PIECES OF MY EXISTENCE

My favorite place - the beach

Today's post title is a bit of a facetious play on that often stereotypical "artist attitude" of psuedo-depth and melodrama. I am not the kind of artist who is either angst-ridden or feigns being so impossibly deep that an observer needs days to ponder my work and look for the hidden meaning. I am not ashamed to admit my work is not that profound nor do I have any desire to live a tortured, dark existence. To me, there is enough darkness, evil and sadness in the world already. I don't find any particular thrill in wallowing in it or trying to represent it in my work. I like happy. I like cheerful. I like vibrant. I like peaceful. I like good. I like to remember the sweet moments. Forget the bitter. Keep distance from the destructive. And I am not ashamed of it.
Call me shallow, but I generally paint things as they appear. A chair is a chair. A room is a room. Although all my subjects can represent far more than just how they appear on the surface, my goal is not to appear unduly complicated. So, in the spirit of simplicity and straightforwardness, I present a few snapshots of the things that surround me on a daily basis. We all know that people see things differently and associate what they see with deeper things based on their own particular outlook. That is why I so enjoy seeing other people's homes. The voyeuristic pleasure afforded by observing others' surroundings and living quarters is something that is a habit, a hobby and a true passion of mine. A person's "digs" are worth a thousand words. That is one of the things I enjoy most about being a part of the world-wide blogging community. My fellow bloggers have delighted me with allowing me see their homes and the homes of others. While I am still a shelter magazine addict, blogs offer a "meantime fix" that keeps me going until next month's issue arrives in my mailbox. So, here's to all of my beloved bloggers who have shared all this visual wealth and inspiration with me. Thank you!

A reproduction Chinese vase I bought a few years ago at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
I painted it last Summer and it's available as a print on my Etsy site.

An oil painting my mom did back in the 70's (after van Gogh).

Some cheesy little magnets I created that hold up my inspirational clippings
I repurposed my Metropolitan Museum of Art badge (top) and made it into a magnet!

Another oil painting of my mom's, done when I was about 4.

I painted this baker's rack periwinkle!

A portrait of my grandmother, Lulu Harwell, a Southern belle, painted in the 50's

My work area, in all it's glory! LOL

Some bougainvillea off the back of the house, stuck in a small vase.
Florida's lush vegetation is such a treat!

Part of my sunglass collection. (I know it looks like Elton John lives here)
(OK, so maybe I LIKE color a little.....)

A collection of Staffordshire figurines on an antique painted etagere
that my grandmother owned.

THE BLOGGING SISTERHOOD


Patricia's superior version of a thank-you note

Patricia van Essche - President of the "Artists' Support Network"!!

A gift package, van Essche style! What a gift for presentation!

One of the guys in my "break room"

The view at my recharge spot - not bad, eh?

My break lounge

You know, things have been really crazy here lately. I love my work, but it's also beyond amazing to get away for a couple of hours for a break and recharge. Nothing kills creativity like fatigue, and all it takes sometimes is just a short 2 hour break. When I do need a break, I head to one place in particular, a quiet local beach. Sitting there listening to the surf and soaking up a few rays is my way to relax and I feel so blessed to have such an incredible"breakroom"! Some of the guys there are a little pesky, especially when they come over to beg for food, but I just ignore them and they eventually fly off.

One of the drawbacks of being an artist is that you generally work alone, although that's also how I work best. It's imperative that you make time for social interaction and have a support base to keep you balanced and inspired. That is why it's been so wonderful, since I've been blogging, to meet some incredible people who share many of the same interests and challenges. One person in particular is Patricia van Essche. I am sure many of you have seen her work before and read about her on my blog, as well as many others. She is an amazing artist and one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met. I am excited that she is going to start her own blog very soon. Although we've never met yet in person, she has already been such a great friend to me. She has offered me some wonderful advice, sources, support and feedback. The other day, I got a wonderful package in the mail from her. The best part was that she took the time to send me the best thank-you card I've ever received, a hand rendered illustration that's not only adorable, but incredibly clever as well. There was also a charming little painting on wood of a crab. Very apropos for my location! Knowing I love anchovies, she was also thoughtful enough to include some Dutch fish spread her husband loves (she recently returned from a trip to Europe with her family, her in-laws live in Monaco). Her instructions made me laugh - "Eat this on toast with parsley, LOTS of parsley". I am guessing the parsley is to counteract the deathly toxic breath the fish spread probably gives you! LOL. It definitely put a big smile on my face. Thank you, Patricia! I will let you know how it goes when I open the can.....

My point is that, as the year begins to draw to a close, I am so thankful for all the friends I have met here. There's an endless list of people I could thank that includes many fellow bloggers, readers, and clients. Especially, Patricia van Essche, Courtney Barnes, Joni Webb, Ronda Carman and Holly Becker. Thanks for serving as such an inspiration and support network. There is a real "sisterhood" (and brotherhood, too) that's very real, despite the fact that there are many miles between all of us.

DEAR DESIGNER





Some photos I snapped yesterday at the beach on my "day off".


You may be wondering what these photos have to do with the title of this post?? Well, nothing actually to do with the title, BUT, just keep reading...
Firstly, I just wanted to thank Emily Johnston, of the Dallas-based blog, Dear Designer, for featuring my work this week. Emily is a young designer with the novel approach of educating and providing the client with stylish, yet affordable options for those of us who are looking to make the most of our budget. Emily contacted me this week for some art/design work and I am looking forward to working with her! Thanks, Emily!

I am constantly surprised and amazed at all the wonderful people I continue to meet here worldwide through this design/blogging community. As the time for Thanksgiving approaches (can't believe it's next week!) I am reminded to take a breather from my feverish pace of late and look around me. I have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes, in just trying to survive and stay on top of things, we forget to pause and be refreshed and inspired by the beauty and good things in our lives. Yesterday, I took a rare day off and was reminded why I am so blessed to live here in Florida. The natural beauty here is incredible! It really does inspire creativity.
It's true that no matter what we are going through in life, good or not so good, there are always things to be thankful for. The people who love and support us, new friends, the natural beauty, and the simple pleasures in life. The capacity to appreciate things is, in itself, a priceless gift from God.

THANKS FOR THE MENTION, NEW FRIENDS!

It's been a busy week for me, with a lot to do. Very full, but very good! One thing I am noticing since starting this painting-a-day blog, is that I am much more motivated and inspired to paint than ever before! I have to say that most of it has to do with the wonderful and fascinating people I am meeting and the warmth I experience from total strangers. It really amazes me just HOW supportive people have been. I know I mentioned this already this week, but at the risk of sounding redundant, I sincerely want to thank a few people who, just yesterday, took the time to mention me or link me on their blogs. One is a customer, Carol Allston-Stiles, from Pike Creek Coffee Roasterie in Newark, Delaware. She is a purveyor of gourmet coffees who sells to gourmet markets and coffee shops. She asked if she could include a link to my Pink Espresso painting on her blog, Coffee Buzz....and Tea, Too. How nice was that?

Then there was Franki Durbin, a fellow blogger who happened upon my blog through a mutual blog-friend, Patricia Gray. Franki's blog Life in a Venti Cup is all about style, design, modern culture and travel (all these references to coffee today.........) Franki is an interactive marketing star based in St. Louis. She seems full of life and personality and is extremely positive and encouraging. Thank you, Franki!

Also, there is a very nice pair of friends in Baltimore, Maryland who have bonded over their common creativity and love of scrapbooking to create their own company and share about their friendship and business, while offering their creative services, with a blog, MEMIbooks. They were kind enough to link my site and I'd like to say thanks to Mel and Miji and ,as a newbie blogger myself, wish them all the best!

My sincere thanks to all of you for brightening my week with your encouragement and support! Brings to mind one of my favorite quotes:
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"
Aesop

Hope you ALL have a wonderful weekend!!

TANGERINE VASE ON GREEN HEXAGONS


Gouache/ink painting on Arches cold press paper (8x10)

THANKS FOR THE MENTION Patricia Gray, Adorn, and Peak of Chic!!!!!!
I want to thank both Patricia Gray of Patricia Gray, Inc. , Kayte Terry of Adorn magazine and Jennifer Dwyer of Peak of Chic for their very nice posts and mentions on my work over the past few days. All of these women are very talented writers and/or designers. Sometimes people who are so gifted have a problem just "getting over" themselves, let alone making room to support or encourage others in their creative development. These people I am meeting, however, seem secure enough in themselves to set aside any sense of competition for attention and take time out of their own busy lives and careers to give others a helping hand and supportive boost. I am discovering that this whole world of design blogging can be such a supportive and nurturing place for artists like myself! I have made many new "friends" whom I have never even met yet (in person, that is).

Patricia is an interior designer based in Vancouver, British Columbia who has her own delightful blog, Patricia Gray, Inc. She has commissioned me to paint a room she designed and I am finishing that up as we speak. I will post it when it's finished. She is a multi-talented lady who happens to be very supportive of artists and is a very kind, warm person. If you haven't already become one of her readers, please take a look at her fascinating blog.

Kayte Terry is a designer and stylist for Adorn magazine who did an incredible job styling a room designed by Holly Becker (of Decor8 blog, who was the very first to offer her support and do a post on my work). I painted this room for Holly, and then Kayte wrote me to ask if she could blog about my painting and work. You can check out her blog at Adorn as well.

Jennifer Dwyer is the talented writer and discerning eye behind Peak of Chic. Her blog never fails to be included in the top design blog lists everywhere. She somehow manages to marry an interesting and fun writing style with beautiful images to make for a daily must-read. She has been one of those "affirming" voices who has been an encouragement to me. Her post today on interior renderings was fascinating!

Design blogging is growing by the day. It's a wonderful way to meet other design junkies and be educated, inspired, supported and entertained. I for one am thoroughly enjoying the whole experience. It's so exciting to see all the people around the world who are checking out my blog on a daily basis, many who have come to my blog because of other blogging friends who have been kind enough to mention my work. I'd like to send a special thank you and hello to all of my new and extremely supportive friends out there, who have either blogged me, inspired me by their blogs, read Annechovie or left supportive comments on posts about my work or on my own posts. If you are looking for some great reading and inspiration, take a look at the section on the right hand column of my blog titled "Fab Reads".
Thank you ALL!