Lessons from Twelve Resting Caterpillars

I have twelve caterpillars lying on my coffeetable. They’ve been there since last weekend resting and feeding and growing. But they are by no means ready to fly. Sometimes they scream at me:

“Hey you, get over here and work on me!”

“Don’t you wanna get a little creative?”

“Come on! Stop everything else. And start painting.”

“Can’t you finish what you start?”

But mostly, they whisper to me ever so sweetly:

“It’s ok… you’re doing your best.”

“We’ll be here when you’re ready for us.”

“You’re doing so many good things right now. We’ll wait.”

“Thank you for making us. We wouldn’t even exist without you.”

And then they confide in me…

“We’re in no rush. We are so happy to be resting and at peace.”

So I am reporting to you, darling readers, and I’ve made peace with it in my mind, that the major studio time that I told you was coming, has come and gone. And I have twelve half-sort-of-started caterpillar paintings to show for it. They are farther along than the blank panels you see above. But they are by no means ready to share with you. So I am faced with the great unknown. What to tell you? What to make this post about now that we are already this far into it? The truth. I promised this to you in my very first post, I just didn’t think it would be happening so soon. My creative process is taking a little longer this time. I need to listen to the lessons from my own writing and artwork. To have the faith to “just see.”

Another lesson? Balance really is beautiful. And I am proud of myself for not just writing that and painting that and selling cards that say that… but I believe that. And I’ve had a remarkably balanced few weekends. I joined a new gym. I’ve had some extra-special quality time with my husband. I even had a day-long business and budget meeting for Said The Butterfly. These things are so important. Almost as important as the paintings themselves are the managing the details that allow me to make them, sell them and share them with the world. I even took two naps and got a mani and pedi. I know! Indulgent and amazing.

I also think of my frustrated self this time about four years ago. I hadn’t painted or written one thing in what felt like forever. I confided in Gemma like I always did and she reassured me with clarity and brilliance like she always did. “You’re living it,” she said. “When you’re ready, you’ll make a million paintings and write a million books. Right now, darling, you are living it.” * Gemma made everything make sense. Everything was exactly as it should be.

I can’t wait to share with you completed works of art that emerge from these resting caterpillars. Until then, let’s have the faith to listen to the message from the mellow tree. Let’s remember that balance really is beautiful. Let’s live it. Good things, Melissa

*Please note it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken in person to my dear friend Gemma Taccogna. She passed away in May of 2007, the day before her 84th birthday. Any attempt I make to quote her on this blog is the essence of these beautiful memories that I am so grateful for. “You’re living it” is an exact quote that I will never forget. The rest is the essence of what followed.

 

 

 

We Have A Winner!

We have so many reasons to celebrate! First of all, thank you everyone for all of your wonderful emails about my official launch of the Said The Butterfly website and this very blog, Good Things Darling. The Facebook fan page has been there since April and it’s been encouraging to share developments baby step by baby step. The community is growing and it’s just plain awesome. For me, it’s like the sunshine in the quote that inspired Said The Butterfly from the very beginning.

I decided it was time to celebrate with a surprise giveaway. Tonight was the drawing. I thought it would be much more special and fun if I shared it with you so here’s how it all went down. First, I wrote every single one of Said The Butterfly’s 149 Facebook fans names on a little piece of paper. I had a grateful moment with each of you as I used my extra-special LePen to write your name in cursive on scrap paper.

What better “hat” to draw from than this head vase by Gemma? This was the very first piece I bought when I started collecting Gemma’s work. I have so many now I’ve lost count. One of these days I’ll share my whole collection. For now, I thought it was the perfect way to kickoff the fun. I can just hear Gemma proclaiming it a “parteeee!”

Then I decided I could shuffle all the names better if they were in a bowl. So I shook it up and down like popcorn to mix up all the possible winners. Did you feel yourself with the sudden inclination to jump up and down? If so, now you know why.

Then I put all the names back in the Gemma head vase…

And drew the winner. Congratulations to you, Elise Palinkas. You are now the winner of your pick of any 5 Said The Butterfly cards.

Take your pick. Let me know which 5 you’d like and I will mail them to you.

As promised, we’ll do this again TWICE when we reach 200 fans on Facebook. Tell your friends and let’s all get in on the creativity and the good times together.

I’m looking forward to some major studio time this weekend and I can’t wait to share some works in progress with you. Stay tuned darling readers. Until then, good things to you. Melissa

The World Beyond The Painting

In my last post, you saw my most recent painting: Dream of the Sunrise Diver.

What you didn’t see is the world that existed beyond the painting. The tubes of paint and the kitchen-table-turned-ideal-studio space that, to me, in moments of total awareness and appreciation, became just as colorful and inspiring as the painting itself. I knew this was happening as it happened and I took a ton of photos of the still lifes that created themselves as I worked. Here are a few of my favorites:

If you’re new to Good Things Darling, I’d love you to check out my first post, a letter to you darling readers. And my second post, ten reasons to subscribe to this very blog.

That’s all for now, darlings. Have a wonderful evening, wherever you are. I hope you notice the natural compositions in your world. I hope I do too. Good things, Melissa