Jolie Guillebeau

Archive for September, 2012


Saturday, September 29th, 2012

“What a horrible thing yellow is.” — Edgar Degas

This is not the first time that Mr. Degas and I have disagreed. In general, he was a bit of a pessimist.

No, I’ve always liked yellow. It’s a happy color. But especially today.

Yesterday morning, I got up early, put on a yellow tank top, painted my toenails yellow, ate some oatmeal and walked to the TaeKwondo Studio. I offered to sweep, but instead my instructor assigned the job to a black belt. I had other things to worry about.

For the next two hours, I (along with 8 others) demonstrated kicks, punches and blocks. Then I had to execute a 21 step form perfectly, despite my nerves.

A few minutes before noon, our instructors went away to confer and returned with results. We knelt in formation and waited as they called our names. For a second or two, I was terribly nervous, but I was the final white belt called forward.

I shook hands and received my yellow belt.

September 29: Yellow. 4×4 Oil on Canvas. $95


Thursday, September 27th, 2012

“My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.” —Bette Midler

One of the surprising things about TaeKwonDo? Besides the fact that I never expected to enjoy kicking a bag, or think of bruises as a badge of honor, I’ve learned that I like to sweep.

At our studio, if you’re a white belt and it’s the first class of the day, you have to sweep the studio. And since I’m the only white belt tall enough to reach the broom, that task usually falls to me.

There’s something nice about sweeping a big wide room with nothing to get in the way. It’s a good way to clear my head. I like to get there a little early, put on my uniform and prepare the space.

But I must admit, I’ll also be pretty happy to graduate to a yellow belt and let someone else hold that broom.

September 27: Broom. 4×4 Oil on Panel. $95


Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” — Stephen Wright

I love my bike, but sometimes it’s nice to walk.

For a year or so, I’ve used a Fitbit to count my steps every day, just as a way to keep track of what I’m doing. Occasionally, I realize that I’ve been sitting at the easel or in front of my laptop all day, and the Fitbit is just a little reminder that says, “Hey! Don’t forget to move today!”

I just got a new version that syncs to my phone, which makes things even easier to keep track. It’s kind of fun to make sure I actually get the 10,000 steps everyday.

And getting outside– even on grey days– always improves my mood. Which makes everyone around me glad that I have a Fitbit, too.

zSeptember 26: Walking. 4×4 Oil on Panel. $95


Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” –L.M. Montgomery, in Anne of Green Gables

Do you ever meet anyone and immediately know that they are a “kindred spirit”? I had that experience yesterday.

I was walking to Oui Presse to pick up lunch (they have an amazing peanut butter and jelly sandwich) when I saw this little dog sitting outside. Honestly, I’m not really a fan of dogs. I know you’re going to tell me that your dog is very nice, but that’s the same thing the owner of the dog that bit me said, too.

However, this dog reminded me of something good. He looked just like a smaller version of Sandy, from the movieAnnie. And since that movie is a seminal part of my cultural DNA– I can sing along to every single song– I couldn’t help but stop and say hi.

While I looked at him, his owner came out with her coffee and we chatted for a few minutes. She introduced herself as Annie and told me the dog’s name. Yes, it was Sandy.

We had a moment of singing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” together, and I went inside for my sandwich. But I’m looking forward to seeing Annie and Sandy again soon.

Maybe “Tomorrow.”

September 25: Kindred. 5×7 Oil on Panel. $115


Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” –George Eliot

Yesterday was the first full day of fall. I celebrated in everyway possible.

Fall is my favorite season. Fall is about bright orange and red leaves. Fall is about baking. Fall is about knitting. Fall is about caramel apples. Of course it’s my favorite season.

All those wonderful things make it easier to ignore that the days are getting darker and the light is starting to fade earlier everyday. Soon enough I’ll be back to layers of jackets and extra vitamin D supplements, but for now I’m celebrating.

So yesterday there was knitting, baking, a long walk and a caramel apple.

And when I saw these tiny pumpkins at the grocery store, I squealed with glee. I grabbed as many as I could carry.

September 23: Fall. 6×6 Oil on Panel. $115


Thursday, September 20th, 2012

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window- or break down a door.”  –Brooke Shields

I never thought I’d say this, but Portland is too dry these days. We’ve had two full months without rain, and I’m seriously thinking about doing a rain dance or something. I miss the rain.

Yesterday I was hopeful. The sky was grey all day– it was lovely.

And at the end of the day, walking home from Taekwondo, I stopped in the crosswalk again. The sun was setting and sat just between the low clouds and the Western Hills. Everything was golden.

The sunbreak was better because the day was grey, and the grey day was lovely after so many days of bright blue sky.

September 20: Break. 4×4 Oil on Canvas. $95


Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” –Groucho Marx

All day yesterday, I looked forward to last night. Things have been busy for weeks, and this was the first evening I had all to myself in a while.

So I read. I’ve had a stack of books waiting for me for ages. The only problem was deciding which one to read first.

So many options– there was Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, which has been sitting on my nightstand, and I’ve been reading bits of it every night before bed.

Or Grow Your Handmade Business– Kari Chapin has written a book full of wisdom and it’s a great read. I loved her first book, and I was thrilled that she asked me to be a part of her Creative Collective. It’s so fun to see my name in there!

But I settled on another book. My friend Tammy wrote You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap) and yesterday was her launch day, so it seemed like the best choice. I haven’t gotten very far– I think I make a cameo appearance in one of the later chapters, but I’m loving it. Plus her cover is so pretty– it inspired a painting.

Are you reading something good? Anything I should add to the stack?

September 19: Comfort. 6×12 Oil on Canvas. $125

P.S. Do you mind if I mention my book, too? I’m still so proud of it. The collection of my stories and paintings is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made.



Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.” –Elizabeth Zimmermann
Yesterday was a busy day. I went to taekwondo twice, taught two students, and finished a knitting project.

This knitting project is one of my favorite patterns. It’s called the Baby Surprise Jacket and it was created by Elizabeth Zimmermann, who is the Julia Child of knitting. (She even had her own PBS show.)

It’s knit as one piece, that looks completely haphazard when you finish, but then with two folds in the right direction…Surprise! You have a jacket.

And if you look at my instagram photos from yesterday, you’ll see that this is not an abstract painting– it’s pretty close to the photo I took of the jacket before the folds.

Though I still haven’t decided on the right buttons– wanna go vote over here?

September 18: Surprise. 4×4 Oil on Canvas. $95

P.S. I’ve mentioned before that I’m planning a surprise of my own. Some changes are happening here in just a few weeks– I’ll let you know as we get closer, okay?


Monday, September 17th, 2012
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” — John Lubbock
Yesterday I ran in to a friend at the grocery store. We talked for a bit and then walked toward the checkout together. As we passed by the Halloween candy display, she picked up a bag of candy corn.

Then she said, “I love this stuff, and stockpile it now so it will last at least until February. But I’ve never understood why it’s called candy corn. Do you know?”

I didn’t say anything, but I turned a piece so the yellow end was facing her. Suddenly her eyes lit up.

“Oh my gosh, I’ve never looked at it that way! It totally looks like a kernel of corn!”

We laughed, then I convinced her to share two pieces with me, so I could paint it and tell you this story.

September 17: Look again. 4×4 Oil on Panel. $95


Sunday, September 16th, 2012

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” — Isaac Newton

This weekend I went on an adventure. A friend held a housewarming party, and her new house is about thirty miles outside of Portland.

Rather than use Car2Go, I rented a car for the whole day. Then I took the scenic route. Which means I got to drive over the St. John’s Bridge.

It’s beautiful. And I realized I’ve painted it for a commission, but never as a daily painting, because it’s so far off my usual path.

September 16: St. John’s. 6×12 Oil on Panel. $135