Why It's All A Lot Better If I Knew A Little Bit Less


It is always on those chilly, rainy days when you fail to grab a shopping cart but then exit with way too much in your arms. 

Carrying two giant bags of guinea pig bedding out of the local Petco while spritzing rain ruins my hair (my HAIR!!!) and mucks up my glasses (I can’t see! I can’t see!)  I really should have grabbed a cart - ah well. I lean the bulky packs of shredded paper against my filthy SUV and wonder how I’ll find the keys. 

“Need a hand?"

A friendly and just perfectly nice and perfectly ordinary man came around the corner of my car and very kindly and non-creepily helped me. And he went off splashing off toward the shops. Just like that. It was so nice! So neighborly.  

My Minor Samaratin was a mid-sized white guy with graying hair and a gentle smile. A fast moving guy in plain khakis who just saw a person in need and he wanted to help. 

I tossed my damp carcass into the drivers seat and buckled up. I cranked up the heat and willed it to get toasty and fast.

“Well, that was really nice to have that little help.” It brightened my mood on that dreary day. The Nice Guy had zipped off into to the store to grab some dog food - or maybe cat food? Or birdseed? I didn’t know. 

I also didn’t know anything about him. I sat in my idling car and reviewrf a quick list of things I didn’t know about The Nice Guy:

I didn’t know:
who he was going to vote for;
what his religion was (if any);
if he was straight or gay or whatever;
if he was liberal or conservative.
Who knew?

Who cared?

It didn't matter. 

I KNEW he was nice. I KNEW he helped me. I KNEW that felt good.

It was so soothing to settle into a quiet piece of goodness that followed his simple kindness. I was assisted by a total stranger- and it was wonderful. It was a tiny gift that we could just be two people being good - well, he was being kind and I was being grateful.
If i had known all those details. If I had known them and he had known all about me, would he have not been kind to me? Would I have been less appreciative? 

Would it have changed anything?

Such simple humanity.

How much we need it.

Before all the disagreeableness and all the insistence that we are right - let’s allow kindness in the door FIRST.

Stand together

- you know - "One nation under God. With liberty and justice for all." Yeah, you heard me: ALL. 
 


Spread some love and wild joy with little note cards that say it all with verve, baby!

I almost gave up my art.

I came so close to giving up this spreading joy in art thing.

I thought I should quit.  I'd been wrong all this time - I'd unintentionally been lying to myself (and to you). Nothing was going to be okay - not ever again. I saw that there is pain and dark places that no beauty or bouncy color could ever pull us from.

My mother died on February 10th. That heartbreak - that feeling of being pulled inside out and the sense of being beaten from within - I couldn't see how a simple picture could make any of that better. 

Mom was larger than life. "She's a planet. Planets don't die." 

 

Well, Miss Exuberance and Shiny Lipgloss, can you justify your old bloated, jolly optimism now? Who was I to send messages tell people that things are awesome?

 

- and then  -

 

they came

 

- soft, shy lights - tiny ones.

 

Flowers to express kindness and sympathy and love. Gentle messages to soothe my aching soul. Donations to hospice in honor of Mom's memory. 

Every small word.

Each hug.

The meals that materialized on my doorstep. These expressions of care created a safe, warm glow around my family. 

 

I can still put on a really ugly cry. But I feel so lucky.

 

Those tiny lights are flares that illuminate happier shores ahead. 

 

Your love and caring proved to me that I was not wrong. The simplest and smallest gestures are the light and we need them most when it is dark. 

 

So. I'm not quitting. I'm only going to get bigger, brighter and louder. 

 

Grab your sunglasses.  

 

But first - let's light up the world. I made a downloadable card (it's free - sign up and get it here!) Print it. Fold it. Give it to someone who needs a lift - especially if that person is you. 

 

Everything is going to be okay. (Even if it is really lousy.)

A New Path Always Shines, 18x24", Acrylic on Canvas

A New Path Always Shines, 18x24", Acrylic on Canvas

Don't Feed Sugar Pops to the Inspiration!

It must be so nice to be an Artist. 

You get to just sit around all day painting.

I’ve been asked if  I paint “when Inspiration strikes”. If I waited for Inspiration to strike, I’d spend all my time eating cereal and watching TV. (Project Runway? RuPaul's Drag Race, anyone? Game of Thrones? Orange is the New Black - oh yeah, I love that TV)


Ms. Inspiration would just pass by my window and say, “No artist lives here.” and go get her own bowl of Sugar Pops.


You just have to work when you don't feel like it and hope She pops in for a visit. 


She usually does. 
She is kind of annoying Like an anxious guinea pig, she comes in and hides under the papers and makes a giant mess. Ever so slowly she peeks out and then waddles out to play. Inspiration is an annoying and fickle thing. But if you just stick with the work she'll join you. But you have to show up first and be quietly persistent in your work.
 

Art or a Kid?: Know the Difference

I've been asked if selling a painting is like selling a part of myself or if it is like selling one of my kids. “They're like your children, aren't they?”

Now, really. 

Are you looking at or have you created a dynamic piece that screams holy hell in aisle 5; demands a “moon-shaped eggplant” and then bites you when you carry its shrieking body out of the store?

This is a child. 

Some artists say their work is “like their children.” It can't be.

If it hangs on a wall, stands on a pedestal, adorns a person, place or thing, then this is probably art. Children will always be a part of you and you cannot sell them. You also cannot stick them in the closet if they disappoint you.

Please note the difference.

The rectangular object on the left is the art.

The rectangular object on the left is the art.

What IS it like to give up a painting?

I am certaint that it is not like giving up a child - though it is certainly the experience of selling a tender and sugary moment. Much more like selling your first kiss - you hope that it will be cherished and appreciated.

When you bring home one of my paintings you are taking possession of hopes for a kinder world and the sweetest dreams that spring from my heart.

My children? I will never sell them to you. Though they are free to roam the world in search of their beloved moon-shaped eggplant.

 

Kick Back & Knit Something Nice for Your Fears

In 1968, women didn't usually have babies at her age. 45! Who had a baby at 45?

She wasn't worried about it. She already had five children and well, what is one more? But her "friends" started in with THEIR worries and anxieties. They tried to convince to not do this crazy thing.


"What if there is something wrong with the baby?"


"Like what?" 


"What if she is born with TWO HEADS?!"  


"I'll knit her two hats." She answered in that super-smug, I-don't-give-a-damn-what-you-think way she had.


And you know, it turns out I did only need one hat. A kinda big one, but just one.


Now I'm over 45 and I am not having another baby (I am just not that tough - sorry Mom.) but I have my own internal chorus of sweaty, panic-stricken fear-leaders trying to ruin my fun at every turn.


I'm taking Mom's approach.


I'll take what comes my way and adapt.


I don't knit as fast but I can whip something up with a little felt and glue


Rejection? How about a snazzy beret?

Criticism? Slap a baseball cap on that one.

Everything can be managed. I firmly believe that it all works out fabulously in the end.

So there is no reason to NOT work damn hard and ignore the naysayers.

 

Look, ONE head. At the exclusive M Street Beach, South Boston, MA, 1969   

Look, ONE head. At the exclusive M Street Beach, South Boston, MA, 1969

 

My Not-So-Secret-Motivation

Heartbreak. Happiness. And a wish for a kinder world.

I am currently inspired by my mother's ceramic designs - when she was alive she painted vessels with bold brushwork and I am coupling that with obnoxiously happy colors. My goal is to create forcefully joyous paintings that cannot be ignored.

These loud, opinionated paintings of optimism grew out of my passionate desire to drown out the negativity and vitriol that are heaped on us at an ever-increasing rate and ear-splitting volume these days. 

I am going to drown it all out with Love. Joy. Optimism. Happiness.

In the end the good guys always win.

Nurture Love, my friends, nurture L-O-V-E.

Get uplifting art and optimism to your mailbox weekly. Right here, baby. Right here. 

Whip Up A Hurricane Of Joy, 24 x 18", Acrylic on Canvas

Whip Up A Hurricane Of Joy, 24 x 18", Acrylic on Canvas

Artist's Just Aren't That Fancy

Being an artist is actually a very simple thing.


Some people think being an artist grants clearance to drink too much beer and sleep with everyone's girlfriend.


Doesn't that sound romantic?


It is actually a simple thing to be. We are carpenters. We make work you can hang your heart on. 

Artists create something from nothing. With some basic tools and raw material artists create fields and oceans, rooms and towns - windows that take you back, draw you out and lift you up - all within a 2-D plane. All while you are standing in one spot.


For the pounding emotion and screeching laughter you may find in film, television, fashion and design. Websites, advertising, sculpture. 


From the tiny type on your business card to the color of your socks.


Thank an Artist. (Or curse them - it depends.)


And for you. We must thank you, 


Our collectors: supporters and inspiration. Without you to view, watch, enjoy (or maybe despise, deride and mock) our work - there would be little reason to make it. 


I need your eyes and hearts to interact with my art. 


And I am grateful every day for them.


Thank you.

Happy Catch, 12 x 12", Acrylic on Canvas

Happy Catch, 12 x 12", Acrylic on Canvas

Miracles Happen

You know that woman you never want to see again - much less talk to?

I just had lunch with her. 

Why? How?

Miracles.

Miracles happen.

Don't believe me?

Ask the guy to my left. He wasn't going to talk to her either. But he was there. 

And we laughed. And we marveled - unspeaking - at the miracle. 

I think we've put our egos aside. We haven't tried to explain our position or justify anything. The only words we've had related to the dark days are, 

"I'm sorry."

And in forgiveness - deep, true meaningful forgiveness that doesn't keep score - the kind that just yearns for the sunrise. There. I've found miracles.

That is where all my colors come from.

Forgive me.