Why Do We change, and Do We Really?

My college degree came with a 500,000,000 price tag (or something close to that, it was probably more) and the elusive PAINTER pedigree, coveted by few, glamourized by all. 

I loved college. Incubated in creativity, it was the first time I felt that my inclination to explore slow thought in a mindful way had a place to seed, nurse, thrive. 

What was I like in college? I have been trying to remember because I went there for a reason. 

Angry! Sensitive! Serious! Naive! Precious! (self-absorbed)

I feel everything, I talk about everything.

I feel everything, I talk about everything.

Work was at the forefront, any artist will tell you that hands on practice is how you hone your craft.

Discipline became a mantra. 

A studio is cute, but without hours logged it's an empty room. 

And then there's concept.

What a beautiful thing to have a great idea. But without a ‘why’ how is an idea any different from a passing emotion, from passing gas. 

I graduated with that painting pedigree 14 years ago. My class was small BECAUSE IT WAS AN ART SCHOOL, and each graduate had the opportunity to address our courtyard audience. I don't remember anything any one of us said. I remember what I wore. 

Isn't that strange, to accomplish/survive a pile of something and remember such insignificant bits? We do it all the time: a wedding boiled down to the leaning cake, a car crash summed in one noise, birth as violence, a first kiss smelling only of a cup of coffee from a coffee shop you never returned to. 

I began painting very young, little vignettes of the circus (which I had never been to). I painted my mother and a friend that hurt my feelings. Then I painted things I imagined. Then I painted things I hoped for. Next it was every experience, a narrative to my life. 

My work life was big, my discipline thorough, my concept started to slip.

Hours logged, time accounted for. I was doing the work, but where was i going? 

Fourteen years passed. 

Fourteen years accounts for multiple gallery representations and subsequent showings, and if i toss in the the title of SOLO it just sounds like a big fat sexy success story. 

Oh, friends, the politics . . .

Fourteen years includes things like working my ass off as a waitress, smoking my anxiety down to hundreds of ciggy embers, piles of broken friendships, just a lot of no money but a plethora of generic brand greek yogurt, a divorce, so many all-over-the-map lovers, a new marriage, a sick parent, yoga, running, whiskey but then beer, a big fat magical baby, twitter, and at least six personal reckonings. 

This list, it fucked up my concept. 

College let me care about myself. We should all care about ourselves. But we don’t. Caring about yourself is a selfish concept. The dictionary has no words for it that don’t imply narcissism:  self-absorbed, egocentric, conceit. I literally just listed them all right here.  

Listening and Hearing are not the same thing. 

Listening and Hearing are not the same thing. 

Painting is like this: a pile of plastic materials coupled with insufficient words for any experience. The melding of the two is a chemical and human alchemy resulting in tangible work for the spectrum of pain and joy we live WITHIN but can not find words for.

I have been schooled in painting, I have that pedigree (did i mention that? It was very expensive and super important) I toiled,( and that’s very important).  I am very good at what I do. It has taken fourteen years for me to comfortably assert that (as a painter, as a person, AS A WOMAN).

I am not famous, I still have no money, I have an impressive resume, I have a loyal following, I have anxiety, I have huge bodies of work behind me, I have everything an artist needs to successfully have their midlife crisis and I’m so ready for it. 

wait. i’m in the midst of it. 

I recently changed direction. I enrolled in school and signed up for late nights, night classes, night homework, eventually night shifts once I finish the Nursing program.

I love the work so far. Time continues to be the most precious commodity I own since having that fat and magical baby. Work consumes my schedule and it is playdate, homework, painting, playdate, homework, painting, playdate, test, repeat.

Discipline. fuuuuuuccccck. I used to wake up from nights of playing pool and karaoke only to fry two eggs and walk outside of my house for coffee simply to force the momentum of the day. (i refuse to give readers a measure of time based on years for this.)

2 year olds love eggs. They force your ass to the kitchen for coffee. It’s all morning hell no matter the decade.

That leaves us with concept, my least favorite  of the triad. Whats and Hows are the best, so easy; I’m gonna make this thing, with these other things.  

but Why?

I am thirty six years old, young and really paying attention to being alive.

I am thirty six years old, appreciating ibuprofen and doing the math/ health risks to reach 90.

Womanhood exists in a dark quiet place.

Womanhood exists in a dark quiet place.

My concept memories were formed in an unkempt university orchard, a bar that didn’t check i.d.s, bus rides that took me all over the city at all hours. I cared about love, imagination, survival.

Painting supported all that, those are free existential concepts.

Concept present is my SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE, carseat properly positioned, all over the city at baby friendly hours. 

I care about love, imagination, survival.

Painting does not support that, those are not free capitalist concepts.

I cashed in my painting card to the local community college this spring. My expensive degree and slightly less than 10,000 hours did not translate into transferrable credit. i’m starting from scratch. 

That’s okay, I’ve done it before.  

I'm so angry and happy at the same time.

I'm so angry and happy at the same time.

School has been a trip. The hours logged are a lot of work and I have to discipline myself to find the hours outside of stay at home parenting. 

But the concept, it’s as free and personal as it’s ever been. 

Six hundred years from now, when I’ve reached that ridiculous surreal age of forty something, I will have my registered nurse license.

New materials, new audience, but still, love, imagination, survival.

 

 

 

SAD (SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER) or just life.

i’m stuck on ten paintings and this has been going on for nearly ten months. 

I love green

I love green

september past: simple antipasto renderings. these could be something. more meat. more shellfish. i remember italy. it was as great as philadelphia, just different. i’ll make ten of these. i can do anything. 

october past: succulents are like roses, which are like meat because they come in shades of pink and red. like wine. and the insides of those green olives nobody else likes. i’m basically traveling. like old times. every breakfast in italy was a flat bun pitched with olives, sliced, provolone fromage slabbed in between. i ate the hell out of that. washed it down with wine, or coffee, both, didn’t matter, i’m 24 years then.

november past: herbs. 

december past: cheese?

january of this year: depression.

february of this year: if i cared about anything at all i guess i’d enjoy antipasto. does it matter though, do we eat to live, do we care to live, what do i eat if i care to live but living feels fraught with responsibility and incredibly expensive/not as simple as cold beer, coldcuts, and a heavyset podcast subscription? 

march of this year: you can NOT put cigarettes in the antipasto paintings. they aren’t food. choose fruit. choose life. 

april of this year: get some foliage in there, fruits don’t grow on air. think stems. think vase. find a place to exist, get a context, get a vessel, get a grip. 

green is hard to paint. 

green is hard to paint. 

may of this year: tobacco plants? 

june of this year: awareness is ground cover. politics build laurel walls, tyranny is perennial, activists are new shoots, shitty people are weeds, we can be human annually. Prune your life. 

july presently: flower time, motherfuckers. 

august: TBD

green seeker

green seeker

April Showers bring May Flowers

Introducing "Beauquets", May 2017,  current exhibition at hall/spassov gallery.

I am one year into motherhood for the first time. Mother is a title, woman is a state of mind. Here I've tried to put on canvas the endless confusion, the surprising discoveries and the simple happiness my new life is bringing me.

This collection is inspired by and named for my daughter Beau. She has refreshed my water and caused me to see all things anew.

Beauquet

Beauquet

This was a self portrait, just me and my daughter Beau. Then someone asked me, "which one are you?", the guardian angel or the baby.  I've been at a loss ever since, upended.

DreamCatcher

DreamCatcher

Sleep is elusive as a new parent. Sleep has always been this way for me, fraught with dreams and an anxiety that debilatates once the light of day goes away. 

It's different now, sleep waits for me but i can't ever catch up. Wakeful nights with a baby are disruptive in a whole new way, the exhaustion sizzles but i find new reserves for every feeding, every repeated song, each fitful rocking. 

Two dreamcatchers hang above my bed; a gift from Beau's godmother, they watch over us as i try to teach her the strange habit of rest. 

My dreams in day have been realized with her arrival. My dreams at night have changed in their content. What will she dream for in life? How will I help her catch those and find their meaning. And, in fairness, will she even need me to?

Family Tree

Family Tree

Beau showed up and formed us into a family. Her arrival and subsequent planting of her place in our trio brings up more questions than answers of where her father and i come from. We look over at eachother recognizing what we bring into this dynamic from our own upbringings, wondering what we will pass on, hoping for what we may start anew. 

Considering our own family dynamics brings a new awareness of our place in the community, the world at large. This piece functions as a universal family tree.

Senior Prom

Senior Prom

Every spring the students of my neighborhood get dolled up and promenade in our parks and ballrooms, hitting one of those milestones we dream about as kids and fondly commiserate about as adults.  I love glamour, I love romance, I value the right to create memories for a full life. I firmly believe that not only do Black Lives Matter, but they matter in the daily simplicity of growing up and growing old. It's my responsibility as a citizen and my duty as an artist to create work that gives a voice to life being lived in fullness by everyone around me. 

Every year I look forward to prom season which falls in the month of may and watching boys and girls treat eachother as men and women. For better or worse, from birth till death, we are all in various states of dress-up.

Take My Hand as the World Blooms and Burns All Around Us

Take My Hand as the World Blooms and Burns All Around Us

The current political climate looms over everything. Tensions are high as freedom gets called into question and injustices are exposed in real time. We have a planet that is physically rebelling against our own carelessness. Flat earth theory is a real thing.

It's easy to feel all hope is lost. Hell, I'm scared. 

Yet, the flowers keep coming up from the earth and the rains change in scent with the seasons. i am here, trying to grow, and i continue to take your hand as the world blooms and burns around us.

Fish, Flower, Friend

Fish, Flower, Friend

I'm consumed with understanding my own beliefs of the mystical world. I feel compelled to have fair and free answers for my daughter when the inevitable questions come. But in the meantime, the simplicity of our daily discoveries simultaneously enthrall her as they comfort me. i tell her "this is a fish, this is a flower, let's make a new friend".

Mother Mountain

Mother Mountain

The softening of my heart as a mother has healed many past hurts i've carried over the years. Empathy and compassion come faster and freer now. She and I share a tenderness I hadn't known before. But her innocence brings out a solidity in me necessary for protection and guidance. She is my meadow while I am her mountain, as my mother is mine and I am hers. 

Me and Beau

Me and Beau

I currently live in the Pacific NW, our weather is mild in comparison to the rest of the country. I've known the winters of New England, the humidity of the Midwest, the steady mild rains of Kenya. But I think i speak for many people when i say it's been a grey winter. My paintings, though, are coming up roses.

Tu Me Manques (I Miss You)

I haven’t traveled in a very long time. I’ve been missing that; packing, temporary goodbyes, airport/train/taxicab anonymity, temporary new hellos, getting used to unfamiliar air and nighttime sounds, perspective shifts, new goodbyes, home again home again. 

The Changes Happen All at Once I 31" X 49" acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once I 31" X 49" acrylic on canvas

I love revisiting this body of work, painted in an old convent over a short year in a tiny french village I moved to in a September. 

The Changes Happen All at Once II 31" X 49" acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once II 31" X 49" acrylic on canvas

We had a market, two boulangeries, a post office, one tabac, and the train station

The Changes Happen All at Once III 37" X 37" acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once III 37" X 37" acrylic on canvas

the countryside went back and forth from wide open fields of cows with wide open faces, to sherwood forests lined with wildflower trenches. I ran a lot back then, I jogged through the transition from fall to winter to spring, I got to breathe an entire breadth of seasonal airs. 

The Changes Happen All at Once IV 25" X 37" Acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once IV 25" X 37" Acrylic on canvas

the convent was cold stone with a warm kitchen. all the colors are here in these paintings. they feel so old and soft to me. 

The Changes Happen All at Once V 25" X 37" acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once V 25" X 37" acrylic on canvas

I miss that home. I can see everything I left behind, simplified in form, scent, sound; garden, staircase, farm, road, bread, milk, piano, stone.

The Changes Happen All at Once VI 31" X 41" acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once VI 31" X 41" acrylic on canvas

One day I arrived, and then I was there, and suddenly I was home again. 

The Changes Happen All at Once VII 31" X 49" acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once VII 31" X 49" acrylic on canvas

The Changes Happen All at Once 1 - 9 were painted at PAF in St. Erme Outre-et-Ramecourt . They are on view at Gallery 903 in Portland, Oregon.

Let There Be Joy

"We believe all great art is founded upon the use of visual abstractions to express beauty.... To us, seeing is the greatest joy of existence, and we try to express that joy..... We do not believe that painting is a language. Nor do we try to "say" things, but we do try to fix upon canvas the joy of vision...In other words, we are not trying to illustrate a thought or write a catalogue, but to produce a joy through the use of the eyes. We have much to express, but nothing to say. We have felt, and desire that others may also feel." - Taken from the Manifesto of the Society of Six in 1925 as recorded in Edward Doro's unpublished essay circa 1957.

100_3992.jpg

I'm hard pressed to remember if i've ever taken time to write of the joy of painting, and yet when i discovered this manifesto i found the statements to express better than i am able the integrity behind why i continue down the path of this impenetrable career. I'm so busy angsting, questioning everything i do and encounter in this business that my heart lives permanently in the backseat. lets take it for a joy ride.

my kindergarten art teacher changed my outlook forever demonstrating that the brown of a tree trunk is made up of many colors of the rainbow messed together, immediately destroying the tedium of trunks and giving me a key to reproducing nature, i was all powerful. 

 my life as an eight year old consisted of a game i invented called Valuable Old Art Treasures.  i would spend hours creating images of the circus, crumple the paper into a tight ball, submerge it in water, let it dry in the sun and then hide it in the house somewhere so i could happen upon it and make millions later in the week.  

The next 25ish years were spent gathering every art material i could find, piling it into my various studios simply for the sheer joy of discovering what it could do and to ensure preparedness for any art emergency. i've had many manner of art studios and have learned that it's not really location location location, although the thrill of location was definitely worth pursuing for a time as it changed how i valued light and noise and flights of stairs versus elevators.  i still own and don't share the first paint set gifted to me by my high school art teacher whose name i've forgotten but whose encouragement i have not. underpainting still gives me that unrealistic idealistic jolt of fantasy that maybe now i'm finally on my way to MOMA. i once left all my clothes behind in a convent in france so i could haul a suitcase full of paint back to america. i dragged that 50 lb. beast up and down flights of train station stairs trying to get from the deep countryside to Charles de Gaulle airport. i love color, i love paper, i love how my brushes have become an extension of my hand, i love the infinite variations of line. on a yearly basis i consider giving it all up for a "real" job. on a daily basis i guard my studio hours fiercely and dread the day i may need to get a haircut and a real job. 

these days my studio is the most humble i've had since i was a teenager, the spare bedroom in our little apartment in our small town. i moved my workspace into the home once my husband and i learned we were going to have a baby, started socking that studio rent into a hospital bill fund instead and i prepared to work from home rather than haul two dogs and a newborn to my former workspace. i threw out nearly everything, kept the bare minimum. all those years of discovering (wandering), collecting (hoarding), experimenting (experimenting) have currently settled into a minimal bliss. I am no longer prepared for every art emergency, but i have what i need: paint, brushes, canvas, paper, easel, brain. 

this new phase has me painting on a sporadic time table and for a new audience, one whom is most often perched in my formerly free arm. she is learning how to see, and the pure joy of it brings a new level of joy to my work. she watches me make marks and i make more just to please her. she hears me name colors and i name more just to please her. even more do the words of that manifesto settle over my studio these days, "we do try to fix upon canvas the joy of vision...to produce a joy through the use of the eyes. we have much to express, but nothing to say. we have felt, and desire that others may also feel." 

let there be joy

let there be joy

painting delights me, plain and simple. the challenge of it enrages me, brings me to tears, leaves me pacing, cursing, gloating, yes. it is expensive and takes up space and storage, it makes little profit and is most often misinterpreted. it is hard. it is soothing. it is considered dead. it is my first love, it will most likely be my last.

I Hope When I Die It Is In Bed With My Lover 48x60 acrylic on canvas

I Hope When I Die It Is In Bed With My Lover 48x60 acrylic on canvas




Leftover Fruitcake

Screwed

Screwed

...Then I went grocery shopping and then my dogs were completely ungrateful for their lives of luxury and then I stopped at the uber chic wine bar a block from my shoddy studio and then I had to explain to the sexy beard man that I was cooking Mexican food tonight and maybe that doesn't go with wine but I'm a bohemian so those rules really don't apply and what could he recommend that I wouldn't have to sell a tit for.

If you think you are a bad ass, calm, rational, put together, especialistically moral, tough, broad, real son of a gun, I'd like to see you paint a red onion.

I came back from an 'eh' vacation with job security on my mind and deadlines in my heart

Listening to a podcast about Van Gogh the other day I was struck by his letters.  He wrote to every sibling. Theo the most, sharing the intimacy of his hospitalizations, the change of palette as he left the Dutch and met the French. 

But, to his sister, he talked of the finite; single paintings to every last detail; hair color, complexion, the chair in the room.

Scholars ascribe his sensitivity to her lack of intelligence in the art of painting.

I know a lot of dumb people, this doesn't mean I only speak to them in color.

As a women and sister myself, I know all too well the sensitivity that comes with a man telephoning me and starting the conversation with, 'I've been blue..."

The next night i confessed sausage was on my cooking itinerary and walked out of my new dealers locally etched door with a French Bordeaux; crammed so far in my deep purse it felt nearly naughty.

At this point I'm days deep into a dark secret painting momentum, the antithesis of job security on my mind and deadlines in my heart. 

That first Tempranillo led me down a path of peppers and lemons, darkly patterned gingham table spreads?

Then I drank the Bordeaux and was all, "Pomegranates and woven baskets are my point, from now until forever."

sharp as hell

sharp as hell

If I were to send my siblings a letter accounting the moves I make in my studio, each blueonthe brush, hypervescent yellows, they'd think I lost my mind. Between the two a text poem would ensue, rhyming my name with the only three words my name can be rhymed with, derision or not;

Gretchen is Wretched

Probably in the Kitchen

Fetchin' a reason to keep K'vetchin

Currently:

I'm on a date with my husband and the featured wine is a French blend, I take this as a sign,order it immediately and rant about the asymmetry of red peppers. 

His original text read that he felt he hadn't seen me in a week.

He thinks I'm depressed.

I can't tell because all I can see is the tableaux of silverware, salt shaker, fork and steak laid all in a row across his buttoned shirt horizon.

I return to the studio.

Lemons proliferate across the table settings I am now knee deep in.

I find this interesting as they are the only produce I tuck deep in a produce drawer.

Onions, potatoes, peppers, apples to oranges, garlic meats, they pile into bowls around my kitchen, spill all over the wood island.

WHAT DO LEMONS MEAN TO ME? 

I am so sensitive to temperate citrus needs.

From what I have read, Van Gogh painted in lucidity. He was plagued by depression and illness. His body and mind went to seed during these times and he did not produce artwork. When he revived, his paintings were forceful, his choices purposeful, his letters detailed to the last drop. 

sweet and sour

sweet and sour

Tonight I drink French again. The wine shop lady mentioned that I cook great food and buy great wine and she wished she could come to my home.

I just thought, 

Oh lord, 

French Lady, 

You have no idea,

I wanna go to that house too.

It is sausage, beans and greens and, Gretchen just brought home high end wine so let's make popcorn, kind of home.

You are all welcome here.

Today I worked on the empty walls behind each pile of peppers and carrots I've been fussing with.

Van Gogh was a portraitist by nature, as am I.

At one point he shared his tiny home with Gaugin for a month. Two artistic sardines under one roof. What happened?

Is this when he noticed a chair? Because when Vincent notices a chair, he really notices a chair.

We were leaving  our California vacation, clearing out the sexy house four of us rented.

A Pink Lady Apple came up for debate, no one had eaten it, no one wanted to eat it, apparently the fruit basket was relegated simply to lemons.

I was walking down the FUCKED-UP-STEEP stairs when consensus rang down that PINK was trash.

Papayas, pickles, roses, baskets, vases, utensils, cabbage, peppers, citrus, salt shakers, peaches, apples

These make up Still Lifes

I am painting in this genre as the moment passes. 

But I realize, there is nothing Still about a Life.

salad days

salad days

Mother Hubbard

Two avocados, three cans of crushed canned tomatoes, and a down comforter biding it's time at a dry cleaners down the street that I can't afford to pick up:

I introduce you to to my kitchen and the general state of affairs over here.

Perhaps I should not send my goods to a dry cleaner?

Many times my dog has pissed on a comforter and many times I have tried to handle these incidents in an economical way.

The last time I tried this, my washing machine broke and I thought soaking the comforter in my bathtub would make sense, until I discovered that pulling a liquid-soaked comforter from the tub and depositing it into a dryer was the equivalent of pulling a small dead body from my tub and depositing it into the dryer, and these things just don't work and it's embarrassing to call anyone for help unless it's the guy living five floors down that has a crush on you and ends up marrying you.


"You Love Me Like a Pet I Once Abandoned at my Parents' Home While I Went and did Something for Myself for a Long Time." 48x60

"You Love Me Like a Pet I Once Abandoned at my Parents' Home While I Went and did Something for Myself for a Long Time."

48x60


So, to recap, I only send my shit to the dry cleaner to save the condo complex from flooding and have not yet picked up said comforter because I can't quite pay for it yet, not because I am a diva. 

When I become a diva, trust me, I will not be wasting those power-plays on an IKEA comforter.

I nearly ran away from home in my late teens. I had dropped out of college, after entering college early. Either way, it was all too soon for me.

I did NOT end up running away, thanks to a girlfriend, her sewing scissors, a small quilt, and a story for another time. Instead, I cut all the hair from my head and made a vow to paint more, paint better, paint harder. 

Many years of my mothers tear's began the next morning when she woke to my chopped head and sent me off to a salon where I sat defiantly under shears and judgement.

So, fifteen years later, to find myself bent over the sink while my husband shaves the left side of my head as we discuss our taxes and sensitive toothpaste takes a little edge off the present banal.

I never thought I'd be in such a safe place.

All of it is boring, this adult bullshit.

We vacillate between comfort and breathing heavily in small spaces. Often that small space is our own space we pay too much rent for.

I paint full time but it hangs by a small string and I will probably head back to a part time job in a moments notice.

I'm pretty sure that moments notice is sleeping in the unopened cereal box behind the opened cereal box I am plowing through every morning.

......which brings us back to a couple avocados and a stockpile of potential spaghetti sauce.

For those of us tired, waking to empty Keurig filters, cursing the peanut butter jar, late for work, reaching for more:

I thought I'd be able to buy that really really good food for my dogs by now and I can't, so I hear you.

Perhaps the greatest discipline is to keep the discipline.

I'll do it, if you do it.

Glimpse of Glimmer

Caught in the Most Delicate of Rockfalls - 30x30 From Muscle Memory Showing at Hall | Spassov Gallery  319 3rd Ave S Seattle, Wa 98104 August 7-31, 2014.

Caught in the Most Delicate of Rockfalls - 30x30

From Muscle Memory

Showing at Hall | Spassov Gallery 

319 3rd Ave S

Seattle, Wa 98104

August 7-31, 2014.

The night before an opening can consist of many things and I would do well not to speak for other artists,

but,

my case history boils down to five simple ingredients:

Train travel (one of our last remaining icons of simple visitation). 

Nerves (every last one of them is gasping for attention). 

Wine (it's so pretty, it tastes so good, and, well, all those nerves....).

Pedicures (what's the point of new shoes if your feet look like tarantulas).

Gratitude (I would buy train tickets and heavy bottles of Barbera and pedicures for all my loving supporters if I could).

Painting is a solitary sport.  The majority of my life is spent in this solitude. It gets loud when one of my dogs barks. It gets really loud when I curse my frustrations. The silence of concentration can be deafening at times.

Deadlines overlap and intermingle, and as a working artist I often lose track of the day of the week. This can be extremely disorienting in the same vein that it is liberating.

Opening night is tomorrow.

I was standing on a street corner with a bag full of sesame snaps debating iced coffee ratios with an old friend I ran into while my clock ticked off that I would NOT make my train on time if I didn't walk away and get my shit together in the next six minutes.

His direct quote was: 

"You are going to miss your train if you don't leave in the next six minutes."

I think I may have been stalling. By accident? Subconscious?

I have been painting professionally for 14 years. The nerves do not subside. I think they grow, like fingernails, like fucking mold. 

It's embarrassing to be a human.

It's awkward to be open and for sale.

It's awesome to recognize that and DO IT ANYWAY.

It's important to wear great shoes and say Thank You.

It's an honor to know that y'all will be there, in body or in spirit, and I curtsy to that.

Merci.

Hey Babes, That's Travel

I entered Costa Rica under the impression that my travel paints might gather a lovely synopsis of foliage and water bugs.

I exited Costa Rica with a broken colon, four dollars, and a black eye.

It  takes over two weeks to work parasitic bugs out of your system and your ravaged intestines leave you with disorders that require trips to urgent care, Walgreens, and the pro-biotic section of the farmers market. 

All your friends might start calling you "HEMMY", but hey, it's better than "DECEASED."

A Ferocious Skin Trade

A Ferocious Skin Trade

Re-entry is fun:

Water is free, good microbrews are just right near that water (oh, I'm sorry, this applies when re-entering the Pacific Northwest. It's really such a true thing...)

Your friends often believe you nearly starved and/or drank sewage, so they feed you fresh sushi and gift cards! But, the truth is, you poisoned your intestines with local ice at the local beachside 2 for 1 mojito show.....

"IT'S SO DELICIOUS, WHAT ARE THESE, FRESH LIME BITS!? IS THAT A FUCKING MONKEY?

Friends, it WAS a monkey, and monkeys are dangerous. That's why, when vomiting and shitting in your hacienda for hours straight after midnight, it is SMART to keep that window closed.

Yoga? No. Dysentery? Yes.

Yoga? No. Dysentery? Yes.

Monkeys are there

They don't like you. 

Scorpions don't like you. 

Iguanas don't  like you.

Suffocate yourself.

It was scary/infuriating to be lost in the crocodile estuary while perched on paddle boards until the rescue boat arrived.

I'm a really good surfer.

I'm a really good surfer.

 

My eye socket has permanently taken the shape of that surfboard that knocked me semi-conscious. 

Tabi doesn't actually have malaria, so there's truly a silver lining to every cloud.

Macheted head

Macheted head

 

 

 

 

We'll never know the cause of death to that poor boa constrictor that washed up on our feet with the undigested rodent in its belly, but hey, life is FULL of mystery.

 

Portland meets Costa Rica

Portland meets Costa Rica

Tabi and I arrived home on our layover flight in LA to the tune of milkshakes and reliable plumbing. (cheeseburgers)

I arrived to my mom's illness.

Tabi arrived to the reality of grad school.

Arrival is grounding. 

Remembering is funny.

 

I find my current schedule so confusing:

When I wake up,

do I exercise? 

Do I visit my mother at the hospital?

What's Tabi doing?

Do I walk the dogs first?

Do I make my husband pancakes at least once this week?

Do I really wake up?

How do I paint? Anything. All of this.

I took a long vacation to take a long break from all of this.

This was a fluke.

This was a fluke.

Pelicans fly pretty close to the surface of the ocean. While you are jumping waves or trying to catch the next surf, something might look good to a pelican, so it flies quite high above the  situation, tucks its thick self deep against its body and dive bombs the moment like a mission.

GODDAMMIT, LET'S BE PELICANS.

(If you wanna take the risk of going to Costa Rica to get that pelican adrenaline flow, that's fine, but really it was quite a dangerous adventure and I've been quite sick since, so if you just wanna trust me, it was MAJESTIC.)

I am home now, waking  up, Cheerios, delivering stool samples, running out of toothpaste and picking up twelve packs of La Croix soda water. 

My dogs have not had a bath in weeks, I literally can not keep my internal intestines inside my bowels, deadlines are looming, I need a vacation from the vacation,

but hell, I am painting.

Me gusta.

-Gretchen