A Brilliant and Beautiful Life

Hi darlings,

Today’s good thing is a project that felt so good. This fall, I was in project mode. Bob and I were striving to get all the art and photos up on the walls. This is a problem of abundance because I have so many paintings I can’t keep up with hanging them. Also, we have so many amazing photos it’s sometimes a challenge to find a place to hang them. We decided to hang them all together on the blank canvas of our hallway:

We laid out all the pictures to assess what we had:

We used the table as a staging area to lay out the design. We decided to use the gift I got Bob last year for Christmas as the focal point. It made sense thematically because these are all photos of our brilliant and beautiful life.

Here’s a close up of the quote. This speaks to me on so many levels. The “invisible thread” and being open to it and following its path have led me to where I am today. Look close and you’ll see a ticket in the frame on the left. That’s the ticket for the boxing match where I met Bob as we both followed our invisible threads.

Here’s the whole hallway. We decided we’re going to have a bulletin board on the right so we can be always adding and updating the wall. It’s just like life. A brilliant and beautiful work in progress. I can’t walk through this hallway without smiling.

I’ll leave you with the text of the words. I found this for Bob in a tiny gift shop in Asbury Park, New Jersey. I don’t know who wrote this, but I do know I love this and have always somehow lived my life this way:

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but it will never break. May you be open to each thread that comes into your life – the golden ones and the coarse ones – and may you weave them into a brilliant and beautiful life.

As we all enter the holiday season, let’s remember to be open. There are invisible threads everywhere.

Good things, Melissa

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.




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