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!

Friday, July 27, 2012


A lot of people avoid solitude because they’re afraid of being lonely, but as I recently heard on a radio program, solitude is necessary for real creativity.  Schools and businesses like to have brainstorming sessions and work in teams, but according to the expert on the radio, this only lets the most assertive person’s ideas prevail, who may or may not have the best ideas.  More creative results happen when introverts are given a project before meetings to work on by themselves.  Since bosses are often extroverts, they usually don’t understand why the introverts want or need to work alone.

I don’t know if I was born an introvert or became one by my environment.  I didn’t have much choice about solitude when I was growing up.  Living in the woods made me look forward to church and school so I could play with other children.  Sometimes I was heartbreakingly lonely, but I also figured out ways to be self-entertaining.  In the end, I decided to like my own company because no company is better than bad company.

Envy is a motivator in our culture, but it’s isolating.  It pushes us to conform to what we think other people expect from us, whether or not those things are true to our natures or make us happy.  When we give up ourselves, we can be lonely in a crowd.  When I was alone in the woods, I might be jealous of kids who lived in town because they had neighbor kids to play with, but I had plenty of things to do.  I didn’t have to conform to what anybody else wanted, and the freedom of solitude is something that a lot of people never experience.  In some ways, I was lucky to be lonely – even though there were times I complained about living the experience.

It seems to be human nature to rank ourselves in hierarchies.  Is our social status based on beauty, athleticism, intelligence, achievements, bank account, ancestry, or whatever, and how can we climb up a rung on the ladder?  When we’re alone, there’s no one to compete against except ourselves.  The only one judging us is ourselves – and we’re taught those judgments by others.  Babies in the crib don’t worry about whether their smiles are good enough.  When I stuck feathers in my hair, draped my neck with flower leis, made jewelry out of cicada shells, and dabbed myself with pine resin for perfume, nobody was there to tell me that I looked funny and cut it out.  I swam naked in the river and had absolute freedom without worrying about whether my arms, legs, nose, mouth, fingers, toes were the right shape.  The right shape for what?  To justify my existence?  Should I modify myself to conform to someone else’s concept of what I “should” be?  Quit swimming because someone might see?  Who?  That was kind of the point.  There wasn't anyone to see.

We’ll never make everybody happy by being ourselves, but that’s their problem.  They’re working out their own envy/hierarchy issues.  When we quit worrying about them, we’re free to really open up our enjoyment of life and our creativity.  When I was grown up, I told a friend I was practicing for when I could be an eccentric old lady.  He said I could quit practicing.  It's one of the joys I get from being a feral child in the woods :)

The floral above started with the really simple idea of the gray squares with a pink dot, but it just insisted on going its own way.  Since I was by myself, and nobody told me not to, I let it.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I’ve carried a lot of things in my life… rocks, brothers, backpacks, tents, canoes, lumber, drywall… Okay, let’s talk drywall – 88 sheets of ½” x 4’ x 8’ of it.  Well, maybe I should start talking about drywall from the beginning…

The story of drywall begins in Indianapolis, Indiana where I lived with then-husband (TH).  I’ll skip the part where he went behind my back and overpaid for a house and go straight to the part of “let’s unload this place and move back to Ohio!!!”  We hadn’t lived in the house long enough to get our money out of it, so we decided to finish the attic as a way to at least break even.  

I carefully drew up a floor plan for 2 bedrooms, a full bath, and sitting room.  I drew up more careful plans to update the wiring and plumbing.  I read books about how to do it all, and then I ordered stuff – a lot of stuff.  It came in a big truck, and 2 burly guys carted it all into my living room and stacked it in giant piles that strained the house’s foundation.

You know, it’s one thing to do the math about how many sheets of drywall it takes to finish an attic, and a whole other thing to actually look at 88 sheets of it piled in the middle of the living room.  There’s also the reality of a stairway that makes a 90 degree turn halfway up, which is in direct conflict with the fact that drywall doesn’t bend around corners – and none of that takes into consideration that sheet rock is HEAVY.  TH promised to help carry stuff upstairs, but yeah, he promised a lot of things.  I figured out ways to prop it up while screwing into the studs, and when I really pitched a fit about needing help with the ceilings, TH got his friend Don to give me a hand.  I’m pretty sure Don saved TH’s life right about then.

Anyhoo, we eventually sold the house and eventually got back to Ohio, and I listened to a lot of criticism about how I emasculated poor TH by being actually competent at such things, which is only one of many reasons why we settled our differences at the courthouse, and might lead you to wondering why I’m rambling on about sheetrock when I had a picture of a pail with seashells at the beginning of this post.

Well, because sometimes life can be a whole lot easier amongst females, and I spent time at the beach with 2 of my friends from high school this week.  Or in other words, I don’t feel like carrying anything heavier than a beach pail any more. 

We went to Kelley’s Island and stayed in a posh suite courtesy of Leanne.  We stuffed ourselves with the finest dining the island has to offer, joked about the young bucks by the pool, and the only heavy lifting I did was to pour more wine into my glass.  Mary Lou has been to the island many times before and acted as chauffeur and tour guide, which included searching the woods for a statue of Mary and finding this very cool abandoned building in the woods. 

We went to the beach and saw Cedar Point in the distance while the island breezes blew and the waves splashed around our legs and the seagulls swirled around in the air.  And talked, and talked, and talked, and talked… there’s a lot of life between high school and 2012.  I think I’m talked out for at least a month or two.  The ferry ride back to the mainland was a blast with huge waves crashing into the boat and loons flying backwards in the wind.  Good times.

Really Officer, I didn't know it was trespassing.  I just found this sign in the woods and thought I'd help with the litter problem :)

I did the beach pail art for Mrs. Fields.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Everything was fine in my 20s except I didn’t have a dog, and life just isn’t good enough without one.  My BF said “Fine.  Get a dog, but it has to be purebred, male…”  His list of requirements was an insurmountable barrier, and that he knew it was evident in his self-satisfied smile.  I was the lowest person on the totem pole in an art studio and supporting BF in his dream of starting a business.  How was I supposed to pay for a purebred?

My mornings at the studio started with the dog section of the classifieds.  Purebreds were $300-500, and I didn’t have it.  Months went by.  BF was happy.  I was determined.  I finally found a listing for Dalmatian puppies for $110.  Okay!  I didn’t care if I had to eat lentils for a month.  I’ll pay $110!  I quickly called the number and found out that in a litter of 13, there was only 1 male.  “Please hold him for me!” I begged the woman.  I called BF and shared my joy.  We made plans to pick up the puppy after I got home from work.

BF made me call the woman again before we left the house to make sure she still had the male.  No, she didn’t, but she still had a dozen beautiful little girl puppies.  BF said “No, it has to be a male”, and I did something I had never done before.  I cried to get my way.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t start crying to get my way.  I cried because I wanted a dog.  The getting my way part was sitting in the middle of everything so BF had to see me crying.  The more he tried to ignore me, the more I cried.  He eventually relented.  He said we could go “look” at the puppies.  No promises, “just look”, and then he got a box and an old towel to put inside it.  I knew we were doing more than “looking”.

The puppies were a scene from 101 Dalmatians, spilling out all over the woman’s garage.  The proud parents checked us out, and Papa Dalmatian showed off by running around the expansive property in the twilight, a white and black blur, while one puppy made it clear to me that she loved me more than all of her sisters.  I was in love.  BF could’ve said “no” in that moment and I would’ve put him out on the street.  I’m pretty sure he knew it too.  We brought Ivory home.  BF loved her too, and we eventually got a male to complete the set.

So what’s all this got to do with “lost”?  If you’ve ever had a Dalmatian, you wouldn’t ask.  Sometimes I’d remember watching Ivory’s dad running in the fading light and realize that I should’ve seen his beautiful power as something to dread.  Dalmatians have to run.  They were bred for it.  They also don’t like running in circles.  They run in straight lines, and things like railroad tracks, roads, and fences aren’t going to stop them.

One time, BF took the dogs to work with him, but they didn’t come when he called them.  He slept in his truck hoping they’d show up, but they didn’t.  He came home alone with his tail between his legs, and I quickly printed up flyers (already on the computer from the last escape) and got my little brothers to help me pass them out.  “Look pitiful!” I told them as my desperation reached new levels of panic.  We drove up and down streets and handed out the flyers to anybody we saw.  I forced a flyer on one old man, and he insisted he hadn’t seen my dogs.  “Woof!”  I barreled past him and found both of my dogs locked up in his fenced backyard.  I can’t believe he lied to me in front of my two adorable little brothers.  The dogs almost looked sorry for an instant, but they never learned their lesson.  I kept the LOST flyer filed on the computer.

This picture is a Polaroid transfer, which is a pretty cool process of floating the emulsion of the photo off of the paper and floating it onto a different kind of paper.  You can get some cool techniques out of the process, but this print is pretty straight forward.  The other photo is of Ivory and one of my little brothers when they were both little and cute :)

Friday, July 6, 2012


Dad wanted me to be an engineer.  “That’s a good field for women!”  Bleh.  No, I was going to be an artist.  I knew that when I was 12.  I remember the moment I knew that too.  I was in 6th grade, and had one of Mom’s women’s magazines with a painting of a Breck girl on the back cover which I was trying to draw on a piece of lined notebook paper.  An older boy, almost a man, came to visit my teacher and I hovered around the edges and heard them discussing the boy’s studies in commercial art in high school.  I knew I wanted to take commercial art too.  My destiny was in motion.

That was the year I had to take an aptitude test, and the teachers decided that I should become a scientist.  “Science is a great career for a woman!”  No.  A-R-T-I-S-T.  I think the teachers were weeping in the smoking lounge while I was at recess because some great scientific discovery was being lost by my silly career plans.  I had variations of these discussions with various adults up to and through the high school commercial art program.  “Art is a great hobby, but you won’t make any money!”  “Illustrators are a dime a dozen!”  Too bad, leave me alone.  I have focus.  The adults left me alone after I got a scholarship to college.

Today I saw “suspend” as the word for the week, and a string of dangling, suspended things passed through my mind before it finally occurred to me that what’s hanging in a state of suspension is me.  I don’t have the focus of a 12-year-old any more.  I’ve been mistreated by the career of my choice too many times to feel exuberance and love for it.  It’s like marrying an alcoholic husband whom I somehow can’t seem to leave.  I think I’m at the “let’s be friends” stage of my art relationship, but art is how I’ve paid the bills, so it’s kind of hard to really end the relationship. 

I’m kidding myself anyway.  I went to a Rembrandt exhibit a while ago and had sweaty palms and heart palpitations in his presence, so I can’t really get over my art obsession.  I just don’t know what I want to do with that obsession any more.  Rembrandt lived through it himself.  He was popular and rich, blew it all, his style fell out of favor, and then he had to rebuild himself.  Life is tough for artists.  Do I still have time to become a scientist or engineer?

I recently took a PT job which both uses, and doesn’t use, my acquired skills in the field.  I’m feeling mixed about this, especially since the job is for a religious organization.  (If God led me to this job, it’s proof that God has a really wacked sense of humor!)  The job is close to home and a pretty environment.  My boss and coworkers are grownups and know their jobs.  All in all, it’s a pleasant way to pay the bare essential bills while theoretically giving me time to pursue my art addiction on the side.  I’m a bit undecided if I’m just suspending my state of suspension, or maybe this is the best of all worlds?  It’s cutting into my personal blog time, but I guess I can’t have everything.

But if I had to do it again?  Yeah, I’d pick art – even though I did my best to talk my niece out of following in my footsteps.  “Don’t you have any other talents?!”  I found myself repeating all that stuff I didn’t listen to when adults were telling me to go into a different field.  It’s too late for that niece now, and I guess for me too.  She’s in college and happily showed me a package design she made at school when she visited last weekend.  I swear, art is a genetic defect, but it’s great work when you find it!