Ah, it’s summer. Time to relax, unwind, enjoy complete freedom and fun, right? Right?? That’s what everyone else is doing, according to the always accurate, always honest world of social media. And clearly that’s how it SHOULD feel according to every magazine and television commercial out there. So why do I feel like I can’t catch my breath? Probably because I’m human. Or more accurately, because I’m human and I have two small people in my house.
Why won’t they leave me alone???
I’m just kidding. I really am. Sorta. I am so acutely aware of how quickly these moments pass and I truly want to enjoy them. But to be honest I enjoy them a bit more when I have a few minutes to gather my thoughts and I enjoy them a lot more if I have a chunk of time to paint.
I’m working on that, though.
That balance. That flow.
Because isn’t that life? Things just aren’t going to line up smoothly all the time. Right now it’s for the wonderful reason that my children are tiny and school is out. At some point it may be for a harder reason. Who knows?
But I do know I have to paint. I have to find that time for my work. If I don’t, I stagnate. Then I’m no good to anyone.
So I’m working on it. And hopefully I’ll have something to share with you soon. But for right now I’m movin’ a little slow.
Christmas 2014 when my daughter was 3, my father-in-law and his wife gave all the grandkids boots. What a hit! My little girl wore hers constantly- I even had to talk her out of wearing them on the beach- and they quickly became her trademark. But, like kids tend to do, she’s growing. Quickly. And by this past Christmas it was time for a new pair. They were replaced by a pair of brown boots with colorful stitching on the sides. She took to them immediately. It took a little longer for me. They were so grown-up and I wasn’t ready.
She’s getting so big, so fast. The 4-year-old in brown boots is so different from the 3-year-old in pink boots. So different and yet the same. I love watching her grow up. I love watching her change. But it also breaks my heart a little. So when I requested she pick out some things to give away and she brought me her pink boots, I almost cried. The sentimental packrat in me wanted to hold on to them… just because. She’s right, though. It’s time to move on. But not without commemoration and one last look.
Pink Boots- watercolor journal entry
Hey y’all, remember me? Ages ago I posted (here!) the beginnings of a portrait I was doing of my little girl. However, I just realized I never shared the completed painting. So, I present to you “Love Letter to the Here and Now.”
“Love Letter to the Here and Now” by Erin Hardin- Oil on Linen
The title speaks to both the fact that the prototypical “dad with the video camera” is using a smartphone to record his child’s accomplishments.
Detail from “Love Letter to the Here and Now”
However it also truly is a love letter to my here. My now. Which I have to say, is pretty great.
My here. My now.
Bit by bit I’m moving along on this painting. I’m loving it, but my little one has decided naps are for chumps so I’m not getting to work on it much. That’s ok. Next week she starts pre-school so I’m trying to soak up every sweet, frustrating, fun, non-work productive, bonding, silly, frivolous, educational, and mundane moment with her. I have the rest of my life to work. Here and there, though, I have made some progress on it.
Last post I showed you my rub-out underpainting:
Now for the fun part- color! Here’s what I’ve done so far, plus a couple of detail shots.
Don’t you love skin tones? Look at all the colors in there- greens, pinks, violets- and I can promise you there’s not a bit of pre-mixed “Caucasian Flesh Tone” on my palette. Where would be the fun in that?
Alla prima quick study of my little girl’s beloved friend, Baby Monkey:
A collector (a tiny adorable collector, I might add) has already claimed this piece.
The day did not look promising.
Mother’s Day Out (along with all other schools) had been needlessly cancelled due to the threat of “inclement weather,” which in the end, presented itself only in dreary rain. I had a to-do list a mile-and-a-half long, restless energy, and a two-year-old who wouldn’t even let me check my email without destroying things in a bid for my attention. Frustrated and focused on “not wasting the day,” I buzzed around her, attempting to check items off my list, snapping and sighing in annoyance. And then little arms wrapped themselves around my legs. And then a little voice said, “Mommy, can you hold me?” And then I got smart and stopped wasting my day.
Instead we snuggled up on the couch and watched a movie. We made a dozen marker drawings.We used up all her finger paints and created a mural on the wall of the bathtub. Then we rinsed it away and used up some fancy bath gels I was saving for a rainy day (What better opportunity?) and splashed around in the foam.
And the wasted day became a success.
I have a vice. It’s probably one a lot of you share. Like many vices, it’s hard to resist. It’s not normally seen as a vice. In fact, in this culture of more more more, it’s typically viewed as virtuous.
The following is a true story, and typical:
I put on moisturizer in the morning. While waiting for the moisturizer to soak in, I begin brushing my teeth. When I reach for the toothpaste I notice a cup on the bathroom counter than needs to go in the dishwasher, so toothbrush in mouth, cup in hand, I head to the kitchen. When I get there I realize the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, so one-handed (I’m still brushing my teeth with the other hand) I begin unloading the dishwasher. Teeth brushed, dishwasher half-unloaded, I return to the bathroom to rinse my mouth and put away my toothbrush. While there, I realize I never finished applying my make-up. Powder on, mascara out, I realize I never finished unloading the dishwasher. Mascara applied quickly, I return to the kitchen where I find my husband, unaware that the dishwasher was half-unloaded (because really, why should it be??) putting dirty dishes in the with the clean. Amidst all of this there is also some toddler juggling going on. This. Should. Not. Happen.
So, in a quest for sanity, peace of mind, and just all-around efficacy, I’m trying to rid myself of my multi-tasking ways AND as I’m going to tell you all about it (Didn’t you know I would?).
They’re everywhere. They tumble out of pockets, they rolls with the broom out from under furniture, they’re in almost every allowable container in or outside the house.
Rocks. My little girl loves them. And I’m not talking exotic or particularly beautiful rocks. I’m talking gray driveway gravel, pea gravel, garden rocks. She collects them, she gives them as gifts, she plays with them, she even sometimes bathes them. She plays with other toys, too; I just can’t help but smile at her penchant for rocks… I admit it’s partly because it reminds me of my fondness for mossy bits of bark. I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I used to hang my paintings on the wall as they were completed. However as paintings sold, commissions were picked up, new paintings were finished, etc. paintings were removed or shifted around and the walls were left with a bunch of nail holes. I couldn’t bear the thought of poorly planned nail holes in my beautiful new gray walls! My friend Drew mentioned the idea of putting them on a shelf, which hadn’t occurred to me. My tons of wall shelves that I added, while helpful, still didn’t give me enough room to store paintings. However I had a boxy particle board bookcase. I didn’t think to take a before-picture, but you know the kind- brown, faux wood laminate, moveable shelf, etc. I decided that shelf would work, but it most definitely didn’t go with the light, airy studio image in my head. Also, I was afraid to leave my paintings within easy reach of my toddler. Which leads me to another deficiency that needed to be addressed- I didn’t have any place in my studio that was kid-friendly, where perhaps the small one could occupy herself for 5 minutes. (Let’s face it- 5 minutes is probably the most I could realistically ask for.)
The solution? Multi-stepped, but easy and working out well for us.
First I sanded down the bookcase (just enough to rough it up) and applied Kilz Latex Primer. Then, I spray painted it white. Figuring that taking books or paintings off the shelf would probably be tough on the paint (since I’m sure latex paint on top of laminate is not archival), I covered the shelves with some decorative contact paper. Now comes my real innovation. I put felt feet on bottom of the bookcase so that it could be moved easily without damaging the floor (but not so easily that the wee one would likely move it) and I turned it to face the wall so that the paintings were not accessible. Lastly, I painted the back panel with chalk-board paint, cut, painted, and nailed trim around the “chalkboard” Voila! A storage spot for small paintings, a chalkboard for the kiddo, and a pretty piece for the studio. I love it when a plan comes together!
(I’m still having computer problems, so once again, forgive poor photo editing and cropping.)
Child-safe storage for paintings and books
Plus kiddie art space