I’ve had some trouble keeping up with my 100 Days of Art project (mostly due to time constraints) and have decided to convert it to 100 works of art instead. It’s going very slowly. I’ve got 97 projects left to go (!!). When I do make the time to paint, it makes a huge difference to my mood and well being. I’m hoping to be able to catch up this weekend.

This is my first self portrait. I decided early on to stop stressing about proportions and perfection. When I let go of my own expectations the fun crept in. I’m really proud of this one. The expression feels alive and though it doesn’t look exactly like me, I feel like I captured something very authentic.

7/100 (7/14/2014). Created after Ramiro's visit, used Kauai selfie as inspiration (http://agirlintheworld.smugmug.com/Family/2012/USA-Kauai-Hawaii-Private/i-T9M3McN/A).  Also created during Brazil World Cup 2014 fever :)  Ramiro gave feedback that I should add blues in skin tones to add contrasts.

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Today’s painting was inspired by a nameplate a friend gave to me as a gift from Tanzania many years ago.

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My succulents in watercolor. And also my first time, in nearly two decades, working with watercolors again. Fun fun fun!

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Presence

June 19, 2014

Her steady quiet presence makes a house a home. Always she makes me wish I was more kind, more generous, more gentile and more excited to go on walks. How do dogs do that? Soften us up and give us pause.

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I’ve recently been inspired by the #100DayProject trend that’s been sweeping the net (namely works by Elle Luna, Shitty Watercolor, Sketch Away and other folks on Instagram) and have decided to challenge myself to 100 days of art. It’s been hard getting started. I’ve stared at blank sketchbooks for weeks – paints unopened, pens untouched. Last night I just decided to draw what I love and here’s the result.  No fear, no overthinking.  It was super fun!

Excited to see what today’s inspiration will be.

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Simple pleasures

June 6, 2014

I’m trying my hand at succulents and cacti. So far so good. Half the fun is moving them around different parts of the house to chase the light throughout the day. Amazing how four dollars can bring such joy. A pretty plant that I can’t easily kill.

Here’s to life’s simple pleasures. :)

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I love Europe for its museums and castles, Asia for its food and beaches, and North America for the countless things that make it a great place to call home.  But South America I love for its sobre mesa –  the art of the long, drawn out table where friends and families loiter together for hours after a meal.  It represents everything I admire about Latin culture: togetherness, leisure and the art of savoring life’s simple moments.  It is likely the reason why, when we go to Argentina or Spain or Mexico, time stretches as if everything is in slow motion.  There’s nothing urgent enough to hurry over; no task, errand or meeting too important to make you skip a meal or coffee with the important people in your life.  I always return from these visits fresh with wide spaces in my mind and body where joy and pleasure have room to roost.

I’ve thought a lot about meaning over the last few months and though I don’t have the golden key answer to the purpose of life, I’m convinced that a good meal shared with loved ones has a lot to do with it. Children laughing at the table, a grandmother’s story over wine. These are the moments that fill our cups and make our days worthwhile.

In Latin America economies may tumble, governments may flounder, and cost of living may rise and fall, but the love and camaraderie of friends and relatives remain daily constants in life.  And for this there is no price.  It is a wealth that cannot be matched.

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Because sometimes reading poetry out loud all by yourself is so luxurious it makes you feel rich. Here are my favorite lines from T.S. Eliot’s haunting poem about unrequited love and life unlived.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

….

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

….

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

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