My summer break flew by and it’ll be over in a few days. Can’t believe it. Besides working on the store, and lesson-planning for school, I’ve been carving out time for personal projects. I’m not pleased with most of it, but it’s felt great to test things out and begin routines—to return to the habit of creating. Ideally, the creative misses will eventually lead to hits.
I also took my first dance class, in modern dance, at the Houston Metropolitan Dance center. Although I was nervous, my love for SYTYCD carried me through. Who knew pointing your toes could be so hard?!
Summer has also given BJ and I time to explore more of Houston—many for the first time. Last week, we stopped by the Central Library, got our cards, and checked out as many books as we could carry. We finally walked to the Sicardi Gallery literally around the corner from us. We enjoyed the shrimp egg rolls and lobster with our family at Tay Do restaurant. But we also stopped by old stand-bys: the Menil, where I got a little teary to see the same guard who was on duty in 2009 at the Twombly Gallery when BJ proposed; beating the lines with an early dinner at Tiger Den, where we tried the pandan custard donuts; and pizza and my favorite fries at Kenneally’s Pub.
A couple of months ago, BJ and I visited our friend and nearby neighbor Bradley at his studio located at the University of Houston. It came at the tail end of his MFA thesis show, and we were so excited to see his sketches and other show going on upstairs. Stepping into his space, I was immediately flooded with memories of my undergrad studio and I hit with a little bit of envy. I miss having a small space, piles of books, scraps and little mementos that seemed to precious to throw away but their fate still undecided. I love his use of color and pattern, refreshing take on still-lifes, and the textures of his collage and paintings especially those made by scraping thin lines into the wet paint. The first piece is one our favorites, a sweet save the date Bradley created for his and Whitney’s upcoming wedding. Check out more of his work here. As I approach my two months of summer break, I feel motivated to carve out a space of my own and create.
I’ve been gathering websites and materials for the upcoming courses I’m teaching and BJ has been a huge help with finding art history related lectures and movies. Last night, we finished watching, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a beautiful documentary about the Chauvet Cave in France. I can’t recommend it enough! The glittering stalagmites, the handprints scattered through the caves, the expressive horse paintings, the 30,000+ years of history all adds to the overwhelming sense of awe. We’ve also watched the Caravaggio episode of Simon Schama’s The Power of Art, which is presented in a more passionate and dramatic fashion than most art history videos – it works though. I’ll post any other good finds we come across this summer.
BJ loves, loves going to the movies. I feel bad, because I only feel the urge once in awhile. When I get to the theater, I’m usually glad I went, but I generally prefer watching movies at home. But after watching these trailers, I’m looking forward to catching Museum Hours and The Spectacular Now on the big screeb. They look promising, right?
Paper cut window mobiles for the store from my time off during Spring Break with help from Thuy. Lots going on around here. We’ve been driving back and forth to see family during the past couple of weeks, and just said good bye to the last few still here. Be back soon with more updates!
On Thursday night, BJ and I had dinner at our friends and we all watched A Model For Matisse on Netflix. The film tells the story of Matisse’s unlikely friendship and work with Sister Jacques- Marie on the Chapel of the Rosary. It may have been an unusually Valentine’s movie pick, but by the end, it made sense. I was a little caught off guard by how moved and inspired I was after watching both by the tenderness of their bond and the drive Matisse had even in his aging years.
Already a fan of Matisse, especially his paper cuts, I have an even bigger admiration for his work created after he became less mobile. Here he is in poor health, drawing with a 9 foot pole, climbing dressers to reach higher spots. I can’t imagine anyone else during that time who could have gotten away with creating such modern imagery for a chapel. I can see how some of the nuns were up in arms!
I love the little details that went into planning of the chapel down to the priest’s chasubles, which Matisse first drafted with paper cut outs. There were several proposals for the stained glass, and one of my favorites that didn’t make it was the piece above called The Bees, which captured an overhead view of nuns in their habit. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already!
Yesterday, we took BJ’s mom, who’s in town for the week, and some of my family to the MFAH. I took phone shots of a few of my favorites from the museum’s collection while our moms and my aunt walked through the War Photography exhibit.
2012 was definitely a trying year for the both of us—apart from the opening of a store, we had a lot of change going on. Looking back, I definitely got burned out, and I often didn’t handle the stress in the best way. But I feel very hopeful and determined to have a healthier and restorative year. Moving into our current place (smaller and in a more walkable neighborhood) was a step in the right direction. This year we’re resolving to take time to visit our city’s museums. They’re only a short walk or drive away. We’ve already had two museums visits so far—not bad for the first month. Here are a few other goals. I tried to keep it simple:
+ Decompress each night by reading or drawing in bed. Close the screens, put down the phones.
+ Call, write, text my friends in other states at least a couple of times a month.
+ Drink water & eat breakfast.
+ Collaborate, create, and continue to practice my craft.
+ Watch movies with BJ.
+ Be a more patient and better teacher, wife, sister, daughter, friend, etc.