Breaking the rules, and a gift from the Big Sky

Seven other students and I are taking a couple of months of watercolor classes with local artist Bob Phinney. He started as a freehand signpainter, so I feel a connection to that. He’s a fan of working fast and loose, sprinkling grainy stuff into your gesso, and knowing the rules… but also knowing when to break them. The other painters bring talent, encouragement, community, and a fondness for purple. Three cheers for the Lifelong Learning Center; Missoula is lucky to have one!

My first piece, still in progress...
Study in progress: un hombre cubano, with a stogie and a bass, da un paseo.

On the signpainting front, I joined the local barter network, WeTrade, because I believe in supporting alternative currencies and independent businesses. (Also, folks may be more likely to hire a plucky signpainter if they don’t have to pay her in cold cash on the spot.) Here’s a taste of the Cajun holiday art that I did as a trade with CafĂ© Zydeco, if you haven’t yet seen it on Facebook:

zydeco lobster

zydeco wreath lobster

zydeco balls

An uncommonly bad photo of one of my doodles
Blurry photo of a meditative doodle

Burnout is a concern, especially after several weeks of regular work plus art work on top. I am being gentle, taking days to just doodle and paint leisurely. Figuring out this livelihood and lifestyle includes making up new rules, not only breaking established ones: what to do next, what is important. It necessitates a bump in trust, in faith… which is good!

And fortunately, I’ve had little victories to keep me going. Some are self-created, like using goofy emojis to check off items on my art-to-do list. And others are external, like landing gigs: the next half-warm day we get, you’ll find me painting bluebirds and heart-shaped ribbons on the glass of a fine jewelry store smack in the heart of downtown. I so appreciate the people who hear my spiel and say, “Sure!”

Thanks to Janice
Like Janice, who hired me to do her hair salon in a fun, Art Deco font. Thanks, Janice!

And one more little victory: the Zootown Arts Community Center, in collaboration with the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, accepted one of my paintings in its Art Activism show.

Details, and more art, soon!

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