Brandi Malarkey, artist.

DONE! Sort of.

Things I’ve learned about construction:

  • Whatever the cost estimate is, double it.
  • Whatever the time estimate is, triple it.
  • Give up on your gas budget. The multiple trips to the hardware store will add up fast.
  • When you get to 90% done, don’t get excited. It just means something else will pop up resulting in an auxiliary project, which will put your completion rate back to 50%.
  • This will happen a minimum of three times.
  • Apparently, “We need to NOT add anything else, I am at the end of my mental capacity, and one more thing might break me”, translates to “let’s tear something else completely apart”.
  • Trying to keep any area of your house calm and unaffected by the chaos is a lost cause. Save your sanity. Give up now.
  • When you are close enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel, progress will slow to a crawl. Be prepared, and refill the depression and anxiety meds.
  • Crying is okay. It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it helps get the dust out of your eyes.
  • “Done” is good. “Done” might be the most beautiful word in the English language.

We still have multitudes of small, “finishing” bits to keep us busy for a good bit, and we are in debt up to our eyeballs, BUT!!! The bits that mean our house shouldn’t flood, kill us with mold, or have the roof cave in on our heads this winter (barring major catastrophes over which we have no control) are DONE. Which means I actually have a few flat surfaces to work on–just in time to frantically finish secret commission projects and production work for the gallery (Gallery 4 has a fabulous amount of small gifty-type things great for the holidays –with 45 local artists, there is a huge variety–so if you’re in Fargo, consider supporting your local artists this Christmas).

In the meantime, a few things to share:

In case you were not aware, my Swallowtail painting is going to be on the cover of The Hopper literary magazine! I am so excited! Not just because they had the good sense to appreciate my work, but also because I simply adore their commitment to environmentally friendly practices (important for a nature artist) and promoting equality. I urge you to check them out, and if you want to order a copy of the Fall 2020 edition featuring my art (not just front cover, but back cover, AND some inside. SO COOL!) go here. It’s only ten dollars, so it is a total deal and supports a great bunch of people trying to do good things in the world.

My newest line of greeting cards has been printed and is now stocked at Gallery 4. I also reworked one I had done for a friend to fit in with the new line:

In addition, if you missed your opportunity to purchase any of the Patchwork Memories cards for your quilt-y and crafty friends, they are also now re-stocked at Gallery 4 and I think they look quite nice.

With the first snow on the ground already, I turned to getting this summer’s photography sorted. The one good thing about the summer vanishing into a cloud of construction dust is that it doesn’t take nearly as long as it does other years. The flipside to that is that I don’t have a lot of good quality images to share. In fact, I can only claim two are really good, a couple getting an honorable mention, and a couple that I know aren’t great, but they make me happy, so I will share anyway. I do, however, have lots of fun images that are likely to work their way into some art related endeavors later, like this little guy, who is SO FUN.

Image taken a the Northern Plains Botanic Garden, Fargo

Normally these bugs don’t move around much when I have my camera out, but this little guy was on the move and entertained me for a full half-hour.

These two aren’t fabulous photos, but they are fabulous insects, so I share:

Image taken a the Northern Plains Botanic Garden, Fargo
Image taken a the Northern Plains Botanic Garden, Fargo

I knew going into the summer that I wasn’t going to get much photography time in. However, I did locate a glorious garden spider in the NDSU display garden, so I made a point of going back periodically on different days, at different times, in different light, with the understanding that if I got ONE good photo I would consider it a successful summer photography season. I totally failed at getting a “good” photo…but I have lots of things that may turn into something later, and I did get this image, which isn’t really “good”, but totally makes me stupidly happy:

Image taken at the NDSU Horticulture Research & Demonstration Gardens in Fargo

And here are my two favorites for 2020:

Image taken a the Northern Plains Botanic Garden, Fargo
Image taken a the Northern Plains Botanic Garden, Fargo

Despite the fact that I am fairly certain I regressed in my photography skills, I did actually succeed in the main point of getting out with my camera, which is to get lots of good material for the winter months. Usually bits and pieces end up in paintings, but I have been playing with the digital art features of my computer, and some of the worst photos can be super fun to play with and end up as art all on their own by the time you are done. Like these. I call it “Mirror Image”:

It’s amazing how you can take a truly terrible photo, and by the time you are done have something bright and cheerful and happy and ART!

You just never know what is going to come next.


  • Aunt Bev says:

    I’m a happy Aunt. Just loved all your photos etc. and especially your writing! I swear we must be “blood” relatives as the sense of humor flows from you like all of us! So proud of your photos being selected for The Hopper Magazine outside and inside! Take care and stay save through these trying times at home and away!!

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