My Saving Grace

Once again life moves more quickly than I can possibly anticipate. This last month our lives have been filled with even more love in the most beautiful of ways. Miss Amelia Ruth was born on April 13th at 10:35am. She has stolen all of our heart and our bed…and our sleep! Lol! But, we wouldn’t have it any other way! She is a wonderfully calm baby. Her beautiful face and all her charm already has us wrapped around her little finger. A little southern belle in the making!

As a parent you always wonder how you could possibly love anymore than you already do. Having another child come into your life instantly grows your heart. You create a space nothing and no one else will ever be able to fill, dedicated specially to this tiny little human that you created.

Sidenote: she’s a month old and I’m still holding her up like Rafiki in Lion King saying “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama”! Amazed I made something soooo beautiful three times over!!! #brushmyshouldersoff

Now on an art note: Art, ArT, and more ART!

I have completed more work since January than I have the two previous years combined! I have some exciting commissions lined up as well. I’ve had so many requests for prints of the bourbon series art that I’ve been printing and shipping them all over! I’m definitely spreading the whisky love! Never underestimate the power of alcohol to bring people together, especially during quarantine! 😉

Since we are on the subject of quarantine…..my two older children have adapted to this life change in very different ways. Asher has become very emotional in the later days of distance learning. Kindergarten is such an important year socially for children and the disruption has been hard on him. He is a such a smart kid. He learns very quickly and loves school….but he is not so keen on online class. He misses his classmates and teacher so much. Some days he just starts crying for no reason. I hold him and tell him he’s doing a great job. He still does his best to wake up every morning with a smile on his face, regardless of how redundant our days have become. He’s begun planning for the next day every night. Right before bedtime he lines out what we wants to accomplish. He started doing this on his own and it’s keeping him excited and positive when he wakes up each morning. He tells me most days “I can’t wait until this Corona Virus is over and I can hang out with my friends.” I feel you son….I feel you.

He just had his 6th birthday and my husband and I completely spoiled him. We got him everything on his list and met every want he had…plus some! We don’t normally do this…actually we’ve never done it. We try really hard to not over spoil them to ensure they don’t act entitled.

We are raising them to be respectful in all aspects of life…but, sometimes they just need to feel over the moon, especially during this time. We don’t know how this pandemic will ultimately impact our lives, changing the way we see the world and ourselves. Every little joy is emphasized and family is as important as ever.

As for Abby Rain, she is taking it a bit better. Her caring nature and instincts to make others comfortable has blossomed. Having a new sister has given Abby the opportunity to shine. I am so very proud of her dedication and hardwork. She is such a kind beautiful person. I am finding myself lean on her everyday for all the little things I need help with, which in the end adds up to the biggest thing- being a family and having each others back. Josh and I could not be more proud of the both of them and how they are adapting and handling this chaos.

Looking ahead and trying to anticipate what the future holds becomes more and more uncertain but, what I do know is being quarantined has brought our little family closer together. We have learned how to make moments special and fun in creative ways that we may not have ever thought of before. Taking our minds off all the negative at least for a small while.

Of course, there are days that I am extremely short and irritable, days I can’t handle being home every single second, and days I break down like Ash and cry just because. But, ultimately I am so grateful we are healthy. I’m grateful my small business, as well as my husband’s, has not halted to a stand still like so many others around the world. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity our children have in distance learning. We are seeing the truly wonderful way we can connect through the internet. If we didn’t have technology this quarantine would be a entire different experience. It has kept me somewhat sane the last couple months.

As we adapt to our new norm I find that my creativity has been my saving grace. It keeps me mind grounded and reminds me that I can always turn a negative to a positive. It’s all in how you look at things.

Letting the Good Outweigh the Bad

Hello again y’all! I felt it was time to get back into my blog posts. Sorry, for the absence of art goal updates and life things. I’ve just felt unable to write due to not even knowing how to organize my thoughts this last little bit. February not only concluded with the beginning of the COVID-19 virus spreading in the US and shut down of the world’s economy but, the passing of my Grandmother. Cancer and eventual liver failure finally gave way and took her. She was such an integral part of my childhood and someone that shaped who I am as a person. I am so grateful she was always there for me and miss her dearly.

March has passed and we are now in April. Despite everything right now it is an extremely joyous time of year for my family. Amelia is due any day now! My creativity and art production is truly at an all time high as well.

But, as it is for so many across the globe my mind has been completely consumed by the world wide virus pandemic COVID-19. With the shutting down of the kid’s school we’ve been discovering the world of online learning. We are adjusting to a new normal that has been forced upon us so suddenly. The kids are resilient and seem to be handing everything about this better than I am.

Not only has the spread of this virus changed our lives but, I am terrified of what the hospital visit with Amelia will be like and result in. I already know family and friends will not be able to join us for this wonderful time in our lives, but the mere thought of doing it alone, without my husband, is panic inducing. Although I am scared I have to remind myself to have faith in the medical team and respect that they will do the very best job they can to keep Ameila and myself safe.

So, now that I’ve acknowledged all the stress inducing issues surrounding life I’ll get to talkin’ about the goodness that is happening! And there has been so much!!!!

My and Amelia’s health is perfect! Which gives me peace of mind amid the scare of the virus. Although I am extremely ready to give birth I have had little to no unusual issues with this pregnancy! Josh and the kids are crazy excited to see her! I can’t wait to see how she changes our lives and what kind of little person she will become!

On another good note my art reception in Downtown Bentonville turned out awesome! Met some new people and got to talk shop with other fellow artists! Being part of the local community is so important to me and it made my heart happy!

Creatively I have been overwhelmed with the value and production of what I’ve been doing lately. The bourbon series has taken off so well that my time has been filled with creating art and sending it all over the country for others to enjoy! So much so that I haven’t had time to complete the 10 in the series for myself or continue on into another project! I know I haven’t stayed true to the original art goals I set but, I am not disappointed with my progress or what I’ve been accomplishing.

Below are some of the works I’ve completed! Not only including the bourbon art but, a few other pieces I’ve worked on. I’ve been trying really hard to get all of my commission work done before Amelia is born.

Now y’all are all caught up for the most part I’m going to do my very best to write updates more often and not cram so much into one post! I will end with a huge outpouring of love and support for everyone being affected by the virus, which at this point is the whole world. It is truly amazing to see communities support one another.

The generosity and love we all need to get through this is essential. My own family has seen it first hand. With our food truck being our livelihood, community is everything. So, thank you Northwest Arkansas for the love you’ve given us, as well as the donations we’ve received in our free meal program! We are able to provide food for anyone in need. My heart feels heavy but, very much hopeful! I love you world!

If anyone is interested in donating to help feed families contact @spuddoctors on Facebook and either make a donation through Venmo, over the phone, or by simply stopping by the food truck.

903 SW A st in Bentonville, Ar.479-257-0681

https://www.facebook.com/spuddoctors/

So what do ya say, wanna change the world today?!

Perspective is nothing if not life changing, a fundamental shift in the train of thought that you base your values on. As I get older I am embracing new perspective more and more. I crave it. I want my mind changed. I want to grow. I want to understand more and see the world through eyes that are not mine.

I feel that there is a rising up of new thinking that creates more inclusivity within society. People are not afraid to stand up. The time is always ‘now’ for the forward thinkers. The people that say, “If I’m not the voice then there is no voice. If I don’t make change for the future thinkers of the world then we will never change.”

I want to be part of change. I want to say I made a difference to a better world. A world where more people are letting other perspectives influence their thoughts and actions. Having the openness to not being right all the time. Believing that there is always a way of doing something that has never been thought of.

Supporting those that are brave, especially if what they represent is a perspective that eyes have never seen, is all about opening your heart to others. Vulnerability is always seen as a bad thing. A thing that makes someone weak but, vulnerability is what changes the world. It’s that one person standing up to say “I think, feel, or want things to be different and here’s why. Let’s find ways together to make it so.”

These brave people and those who support them are my heroes. It simply starts with listening. Truly listen to what others have to say. So what do ya say, wanna change the world today?!

The Wall That Heals

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

Many Northern states held commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

It became offically known as Memorial Day and observed on the last Monday in May in 1971 as a federal holiday.

This Memorial Day my family and I had the opportunity to visit The Wall That Heals. It is a two-thirds scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, honoring the lives of more than 3 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

The wall rises above you as you walk towards the apex in a chevron-shape. The names of 59,220 fallen soliders are listed in order of the date of casualty and alphabetically on each day.

It was brought to Crystal Bridges in honor of Memorial Day 2019 and is displayed on thier front lawn near the Bucky Ball Sculpture. Seeing the wall at night was so touching. I am humbled by the experience and beauty. It is a stunning tribute.

I am grateful for all who have served and for the sacrifice that every family has made. You deserve the highest of honor. From the bottom of my heart thank you for service and dedication.

Beautiful Mess

Our house is always changing. I never keep something in one place for too awfully long. I would love to say I have it in order…like ever but, I do not. Art is always leaning against the walls. I collect weird things and live in a old house. I have an obsession with mirrors and for things that glow softly.

But…..right in the middle of my crazy mess is my husband. Loving me for my need for change, my haphazard way of acting like I have my shit together and the never ending crazy that is me. He is my constant, calls me his beautiful mess and finds my artistic brain endearing. We grow together and learn more about each other everyday.

Our journey is definitely not perfect but, I find these moments and am proud of this beautiful life we have created. 💛

If You’re Gonna Post A “Selfie”

This isn’t my favorite painting. Not even my second ;)…..it’s a self portrait from 2012. Created in place of a night I couldn’t sleep. Not unusual but, that night was especially rough. I decided to focus my energy. I had a mirror that was eye level and thought it would be challenging to do a self portrait as a live oil painting. Adding a whole other level of difficulty I painted it on a piece of glass. I spent 6 hours painting as I looked in the mirror. This is much MUCH more difficult than I thought it would be!!

First off, oil painting is a skill that is only honed by practice….LOTS of practice. Second, looking at myself for six hours from night to morning is a whole other depth I wasn’t prepared for and I’m yet to do it since.

You force yourself to look inward. Do you like what you see? Can you focus and portray that to others? Are you beautiful? Do you love yourself?…Do you see your weaknesses?….as an artist and as a person????…..All questions I asked myself when painting this…along with a massive train of other thoughts.

I don’t “like” this painting but I do love it. I love what it means to me. I LOVE that I don’t have a photo to reference. I love that it was in the moment.

I really love that I can look at this painting and know I did my best at that point in time.

I’ve had other artist tell me they hate it. “The detail in the hair just isn’t there”…”your eyes make me uncomfortable.” “Why does your forehead look that way?”….blah..blah..bluhbadi, blah..

To be honest, I don’t care if anyone likes it. I have learned to judge my art on my own level. If I feel it has value I don’t care if others see it. Or even like it.

It means something to me. That’s all that matters.