American Kestrel original Watercolor

Standing In Front Of The Closed Food Bank I Knew I Had To Take Control

Artistic process, Domestic Abuse Survivor

am a domestic abuse survivor and I support myself and my son through sales of my Art work.

I have kept the fact I experienced domestic abuse very private until now.  I always knew that I would share my story. I thought it would be after I re-conquered the world and I was back on top of my game, but something happened last week that changed my mind.

Last September I moved 1500 miles, with my eight year old son, to start a new life with a man I had known for 7 years. I had dated on and off for that time. The off time was mainly due to the fact he had moved to upstate New York.  I lived in Florida. I didn’t want to move and I was busy tending my career selling luxury watches. But then I quit my job to focus on my Art career. He asked me to move, he said it would be the perfect opportunity to grown my Art business. It sounded good to me, after all I though I knew him.

Once I got up there things took a turn I could never have imagined. He was controlling, jealous relationship with my son. Things went from bad to worse until it was an abusive situation. My mother didn’t bring me up like that so I fled. I left with my car full of my belonging, my dog and my son and barely any money in my pocket.

Someone how I made it all the way back down to Florida. I immediately started looking for a regular job but I am an Artist and I kept my son and myself afloat with sales from my two online shops, Aldana Paintings for my paintings and prints and Aldana Decorative Art for my mason jar goodies and vases.

I spend a few hours a day filling out job applications and 4-6 hours a day promoting my shop. With my sales I was able to cover my car payment, insurance and my cell phone. I was lucky to be staying with an friend who understood I wanted to contribute the household but couldn’t. Then the sales stopped.  I kept waiting and waiting for a sale any sale, usually I sold something every day. No sale came. I waited until there was almost no food in the fridge and no gas in my car  for the sale I was sure was coming.

I was terrified with no money, no food and seeming no prospects, I had my son to feed. It was time to reach out. I called the Domestic Abuse

organization in my area, there was only one listed. They reminded me of the credit card company when you call. They transferred me around and once the found out I had a safe place to stay seemed to have little interest in helping. They did give me two numbers for food pantries, one turned out to be another organization called No More Tears and  God bless the founder Somy, the number they gave me was her cell phone. She was on vacation and took the time to make some calls and organized a $50 gift card from the supermarket for me. It came from an origination I had seen on TV Neighbors for Neighbors. She also gave me number of a local food bank. I now that the number to two food banks I called both, one didn’t return my call the other said they were open Saturday in the morning. I wouldn’t get the gift card until Saturday afternoon two days away but I made it work.

With my car fuel gauge on “E” I drove out to the food bank with my fingers crossed I wouldn’t run out of gas, it was 8 miles round trip. It was at a church, when I got there they casually told me there was no food bank, I had gotten the wrong information on the phone and the food bank would be open  the first Saturday in March, 3 weeks away. I was furious, not at them they didn’t owe me anything, but at myself for getting into this position.

Blue Bird painted as Thanks

Blue Bird I painted as a Thank You

I would have to take control and made a way for myself. When I got that supermarket gift card I was so grateful. I painted a sweet little blue bird for the person who sent to me as thanks and popped it in the mail.

I had kept the fact that I was a domestic abuse survivor to myself. I guess I was embarrassed. I was afraid of looking like a fool. I have talent as an Artist, I decided I was doing to knock on every door send a message to everyone and knew and let them know I am an Artist, a Domestic Abuse survivor and I support myself and my son through my Art.

If you want to help  please share my story so that those people who are interested in

Octopus in Blue original Watercolor

Octopus in Blue original Watercolor

my work can  buy it. That is all I am asking for people share my story and in turn my Art. Share this page on Facebook, twitter the usual places and unusual places.  I want to make my way with the sweat of my brow not by someone giving me something because they feel sorry for me. I was raised to work for what you want.

Please contact me at if you have any questions or want me to make a piece of Art for you.

Thank You Melissa

Original Watercolor Painting Snowy Owl

Pay what you want for My Art

Artistic process, Pay what you want for My Art

I am going to do a little experiment. As an Artist I know what  think my art is work, a million dollars each, of course. Back in reality I try to base the prices of my Art on the amount of time it takes me, the skill involved and how similar works are priced. But what is it worth to someone out there? What they are willing to pay?

I was also inspired by a guy out there that is a web consultant and has people pay him what they think the job is worth. Inspiring, so this is the experiment I am willing to sell my original pieces of Art for what someone out there thinks its worth. There are a few details. Pick out an Art piece make and make an offer. I only ask that the offer be reasonable with a sincere intent to purchase if the offer is accepted.  If I accept the offer the piece is yours. I will adjust the price to reflect the offer and you can  purchase.

This offer applies only to my original peices.

Depending how this works. I might continue to sell my original pieces like this. I think its a great way to start a conversation between Artist and clients. If you think its a great idea please share it. Click on the images below to check out my shop.

My son and my dancing dog Milu

The Tao of my dog’s poop

day to day life in South FLorida

I made another step in figuring the mysteries of my dog’s bathroom schedule. I rescued an older dog I hadn’t intended to but there she was in a back yard alone, foraging for herself where she had been for years.

My son and my dancing dog  Milu

My son and my dancing dog Milu

She had been left in a this yard of a home that was rented by a family that only held events at the home intermittently. She is a full breed boxer. When I met her she was sweet, friendly and doing a  dance routine for food. She is quiet the dancer. Check out her dance moves

My son fell in love with her and once I figured out she was alone I picked her up and brought her home.

Even though she had been living outside for sometime she remembered what it was to be a treasured dog and headed straight for our king sized bed and made herself comfortable. She was dirty and flea bitten but I didn’t have heart to kick her out to of the bed. Thankful she she still remembered not to go to the bathroom to in the house and after some adjustment everything was in order. As long as she went out before bed she was good for the night.

I quickly learned she liked routines. She loved to go in the car to drop my son off to school at 8am and would remind us on the weekends. She went to bed at 9:30 and if I wasn’t in bed by 11:30 she wold come looking for me. Our lives changed in the last few months and we were definitely off routine. We had moved to a different state; and for while I was staying  in an home where she was not allowed. She was boarded and for about 6 weeks. When I got her back she wasn’t sleeping through the night any more. Every night she would wake up and and want to go out for a pee:  3 am sometimes 4 am, every night sometimes 5am.

My Boxer Dog Milu

look at that face

I tried  to get her back on schedule so that she would sleep through the night with no success. We kept trying I would let her out to do her business every night before bed and every night she would wake me up to go out.

Then one night she didn’t. I woke up and checked her she was fine. We were back on pee patrol the next night in the middle of the night. I gave up I figured she was an old dog and couldn’t sleep through the night any more. She was a 9 year old baby that would never grow up.

Then I figured it out. It was the poop not the pee, she was going poop. She has this little thing she does after a poop, she runs a full gallop back into the house. Sure enough she was galloping back into the house in the middle of the night.

The next night I gave her a longer walk and made sure she pooped and now we are all sleeping like babies

My Orchid in spectacular bloom nurtured by my neighbor Ron the Orchid Whisper

The Simplest Orchid Care ever from the Orchid Whisper

day to day life in South FLorida

The Simplest Orchid Care ever from the Orchid Whisper my 87 year old neighbor.

My Orchid in spectacular bloom  nurtured by my neighbor Ron the Orchid Whisper

My Orchid in spectacular bloom nurtured by my neighbor Ron the Orchid Whisper

I call my  87 year old neighbor Ron  the orchid whisper. I am a little off my normal topic. I thought the story of this modest man would be fabulous for my local lifestyle magazine Pompano Today (check the fab city I live in). My friend at the magazine agreed. The only problem was that Ron didn’t agree. He didn’t want a story done on him.  Awww, I was disappointed. He would have made a great story and I thought his techniques should be shared. So it was up to me to share his simple steps.

He lives in a simple modest 1 bedroom apartment in front of his  home is a wonderland, about 9 gorgeous orchids. When they are all blooming their beauty will take your breath away. I was stunned when I first saw them. “What do you do?” I asked him. What he does is so simple. I have asked him again and again because I just couldn’t believe his technique was so easy.

This is what he does. His orchids are planted in loosely packed regular soil, he puts two ice cubes on each plant every other day, he applies orchid fertilizer every two weeks. That’s it.

I had my own orchid which had started out large and gorgeous when I got it from my luxury retailer employer. By the time I met Ron it was simply alive. It  hadn’t bloomed since I got it 6 months before and I had no idea what to really do with it. All I knew was not to over water it.

I put it outside to share the same light as Ron’s plants. Shortly after I took it outside ice cubes started to appeared in the plant. Ron was now taking care of it, thank goodness. This orchid is now in spectacular bloom with 7 flowers. I am completely amazed by how lovely it is. I think its more beautiful now then when the fancy florist delivered it.

I  presented Ron with another plant that a friend of mine had put by the garbage after much neglect. That plant is blooming as well with three flowers open and two getting ready to open.

The orchid I took from the garbage in bloom

The orchid I took from the garbage in bloom

I now feel confident enough to get some plants on my own. Ron’s plants all have blooms and will be flowering shortly. I can’t wait.

I was surprised how well the picture of the orchid came out. I just snapped a quick picture of it. Just a happy accident I guess so I added it to the portfolio in my Fine Art America shop.

One chicken is great Maybe two was better

Watercolor Painting Blue Bell Chicken study: the lovely Myrtle

paintings, watercolor

Watercolor Painting Blue Bell Chicken study.

Last year  I set eyes on a gorgeous chicken named myrtle. I came across her in a blog from The Garden Smallholder in a post called Chickens in the Garden, be sure to check that out. She was a blue bell chicken. I never heard of a blue bell chicken but I was in love. I knew I wanted to paint her.

I finally got around to painting her. I went through the same process I always do when I paint within the first few paint strokes I feel that the painting is pure rot and I should start over. I am used to that feeling and and I just ignore it and push ahead. The painting is fine but  don’t think it quiet does her justice. I will do some more studies. Somewhere in my storage are some watercolor pencils I think would be perfect to help me with my next painting.

Considering I bought my last watercolor set with Myrtle as the impetus she has been quite the inspiration.

The beautiful Myrtle passed away last year I hope that I am able to pay a fitting tribute to this beautiful little chicken. This study is available in my Society6 Shop. Stay tuned for more beautiful chicken studies.

The Lost Photographs


There was a time in my life when I always had a camera in my hand, for about 8 years.

That was the time of dark rooms, film and chemicals. I had my own enlarger to print my photographs in my tiny New York bathroom. I had my negatives and prints packed away as I moved from one place to the next I would come across them. Some of these aren’t bad I would think I need to get them in order and share them somehow. At the beginning that meant having them printed. Would I print them myself? For years I had everything I needed, the paper and all the supplies. If  I had them printed that would be an expensive undertaking and there was no guarantee they would be printed how I wanted. It seemed like such a big project. I keep putting the photographs away.

As the years went by and everything went digital the project changed completely I would have to have the negatives scanned and print them another big expensive project. The photographs go put away again. The two things happened when I was moving I found a cd I had scanned some of my images professionally close to 20 years ago. And I discovered Society6 a website that would print my photographs for me without me having to buy one piece of paper. I was able to bring those I had scanned back it one day. Click on the photographs to learn more about them. Now to get to the others.

Photograph Seagull in Key West

Photograph Seagull in Key West


Photograph Seagull in Key West

I love key west in Florida its my favorite place to be. I snapped this guy as he was coming in for a landing.

Photography Mummy going to church

Photograph Mummy going to church

photographs, portraits

Photograph Mummy going to church.

Photography Mummy going to church

Photography Mummy going to church

My mother was one of these women that dresses her best for church. I caught her walking down the stairs on her way, the light from our skylight hitting her hat like a halo. 
Check it out in my Society6 Shop.

Barbados Boys: King of the Beach

photographs, portraits

Barbados Boys

When I went home to my country of birth Barbados I went to the beach with my best friend and her brothers. They were between 7 and 9 years old. The were full of energy and fun. One of them put a net on his head and wanted to show me he was the badest thing on the beach.

Photograph Tulips at night

Photograph Tulips at night


Photograph Tulips at night

Photograph Tulips at night

Photograph Tulips at night

My mother had these fakes tulips that photographed beautifully,soft delicate and gentle. Completely unlike what they looked like in person, the photographs transformed them. Check it out in my Society6 Shop.