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.'"


  1. i am so glad i know you.

    you forgot to add that your house has the best front window!

    can't wait to see the finished studio.

  2. This makes me so happy, for so many different reasons: that you have a Matt who makes plans and dreams a reality, that you'll have this space to paint your heart out in and that you have two daughters who will grow up with a mom who digs deep to create and express so beautifully. Hip, hip! for your studio and all the moments and adventures you'll have there in the years to come. Pop that prosecco!

  3. smiling on this Saturday morning from this post, especially m's words to her teacher. in fact, I smile everytime I see your artwork.! I will also let you know that what you do, inspired me to get my kids painting more this summer - and they LOVE it. Everyday they asked to paint and I had watercolor paintings galore. we turned them into cards and gifts for family and friends. I have to say too, I consider myself to have ZERO artistic ability, BUT, as I'd sit there and paint with my kids, I found this calmness, this peace, this bring me back to childhood feeling ... and it was amazing.

    enjoy your beautiful studio and all the memories that are to come from it.

  4. Yay- I am so excited for you and progress and your space- husbands rock!


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