Chapter 1:

The Red House

The Red House  Acrylic on muslin 2016

The Red House
Acrylic on muslin

Home Is Where The Heart Is...

I started the The Red House, accidentally on the same day as the elections.

The Red House, was supposed to be a Winter Wonderland project to bring in the holidays. I was supposed to use cherry red. But it ended up looking like a house that was set on fire. A fire hydrant red with dark indigos ended up on the canvas.

I felt really sad that night, both for the elections and then the painting... because I had the intention that The Red House would be a great holiday artwork to share with everyone and now I was worried that my emotions wouldn't allow the project to flourish. 

The next day and many others I tried again... and wanted to see what I could do to liven up the Red House; to make it look less "sad"...  

I tried adding a fun blue to the windows and painting on little white wooden bars on the windows. That didn't work... I also added large trees; and thought maybe if I painted the trees with energy and pastel colors that they would also help create a happier mood.

The trees livened up the scene a bit; but still the Red House looked lonely and sad. I realized this house was a mirror of my heart. The house looked sad because my heart was broken from the worldly events that left me feeling uncertain about my future and afraid.

I tried painting, pushing myself even harder on later nights... and spent nights sitting on my kitchen sink starring at The Red House and wondering what I could do...

"What could I do to make you feel better, Red House? Why do you look so sad?"

I decided, that maybe it was the white bars! Maybe taking them off would remove the suffocating feeling. I even painted a little walkway so that I could walk to The Red House, maybe get a better look and what's going on would help.

"Is anyone home?"

At this point, I knew that it was Christmas, I knew that I was snowing and so perhaps I thought; maybe just nobody's home. The Red House isn't sad. It's just, empty.

So I numbed the sadness and forced my way through.

I forcefully saturated the doors and added planters on the promenade, freshened up the fire hydrant red with a cherry red. It started to feel happier. Adding the little Christmas lights helped and to really try to make it look happy I actually toned the entire painting with a heavy wash of warm colors: mango oranges and light blush pinks. 

"That should do it!"

But still, the house looked very empty.

"Helloooooo, is there anyone home?"

Radio silencer from the Red House. 

I went to bed that night feeling discouraged. I was ready to give it up. 

The next morning, I went on a beautiful hike to Ocean Beach with two friends. We talked about the elections and how we were afraid about our future. We laughed, cried, hugged, gave each other high-fives and talked about different organizations we could help with in the city. I felt happier and really supported.

I came home feeling like my heart lifted a little bit.

Looking at The Red House. I finally saw myself walking through the promenade and into the house.

"There are people in this red house... They were just stuck in traffic and now, everyone's arrived and we have an awesome tree! There are people in the living room, there's music playing (Michael Bublé). There are tons of Christmas lights and look a beautiful wooden staircase that light up to the upper floor." 

I picked up the brush and just started to paint colors and shapes; shadows of that scene into the windows and suddenly The Red House, is alive!

Then I thought; just like my heart. Healed and connected a bit more. 

And here we are, the completion of The Red House.

This December, I'm excited to be with my family and friends. Painting of The Red House taught me to trust the timing of my life as it transforms, delights and surprises me. To understand that I'll know something, only when I'm ready to know it and never before or after.

Wishing you love, peace and grace,



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