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!

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 voice 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?

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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!

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Jagged"

I had breakfast with a friend this morning.  I told her the word for the week was "jagged" and she talked about the candle holder I gave her some years ago which is now in her china cabinet.  I was scratching my head about this, trying to remember it while she wondered aloud about how I can consider myself strictly 2D when I make so many 3D things.

"Yeah, but the candle holder is just four 2D sides that I stuck together."  She gave me one of those endearing, exasperated looks and rattled off a bunch of other examples of 3D stuff I've made.  Okay, maybe she's got a point, especially since I've been obsessively making Sculpey flowers lately, and I did make the deer hide drum in the photo behind the candle holder.  (Skinned, butchered, cooked, and ate that deer for that matter.)

I don't take any of my 3D stuff very seriously, and I guess that's the point.  I started doing stained glass because I hired someone to teach stained glass classes when I was Arts Administration Director for Wickliffe Civic Center (WICCI).  Mom and I thought that might be fun, so we signed up together.  While breathing lead fumes and burning my fingers on "real" projects, I ended up making a lot of jagged shards of pretty glass.  Since I didn't want them to go to waste, voilĂ , candle holder.

But I don't think of myself as very good at these kinds of things.  It's just the stuff I do in between "real" paintings, often things I do obsessively like Sculpey flowers.  More shards of stained glass live next to the Sculpey in the closet.  I wonder what else might be in there?  Loops for making pot holders for sure, and a bead loom...

(...time out to rummage through closets... candle making, leather crafts, embroidery, yarn, beads... a lot of rivets, fabric, buttons...)

Okay, okay, maybe I do make some 3D things?  But I stick to my original premise that I approach these things in a 2D way -- which must be untrue since now I'm looking at some metal circles that might improve my Sculpey atom and some glass beads I could string on fishing line...

On top of all that, now I also have a big pile of stuff on my floor that seems to distress my puppy.  I suppose she knows a new pile of stuff means more obsessive craft projects and less petting and cuddling, but I think my brother might get a new leather wallet unless he's wants to stick with his latest duct tape creation.  Maybe I should take a time out and get some new duct tape in snazzy patterns?

Sometimes non-artists seem interested in how artists think.  I can't speak for all of us, but I think a lot of us follow some variation of the above?  My friend makes a comment, and now I have piles of weekend projects with which to amuse myself.  Maybe I said something that inspires a pile on her floor too?  Maybe just my laughing at her when she talked about shelving her creative aspirations?

See, we can't turn it off.  Creativity is a part of us.  Sometimes a messy part with periodic disappointments and misdirections and changes of plans, but we will keep creating, whatever the medium.  And that's good.  Mess up your own house this weekend!

P.S. I found out that you can resuscitate crumbly Fimo clay with a little vegetable oil + found out it turns black if you forget it in the oven.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Passion"

I was walking back to my car today after yet another funeral when I saw a decal on the back window of a pickup truck, "Girls like big racks too!".  Yup, that just about sums it up for Earl's funeral -- and where is your mind?!  There was a picture of deer antlers on that decal.  I'm pretty sure this is the first funeral I've been to with antler decor, but it was apropos. 

Earl was big on poaching, hunting, fishing, camping, etc.  Earl's son, my nephew, gave a heart-felt talk at the funeral and said he would see his father in the water of the river when he fishes and feel him in the breeze when he's in the woods.

My secluded childhood neighborhood in the woods didn't provide many neighbors.  When Sis married Earl it was like she married our step-brother, especially since the Glen is an inbred place where everyone is related in one way or another.  An old lady told me how the Hendershots are related to the Huggs to the Mortons... but all roads lead to the Noonans like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon -- who is probably related to the Noonans too.

The word of the week, "Passion", caused me to journal angry thoughts about Earl.  Happy memories would force their way into my thoughts and I'd get pissed off all over again that he was messing with my clear-cut, justifiable anger, but I suppose things aren't simple when we're talking a lifetime of memories?  My moments of grief made me even more pissed off when thinking of his sudden heart attack this week at age 59.

I hate funerals, and despite my vow that I wouldn't go to any more, it seems like I've been to a lot of them lately.  This one seemed to do what funerals are supposed to do though, it helped me feel more at peace.  I hugged my nephews and caught up with people who live in my heart's memory.

I'd rather remember stuff like parties, picnics, serious talks about fishing, the halo of sunlight on Earl's red head as he played with his laughing red-headed boys in the river.  Or how he tried charming Grandma and Dad, who both looked formidable despite Earl's best efforts until he got them laughing and they had to remember to look formidable.

I want to sort people in clear slots in my mind.  Good/bad.  There's a complexity that defies classification when you've known someone always, and another loss when I realize that another piece of my childhood, my life, is dead.

I feel for my nephews.  Earl loved them, and it's hard to lose a parent.  I think he loved Sis too, despite their divorce.  I'm wishing all of you the good memories in the light of antler lamps.

It's been a hard week in more ways than one, and then I got something in the mail that made me smile and feel grateful.  Dosanko Debbie sent me a lovely New Year's piece of art that lifted my heart at a time I really needed it lifted.  I just love the jar full of little sheep!  Totally adorable, and I'm going to frame it to celebrate this ovine year of the Chinese calendar.  Even the envelope is beautiful.  Check out her website here.  Each of her paintings is a truth of life and quite a gem.  THANK YOU!!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Toy"

Does Play Doh count as a toy?  I love the smell and the cool feeling of the stuff.  Something I love quite a bit less is Sculpey or Fimo clay, but that has the benefit of hardening in the oven.  It doesn't smell nearly as good though, raw or cooked.

One of my coworkers has been clearing out a house lately, and she's been bringing me presents every day.  Amongst the many interesting things that she's brought me is Fimo clay, and like the child that I am, I've spent my evenings making completely useless items with oven-hardened permanence.

There's a little sadness behind the house cleaning.  The adult daughter, got cancer and died.  A couple of years later, her mom got another kind of cancer and died.  No more family, the friendly neighbor inherited, and the house full of stuff is getting cleared out by my coworker -- and I get Christmas every day in January.  Woo hoo!  I'd like to think the daughter is happy her things are going to a kindred spirit instead of to the dump.

I haven't been in the house, but there's a castle room where medals from Pennsic wars tell a silent story of medieval wars in Pennsylvania hosted by the Society of Creative Anachronisms.  I'm told the proper way to display those medals are in cleavage.  I passed the medals on to someone with more ample cleavage and actual Renaissance costumes.

I've gotten a turtle quilt, necklace, and coffee cup, a smiley cup, giant sketch pad, a pointy silver thing that I was told to use on my voodoo dolls... Just to be clear, I don't actually have voodoo dolls, but my need to vent frustrations is obviously apparent.  I may have made stabbing motions after a meeting recently.

In any case, I have some new toys, and tv time to play with them.  I made feathers.  I made an atom, a flower... who knows what else will get oven-hardened next?

I'm a bit frustrated with my atom.  I wrote recently about my bag of copper wire that's begging for an art project.  My brother whipped out a tree, and I suppressed some 3D jealousy.  The best I can say for my wire projects is that I embedded wire into my atom parts so the electron bee has a stinger and antennae and all the atom parts have copper loops to hang them.  What I really wanted was wire circles for them all to rotate around and jiggle, but I was foiled by my lack of technical expertise to make this all work.  Now I'm intimidated by my greater goal to make a copper wire mobile, perhaps with Sculpey adornments and counter weights.

He who taught me about atoms might argue with me about my atom interpretation.  The parts all have names of people who play those kinds of roles in real life.  I figure the feathers are illustration in another form because I just painted with clay instead of paint.

What kind of toys do you play with?