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, May 16, 2015

"Pet"

The family had a dog when I was little.  She loved me, I loved her, and that's pretty much the way it is with dogs.  She was a rather smelly little dog to tell the truth because she spent most of her time in the river and woods and lived outside, but I didn't care too much.  Her little heart was full to bursting with unconditional love, the only problem with that is she unconditionally loved others too.  I wanted a pet all of my own.

I collected animals.  I tried to save motherless birds, caught critters in the woods, netted fish... but none of them gave me the love I craved.  Wild animals stay wild even if you contain them.  Sure, the fish in my fish tank perked up when I showed up, but they might've just been hungry.

Dad had a big fish tank with tropical fish.  I enjoyed the bright fish but they were Dad's, and quite frankly, not as smart as my river fish.  Even so, I enjoyed going to the fish store to look at the exotics.  One day Dad said I could pick the fish we'd take home.  Now I'm not stupid, even though I was a pretty small little kid at that time.  I could pick something out, but unless it was something Dad felt like buying we weren't going to get it.

I picked a turtle.

If you're old enough, you'll remember the little green turtles they used to sell.  They don't sell them any more because they carry salmonella.  Damned shame.  They're adorable, and when I made eye contact through the glass it was love at first sight for both of us.

I tugged and pulled at Dad and showed him my heart's desire.  He wavered.  I could tell he was tempted to give in to me.  Mom made it quite clear that turtles weren't fish.  She can be just plain wrong-headed about pets, but I am nothing if not single-minded sometimes.  I wanted the turtle.  I needed the turtle.  The turtle wanted and needed me.

First real victory of my life was cradling my Chinese food container with said turtle looking up at me on the ride home.  Love.  It cradled my finger with its gentle claws.

Yeah, yeah, yeah parental instructions about food, water, all your responsibility, don't blame us if it dies... blah, blah, blah.  I already fed and watered the dog every day for my nickel/week allowance.  I understood daily care.  More than that, I needed someone to care for, and the turtle allowed me to pour my love into it.

I hunted for my turtle every day.  I gave it worms, grubs, minnow, and berries.  We took walks together.  It basked on my forehead.  I kissed it on the mouth and didn't die of salmonella.  It was the best loved turtle ever, and I gave it the best life a captured turtle can live.  I cried at the compost pile funeral years later.

That little green turtle will always be a part of my heart.  Maybe all of my turtle art is a tribute to it.  This piece is cut paper and hangs on my wall where I can see it every day.

Thank you to everyone who sent out good wishes and prayers for Danny.  He is recovering, and is doing so well they sent him home.  I was focused on my concerns for him when I was shaken this week by the sudden death my brother's life-long friend.  You can see Gary's obit hereI can't express how sorry I am for everyone who loved him.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

"Triangle"

I was about 6 or 7 and ironing my Brownie uniform when I reached across the blazing hot iron to reposition the fabric.  Pssssizzzzle and some serious pain.  I was left with a burn on my forearm that blistered, and eventually healed, but a triangular scar marked the event forever.

Or so I thought.  Every decade or so I noticed it seemed a little fainter and was slowly working its way down towards my wrist.  Eventually it disappeared.  I almost felt sad it disappeared.  The scar was part of my identity and physical justification of my Mom grudge for not ironing things for me.  I guess I got over it in more ways than one.

A few weeks ago I discussed forgiveness with a friend.  He said forgiving is bullsh*t, and suggested working on acceptance instead.  That feels right in ways "forgiveness" does not.  We can accept all sorts of things happen in the world.  From genocides to rumpled uniforms, I accept those things happened.  Doesn't make them right, or equal, but they did happen -- and this idea helps me feel more at peace.

I've been called "unforgiving" too many times to count.  I feel like saying "judge not lest ye be judged", but I suppose on a good day this unwanted advice might be intended to be helpful.  It isn't, but they might mean well.  On a bad day it's a perpetrator telling me to "get over it" because he/she doesn't want to deal with my messy feelings.

The friend advising acceptance spoke from his personal struggles, and that makes his advice more valid to me because he's trying to rectify things in his head too.  We support each other in the journey.  Maybe we'll both get to a place where we feel entirely at peace with the world and our experiences?  Hey, it's a goal at any rate.

Danny is doing much better than he was last week.  He gave us quite a scare, but he's been transferred to a regular room and his blood count is much better.  Thanks to all who sent out good wishes for him.  Hopefully he's on the road to recovery.

I've been sick and crabby most of the week, which in no way compares to the life and death struggle Danny has been faced with.  Hack, hack, cough, yuck.  I suppose I could look at the bright side of it and be grateful for the down time to contemplate complex thoughts like acceptance?  Or vociferously complain that I was hit with this pestilence?  I guess I should work on grace with acceptance.

My triangle art is the back side of a game board I made.  It hangs in my living room with this side facing out.  It was hard to get a decent photo of it since the colors are subtle and the gloss goes in different directions making the light hit it in all sorts of crazy ways.  I guess it falls into the category of never meant much by it, but it pleases me to look at it.  Doing geometric things like this is calming to me, like painting a mandala.


For the record, the Brownie isn't me.  I don't think I was ever this well-pressed, but I did have white gloves!  The Boynton cartoon is my friend John's contribution for "triangle" :)


Saturday, May 2, 2015

"Wiggle"

I took a vacation day Friday.  That's the first vacation day I've taken in 2015, so of course I ended up on the couch, hacking, coughing, sneezing, aching, and sweating a fever.  This has all made me less than generous with the rest of humanity because you know some person out there was a carrier for this pestilence.  You can't trust anybody.

I want to write an uplifting post, but it's hard to do when I'm feeling pitiful.  I started writing of a morbid bluegill incident.  Hardly uplifting.  Try again.  Sleeping with my sister at Grandma's house?  Sis punched me for straying to her side of the bed.  There's the amusing side story of Sis listening outside Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom doing a play-by-play of them rastling in there, but I didn't understand the first thing about it.  I was just glad that they still played at their age, and innocent voyeurism isn't really a whole post.

I talked with another friend who is enthused about a book she's been reading about organizing time for creativity.  That's exactly her kind of book, but I doubt it's something I'd ever read.  I think if you want to have time to create, you have to set it as a priority.  That's it.  Laundry, children, whatever has to get put to the back of the line for a while.

I talked about jobs I've had and how working makes idealism and perfectionism into luxuries.  There's deadlines to meet.  Just do what you can in the time that you have.  Get paid.  Move onto the next project.  Sooner or later you'll do stuff that makes you proud and all that experience starts making all of your efforts better.

I guess I've been thinking about relationships the same way lately.  Too often the relationships that get the most attention are the troublesome ones, and that means there's no time for more fulfilling relationships.  We prevent ourselves from learning from good relationships if we're stuck in bad ones.  Priorities need re-evaluated.

There will never be enough time to do everything, and to do everything well.  What matters most?  Who matters most?

When I was a kid I felt bad when my shovel in the garden cut a worm in half.  Sis told me that just made 2 worms, each complete in their wormness.  I decided to make more worms and purposely cut them in half with no idea that I'd launched a worm genocide.

How many beliefs have we been taught that simply aren't true?  How do those fallacies effect our creativity or our relationships?

Part of my brooding this week is because Danny is fighting cancer.  He developed a lung infection and is dire condition since the doctors wiped out his resistance with the latest chemotherapy.  He's one of the nicest people you could ever meet and is only 26 years old.  Prayers and good wishes appreciated.

Kind of puts my crabbiness about the flu into perspective.  We all have limited time.  Make the most of what you get.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Tense"

I'm too familiar with this word for the week.  I came home from work the other day feeling like I had worked a month of Mondays and felt like I had to unclamp every muscle in my body in order to sit down and pet the dog.

Since out there is stressful, I've been improving my habitat lately and decided to get new living room curtains.  I wanted a floral, white and green and summery.  It seemed so obviously attainable, it didn't occur to me that stores wouldn't have them.  In the end I bought a paisley, but the tops weren't right, and the length was too long.  I dragged out the sewing machine.

I made the curtains what I wanted them to be, which involved all sorts of things that I don't do: ironing, pinning, sewing... and the curtains turned out to be a lot like the old ones, but I'm happier.

I made Sculpey flowers and pinned them on, and put Grandpa's bells on the tie-back.  I ran Sculpey through a pasta machine and made feathers too.  (Not to be confused with my previous Sculpey feathers.)  It's a whole lot of nothing for nothing, and the kind of thing I get into.  It's my world, my space, and I can do whatever I want in it -- and sometimes that's really necessary when the world makes me too tense to pet the dog.

I've been continuing with my linoleum blocks too.  This sun was just fun for fun.  I don't have any plans for it.  Some day I'll be tired of looking at Sculpey flowers and feathers and they'll go to the basement.  I don't know if anyone else will ever want them, and the bother of trying to sell them takes away from my fun in creation.  Sometimes I wonder if my relatives will throw all of it away when I die, and what's the point of any of it.  Sometimes I can go too far into the whole existential philosophy of why bother with anything at all?  Maybe I should mention that I went to another funeral this week.  That kind of thing spurs existential angst.

I told my brother the word for the week is "tense".  He drew tents in a military encampment.  I observed that his tiny 1 1/2" drawing didn't really show the tents well enough so he provided the enlargement detail.

Making stuff is one of the ways I deal with life.  Some people cook, knit, or make furniture in the garage.  It's good to bring something new into the world.  I know other coping skills too, like watching ripples on the river or waves in the ocean, meditating, reading, tv, planting something in the garden.  Whatever feels good to us is what we should do unless it goes against someone else's happiness.

Sometimes we all get to the point where we feel like lashing out and taking our frustrations out on someone else.  It's better to make stuff and think out better solutions to our problems.  Sometimes I need to remind myself of that and pet the dog.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Window"

Congrats to Melissa at anthemsweet.com!  She won the flower print I made and colored with pencil.  Thanks everybody for playing :)  Visit her blog here to see her art and the art that inspires her (and me too).

You never know, I might even color some more of the prints, but the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there's so many things I feel like doing now that Ohio is turning into the beautiful place that makes me glad to call it home -- but if anybody wants to give me a lot of money I'd be even happier to become a snowbird and winter someplace warmer.

The greatest joy lately is being able to open my windows and let new air into my world, but mostly I've been outside whenever possible and doing yard stuff that hasn't been done sufficiently in quite a while and cleaning inside the house when the weather is less cooperative.  Working gets in my way of doing things, and piling up sticks and mucking out the pond is important.  It gives me time to think, and I don't think I've had enough space to do that for quite a while.

The problem with all this thinking is that my moods are fluctuating all over the place.  Sometimes I just want to feel the breeze and be a flower, thinking flower thoughts and feeling a fuzzy bee walking on my face.  Why do people have to think more than that?  Let alone obsessively thinking about stuff without finding a resolution.  I haven't mastered being a flower yet.  I look at my windows and think about washing them.  Flowers never think about that.

I posted this drawing of my window a few years ago, but it fits this week's word too perfectly not to post it again, especially when there's so much spring stuff to do!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Soft"

Don't you just hate it when Illustration Friday doesn't give a new word for the week?  Not to be deterred, I posted this as a continuation from last week's post about putting flowers on the fallen soldiers in childhood battles.  I'm not really sure how this plays with "soft", but I wasn't the one missing deadlines.

Giveaway!!!

Win a linoprint of this flower by leaving a comment.  If you "follow" my blog by joining my site (see right column), I'll give you 2 chances to win.  If you're already a follower, just remind me and I'll give you 2 tries too.

It's hard for me to believe I've been blogging for 5 years!  I certainly didn't think I had that much to write about, and if anyone would've told me how much art has to happen in 5 years of posts I probably would never have started.  It's been a blast and I've really enjoyed getting to know so many of you and seeing your blogs in return.  You're the ones who've made it fun and kept me motivated to keep writing and creating.  THANKS!!!

I'm pleased with myself that I carved this linoleum and all my blood stayed inside.  Nobody really appreciates the pain of my earlier carving attempts.

When I was a kid, I carved blocks of brown laundry soap into sculptures...  Okay, I carved blocks of soap mostly into turtles.  Dad would give me a jackknife and I'd happily carve away until the blood started.  Mom would take the knife away.  This happened a lot.  My dexterity didn't match my artistic vision, and I had big dreams.

You'd think that either me or Dad would get smarter about all this, but some say that children need a routine.  Actually, Mom said that a lot so you'd think she'd understand the importance of soap turtles in nurturing creativity.  After all, she's the one who kept buying the Fels Naptha -- though now that I'm thinking of it, she may have started buying soap so I'd quit carving harder things like sticks, firewood, and rocks?

You might think I'm kidding about the rocks, but I'm not.  Sandstone and soft shale by the river seemed carve-able.  I could incise lines into it at any rate, and I could hone my knife on the stone.  That made my knife really good at slicing into my childish self.

Repeated carving lessons from Dad about always cutting away from myself were a waste of time.  At some point I would be too focused on my creative vision to think about safety.  At least I never put lead white coated paint brushes in my mouth, and doctors are really good at stitching up cuts.

Anyway, back to the linocut... I carved the linoleum then printed the image in blue on acid-free yellow paper.  Then I got out my Prismacolors and colored details.  I had fun coloring and may do some more in my tv time at night.  I like it blue on blue without the pencil too.  If you win, let me know which way you prefer it.  You never know, I might color a blue on blue version too depending on my tv time.

I got some more linoleum blocks at the store when I bought the blue ink.  Who knows what else I might carve?  Maybe turtles.

Remember to follow and leave a comment for 2 chances to win!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"Warrior"

The boys in my neighborhood were a war-like group.  They made weapons and forts and had battle plans with shifting allegiances.  Ever the pacifist, I left flowers in their forts.

Someone recently made the assumption that I was a tomboy.  I was certainly told that I was at the time, but I don't know if it was true.  I climbed a lot of trees and resented then, and still resent, pink marketing.  Sitting still and watching fingernail polish dry in a cloud of noxious fumes reminds me of Chinese foot binding as a way of debilitating female brilliance and achievement.

I respect the true warriors of the world like Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Warren, Mother Therese... people who see a problem and do what they can to fix it.  Their gender isn't a gauge of their competence, although perhaps it is critical in how they approach the problems they tackle(d)?

"Boys will be boys" will always be true.  They'll build their forts and kill each other in mock battles.  The "dead" smiled at me when I put flowers on their chests.  We were all true to our natures on the battlefield, and one boy gently tucked his flower in his shirt pocket when the dead resurrected to head off for more of their boyish activities.

It's always a fight to be ourselves as long as we live around other people.  It isn't just gender roles.  Other people want us to behave in ways that make them the most comfortable.  Their pressures can be subtle or oppressive, and it can be a challenge to live our fullest lives.

I think this is especially important for creative people, whatever their specialty.  On the tv show "The Voice", it's often said that technical ability isn't the be all end all.  The singing contestants need to share themselves and their feelings in order for the audience to be with them.  Watching them struggle with fears about opening up reminds me that this is something we all need to do, and to be receptive to others when they do it.

Why was/is it necessary to define whether or not I was a tomboy?  Why did other people feel justified in voicing their labels to a child?  My goal, then and now, is simply to live my life as well as I can live it with as much of myself intact.

And while a sword drawing seems out of whack for a self-affirmed pacifist, it's unapologetically a part of me.  I'm my own kind of warrior who wants a pretty handle on an impractical weapon that's suggestive of an idea -- and that kind of idea and statement is me.  I'm kind of tempted to draw a lot of flowers in the background now too, which gives me the push/pull of OCD perfectionism and laziness -- which is also me, but at least that's all within myself without pressure from anyone else.  That is absolute freedom.

I posted this sword in my 4th blog post ever which you can see here.  It's hard to believe it's been 5 years!  As a thanks to all of you who've shared my journey I'm thinking of doing a giveaway next week, so make sure to come back then.  Course it also depends on whether or not my current project(s) with linoleum blocks work out the way I'd like, but it's a goal :)
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