the fullness of the heart

"The Fullness of the Heart"
6.5" x 6.5"
A while back I was asked by a blog reader the question of where I get my bird images from. Lately I have been cutting most of them out from a vintage (1940's) Audubon bird book. When I have used up all the birds from that particular book, I am not sure where I will turn next. I love the excitement and mystery of finding new and fun sources for my collage/paintings. This book came from a local antique shop... I have been perusing ebay and etsy lately though for antique ledgers and striking old books.
I will admit that sometimes I question using someone else's drawing in my own art. There is part of me that feels like I alter it so much, and I give each collage image a new life~ and then there are moments it feels a little like cheating. I wonder for example how the original illustrator of this beautiful owl pair would feel about their new surroundings... Should I have found my own owls to paint and let my painting be "more mine" somehow? I remember in college learning about altering something at least 20% to not be considering plagiarizing. The line is just so fuzzy. In my heart I don't feel like I am overstepping any boundaries, but, it does cross my mind often.

Do other artists have thoughts like this? I often am thinking about art things that seem taboo to bring up for some reason...


It has been an eventful week since I last wrote.
Both sets of my parents (Memere Linda & Pepe and Papa Dane & Amy) my sister, and my friend Lucy, all arrived at our home on Christmas Eve. We ate a dinner of ribs from the pigs we raised, sweet potatoes and kale. Drank wine. And set the presents under the tree.
And after Lili went to sleep we filled her stocking and set out and wrapped the kitchen Alex built for her:In the middle of the night we experienced a heavy ice storm. We woke up in the middle of the night to the power turning off and trees breaking in the woods. In the morning it was beautiful out, but we quickly realized it would probably be days before power, phone, or even driving out would be possible.
Luckily, we still had heat, running water, and lots of food. Lil open her Santa presents after she padded downstairs in wonderment (okay, I confess we were totally prodding her on with exclamations of Santa?!!! the whole way down the stairs...). It was a precious moment with just the three of us in our silent house. Then we went next door (we are house-sitting the Carmona's house while they are in Utah) and tried to figure out how to cook breakfast with no power. It is funny how long it takes to figure out the simple things... Like you can't grind coffee with an electric grinder. Or, you can't toast toast in the toaster oven. duh.
Alex slipped and slid down the road to another house we were house sitting and borrowed the generator, which enabled us to grind the coffee. Once some candles were lit, and coffee was made, every one's spirits lifted considerably.
We all opened presents at our house. Some very thoughtful gifts were passed around. Here is Lili wearing a hat her great-grandparents sent her and an apron Memere Linda made her:Lili also received a large indoor/outdoor, collapsible tent/tunnel playground from Papa Dane and Amy, and some beautiful handmade, hardwood building blocks from Pepe and Memere Linda:Every year I go through a phase of questioning the whole consumerism of giving and receiving gifts at Christmastime, but when it boils down to it, I love to both give and unwrap presents from people I love... Also, we don't buy Lili much of anything the rest of the year, so it is extra special to see her to get to new toys to play with.

All in all we were out of power and phone for 3 days.
Lili got lots of quality grandparent and aunt time:
and we hung out by candlelight. and cooked with a headlamp:
It ended up being a little more work, but also a unique and special holiday.

Everyone went home in the past 24 hours, and although we have our refrigerator humming again, there is a new kind of quiet that comes after the family has gone.
Lili and I had a nice picnic lunch on the floor this afternoon, (we had to take our table out to fit the Christmas tree in the house) and we are preparing to get back into our regular routine of life. I am off to clean up as our house is quite messy!
Merry Christmas to all of our loved ones we couldn't physically be with this Holiday! We love you!



Christmas Eve day. Nap time.

Sitting with my legs propped up in the brown swivel chair in the middle of the living room. I just mopped the downstairs, and the rug and furniture is all off the floor and up on the counters and couch. I am like a little island here in the almost clean house. There are things I wish could still be done... the dirty windows, reorganizing the cabinet under the sink, dusting... little things that probably don't matter, but somehow seem important when guests are coming.
The smell of the lavender floor cleaner is strong.
There is anticipation in the air too.
Anticipation of Lilikoi and Santa really meeting for the first time, anticipation of a heavy rainstorm that will wipe away this sunshiny day and melt the snow, anticipation of my sister, and parents, and step-parents arriving very soon to begin celebrating, and of course this sacred night and day tomorrow.

As I sit here and type, unable to do these last minute chores because the floor is still drying, I am thinking of the rituals and traditions that have been passed down through the generations. These gestures which symbolize our commitment to each other and what we believe. Even the simple things like making cookies that take on more meaning than a cookies made at other times of the year. It is the passing of years, and our love for each other, and the marking of time with these traditions that makes this time so special.


Wishing you a very happy winter Solstice! Here is to honoring the darkness of this day, and the returning of the light. Cheers!



Yesterday we woke up to snow falling. And it fell all day long while we had a cozy family day indoors. We watched the snow fall outside through our big windows, and cuddled next to our Christmas tree.
This morning we woke up to 15" of winter wonderland! A true snowstorm by North Carolina standards. We got all suited up and went out to play in snow:
Then we came in and Lili had her first hot cocco-after-playing-in-the-snow experience. She had fun this morning, and we had fun watching her wonderment...It seems like it could be days before they plow our road. I don't know when we will get off the mountain!


new work

This is a commissioned painting I have been having fun working on. It has been a challenge to paint daffodils in the winter since I have no real life flowers to draw from, but I am happy with how they turned out.
I hope everyone out there is having a lovely Wednesday. Happy December new moon!

4" x 4"



While I was running errands in town today, Alex stayed home and worked on a Christmas present for this little one: a play kitchen:
Isn't it coming along wonderfully?
I am thinking to paint a little window on the back and make some curtains... It is looking promising that it will all be ready in time!


recent funny lili

*We stayed in a beautiful lake house on Lake Lure for the Thanksgiving weekend. This house had many beautiful hand-crafted features in it, one of which was a beautiful stained glass window above the tub in the master bathroom. After a couple of days of taking bubble baths and enjoying the luxuriousness of it all Lili asked about "poo poos" in the window. I said "Lili, those aren't poo poos, they are clouds".

But they never looked like clouds to me again...

*I have found that maternity pants have this terrible inclination to ride and slide low, causing plumbers crack if you are not careful. In public I am always trying to keep this problem a secret, but at home sometimes I am a little more slack about how on top of this problem I am. On one of these lax occasions Lili came up behind me and stuck her cold finger on the tip of my butt crack and just as I jumped in surprise I heard her say, "What doin' bum bum???".

*Alex's Dad, (Alex Sr. or affectionately "Gramps") gave Lili this Cookie Monster doll as a present. The other day she was nursing Cookie Monster. This particular Cookie Monster burps and says things like "MMMMMMMMMMM Good!!!" when you open and close his mouth. He had a lot of good things to say about breastfeeding.


Big Craftyness withdrawl...

This is the first night in what feels like a long time that I haven't been painting or assembling or crafting. Alex fell asleep putting Lili to bed, and now the house is quiet and I feel restless and without a purpose.
The Big Crafty went really well for me yesterday. It was packed and bustling most of the day, and the area my booth was in felt lively but also a little sheltered from the sometimes overcrowded main hallway of the event. My sister was kind enough to take Lili all day which was a HUGE help, and Alex and I took turns at the booth. A couple of times I eavesdropped on conversations he was having with customers and I came to the realization that he is better about talking about my art than I am much of the time. I sometimes get tongue-tied, or shy, or unable to fully articulate something, whereas Alex plunges right in and really is my ultimate champion.

Overall yesterday, I sold 36 of the 49 small paintings I brought to the show (yay!!!) and TONS of pendants. The ornaments didn't sell as well as I thought they might, and I am already thinking about how I can better display them next year. Honestly the whole selling art, marketing, packaging, and displaying thing still feels new to me. I have days where I just want to disregard it all and just paint, but I am finding that I am enjoying this aspect of being an artist more and more as time goes by.
I forgot to take my camera out of my bag the entire show, but thankfully my friend Liz stopped by and took these pictures of the booth to share with you. (Thanks Liz!)
Thank you to all of you who came by and supported and encouraged me yesterday!!! And here we are, socially overstimulated, exhausted, (Lili woke up at 4:30 that morning... what the heck???) but very happy: