Jolie Guillebeau

Archive for August, 2012


Thursday, August 30th, 2012

“Reason is our soul’s left hand. Faith is her right.” — John Donne

Last night, I was excited about the bike ride home. I’d been looking forward to the full moon all week– especially since she was a blue moon– and the sky was perfectly clear. It was going to be beautiful.

My regular route home takes me up a hill, then I turn left and pedal north for six blocks. Riding up the hill, I was already looking at the moon and feeling grateful. Then at the top of the hill, as I was turning left, something behind me caught my eye.

There was a celebration happening on the waterfront downtown that included a huge fireworks display.

And as I pedaled those six blocks parallel to the river, I could see both. Fireworks to my left and the big full moon to my right. It was so cool.

Eventually I turned right again, and then rode the rest of the way home with the moon ahead of me. But occasionally, I’d see the reflections of the fireworks’ light in the trees.

It made me awfully glad that I hadn’t yet painted a painting. So I got home and got to work.


Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

“I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.” –T.S. Eliot in ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’

I measure my life out in emails sent from Starbucks.

One of my regular hangouts is my neighborhood coffee shop. Somehow, I’m more productive there. Perhaps it’s the caffeine, but whatever it is, I get more emails written and more to-do lists cleared sitting at the corner of 37th and Hawthorne than I do in my studio.

The light is lovely, the soy latte is not too hot, and the corner table is perfect for people watching.

August 29: Short Soy Latte. 4×4 Oil on Panel. $95


Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

“Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night.” –Hal Borland

Yesterday morning at 5:50, my alarm on my iPhone went off and as I opened my eyes, I was confused. It was too dark outside. Was it really time to get up? Maybe it was just cloudier than usual.

I got my stuff together, and walked to TaeKwonDo. The air was damp and chilly. But I decided it was just because of the clouds. That chill in the air didn’t mean anything.

But then I saw this.

And I couldn’t deny it anymore.

Fall is on the way.

August 28: No Denying it. 4×4 Oil on Canvas. $95


Monday, August 27th, 2012

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” –Rabindranath Tagore

One of the things I enjoy most about daily paintings (especially this series) is the way it forces me to pay attention.

Because I know that tomorrow I’ll need to have a story to tell you here, today I spend a little extra time appreciating the things I experience, and people I encounter.

Twenty paintings in now, I feel like I can see how these stories of the present really do help me live in this moment.

Like yesterday, for example. It was just a normal day. TaeKwonDo, emails, working with a student, and errands– the usual stuff. And I was starting to worry, because I figured you were already tired of hearing about that stuff, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to paint.

Then I ran to the grocery store to pick up a few vegetables for dinner, got what I needed and started walking home when I noticed the clouds. The light was just right, so the clouds were very dark on one side and then bright pink on the other. But the sky was still blue. I stood in the crosswalk and stared– but only for a moment.

It was lovely. And it was a moment worth sharing.

August 27: Early Sunset. 4×4 Oil on Canvas. $95


Friday, August 24th, 2012

“…light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me
.” –Walt Whitman

I’m not really a car person. I like my bike way too much, and I love the stories I hear on the bus. But this summer I joined car2go, and I have to say it’s made my life much easier.

They have little Smart Cars parked all over the city. I use an app to find one that’s available, then I can hop in and drive to my destination, and leave the car there. I pay thirty-five cents per minute and parking the tiny car is a breeze.

Plus, it’s kind of fun to zip around in a little car. I’d forgotten how much I love singing along to the radio.

August 24: Go. 4×4 Oil on Panel. $95

P.S. Jen wrote after my story about Stop signs on Friday to tell me about one in her neighborhood that says, “STOP: Hammer-time.” Awesome.


Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” –Robert Schuller


Riding on my bike through Portland, I see lots of funny stop signs. Some graffiti artist is pretty clever.

They say things like:

  • Stop Voldemort
  • Stop Procrastinating
  • Stop Driving
  • Stop Rewarding Failure

But I encountered a new one yesterday in a new neighborhood and it’s my favorite.

“Stop in the name of love.”

August 23: Stop. 4×4 Oil on Panel. $95


Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

“A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.” –Abraham Maslow

Now that I’m home, things are starting to return to normal around here. And normal means soup.

I’m working my way through the alphabet this year in soup. Two years ago, I made pies (Apple-Zebra). Last year, I expanded to pastries (Apple Strudel– Zucchini Bread). And now, soup. We’re on Q.

So yesterday, after lunch with a friend, I walked over to the farmers’ market and snagged a few vegetables. Including a leek. I wasn’t quite sure what our soup would be, but I love leeks, so I knew they’d be included in my soup.

And just in case you’re curious, I settled on a Quinoa Vegetable Soup– and I added leeks.

August 22: Leeks. 4×6 Oil on Panel. $115


Monday, August 20th, 2012

“I believe talent is just pursued interest. Anyone can do what I do.” –Bob Ross


Yesterday was a terrific day. I was with wonderful people, in a beautiful setting, doing good work. The best kind of day.

It was busy, but I had a few moments to sit and appreciate what I was experiencing. I had everything all set up, and 15 minutes to spare. I sat in a sunny window and looked at the beautiful things around me.

My eye fell on this lovely vase of tulips. The tulips were beautiful, but I was even more impressed with the vase. My friend Phyllis made it. She decided last year she wanted to learn pottery, and after only a few months, she’s making beautiful, beautiful pieces.

This vase is one of her newest pieces. It’s the tallest thing she’s ever made, and it uses an especially tricky glaze. And it’s lovely. I’m so proud of her.

Maybe one day I’ll convince her that she can paint, too.

August 20: Skill, not talent. 4×6 Watercolor. $85


Sunday, August 19th, 2012

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ― E.B. White

I’m not really a morning person. I do my best work in the afternoons, and I generally have to ease in to my day gently.

But I do love the light. Morning light is the best. So yesterday when I was awakened a little earlier than I expected, I didn’t mind. Because it meant I had more time with people I don’t get to see very much, and it meant I could paint the morning light.

I wasn’t much for conversation, but I loved watching the sunlight creep across the mountains. There was a bunny right outside the window, but he moved before I could capture him in paint.

And once I’d had some coffee, I was glad the day had started so early.

August 19: Morning. 6×8 Watercolor. $85


Thursday, August 16th, 2012

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

I wear two rings. One on each hand. My left hand holds my wedding ring, which I love. It’s a platinum band with a square cut diamond, and it suits me perfectly. I love the identity that comes with slipping that ring on my finger.

My right hand holds another piece of my identity. It’s a vintage diamond surrounded by 8 little emeralds. My grandmother bought it when I was born because it has both of our birthstones, and as long as I can remember I’ve known that this ring belonged to me. When I look at it, I feel a connection to all the women in my family.

But when I walk in to a TaeKwonDo class, it’s just me. I take off both of those rings (because knuckle pushups are impossible otherwise), put them in my locker, and put on a simple white uniform.

For those sixty minutes, I’m not thinking about being a wife, or a daughter, or an artist, or a knitter, or a sister. I’m thinking about being myself.

And I’m learning that I like the hands that wear those rings as much as I love the rings.

August 16: Me. 4×4 Oil on Panel. $95

P.S. This weekend, I’m heading to Denver to hang out with Jen Lee. Usually when I’m traveling, I paint a few extra paintings before I leave. But I felt like that would be breaking the rules I set up with this series. So I figured out a solution! I’m taking my watercolor paints with me– they travel a little better than oils, and I can paint on the go. Expect something different here for the next few paintings.