Thursday, July 21, 2011


wow, i've really sucked at blogging this month.

today was m's last day of summer school for which i am
a. incredibly thankful- kind of over the drive and
b. sad to say goodbye to school friends who won't be coming back next year. it's quite bittersweet.

meanwhile, despite rain and fog and sometimes really hot days, summer rolls on.
we had an impromptu cousin-popsicle fest a couple weeks ago, and someone, and when i say someone i mean ruby, discovered popsicles.

her big sister likes 'em too, of course.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

late, or early, depending on how you look at it

2 am. finishing up some work for a freelance deadline. 
my girls will be up at 6 am, and we have to roll out the door by 7:15 to get m to school on time.
oh, the joy.
here are a couple of the rough sketches i'm sending in for christmas 2012:

 see what i mean about being very rough concepts? 
at this point i don't have to send in final or polished work, 
just general ideas that they can decide if they want me to develop or not.

this is when i work:
 when my girls are sleeping- at naptime and nighttime. 
post-nap matching hydration time

now it's time for me to sleep!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the one in which i got teary-eyed; ok-i cried

when we bought 
this house a year ago,
there were tons of things that we wanted to change and fix 
(we haven't gotten too far on that list, 
as evidenced above by our ugly yard and lack of re-painting the exterior)
there were so many things that made it just right for us: 

(in no particular order) 
*a huge backyard for matt to garden & cover with fruit trees of all sorts, 
plus outdoor power for me to festoon the backyard with pretty white lights
*three bedrooms (there are lots of two bedroom houses in oakland) so we could have space for guests or for people who needed to live somewhere for a while
*a large diningroom so we could finally have a long table & big dinner parties
*a half staircase (matt was into this) between downstairs and upstairs
*old-school kitchen and bathrooms which hadn't been re-done in the 80's or 90's
*close to my mom's house
*lots of storage (i love this)
*an actual laundry room

and last but not least,
a garage that we could convert into a studio!
there have been many, many bumps along the way,
primarily caused by this persistent leak that seemed to materialize every time it rained, 
but the source of the leak was also seemingly impossible to pinpoint. 
{if you think i haven't bought any cute clothes in a while, this leak is partly to blame. 
if you are surprised that our backyard is barren when for the first time ever matt has a wide-open, full-sun all day space to grow fruits and vegetables of all kinds, this leak is entirely to blame. 
my kind husband gave an entire year's harvest for my studio}
poor matt has poured so much time into that one leaking wall, 
and FINALLY, somehow he did something or other that sealed it up. 
we still aren't sure what the magic bullet was since matt tried about 58 different things to fix that dumb wall, 
but the last time the skies opened and it poured (what the heck-in june?!?), 
our wall was dry for the first time ever.

which means...
we are getting very close to the finish line!
soon i will have a space to paint again.
it used to look like this:

and then it looked like this
and then this...

 and now it looks like this!
i'm not kidding, when i walked in and looked at the drywall up throughout the studio
i got all teary and had to go inside before i cried.

sometimes making art is harder than anything else in my life, even harder than being a parent, because at least my daughters stop screaming or whining at some point and run (or crawl) into my arms for a huggy snuggle. paintings don't always love you back. but something changes inside of me when i am making art, some part of me that doesn't come through my words or illustrations is born in my painting process, and i've missed that part of me.

it is a sacrifice that matt and i knowingly made when we decided to have kids- i can't paint in oils while i'm pregnant or nursing, but that doesn't make it any less of a loss.

so this studio space happening, and the amount of time and energy my husband has spent making it materialize, brings me to tears. (i should mention that matt has roped many very generous & handy friends into working on this project too-thanks, guys)

the other day we were playing in the backyard and i told m to take her tricycle into the garage so she didn't roll over some of the smaller, less steady on their feet little ones toddling around the backyard. she looked at my quizzically, "the garage? what is that?" and i said, "oh, i mean the studio-go put it in the studio." so she did, right away.

and i smiled inside, that my daughter knows our garage as the studio. kind of like i smiled inside when her summer school teacher said to me yesterday, "m told me you are an artist? i asked if she meant you did something else and she said, 'no, my mommy makes paintings. she paints. she is an artist.'"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the best fight ever

for ages i've been inspired by, 
and wanting to attempt the holi color fight i'd initially spied over at 

i finally had the chance! 
matt & i had four high schoolers from our church come stay at our house a couple of weeks ago,
as sort of an alternative to summer camp. 
we had a pretty intense program that we came up with every day,
but we also made sure to include an element of play or creativity.
i was able to buy Holi colors at one of the Indian stores in berkeley.

the color fight was a surprise!
we brought the kids down to our backyard,
made them keep their eyes closed, gave each of them a pile of pigmented powder,
turned on some awesome indian dance music,
and let the games begin!

it was awesome,
and once m got over her initial hesitation, m fully embraced the game.

 (love love love this picture and the pigment she's shaking out of her ponytail)

super fun!
{i didn't get that color-fied because i was photographer/ruby holder}