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, July 11, 2020

"Wires", #inktober52, #inktober

I lamented to a couple of millennial friends a while back that their peers don't know how to do real basic things like cook an egg or change a light bulb.  My friends were unfazed.  One idly asked, "What do they do when a light bulb goes out?"  "They call an electrician or wait until somebody else comes over who knows what to do", I answered.  My friend shrugged his shoulders and said, "Problem solved then."  I wanted to scream.  No, what about the next bulb?  Why are they wasting money on electricians?!

It seems like I should've remembered my concerned outrage when my kitchen light started acting up.  Sometimes the pull chain worked, sometimes it didn't.  Sometimes I had to climb up on my sink and fiddle with it until the light went off.  When this happened often enough that I found myself swearing on a regular basis, I plugged in an inadequate lamp because I'm not calling an electrician for a stupid light.  I'm good at ignoring some problems.

I told a pal about this and he told me the light was an easy fix, the inexpensive part easily found at the home improvement store.  Okay.  I listened, but I didn't get the part.  I envisioned the store being filled with guys too tough to wear masks during our ever-increasing Covid-19 problem.  Besides, my friend thought this was an easy part to find, but he's a guy.  Those stores are designed for people like him.  They're intended to confuse people with ovaries.  I kept living with my inadequate lamp and washed dishes in daylight until my pal showed up with the part and a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Thanks!

I'll admit I was more drawn to the whiskey than the stupid switch, but I dutifully went to the basement and turned off the "kitchen" breaker.  This did not turn off the kitchen light.  I went back to the basement and tried another breaker.  Up the steps, down the steps, up, down, up, down... F it, I turned off the main switch.  The light finally went off along with every other electric thing I own, including my tetchy computer.  Arg.

I climbed onto the kitchen sink and balanced precariously next to the ceiling while dismantling the light fixture, fiberglass insulation wafting in my face and sticking to my sweaty face on one of the hottest days of the year.  My pal had said there were 3 wires inside.  He was wrong.  There were 5 or 6.  Despite this confusing turn of events, I successfully hooked up the new switch, muscled the light fixture back onto the ceiling, and turned the main breaker on again.  Then, there was light!

I put a long-life bulb in the light fixture.  It's my sincere hope I never have to mess with that light again.  I turn the light on and off for fun these days.  I wonder at myself for being willing to live with that inadequate lamp.  I worry about all those millennials living through Covid-19 seclusion in the dark with raw eggs.

Would you have called the electrician or do you ignore stuff like this?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

#inktober52, #inktober, "Eyes"

I've always been a fan of N. C. Wyeth.  I love his lusty, heroic illustrations and the books that went with them.  I wasn't a fan of his son, Andrew.  He seemed spoiled and sulky to me, self-important.  That's the problem with being alive at the same time as another artist.  I can judge them, not just their work.  When he died and his Helga paintings were discovered, I assumed he had an affair with her and was even more judgmental.  I didn't want to like evidence of something I consider wrong -- though as far as I know Helga never admitted to anything other than posing for him.  I watched a youtube video on Andrew and realized I do like his work, and probably would've liked him personally a lot better than his father.  Maybe I need to gain some maturity to get there?

Andrew Wyeth's Helga
What our eyes see is bent by the way our brains think.  We all make judgments despite the biblical admonition, "Judge not lest you be judged".*  Our critical minds make observations which help us get through life, but it's like eating apples.  One apple is good for us.  Too many apples give us a stomach ache.  One judgmental, critical observation may be true.  That doesn't mean all our other judgments and criticisms are true too.

The important thing is to be able to change our minds.  Changing my mind about Andrew Wyeth lets me look at his work in a new way which will change what or how I paint.  On a national level, I'm hoping people will change their minds about social distancing, wearing masks, and climate change (plus who they vote into office!).  Being able to change course is a sign of intelligence and humility.  None of us know everything.  I respect the people who learn and grow through their lives.

Something I didn't expect to discover during the Covid pandemic is that I like masks because they hide fake smiles.  A real smile crinkles a person's eyes.  An old person with a lot of smile crinkles is a good person.  I'd like to draw them.  I want to get to know them.  I want to know what they know, and how I might be still self-deluding myself or unfairly judging others.  Some day I want to be the old lady with the crinkled eyes whom a younger person wants to know because I'll have discovered the secrets to life and laughed through the journey.

The internet is full of false perfection.  We all want to look better, seem more successful, be happier than anyone else.  I see TV commercials about ointments that take away wrinkles and I don't think the people really look that much better.  Other ads promote airbrushing your skin issues away.  That isn't where true beauty is.  I think this makes people look plastic and unreal.  Nobody wants to paint someone that fake, and the best art can exaggerate the flaws we see in ourselves because that's the stuff that shows our character and makes us interesting.  People who love us will love us with our flaws anyway.

Observe, have an open mind, be willing to change course.  You'll do better at whatever you do and will be a much more beautiful person to be around too.

I did a post about drawing eyes.  You can see it here.  I also did a post about painting an eyeball.  I still think about painting a mess of these and putting them on the mantle.

*Matthew 7:1, and a sign that even the unwashed can quote scripture :)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

#inktober52, #inktober, "Half"

"Half" is an interesting word.  We learned in math class that half means 2 equal parts, but that's not what many people actually want.  They want more than equal, at least more than that person.  That's how they can know they're better than the person who got less.

We can't give away everything donated to the food giveaway as there might not be enough of something for everyone to get an item.  Old ladies will claw each other's eyes out if "She got a pineapple!  I want a pineapple!"  So sorry, that was the last one.  I could cut it in half so you each have some...  "NO!  I want that one!  So much for Solomon's solutions to problem resolution.  An old woman's greed means she gets less goodies but you can't tell her that.  And if I were to find another pineapple for the whiner 10 other women will screech they want pineapples too.  Nope.  No pineapples for anybody.  We'll give them to the shelter or compost them.  The old ladies are happy because they never knew we had any pineapples in the first place.

I think our desire for fairness is built into our DNA.  Monkeys scream like old ladies at a food giveaway if one monkey gets more treats than another.  Children identify equal with laser precision when it comes to cake.  Yet there are an awful lot of people who really think their half ought to be bigger.

I've always had a hard time understanding why some think they're losing if another gets something.  Someone else's success makes them feel bad, and the worst people try to sabotage that success.  It would be more sensible to learn from that person's achievement.  What did they do to bring about this happy result?  Apply that to your own situation so you'll succeed too.  If one artist sells a lot of paintings, that means there is an audience for your paintings, or books, or whatever it is you do.  Someone else's success builds a road for you to ride on.

Success isn't cake.  There's only so much cake.  Success is unlimited like love -- though I realize some people think if this person loves that one then that's love they aren't getting.  I can love a lot of people in different ways.  I don't have to center it all on one person for it to count.

I watched Jordan Klepper video of a woman at a Trump rally who said gay people wanted too much.  "You mean equal?" Jordan asked.  The woman agreed, yes, equal.  "And that's just too much?"  "Yeah."  Well, how do you argue with that?  Someone else told me gay marriage hurt her marriage.  "How?", I asked nicely.  She didn't have an answer.  She just felt like someone else having what she had meant what she had was devalued.

I'm not all kumbaya about this (though it would be superb if everyone loved everyone else and helped everyone else to succeed).  I'm just talking practical sense.  Take your half of what you're due.  Marriages work when the partners each feels they're getting their share of the benefits and the chores.  Good workers do their part and get raises and promotions in a healthy work environment.  Helping someone may come back to you at a later time by someone helping you.  Half a slice of cheesecake with a friend is wonderful.  Call it karma or whatever you like, equal can be great.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

#Inktober52, #inktober, "Lunar"

Luna Moths are named for the Roman moon goddess.  Wikipedia says they aren't rare, but are seldom seen because the adults are nocturnal and only live for 7-10 days.  They're big and catch your attention though.

I was pleasantly thinking about Luna Moths when my neighbor informed me he had a homeless guy with a vicious dog living in his yard.  Yeeks!  We spent some time with the cops, who didn't shoot anyone.  In fact, everyone was very polite, but then I live in suburbia.  The squatter was told to pack up his huge pile of belongings and get out or get cited for trespassing.  This obviously deterred my impulse to go looking for Luna Moths in the night and disrupted my peaceful thoughts about bugs.

I talked myself down from all this excitement and tried to get back to moths but a shot went off.  I was unwilling to go outside to see if anyone was dead, spending my time calculating the distance and wondering if a bullet could pierce my steel sided house.  It turned out the homeless guy refused to vacate and threatened someone with the giant, vicious dog.  The threatened man fired a warning shot.  That seemed to finally motivate the squatter to move his microwave and other appliances, a cockatoo, and who knows what else he had back there.

I again tried to fix my mind on moths, but thought about a crazy bumblebee I saw instead.  It was walking around in circles, nothing like usual bumblebee behavior.  A visit to Wikipedia informed me it was infected by a parasite which made the bee leave its hive and walk around in circles before dying.  This earns them the name "zombees".  The parasite lays its' eggs in the bee's abdomen and about a week later the pupae emerge from the throats and heads of the dead bees.  Oh yuck.

How is this my life?  I haven't bothered anybody.  I don't deserve zombees and homeless guys with vicious dogs!

At the same time, I'm not entirely surprised something happened in that yard.  A week or so ago, I called the cops on a couple who seemed to be scoping the property and who tore off as soon as they saw me watching them (twice).  I found an empty pack of cigarettes in my yard in an unlikely place.  I was on high alert, and quite aware others thought I was just a hysterical female to pacify and ignore -- but then I wasn't worried about the cops killing me so I should just sit down and shut up, right?  I'm feeling very sympathetic towards the people protesting police practices.

Watching a zombee walk around in circles may not seem important.  I rather doubt those parasites will breed in my abdomen, but just knowing stuff can be useful in unexpected ways.  An observant artist is a better artist as a general rule, and an informed person is more interesting.

My point is to notice things.  Trust your gut.  If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong.

I ran out of space to actually write about Luna Moths, but if you're interested you can see Wikipedia's info here.

Friday, June 12, 2020

#inktober52, #inktober, "Puppet", "Shell"

A doll is a puppet, right?  Well, close enough.  I've been working on my Barbie paintings and haven't had any close enough words for the week to share them.  This is obviously Equestrian Barbie.

This painting took forever and a day to create.  Okay, most of that was avoidance, but I think that's got to count into things too, right?  If only people paid me for thinking and avoiding!  I don't want to get into all my thoughts about why I struggled on this.  Let's zip straight to the insight I got after the battle with myself was won.  Some people bully their way through life and other people get injured.  We see the bullying and say, "You hit me and I feel hurt!".  It's much harder to recognize the problem when the injury is caused by inaction.  A lot of my sitting around thinking and procrastinating has been spent on this very simple idea (though Equestrian Barbie's sling has nothing to do with someone else injuring her).

I often find the world reflects something going on within myself.  I was thinking of how others' inaction caused me harm while US blacks have been loudly saying white people's inaction harms them.  I find this understandable.  I'm with them in spirit.  I don't want to actually go out and march because I don't want to be tear gassed, catch Covid-19, or deal with city parking, but I applaud on the sidelines.  I'm not alone.  Surveys show most Americans are sympathetic to black people's issues, and while quite a few people have joined the protests, most aren't actually marching.  Does our inaction injure their just cause?  On a personal level, have you spoken up when someone else needed you to speak up?

I can't deal with watching the video of George Floyd dying, but I've seen bits of it.  The cop doing the murdering is clearly doing an evil action.  The thing that I keep thinking about though is all the other cops who allowed it to happen.  George wouldn't have died if any one of those other cops had stopped it.  The system of protecting police misconduct allowed that cop to murder George.  The politicians that allow cops to self-police misconduct allowed the murder.  The apathy of voters to protecting blacks' rights allowed it.  Perhaps the biggest sin in all of this is the inaction.

I'm thinking of all this on the national level and in one-on-one interactions.  Be the pebble that knocks things out of the rut.  Do what you can.

I've been fighting migraines lately, so my apologies for dropping off the net.  Here's a shell for last week's word and a larger view of the Equestrian Barbie painting.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

#inktober52, #inktober, "Stranded"

I have a book problem.  The library has partially reopened but in order to get a book I have to know what I want for curbside pickup.  How am I supposed to know what books I want?  I like to wander through my favorite sections of the library until a book or subject jumps from the shelf and begs to be taken home with me.  Sometimes I wander through my less favorite sections and learn about something else entirely.  I need recommendations if any of you have suggestions.

In the meantime, I've been reading books I already have.  I've found a few I hadn't read before hiding on the shelves.  They've mostly been disappointments, past garage sale purchases that deserve to be forgotten or given to the library to sell to some other unsuspecting reader, but there's one unread book I've pushed around on the shelf many times.  I've moved it from one house to another.  I've started it multiple times because it was my dad's and he loved it.  I wanted to understand what he saw in it but I found it antiquated and tedious.  Every time I picked it up I put it down again within a few pages.  I'm determined this time.  Read it or get rid of it.

Erewhon was published in 1872 but I was confused by my copy which has a partial copyright of 1968.  I missed the "partial" in that and thought this was a more recent book which made me take offense at the white superiority in it.  Knowing its time doesn't make the racism okay, but it does help me take it in context while making me sympathetic to people burning things down in Minneapolis this week.

I'm only about halfway through Erewhon so I can't tell you if its contemplation of machines, society, and Darwinism has much merit.  So far, I hate the book as much as the previous times I've tried to read it.  Maybe I'll change my mind.  I doubt it.  Thankfully, it isn't very long.  I'm just reading about a racist blonde guy stranded in a fictional country while I'm stranded during Covid-19 seclusion.  According to Dad's philosophy of life, this will make me a better educated and interesting person.  I hope so.  I'd like to get something out of this experience.

Dad urged me to read the classics, and because I was similarly stranded in childhood by being stuck in the woods, I dutifully read what he had on the shelves.  I learned about Victorian men's ideas of romance while painlessly absorbing history.  I read the Bible a few times, Shakespeare, Dickens, Tarzan, nature field guides, crime investigation techniques, etc.  I'm pretty sure Dad purposely put some books on the shelf to further my education.  I also read the secret book in my parents' bedroom which I was very sure had nothing to do with what they did behind that closed door.  Hey, if you want to encourage me to read then you have to suffer the consequences!

A friend of mine told me her parents never read to her when she was a child.  I felt her pain and feel fortunate my dad read to me regularly and engagingly.  He made up funny voices and cuddled me.  Reading was a warm comfort and escape.  My friend learned to love books because her neighbor took time to read to her.  It doesn't have to be a parent who passes this love onto another.  I know many of you share my pleasure of books.  Let's spread that enjoyment to others.

Monday, May 25, 2020

#inktober52, #inktober, "Robot"

Bill Mumy used to buzz past my house very regularly in a very beat up VW bug.  He honked, he waved, I smiled and waved back.  My sister growled and slammed doors.  I thought Bill was romantic and determined.  Sis thought he was a long-haired, gangly, teenaged pest.  Oh well, teenagers do what teenagers do and apparently Bill and Sis weren't meant for a happily ever after together.  He got married in 1986 so I'm pretty sure he got over his unrequited love, or maybe it was just teenaged lust.  It's just one of those episodes of childhood that invariably makes me laugh.  I'm pretty sure Sis still gets irritated at the thought of it.

Years before this teenaged stalking, Sis sat on the floor with me in front of the TV and happily watched Bill as Will in "Lost in Space".  It was an admittedly lame show that was cheaply produced and inexplicably entertaining.  There was friendly robot who exclaimed, "Warning, warning, Will Robinson!" before they were attacked by aliens and everything got resolved in 20 minutes or so.  Wasn't even bad TV better when we were kids?

I think about today's robots taking away people's jobs and all the current uncertainties and think I could spend the day watching Lost in Space on youtube.  I'm not sure this is the best use of my life, but it would be a pleasant diversion since nobody has asked me to a Memorial Day picnic, not that I would go this year even if I were invited.  Whatever you're doing this year, please do it safely.

I've moved on from my ditch digging and started attacking my house.  I sat back in my easy chair and noticed the ceiling looked kind of dingy.  I spent a day washing it.  It's sparkly white again and I'm sore again.  I sat back in my easy chair and noticed piles of projects that never got finished (or started).  I moved my project materials to their proper homes.  On and on and I'm not finished thinking about other labor-intensive things I could do.  I think I'm just taking out my frustrations on my surroundings, but also getting some exercise.  Things look better so I feel better.

I'm never going to go full Marie Kondo or anything, but I have been asking myself why I have so much stuff.  I listened to a radio program this week which posed the questions, "Are you holding onto things because you're holding onto your past?  Are you ready to make space for new things to come into your life?"  Hmm...  I think I'm ready for something new.  Clearing space sounds like an excellent idea.  Maybe I'll paint the living room walls too.  On and on and on, there's no end to the stuff I could do.

Of course we haul our past around with us whether or not we keep reminders of it.  The only thing it took for me to remember Bill Mumy buzzing by my house was the word "Robot".  I don't need to keep every gift I received from every person I've cared about to remember them.  I used to, even gifts I wasn't all that crazy about in the first place.  It felt disloyal to throw them away.  I've gotten over that.  Mostly?

Anyway, I've got to get back to my projects.  Now that the ceiling looks great I've noticed the windows need washed.

Bill was adorable, wasn't he?  He kind of looked like Sis' son.
Maybe she should've returned his affections :)