I woke up suddenly, worried.
"That little rose painting I started yesterday," I thought, "It's going to cost a fortune to frame."
I got out of bed and walked to the studio. I stood in front of the still-wet underpainting and thought.
I had started the rose painting on an 11" X 11" panel. I had two of these panels on hand, and I had been planning to use them for a diptych. I hadn't really thought through the foolishness of making paintings at nonstandard sizes on a tight budget. Crap!
I have a show scheduled for March, and I need to prepare at least four more paintings, including framing. Many artists decline invitations to show their work because of the cost of framing so much work at once. Contemporary artists will show work unframed, but my work is traditional, and I believe it must be framed. I had been reluctant to accept invitations from two neighborhood businesses to show my work, even though my neighbors on Facebook have been pushing me to show. I explained my reasoning every time the subject came up. I didn't think I was ready, artistically or financially, to put together a solo show.
So there I stood on the concrete floor of my studio in flipflops and a bathrobe at 3 a.m., thinking about all of this while looking at the little underpainting of the rose. I started to make a plan.
I was back in the studio, starting a new drawing of the same rose on a large pad of drawing paper, this time in a square marked off at 12" X 12". I was hoping I'd find a ready-made frame at that size.
My husband had gone to work. I'd fed him breakfast and prepared his lunch. I walked back to the studio and refined the drawing, watching the clock and stressing out. I really shouldn't drive to the frame shop until about 9:45. Also, the drawing stage is the hardest part. But I'd done it the day before, so this time, the drawing was looking better.
The frame shop opened, and I was there. I found three matching, beautiful frames at 12" X 12", and they were on sale: buy one, get two free. It was a discontinued style, and one I really liked. I already had a painting framed in that frame. If I bought the three frames, I'd have four. It felt like Christmas Day. I drove home with the three frames feeling relieved and optimistic. My little dog was in the passenger's seat, and I talked to him about the whole ordeal. He just looked at me.
The drawing was finished, the panel was prepared, and I transferred the drawing to the panel.
I finished the underpainting. It was better than the previous day's work. The new color worked better too. I'll use the smaller version to make a color study before finishing the larger one. I have no idea what I'll do with the smaller version. Right now, I don't care.
Lying on the couch, exhausted, but pleased that I was so lucky today. Tomorrow I'd prefer to sleep until the normal 5 a.m.