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, February 18, 2017

"Stomp"

My friend gave me a riding lawn mower.  This is a very nice gift even though the mower didn't work, but Bro4 agreed to fix it, not to mention going to get it in his pickup truck.  Just putting the mower in the truck was entertaining as he backed his truck into a steep ditch, blocking the road horizontally, dropping the tail gate, and 3 people shoving said mower into truck.  Did I mention the mower had flat tires and it was a cold, slippery day?  Neighbor John told me later that he really enjoyed the show.

I got a new battery as the mower has been sitting in a shed for a few years.  Turn key.  Nothing, but Bro is great at fixing things.  It didn't take long before he found a pulse and gave it CPR.  Yippee!  Of course there was more fiddling and issues, but some open heart massage eventually kicked it back to life.  Thanks Korki and thanks Pete!

I was sent to the store with a shopping list where I definitely had an urge to stomp my foot at people with less pulse than the lawnmower.  The man stared dimly at his female coworker who was doing nothing.  "She's the one who knows how to look things up."  Okay, I reined in my impatience and stared at the woman staring into space too.  Eventually, a customer spoke to the woman and it became clear that she was helping him with something.  He went off again, she went back to staring into space.  More of my life ticked past as our triangle of passivity stretched my patience.

"Couldn't you get the air filter or something while we're waiting?" I asked.  The man said that he didn't know which air filter to get.  "It's the same as this one."  (Which is in the bag I've already shown you and which remains open an inch from your hand.)  He clearly had an internal struggle about taking this kind of initiative, but eventually got the air filter.  I suggested he get the rest of the things on the list.  He did, reluctantly, shuffling slowly, one item at a time, even though all of these items were in the same place.

The woman remained statuesque, not in any aesthetic sense, just in absolute immobility.  Eventually, eventually, the other customer came back and she eventually, (did I say "eventually"?) completed the other customer's order and her opaque stare turned to me.  I explained my need for a drive belt and showed the worn belt I'd brought with me.

"We need the mower information."  I pointed at the info written at the bottom of the list.  "We need the size of the mower deck."  I explained that the belt wasn't for the mower blades, just to lower the deck, but since she insisted on needing the size I called Bro and got the info.  She maintained she still needed the actual model number, but after a lot of insistence on my part, the man eventually shuffled off for a belt.  I compared it to the worn belt.  "They're not the same size."  "Yes, they are!"  Absolutely not.  I held the two together to show there was about a foot difference.  "Well, it's your fault for not having the model number.  We don't know anything..."  "Clearly!"

I didn't stomp my foot, but I wanted to.  I took my stuff and wasted more of my life essence in the check out line where there were only 2 customers ahead of me, but it took another 15 minutes.  I drove to another store to get the belt.  The store is missing.  After fruitlessly driving around, I discovered they moved the store.  But of course, it was closed by the time I found it.  I hate shopping.

This is unintentional art.  I've decided to retire a pair of my sweatpants and liked the paint smears on the thighs.  I scanned it thinking I might use it as a background for something.  Somehow paint-smeared sweatpants seems apropos for my foot-stomping day?

Unrelated to any of this, for those of the praying type, please remember Sue in your prayers.  She has health issues.

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Tea"

English medics used to give gut-shot soldiers tea when they were wounded.  It seems like a comforting thing to do, but it often killed the wounded soldiers.  Somehow, death by tea seems like a good way to go?  Probably not, but it does highlight the importance of tea.  After all, Americans started a revolution by throwing tea in Boston Harbor.


I did a blog search to see if I'd posted this art for 1800flowers before (not) and discovered I've mentioned tea a lot, most often as an aspect of companionship and/or contemplation.  Dad and I drank tea as we did our many projects.  My family drank gallons of it when we visited our grandparents.  Hasn't everyone sat on the front porch with iced tea in a Currier and Ives glass?

I've designed a lot of tins, but this is the only one I keep in my kitchen, appropriately stocked full of tea.  I got sidetracked while in the kitchen while taking the tin pic and took some pics of Grandma's every day china.  This set was made at Hall China where my Great Grandpa Winters worked.

I love this set of dishes, especially all the hidden roses.  I don't use them very often though because they're rimmed with gold.  That means no microwave or dishwasher.  I have a set of plain white Hall dishes for every day.  Somehow, I think we've lost something important with all our modern conveniences.

Grandpa's bowls for Chex and currants,
or mounded with ice cream
I survived my experience with the justice system this week, though testifying in court was stressful even though everyone was very nice.  Some jurists smiled encouragingly at me when I was on the stand.  I suppose my nerves were pretty obvious.  I didn't get cross-examined, so that was good.

Large serving dish has roses inside too
I couldn't sleep the night after testifying.  I kept going over what I said, what I should've said better, round and around and around in my mind.  I was just a character witness for my friend who died and her surviving husband (who is waiting for the outcome at the courthouse as I'm typing this).  Telling myself to stop obsessing didn't work, and neither did telling myself that I'd done my best and that was good enough.

Consomme bowl -- not that I ever have consomme, but
how cool is it to have bowls specifically for that?
The lawyer made me identify Toby in a photo he put up on a big screen.  She was life-size, smiling, and happy.  Once in a while I ignored everyone in the courtroom and just looked at her.  She wouldn't be judging my performance.  She'd be full of support and give me a hug.  Thinking of her warmth and friendship so apparent in the photo, I finally drifted asleep.

Multiple gravy boats, plus creamer, sugar, and a whole lot of other unnecessary pieces
Grandma's dishes are just something on the top shelf of the hardest to reach cupboard in the kitchen -- but when I'm particularly blue or sick, I get out a teacup and saucer and think of her love and laughter while sipping a cup of tea.  I bet that's the kind of thing the wounded British soldiers thought too while they were dying because it's not about the china, or the tea, or what exact words were spoken.  It's the feelings we carry with us of the people who may not be with us physically anymore, but who have written on our hearts and made us who we are.

Happy Valentine's Day!  Let's celebrate love in all its forms :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

"Up"

I used to spend a lot of time "up".  I climbed very, very tall pine trees and observed my empire with wind whistling in my ears.  Squirrels were far below me, and very few birds soared above.  I climbed as high as I could, the tree top swaying wildly in the wind.

God, that was nuts.  Pine trees are brittle, temperamental things, even for a small, skinny child.  I knew it was reckless, even before a branch broke under my foot and I slid 20-30 feet with my arms desperately wrapped around the tree trunk, my face pulverized by rough pine bark, and branches breaking and scraping every other part of my tender young self until I reached a branch solid enough to thunk me to a pelvis shattering stop.  Picking pine sap out of a scraped face can teach you a thing or two about safety.

I switched to a slightly sturdier blue spruce, a vantage point allowing better unobstructed views of people in my empire.  There was some kissing that wasn't exactly private.

I'm going to court this week as a character witness for my friend who is seeking justice for the school bus accident which killed his wife a couple of years ago.  I've had multiple lawyer conversations about wife/husband/their marriage, and my/her husband's loss.  The lawyer is pleasant, but I want to shove these pesky feelings aside and get on with life.

Even so, there's something about the structure of the questions that forces me to recognize exactly what I lost and what I still have.  Why was I friends with her, and why do I remain friends with him?  I laughed with him the other day.  Oh yeah, he's funny.  Add that to my list of stuff to say in court.  He showed up on time when we met for lunch.  Add "reliable" and "considerate".

Before the accident, the three of us used to get together for dinner, sometimes with another friend.  I took a great deal of pleasure observing their happy marriage.  They liked and loved each other.  How many of us are lucky enough to achieve that?  What could I learn about relationships from their excellent example?

Maybe my adult self isn't that much different from the childish voyeur?  I wanted, then and now, insights in how people make their relationships work.  Back in the day, we had a party line.  That's a phone line that has 2 or 3 homes connected to the same number.  I listened to the Taylor girl talk to her boyfriend with my hand over the receiver so they couldn't hear my breathing.  I was enthusiastic about their relationship.

See, I was never mean-spirited about my spying.  I wanted happy people.  I didn't really appreciate "invasion of privacy" until I was older.  And while I avidly watched chaste kissing, I was uncomfortable if there was fondling.  I wasn't that kind of voyeur.  I just enjoyed the love and romance of it all.  I was so innocent, I didn't even know anything came after kissing, hugs, and hand holding.

In the spirit of wishing others happiness, multiple people have told me they're stressed about US politics.  I'd suggest we limit how much news we watch, and do what we can to relax and enjoy life.  I'm going to go to a meeting this week to see what I can do in a practical way to stop/limit chaos.  Let me offer an American apology to Mexico, Canada, Australia, Muslims, Jews, and anybody else already, or soon to be, insulted.  Most of us still appreciate our friends.  Set us a good example, and some of us will learn about making relationships work.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Mischief"

Bro3 was the definition of "mischief" as he ran away from me to do exciting, fun, dangerous things and causing me a world of anxiety for his safety.  My puppy ran through the house with the end of the toilet paper, wrapping it around table legs and up steps until I could flatten him in a corner.  I have a lot of stories about Bro3 and that particular dog.  I'm still torn between exasperation and hilarity since neither of them actually died in their adventures.

Dog allowed me to leave the house for a limited amount of time.  If I was late, he took everything out of the refrigerator, including all those expired condiments I'd forgotten about, and arranged them all over the kitchen floor with the fridge door hanging wide open.  He sat in the middle of his plunder and gave me that look of "you deserve this for neglecting me".  I used baby locks, duct tape, and heavy furniture to keep him out of the fridge.  Nothing stopped him except my timely arrival.

Another time, the dog family was left in the fenced yard for the afternoon.  I came home to a rabbit head on my floor.  Ew.  Thankfully, I had a brother around for head removal while I checked out the rest of the house for the bunny's corpse.  It was laid out on my cedar chest, skinned and gutted, with icky slime oozing on the floor.  Hey Bro!  Would you mind taking this out too?  Yuck.  I cleaned it all up, and then wandered around saying, "this doesn't feel quite finished yet".  The cookbook, which had been inside the upper kitchen cupboard, was in the back yard.  The index was dog ripped to R stands for Rabbit.  That dog was so smart it's a good thing he didn't have opposable thumbs.

I don't suppose I have much of a point in all this other than to say we need "good" people keeping the world going round in predictable ways.  The mischievous make that world more fun (exasperating, anxious) and they give us stories.  I don't know what the proper proportion of good to mischievous should be, but I'm sure we need at least a few around.

We need raccoons too.  I'm not really sure why, but the world would be less interesting without them getting in garbage cans and fishing in decorative back yard ponds.  I spent a day this summer watching a coon family teasing my dog and trying to nab my fish.  The baby coons were just too adorable as they played in a weaving string of cuteness up and down and around trees, dropping sticks on my dog, barking at her barking.


Just doodles without much reason, but should "mischief" have reason?  I'm not talking about nasty mischief at any rate, just teasing play where nobody gets hurt.  But the more I think of doodles, the more I think that they're very important.  They're a meditation, sometimes give us an insight into ourselves, give us ideas for future projects.  I don't know that these will turn into anything other than what they are, but I can see making a raccoon like this out of cardboard.  Maybe waterproof it and put it by the pond to protect the fish?

Also, it's come to my attention that some people feel stressed when doodling because they're "not good at it".  Um?  You don't have to be good at it.  Nobody grades it or calls you incompetent, or if they do, get rid of those people.  Draw nonsense lines if that's what makes you feel happy.  Scribble with your eyes closed and see what happens.  Let a little mischief into your life.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

"Swirl"

My dreams have been busy lately.  Awake or asleep, My thoughts swirl around people I know and have known.  I yelled at a man 20 or 30 years ago, "Stupid, and damned proud of it!"  He laughed and cracked open another beer.  Apply his ways to my conundrums on a personal or national level, and it explains a lot, which isn't to say I like reality.

I overheard a couple of climate change deniers discussing their concerns about whether or not fruit trees will be confused by the weather which is in the 60s F in mid-January.  These women understand trees could bloom, and that winter may return and freeze the blossoms, but they don't believe human activities are a factor, even though they agree January has never been this warm.  They're only going to admit to a problem when apple prices go up, but really, not even then.  They never admit they were wrong.

Another woman said, "A lot of scientists say climate change isn't real."  I emailed her the NASA website which disproves that statement (without my personal commentary).  She said I should look at other "news" to get the other side of things and gave me a newspaper with an article trashing Joe Biden, none of which was true or current.

I feel like Michelle Obama at the 2017 inauguration and hoping that US democracy isn't swirling down the drain.

I do in fact read what the opposition has to say, and it worries me about a lot of things, but I'm also trying to feel optimistic that the structure of the US is strong enough to withstand its current challenges.  We've had some terrible presidents before and survived.  Well, some people survived.  A lot of people didn't.  But hey, I'm trying to be optimistic.  I'm even trying to get my head around the inevitable Pence presidency as if it isn't a calamity.  At least he isn't pathological (I hope).

This troll has been in my mind for the last year.  It may not be my most charitable creative effort, but it just had to exist.  I'm not talking about the model for it because he just gets stronger every time his name is mentioned like clapping for fairies in Peter Pan.

Enough of my political angst.  One of the reasons I started thinking of the beer drinker was as a character in my slightly dusted off novel.  I actually have a lot written, but only a small part is actually worth much.  It occurred to me that I need an actual plot and found this article helpful.  I've spent some days pondering about the goal of my story and how I'm going to get there.  My plot isn't entirely filled in, but I have made progress.

I've also thought a lot about why I stopped writing this novel.  My lack of plot made me feel adrift and I couldn't get centered.  I talked about this with someone who made a series of personal criticisms of me and my writing, which I consciously rejected, but which undermined my subconscious motivation.  I'm going to avoid people like that.

It's going to take a long time before I have something to show on this project, but I've made a commitment to myself to write something every day, even if what I write is bad at first.  Progress takes effort.  I'll try to keep that in mind as I watch politics too.

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Internet"

The power went out when I was sleeping the other day.  Harumpf.  I rolled over and went back to sleep.  1 1/2 hrs of extra sleep later, there still wasn't any power.  I thought I'd watch tv since I couldn't do my usual internet stuff.  Oh.  Yeah.  Well, my brain isn't the sharpest first thing in the morning.

Thankfully, it wasn't a real cold day.  I read a book while my puppy warmed my feet until the electric guys showed up.  I watched with interest as they maneuvered a cherry picker into my back yard and worked on my lines in a torrential down pour while I drank tea inside, counting my blessings I didn't have to fix electrical lines.

The power still didn't come on for hours.  I had computer withdrawal.  There's so many ways to waste time online, and I'm clearly not self-disciplined enough to stop getting my dopamine fixes.  The holidays are over, it's time to make a plan for the future.  Or a plan to get a plan?  Ooh, email!  Hmm, a documentary on Jeffrey Daumer.  I can make a plan tomorrow, right?

I used to toss a leaf on the water and observe where it went.  Another leaf at the same entry point would go somewhere else.  All the water was running in the same direction, but the leaves didn't follow the same path.  The Tao of Pooh, or maybe it was Te of Piglet, says to be like the leaf on the water.  Don't worry about other leaves.  Don't fight the current, floating is easy and takes you where you need to be.

In this context, making a plan is hard for me right now.  I'm afraid if I don't get one together soon, bad things will result, or good things will be delayed.  Yet, the distractions in life are also the journey.  Educational videos online help me sort my thoughts and discard some baggage.  Emails are helpful and/or supportive.  Maybe the best possible use of my time is what feels good to do right now?

I pulled a muscle in my arm.  I re-injured it because I overdid it again.  Maybe my arm would be better by now if I just sit down and chill a while?  But no, I slipped on the last basement step, spraining my ankle and foot.  I figure the power outage was the universe forcing me to take it easy.  I've finally decided to cooperate with the master plan.

I have ideas for the future, but I've been fighting with myself about what I'm going to do.  Some of these ideas will take a long time to complete and require research, but I want to make money now!  So, will I waste time fighting myself, or just do what my heart wants to do?  I betcha I'm not the only one having this kind of internal dialogue.

I got an email from a friend who is "working towards independence".  If I know this guy, his independence will turn  out great because he's driven.  He didn't detail what he's doing, but I can picture it.  I feel enthusiastic for him.  That enthusiasm for him makes me feel more motion within myself for my undefined goals.  See, the internet isn't a waste of time (entirely), it's just a rock in the river bumping me in a new direction.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"Sound"

I've been working on my throat chakra which is associated with verbal expression, speaking our truth.  To clear our throats, we're to speak, shout, hum... sing.

I damaged my singing voice years ago, yelling at an unruly kid when I was substitute teaching.  Something tore inside.  Recently, a singer on tv described a similar injury.  She exercised her throat, starting gently and working her way up to full throttle.  I thought, "I can do that!"  So, I've been singing.  It hasn't been perfect, but it's getting better.  My dog looks less worried anyway.

From the musical Grease, I softly sang Rizzo's flirtations, but I belted out the last verse with full volume and accuracy.

I could hurt someone like me, out of spite or jealousy... I can feel and I can cry, a fact I'll bet you never knew, but to cry in front of you, that's the worst thing I could do.

I can do Cat Stevens' "Father and Son" pretty well too.  Apparently I sing feelings.

All the times that I've cried, keeping all the things I knew inside.  It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it.  If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them they know not me.  Now there's a way, and I know that I have to go away.

No doubt my throat chakra is messed up because I kept my mouth shut working for The Church, where intelligent, informed women aren't appreciated.  To prove this, they hired a completely incompetent man and demanded I teach Skippy how to do said job.  Perhaps you know me well enough by now to guess how I reacted?  They tossed in bullying and sexual harassment just to make sure I got the full Catholic experience.

Before you ask, they're allowed to bully employees.  While Skippy is younger than me, he's over 40 so the age discrimination rights are weak.  While multiple lawyers told me I have a case for the sexual harassment (which I documented and reported), they said the Catholic church is a well-oiled, armored machine to combat lawsuits.  (Ex. decades of unprosecuted pedophilia cases.)  AND, they're exempt from paying Unemployment benefits.  I've thought of clearing my throat chakra by screaming.

The top priest said he'd write me a letter of recommendation because I'm a conscientious worker.  "We're just going in a different direction" -- which is the opposite of the BS they promised when they hired Skippy.  In case you didn't know, priests lie.  A lot.

You may have noticed there was some time I skipped blogging in 2016.  Now you know why.  I hung onto the job for a while during and after this blackout, but I wasn't ready to talk about it through the limping, conflicted end.  I also really didn't want to blast everyone with my rage -- especially when all of this too neatly coincided with Trump and his followers' sexism.  2016 sucked.  Yay for 2017?  Oh, right, Trump won.  Fffff...

Onto the future.  My liberation may work in the convoluted way of the universe?  I'm looking forward to creative projects truer to my nature and beliefs.  The lawyers say I can talk about The Church as much as I'd like as long as it's true.  OMG that's a lot of material to work with!  It's the prize for allowing myself to be stifled for a paycheck.  I have a scathing book idea :)

In a nutshell, it sucks, I'm glad to be free of it, I have enough savings to get by for while as I figure out what to do with myself, and I partly wonder if I brought this on myself by envying my college pal's free and creative lifestyle?  Ask and you shall receive -- but be careful what you wish for!

I did this art my first year of blogging in 2010.  It seems like a long time ago, but also kind of like hitting restart in more ways than one.