And I said yes!…(again)

Two nights ago, my husband Brian and I had an “engagement day” celebration. It’s not an “official” anniversary, but it marks the day that we got engaged so we had a little celebration. Two years ago, on July 27th, 2011, he popped the question and I think is was one of the moments of most intense joy I have felt in my life.

As I described it to a friend the day after, I felt like Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thomson) in Sense and Sensibility, yes, I’ll say it and I’ll own it, and I don’t care if it is the cheesiest thing in the world, that’s how I felt and it felt wonderful! I remember watching the movie so many times in the past (it is one of those movies, along with Pride and Prejudice -oh yes, Jane Austin, gotta love that girl- that I have watched so many times and can watch another million times, if it’s on) and just crying and secretly dreaming that something like that would happen to me.

You see, I don’t think that I admitted, until I was about 30, that I really wanted to get married and that I wanted the whole cheesy-make-me-cry-of-happines kind of proposal, along with an emotionally charged wedding (a fancy, expensive wedding was never in my mind, in my eyes, my husband and I had the most amazing weddings -yes, we had two weddings -stay tuned for that story next month!- and they were possibly the most budget weddings you could imagine.  After googling: “how much does the average wedding cost?” I can tell you that both of our weddings cost about a sixth of what the average wedding cost….and I’ll say it again, they were wonderful! -once again, stay tuned to see pictures of the wonderful weddings next month ;) )

Many of my friends are artists, musicians, writers, the “bohemian” type if you want to “label” it (and I love them all!), and so, the whole getting married thing was considered quite old fashioned I guess, unnecessary. Several of those friends have been in relationships for a while now, several of them have been living with their partners for a while too, some of them have kids, and yet, no marriages. I thought I saw getting married that way as well, specially when for the longest time I found it very, very difficult to find a partner. Then I realized I just felt like I “had” to see marriage “that way”, but being completely honest with myself, I wanted the whole “thang”, proposal, wedding, to say my vows, to say I do. …and oh boy, have I loved every minute after saying that “yes”.

I’m so, so glad that I dared to listen to “my heart”, and to accept what I really wanted in my life, despite of what I thought people “like me” (artist, bohemian, a tad rebellious ,independent, a little bit of a “hippie”?) are “supposed” to go for. I guess, after all, that’s my rebellious side showing.

So, two nights ago, before we went for dinner, my husband actually proposed again…after rambling for about 5 minutes about what had been great about this past 2 years , he said: “and I would do it again”, and I said: “huh”? ,and he pulled a ring out of his pants pockets, and he said: ” I would ask you to marry me again”… my eyes watered and couldn’t help but thinking that that was the sweetest thing he could have done that night. The ring was absolutely beautiful, but it was not that, it was him, telling me, once again, that I was the one.

And I said yes…again!

Two years ago, right after Brian's proposal.

Two years ago, right after Brian’s proposal.

Two nights ago, after the second "proposal" ;)

Two nights ago, after the second “proposal” ;)

Two nights ago, after the second "proposal" ;)

Two nights ago, after the second “proposal” ;)

New Work

Here’s some new finished pieces, they’re part of the work I will be showing at my solo show at the Dare County Arts Council this coming September :)…veeery excited about that. They’re part of an ongoing wave series and inspired by photographs by talented Ben Gallop: lawyer, surfer, “amateur” photographer.

Happy Sunday and hope y’all are having a great weekend!

Oh, one more thing, let’s add a little poll just for fun…which on is your favorite?

Wave 1.3. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

Wave 1.3. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

Wave 1.4. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

Wave 1.4. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

Wave 1.5. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

Wave 1.5. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

Wave 1.6. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

Wave 1.6. Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 10 inches, 2013

It can’t be all about work.

This last week I made a “summer resolution”.  We live in a touristic place, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a beautiful peninsula and islands filled with beaches, dunes and lighthouses. I love it. You can imagine the amount of visitors we get every high season and the amount of work there is here during the summer. We work like crazy, most of us 7 days a week.

Most people still find time to play, go to the beach, surf when there’s a tiny bit of waves (pretty scarce during this time of the year, thankfully! otherwise work wouldn’t get done!) but my husband and I realized that we were not really finding that much time for just “hanging out”, specially just the two of us. I came to the realization that even though he works his “derriere” off, I was the one so immerse in my art, that I wouldn’t want to stop what I was doing until it was time for bed, often times, until it was past bed time. Here’s the thing, I LOVE what I do and this year specially, I have been learning some new things, taking a lot of online classes and building up my art skills “repertoire”; it’s really hard to try to measure out how much “work” I do in a day, I really just want to keep going and going.

As much as I love what I do, there’s definitely something I love more, yes, my husband. I don’t think I could be doing what I’m doing, with the intensity that I’m doing it, without his support.

So, this summer’s resolution is: making time to “hang out”.  There will be days before a show when I will probably be working right up until bed time, but I have decided that on “regular” days, I will stop what I’m doing at a certain time and in a “guilt free” mode, enjoy the late afternoon/evening just winding down and hanging out with my husband or friends. So far it’s been pretty good. If I tell myself at the beginning of the day that I’m finishing at a certain time, it’s like I’m programming my brain to find a “conclusion” to whatever task I’m doing at around that time (meaning: I might not be done with the painting, or the pattern, or the online class exercise, but I’m done for that day, I can always continue where I left it the following day) and I don’t feel like I’m stopping “in the middle of”.  I usually take several days to complete a painting, so, even if I am in a “don’t-stop-til-you’re-falling-a-sleep” mode, I will often go to bed without finishing a piece, so, it is not that tragic if I stop before I “can’t keep going”, I’ve actually found that it is rather relaxing.

Brian and I make some time for "hanging out" at Surfin' Spoon Frozen Yogurt Bar after a hard working day! :)

Brian and I make some time for “hanging out” at Surfin’ Spoon Frozen Yogurt Bar after a hard working day! :)

I forgot to mention: we work like crazy during the summer (spring and fall as well, pretty much), we travel in the winter. The tourists are gone, the town “dies”, half the place closes down and a large percentage of the people goes traveling to warmer places and/ or places with waves. But even if we are lucky to be able to take that time off, the intensity of work right now can be quite overwhelming.  It can’t be all about work; some “us” time is always “oh” so needed and “oh” so necessary.

...and even if we still find it hard to "hang out" during the summer, there's always a winter of traveling coming up :) .Some pictures from last winter's trips.

…and even if we still find it hard to “hang out” during the summer, there’s always a winter of traveling coming up :) .Some pictures from last winter’s trips.

For those of you that work at home: do you find it hard to “clock out”? I would love to hear!

It’s all so worth it…

I had a goal for this year:  to be in as many art festivals as I could. So far I’ve been in ten festivals in three months (yikes, that’s quite a bit of shows)  some of them lasted two or three days, some just five or six hours.

I actually flew to Costa Rica, my home country, for a weekend show in May that takes place in a cute shopping center. I’ve done this show since 2008 :). Here’s a picture of that show, it was a good one for me.

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I started worrying a little bit last week realizing that some weeks I had spent three days out at art shows and then two days out doing my part time job (rental homes cleaning on Saturdays and Sundays), meaning that I was only being left with two full days to actually paint.

I recently took some drastic measures to ensure that I could continue to produce new work to be in all of these festivals and for my solo show this coming September. I no longer have to clean houses on Sundays (yeyy!) and I got my neighbor to help me on Saturdays, which means that I come home now, after cleaning, and I still have energy to paint. Next year I will stop Saturday cleaning all together. The owner of the houses is such a nice lady (and art supporter, she’s bought a couple of my paintings and is constantly checking what new pieces I’ve produced) that I don’t want to leave her hanging now, in the middle of the high season, plus, let’s face it, it’s nice to know that there’s at least a tiny bit of my income that I can count on every month.

From all these ten shows I’ve done so far this year, some have been ok, some have been great and one was definitely no good, you can read about that one here. I’m a pretty positive person and I love what I do …yet, what can I say,  this year I’ve attended a couple of shows that have made me question my work. It sounds a little “bumming”, but I guess questioning is a good thing. It may cause some uncertainty, but what would be of us if we never did question what we’re doing creatively? I guess questioning yourself, or “reviewing” -that might be a better word for it?- your creative work, allows it to stay fresh and truth to yourself.

This weekend I headed for yet another art festival, I was invited last minute to attend, after they’ve had a cancellation, and I actually almost said no (I was starting to feel overwhelmed about the amount of shows I’ve done in a few months and the bunch I have coming up!). I’m so glad I didn’t. This show ended up being the best so far for me and I sold a big original, that had me a little bit in that “questioning” mode. I loved this painting and it got a lot of comments when I first posted it on my Facebook page, many people loved it and “platonically” wanted it, yet, it was so big and colorful that after a year of carrying it around for shows, I wondered, “who is ever going to want to buy this big ol’ colorful piece?? it’s too much!”.

Well, this weekend was that “ever” . This really great couple came day one to the show -I did not have this painting with me- saw the picture of this painting in my portfolio, fell in love with it, I brought it next day to the show, they came to see it and also saw a bunch of originals they had not seen the day before, went back and forth several times between the “big ol'” colorful piece and other originals that they liked, and yet, that was the one they wanted and they got it. These customers made my week I gotta tell you. The way they showed such interest in my work and the way they couldn’t decide between one or the other, it just made me feel really good about my art. Any doubts that I might have had last week about my work just dissipated and it made me think: all the work that it takes to make every one of these pieces, all the time that it takes to set up for these shows, all the times you end up questioning yourself because you were maybe at a show where the crowd was just not “your crowd”;  it is all worth it when you have a show like I had last week, where people were just grabbing small originals off the tent walls without much thinking because they knew the price was right and the piece was beautiful, or when a couple takes their time to decide among several large originals, because they just “love them all” -as they said- and then just take the biggest, most colorful one, that one that you love but that sure-it’s-taking-a-lot-of-space-in-the-guest-bedroom-oh-lord-please-make-them-want-that-one-pretty-please-…it makes it all so worth it.

The following day I went to clean my Sunday house for the last time. Oh, so worth it…

The Windmill

The Windmill. Also known as “The Big Ol’ Colorful Piece”. 36 x 48 inches. SOLD ;)

The Windmill and other pieces on display in my booth at Stockley Gardens Art Festival last May: (Click on the link to see yet another picture of me next to the the Big Ol’ Colorful Piece at Stockley Gardens and some highlights of the show :))

Booth Shot 2013

Remembering Mom.

Last June 30th, three years ago, my mom passed away. She had been sick for a long time, had undergone 4 major surgeries to remove all kinds of tumors growing inside her body and had gone through 2 chemotherapy treatments. She was a champion. She was always happy. I swear she did not look sick until the week she died. Her wake was so full of people, it was insane, from 5 pm to 2 in the morning people just kept coming and coming. The day she passed was so surreal for me. She literally died in my arms. We were at home, no nurses, no machines, this is how amazing she was. She was dying that day, and yet there she was, having an Ensure stick “ice cream” that my dad had made for her, in her bed and just wanting me to help her up to wash her face and teeth to “get it together” -according to her words- . As I was helping her up she started passing. This was quite traumatic for a while, I kept having all these questions, “was she conscious?”, “was she in pain?”, “could she see me crying, calling the ambulance?”, “was it my fault?” I seriously thought for the first hours after she was gone, that the fact that I tried to help her stand up when she was so weak, had been the cause of her death. The ambulance people tried to reassure me, then the palliative care people (yes, I had to call them, I had to ask them several questions to try to understand what had happened), then the pathologist. I finally understood it had not been my fault, when he told us, after the autopsy, that all her organs had basically “collapsed”. It was time for her to go. She was dying for who knows how long and she looked so great that she just had us all fooled. She was a champion and I miss her so deeply. She didn’t get to be at my wedding and oh boy, did she dream about seeing that. When I used to tell her “mom, I just don’t know if I’m meant to get married”, she would say: “don’t worry, I got it!” and she would point up, meaning, she was praying for my husband. I’m not a religious person, but I’m definitely spiritual. To this day I like to think that my husband is the answer to my mom’s prayers. I had met him roughly ten days before she passed. I had not told her about him yet, even thought I could already feel there was something really special about “this guy”. I would usually confide in her everything right away but this time, feeling that “this guy” was something else, I wanted to wait and tell her when I was completely sure that it was “for real”. She would have loved him so much. I can just picture her hugging him and spoiling him with food (that was her way of saying I love you…making sure you were never hungry! :) ) So many things happen all the time when I just feel that urge to grab the phone and tell her about it. So many times I just think “oh, mom would love to see this!” and then just feel that thing in my heart because I can’t call her anymore… I miss her so. I miss her more every day that goes by (if you have lost someone really close to you, you understand what I’m talking about, you learn to “tolerate” their absence, but everyday that passes, is one more accumulated day without seeing them!! it’s so exasperating and painful!). I used to dream about her often and in my dreams, I always felt like if I had been given another chance to be with her one more time, but I always had the realization, while dreaming, that she was not alive anymore, and that she was just going to be gone again any second. One time I think I even got mad at her during a dream. I think I told her that I loved to see her very much, but knowing that she was not “really” there, was just too painful. I think I actually told her “I don’t want to dream about you anymore”. Ouch. I’m so glad she didn’t listen to me. She was in my dreams again, a couple of nights ago. I just wish I could get that annoying realization off my head and just enjoy the times I still have with her in my dreams.

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