Saturday, April 2, 2016

Changes

To say that March was a difficult month would be an understatement.

I lost the love of my life, and am slowly learning how to navigate a world without him. We both knew this day was coming, but even after the accident last fall, when his health became so immediately fragile (he had some broken vertabrae in his back which made it even harder to take any kind of a deep breath), we somehow always thought his passing was something in the future. He was here TODAY, and we clung to that. Even when he began in-home Hospice Care, we were optimistic that he would be one of those people who defied the odds. I mean, he always HAD before, so we thought he would just keep going. We joked about the Energizer Bunny, and how thankful we were that he just kept going and going.

Until he didn't.

I was with him when he passed, holding his hand, telling him how much he was loved. I like to think he heard me, but the nurses assured me he was thoroughly sedated - something we insisted on, so he would not feel pain or panic. But whether he heard my last words to him or not, I have no doubt he knew, because we said those words to each other pretty much every day of our marriage and meant them, even when it was a challenge.

And now it's just me, without someone to consult about important decisions, without someone to bounce ideas off, without someone to hold and care for....my literal other half. I remember saying to him once that I would not even know how to be ME, without HIM. He thought it was a silly statement, but it's true. A part of me went with him.

In the midst of all this, there are some very important decisions to be made. Both space and financial considerations mean a move, and sooner rather than later. A house? A condo? And where? I'm strongly leaning toward staying here in Lancaster County, where I have a strong support system, and am only a train ride away from our daughter Courtney. But I'm also dreaming a bit about the mountains of western North Carolina, where John and I always dreamed of living or retiring.

There's also much work to be done...more paperwork and legal details than I'd ever imagined, and of course, painting awaits at the studio table, and a now desperately overdue commission schedule. I must get back to it, and soon...and trust that as ever, Art Heals.

I would also like to thank everyone who has offered up prayers, all those who attended his funeral Mass, and Celebration of Life earlier in the week, and the many, many kind comments, messages, cards, and very practical gifts of help I've received. I'm overwhelmed, truly, and so grateful for each of you in my life.

There will be some major changes happening, and I will miss him terribly every day of my life. But I'll find my footing, and take comfort in the knowledge he's no longer struggling, and that I will see him again someday. It's all I can do.

Besides, if I fell apart, he'd be the first to come back and tell me to snap out of it. ;)

Much Love,
♥ Carolee


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Heart...

...Is broken beyond repair.


 It will never be whole again, and I'm not sure I would ever want it to be so anyway. In deep grief there is memory, and I never want to be parted from that.

This is about all I can bear to write now.

He was a good, good man, and I will miss him fiercely all the days of my life.


Friday, January 8, 2016

"Dinnertime?"

Painted in memory of my big, beautiful, and much beloved Arthur, who crossed the bridge a few months ago, this gorgeous ginger tabby cat is looking up with great anticipation...


Painted in acrylic, on a deep gallery canvas (no need to frame!), and finished with a clear, acrylic varnish, this original is available in the Etsy shop.


I'm hoping he finds a good home. :)

In the meantime, there's more painting to be done, and I'd best get started....

Thanks for stopping by, and I'll be back soon with more studio goings-on, and new work to share...

 

Artful Blessings,

♥ Carolee




Friday, January 1, 2016

Intentions, Simplicity, and a Whole New Year

Favoring intentions over resolutions, I have to say I find the idea of choosing a particular word for the year ahead to be pretty appealing. Or rather, letting that word choose you.


Since 2015 was not without challenges - many of them complicated by a crazy schedule, an abundance of responsibilities, and far too much STUFF, my word - and my intention - for 2016 is


Easier said than done, I know, especially for someone who feels she needs to do All Of Everything. 


As some of you know, my husband (a.k.a. The Mice President) has been facing enormous health and physical challenges, and our old two story house has become pretty close to unmanageable. Add my orthopedic issues to the mix, and there's no way around it - we need to move to a single story dwelling ASAP. 


Which means a serious purging of possessions; books, decorative items, kitchen things (how do TWO people end up with thirty-some coffee mugs?) CDs (STILL need to download our collection to the ipod I was generously gifted) and stacks and stacks of old magazines and paperwork...

 

Simplify.

 

In the studio, a little organization needs to happen. Nothing over the top. I'll never be one of those artists you see in the magazines with an immaculate work space (you know, because it's a WORK space, hehe). But some files and bins wouldn't be a bad idea. Just sayin'. ;)


Simplify.


In the scheduling department, I seriously need to learn to say no to too many commissions. November and December were absolutely insane, because I accepted far too many ornament orders, and found myself doing nothing BUT ornament orders all season. Much as I love painting these, I need to paint other things too. So this year there will be a cap of 20 or 30, deposits will be taken early, and they'll be painted over the summer instead of in the midst of the holiday season.

 

I've also decided that one monthly marketplace deadline is enough, and that will be the EHAG Emporium, updated on the last day of each month.

 

And shipping will happen twice a week - once at UPS, and once at the post office.


Simplify.

 

Finally, social media. I'm happy to say I've already made considerable strides in letting go of things which upset me, "hiding", "unfollowing" people and sites who post anything negative or mean spirited. What a relief it's been to watch my Facebook feed slowly turning more positive and uplifting - filled with ART, animals, uplifting quotes and happy milestones instead of attention seeking posts and angry rants. Much of this has been preemptive, as the election approaches....I can handle differences of opinion (and actually find healthy, intelligent debate interesting) - but I draw the line at hate speech and finger pointing, and frankly, my blood pressure is high enough, lol.


Simplify.


My new mantra. ;)

 

Makes me feel a bit lighter already. 


I know that 2016 will have its own challenges, but by paring down to what's REALLY important - both materially and intangibly, they'll be easier to face and hopefully overcome.


I should add that while "Simplify" is the word I chose for this year, "Gratitude" is right up there too. I feel sooooooo beyond fortunate to spend my days doing something I love, and owe an ENORMOUS debt of thanks to everyone who collects and supports my work. Because of you I am able to follow a creative path - to actually make art for a living and send it out into the world! How amazing is that? So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am truly blessed.

 

Here's to the most creative 2016 possible!

 

Much love,

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• ♥ Carolee


























Thursday, December 31, 2015

Turning the Page...

Hello, and Happy New Year's Eve!


I'll post in more detail tomorrow, but this evening I'm popping in to share the last piece of the year...



I've revisited a painting I did a while back, but with a rectangular composition (which I hope will adorn next year's Christmas cards!)


Painted in acrylics on an 8" x 10" deep gallery canvas (edges are a complimentary cardinal red) and protected by a clear, acrylic varnish, this original painting is available for $225, with US shipping included.


Please email me at carolee@kingofmice.com to purchase. UPDATE ~ SOLD


Thanks for visiting, and I'll be back tomorrow with a proper New Year's post (cross my heart, lol)....


See you in 2016!

♥ Carolee




Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ch ch ch ch ch ch Changes!

Hello, all!

How was your Christmas? (or whatever you celebrate?)

Ours was lovely, if a bit scaled back this year given some ongoing health challenges. In fact, scaling back has become a bit of a theme around here, as we've begun passing on many of the Christmas decorations to our daughter, cutting back on the annual baking, shopping wrapping, and so on.


The Christmas feast was still kept though, thanks to daughter Courtney, who handled all the prep, and did a spectacular job with the roast and Yorkshire pudding....


 Looks yummy, yes?

Several friends joined us as well, and it was an altogether lovely evening.

I even managed to take two whole days off, which has left me feeling completely spoiled. ;)

But now...NOW it's back to work! Commissions await, as do several notebooks of sketches and ideas, and even some new art supplies (yay!)

But even in the midst of all this creating, I'm feeling the need to scale back - to simplify ("SIMPLIFY" - my word for 2016.)



What that means in practical terms, is some pretty major cleaning and purging around the house as we consider a move to smaller, more manageable quarters. And it means some streamlining in the work department as well....

I will be completing those commissions which have already been accepted, but will be drastically reducing the number of commissions accepted in the New Year. This includes the personalized Halloween and Christmas ornaments (of which I took far too many orders this year, leading to some very long hours in the midst of holiday prep). So I'm practicing my most polite, but firm "no". ;)

I'm also eliminating at least one looming deadline. As many of you know, I've been a regular participant in the PFATT Marketplace for several years, and the management of the site has been incredibly kind in making allowances for missed deadlines due to personal issues like my husband's hospitalizations. But I've felt for some time that my work is no longer a good fit with the overall style of the group (it is, after all, a "primitive" site, and my work is not), so January feels like a good time to let it go. :)  My work will continue to be displayed on Facebook, in my Etsy Shop, and once a month (9PM on the last day of the month) in the EHAG Emporium.

So yeah....some changes in 2016, but ones I think will lead to a decrease in deadline induced panic, and an increase in CrEaTiViTy - always a good thing!

Wishing you love and light as we move into the New Year, and wishing you all good things with whatever changes 2016 holds!!

Carolee 
* Note - the "simplify" graphic is from a meme, and not my work.










Thursday, November 12, 2015

And Now for Something Completely Different....

Holiday cards!

This is something I've been meaning to do for YEARS now, and I finally pulled it together (yay me, hehe!)  

The best part is that each card is like a mini gift - a 4" x 6" print of my work, affixed to a 5" x 7" card, with each one hand signed and suitable for framing. Envelopes are also included.

There are two designs available, in sets of ten cards each. The first is "Yuletide Tea", featuring an adorable little Maine Coon cat and her mousie friends. (Prints of this one are also available on Etsy)....



The second is "God Jul", featuring two charming little Tomten, stopping for a cuppa (and a bit of knitting) on their way home with the Christmas tree.... 


I've already shared these on Facebook, and they're being claimed pretty fast, so as of typing this, there are maybe half a dozen sets of each design left. If you'd like to claim one, just shoot me an email at carolee@kingofmice.com - the prints and cards are on their way and I hope to have them all assembled this weekend, and ready to ship sometime next week. :)

Thanks for visiting, and I'll be back soon to share a few new, limited edition holiday ornaments!

♥ Carolee