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!

Monday, September 7, 2020

“Drill”, #inktober52, #inktober

I have been reminded of my blogging duties, especially as Mom said she thought I was dead or dying.  My apologies for dropping off the web this past month.  I kept trying to write a post, but I just couldn’t find the right words to say what I want to say.  I want to yell “Don is a bad boyfriend!”, and I’m pretty sure nobody wants to read my yelling.

Here’s the thing, I had a narcissistic husband.  I didn’t know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and I fell for many of his tricks.  Since then, I’ve studied NPD (beyond my friends’ patience and understanding).  I’m like an alcoholic who quit drinking with it.  I want everybody to see the light and know the things I’ve learned.  After I started my studies, Don became the US president.  This really made me want to educate everyone about the dangers he poses – except one of the realities about NPD is other people really don’t want to hear it.  Do you see my conundrum?

Most people know Don is a bad boyfriend.  He cheated on his mistress right after his wife gave birth to their son.  We all know he’s a racist and misogynist.  We know he’s out for himself and hangs out with criminals.  We know he breaks laws.  His base forgives everything even if they say they don’t like him either.

I blamed myself for a long time during the marriage and long after my divorce.  I knew I was miserable, why didn’t I leave sooner?  But I valued the marriage commitment.  Sometimes I believed his lies.  Maybe I’m too stubborn, or too optimistic.  I tried to work out our problems.  I didn’t understand he didn’t want to work them out.  He enjoyed fighting and making me miserable.  He twisted everything around so I didn’t know which way was up, and he felt entitled to do whatever he wanted to do.  Live with it.

This week it came out Don doesn’t respect soldiers wounded or killed in battle.  Nobody is really surprised by this, are they?  Life as we know it is threatened by climate change.  Don wants to drill for oil in one of the last undisturbed places in the world.  He doesn’t care about the planet, nature, or you.  Take away Social Security from old people too.  He doesn’t care about you.  He’ll leave all of us to clean up his messes and heal our broken hearts.

My ex would do something nice every now and then.  Okay, I like getting flowers or going out for dinner.  See, he loves me.  Doesn’t he?  I’ll keep trying to work things out… but then he didn’t come home or show me respect or whatever.  Don is just the same.  He’ll throw his base a bone like nominating judges or giving the wealthiest people a tax break.  He says that’s what you wanted so shut up.

His opponent, Joe Biden, is by all accounts a decent man with a lifetime of government experience.  He and his running mate, Kamala Harris, both have centrist, moderate goals.  For some people, that’s just not exciting enough.  They aren’t turned on by the good man even though he’d make a better partner.  They want the bad boy even if the bad boy punches them out once in a while and might end up killing all of us.

I don’t know how to convince anyone Don is a bad president.  200,000 Americans are dead from Covid-19 because he either didn’t act or encouraged risky behaviors.  His actions have resulted in most Americans saying they won’t get a vaccine when it’s available because they don’t trust how it’s been developed and rushed.  You know in your heart that if Don was a good leader we’d trust the vaccine.  We don’t.  He isn’t.  Please vote responsibly.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

"UFO", #inktober52, #inktober

There are definitely unidentified flying things in my yard.  I know this because they attacked me.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to live after the attack, but there was a bit of time when I was wondering if my rapidly swelling knee was a sign I’d developed a bee allergy.  I remembered a time when I was a kid when a neighbor boy got stung.  His arm swelled like a balloon before he was rushed to the hospital.  Maybe that’s why he quit playing at my house?

The summer people behind my yard kept bees.  A long row of stacked boxes were kept right along the property line, though they possessed an acre or two of land.  I suppose this was because we had gardens and apple trees.  Dad didn’t complain.  He wanted the pollinators.  The old man showed up once a year in his bee suit, armed with his smoker, and collected honey.  I liked watching him – from a distance.  I don’t remember him ever giving us any honey.  It didn’t seem fair.  There wouldn’t be any honey without our flowers.  Millions or trillions of bees buzzed through my childhood.  I learned to live peacefully with them. 

I took a walk in the park with a friend this week and told him about my childhood bees. I smugly repeated my childhood adage, “Don’t bug them, they won’t bug you.”  Obviously, I tempted fate.

Bro4 has repeatedly directed me to paint my shed.  I’ve repeatedly promised to get around to it.  Some day…  Okay, I finally started moving my pile of old logs so I could get to the shed walls. The logs were falling apart so I got a pitchfork and started tossing them into the yard waste bin.  I noticed a few bee-like things buzzing around, but mostly ignored them.  I noticed they were very fuzzy, a little smaller and darker than the usual honeybee.  I was a little curious, but I was a woman on a mission.  I was finally going to paint the shed.  After all, Bro4 added to my to do list when he dropped off a ladder.  Apparently my next job is to clean out my gutters.  I guess they aren’t supposed to have maple trees growing in them?

Anyway, my pitchfork snagged some weeds off a log and exposed a hive of monsters.  The monsters got upset.  I had a moment of surprise and the monsters took that moment to make a beeline to my tender flesh.  OW, ow, ow, ow, OW!!!  I guess I broke the bee rule.  I didn’t leave them alone and suffered the consequences.  It’s war.  They’re going to die!  Actually, it took me a while to start thinking about drawing battle lines.  I hobbled to the house and tried desperately to remember what to do about bee stings.

I haven’t been stung since I was a kid and I stepped on a rotten apple with a bare foot.  A very angry bee was inside.  I was stung between my little toes, which is a nasty place to hide a stinger.  I tried to remember what Mom did then.  I was pretty sure she plastered my toes with baking soda, or maybe it was meat tenderizer?  Lacking tenderizer, I slathered soda on my extremely painful elbow and knee – and then a spider bit me on my other arm!  Nature hates me this week.

My tender parts are back to normal looking.  I don’t hurt anymore, but I’m going a little crazy from itchiness.  Like I said, I’m pretty sure I’m going to survive this time.  Probably.  It’s too bad I don’t have a bee suit and a smoker because those monsters have to go!  Except?  I had another recent conversation with a beekeeper and said I sometimes think about keeping bees too.  I have space and bees are good for gardens and flowers.  I think I’ve accidentally gotten my wish.  Can I unwish something?

I tried to look up what kind of bees I've got, but I'm just not sure.  Anyone know about bees?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

“Sandy”, #inktober52, #inktober

My college roommate was from the east coast, which she thought was superior to Ohio.  She waxed on about the Atlantic Ocean which I’d never seen.  I got sick of her putting down my home and said Lake Erie was just like the ocean.  It looks limitless from the shore and has waves.  In fact, the lake is far better because it’s fresh water and doesn’t have human eating monsters in it.  One summer she visited the lake and I visited the ocean.  We both exclaimed, “You were so right!”  We both kept sand from our visits.  It was a good summer.

Grandchildren are visiting next door.  They’ve been there long enough for me to both get used to them and not long enough for me to get used to their screeching.  Why do kids have to scream so much?  The girl has found more screechers to play with and has progressed from the perfectly adorable little child she used to be into an occasionally sullen near-teen.  Before you know it, she’ll turn into one of the most evil people on the planet, an 8th grade girl.  It’s too bad we can’t keep them 9 years old forever.

I rejoiced when the grandmas filled the car with coolers and towels for an obvious trip to the beach.  I had a lovely, quiet day.  Towards evening, I found I was looking forward to the kids coming back.  The grandmas are boring neighbors.  The only entertainment they provide is a reason to complain about their lack of proper suburban lawn care.  The kids are like having a flock of butterflies flitting around, a pleasant diversion during my covid seclusion.  Their car pulled in and the shrieking recommenced.  I scratched out my butterfly comparison and thought about unoiled heavy machinery.

The weather has been extremely hot lately, yet it didn’t occur to me until now that I should go to the lake -- sand, sun, fun, and all that.  I like swimming and the rocking of the waves.  Then I thought, sand gets everywhere, I’m pigment impaired and will get sunburned, and it’s not like I can socialize while doing these things because of Covid-19.  I argued with myself to go to the beach in the evening – but the bugs come out in the evening.  I hate being a responsible adult.  I want to be a shrieking butterfly.

I find that when society shut down, I shut down.  I quit reading my daily horoscope.  What’s the point if I’m not actually out in the world?  Actually, I’m not sure there’s much of a point to the daily horoscope to begin with, but it was part of my daily routine.  I don’t go to the store.  I don’t even know why my attitude changed so much when my actual life didn’t really change other than seeing a friend seems to require a hazmat suit.  I just feel like I’m waiting out the pestilence while my brain tells me that there isn’t a quick solution to any of this.  In fact, everything is probably just going to get worse.  I think I’m having a childish reaction.  Make myself small and maybe it won’t see me.  I think I must not be the only one responding this way but I don’t hear of anyone else talking about it.  They complain about being stuck at home, but they don’t seem to share my feeling that time has stopped.

Ohio is in the medium range of US infection.  Nobody I know has it, but the disease is around, or so they say.  I don’t actually see evidence of it which makes this all feel surreal.  The governor says everyone has to wear a mask when they’re out, and I hope people comply, though I’ve seen too many act like jerks about it.  A lot of people also don’t seem to understand their nose has to be under the mask too.  Oh well, I tell myself the nicer people stand a better chance of surviving.

Sand in a timer doesn’t seem very “sandy”, but it is what I’d painted just before I saw the word for the week.  I think this is the last Barbie painting I’m going to do for a while though I’ve enjoyed painting them.  You may notice some of the elements in this piece were in previous paintings.  I was consolidating my thoughts from the other paintings.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

“Garden”, #inktober52, #inktober

I started writing this post about how the darned varmints keep eating my garden.  I got up to get another cup of tea and looked down from my kitchen window to see deer eating my gooseberries.  They’re shameless.  They don’t even seem to care about the gooseberry’s vicious thorns.  The twins camped out in my yard for 2 days.  They didn’t care about my loathing.  Sure, I had a few moments when I thought about how pretty and cute they are, but I collected myself and remembered to go back to hating them.  I fantasize about eating venison.

Okay, let’s switch topics and talk about something more pleasant.  I was at Mom’s house and commented on a framed collection of pictures by my great aunt Ila Rhea (Lee) Little that Mom had on the wall which I hadn’t seen before.  Mom said I could have it.  Whoopee!  I took it home and realized I don’t have enough wall space either.  I propped it up against the dining room wall and find Ila Rhea’s art makes me happy whenever I walk past it.  That’s got to be a sign of good art.

Size: 20" x 24"
This piece is very nicely and professionally framed so I didn’t want to take it apart to scan it.  The reflective glass and shadow box format made it hard to photograph.  That said, let me share Ila Rhea’s art from her college days, from 92 years ago…

I think I inherited that table
Obviously, studying my aunt’s work is much better than studying the devastation of my garden.  She was a lovely lady.  I imagine her decades of students were glad to have her as a teacher.  I wish she was still alive so I could ask her things it didn’t occur to me to ask about life and art when I had the chance.

Mom got upset with me the last time I posted some of Ila Rhea's work (which you can see here).  Mom said it was a violation of Ila Rhea’s privacy.  I said I thought Ila Rhea would be pleased people could see her art.  It’s a way for her to live on although she’s no longer with us.  How many years after you die is it okay for other people to blog about you?  I think I’d be happy if one of my nieces or nephews posted my work after I’m gone.  What do you think?

As an afterthought, I googled Ila Rhea's name and found this post about the school where she worked early in her teaching career.  Fascinating.  More stuff I wish I would've thought to ask her about.
The great lady herself :)

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.