I’m Done and Done In



Last minute edits, changes of heart, epiphanies, and overlooked mistakes…it’s been a week of 16-hour work days for me but it was worth it. That neat stack of paper that you see on my dining room table is 184 pages of the Damn Garden Book layed out, pasted down, glued in, and numbered.

Dare I say it? When I meet my editor at Bloomsbury tomorrow (today — it’s 12:08am) my work is done. DONE.

Except for the proofs and whatever else pops up between now and when Barnes and Noble puts it face-out in the Gardening Section next Spring.

I’m so tired that it feels as if I’m typing this drunk. Thank you one and all for your Comments these past 2 weeks, which cheered me so much you can’t even know.

Well. I can’t let you head off into the week end without giving you something besides words…

…so, Dear Reader Casey asked if I would care to give you all a peak at an art work from the Rejects Binder, from the mountain of paintings I did that did not make it into the Damn Garden Book.

This is an old, old painting I did waaaay back, about 8 years ago.


As you can see, I chopped off the top section because that’s my old way of doing foliage (and the Grumbacher paints look pretty muddy to me now). This is what it looked like after I rescued it after 8 years of painting my brains out:


And then I didn’t have a place for it in the DGB. So as of now, it is orphaned with all the other pictures that don’t have a story.

THIS JUST IN: I got an early morning email from Casey, who asked me to do my tea bag thing for this pic, to show scale. So here it is:


You might also remember this:


This was my idea for the cover of the Damn Garden Book, before Bloomsbury showed me their much better idea.

You might be interested in how I re-purposed this. Yes?

SPOILER ALERT: I needed to put in poinsettias for narrative purposes. You’ll understand when you read the last chapter of the DGB.

Anyhoo, it now looks like this (call it “magical realism”, since it IS a portrait of a South American garden experience):


Feel free to discuss.

I can’t stay awake a minute longer.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Sweet dreams.


P.S. I will be out of my “office” until early afternoon, so I won’t be here to approve Comments. But please, send me your thoughts any way, and by tea time I’ll have your bones mots up!  (Auto correct. Bon mots. Serves me right for sticking in some French here.) Your good words. Merci.


13 Comments, RSS

  1. jeanie June 19, 2015 @ 8:34 am

    Congratulations and three — no, six or nine or more! — BIG CHEERS! I can’t wait for my book to arrive (which was pre-ordered this week). I can’t imagine anything within would be better than the rejects, but of course, they must be — which means it isn’t going to just be spectacular but super spectacular.

    Hug a cat, open a bottle of champagne and put on your happy dance shoes!

  2. Leslie June 19, 2015 @ 9:36 am

    Mazel tov!

  3. Kimwithak June 19, 2015 @ 11:45 am

    Congratulations on finishing! The last painting is gorgeous! I’m so looking forward to having your garden book in my collection.

  4. Barbara L June 19, 2015 @ 11:49 am

    Thank you for showing your “rejects”. They still look fantastic to me. Rest up now and take time to breathe and maybe even escape for a day of fun. So looking forward to the DGB to appear on the shelves!

  5. janet b. June 19, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

    living through your books with you these past few years has been such an eye-opener. thank you for giving us a window into the hard work which is behind it all. i cherish all the finished products even more. and after all of this, you deserve (at least) one HUGE, ICED bottle of painfully good champagne!! merci beaucoup, vivian.

  6. Deb Mattin June 19, 2015 @ 12:28 pm

    Yippeeeee skippppeee! You must be so relieved to be sort of done!

    I love looking at the “rejects”, which you must know many of us would be more than happy to claim as our wildest dream come true! You taught me how to draw a cat, so you understand that I bow in reverence to the rejects.

    Rest up, play with kitties, go thrifting and bask in a job well done!

  7. Alicia June 19, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

    First I thought you’d painted a secret garden that I could slip into and then I saw the tea bag and realized that I’d have trouble dragging that tea bag thru that doorway. Didn’t stop me from being completely charmed. The poinsettia scene *is* surreal and makes me eager to read the chapter that they show up in.

  8. Marg-o June 19, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

    I would love to sit and watch you paint a “keeper” but I don’t think I could bear to watch you cut up a “reject”. I can’t imagine putting a pair of scissors on any of your paintings.

  9. Joan June 19, 2015 @ 6:51 pm

    HOLY CATS! You must be over the moon to be finished with the DGB at last.! Having you share all the ups and downs with us has been a real treat. What do you do to celebrate the completion of a book? I hope you take a vacation, a little trip to a spa for the full treatment: mani, pedi, massage.

    What I love most about sharing a book in progress is the step by step tutorials. How you paint these itty bitty paintings is still a mystery to me.

    What do you do between books? Will there be a 4th book? Do you have one cooking on the back burner? Do you paint between books or have you had it by the completion of each book?

    Get some rest and enjoy the time before the book tours begin.

  10. ann June 19, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

    Congrats on finishing your book. I never realized how much work went into your books. Can’t wait to get my copy. I hope you will keep writing, because you are just getting better.

  11. Mary June 20, 2015 @ 8:14 am

    Cheers !! You accomplished what MOST of us couldn’t even try. Your painstaking efforts are even more appreciated since you shared the process with us. Who knew?
    Can’t wait for Barnes & Noble delivery of my 4 books.(prefect gifts).
    AND you kept a wonderful sense of humor with us all along.
    Thank you, Vivian for the great ride.

  12. ArtistLady June 20, 2015 @ 11:30 am

    Congratulations Vivian! Well done! Love following your blog! 🙂

  13. Casey June 20, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

    I join all your fans in congratulating you on a job WELL DONE. Thank you for the tea bag.

    The night time illustration is so different than your other garden paintings. It’s nice to see that you still challenge yourself. It’s an atmospheric pic. But I’m like one of those guys at the Joni Mitchell concert on Miles of Aisles (my mother’s favorite). “Hey man, paint us Starry Night again!” People like the hits. I’m pre-ordering the DGB for my mom.

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