This July I'm to be one of ten participants in a figure painting competition held by the Academy of Realist Art here in Boston. It's terribly exciting--35 hours of model time, nine talented painters to paint along side for a week, a show at the end (you can read about it here and you can read about the other contestants here), it should be a properly amazing experience. I'll admit I'm a little nervous, though. My wonderful friends keep telling me I'm being silly, that I'm a great painter, and, of course, I love them for it. But I'm still nervous. In my studio I paint by myself. I paint barefoot, with headphones on, and I dance to the music when the mood strikes. I stop for cups of tea, I lay in the middle of the floor when my back hurts, and yoga happens, lots of yoga stretches (standing all day is hard on the body), and no one can see my paintings in their ugly or unfinished stages unless I want them to. Granted, I do less of all that when I have a model, but only slightly less--after all, it's my studio. I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm more nervous about the process than the finished work, which seems a little backwards for a competition in which the finished work is the object. And all of that was a side note, really, to the the sharing of the excitement that is being included in that list of ten. I'm honored to be in such great company. I'm absolutely thrilled; wish me luck.