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It's 2020 And Time to Believe In Yourself

Musical Icons: Series 2. Completed the day before NYE.

Thank GOD the holidays over! Also....HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope everyone enjoyed celebrating the welcome of a new decade exactly how they wanted to. I certainly feel a vibrant energy within myself in the last 4 days of this new decade, 2020. Paul and I sat down together a couple of days ago and wrote our intentions for the year and we pretty excited about it. I feel pretty grateful, motivated, fortified, and more mindful. By the way, practicing daily gratitude is something I started to do a few months back. Writing them down helps, but even just saying them aloud to yourself or to your loved ones (so what if its cheesy, get over yourself) can make a difference. We are grateful for the top 3 things on a daily basis: FAMILY, FRIENDS, HEALTH, etc. I challenge you to make them a little more specific and random and perhaps encourage your kids, parents, siblings, significant others to join you.

Today I am grateful for:

1. This California sunshine

2. Having the energy and motivation to take a spin class

3. My Mom and Dad for taking such great care of Luke today and the last couple of days he's been staying at their house

My Mom sent this photo earlier today. His smile does it all for me.

Yup. That's right. Childless. God, how I miss him and inhaling his essence as I kiss his yummy cheeks and neck over and over, but sitting in my clean house, alone, and quiet with my thoughts is an incredible joy that I do not take for granted. I love being with him and experiencing things with him. I also love creating content, painting, and drawing, but thats of course a couple shelves lower than the top shelf of FAMILY. With that said, I can comfortably without distraction start my new painting today!

CONFESSION: Though I'm aware of my skills as an artist, I'm still not satisfied with my level of confidence.

Sure, I can draw. I can draw pretty darn well and capture a likeness the more time and patience I give a drawing. I can copy the hell out of anything while feeling unsure during the process until its totally finished. Recently, I was commissioned to do an 8x10 pencil sketch of someone's brother for the brothers 38th birthday. I thought I had a good two weeks to complete this but because of travel plans and timing, it turned out I only had one. I could never ever pull of my Mick Jagger and RBG sketches in just one week. Each sketch, I admittedly would not take less than $200 for. I am extremely meticulous with my sketches...though maybe not enough. One week?? I will not say how much I charged her for this sketch before I started it, but it was definitely less than $200. I devoted all my half hour lunch breaks plus half a Sunday on this sketch. Erasing, re-drawing, erasing, re-drawing and then finally settling because well....I have a family I can't ignore. I packaged up the sketch and delivered it to a mutual friends house on a rainy night. I would be leaving the following morning with my family to Northern California for one week, and the woman who commissioned me was unavailable on the night I completed the sketch because she was in Las Vegas for a couple of days. Anyway, I worked it out. The woman received the sketch a few days later on Thursday. No text. She would be gifting this sketch to her brother on Friday night. No text all day on Friday. I reach out on Friday afternoon, wishing her a Merry Christmas, asking about her trip to Vegas and if she received the sketch. No text back. No text over the weekend.

Would you be pissed? Would you give the benefit of the doubt? I tend to give the benefit of the doubt before I get annoyed, but when I heard from someone else that she did receive it on that Thursday, I couldn't make sense of why she was unable to send a 2 second text of acknowledgment.

Of course I photographed it but, unlike typical ME, I refuse to post the sketch. For one thing, I hate how certain sketches look in a photograph. Often times, they don't do it justice. Also, I am being careful here, so as to respect her privacy in a way. This is not a celebrity photo, after's someone's loved one, and I feel kind of weird about posting it.


*sigh* Yeah...thats the other reason, and this isn't the kind of blog where I would keep that to myself. I saw her on Monday after I curtly emailed her asking if her texts aren't going through and welcomed her to pay me on that day via check or Venmo. She came up, sheepishly apologized for her lack of communication and said "yeah, my brother said it actually made him look 20 years didn't REALLY depict him that well." That last part, she struggled so awkwardly to say. In hindsight, I know how hard it can be to be brutally honest with someone and I appreciated both her honesty and awkwardness. But you guys....oh, how I wish I can share the photo she had texted me a week prior. It was a horrible photo! I had even asked if there were better ones but she said "he doesn't take many pictures smiling, and this is the only one where he looks sort of decent." The photo had some unflattering shadows all over his face. Like I mentioned before, I draw EXACTLY what I see. I'm not giving anyone any plastic surgery or botox in my depictions. Sorry. Not what I do. Anyway, I reminded her that I only had one week to work on this and was careful NOT to apologize that she and her brother didn't like it. She handed me a check several minutes later and that was that. Not my best experience but I did learn and grow from it, so thats a positive!

Oh beautiful you are.

A month ago, I had the idea of doing a 12"X16" watercolor painting of Antoinette and then gift that painting to her mother (my Aunt) on January 30th, Antoinette's birthday when a few of us would be gathering at her burial site. That's the project I am starting today. This beautiful photo of her holding a bowl of green grapes is her mother's favorite photo. She posted it on her Instagram a couple days after Antoinette passed away. I felt committed to do exactly that photo but was needing a higher quality image, instead of the image you see here which is a screenshot from my Aunt's Instagram. Not feeling confident that I could pull off a spectacular watercolor rendition of this photo in its low quality, I started scanning through Antoinette's and my Aunt's Facebook photos for higher res images. Found a couple that I liked but, I don't know....there is just SOMETHING about this green grapes photo. Also, its my Aunt's favorite! I want the painting to be exactly what she might want hung up in her home. She doesn't know that I'm doing this painting, though her two other daughters do. I feel pretty certain that my Aunt is not reading my blogs, so I'm not too worried about blowing any surprises here. I hope.

I asked Paul what he thinks I should do. Should I try and be confident and trust my intuition when it comes to the details or should I ditch this image and go with another? Like me, he is more fond of the grapes photo over the other gorgeous ones I printed out. He was cautiously optimistic that I could pull it off. I decided then to be confident that I could as well. Though I can't wait to start and can't wait to see the final product and experience my Aunt's reaction (in my head, its a good one), I also have a weird sense of dread. I dread the possibility of letting myself down. I dread the painful emotions that will undoubtedly fill my heart. I also dread the anxiety of time running out and the distractions that will cut into my flow.

Oh yeah! It's 2020 and I was only preaching about positive energy just 5 minutes ago! Reminder to self and to others: practice what you preach. Believe in yourself the way your friends and family believe in you. I have such wonderful friends and family who would randomly acknowledge my talents (like you, Zep), thus encouraging me to also believe in myself more.

Brilliant self-help book. Highly recommend it.

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