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The Past 24 Hours


Please note that I actually wrote this post yesterday morning, so the title was appropriate. Since I am posting it today, technically, the title is more accurately, “My Last 48 Hours,” however, in this case, I assert artistic license.

The past 24 hours yielded a first for me. Through my burgeoning fascination with mixed media, I created my first mixed media pièce specifically for another person. The above photograph is of the piece that I presented to my husband for our 14th anniversary.

My husband, J., is notoriously difficult to shop for. When I buy a gift for someone, I search for an item that screams their name. I want the gift to let them know without a doubt that I did not choose it lightly, but especially for them. When they look at the gift, I want them to feel special. Over the years, I’ve found that so hard with J.

We have different likes and dislikes. We don’t read the same books, and J. has a broader knowledge of music than anyone that I know and I would never buy music for him. As a result, I began buying him gift certificates to Waterloo records, a well-known hometown Austin music store. He loved it, but after too many years of the same gift, it became predictable, and it was ripe for a change. Thereafter, the era of Amazon gift cards began. Once again, he loved it because it led him to discover obscure music from sellers from all over the world. Nevertheless, after a while, this, too, became unimaginative and impersonal. Thus, began my quest to find something distinctly for him.

Weeks leading up to our anniversary, I was struggling to come up with an perfect gift for him, when I stumbled across an ad that I’d torn out of a magazine years ago. (I find it amusing because it was actually a Pepperidge Farms ad.) It is notable because J. and I are a mixed-raced couple, and the man and woman in the ad, depicted that fact perfectly. At the time, I had no idea what I would do with it, so it sat unused for about 7 years. As I was working on another piece, I had a light-bulb moment and my anniversary gift. My love for painting and mixed media was the perfect answer, and with the ad in hand, I had the crucial part of the painting. But what to do with it and how to incorporate it into a painting?

I fussed with it from start to finish and with the exception of a few unintended mistakes, I am pleased with the outcome. In case you are wondering what the ‘white thing’ is in the top right of the piece, it is my very first attempt at painting a moon. I finished it on our anniversary and the hard part began: waiting to learn whether he would like it?

I am happy to say that he loved it. More importantly, he appreciated all the thought, time and effort that I put into it to make a one-of-a-kind gift for him. The look on his face was worth every minute. This was the best 24 hours that I’ve spent in a long time.


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