I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

"Magical"

I walked in the park this week wearing shorts and sandals.  Everyone I met smiled and said "hi".  The trees dumped truckloads of ankle-turning acorns all over everything and the squirrels and chipmunks were happily scurrying around.  It was a good day, a magical day.  It feels so long ago.  Now I'm trying to decide whether or not to pick all my green tomatoes before the cold ruins them.  I'm so sick of tomatoes.  I'll be so sorry when I don't have garden fresh tomatoes anymore.

I helped a friend with his fall leaves this week too.  He lives 15 minutes away in a whole different climate.  We spent 4 hours on his leaves but all of mine are still green.  Oh okay, maybe we didn't actually do productive things in that whole 4 hours.  We might've spent 10 minutes or a couple of hours talking in the driveway, but you know, it still counts.  Sort of.  We've got to ease into our fall exercise routine.

Our different climates are due to the Great Lakes.  I live 2 miles away from Lake Erie as the crow flies.  He's more like 10 or 15 miles from the lake.  In fall, the lake still holds the warmth of the summer sun.  That means my world is a little balmier than my friend's.  In spring, the lake is an ice cube making my world colder.  So you see, it all works out about even for everyone, I just feel a bit out of step with most of the rest of the world.  That's fine.  It suits me.

I've always felt a bit out of sync with everyone else.  Maybe we all feel that way sometimes?  I learned how to pretend to be like everyone else while indulging my idiosyncrasies.  Once, I told someone that I was practicing for the day when I become an eccentric old lady.  He told me I could quit practicing.  That's an achievement that still pleases me.  Just wait till I'm truly an eccentric old lady!

At the heart of it, I know we all have to conform enough to get along.  At the same time, what's the point of everyone being the same?  Everything that makes each of us special is where the magic is.  For creative people, it makes our creations interesting.  For everyone, our distinctiveness is what makes us an interesting friend or a valuable employee or boss.  Maybe the people who aren't good at these things aren't good at them because they're trying too hard to row against their personal current?

Unrelated to any of this, I'm currently reading A Deadly Wandering by Pulitzer Prize winner Matt Richtel.  In it, I learned driving while talking on the phone is even worse than drunk driving.  It doesn't matter if you're doing it hands-free or not.  Texting is even worse.  I know many of my loved ones talk on the phone all the time while driving.  Please stop.  Whatever you've got to say can wait.  You can read more about the statistics here.

The book also addresses the neuroscience behind the addictiveness of smart phones.  I haven't finished the book yet, but so far it's an interesting read.  For those of you who find the topic interesting, I'd recommend it.  Maybe we can apply some social pressure to getting people away from their phones to take magical walks in the fall leaves?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

"Cat"

My recent paintings are an autobiography of sorts, and part of the research I do is reading my journals.  Example: Dec. 16, 1990 "I hate the damned cat most of the time."  There was more in the entry about the general havoc and destruction Dash was wreaking on my kitchen at the time.  Dogs at least show remorse when they do something wrong.  Cats seem to glory in it, though when my cat wasn't breaking things he was rather sweet.

I spoke with a friend this week about my ex-bf who read my journal -- and held what he read against me for the rest of our relationship.  My friend laughed and said he'd never be stupid enough to tell me he'd read my journal.  "Would you read it?!" I asked.  "Sure!" he replied.  Seeing as I used to date this guy I asked if he had read my journals.  He said he hadn't, but it was now established that he wasn't stupid enough to tell me if he did.

My journals suffered repeated invasions of privacy by multiple people which caused me to destroy many of them and not to write about my feelings for years.  I think it was a different form of abuse really.  Other people's nosiness caused me to cut off a healthy coping skill and destroyed my trust in those people.

I didn't really hate my cat.  I was just mad at him.  Writing what I felt in the moment with the intention of nobody's eyes but my own was a safe way to vent.  I sometimes wrote about people the same way.  Sometimes I didn't know what I felt and I wrote until I figured it out.

One time, a woman picked up my journal and started to read it in front of me.  Short of a fist fight, she wouldn't give it up.  In the end, I let her read what I'd written -- which was concern about her parenting skills.  Maybe she learned something useful?  I'm pretty sure she still holds what I wrote against me too -- which doesn't mean I should have to give up my self-expression to make her happier.  There's a reason journals are supposed to be private.

Unlike all these other people, I usually don't reread my journals.  Doing research for my paintings has been an interesting journey.  The amount of time I obsessed about stupid things and worrying about other people!  I want that time back.  I guess seeing this is part of the benefits of age and wisdom?

For my current paintings, I summarize my journal entries.  I journal more.  I figure out major themes and type a summary.  When the painting is finished, I've thought and felt all I need to think and feel about the subject.  It's a lot of work, but it's also been enormously helpful in seeing things I couldn't see before in people and events.  Maybe all this sounds too obsessive compulsive?  The thing is, I think everything we feel and experience stays in our muddy brains until it's resolved.  Thinking a lot about some things now means I won't have to think about them anymore.  In other words, less work in the end.

Sometimes we have to just look for the good in bad outcomes.  For instance, I think the US Supreme Court battle has finally cured me of my news addiction.  I can't stand to look at those people in DC.  They're like cats smashing things in the kitchen for fun.  I hope the Democrats win everything in November.

Friday, September 28, 2018

"Queen"

It's personal.  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified to the US Senate Judiciary Committee this week and represented women across the country.  The senators believed her when she said she was attacked, pinned down, and nearly raped -- but somehow, this intelligent, educated, and reasonable woman was "mistaken" when she pointed the finger squarely at Brett Kavanaugh and said she's 100% sure he and his friend were the ones who did it.

Kavanaugh lied to the committee on numerous points.  Nobody believes the crap he says to defend his drinking, virginity, extreme debt, gambling, or access to stolen Democrat communication.  We know Trump wants Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court because he believes in expansion of presidential power without prosecution for crimes.  It's a plus for all the Republicans that Kavanaugh made wildly partisan accusations in his testimony.

He's not a good choice for the Supreme Court, and the Republicans don't care about his victims because he's on their side.  Never mind there are better people on their side who could be chosen.  Never mind that President Obama's choice was ignored for a year.  Ignore Kavanaugh's petulant and aggressive attitude, which isn't what anyone wants in a judge.

If one of the brightest, best, and accomplished women in the country is disregarded, then all women are disregarded.  When the old men of the Senate know they have to hire a female to ask questions to pretend fairness, then run right over that attorney, all women have been run over.  When the sins of one man are disregarded, the abusers of all women are given the liberty to do what they want without fear of consequences.

It's personal because I know too many women who have been abused.  One of my friends was killed by her husband.  I know too many women (and men) who have been raped.  Victims don't get to have a voice.  Police don't defend them, prosecutors don't take their cases.  Even when an abuser or rapist is convicted, they serve little or no time for it.  Go ahead, give one of them a Supreme Court seat.

A couple of women cornered Senator Flake at an elevator and let them know what they thought of him and his judicial vote.  One of them screamed, "Doesn't my life matter??"  Yeah, it's personal.  She's speaking for me and for too many others.

I've been to the police station, I've plead for my rights after assault, stalking, discrimination, and harassment.  From 3 to my 50s, I've repeatedly been attacked, dismissed by authorities, and told over and over to just get over it and move on.

I'm not over it.  I'm furious.  I'm sick about all of it.  I actually cried with the women accosting Flake at the elevator, and I really thought I'd already cried all my tears by now.

Women's lives matter.  Dr. Blasey Ford has my most sincere appreciation for going to the Senate to testify even though she knew it was hopeless.  She was brave to do it anyway.  Maybe it will make a difference in some way.  Maybe it will motivate the rest of us, who are the majority, into forcing change.

Friday, September 21, 2018

"Food"

I discovered a murder scene, but I was a suspicious even before I saw the evidence.  It started with the creepy guy standing just out of sight from the parking lot.  He had a dog, and that's usually a good sign.  A villain wouldn't have a yellow lab, right?  I saw him immediately, but I had to do other things for several minutes.  When I returned, creepy guy was still there.  I decided to take my walk anyway.  My 69-year-old girlfriend boasted about biking 60 miles in 3 days and I feel like I'd better get some regular exercise too so I'll be able to keep up with her in 20 years.

The first murder evidence I spotted was a small black feather.  It could've been a baby feather, but it's too late in the year for babies.  A chest feather then.  Suspicious.  Birds don't pluck out chest feathers in fall for nests.  I'd just spotted the next bit of evidence when a woman jogged through the crime scene.  A black wing feather with a white shaft.  Hmm.  Not a crow then.  The chest feather should've been red if it were a robin.

I decided to look for evidence of the murderer.  Yeah, yeah it's against state law to have raptor feathers, but a hawk feather would look nice on my hat.

I found a broken egg.  The mystery deepened.  Maybe that bird did make a nest?  No, don't be ridiculous.  The victim was a songbird.  This egg was large and white.  A duck?  A chicken.  Well!  The mystery continues.  I prodded the shell.  It was clean inside, so it wasn't like it fell from a tree with a baby inside.  The feathers were lightly resting on top of the newly dressed trail, so the murder couldn't have happened long before.  It seemed unlikely varmints would've had the time to eat the egg, and the egg was crushed without evidence of egg on the ground.

I stood up and put on my pondering face when I spotted the second egg a few feet away.  I found 3 eggshells in all, no egg contents, 2 more black feathers, no hawk feathers, and a highly edible mushroom.

The cross-country boy jogged past me for the second time.  I decided I'd dawdled long enough at the bottom of the steep hill I'd been dreading and resumed hiking.  The teenaged boy passed me again by the time I'd been up the hill around the loop and back to the murder scene.  The evidence was gone.

I only saw 4 people in the park.  Cross-country boy, woman jogger, creepy guy, and an old guy who was walking kind of lopsided.  None of them looked particularly murderous. 

I did discover what creepy guy was doing though.  He was gone when I got back to where I'd seen him, but I could see what he was looking at through the thin screen of trees -- high school girls in short shorts playing soccer.  You just can't trust some people, even with a yellow lab.  I called the cops and told them to keep an eye out for him.  I didn't mention the murder.

As if the various food items above weren't enough for this week's IF word, I finally finished my latest painting!!  Woo hoo!  YAY!!!  This one was a struggle mentally, emotionally, and artistically and I'm feeling the joy of accomplishment.  It even fits this week's prompt as it not only has an apple, it includes beer, sage, a pig, Pepsi, herbal vinegar, Blue Gill, and a filet knife.  Figure that all out as you see fit :)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

"Fear"

I looked up top 10 lists for fear and saw zombies.  Really?  How many zombies have you fended off recently?  How many spider or snake attacks?  Have you fallen off any tall buildings?  Did your plane go down?  Crazy people.  I'm kind of pleased that some of my fears about the environment and politicians have moved up on the list in the last year -- though quite displeased there are impelling reasons for those issues to move up the list.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to look at spiders either.  I just think it's unlikely one of them is going to kill me -- unlike my perfectly legitimate paranoia about ticks, which gets to the point of a lot of fears.  Ticks are foreign to me.  I'm afraid I don't know how to protect myself adequately.  The deer raiding my garden carry ticks, so it's a reasonable threat.  Ticks carry Lyme disease.  I don't want to catch that.  Kill deer.  Reverse climate change so ticks die in winter the way nature intended.  Vote all the climate change denying politicians out of office.

I'm willing to admit my tick paranoia might be a little overblown.  We don't have to kill all the deer, just the ones plaguing my neighborhood.  Give the deer birth control and napalm the places ticks lurk.  Maybe cull the herd and feed orphans venison.  I'm reasonable.  There might be a few action plans which I could buy into supporting.

The point is to actually look at our fears and figure out ways to address them.  Let's take fear of failure as an example.  If you're afraid to try something because you're afraid you'll fail, you've failed.  If you half-ass something because you're afraid, you've failed.  I understand dread of putting yourself fully into something and finding in the end that you didn't achieve what you wanted but that's the risks in achieving success.  You have to try or you certainly won't win.  Sometimes a failed effort leads to a better victory in something we didn't even know to look for before the attempt.

Okay, time for a smooth transition into ducks and fish...


Dark and gloomy lake full of ducks
The lake's spillway, which is the overflow for this human-made lake
I went to Pennsylvania this week.  It was dark and overcast.  Kids were in school.  To me, a perfect for a day trip to Linesville Spillway at Pymatuning Lake to look at carp.  This was my friend's idea.  I don't usually go out of my way to see carp, but apparently quite a few people do -- but not on my dark, overcast day.  You can see video of the reason why here.  That's a lot of fish.  They're really big too, like 3-4' long.


Close up of ugly carp mouth which was big enough to swallow your leg
We took country roads back to Ohio and stopped at the cheese factory where I bought a huge block of Swiss which I later broke up into smaller chunks and froze for later.  We ate lunch at the Amish restaurant and had comfort food.  We stopped at a produce stand where I bought pickling cukes and more.  I love this time of year for produce.  I was back home early enough to can plums, chop up peppers, and who knows what else.  It was a very nice day.  Who needs sunshine?  It just gives me migraines anyway.

I'm noticing that I like to paint apples lately, and each kind of apple has different meanings to me.  The apple above is a bit of my current painting, the part next to the post office box I showed you last week.  I've made progress on this piece and am starting to hope I'll be able to show you the finished painting soon.


Friday, September 7, 2018

"Anonymous"

When I give to charities, I prefer to give anonymously.  If I send a check with my info on it, I tell them to only contact me once or twice a year and don't sell my name and info.  Some charities are very good about this.  Some aren't.  The breast cancer people make me want to throw the phone out the window.  Stop robo calling me!

I understand quite a bit about charities since I used to be in charge of fundraising.  There's probably some karmic thing going on with the breast people because my work plagued so many others.  I'm sorry.  Please forgive me.  Please make the robo calls stop!

Charities make money selling your personal information.  Maybe you enjoy getting a lot of junk mail and robo calls.  98% of the rest of us don't.  If you want off the mailing lists, contact the charity and tell them to block you from future mailings.  If you send their mail back to them with that message, leave your info on it with the tracking number.  Some people like cutting this off or blacking it out with marker.  If the data entry people can't see who you are they can't take you off the list.

I have to admit that I really enjoyed some of the messages people wrote on their returned mail when I worked for Religion.  Let's call them, um, colorful.  Lots of cuss words sent to priests with quite a bit of damning in it too.  Some of the messages were really creative.  You've got to encourage creativity, right?  I also figure that quite a bit of that damning was earned by the pedophiles.

Better charities control how often they mail to people.  Like I said, I only want to get a solicitation once or twice a year.  If they don't honor my request I quit giving to them.  Some people only want to get mail on Mother's Day, but never Father's Day.  Whatever, if they have competent people and software they should be able to do this for you.  They should be able to block you from being sold to other charities too.

If you get unsolicited faxes, call the 800 number at the bottom of the ads.  You'll get an automated message to opt out of future ads.  Mark email ads as spam and delete without opening.  I never answer robo calls.  I have called the breast people to cease and desist.  It's been a little while since they've called.  Maybe it's finally over?

That's enough of my public service message.  I think IF is trying to make me talk about the NY Times anonymous editorial trashing the US White House.  I don't feel like weighing in on this because it feels like this is still a work in progress.  The bigger issue is the Supreme Court confirmation hearing going on.  I hope and pray that the result will be what's best for the people.

This post office box is part of my latest art therapy project.  It's a slooooow painting compared to the one I posted in August.  I guess I have more things to think about with it, but it's an artistic problem too.  I keep moving things around and trying to get a decent composition out of it without feeling satisfied.  I figure it takes as long as it takes and then I'm done with those issues once and for all.  I just wish I was already finished with them!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

"Wig"


I live near a lot of Jewish people, extra-concentrated back to Adam Jews where women shave their heads.  They wear wigs, often of human hair, which makes no sense to me on so many levels.  If God gave you the hair in the first place, why is God offended you have it?  I can ask the same question in regards to circumcision too, but I suspect I'm already getting myself in trouble.

There's a yeshiva, a rabbinical  seminary, at the end of my street.  Oddly, it's next to a Catholic seminary.  Cleveland, Ohio has one of largest Jewish populations in the US.  (Wikipedia info here)  Most of these people are unremarkable in the ways of let's say Mormons to Presbyterians.  Okay, you go to temple instead of church.  That's interesting, but it doesn't impact me unless I go to a wedding or funeral.  I keep mostly kosher because my grocery store is Jewish.  I'm told kosher meat is the result of better animal treatment so that makes me happier.

The Jews in my neighborhood stand out in the same kinds of ways as Amish people stand out.  They dress funny.  Amish women have crisp, white bonnets and Jews have those ugly wigs.  They keep to themselves and the mystery of it all makes me want to know what they're keeping from the rest of us.  On Fridays, the Jews walk in a long black line to temple.  Even that's a mystery because I don't know where they go.  It looks like they're walking to the grocery store.  There isn't a building with "Temple" written on it.

I go out of my way to start conversations with them, particularly with the women, but I keep to non-objectionable topics like "Nice day!", "Horrible weather!", "Cute baby!"  One of these days I'm going to break past the facade and get one of them to talk to me for real.  The kids are friendly enough but they're just kids.  I assume they haven't learned all the secrets yet.

I did a DNA test a while ago and found out I'm 2% Jewish (and less than 1% Asian).  It's beyond me where my ancestors found a Jewish Asian in colonial America, but it pleases me to have a little cultural diversity in my genes.  It doesn't give me any insight into my yeshiva neighbors, but it adds to my curiosity about them.

I think, what's the point of all this rambling?  Should I start over and say something else that's worth saying?  Then I think, maybe that is the whole point.  People are different.  We're curious about the differences.  We want to communicate and learn.  Well, quite a few of us do at any rate, but it's hard to have those conversations because there's so much history of wars, prejudices, and so on.  We fear talking because we don't want to offend, but when we don't talk we don't understand each other.  Too many talk about building walls instead.

I've been heavily bothered by the increase of racist activities in the news lately.  Seems to me the best way to get past those issues is to talk without the intention, but risking the possibility, of offending.  Hopefully the spirit of community can help us get past any inadvertent offenses and we all live happily ever after.  We should at least try.