I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
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Friday, February 10, 2012


I got in my archives to find a sample of something I’ve done for Valentine’s Day. The attached product shot is a tower of boxes I did for Wolferman’s/Harry & David. I tried to mess around with hearts this week, but I guess I wasn’t feeling it after looking at Krista Hamrick’s splendid VD post. Either that, or maybe I’m being too literal about hearts since my friend is going to get his shocked to change its rhythm. I didn’t think electric hearts was quite the way to go when people are thinking about romance. (Happy thoughts for Franz are appreciated.)

While I was in my box looking for VD art, I found my niece’s drawings. I love her spontaneity and concepts. “Why so many hearts?” “Because love is all around!” “Why are these hearts attached to rays?” “Because our love touches other people!” “Why is this heart so many colors?” “Because our hearts can feel so many things!” “Why are there 3 hearts?” “This is you, and this is me, and this is the love we make between us!”

C’mon! How can I not love this child?! I have her dad’s kiddie art too, but I don’t think he ever drew me a heart. Ever. Alien, yes, but no hearts.

I felt very popular when I went back to school to substitute teach. The kids would yell “Yay!” when they saw me at the front desk. I tried to make it fun, but my ulterior motive was to teach things that weren’t on the lesson plan: life skills, self-esteem, logic, ecology, history… something that would be useful in their thinking throughout their lives. I didn’t go in with a plan. I just seized opportunities. I preferred older kids. I don’t have anything against little kids. I even love some of them, but a whole classroom full of disease-infested children who can’t go to the lavatory by themselves is just more than I want to deal with – and then some of the hoard of needy children would spontaneously make me love art. I kept those too. I even got love art from high school kids. Yep, I felt very popular.

One time, a kid walked in my class and yelled “Hey Bitch!” to a friend. I said that wasn’t acceptable and wouldn’t be permitted in my class. The kids joked and said it was just a term of friendship. I said I wouldn’t be friends with anyone who called me bitch, and why not say nice things to people they’re supposed to like? The kids laughed at me. I said, “This is a vocational class. You’re going to spend a lot of time together. You need a safe zone where everyone feels included and liked.”

I often had this class because their regular teacher had other obligations, and I got to know the kids quite well. I would’ve forgotten about this blip in time, but at the end of the year, a kid came in to give a student an office note and said “Hey Bitch!” in greeting. “We don’t say things like that here” one of my boys said. “This is our ‘safe zone’.” Be still my heart! I suppose it helped that this was the best looking, coolest, roughest boy in class. I hugged him and his cheeks went pink and I got that precious look of turned down face, hopeful eyes looking up, grateful for approval. I really felt like I had done something good in my life.

Wishing everyone lots of love on Valentine’s Day and every day!

Last week’s post on my raccoon skull reminded me of these pictures I took of my nephew. Meet the pagan warrior! That’s a deer skull he spiked onto a stick. I couldn’t decide which picture I liked best, so you can see both of them. “Why the clam shells?” “They’re money!” A true Aries. I don’t think he ever drew hearts for me either. He’s all grown up now. I should send these pictures to his friends. Okay, that’s it for animal skulls, I promise. Well, unless I find something really cool in the woods.


  1. I don't know how old you are, but I think you'll be forever young. You have a connection to children and an appreciation for them - even the little infested ones. :)

  2. I remember how much you enjoyed teaching that class :) Cute shot of the boys, and I like all the kid art too!

  3. Those kids drawings are so precious and beautiful. And, yes it's astonishing how kids have an answer to everything. Your impact on the class with respect to "Hey Bitch", is nothing less than a credit to your integrity. You should really feel good about yourself.

  4. Kids' art is really precious...I still find odd ones mine did and they always make me smile as this post did Linda. Your love touches all of us...even all the way over the pond to me ;0)
    Have a great weekend,hope you find lots more hearts on Valentine's day and not down by the river in the mud!!
    Jane x

  5. I love you reminiscent stories Linda. Your nieces drawing is precious.

  6. What's with all the dead animal remains? Anything we should know about, hmmmm? Hehehe, I kid.

    Hey! When I was in advertising, I worked for a stint on Wolferman's. They'd send us boxes of muffins, and I actually stored a pack of blueberry muffins in my drawers like a sachet. Your boxes are beautiful.

    Ah, love, love, love. Love your niece's adorable drawings. All her explanations sound perfectly logical. Duh! :D And your nephew looks like quite the proud tribal warrior in that photo. Cute!

  7. That's so fantastic to hear and I'm sure to feel when you heard that young boy state what you had stated..you connected and that is really awesome. I must say, you must've been a popular teacher for sure! Fabulous artwork for Wolferman's! I can truly appreciate how difficult it must be to illustrate for boxes and rounds. Oh, the pattern issues! And it's great to read of your neice's explanations, and see your nephew's tribal pics. He looks so proud..and I would too if I were him! : ) Great post as usual, Linda!

  8. Thanks everybody!! I've heard that we're happiest if we have people both younger and older than we are in our lives. We can learn so much from old people and children. I'm sure I made a much better substitute than I would've a regular teacher. I liked being able to come in and do something useful -- then leave before I had to repeat the act.

    Bella, it's too cold in Ohio to look for any more bones, so that's it for a while! I used to get big boxes of goodies from Wolferman's too. Mmmmmmm :D

    Thanks for the nice comments about my niece's drawings. She'll be happy she's been seen internationally!

  9. Thanks Shirley! I enjoyed figuring out the challenges of patterns. It was like getting paid to put together puzzles :)

  10. Ah, be still my heart-- Wolfermans muffins-- in such beautiful packages! Heaven on earth, I do believe.

    You are a gem, you really see people, your niece must feel super-special!

    Thanks for the shout-out!

  11. “Why are these hearts attached to rays?” “Because our love touches other people!” Oh my gawd Linda. What a treasure to read this in this age of trite commercialism. You have made my Valentines Day, just a few hours away now. Hugs, Rand

  12. What a great memory. (That the kids would yell Yay!) How nice. I can feel the love.

  13. Well, aliens would not be bad idea to include, as they are REALLY popular too!
    I'd actually like to see a Linda Hensley illustrated alien...
    Now THAT would be interesting!


  14. I never thought I’d see valentine hearts and deer skulls in the same post LOL. Great shot for Harry&David! Your nieces work is priceless! She deserves the Valentine award this year. Happy Valentines Day Linda. Another fun, entertaining and well written post!

  15. Lovely post! I always look forward to the words, Linda, hearing what rumble, roar, trickle or whisper of thoughts was behind the post. And clamshells ARE money. I think there's a dusty heap up in the country under my bed to this day. Having the most of all the kids is extra points.

  16. Thanks everybody!

    I'm all for giving credit where credit is due Krista. Your post made me smile.

    Maybe I'll do an alien post sometime Richard?

    I'll be sure to tell my niece that she helped make your holiday Rand. She'll be so pleased. You need more smiles.

    If clamshells ARE money, I need to start collecting more of them!!

  17. Your packing designs are really lovely Linda. I love your niece's drawings too. A heart warming post :)