Jolie Guillebeau

Archive for December, 2011

2011. Chronologically.

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Not really the official year in review, but simply a collection of thoughts.

The year started with a trip to Alabama that ended with my bolt to the airport in a desperate attempt to get out of the South before snowpocalypse hit. I made it on the last seat of the last flight allowed off the runway in Atlanta. When the time the captain turned off the seat belt sign he announced that there was 3 inches of snow on the ground in ATL. Airports were closed for more than 9 days and I could only breathe a sigh of relief that I made it back to Portland, warm weather and my marvelous husband. It seemed like a good omen for the year.

Love these girls. Photo by G.

And I guess it was. Three weeks later I got the call from Jeopardy that I had qualified for an audition.  I went to Salt Lake City in March, where I spent three days with marvelous friends, and rocked that audition. Despite my knowledge gap in sports and science, I managed to do pretty well. I went straight to the airport and flew home  to Portland to set up that evening for the Buckman Show and Sell. It was an amazing event and a big turning point for me. I realized that I had been pretending to be professional long enough that I actually felt like one. (Another example of “Fake it ’til you make it!”)

Then I went to NYC for an incredible girls’ weekend in Brooklyn. Months later, I’m still thinking through how good that weekend was for my soul. I long for more weekends where my only focus is taking care of myself and the people around me. Times where we remind one another to take our vitamins and check in with “Is everyone having fun?” Weekends of shoe shopping and sunglasses swapping and soy hot chocolates. Weekends of making dinner and sitting for hours around the table. Weekends of understanding one another. And merit badges just for making it this far in life. Weekends of being seen.

In between all of this, I was painting faces. 100 of them. It was hard. But so worth it.

And I was moving in to the house of my dreams. With a studio just for me. And a fireplace. And a kitchen worthy of all the pastry I was making. And painting in public. And I was turning 34.

From there, the year moved in to the all consuming World Domination Summit. Preparing and planning and stuffing gift bags and hanging hammocks and navigating the tangle of bureaucracy that comes with inviting 500 people to town.

No wonder I was tired all summer. And of course, then there was the hurt. Summer 2011 will be known forever as the summer of betrayal. People I trusted let me down. In big and unexpected ways. But I came out knowing my own boundaries a bit more and being willing to trust my gut. I learned to say yes to what I needed. I learned to take care of myself and made decisions based on what I really value.

I also got to paint for some really fun projects that I’ll finally be able to tell you about in January.

I packed and went to Squam. I told a story on stage! I returned stronger and braver. I started a new painting series. I learned to accept compliments.

I taught knitting and accepted a few more private students in to my schedule for painting and drawing. I had good days and bad days. Sometimes on the same day.

I recognized my own worth. I built connections. I trusted myself. I made paintings that excite me. I made 2011 a year to be proud of.


Photo by Jen Lee


Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Today marks the fiftieth painting in my abstract series– I’m halfway finished with the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.

This project is personal. And stretches me. My ideas about my paintings, my self worth, my writing, my purpose as an artist have all evolved because of this project. That’s why you haven’t seen much of my work here on the blog. So many of the stories I’m sharing are personal and I’ve been much more comfortable sharing this work with my newsletter subscribers– it seems a bit safer for me somehow. Maybe it’s because they’ve told me they like my work already– they’ve signed up to get that daily painting in their inbox. Maybe it’s because I needed to commit to a small step and this space on the internet still just seems to leave me a bit too exposed.

Over the next few days, I’m going to add a few of my favorite paintings from this project here, but the idea of putting all fifty up still freaks me out a little. So if you’ve been missing me, you can find me here.