Saturday, December 28, 2013

Garden Palace Floors

floor cloth study
 The Garden Palace floors aren't ready for decoration but I'm afraid I just can't stop daydreaming about it.
I always planned to paint a faux carpet on the middle room floor.
But when the memory of painting a floor cloth popped up, I could not stop myself from ordering a roll of real heavy canvas (22 oz) suitable for floor cloths.
floor cloth study with dark wax
 Yesterday I used a small scrap of canvas to experiment with different paints. 
I purchased 4 colors of the Valspar sample jars to compare with Derivan Matisse Background paints I have. 
Valspar sample colors
I definitely formed some opinions with this study. 
 Valspar is less expensive and readily available to me; however, it has a strong odor. It doesn't cover as opaque as I would like.
These 8oz sample jars are $2.98. The colors are beautiful but the fall//winter palette is what is available now. 
I have a pretty large collection of Matisse Background colors. I must order them online. Matisse is 8.45oz jars for $10.00 and very opaque with one application. 

I have concluded that I will use what I have and there is no reason that I can't mix the two different paints. 

Now, I have to come up with a design that pleases me. Oh lordy, talk about a white canvas block!  I will be painting two floor cloths each 5 feet by 9 feet before hemmed.
FYI: If you are inspired to paint one, there is a lot of info about floor cloths on the net. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
Love the atmosphere of this photo. 
The beginning

I'm still exploring the use of only four colors.
Titanium White
Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)
Quinacridone Crimson
Hansa Yellow Med.

I'm beginning to question why and feel like I may be taking more to the Artist in Residence studio soon. 
I'm also exploring the discomfort of leaving a the page incomplete when my time is up. 
In other words, when I stop for the day, that's it. 
No more work on that page. 

You do know that I make these rules for myself day-by-day. 
I usually break a rule day-by-day. 

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

About Chance and Difference

cooking class in San Miguel
about chance and difference

I really don't know what that means.
For some reason, in that moment, it seemed that it might be relevant.

Monday, December 23, 2013


values in charcoal
My truth: I struggle with purpose. 
I don't think this has always been true.
Just true for two or three years. 
After each piece of art that I create, a voice whispers, "what is the purpose?". 
Or sometimes it is, "what's the point?"

During the first week of being an Artist in Residence, I realized  maybe I discovered the "purpose" as in what's the point! I think it is just for the beauty.
Maybe it is just that simple and maybe I don't need any other purpose.
For beauty and as my friend suggested, for happiness. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

True Art Journey

graphite face sketch
Day 2
It didn't take me long to ditch the paint-before-sketch intention.

My truth after one day is, I just need to show up and pick up a brush or anything that will make a mark. 
true art journey
On this day I decided I wanted to have another go at the same reference.

I also decided the sketch was enough. No paint needed.  
First, I journal my daily plan or intention and then I do the art on the back of the page.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


painting a face
Day 1 
The Thrill

The thrill came immediately after the Dawning (remembering the purpose of The Garden Palace) and the Awakening (realizing I had a daydream tiny house waiting for a unique artist in residence experience).

At first, the thrill was just the sense that the job of reclaiming my daydream was no longer too huge. And that, I tell you was an amazing feeling.

Then, as I began to go over there and be in the presence of all the reminders of unfinished projects, the excitement set in. The remembrances did not weight me down.

I began to get that swirling  feeling in my head, heart and stomach when inspiration makes me feel like I might explode.

painting with 4 colors
In the Journal
My Plan
Regarding Art:  Before my first trip over there, I determined that I would take limited art supplies and my Chance Luck and Destiny Journal which I had not touched in years. The original purpose of this journal was to explore painting faces without a sketch. OK, I will do that.

Regarding Reclaiming: I planned to spend time with my journal first and then before leaving for the day, I would accomplish a reclaiming task no matter how small.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Awakening

Artist In Residence Studio
The San Miguel Infusion of clarity

I started this series by expressing a need to share and document how the infusion of San Miguel may have effected me. I knew there were many layers of my truth to put in the picture. Telling it seemed complex and necessary. However, putting all the details here may have only been essential to me. Here it is in a nut shell.

I felt a shift. I did not feel a jerk or a jolt. I would say it was more like a slow, gentle, lingering nudge. It was like a dawning. An awakening.

San Miguel may or may not have had anything to do with it. I just know that I came back with an infusion of friendship, love, art, color, clarity, calmness, and openness. Furthermore, in my rested mind, body and spirit, I was in a place of reception.

The dawning was remembering the purpose of The Garden Palace which was plain and simply for my own pleasure while making something beautiful that might only matter to me.

The awakening was realizing that I had my own tiny house for a unique Artist in Residence experience. And I didn't need to know what that meant; I just had to do it.

But here is the thrill! The sense that the job of reclaiming the neglected and abandoned Garden Palace was a situation too enormous for me to even attempt was g.o.n.e.! 

The artist has been in residence now since November 18th using the Chance Luck and Destiny Journal.

Next I will share what that means.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

When oh when will I learn

A Christmas Angel
I keep relearning this lesson every year. This is it. I paint an angel thinking I'm painting my Christmas card angel and then I go to set it up to print card size. It doesn't work because once again, I have painted without any regard for the correct ratio. I don't know why I always make things so difficult for myself. 

Well anyway, maybe I will paint another today. Or maybe I won't manage Christmas cards this year. 

Truth is, I need wing practice. I wasn't pleased with these and she has several more in earlier layers. I should have left well enough alone. ♥

Friday, December 13, 2013

There is something I haven't been real clear about.
I abandoned my daydream.
I didn't finish.
The work isn't done.
I neglected my daydream.

I can't show you the finished inside because as close as I got, I didn't quiet finish before one of those life challenges totally sidetracked me.

During  all of this sharing and reminiscing, I have been trying to remember why my daydream came to a screeching halt. And when.

It has been years. Yes. I knew that. The sad thing is the reason I could not remember is because it has been so long.  That and my total disgust, sadness, grief and shame for letting it go to such decline.

It really is not as bad as my telling sounds. Any old house will need repainting. When I painted it, I remember that I hoped it would last until I was 60. Sure enough, about ten years ago, the paint was peeling. But I had abandoned my daydream.

I saved restoring the floors for last. Also, installing the attic floor was a long range goal. Restoring the parlor floor was the last undertaking before abandonment.

Finishing the floors is not such a big job.
While I was shamefully neglecting my daydream, seasonal (winter) guest moved in upstairs.  You might even call them squatters, of the furry type.  They found the accommodations to their liking but oh my they are a messy bunch. So there is that!

I have been studying all of the photographs for clues about why, when and how this neglect happened. One of the chair photos below has a date, April 2001.

With that date, I knew the why, when and how. It is not part of this story except it is the cause of the beginning of abandoning my daydream. 

chippy farmhouse jelly cabinet
 I made a pact with myself that I would not buy any furnishings for The Garden Palace until everything was done.
Yes, that deal lasted maybe a couple of months. 
This little jelly cabinet was my first purchase.
one of two tables that I purchased
someone told me this was a library table
 I used this table for a work table until I decided to move the base to the big house and add a glass top on it. 
After all, I had two tables. 
set of four homemade chairs
This is the picture that had April 2001 on the back. I'm getting it ready to paint.
Notice the parlor floor.
mustard yellow homemade chairs
 I brought these to my studio and made cute little skirted seat covers. I purchased these along with the jelly cabinet. 
They still live in my studio.
Here, I can see the parlor floor has been finished.
My last accomplishment.
chippy red metal cabinet
and my ten foot ladder
to be continued....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

In all its splendor.....
 This is my very most favorite picture of The Garden Palace. 
It goes without saying why.
Doesn't it make you want to go inside. 
 I don't know why but these are the only pictures I have showing 
The Garden Palace
in all its splendor.
Have I told you The Garden Palace is all of 18 by 22 feet?
396 square feet.
I could live in it.
One thing I could count on dear husband to do for me was use his pickup to haul equipment and material that was more than I could handle.

When it came time for me to paint the outside, he hooked up to his trailer and we went to the big city to rent scaffolding with humongous wheels so I could just roll it around.

I so wish I had a picture of me on the scaffolding scrapping the first and only coat of paint my little daydream ever had. 
I used bleach on the grayed wood, before applying one coat of Kiltz and two coats of paint. I remember I had the scaffolding for the month of September and I think I renewed the rental for October. 

The peek of the gable is at least 26 feet off the ground and my scaffolding didn't quiet put me high enough.

I have a vivid memory of taping my brush to a broom handle and turning a five gallon bucket upside down to stand on to reach the peak. 

 The above and below picture is of the same front corner taken at different times and most likely different years.
 As you can see, I did run a water line, but not to the inside. We dropped a pvc line across the tank and ran it to this corner. 
It is not functional at the moment. 
And I've just added that to my 2014 list.  
 The other front corner.
Monarda genus
aka horsemint, bee balm, bergamot
It grows wild on my place. 
It is thought to be a weed by some. 
Not me. 
Any Garden Palace should have bee balm.
When you come for the tea party, we will have

Bee Balm Tea
1 tablespoon of the fresh edible bee balm flower.
(leaves can be used too)
1 cup of water
honey or sugar to taste

Place bee balm in a tea ball and then in the prettiest tea cup you have.
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Getting close to bringing this tale to the current time.
But first I need to tell this. In January 1998, I emailed a friend with the latest news about  The Garden Palace. I told her about working on the stair wall because I was close to having the stairway ready to install. I'm so pleased that I thought to keep this documentation along with the photos because it included details that I surely may have forgotten by now.

For example, I told her about the creamy yellow paint I had chosen for the walls and that it had a very fitting name, Pollen. I told her I was using one coat of Kiltz first and then painting and that I was so anxious to have something pretty accomplished.

The most important information shared with her was regarding my research of the origination of this tiny house. As you know, in a small town everybody knows everybody. Because of this, I knew who the original owners were.

I talked with Bess (b.1910 d. 2011). Bess told me the First United Methodist church stood on that corner before the little house was built and her parents were the last couple to get married in the old Methodist Church. Her parents married in 1909.

Another church family bought the property and after the construction of the new First United Methodist Church on Coleman Street was completed, they tore down the old church, and built a boarding house. At the same time or shortly after building the boarding house (circa 1910), they also built the little house.  It did not connect to the boarding house but was very close. Much of the material from the old church was reused in the boarding house and little house. 

Bess was so excited that I had rescued the little house. She said she noticed it was gone but thought it had finally fallen. The most interesting thing Bess told me, was from its beginning the little house was used as living quarters for the owners two sons, Dutch and Ed.

Bess married Dutch in 1934. She said there was never a bathroom or kitchen and the children took their meals in the boarding house. The house never had water but there was evidence that an electrical line had been installed through the front wall. Dutch tore down the boarding house about 1982 and he passed away the year before I purchased the tiny house in 1995. Oh how I would have loved to visit with him about it.

Here is more of what I did to it.
stairway to the attic
 The tiny room became the stair room when I enlarged the attic opening and I designed and built this stair case. 
looking down from attic


 In this photo notice the finished stenciled pansies.
I added a corner molding and painted the red stripe below the stencil area. 
Pay no attention to the little non-stenciled area to the left of the stairs. (yep, that's one of the first things on my new daydream list) 

 This was the beginning of the morning glory stencil. It started at the floor of this wall, goes up and all the way around the room and back down to the floor. 
It is finished and a blue corner molding was added as well.
roses in the parlor
The green board that I added around the ceiling of the parlor was painted and stenciled before I installed it. 

The parlor is the only room where I added molding under the stenciling. 

Now, I want to tell you when I say "I", what I'm saying is I was the carpenter on the job.
I learned how to use a saw, hammer and nails from my Daddy when I went with him to his moonlighting jobs. However, the only thing I remember doing was puttying the nail holes. 
Oh, and I do remember him telling me, "measure twice and cut once". A good thing to know.

I designed, cut, and installed the stairs, as well as all of the molding that I added with help from no one. 

You do remember the "... unspoken truce. He knew I was going to have it no-matter-what. I knew he was not going to participate no-matter-what."

All of the pictures I am sharing are from back then (1995-2001). This was before I had digital camera. Furthermore, it was long before blogging which could explain my lack of pictures. 

The last batch of pictures that I have are coming tomorrow.
Outside views of what it looked like in 2001.
to be continued.....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Time to see something pretty
back window
I knew before my daydream ever came true that I would be making the windows beautiful and full of color.

However, my goal was to to design and create the stained glass
  without blocking the natural light because my tiny house has no electricity.
And I never wanted it.
I have this dreamy notion of candlelight gatherings .
Can't you just imagine that? 
west wall window in middle room
 When the daydream became mine and after I had one window sash repaired so I would have the exact size, I started my stained glass project here in my studio.

Of course, The Garden Palace would have a garden theme.

The 'L' shaped middle room has a morning glory theme. 
tiny room window
The theme in the tiny room is pansies.
This room is the only single window.
I presume it may have been a dressing room.
And may have even had a chamber pot.

parlor window on front
Roses adorn the parlor.
Of course.
west wall in parlor
 Stupid kitty goes over with me now and seems quiet comfortable.

front door
The parlor has three windows and I don't seem to have a photo of the other front window.
I spent untold hours during every spare moment cutting glass for five double windows, one single window and the last one for above the front door.

All the while, going to the office from 8 to 5 and working in the garage on the window sashes.
some windows installed 
When there was daylight I was at the little house prepping walls for paint, painting and stenciling and building steps and stairs. 

more about walls and building coming 

ps...did no notice the view looking out each window? 

Monday, December 09, 2013

One of the first lessons I learned
was patience.  While I did imply that our fight, quarrel, disagreement, and/or argument was settled, the truth is, it was not.

The only agreement was an unspoken truce. He knew I was going to have it no-matter-what. I knew he was not going to participate no-matter-what.  However, I did need his pickup the very next day after my daydream had been delivered and set up to go into the big city.

I would definitely need a ladder to reach the 12 foot ceilings and was ever so anxious to have one. He took me to Lowe's where I purchased a $150.00, 10 foot, aluminum ladder so that I could work on my $100.00 shack. He still calls it The Shack even though before it ever arrived, it became The Garden Palace. 

The Roof
While I was discovering that NO ONE wanted the job of putting a roof on my daydream, months lapsed into more than a year. Reconstructing the roof was simply above and beyond my abilities. Eventually, my sweet son persuaded his Dad that they could at least build the rafter structure. With that done,  I finally found a guy who was willing to put the tin on, finish the gable leaving window openings in front and back and repair floor and ceiling boards.

As I said I learned patience. My daydream was delivered June 1996 and the rafter structure was not constructed until October 1997. 

The roof and gable work was finished by early January 1998.

My hands nor daydream were idle while all of this time lapsed. You may have noticed the condition of all the windows. I removed the bits and pieces of window sash to the garage and began the process of piecing them back together. Unfortunately, I was short some parts and had to do a bit of scavenging. But that story shall remain untold. Some things just have to be my secret.

to be continued.....

Sunday, December 08, 2013

The closest I ever came to d.i.v.o.r.c.e
was the day I shared my in-real-life daydream. It was easy enough to share as there it sat right behind the office in all it's splendor. Honestly, I don't even remember how long the fight went on. Nothing like it in what is now 51 years. We survived!

Truly, I didn't even realize how much this daydream meant to me. How deeply I wanted it.  I could not understand why NO ONE could see my dream.   To all the 'no ones' it was plain and simple absurdity. It was proof positive that she had once and for all become certified for the loony bin.

Have you ever ached in your heart, body and soul for something so much that you thought you might not survive? In my whole life the only thing that compares was the ache for my two precious adopted children.

In the end, "what about the money" question came up.  Until then,  I had never told him that I had stashed about $3500 away from my Mother's inheritance. I was waiting to spend it in some tangible way on something that I could celebrate her memory every day. My daydream was a huge creative project and I knew she would have loved it.

Even before the quarrel was settled, I pursued my daydream.  Immediately, the same day I drove through the proscenium opening on Walker Street, I pranced across the street to the court house to confirm who owned it and what it was listed on the tax roll for.

Before our quarrel was settled, I walked down the street and visited the owner of my daydream. I knew him well. At first, he told me that many others had wanted my daydream and that it was not for sale.  The answer was no, you can't have your daydream.

I can not remember how much time lapsed while I was fretting inside and out. However, the need and the want only intensified. Eventually, the argument calmed mostly after I told him about my money source. He couldn't argue anymore.  But I don't think he ever believed I could make my daydream come true. I do think he thought I would remain in the fantasyland.

You know I believe nothing ever happens before it is time. Well, while I was fretting inside and out, the City decided to get tough with the property owners and city ordinances regarding abandoned vehicles and structures.

Knowing this,  one day I went back down the street to visit the friend who owned my daydream.  First he told me that he had 30 days to do something about the property or face a daily fine by the city. Then, he told me I could have it because it would save him paying some one to tear it down. I told him I could not do that. He ask how much did I want to pay.  I told him $100.00.  We shook hands. I left but returned with my check as fast as I could.  We closed the deal. I owned my daydream.  

Next up, I had to contact a house mover.  There was a well known one in the area and  I set an appointment for him to come to my office so I could show him the daydream.  I had questions about can he do it? Would he do it? When can he do it? How much will it cost? etc etc

Oddly, with every question, he would say, "I want to see  The Man back there" or "I need to talk to The Man in the back office".  I ignored him several times while I was trying to understand why he thought he needed to see the man back there.  Finally, I realize that he had never done such business with a women. I gently explained that if he wanted the job, he would in fact have to talk to me because The Man back there did not want to have anything to do with my daydream.

We made a deal. $2000.00 to move my $100.00 shack that sat across the street from the county courthouse to our country property that was two miles outside the city limits.

We had to wait for weather and of course I was in line behind others who had daydreams to be moved.

The day finally came. This is what it looked like.

Moving day was late spring or early summer 1996
Preparation for the move
It broke my heart that the roof had to be torn off due to the height of my daydream.
It was in poor condition but seeing it this way crushed me. 

All of the old roof material was put inside for the move.

This is my moving man who thought he needed to see The Man back there. 
Ever after this tale was told, certain people who called the office for my dear husband ask for The Man. 

On moving day as the truck pulled out, I was right behind it with my movie camera. Unfortunately, that was in 1996 using a camera that recorded on VHS tape. 

I took almost 4 hours to move my daydream from town to the country. It took me eight minutes to make the trip every day.