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

Good designs sell – mine sell out!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Ruckus"

Turkey vultures (buzzards) came back this week.  I caught my breath when I saw one floating above the street.  Spring has truly come back to Ohio.  It's still cold, but not so cold you always have to have your winter coat zipped up.  The first flowers poked their heads out of the frozen ground.  The river runs free again.

I stepped outside at work and heard the little brown birds raising a ruckus.  They're fighting over nesting spots and best twigs for those nests.  A few crows live here all year, but their friends and relatives have come back.  They loudly gossip and get to know each other again.  They filled the maple tree with their evening discussions, cawing over each other about the latest gossip.

The winter tension dripped off my shoulders and melted at my feet, watering the crocuses.  I feel like I can breathe again.

I wish I had the money to be a snowbird because winter is hard for me.  I endure, that's all.  I don't want to hear perky people telling me to dress in layers or go skiing.  I am an angry, semi-hibernating bear in a cave.  If you come into that cave you may get swiped by my claws.

Then the sun comes out, the birds return, the flowers nod in the breeze and I am as pleasant as a puppy.  I went to the garage and reorganized the stuff my brother put in there 2 years ago.  I reorganized his stuff in the basement too.  I feel like I can breathe again.  I anticipate new projects, or maybe I'll keep up my nesting and reorganize my own stuff too.  My puppy and I will start taking our evening walks again.  I found my brother's bike in the garage and might start taking bike rides too.

Suddenly there isn't enough hours in the day for all the things I want to do.  My legs and back ache from all the sudden exercise, but it's a good ache because all my parts are moving again.  The hungry bear lumbers out of the cave and starts living again.  A squawking goose flew over my head and I heard summer.

When I was little, this was the time of year that I could start exploring my greater world again.  I saw the first snowdrops and studied them with intensity.  I looked at the things that are usually hidden by plants or snow.  An old cistern, tools dropped, things washed up in the flood could all occupy me for a minute, or an hour, or until it was time for supper.

I love spring, even when it comes in fits and starts with weather people hanging onto dire warning of more snow even when the sun is shining.  They can't fool me anymore.  I've seen robins and mourning doves.  Winter's back is broken and things are living again!

My brother has a second job cooking at Waffle House in the middle of the night.  He sculpted this butter bunny when he had some free time.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"Strong"

A boy I knew was on tv last night.  He stood in the middle of his flooded workshop and I wondered why I had never noticed how much he takes after his mother.  I was pleased by his acceptance and fatalism of spring floods and wondered how we got to be older than our parents.

I thought about the sound of his laughter as we fished and he ran down the slippery shale river bed, how he was rushed to the hospital when he got stung by a bee, the intensity of his blue eyes when we talked under the pine trees, warm memories of his artist dad's encouragements (whom I mentioned in my 2nd blog post ever here), his grandma, the fact that he was the only boy my dad actually encouraged me to play with...

He is undoubtedly unaware that I keep a warm spot in my heart for him.  I never said anything of this to him and we haven't talked for a long time.  We got on the school bus and sat with different kids.  He was oblivious to my teenaged pining as he looked at other girls.  Even so, I know there's part of him that keeps me in his heart too.  That's part of the thing about growing up in the sticks with very few kids around.  We are connected in the a way that's just a step away from siblings.  We know each other's beginnings.

When my dad died when I was a teenager, the importance of knowing someone who knew Dad mattered to me.  I got older, fewer and fewer people remembered him.  More important people in my life died, and even fewer people remembered them.  It felt like my life was flying away like dandelion fluff in the wind.

The friend of my youth lives in his parents' house.  They're gone now too.  Just down the road, my brother lives in our childhood home.  When the world changes and we miss the people who have died, there's security in knowing that some things stay the same.  Chris holds down a part of my reality by keeping his parents' house and wistfully looking at the mess in his workshop while shrugging his shoulders about the inevitability of spring floods.  Maybe I should tell him so?  But then I wonder if that's a lot more than he feels like shouldering when he's got a mess to clean up.  It just is.

The spring flood is something that connects us River Rats.  It's been a hard winter, and those of us who love the river have watched it and wondered when the moment would come.  We wondered how strong the water would roar past things we hold dear.  We all find a way to experience the flood in a soul-deep way. 

When people see the river in the summer, they say "it's such a pretty little creek".  They don't know the power that's hidden there until they see 15' of roaring water rushing past with huge slabs of ice and ancient trees caught in the torrent.  The ice jams the riverbed and the water oozes up.  The power of the silent water is even more alarming.  That's the stuff that really wrecks houses and sweeps things away.

The annual flood is catharsis.  It reminds us that Nature is stronger than anything human-made.  It sweeps things away, makes a mess, and the silt left behind is the fodder for new growth.  It's an end, but also a beginning.  Spring is around the corner with new opportunities!


Friday, March 6, 2015

"Path"

I had every intention of writing something inspirational about following our individual paths in life... and then I remembered "The Path", maybe because I had a moment in the grocery store today when I was appreciating male beauty in the guy ahead of me in line when he got carded?  It's either reminisce about the old days or start thinking of myself as a dirty old lady, and I don't think I'm ready for that yet.  Let's just all hope together that guy has a great date tonight.

Anyway, the land around my junior high and high school was surrounded by woods, with "Ridge Acres", a post-WWII  housing development behind that.  You know what those look like, kind of like the green houses in Monopoly, but this was Willoughby, Ohio so all the houses were white.  Maybe somebody would break out and paint their house beige, but you can always find a radical.  They probably immigrated from Euclid, and you know how those people are -- which you probably don't and I'm just teasing.

"The Path" was a paved strip for Ridge Acres "walkers" to get to school.  For us bus riders, it where we congregated and smoked, you know, cigarettes and stuff.  It was the 70s and we were oh so cool.  I'm glad I was still growing replacement brain cells at the time.

To show that as much as things change some things stay the same, my main priority was watching boys.  I had my favorites.  There was a trumpet player who kind of made me wish I hadn't given up my cornet or trombone or one of my many other stabs at music.  Another boy with long, dark, curly hair... well, I could go on.  I was very boy crazy.  My girlfriends didn't understand.  Even now I'm not sure if it was the aesthetics, smoke, fantasies, wishing, or hormones, and I definitely couldn't understand why my girlfriends weren't all a-twitter with me. 

My 2 best guy friends didn't seem pleased with my visual appreciations either.  Of course either of them could've propositioned me, but noooo.  I liked looking at them too, but nobody, I mean nobody, asked me out when I was in school.  My sister assured me this was because I was too tall and ugly, but I didn't think I was so ugly nobody would ask.  I pined, I looked, I giggled.

Looking back on it, I'm now quite sure teenaged boys are idiots and there probably were a few who simply lacked the nerve to ask.  I'm also pretty sure that some of them saw I was a train wreck and were too smart to ask.  Good girls didn't smoke on The Path.

I'd like to say I don't regret any of it, but maybe I do?  Did I really regrow my brain cells?  Was I a bad influence on other people?  It's hard to think of it regretfully though because I had a lot of fun on The Path.  I loved saying "hello" to everyone.  It was a happy place for me, full of laughter, camaraderie, and really cute boys.  Eventually I gave up on waiting for guys to ask me out and started asking them instead.

I took this blurry photo of a mural I painted in high school of the 4 seasons because Grandma said "Even though you think you'll never forget what it looks like, when you get old you'll be glad to have a photo".  Thanks Grandma!  Good advice.  The mural was Path smoke inspired, plus I thought it was a most excellent way to get excused from classes.  20 years after the fact I told the superintendent to get rid of it and have another kid paint a mural there instead.
.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"Reflection"

I think "reflection" should be an easy post for me, but I've been fighting it.  Maybe there are too many other things in my mind, or because I already did a post for "mirror" here.  I've decided to just repost that art instead of fighting the art plus the words.  I wish I'd painted it on something better than bond paper since it's kind of wrinkly.

I guess my struggle with this post is that I feel like venting about multiple people, but that goes against my general goal of keeping things pleasant here.  Do you really want to read my bitching about people you don't know?  I didn't think so, and I don't want to see a bitchy post in my records a year from now.  It's hard to write a post that reflects my higher nature while my baser self speaks loudest in my mind.

When I’m operating at my best, people around me reflect my optimism, energy, and enthusiasm.  When I’m at my worst, people are unwilling, angry, and stubborn.  It’s a big responsibility to be so powerful.  We’re all that powerful.  We all effect the people around us, and we're all effected by them.  I often think we're not much different than a hive of bees.  People just have wars instead of swarms, and often with less reason.

I had a girlfriend that brought out my best.  We danced, laughed, had in-depth conversations, and encouraged each other's creativity.  I felt more alive when we were together.  I thought it was all her because I wasn't like that without her.  She surprised me when she said she wasn't like that without me.  She moved to California and I felt like she took the best part of me with her.

We're lucky when we find someone like that in our lives, but somehow we've got to find those parts of ourselves with or without seeing our potentials reflected by someone else.  It's harder to do by ourselves sometimes, and worse yet when someone only brings out our worst.

We're all made of light and dark.  We all have the capacity to better the world or destroy it.  It can be in small ways or large.  I watched people watching my friend dancing and saw the smiles on their faces.  It wasn't just that my friend was pretty and sexy.  People shared her joy.  That's a gift.

I want to feel joy, and want to share it with others.  I want people to feel better because I spent time with them.  That gets so much harder to do when I'm feeling dragged down by other people's negativities and stupidities.  My self-reflection gets bogged down by it and I forget about striving for my best.  I've been escaping life every evening in Robin Hobb books (which I recommend if you like the fantasy genre).

Sometimes I have to weed out some of the people in my life.  It's painful because I'm loyal to a fault, even when that loyalty is detrimental.  Those losses give me time for people who are more supportive.  Sometimes I don't know whether to fix relationships or abandon them.  I suppose it all comes down to what we see about ourselves reflected in their eyes?

.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Metropolis"

I think "Metropolis" is Cleveland, Ohio.  Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman's creators, were from Cleveland so what other model would they use for the fictional city in DC Comics?  We're going to get statue of Superman by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soon so I think that makes it official.  Just ignore those people who refer to NYC and Toronto as the Metropolis model.  They're just jealous.

I don't actually live in the city and hardly ever go there.  I live in the next county over, but I drive past the city sometimes, and sometimes avail myself of the cultural ops there.  I hear they have sports teams too, but I can't be bothered with that kind of thing other than being kind of pleased that LeBron James moved back home.  Okay technically he's from Akron, but close enough.  I include Akron in my world.

I find I have next to nothing else to say about cities.  I'm a country girl after all.  If I had my way I think I'd live in the woods with my dog and look at the night sky without street lights obscuring the stars while crickets and frogs sing me to sleep every night.

I used to work in the city though, and strangely enough enjoyed it.  First in Playhouse Square and later a block from the epicenter of the city by Terminal Tower.  There is an energy to the city when all the professionals run around at lunchtime or frequent the bars, restaurants, and festivals when they get out of work.

I loved working with creative people, and sometimes I got fun jobs.  One of those was driving around the city and taking photos of local landmarks.  I used the photos as reference for b/w drawings which I mounted on foam core for Sherwin-Williams' Christmas tree.  I think I got paid $30 each.

Imagine my surprise when my drawing for Cleveland Playhouse became their logo.  I suppose it's fair to say that SW paid me so they could give my art to anybody they wanted, but I felt stung.  $30 is insufficient for logo design, and both SW and the Playhouse have enough money that they could've given me a bonus and credit.  I've been grumbling about this for a long time.  I checked their website and they seem to have changed their logo again so I guess I should give up my grumbling.

Nothing lasts forever, not even a logo, but it is the main image for a company or organization.  They should treat it as an important part of the face they present to the world, and by extension, value the person who designs it for them.  Value = $ in my mind.  Of course I might be a bit biased about this since designing logos was my bread and butter during especially lean times.

At some point I embraced all of "corporate identities" into my portfolio.  I can write awesome manuals showing how to keep a consistent, selling image.  I don't know why other people don't get excited about them.  I include diagrams and other visuals.

Anyway, the life of an artist often has some side routes.  I suppose that helps keep us interesting?  Or more accurately, keeps us from actually starving?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Sleep"

I had a dream when I was a kid.  I climbed a tree and turned into a hawk.  I looked out at the world from that high place and felt free.  I started flying, and another hawk joined me.  We spent a perfect summer day flying together and I loved him.  Eventually we went back to my tree but I didn't want to wake up or for him to go away.  He promised he'd find me when we grew up.  That dream gave me hope for a long time.

Flying dreams are the best, though I had a different kind of flying dream when I was married.  I was flying around with a friend and my husband wanted to join us.  I told him it's easy, come join us.  He kept jumping and trying but couldn't do it.  I suppose my subconscious was telling me he wasn't my hawk lover and the marriage wasn't right, but at the same time I felt so much joy in the flying.  Was my subconscious telling me to be true to my nature and find my own kind?

I value the information in dreams.  I wasn't ready to get divorced, but the message stayed with me.  I felt the inevitability of where the marriage was going.

Sometimes I wake up and write my dreams down.  Once, I got a pencil and paper and fell face first into my pillow, writing the dream left-handed in the dark as I fell asleep again.  That made for interesting reading in the morning, especially since I wrote several lines over each other.

...side trip into my dream folder.  I'm not sure what to make of "Chocolate fish hand.  Kind of pathetic, but sweet too."  Where did that come from?  My waking mind doesn't think stuff like this.  I don't think I'm creative enough awake to come up with a chocolate fish hand, but I think dreams exist to help us.  They give us a different way to look at things that we shove out of our day thoughts.

People long gone still haunt my dreams and effect my waking life.  I had a moment like that this week when people were talking about an 11 year old girl killing a baby.  That's horrible, and I remembered Vaughn.  He was a horrible boy who regularly threatened to kill me, kill my family, kill my dog and make me watch.  He left dead animals in my yard to emphasize the threats.

Vaughn has been in my dreams all my life even though he drove his car into a tree and died years ago.  When I have a Vaughn dream I know the fears I'm facing in the present are visceral, important.  The fear and rage I feel, but keep tightly clenched inside, hurts me.  Dreams provide the lesson that I have the power to do something about it.

We all have this -- the power to recognize our issues in our dreams, the power to face it, the strength to come up with solutions.  Our dreams are the product of our own minds.  We don't have to explain them to anyone else.  It is the most private of all aspects of our ourselves.  They are our joys and our fears.  They are us at the most essential level -- even if it's a chocolate fish hand, but mostly I like flying.

This eagle is ancient history.  I did it for a printer who wanted to show customers thermography, a heat process which makes a special powder turn into a glossy, embossed surface.  It's usually used on business cards.  This was printed as regular 4-color process, but the dark brown and white were added on top in thermography.  Even though I did this for a job, I think it's also a good example of how to get printed samples of your work.  Talk to a printer and maybe you can both end up with a sample to show potential customers.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

"Noise"

In a too small house with too many kids, my childhood was very noisy.  Fights over the bathroom, sisters' boundaries, parents shouting about chores, or whatever, I wanted them all to shut up.  Sometimes I wonder if my current hearing problems are because I shut them out too effectively.

It wasn't until I had my own place that I confronted silence.  I loved it -- for a few hours.  Then I couldn't stand it.  I turned on the tv first thing every morning and let it run all day.  It didn't matter if I actually sat down to watch it, I needed background noise. 

I was thinking about this while driving around in a world full of crazy drivers.  People on the radio talked about computer hacking, cheating, and lying to spouses about Nordstrom purchases.  It didn't occur to me to turn it off or switch the station until they threatened to inform me about buying and selling houses.  Quiet!!

When there's constant noise, we don't have to think our own thoughts, which is just as well because people are hard-wired towards discontent.  Or maybe I'm just wired that way.  If we're happy all the time then there's no reason to push ourselves to do anything different than what we're currently doing.  No progress, no growth, no creativity.

We build noise into our lives so we don't have to think about that because achieving stuff involves effort, and gee it's so much easier to lay on the couch and eat Tostitos.

I used to be good at quieting down and thinking about stuff.  Now it seems like all I do is obsessively think about my irritations.  I don't think that's going to get me anywhere good -- or maybe that's exactly what it takes to kick me off the couch and make my life better than it currently is?

The world isn't just out there to do things to us that creates situations we have to react to; we create our corner of the world.  If we spend all our time thinking about how we don't have enough money, then there will never be enough of it.  If we don't feel loved, then we aren't going to attract love.

Pick a topic, the same dynamic will still be true.  I'm thinking especially about someone I've dubbed "A2" who annoys me.  I expect him to annoy me, therefore he continues to do it.  I've played a part in this, and if I quiet myself enough to think about it all more consciously, just perhaps I can change the dynamic?  (Though I resent the fact that I have to be the grownup in this and other situations!)

Our thoughts create a constant chatter of noise in our minds and it's like the tv which is always on, but we aren't paying attention when our minds are impregnated with the desire to buy whitening toothpaste.  Our thoughts can run in endless loops of stuff that we fear instead of creating what we want.

I'm resolving to put more effort into turning off the noise and meditating.

Happy Valentine's Day!