

When we were up north we left Lili's special sippy cup at our friend's house, and so we kindly got a package in the mail the other day returning it. Tucked in the package was this amazing little hand felted wall hanging for Lili. Isn't it the best??? When I first saw it I thought the girl was carrying a plate of cookies (see where my mind is...), but it has been pointed out to me that clearly they are flowers. And probably black-eyed-susans. Duh.
Although wouldn't it be nice to be carrying a plate of cookies to eat under a big leafy tree? And all to yourself I might add. (Unless sheep like cookies...)I have never felted, but it looks so fun. I love all the colors and softness of it. Thank you Elizabeth!!!

new work

each 6.5" x 6.5" x .5"


the good guide

I want to share this awesome link that Ema led me too recently.
It is called THE GOOD GUIDE,
and it rates all sorts of products and toys for health, environmental impact, and how the company treats it's workers. I can't believe I didn't know about this before. Stuff like shampoo (even the stuff I buy at the health food store) has so many unidentifiable ingredients. It feels impossible to tell what the health risks are etc. But this website makes it very clear. Also noteworthy: "Suave shampoo, balsam & protein", $4.27, got a way higher score than my fancy $9.00 per bottle shampoo.
I ♥ to finally understand what I am using.



Sorry I have been a bad blogger this week~ I have two excuses.
#1: I had/have a sinus infection that gave me a constant headache and felt like I had cinder blocks in my cheekbones. I even went to bed before Alex two nights in a row. I am feeling much better now (I took the medicinal herb poke root for the first time and it seems to have done the job~ it is nice to have an alternative to antibiotics).
#2: Is waaaaay better than #1....It that I got the gift of a studio space for two months!!! For a small barter my friends are letting me take up a 16'x20' cabin right that is very close to our house. It feels like my heart has exploded with happiness. I love ADORE my new space.
See how lived-in it looked after only 10 hours of me and my supplies?and here is the painting I made today. I forgot how emotional I get when I paint alone and without a plan. It is like the paint and patterns speak to me~ and reach out and touch places of my soul that never get noticed. sounds crazy, but at least I know it is a truthful painting when this happens. Does that make any sense?
milkweeds 8"x8"x1.5"
fabric, glue, acrylic paint, papers, ink


Woof Woof

{Alex raking the new kids area we just had leveled out by the trampoline while Lili walks around in her fabulous boots calling to the dog. As you can see from Lil's tumble, we don't have much flat area for her to walk on, so once the grass grows in down there it will be sweet for the kids! Picture a little pool, sandbox, and trimmed luscious green grass for dancing in...}



Alex, transplanting some mountainberries along our fence.
Mountainberries are similar to a raspberry~ only they are more juicy and they pop off the bush and almost stick to your fingers. We keep getting more new shoots every year and so our berry "patch" keeps growing. I say patch in quotations because we don't have a unified patch~ just berries planted wherever we think they won't get trampled. Using the fence is nice because it protects the plants and provides support. and #2, the fence becomes hidden in the summer months. Aren't the mountainberry branches pretty all red and spiky???


Lili's Saturday...

Saying "EMA!" for the first time...
Pretending to push our fancy new wheelbarrow...
In and out of the gate. Up and down the little hill. Up and down the stairs. In and out of our arms. Always on the go nowadays...
Wearing sunblock for the first time this year...
Trampolining with cousins, friends, and Daddy-O...