Friday, December 10, 2010

Alice Lane

I feel proud as punch to be remotely associated with the Alice Lane Home Collection. By "remotely associated," I mean that I went to high school with the owner, Jessica, and we've had some small occasions to work together in the past few years. Yes, I know, that is VERY remote, but I digress...

She probably doesn't know this, but in the art class we shared when I was a junior and she was a senior, I envied the heck out of a super cool painting she did of a hand with a globe on it. I remember it vividly. Do you remember, Jess?
Anyway, if you haven't been to visit Alice Lane (store, blog, or website) do it SOON! I have to say, the home collection is up there on my favorites for the entire state. And not just because we came from the same small town stock, either.
Right now you can enter a giveaway contest (they hold them regularly) for this fun holiday pillow. I'm going to try for it, too! Click here to find out how!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

Having trouble figuring out what to get that certain someone for Christmas? The idea is as old as the hills, but it never loses its appeal: COUPONS!

I remember making a coupon book for my parents for Christmas when I was a very young girl. There were coupons good for "one doing of the dishes" and "one getting along with my sister" and, of course, plenty of hugs and kisses. A few years ago, my mother pulled out one of these booklets she had saved and attempted to redeem some of that dish-doing fifteen years later. Unfortunately for me, I had failed to include an expiration date on the coupon, and I found myself at the kitchen sink.

Coupons work especially well for that person who doesn't give a fig about presents. Perhaps the language of love they speak the most is quality time or acts of service. Wouldn't a coupon for a romantic dinner together or a freshly washed car make someone squeal in delight as much as diamond earrings? (okay, I might be stretching it a bit....ha!)

Pictured above are coupons I made for my husband one year for Valentines day. He has tried to re-use these coupons on several occasions. I'm happy to report that I have led by example and for my birthday this year, he was the one making the coupon for me:

I loved it! What an awesome gift. FOUR EPIC MASSAGES. "The kind of massage that Moses would have given Pharaoh had the locusts and stuff not worked........You're going to think King Leonidas is back from the grave and somehow mistook you for Xerxes daughter, but instead of a spear, he has massage oil."

Don't you just love it? There are coupon books you can buy and fill in the blanks, but I prefer making my own. So, ask yourself what those special people really want for Christmas this year. Perhaps a coupon is in order?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Joan of Arc

I wanted to share my favorite painting with you today. This is "Joan of Arc" by Jules Bastien Lepage, painted in 1879. She hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and I've had the fortunate privilege of seeing her in person four or five times.

Without fail, I've cried every time I see her. I often ask myself what it is about this painting that moves me so. Is it the story of Joan of Arc, her passion, her mission? Is it the beautiful naturalist style of the work, controversially combined with the two surrealist angels Joan saw in vision? Can you see them? I missed them the first time. Perhaps it is her sheer size (I've included a photo with me and the painting so you can get an idea). Like my 8-month-old seeing the Christmas tree lights turn on for the first time, there is a sense of wooooah......

I think the real reason I cry whenever I see this painting is because I wish I had painted it. Have you ever felt that way about something? I look at Joan and think, "your face, your skin tones, the folds of your dress....and those wrists have got to be the most beautiful wrists in the world.....why can't I paint something like that?" She intimidates me. The tears are those of stress and fear. Fear that I will never be the artist I want to be. Fear that I will spend yet another day doing everything an artist is supposed to do (including blogging about art) but not actually painting.

I have been procrastinating a painting commission I need to finish, and my wise husband suggested I make two paintings: one for me, and one for the person who commissioned the work. The idea behind this is that with the version I paint for myself, the pressure for it to be perfect will be gone and I will lose the fear to start on the project. I think this is helping. I started on the painting yesterday and made some progress, but told myself the entire time that this one was for me anyway, so I could just have fun with it. We shall see.

I used to have a quote hanging on my door that I looked at every day. It said, "If it didn't have to be perfect, I would try...." At one point, that thought was the driving force behind me finally recording a CD of the songs I had written, a goal I had been procrastinating for ten years. Perhaps I need to hang that quote back on the door. Maybe this time I will allow myself to paint and make mistakes and struggle and in the end, have my work look absolutely-nothing-like Jules Bastien Lepage. And be okay with that.