I would like to welcome you all over to my new blog, http://www.recreationsbycarrie.wordpress.com where I have posted pictures of some of my older pieces and will be posting and hopefully selling some new pieces. It is totally focused on my painting, I wanted to keep it separate and will be reblogging anything I post there over here. I am still fine tuning it, but tell me what you think, honestly! about everything, pricing, if a piece really sucks, if I am dreaming and need a shot of reality, I would rather have a friend tell me than make a fool of myself. any tips on how I can make it better, anything at all………….just grit your teeth and let me have it. ok maybe choose your words kindly.
My whole life I wanted to be able to paint but try as I might I could not transfer what I saw with my eyes onto a piece of paper with paints. Everything came out looking like a one dimensional blob. I was artistic in other ways but I considered myself to be more “crafty” than artistic.
Then one winter JC got the position of on site security at a very remote gravel pit.
We had no TV, radio, phone or internet. It was winter and we were living in a small holiday trailer. I was going crazy with nothing to do. I would ride with JC during the day as he hauled cars and made deals. One day he was given a van full of “stuff”, some of the stuff was painting supplies. I tucked them aside when we got home.
I have always hated to see something perfectly good and useful get thrown in the trash and I got hooked the first time someone introduced me to dumpster diving. It was right up my alley (pun intended)
In the dead of winter I was tearfully flipping through gardening magazines and on a whim decided to try painting flowers on a cookie sheet because that way if I made a mistake I could wipe the one section clean and redo one it without having to throw away the whole picture.
Being out in the forest with nothing but time I started to take notice of my surroundings; all the magnificant shades of green there was for moss, how the mountains could look almost black somedays or blue others. Green was no longer just green, I started mixing colours to come up with a colour closer to what I saw with my eyes. I noticed that the evergreen trees were almost black in the centre with graduated shades of green. I noticed how the sun reflected off the pedals of a flower and some pedals shadowed the lower pedals.
All of a sudden my paintings came to life and started to look like what I saw. I was so pleased with some of my work I clear coated it and kept them. I became obsessed with painting, I painted day and night. Paints and brushes were a buck at the dollar store and of course my canvasses were free.
I painted everything and anything; I even painted flowers on the kitchen cupboard doors. One day JC teased me that maybe I needed to sell some of my artwork because it was a little bit much in our tiny trailer. He said every time he came home he expected to see the seven dwarfs singing “Hi Ho Hi Ho” as they marched down the driveway.
“A little too crafty around here?” I laughed.
I removed some of my art from the walls and had it laying outside when a buddy of JC’s came by. He saw my stuff and wanted to buy a few pieces for his wife. I was flabbergasted!! Someone wanted to pay for my paintings. I think I charged him $5 a piece but he took two and gave me $20.
For years, every night I’d paint until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, sometimes falling asleep with a paint brush in my hand and a pot of paint on my knee. I’d wake up with paint splattered every where.
In 2005 we were living in another hell hole, struggling to make enough money to eat, fighting constantly, him sabotaging my vehicle so I couldn’t work and I’d had enough so I moved out. My brother offered me a job working for him but that didn’t pan out so I was broke. I had just enough gas to get to Fort Langley, a quaint little town full of little antique shops and crafty type stores. I loaded up everything I had painted and headed out determined to sell something, I HAD to, but when I got there I lost my nerve. I went into shop after shop never getting up the courage to approach anyone about buying my stuff. I berated myself for being such a coward; I knew I didn’t have enough gas to get home, I HAD to sell something!!
There was a highend shop on the outskirts of town and I stopped. It was 5:50 and the woman was bringing in antiques she had displayed outside.
I swallowed hard and approached her stammering something about having painted stuff to sell. She checked her watch and said,”Ok, show me what you’ve got”.
She looked at what I had, picked a couple of pieces and asked how much. I shrugged and said I didn’t know. She said, “You have to know the value of your work, tell me what its worth to you”. I gave her some prices and she paid what I asked.
I thanked her very much and she replied that she was going to Australia the next day for 7 weeks to visit her son. She gave me her card and told me to do alot of painting during that 7 weeks and bring everything I had when she got back. Then almost as an after thought she said,”You have talent, don’t short change yourself. You have to know your worth, you’re good, people will buy it”.
Seven weeks turned into several months, I was back with JC and had lost my nerve again. Then the day came when I was totally broke again and I loaded up my car and called her. She had a day off, but after a few seconds of hesitation she told me to meet her at the shop at 3:30.
It was a 45 minute drive and I prayed the whole trip. “God, please, I need to make a hundred dollars minimum! In your son’s name amen.” Over and over I prayed.
Shirley looked at my collection of painted stuff, picked out half a dozen pieces and said, “How much?” her eyes told me I had better have a price ready for her. She smiled when I told her the prices. She tabulated how much she owed me and then she looked very serious.
She said, “I am going to tell you something I wouldn’t tell many people, but I think you will appreciate what I am about to tell you”.
I said,”Ok”. And held my breath.
Shirley went on, “You were praying on your way over here today weren’t you?”
I nodded yes.
She continued, “You prayed for $100 didn’t you?”
I nodded yes.
She showed me her addition and it came to exactly $100, then she told me that when I called, God told her this girl needs $100. She said she really didn’t feel like coming in on her day off but God put it on her heart that she had to come.
“So” she said, “God and I are investing in you not just me.”
Before I left she told me she would like to carry my stuff in her shop but she wanted exclusive selling rights in Fort Langley. I have sold hundreds of pieces of art through Shirley’s shop.
Unfortunately I had photos of everything but they disappeared quite a few years back.
I’ve painted everything from an old barn door that had a price tag of $275 but got stolen out the back door of the shop. (Shirley always paid me up front for my stuff and then doubled the price in her shop) to a pair of old gumboots, and water skis. My hottest sellers have always been my broken shovels which typically sold for $100.
I haven’t painted much since the economy tanked at the end of 2008. When the economy crashed Shirley couldn’t afford to buy my stuff upfront and I was working so hard trying to make ends meet I didn’t have time. I painted a few special pieces for family and friends. I painted a sweet little chair for JC’s nephew, of the ocean, fishes, clouds and kites in the sky. At Christmas I love to paint snowy winter scenes on plates and have graduated to painting deer, santa, veggies, mountain scenes and more. If I can see it, I can paint it.
At my Grandma’s memorial I mentioned to my cousin that my blog needed a trademark. I said everyone uses a ribbon, I want something unique; maybe even something I could sell that symbolizes life with and after the narcissist. She immediately suggested my painted shovels.
Then we got on a roll.
My painted stuff is something someone else deemed worthless and discarded. I take it and give it new life, a new and different purpose than it had before. Whereas it was a functional shovel at one time I make it into a one of a kind piece of art to be treasured. The damage done to it add to its beauty giving it character.
Plus a shovel comes in handy if you are still with the N, you can use it to shovel all the shit that comes out of his mouth.
You could use it to hit him over the head the next time he pissed you off. And you could use it to bury the evidence.
Once you are split you can use it to shovel through all the lies and false acusations he’ll toss at you during the divorce.
Then when he is out of your life you can use it to “bury the hatchet” , “bury the past”, and “break new ground” as you start your new life without him.
And last but not least, you keep it as a reminder that just because one person deems you worthless and discards you does not mean he is right.
As Shirley said years ago, “You determine your worth, you have to know your value and then set your price. If you don’t set your price high enough no one is going to say,”Oh no I want to pay you more”. So set your value high, people will pay it, you have to know your own worth. I recently pulled out my paint brushes again. This is my latest project. I got the platter out of the Home Sense dumpster a couple of years ago. You can see the handle is missing on one side. I wanted to paint the platter to match the cushions in the living room but I added a little Hummingbird right in the centre.
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth.
One is nearer to God in a garden
Than any place else on earth.
Dorothy Francis Gurney
The above is an exert from a poem by Dorothy Francis Gurney; I used to have a wooden plaque hanging in my garden with that verse on it.
Through the worst times of my life I have found comfort in my garden. When JC and I were at the resort I spent hours tending my garden, crying, praying for answers, praying for strength, praying for my son and my brother, praying to be given one more chance to save my boy, praying for serenity, and sometimes cursing God for giving me too much to handle.
I always came away from my garden feeling calmer, stronger; it was my refuge. It has been for most of my life. When I lived at the lake before I even met JC I would be out there with a flashlight and a glass of wine tending my garden. It seemed the harder the time I was going through the more beautiful my gardens were. Every year I dug up more sod for more flowers. The little English lady that lived across the street and could barely walk made her way across the road slowly with her walker and came up to where I was pulling weeds and she said, ” I want to thank you for your lovely gardens. I look out my window and your gardens take me back to my childhood and the lovely English gardens. You have a loving touch; I’ve watched you. I just wanted you to know you have given this old lady much pleasure with your gardens.” and she shuffled back to her house. I’ll never forget it and of course I cried.
When we were at the resort I couldn’t afford plants but all the neighbour brought over plants and bulbs as they thinned out their gardens, one brought over a filing box with tons of different seeds for me to pick from. It was a tough year emotionally, like I said, I did alot of praying. It was the most beautiful garden I’ve ever had.
Gardening is so community minded, it brings people together, gives them something to talk about. A person can be talking by and feel free to say, “Your garden is lovely”. Or gardeners are always so willing to share plants, advice, and ask questions. Somehow a garden removes fences, class distinction, age, and even gender, gardeners are all on the same team.
I missed my gardens this year, I planted gardens last year and got compliments but I didn’t take the time to enjoy them because I was on borrowed time there and was trying to work as much as possible. This year I did plant some, but lack of water took its toll.
I pray that someday I have a tiny place, nothing fancy, I’m easy to please. 400 sq ft would do me just fine, with a fireplace (there is nothing like coming home from a long walk on a brisk fall day and the house is toasty warm from a crackling fire) There are few things more rewarding than getting up in the morning to a cold house and finding a few red embers still in the wood stove because all that’s necessary is to pull ghetto damper and throw on a few dry pieces of wood and in minutes the house is warm again.
I want a kitchen big enough that I can cook a pot of soup or chilli or maybe a pot roast and have a few friends over to share my fire and a bottle of wine. lots of windows to let the sun shine in and hang crystals in. And a covered porch to hang wind chimes and a wooden rocking chair so I can sit out there even when it rains. One wall of book shelves for all those books I keep moving with me and some day want to read, but they look good until then. 🙂 I love books.
A place I can paint. A freezer I can fill with baking at Christmas and maybe even some cabbage rolls and tourtierre. A bath tub I can fill with bubble bath and keep adding hot water to until I am pink and wrinkly.
And a tiny yard trimmed with gardens.
And never have to move; just grow old there, Grandma’s house. Where my son and grand daughter can come to visit and know there are cookies in the cookie jar and my son will go to the freezer and grab some frozen cookies and I can give him shit for eating them before Christmas.
That is what I pray for. Not much, nothing fancy; not a knight in shining armor to save me, no trips around the world. Just a little bit of heaven on earth. The sun for pardon, the bbirds song for mirth.
What for you pray for?