Category Archives: about me

Little tidbits from my everyday life.

change is good.

new digsNew digs. New school. New outlook on how things get done. This year has been full of new ways of doing things. I concluded my first year of graduate school. I left the gallery I had previously been at for three years. I’m five months into my tenure as president of my professional organization. And as usual, I’m still trying to break myself of the habit of wanting to do all the things.

Attending graduate school effectively ended my ability to pay my own rent without borrowing six-figures in student loans. My parents were kind enough to offer me a place to live while I embarked on my educational journey. Mom and dad are cool people. We get along, we stay out of each other’s way. But as a 32 year old woman who has worked on her own most of her life, it’s definitely different. There is something comforting about being back home. My parents are very supportive, loving people. The positives are living in a comfortable house with a killer backyard. They see my struggles with school and everything else first-hand and are always there to give me advise. There are some little things we all do that get on each others’ nerves. But the idiosyncrasies are few and far between.

Probably the coolest thing they did for me was build out an art studio off of the kitchen. In December of last year, I left the gallery I had been with for three years. I don’t mean for it to sound like an ugly breakup. It was more of a semi-mutual decision to go in different directions. My friend wanted to use my space for additional retail sales. I wanted the rent money back in my pocket. It was a warm and fuzzy parting of ways. But…the fact still remained that I was a studio-less artist in need of a place to work {and store my mountain of supplies}. Out of the kindness of their hearts, my parents built out the new studio. It’s small. But it has operable windows, which is a rarity in an old house. So I have a place to work, but am navigating the ways of selling my art without the ease of the instant exposure of a gallery. I’m having to learn to use online platforms such as etsy and paypal. In the meantime, I’m trying not to produce more than I can store, which is not a whole lot.

Fortunately, I’ve only had to worry about this in recent weeks. Graduate school is the ultimate distraction from everything else you want to do and need to do on a daily basis. Is your car broken down? It can set in your driveway, you’ve got a project due. Are your bangs growing down to your chin? Cancel that haircut because you’ve got a meeting for a group project. Sleep? Yeah, that’s cute.

This was my first semester of studio classes in the interior program. I should say this was not my first rodeo. My undergraduate program was a rigorous schedule including twelve studios over the course of five years. I’m definitely seasoned. But, interior design is a different animal. So different, that I would say I dramatically over-estimated my capabilities in terms of completing projects. I also took on four classes, which I will never attempt again. Ever. I had the option to say no when my advisor suggested it. But hey, when it comes to dramatic change, my M.O. is to often learn in the most stressful way possible. I’m trying to change that behavior, but it’s a long process. I persevered with two As and two Bs, in fact. But in those good grades were some valuable, but extremely hard lessons learned about my capability and what it is to say no for your own sake. I’ll likely write a more detailed blog post on this subject later.

I’m carrying some of those lessons learned from the past semester into how I approach my life in general. After school was over, my first instinct would have been to stack in as much as possible. It’s hard for me to say no, especially if it’s for a friend or family member. But I’ve been saying it. All the time. Instead of filling my schedule with to do’s for other people, I’ve taken a good hard look at what I want – the things I want to do. The things I need to do.

As a result, I’m making some other major changes to put myself in a position to really get everything I can out of my remaining time in school. Clearing my schedule in such a way that my classes will actually be fun. Sure, I will be really busy. But, I’m looking for working smarter, not harder, rather than  endless paddling. I’ve also changed my outlook on my artwork. I’m switching to a more volume based approach – smaller pieces without compromising quality or price. No big solo exhibitions or investing in mammoth canvases that get warped sitting in my dads’ shed. I’m reawakening my online avenues to build a steady presence, rather than forget about it for a year only to spend weeks re-working my blog and wonder where my money is.

It’s not easy to do everything. And in the end, I won’t be able to stretch myself that thin. But, I’m figuring out what I need to do to achieve my goals. Along the way, there’s plenty of time to indulge in the things I want to do as well. The rest of the year holds a lot of potential. I aim to capitalize on it.

back to ballet class

IMG_1819I’ve always been a visual artist. From an early age, I’ve always drawn and painted. However, I would say my connection with dance was even earlier than my budding interest in visual art. You see, my mom was a professional ballet dancer. She danced with Yvonne Chouteau, one of Oklahomas’ ‘Five Famous Indian Ballerinas’, as an adolescent and then again at the University of Oklahoma. She was one of two dancers in the state to receive a full scholarship to the San Fransisco Ballet and also danced with the Philadelphia Ballet Company, as well as other companies in New York. After graduating college, she was an artist in residence, teaching hearing impaired children to dance. She was a teacher for a long time. However, her residency through the Arts Council of Oklahoma City transitioned into a full time position as Director of Public Relations. So, her early career as a dancer morphed into a lifetime career in non-profit.

But, what I remember most is her dancing. I wanted to be just like her, dancing in pointe shoes, and wearing tutus. So she enrolled me in class. I adored it. I took all kinds of dance, but ballet was my favorite. As I grew older, I got more serious about my classes. Again, I took all kinds of dance, but ballet remained my true passion. I loved the nature of the movement. It’s very controlled, yet graceful. You’re contorting your body in dramatic movement, but holding all of your muscles in place at the same time. It’s like controlled chaos. I also loved the discipline. You’re never allowed to talk during class. You can’t slouch, or lean on the bar. You’re expected to remember combinations. You have to be there physically, and mentally. I actually credit ballet for my strong work ethic {and good posture}. By the time I was seventeen, I danced at two studios and my high school. I wanted to attend the University of Oklahomas’ ballet program to pursue studies in dance.

Unfortunately, I was sidelined by a pretty serious bone spur on my left foot. I was terrified of surgery, and let it go too long. I couldn’t dance on pointe with it. I still took regular ballet class. By the time the spur was big, it hurt to walk, let alone dance. I had my surgery and was forced to take a full year off. It was devastating. I tried to go back after recovering, but the damage had been done. I had lost all of my strength and flexibility. Although I still loved dance, it was a tall order to regain my former stature in a short amount of time. So, I quit.

I changed my major in high school to visual art. I also changed my career path to landscape architecture. Instead of OU, I attended Oklahoma State where I attained my degree in landscape architecture. Throughout school, I missed dance, but never took any classes. By the time I graduated, taking class was always in the back of my mind. However, I never investigated places to dance. That desire grew, though. By the end of my tenure at my office job {more about that later}, I was chomping at the bit to take a barre. I stumbled upon a little dance studio called ‘Everything Goes’. They offered adult ballet in the morning and the evening. I never looked back.

My teacher, Tomma Lou Brown, actually danced with my mom at OU. She is a patient, methodical teacher who builds a class around the limitations of an adult body. I mean, I still wake up sore the next day….and sometimes, the next day. But it’s a good sore. It’s a nostalgic feeling that I welcome. The classes build in difficulty and intensity throughout the semester. I have to say, I surprise myself with what I can still do. It’s also another creative outlet for my art. I interpret my own thoughts on canvas everyday. I love going in and interpreting her combinations with my own style of technique. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to work out, and get back to my roots a little bit.

Is there a hobby or sport from you’re past that you’re itching to rediscover?

let me tell you about: lacey

In an earlier post, I told you about my cat: Chausette. It’s only fair that I give equal attention to my other ‘sweet girl’, Lacey the Cocker Spaniel.

IMG_0919Her story is special. My parents recently lost Andie, our party color Cocker Spaniel. She was a particularly hard loss. She was a part of our family since 1996. She passed away in 2012. It was difficult to imagine wanting another dog right away. But, you’d be amazed how a new dog really softens that blow.

So, my parents started looking for puppies. To make a long story short, shelters and rescues make it very difficult to adopt, if you’re looking for a certain kind of dog. The rescues go to the pound, take all the dogs they want. They leave the old ones, and sell the puppies for an expensive price. The pound does not allow you to reserve a dog over the phone, or even tag a dog you’re interested to see. You have to wait in line, and by the time you get up to the front, the dog you want may have already been adopted. Needless to say, the puppy search was abandoned pretty quick.

Then one day, my parents stumbled upon an add from a Chihuahua rescue for an older, champagne colored Cocker Spaniel named Lacey. My parents decided to check it out. I was returning from the Austin City Limits music festival when I got a text saying “You’ll have to meet our new addition when you get home.” I replied, “a puppy?!” To which my mom replied, “not exactly.” She was eleven years old, and going blind in one eye. I was skeptical. Our Andie was a sad, slow decline. At times, it was excruciating to watch. I wasn’t sure that was something we needed to go through so soon.

But that attitude changed once I got home. She is the sweetest dog you will ever meet. Hands.Down. Her original owner was put into a nursing home. The ladys’ kids were supposed to take care of Lacey. Instead, they dropped her off at the pound, with instructions that she could only be adopted by people with ‘experience’ with Cocker Spaniels. If not for the lady with the Chihuahua rescue, Lacey would certainly have been euthanized. I tear up every time I think about her being dumped off at the pound.

For being old, and nearly blind, she is quite spry. She still points, and loves to play with her toys. There are many good years left in this dog.

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I’m glad we could give her a warm home and a lot of love. If you take anything away from this post, please consider rescuing an older dog. Morons who can’t take care of an animal drop them off to the put to death every day. This is a fate no animal deserves.

let me tell you about: our old farm truck.

I’m currently working on a rather long blog post about the influences that shape my artwork. It’s the first installment of a series, so I want it to be perfect when I publish it. In the interim, I thought I would inform you a little more about me.

This is our old farm truck.

IMG_1820It’s a 1954 International Harvester. It is a three speed, with one side mirror, and turn signals. Top driving speed is 20mph. The truck is complete with a flat bed for hauling. It used to have wooden sides on the bed. Those have rotted away by this point. The cab is a flat, sea-foam green color. The wheel rims are split faced. I’m not familiar with cars, but my dad tells me these are extremely dangerous when it comes to changing the tires. If you’re not careful, the rim can fly away and cause injury and even death. Supposedly, my uncle saw a guy get decapitated by a wayward rim. Apparently that’s why many people change these tires through a cage. Every once in a while, dad has to change a tire. It freaks me out.

This truck has been in our family forever. Both sides of my family have a rich background in farming. My dad grew up on different farms belonging to aunts and uncles {the truck was actually first owned by my Uncle Charles and Aunt Gayle}. My great-grandparents on my moms’ side owned a large farm in Banner, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, the farm was sold a long time ago. In addition to memories, not many tangible reminders of those times exist anymore. This International is pretty much the last piece of equipment we have….and we love it.

We restored the exterior of the cab a long time ago to enter it in Oklahoma City’s Fourth of July parade. We outfitted the bed with hay bails, flag bunting, and two gigantic fire crackers. I’m talking at least eight feet in length. We called it an “Old Fashioned Fourth of July”. My sister and I were dressed in prissy American flag outfits. Our friends also rode on the back of the truck. We were mesmerized by the fact that we were part of a parade; waving and smiling at people. Looking back, it’s even more satisfying to remember how much spectators loved that truck. It was such a wonderful day. It remains one of my best memories from childhood.

The restoration has faded over the years. It would be nice to have the money and time to have it fully restored. I hope someday, we can bring it back to its former glory. For now, the rusty spots are reminders of the years of good use and fond memories.

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i felt like this yesterday…

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It started on Sunday. Father’s Day. We {by ‘we’, I mean me, my mom, and my sister} took my dad to brunch at 10am, and spent the day at the zoo. It was as he described, ‘a near perfect day’. It was. He’s 62 years old, and he wears me out. I’m fortunate to have such an awesome dad. After a day at the zoo, we spent the evening together, eating pizza and drinking some pink champagne I bought him the day before. Then, I had to catch up on MadMen. Needless to say, it was a very full day.

Fast forward to 3am, Monday morning, to the power going out. I reported it to the electric company around 5am. It didn’t come back on until 10AM. I was already tired from our father’s day extravaganza. I mean, I could have sucked it up, and got ready for the day without my hairdryer. But, that would have been very inconvenient since my hair is down to the middle of my back.

So….While I waited for the power to come back on, I kept falling in and out of sleep, which resulted in that feeling of never being able to wake up. Once the power came on, I ate some lunch, got ready, and was out the door. But my jilted sleep pattern had taken its toll. I was really groggy the whole day.

Sunday was awesome. However, I really hate it when Mondays start off rocky {I know, don’t the all?} It messes with my routine the whole week. Fortunately, this morning started off normal. But, I wouldn’t trade an off day for the Sunday I had with my dad.

let me tell you about: chausette

The weekend is almost upon us. I will be out of town, and thus, unable to update my blog for a couple of days. I will be heading northeast to take in Tulsa Tough. It’s a massive bicycle race, taking place over three days in downtown T-town.

I figured my slight hiatus would be the perfect opportunity for a cat post. For those of you who don’t know me, I love cats. I’ve always had a cat. They’ve been a fixture in every phase of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs too. I have a sweet cocker spaniel named Lacey, who will be featured in her own blog post soon. But cats….cats.

The newest kitty addition is Chausette. Her name is French, for sock. She has little white socks on giant paws. To make a long story short, she was rescued from a family who was completely incapable of caring for her. She has giant whiskers, loves boxes, and constantly drags any number of strings pulled from hoodies and sweatpants around the house. She’s definitely the most quirky cat I’ve had in a while. She’s also a lap cat, which is unusual for such a live wire.

So, enjoy some instagram pictures of this silly kitty. I’ll see you on Monday!

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let me tell you about: my day(night) job.

'Oklahoma Strong' class at Pinot's Palette {photo credit: Pinot's Palette/Bricktown}

‘Oklahoma Strong’ class at Pinot’s Palette {photo credit: Pinot’s Palette/Bricktown}

Last year was interesting, to say the least. I left my comfortable office job to pursue graduate school. Unfortunately, graduate school did not work out for this year (more on that later). I had a part time job, to help pay my bills. The company I worked for closed its doors. So, there’s that. Needles to say, many months of mid level stress ensued. I didn’t want a full time job. I needed time to pursue my art and regroup for another application to grad school. The thing is, my old part time job was the best. I could make my own hours. I knew our store inside and out. Going to work at another retail job just wouldn’t be the same.

One day, I was pursuing job postings on Craig’s List. I saw an entry for a wine and paint company called Pinot’s Palette. It sounded awesome. I can have flexible hours, and get paid for my paintings, and teach people to paint while drinking wine?! Sign me up! It’s also not your typical paint and sip studio. We’re a corporate franchise. So that offers more security in terms of hours per week, supplies, etc. It’s really the best of both worlds.

Contrary to normal jobs, I work at night. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of work for this place that goes on during the day. But our classes are in the evening. My schedule is opposite of nearly (or every, now that I think about it) everyone of my friends. Sometimes, that’s kind of tough when there are things that go on in the evening. Fortunately, those conflicts are few and far between.

I’m so excited to be a part of such an amazing company. Sometimes, it’s worth it to hold out for something great.

Go here for more information on Pinot’s Palette.

it’s my blog. for real this time.

Wow.

This concludes months (and months, and months, and months) of trying to bend free blog templates to my creative will. I went back and forth between blogger and wordpress.

I created a blog on blogger. Hated it. I created a blog on wordpress. Didn’t hate it as much. I finally settled on a ‘theme’, and set to work. Everything was as good as it could be, for a free blog. Then one day, I decided I really hated it too. In to the trash it went.

From that point on, I had an honest conversation with myself. The free templates are never going to be exactly what you want. You are too demanding when it comes to the limits of a free template. You don’t know anything about CSS, so you should stop making yourself crazy, spending hours entering codes that make shadows around images go away. It took all of five minutes to remove my debit card from the wallet…

With ALL of that said, I think this is one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. At first, I wondered if this was a hasty decision. Then, I remember all of the blogs I’ve created in the past. I was so anal, I could barely even post anything on them. I LOVE this one. Is it completely perfect? No. I’d say it’s about 90% the way I want it. That’s a pretty damn good statistic for someone who only sort of knows what they’re doing in regard to creating websites.

The broader moral to the story is, sometimes you have to pay for what you want. This blog is a huge step in realizing my dream of being a self employed, creative entrepreneur. It turned out so well in fact, I’m actually going to post content…..regularly!

So welcome, take a look around. I’ll be here all week.

adrienne