Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The road to Venice is a long one!

The oil of Venice is almost there...really wish the photos capture the paintings better.  The paint is really thick in places.  Will use a palette knife on it tomorrow and hopefully will be able to finish by the end of the day.

I have always been a big fan of Nicolas de Stael and his use of oils.  He proves the point that sometimes a painting is just about paint and color.  I was lucky enough to view his work at The Phillips Collection over 10 years ago and his work has stuck with me ever since.  Tomorrow I will keep him in mind:

And just for fun, did you know:
The main road route into Venice is the A4, although once travellers arrive in Venice, driving is no longer possible. Most vehicles taken as far as the city are parked at a car park in Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto; parking at these locations is expensive, so travellers often opt to park in Mestre on the mainland and continue their journey by train or boat.

The A4 passes through Turin, Milan and Padua before arriving at Venice. There is good access to this road from connecting routes to other major cities, including the A13 from Bologna and the A1 from Florence, Naples and Rome.

Read more: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/venice/travel-by#ixzz1I2fJDRCO

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mount Airy

Feeling particularly appreciative of where we live today.  Its so nice to be able to walk out our front door on a whim and take a walk downtown through sweet neighborhoods and historic homes, this is Main St USA, for sure...and I love it.  There's something about going into the local coffee house, ordering a latte and shooting the breeze with the owner...or to know the girls who work in the local shops...its just simple and nice.  It doesn't hurt that they love Leila and that makes it even that much more special.

I officially will be showing/selling my work at the Fall Fest this year, and I couldn't be happier to be a part of this event.

photo credit: 


Monday, March 21, 2011

Venice Update

We had my sister in law's baby shower over the weekend and Leila decided to take it upon herself to steal her unborn cousin's sunglasses... 

Working on the painting of Venice....difficult the last week or so to paint.  Leila is much more mobile and my husband is in the middle of busy season, so time is limited.  Only a few more weeks and he will be done, we can't wait!

None the less, it is coming along...I'm liking what is happening with the sky...the photo I am working from was taken after a rain storm and I'm really trying to capture that.  Hope to have this one done by the end of the week. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Stack of Good Stuff & A Girl Who Can Sit

I must have a label on my forehead that says "New Mother Seeking Fellow New Mothers".  Leila and I  walked downtown yesterday and I decided to stop and have some lunch.  I sat down next to two girls, one held onto an adorable baby boy.  We politely told each other how precious the other's baby was and engaged in small talk about being a new mom.  The more we talk, I'm realizing these girls must be about 10 years younger than me....hmmm.  I was right...and then some.  What the heck, I don't care...a mom's a mom, right?  They giggled when I told them I was 33...

I was two bites into my Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo and 10 minutes into laughing with my new friends over how pathetic Teen Mom 2 is, babies sleeping through the night and the dreaded pumping, when the next thing I know I hear a thump, then a clatter and then silence.  Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo was on the floor and me.  When I looked down I had little eyes staring up at me and a big smile.  Apparently the bambino has some strong hands.

The fellow mom and I exchanged numbers, I paid the bill.  And quietly left.

So, I woke up this morning thinking about that darn Fettuccine Alfredo, you would have thought I was pregnant I was craving it so much.  I was determined to get through a lunch on my own, successfully with my 5 month old.  So, off we went on our walk through town and this time we sat quietly in the corner and Mama ate while Leila played.  It was a peaceful lunch.

Next, I treated myself to a fun $5 ring on our way to the library.  I love little finds. 

Leila zonked out on the way there and was a dream while I picked out Cd's, Books and a few movies.  How I love the library and the smell of books!  She woke up right before we were about to leave...and baby girl needed a diaper change. 

With no changing table (surprise, surprise), I found a quiet corner in the children's section and began the process:  Get on knees, lay out mat, lay baby down, get supplies readily available, unbutton new baby jeans and onesie, watch baby pee ALL over her clothes, get baby 100% naked, wipe baby and mat clean, watch baby pee AGAIN all over everything, give baby impromptu, full body wipe down while quietly whispering to self, Oh S*** over and over again.  Soak up pee that spilled on floor, take a breath, grab diaper (forget about applying Desitin), strap that diaper down and whip the closest emergency sleeper I have on reserve on that baby's you know what. 


Before she begins to cry I grab the closest book, Amelia Badelia, and sat down to nurse a very hungry little girl. 

As we leave I hear a splat.  Look down, spit up all over the tile.  "Where is the burp cloth????"  

And I'm proud to announce, our daughter can officially sit: 

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Beginning of Venice

Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is taken very seriously in this household...it has become our daily afternoon routine to read this book (along with Pat the Bunny)...another staple.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the house, a blank canvas is staring back at me.  I think Venice may be calling its name.  We'll see where this one takes me...will post its progress tonight.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Remembering Italy

Reflecting on the sketchbook I kept when studying in Italy, 13 years ago...can't believe its been that long.  It brings me right back to our apartment in Florence, the smell of basil and olive oil, walking along the Arno River, traveling by train to Cinque Terre...so much more.  How free and adventurous I felt...and it translated onto paper.  So thankful for that time in my life.

Tomorrow I will begin a new oil inspired by this book.  And I can't wait to go back in spirit.

Monday, March 07, 2011

2 Men and a Baby

I was gitty with excitement for 2:00 on Sunday afternoon to come around.  I had plans with my new friend, Lisa, to meet for a glass of wine, appetizer and some much needed adult conversation at Laurienzo's.  That morning meant running a few errands before we met up...so off I went, leaving Leila at home with the hubs.

When I returned from running errands I found my husband about to jump out of his skin, "Marc is on is way over!"  (Marc is his childhood best friend who has been on a submarine the majority of the last 3 years).  I'm thinking, what happened to Father/Daughter time while I am having Mother/Friend time?  But I kept my mouth shut, I could see the 12 year old in my husband shining inside.  And that made me happy.

20 minutes later Marc arrived.  With a 6 pack of beer.  A cigar.  And a frozen pizza.  Oh my Lord, what is going on?, I thought.  But I stayed quiet and looked at my sweet, innocent baby girl's face as she stared at Uncle Marc.  "It will be ok sweetheart, Mama will only be gone for a short time." 

Marc adores her!  It is the sweetest thing to see your husband's buddies love on your baby.  When I got home, it appeared I had been replaced.  (And if this is the result of two best friends getting together over a few beers, pizza and a baby while Mama gets her girl time...I'm ok with it):

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Fire Engine Red Sky

I doused the "Changing Seasons" piece I was working on with turpentine this morning after a frustrating attempt to try to get myself to like it.  Glad I did...no wonder Art Therapy is so successful. 

I felt so much better after painting in a loose and gestural form.  Here's the result:  a chunky, vibrant landscape that is equally interesting because of its unique frame. 

3 feet wide x 5 inches high and 2.5 inches deep

Hello Lovely Day

Thursday, March 03, 2011

5 months, where have they gone?

Tomorrow will mark Leilani Maxine's 5 month birthday!  Whewww...what a roller coaster ride it has been.  I can't believe how the time has flown and how incredibly our lives have changed.

Here are the top 10 things I have learned from becoming a mother:

1 )   Everyone was right.  It is the most difficult, but most rewarding job in the world.  I have never done anything harder in my life and never will.

2 )  It is perfectly normal to say 20 times in one day, "Lord, please help me."  I sometimes back that up with, "No, really.  I am begging you."

3 )  It will be the only time in life when you can blow in someone's face and they will laugh incessantly and want you to do it over and over again.

4 )  It becomes second nature to cry over every child on television who has suffered hardship.

5)  Mother's guilt is the worst guilt and I don't think it ever gets easier, it only makes you a better mother.

6 )  You learn to laugh at yourself when you and your husband have become "that couple" with the crying child that everyone is staring at.

7 )  There are days when you feel like you have been thrown in the washing machine and hung out to dry while the world around you keeps going. 

8 )  The pride you feel when you take your child out for the first time is like no other.  And it only gets better.

9 )  A whole new love for your husband develops when you see the amazing father you knew he would be when you married him.

10 ) There are snippets of life that you will cut out and put in your pocket and cherish forever.  Dancing with my newborn baby girl, sleeping cheek to cheek in the whee hours of the morning, giving her zerberts, watching her smile for the first time, seeing her love our dogs, watching our parents adore her, seeing her become her own little being. 

Becoming a mother has been difficult, amazing, emotional and incredible.  But I've also learned its important to keep your sense of self, thus my blog and my art.  Thank you to everyone for all of your support and for reading!

No one can ever prepare you for becoming a mother, that's for sure.  And I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

To change or not to change?

I've decided it is unacceptable for restaurants to not offer changing tables.

Back in my college, waitressing years I remember a new father yelling at me for there not being a changing table at the Macaroni Grill where I worked.  I couldn't understand why he was so angry and yelling at ME!  What could I do?  In my young, motherless mind I thought, what a creep! 

But I totally get it now.

There have been multiple times in our daughter's young 5 months of life where we have had no where to change her. Today being the most recent.  We had our first liesurely mother/daughter lunch...strolled downtown, took in the beautiful weather and enjoyed getting out of the house just sitting in a restaurant...finally, after a long Winter!  But, when she began to get fussy and I knew she needed to be changed there was no changing table and we had to rush home.

Just two weeks ago we met my husband for lunch on a particularly cold day.  By the end of lunch, there was no changing table and I had a 40 minute drive ahead of me...it had to be done.  We could either subject her to the frigid cold and uncomfortableness of changing her in the car, OR change her on the floor of the back of the restaurant where she could be "hidden" on her little mat I religiously carry now (Thank you Grandma and Auntie Carly for this shower gift!)

Luckily, it was after the lunch rush...but why should she have to lay on the floor of a restaurant to have her diaper changed?  I mean, seriously.  After all, she is a human being just like all us adults who can't seem to install changing tables in public bathrooms.  When a waitress rounded the corner and "intruded" on us...she gasped in surprise and then giggled in embarrassment. 

I thought to myself, you aren't the only one embarrassed lady.  It's disgraceful and totally annoying.

I just had to get that off my chest.  I feel for my little girl and just think babies should be given a certain level of respect.  Restaurants need to build bathrooms with enough room for a changing table and get over their cheapness by not installing them.

Ok, I'm done.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Changing Seasons

Working on a new oil based on the the changing of seasons and trees.  Hoping for a painterly, thick texture and vibrant colors when complete...it's a larger painting with a nice, deep gallery frame!  Looking forward to getting into this one and seeing what direction the painting takes me...will post more photos as it progresses.