“Stay Calm” 5×5, watercolor on paper, framed (9x9in) Buy Now

A native Louisianian, I’ve been to my fair share of hurricane parties. Bloody Mary in hand, I’ve stood at the window and watched storms roll in, but, lord, don’t let the temperatures drop below 30 because we lose our minds.

I woke up yesterday morning to a knock on the door from some men working on the power lines on my street– you’re gonna lose power they said and almost winced as though preparing for either a punch or some harsh words. I just said “okay,” but when I asked when it’d be back on they gave me that classic Louisiana answer: “around lunch”– whatever that means.

The point in all this is that I needed my fancy studio lights to paint. I needed the internet to answer emails and access my site. And what I really needed was some heat because….refer to paragraph 1.

So I left the house, spent way too much money at Target, and returned “around lunch” to a freezing, dark house. I got the automated message from my son’s school that it would be canceled today due to “wintry conditions”.

I couldn’t paint in my studio, but my house has a lot of windows so I decided to sit down at the dining room table and play around with watercolor– my friend and foe. Less messy than oil painting, watercolor is definitely an acceptable dining room table activity.

I hesitantly used it on day 8 and hesitantly again for today’s painting. Oil paint is thick. I typically apply it with a palette knife building raised layer on top of raised layer. Water is thin, finicky. It doesn’t necessarily go where you want it to. Oil paint is a well-trained dog. Say sit, and it sits. Water laughs at your silly little commands, but if you spend enough time with it, it’ll curl up sweetly in your lap at the exact moment you thought it was hopeless case.

I don’t know the medium well enough to do anything “fancy” with it. This painting is pretty straight forward. I was also wearing a puffy coat when I painted it. Which I somehow think is relevant. In the background I’ve written the first lines to Emily Dickinson’s poem—


Hope is the thing with feathers

that perches in the soul

I don’t know if it was a throw-back to when the sight of a pelican first awakened profound hope in me and I became a full-time artist or I was just hoping for the heat to come back on. Either way, I just love this bird.