Valentine's cat portrait of Darcy and Lizzy

Mr. Darcy and Lizzy Bennett - Walk in the Garden

Once again, I felt the heaviness of Valentine’s Day fast approaching, as I sought to create at least one piece of appropriate artwork. This year, February marks the beginning of cold and flu season in our house, and so I juggled two cranky, coughing babies in my lap while I drew and colored this portrait of Lizzy and Darcy one-handed in Photoshop. With a mouse. Months ago, my Wacom stylus disappeared courtesy of Mia… and all her usual hiding places have turned up empty. Joe looked at purchasing a replacement pen, and apparently they are expensive; so expensive that he’d rather purchase an entire tablet w/ stylus on eBay this time. The only way to keep Mia’s paws off in the future, would be to fasten a 50 lb. weight to it.

Anyway… so when most retailers (and savvy crafters) have their Valentine selection ready before Christmas, I’m squeaking under the wire again,
which is not an auspicious way to begin my New Year. Ironically, after listing my newest piece on Etsy, twittering and frittering about it, and finally uploading photos on my Facebook fanpage – I headed over to my personal profile, whilst performing imaginary self-flagellation, and came across a simple yet profound statement from Jessica Doyle, a fellow artist.
She wrote: “There is no need to *keep up* …just do your own thing. Seriously.” She is amazing, by the way, not only with colored pens and inks
but also with her insight. Everyone should follow her advice, and her blog!

It caused me to stop and question what the heck I was doing, beating myself senseless over an imaginary deadline… so Valentine’s Day is the 14th, and people jump online in the weeks preceeding to search for love/crush/affection/obsession-related merchandise that “speaks” to them, or speaks for them.
Oddly enough, I DO celebrate Valentine’s Day… one of the few holidays that I will mark with a card for whomever is Significant at the time. LOL
But if I were to be honest with myself, aside from themed greeting cards, I’d rather create artwork that people will collect and display all year… that they won’t be in such a rush to pack away at the end of the month. I don’t want my paintings to cause off-season embarrassment, like the Easter grass in the carpet that refuses to GO AWAY after vacuuming over it 150 times.

Lydia once asked why the Easter bunny didn’t visit our house, after discovering Mom’s stash of candy for last-minute basket stuffing… I informed her that Peter
Cottontail was afraid of our cats, who always attempted to eat him whenever he appeared. He quit coming to our house awhile ago, but I didn’t want to disappoint her on Easter morning, so I created my own baskets in hopes that she wouldn’t notice his absence. 😛

I don’t have the urge to dress my house in themes, or the patience to undress it afterwards… like baby jumpers that only last for 2-3 months, you might as well leave the kid in diapers and forego clothes altogether until he stops growing! Well, at least until yearly hem and seam alterations will suffice. If only there were a holiday that incorporated all the major iconic elements: trees, turkeys, hearts, flags, crosses, candles, pumpkins, eggs, what am I missing?? Celebrated on the fourth of each month, it’s called Fourth of ChristvaleastHanuween-giving… and you can leave the decorations up all year!!

There is a clinical diagnosis for practically every phobia ailing mankind – from Allodoxaphobia (a fear of opinions) and Arachibutyrophobia (the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth) to Aulophobia (a fear of flutes) or Cathisophobia (the fear of sitting). People can be afraid to hear good news (Euphobia), or suffer from a hatred of poetry (Mertophobia)… and many even have the rational fear of lawsuits (Liticaphobia), hehe – however, I can’t find a reference to a general holiday phobia; I must be the only one who suffers from it!

Strangely enough, I once worked (briefly, lol) as a greeting card merchandiser. People celebrate everything! They actually buy cards for Groundhog’s Day. No feasting, though, that I can recall. With so many holidays on the calendar, I could drive myself insane and hide under the bed. I could simply work at my own pace, and quote my infamous motto with each missed deadline – “At least it’s ready for next year!” Or I could wisely take Jessica’s advice to heart: Don’t try to keep up. “Just do your own thing!”

This year, when you’re buying gifts online… try to think outside the holiday! Do you want to give a special present that receives an obligatory presentation
for two weeks and then gets wrapped in tinsel and stuffed into the attic? I think everyone would like to see their gifts being treasured and admired throughout
the year.
Happy 4th of ChristvaleastHanuweek-giving, everyone! Oh well, it was worth a shot. 😛