I paint a lot of common objects.  I think back to when I first started with watercolor:  I had grown sensitive to the solvents in oil paint, they made me nauseous every time I sat down to work.  I had to try something new, my livelihood depended on it!  I didn't know what I was doing, and that was incredibly scary.  Picking a subject simple and repetitive was the easiest way out of a seemingly insurmountable challenge: come up with a new skill, a new way to make a living, a new aesthetic.   Grab an object.  Examine that object. Paint it.  Repeat. Don't think about concept and content, just learn how to paint.  What began as an escape from the responsibility of having to think up a new idea every day ended up becoming a concept in and of itself.  The quantity of the work grew and grew as the days passed, the paintings told an elegant story of the most mundane aspects of life.  And in the midst of the most terrible grief and emptiness of losing my mom, I learned how to start from scratch, I learned: its never too late to start over.

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don't sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. 
- Lee Iacocca”



There are things about being a self-employed artist that only other self-employed artists understand.  For instance, as glamorous as it may sound, it is quite the lonely proposition.  Any typical "eight hour day" might consist of all sorts of ways to fill the empty space that surrounds you.  A professor once said you'll spend an hour painting and seven hours looking at/thinking about that painting.  He wasn't exaggerating.  When things get too quiet, which they almost always do, you'll find yourself turning on some music, only to get annoyed by said music.  You'll stop for a snack, and stare at the fridge resentfully knowing there's nothing fun inside.  You'll avoid the room wherein your work lies, you'll do every awful thing BUT work, washing the dishes and folding the laundry and exercising.  You take a moment to pet the cat, play with it, and then get real bothered when it lays on your paper or steps on your computer keys.  You might turn on a self-help podcast, or some comedy on YouTube, wishing it was somebody to talk to.  You'll check Instagram, Facebook, Craigslist, Instagram again, you'll shop for something you don't need, you'll check your horoscope on two or three different websites, you'll consult the I-Ching Online to see if you're making the right decisions.   The whole time, you're thinking, hard.  Somewhere in there, you'll put your pencil to paper, and work.  Its a desk job with the typical shoulder pains that come with looking down and favoring one hand too much.  There are failures upon failures, fears of failure, tedious moments of tenuous ascent, building up an image, carving something, anything, from the looming whiteness of the blank page.  Eventually, from the nothingness, an idea comes to fruition.  Success!  And boy did you earn it.



It's my birthday, this special day for reflecting on who I am, who I've been, and what I'd like to become.  Most often, I get really sad about losing the lady who gave birth to me that fateful day. I might be found crying in a puddle, about everything, about nothing, in the trenches of a grief that sneaks up from beneath the heavy rock where I left it.  I don't want to be angsty about what's not quite right in my life.  In general, I'm an upbeat, motivated person.  But on my birthday, every year, I hit a wall, HARD.   As a result, I usually make a list for the coming year, how I've just got to do better, how I'm going to take life by the horns in this way or that.  So, my friends, as a result, I've decided to wipe the dust off this old jalopy of a blog and give it another whirl.

You see, there's something about a daily writing & painting practice that keeps a gal in check.   Right about now, I could stand to check myself.  I live in a new city, I'm in a new relationship, I have a new dog, a new house, a new gallery, a new band, a new car.  Yet the old me is still in there: that self-employed, broke-as-fuck, structureless, stressed out, disorganized artist who has trouble focusing and thrift shops therapeutically then freaks the fuck out when she gets down to her last penny every month, that YES-girl who care-takes everyone but herself and then crashes with a KABOOM, the woman who can't seem to have real self-esteem or body-confidence in spite of it all, the gal who might drink too much coffee or alcohol and then forget to eat, the lady who doesn't clean up her messes and then gets mad at the house for being a pig sty.  STUPID ME! I find myself saying.  Grow up and figure your shit out!  Every year, about this time, I say I'm going to make some real changes.  This time I'm making them, slowly but surely.  And part of making those steps of self-improvement is realizing what works. What have I abandoned and why?  What is important to me?  Let's get real, Jess.  I'm my own boss, which means only I can hold myself accountable.  Year 35, here I am.  I'm stepping up to the plate.  And all I can say is, it's about damn time.