Jolie Guillebeau

Archive for January, 2013


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Last week I started a new project. You can read about the project  and the beginning of the story here. Part eight of the story continues below.


Even though Libby made short work of my Christmas table centerpiece, all was not lost.

I had good photos and inspiration for a terrific dinner. And, of course, now I have a story.

See you tomorrow with a view of the whole painting.

(Fore) Shadows

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Last week I started a new project. You can read about the project  and the beginning of the story here. Part eight of the story continues below.


Perhaps you’ve guessed by now that the flowers came to an untimely end. I suppose I’ve given enough hints. When I was an English teacher, I would’ve said that all those hints were foreshadowing.

Anyway, you’d be right. I left the flowers on the windowsill, and once my back was turned, it took Libby not even ten seconds to knock it over.

I guess I should’ve been paying attention to the foreshadowing– then I might have been able to see this coming.

P.S. I just noticed– I’m talking about foreshadowing while this section of the image shows the shadow– which is in the foreground. I couldn’t have possibly planned this any better. (I love happy coincidences.)


Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

This week I started a new project. You can read about the project  and the beginning of the story here. Part three of the story continues below.


While Jill made up my two little arrangements, we talked about my houseplant dilemma. She her shop is full of adorable little plants, and I can’t have any of them.

Because I have a cat who loves plants as much as I do.

It’s not just the Christmas tree, Libby loves anything green. Jill kept saying, “What about this one?” And I’d reply, “Nope, we’ve tried that.”

Finally Jill asked, “So… why do you still have this cat?”

Before the end of this story, I’m going to ask that question again.


Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Yesterday I started a new project. You can read about the project  and the beginning of the story here. Part two of the story continues below.

Oh! One more thing. Last week, while I was planning 2013, I created a Society6 shop! I’m adding a bit everyday, so if you have suggestions for prints or iPhone cases that you’d like to see of my work, send them over.


After yesterday’s cliffhanger, it’s probably pretty easy to figure out that Jill and I were talking about the Mayan calendar and the possibility of the end of the world. It was December 23rd and we were all still here.

She explained jokingly that it was all because of Jello Pudding. Apparently there was a commercial where Jello was offered as a sacrifice to the Mayan gods in hopes that we could avert the imminent apocalypse.

As we talked, I found a little delicate bouquet that I knew belonged on my Christmas table. Jill made up another one for me for a neighbor, too. It was perfect. A tiny bunch of paperwhites with a little clementine in the center in a white vase. So pretty.

The thing I loved most was this one little flower that hung just over the side of the vase. It looked so unintentional, but then exactly in the right spot.

When I looked at the second one Jill made, I noticed that she tucked one blossom right in the same spot. It was exactly where it needed to be.

11 stories. 99 paintings.

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Sometimes as I write to you I feel a bit scattered. One day’s story and painting could be very different from the next.

Since I’m already working with larger paintings, it seems only natural to try a few longer stories as well. So with this new series, I’m going to create eleven larger paintings, each with a story of its own.

These won’t be as large as the last painting– I think most will end up around 12×12 inches. But they will be divided in to four inch squares again. I love the idea of creating a larger image one piece at a time, and I don’t think I’ve exhausted the possibilities of that yet.

I’ll explain more as the project unfolds, since I don’t think I’ve got it all figured out yet either, but I’m eager to begin. Here’s the first part of the story and the painting.


Every story has a proper setting. And this story begins in Starflower, a lovely boutique in my neighborhood that I can’t resist stopping in every time I walk past. Jill, the owner, describes it best when she says, “I paint with flowers.” It’s true. The entire store is filled with beautiful still lifes of delicate bouquets or bright green succulents.

We also have terrific conversations about all sorts of wacky subjects– our most recent was about Jello pudding and its proven ability to save the world from certain destruction.

How’s that for a cliffhanger?

Meanwhile, here’s a small part of the image. I’ve prepared nine 4×4 canvases and each will have a puzzle piece of the entire image. Just like last time, I’ll reveal one by one and create a slideshow so you can see how the whole painting grows over the next nine days.

2012– Better than Expected.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Chronologically: The year began with a bit of worry and uncertainty attached to it. January– I started the year with a doctor’s appointment on the 2nd, which is an appropriate start for the whole year. We got (another) new refrigerator and this one actually worked once the repairmen came back three times. I made our duvet cover after months of planning. I love it. Still.

February– I got my iPhone, we went to The Moth storytelling event and stayed overnight at The Heathman Hotel on a mini-vacation and I spoke at Ignite Portland 10. And that was all in the first week. I ended the month with the launch of my BOOK! (book! book! book!) March– I got rainbow hair (which I’d been working up the nerve to do for years) and went to Berkeley for a weekend at Teahouse with Jen and Liz and Stef and Phyllis and Caren. I didn’t get much sleep that month, though. It was my first long stretch of insomnia. I was worried about April. April brought the Buckman show (which was amazing as always), my best birthday celebration in years, an I (heart) Art event in Portland with Etsy (I got to be a SUPERSTAR, which was super fun since I love talking to artists as they’re starting out) and a follow-up mammogram that I’d been dreading for months. On April 27th, I had a biopsy and spent the weekend recovering.

May brought good news and sound sleep. I was fine. We went to New York for Chris’s book launch and I finished knitting my second sweater of the year. Then I stayed in Brooklyn for a storytelling night and celebration of Beauty Everywhere with Jen and a group of fabulous people. I painted my studio walls a pale gray-blue. I taught a few classes at Happy Knits and shipped copies of my book around the world (which still makes me giddy!)

June moved us in to full tilt WDS mode. Or book promotion mode, since that was going on around here too. I met a longtime reader and collector (Hi Pat!) when she and her husband came to Portland on vacation, and I began winding down the 100 stories series.

July brought the World Domination Summit and a week of intense work and happy energy. Amazingly, the whole thing went off astoundingly well and we were thrilled. And exhausted. So then we took a week’s vacation to Alaska, which was perfect. There was a lot of sleeping. Another big event was my first TaeKwonDo lesson. Who knew being a badass was such fun? The month ended with some bad news though. On the 31st of July, at my three month follow up appointment, my doctor found another lump in my breast. Gah. So frustrating. And the most irritating part is that we’d have to wait six weeks to fully investigate it.

Which brings us to August. I started a new painting series– 100 stories of the present. My mom and Michelle came for a visit, I took a class at Modern Domestic where I made my own shirt, and I went to Denver  for a fun working weekend with Jen. I also picked up a couple of extra art students just for the summer and we had fun beginning to paint together.

September finally brought the chance to check out that pesky lump. I had an MRI at the beginning of the month, which led to an ultrasound biopsy (I’d done that before in April, so I felt like a pro) and ultimately an MRI biopsy at the end of the month. It was pretty rough. But here’s the thing: EIGHTY percent of breast biopsies are benign. And yet, since no one talks about them, they become this huge scary thing. All year I dealt with insomnia and low grade anxiety, just because I didn’t know what to expect. So I’m telling you, early detection is the key. Go get that mammogram and if they want you to have the biopsy, have it. Be kind to yourself for a couple of days and know that the odds are in your favor.

And then celebrate that it’s over by getting a yellow belt in TaeKwonDo. At least that’s what I did. Two days after the biopsy, I took my yellow belt test under the watchful eye of my husband and instructor, and I passed! Me! Queen of Klutz. It was awesome.

The rain returned in October. After more than two months of totally dry weather, I got to pull the rain boots out again. I was so excited! The second week of October, I bought myself a pair of red boots to celebrate the test results return of good news.  (See? 80 percent.) I spoke at another event here in Portland with an inspiring group of women in the audience this time. And I started a big painting. Really BIG.

November seemed to be consumed with one thing–preparing to fly to India. I know there were other things that happened that month, like some sort of election that made me pretty happy, or getting glasses again seven years after LASIK surgery (which made me pretty unhappy), but mostly the month was about getting ready to board that plane on the day after Thanksgiving. Chris was traveling for most of the month, but he returned in time to celebrate a few holiday traditions with me and then we packed our bags and were on our way. We spent two days in Hong Kong exploring and adventuring, then landed in Mumbai on the 26th. Book and media events began that very day, and didn’t stop for two weeks, so December began the same way November ended. Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Delhi were almost a blur. There was so much happening every day. When we finally slowed down, we were in Agra looking at the Taj Mahal.

I flew back to Portland while Chris continued his adventures, eventually making his way to Guinea Bissau (country 191 of 193 for him). For the next week, the cat wouldn’t let me out of her sight, even sleeping on my chest every night, despite the fact that I wasn’t really sleeping due to jet lag. I carried a Christmas tree home, decorated it with felted ornaments, and made lots of hot chocolate in an attempt to kindle some Christmas spirit around here.

I made a couple of big decisions and started planning 2013–which is looking pretty bright so far. Then I completed my large painting series on New Year’s Eve. A perfect end to an unexpectedly good year.

Updates and Answers

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

I’m not in a hurry to do a lot of projects. I am very resolved in each project I take on. — Maya Lin

On Friday we began the auction for a painting that I’d been working on for the past fifty days. I’m so grateful and happy with your response to this painting.

I’m going to spend a few minutes answering some questions about the auction and the painting, but if you just want to bid on the painting you can click right here.

This weekend, I spent some time sorting through my inbox and reading emails from you with both bids and questions. Since there were so many, I thought I’d just answer them today.

So here’s another look at the painting– and then a few questions.

1. This looks like it might be expensive to ship. Will I have to pay shipping? No– I’ve decided that as long as my costs are covered with the painting, then I’ll cover shipping for you. So you don’t have to worry. Simply place your bid, and if you win, the painting will appear on your doorstep with no hassle to you.

2. What about framing? That seems complicated.
You’re right, framing can be a challenge. My personal tactic? Skip it. I’ve painted this painting on a wraparound canvas, which allows you to simply hang it on the wall. At the moment, those sides are bare, but once you are the winning bidder we’ll chat and make a plan for what you’d like on the sides. In the past, at the request of clients, I’ve painted the sides to match the wall, or continued the painting around the corners. Both options conveniently eliminate frames altogether.

I’ll also place a coat of varnish on it before shipping– which helps protect the canvas, making framing even more unnecessary.

3. I really want this painting, but I have no idea what to bid and I don’t want to insult you. Can you give me a clue?
That’s easy! As of Sunday evening at 8pm, the current high bid is $225. Of course, it’s an auction, so it can go higher pretty quickly and I do have a reserve to ensure that my expenses are covered. If you’re interested, then that gives you a better idea.

4. This is a big commitment. I’m a little intimidated.
I totally get that. I don’t make big decisions like this lightly either.  I’ve been working on this painting for weeks, and it’s the biggest bravest project I’ve ever put out in the world. I want you to love it too, so if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email me.

Both Sides Now. 30×30 Oil on Canvas. 


Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

“Long is the road from conception to completion.” –Moliere
I’m finished.

Wait– before you scroll down to see the final result, go watch this.

It’s a video of the entire process. You’ll see where we started back in early September. It’s pretty awesome to watch the painting that has taken ten weeks to grow in just over a minute.

And with that it’s complete. I’m going to spend the next few days reflecting on 2012 and planning 2013. This painting is a simple metaphor of the whole year, since I’m wrapping up a couple of other big projects today, too.

Many of you have asked about the possibility of having this painting in your home– so I wanted to give you the scoop today. I think the only fair option is an auction, so starting Friday, January 4th, I’ll begin accepting bids. The auction will continue for seven days, in order to allow people from all over the world to participate. And I’ll send out an update each day to the bidders, with a final update to everyone after the sale.

As I’m planning 2013, I’ve already got my next painting idea hatching in my head, so don’t worry, I’ll definitely keep painting this year.

But today I just want to celebrate this completion. I hope you love these clouds as much as I do.