Hello flower lovers!
Feast your eyes upon this bouquet of loveliness created by yours truly and the wizards at Papellerie for Houston's Flower and Garden celebration of spring's awakening and azaleas blooming in some of the most beautiful historic gardens you can imagine.
I visited TX last spring and walked through the gardens to gather inspiration and worked with Papellerie to create this suite of amazing paper to celebrate the 2016 Azalea Trail event.
I hope your weekend is as beautiful as this project turned out to be!
The March Girl pauses before a window on The Day of Clarity, arrested by the sight of feathered earrings as bright and exotic as tropical birds of prey. Her poodles wait politely, unmoved by the jewelry.
It is a pivotal day in the year, marking the first day of spring, and the last of winter. A day in which light and dark are felt in equal quantities. A day that stands like a tightrope walker on the razor thin line in time and space between warmth and cold. A winter coat and the first lace up heels and bare legs of the year express the conundrum this transitional day.
As a Pisces, March Girl is a dreamer and a believer in the mystic. She has a keen sense of psychic intuition. She senses what strange and beautiful things will come floating in the spring wind while still chilled by the last shock of winter.
Her poodles, born under a different sign, are children of the earth. Anchored to reality and a constant awareness of being unimpressed by other breeds. They keep her grounded, for she is a creature of water. Floating aloof. Musing, pondering, imagining. But they too know that change is coming.
Winter's veil is lifting. The zodiac calendar has reached it's end. Let spring burst forth and fulfill the colorful dreams dreamt in the last grey days of March.
*A note on inspiration. Would you like to know where my inspiration came from? It was equal parts this coat and these dogs...
This thoughtful and sensitive soul is an Aquarius-Pisces cusp child born on February 14th. She knows deep down that Valentine's Day is a manufactured holiday, created by corporate overlords, but she doesn't let that get in the way of her enjoying her love filled birthday by spending it carefully crafting valentine cards. Her alive, colorful personality comes through in the cards she creates and the quirky space she's designed around her. A cowhide rug and a zebra chair pair unexpectedly well with prewar fireplace moulding, even when slightly flecked with hot pink paint. She's easy going and light, charming and bewitching, a spark of l'amore in mid-winter dark.
Hello! A blizzard is coming! Let's cozy up with indoor activities and enjoy the hibernation. Here is a recap of some of my bridal commissions of the 2015 Christmas gifting season! Above is a bride and groom sketch, commissioned by their bridesmaids. They used this for their thank you stationery after their early December wedding.
Next we have Katie and Kent. Picture perfect, aren't they? I love how her dress and hair and makeup are all clean lines and restrained elegance and then her bouquet is wild and oversized. This again was a gift from their bridesmaids. Bridesmaids are the best.
This is a favorite of mine. Cody, the groom, commissioned this from me prior to their spring wedding. (ok so technically this isn't a christmas commission... it just took me six months to get this done. Sorry Cody...) Cody asked me to create an "i owe you" for Katie to open on their wedding weekend explaining to her that once the wedding was behind them and the pictures were ready, he had arranged for me to paint the above piece.
Awwww sigggghhhhhh... grooms can also be the best. Here's the cute note he had me create for her to read at the wedding:
So many husband points and he's just getting started!!!
Here's another, commissioned for the bride by one of her best friends. Little known fact: said friend was one of my bridal paintings from a few years ago, which was commissioned by her mother. I love this cycle of paying it forward that I see in my commission work. It creates a wonderful thread, woman to woman of giving and celebrating one another's milestones.
Here's a more relaxed, casual composition to remind us that weddings are about family, not just about the day in your life when you wear the most expensive clothes ever.
Another casual composition for you. This captures the pure joy of the proposal, painted from a picture snapped of the couple celebrating with champagne on a windy golf course where the groom asked the bride to marry him. I love the way just-engaged people smile. It's a smile you don't see to many other times in your life mirrored on two faces simultaneously.
Here's one for fans of New York City Christmas Love. (who isn't a fan of that?!) Washington Square arch, the tree, he's down on one knee... love!
Andrew asked me to paint this scene from his proposal last Christmas as a gift for his bride this Christmas. He's got this whole Christmas gift thing on lock, I'd say.
Here's a gift from the bride's sister to the bride. Notice that her dress is very subtly pink and the headpiece being awesome.
SISTERS! One of the most fun parts of a wedding is the sister bonding, this piece captures that joy.
Flower Crown! There's a flower crown! Are we excited?!
I loved the bohemian, carefree dress and bright flowers in this one. This was a gift from best friend to Bride.
Ahhh this one. This has to be my favorite. Mainly because I was at the wedding and standing right here for this moment so it was easy to recall how much love was in the air. Maybe I should start insisting that I am invited to every wedding I have to paint from... wedding crashers, artist style.
Well that about sums it up.
Let's end with the above family portrait. Look at that little guy! The little linen shirt and the baby-sized leather man-bracelet. Baby goals.
Let this serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that first comes love, then comes marriage, and then comes commissioning me to create you with your baby carriage!
On a whim, Daphne decided to hop a flight to LA yesterday. She threw on an old favorite gown and hit the Golden Globes. Daphne believes strongly in the importance of having a well maintained gown collection on hand at all times incase an awards show pops up unexpectedly.
It's a good thing she was there. No one else was going to tell Lady Gaga to stop resting her hand on her exaggerated hip padding in her black gown making it look like she was caressing her lower abdomen. The hip pad, while elevated in concept, often creates stumbling blocks in execution. Really, what would the celebrity fashion community do without Daphne's blunt honesty.
All in all, hip-padding issues aside, it was a great night for women at the globes this year. So much talent, so much genuine personality! Daphne was so thrilled to see favorites like Amy and Jennifer thriving and wearing such waist-line-accenting dresses.
Now back to New York, she and Doxie are working on candle line...
The 2016 January Calendar Girl is born in the period of Capricorn, under the sign of The Goat. She is determined and steadfast in her endeavors – in this case, her life long dedication to becoming the perfect ballet dancer.
As a child of winter, the final life cycle in the zodiac year, she has a tendency for behavioral traits often associated with the sage wisdom of the elderly. She has a proclivity for reflection and calling on the past and a prevailing need for self discipline. She loves to wander through museums, paying respect to great artists who came before her, subjecting herself to the quiet, dutifully paying her respect to past genius.
Each January, she visits Degas’ La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans to stare into the little bronze face. She stands before her, mirroring the stoic posture, arms thrown back defiantly, chin upturned, legs presented unapologetically with perfect turnout. She is always moved by this meditation. There is something so humble about this child's stance, she is so much the underdog, as unknown as the young new year.
Yet there she stands without compromise. Defiant, proud. Willing some obstacle to present itself so she can prove her skill. There is so much potential energy in this statue. The pose is that of a dancer waiting at attention, arms ready to spring from her sides and embrace the first strains of the music, legs prepared to launch forth into a grand jete or a series of pirouettes.
To January’s girl, this statue says, “5, 6, 7, 8 and…
A new year. It is time to face the music, and dance!"
And now, we’re back to where the story began. I believe it began something like this - Christmas eve in New York City. all is calm all is quiet. the city that never sleeps seems to finally have settled in for a long winters nap…
Doxie sits on the windowsill of her puppyhood bedroom in Hortensia’s house, feeling the silence of an empty floor-through penthouse settle around her. She is looking out at the abandoned stillness of the streets below, where only a single cab rushes past, a muffled swoosh of sound below. A tear drops down her furry face and trembles on the end of a whisker.
High above the highest building, up, up in the clouds water is shooting through frozen air and forming tiny particles. The first to crystalize, becoming a tiny six-sided perfectly symmetrical true snowflake bursts forth from the churning white mist as if to announce “Let it snow!” at the same moment the tear splashes onto the windowsill.
Doxie is all alone. Hortensia had left without so much as a note of explanation. Doxie assumes this is because she’s given up on her wayward daughter. And she hadn’t seen Daphne in months. And Fabrizio… Doxie could hardly stand to think of him now, her little heart has broken in two.
She watches as the first snow flake of Christmas drifts past her window. The little flake, so free, so light and lively, can go anywhere it wanted. Doxie suddenly wishes she were a snowflake and could fly away on the wind.
If she were a snowflake, simple and anonymous, she would never have loved and lost so many people. Life would be so much easier.
The fake flutters out of sight just as a church in the distance chimes the hour --- twelve o’clock.
Sometime later, Doxie must have fallen asleep. She dreamed troubled dreams of Daphne crying alone on the balcony of Le Sireneuse, of Sandro walking away from her down a cobblestone street, of her beautiful wedding veil, trampled and torn, of Hortensia staring longingly into a sunset, of Fabrizio shivering in the dark…
As disconnected and troubling as her dream may have been, she woke up to a world where all was fresh and new. She opened her eyes to find the sun was shining through her window, amplified and brilliant because of the freshly fallen snow outside.
Her nose twitched eagerly. Was that bacon? Was Hortensia home? Could it be!?
She leapt from the windowsill and tore out of her bedroom and across the landing to the stairs where a little pink box was waiting, tied with a big ribbon and a note that read Doxie
Too excited even to open the gift, Doxie flew down the stairs and raced into the living room. Hortensia was back! Her mother was perched in her favorite chair, and indeed, she was being served bacon by Elise. And sitting beside her was Daphne, wearing a fur ski hat and a crop top.
Doxie was overcome with a surge of happiness and forgiveness. It was Christmas after all, and her mother and her best friend had miraculously returned to her. Having lost them temporarily had made her realize that she loved these two self-serving socialites more than anyone else… well, except Fabrizio but… no one gets everything they want for Christmas, right?
She crawled into Daphne’s lap and the two exchanged tearful apologies to one another. Best friends have a way of always finding their way back to one another in the end. And Hortensia even let Doxie jump on her and tackle her playfully, despite her Chanel blazer. Mothers have a way of letting their children’s love overflow, even when clad in couture.
“Doxie, did you open your gift?” Daphne asked as she finished adding Hortensia and Doxie’s playful reunion to her Snapchat story.
“Yes, Miss Doxie! Here it’s for you!” Elise chimed in, bringing the little pink box in and handing it to her to open. Daphne carefully undid the bow and let Doxie nuzzle the lid off the box. Resting inside were tickets.
Tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. That very day!
Doxie counted the tickets. One, two, three. Doxie could hardly believe it. Three tickets meant they were all going. Her mother was going to a concert that wasn’t being held in an opera hall! This really was a Christmas miracle.
Daphne scooped Doxie up and hurried her upstairs for a Christmas bath and dressed her in a similar outfit with a furry Christmas hat.
Soon the three were safely ensconced in the back of a town car, each with an individual supply of Christmas bacon as they sped away to Madison Square Garden.
Doxie had never been to a Taylor Swift concert but she knew she liked her songs. She wondered if Taylor was as pretty as her voice sounded.
At the concert, the three were seated in prime front row seats. Doxie thought nothing of it, as she and Daphne rarely sat anywhere that wasn't front row. But as she glanced behind her she realized this was much, much bigger than a fashion show. The faces in the audience seemed to go on forever. This Taylor girl must be even more famous than Karl Lagerfeld! Doxie thought to herself.
The lights dimmed, the show was about to begin. Music was swelling and laser beam lights were looping and scanning the crowd like flashlights in the hands of drunk giants enjoying a rave. The fans were screaming all around them and Hortensia looked on the verge of fainting.
Doxie didn’t think it was possible but the light and sound and cheers erupted around them even louder as Taylor took to the stage in an all white pantsuit that was somehow incredibly revealing but also demure. Her hair was swept into a 1940’s low bob, curled neatly against her high cheekbones and her lips were painted bright red. In her arms she carried a big box wrapped Christmas paper and tied with a bow. Doxie stared in rapture at this beautiful creature. She was somehow vaguely familiar. Hadn’t she seen her somewhere before…?
The crowd was growing wilder and wilder, desperately eager for Taylor’s first song to begin. Would it be Bad Blood? Or Never Getting Back Together? Or Shake It Off? Or a throw back like Love Story even? The anticipation was deliciously exciting…
She walked to the center of the stage, turned her back to the audience and began to open the present. And as she untied the big red bow on the box, the band kicked into full gear and broke into a joyous and blasphemously loud first strains of the Christmas classic by Mariah Carey, “All I want for Christmas is you”
Doxie knew enough to know this wasn’t a Taylor Swift song. What was happening?
The music swelled and thumped through the rowdy opening strains. Then a voice began to croon.
But… it wasn’t Taylor’s voice. It was a boy's voice….
Taylor lifted the lid off the Christmas present box. Out of it climbed a small black and tan dachshund boy, wearing a microphone clipped to his long floppy ear, and a christmas scarf around his neck as he sang the song in a just barely-detectible Italian accent:
“I don’t want a lot for Christmas, There is just one thing I need…”
Doxie shot out of her seat, her tail flailing in uncontrollable enthusiasm.
It was him! It was her Fabrizio! Singing! To her! On stage in New York City! With Taylor… wait… that was where she’d seen Taylor. Taylor was the girl! The blonde girl from Le Sireneuse!
“I don’t care about the presents, Underneath the Christmas Tree, I don’t need to hang my stocking, There upon the fire place…Santa Clause won’t make me happy with a toy on Christmas Day”
Fabrizio was still singing, and walking toward Doxie slowly, smiling a big happy smile. Taylor knelt beside him and scooped him up into her arms and began to sing along with him, both of their eyes alight with love. The kind of love that comes from helping someone, from being a true friend, from following your heart because it’s the right thing to do.
Daphne scooped up Doxie and Hortensia into her arms too and helped them up onto the stage before climbing up along with them - an impressive feat in her ball-skirt-crop-top-fur-ski-hat outfit.
The happily-reunited family of dachshunds and new friends joined hands and paws creating a chain of love, the kind of love that blooms on Christmas day. And before a packed stadium of 20,000 slightly confused but very supportive onlookers they all sang together,
“I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know! Make my wish come true… Oh baby all I want for Christmas is youuuu”
Merry Christmas, my friends! See you in 2016!