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, November 30, 2012


Sometimes we have to reach outside our comfort zones.  We have to stretch our minds, stretch our bodies, stretch our openness to the extraordinary – except I don’t like that whole thing about stretching my body because that sounds an awful lot like exercising, which I oppose on principle. 

My exercise program consists of trying to master the corpse pose in yoga.  Mom taught it to me when I was about 5, and if it worked then, I figure it ought to be working for me now.  Dad used to do handstands against the door and do pushups in that position.  He also liked to do pushups with as many kids as possible on his back for more resistance.  I certainly wasn’t ever going to accomplish that, so why bother?  Besides, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort to have kids to create exercise equipment.

I’m not a complete slug.  I do physical things.  I’m even considering raking my leaves since I’ve successfully postponed that task into December, and still haven’t gotten enough snow to justify forgetting about them until spring.  It’s just that I really can’t see the point of doing unnecessary work or counting.  A friend told me about her new exercise routine.  She likes 17, so she’s doing 17 repetitions of each of her exercises.  I’m sure I’d lose track after about 3 or 4, and that means I could accidently do more than 17 leg lifts or crunches.

I was listening to the news and heard President Obama sent Jason Mraz to Myanmar/Burma, “the first international artist to perform… in the country since the end of military rule… and the second Western act to perform in the country in decades” according to Huff Post.  I like Jason, so I turned on youtube and danced my dog around the room.  This had the unfortunate result of getting Jason stuck in my head for 3 days, which just goes to show exercise is dangerous.  You can listen to Jason here  or here, but be warned; just looking up these links made me burst into a new round of singing, chair dancing, and toe tapping.

I recently found this little booklet.  For a mere 25 cents, you could learn how to develop a new personality.  Unfortunately, Joe Bonomo seemed to think exercise was part of the plan, and obviously women needed a new personality far more than men.  No matter how much I might be willing to stretch in theory, I don’t think I can go with his program.  Besides exercise, Joe said “The girl who is too self-sufficient… or gives the appearance of being so… can drive a guy away.  He’ll think she’s perfectly capable… too capable… of taking care of herself and her own problems.”

Hmm… I knew I was doing something wrong.  I should’ve learned how to swoon on cue so the man could catch me like in the picture, but wouldn’t you think with all that exercising that the woman couldn’t faint because of all that excess healthiness?

Joe seemed to know a lot about fixing women.  Some of his other books included “Lovelier after 40”, “Simplify your Housekeeping”, “Figure Ritual for Beautiful Bust Contour”, and “How to Give Successful Parties”.

I figure I got enough exercise today just looking for my sketchbook.  That involved climbing stairs, bending, squats…

I had a simple idea when I started this project today, but PhotoShop gives me too many toys to play with.  I ended up wasting a heck of a lot of time for what ended up being a pretty simple idea, no matter how many options I tried.  Even so, all of us should experiment with options in our software.  Sometimes we end up with a new favorite.

Friday, November 23, 2012


I’ll admit it, I’m a Scrooge.  Bah, Humbug.  I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t say to bankrupt your family on plastic toys and computer games for your kids.  I’m also pretty sure there weren’t any elves in Bethlehem, but don’t let me stop you from having your fun.  Run around and buy your presents and stick pretty bows on them.  Bake your cookies and send out cards.  I’ll put your cards on the mantle.  I’m just Christmased out.  It’s an occupational hazard.  I’ve spent years of my life making Santa Clauses and snowmen and all things red and green.

I do like some of the less than religious aspects of Christmas.  Elves at the North Pole?  C’mon, that’s just funny when discussing a religion started in the Middle East.  I only have one ornament up, and that’s of the 3 astrologers.  Someone once told me “Real Christians don’t believe in astrology!”  Really?  Then why were the 3 wise men following that star to Bethlehem?

Okay, maybe I’m irreverent sometimes, but I have to behave myself at my job for a religious organization, and can I really stay proper all the time?  God made me, so God must have a sense of humor.  Besides, the history of Christianity was a brilliant display of superior marketing abilities, and as a person who’s worked in marketing, I have to admire that.  For instance, the Celts of Europe worshipped a mother goddess.  The chauvinistic Middle Eastern religion didn’t, but hey, Jesus had a mom.  Mother Mary won the Celts over.  Pagan Germans had a thing for decorating trees?  No problem.  Now it’s a Christmas tree.  Northern Pagans wanted the sun to come back in mid-winter because it’s depressingly dark then.  They had holidays around the winter solstice.  Voila!  That’s when Jesus was born.

Those early Christian marketers weren’t really changing the Bible, they were just practical and creative.  I’ve got to admire that.  Okay, so when absorbing pagan holidays didn’t work, they had the Crusades and Conquistadors, but most people fell in line without having to kill them to save their souls in a frenzy of brotherly love, and the end result is that Christianity has been a tremendously successful religion.  It was successful because it absorbed the other religions without necessarily destroying the parts of them that the masses enjoyed.

The religions that seem to fight with each other the most are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which is ironic since they’re all siblings, with Abraham of the Old Testament as their common ancestor.  I’d say we should all send them to Dr. Phil for a family intervention, but he’s Christian and would probably take sides.  Maybe we should send them all to Deepak Chopra or the Dali Lama?

I think I’ll stick with thoughts of Santa Claus today instead of trying to resolve world conflicts.  At least Santa has never been associated with wars.  Even Gandalf and Dumbledore can’t claim that, so obviously wisdom and white chin whiskers aren’t the solution.  Besides, today is “Black Friday”, the day Americans go shopping, and Santa is the guy who totally understands presents.

This is really old art, but Santa hasn’t changed too much over the years.  I think the Europeans make him skinnier, but well, there’s all those Christmas cookies over here – and never mind my Scrooge-like tendencies, none of my bah humbugging applies to cookies.  There are never enough cookies!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Bees are wonderful creatures.  I’ve never really understood the people who scream and swat around wildly when they see one, even though I’ve been stung like anybody else who runs around barefoot.  My mom has a knack of catching them in a hand towel and putting them outside when they find a way into the house.  I love to watch the bees zooming around, dancing from flower to flower.  The fact that they aren’t supposed to be able to fly makes them all the more fun to watch.

There’s a flower garden where I work, and I watch the bees when I take a break.  A very antisocial priest tends the garden, and he’s walled it off so nobody else can enjoy it.  I’m pretty sure he’s unhappy I acquired a key to get in, but I leave him alone, and he leaves me alone, and we both leave the bees alone.  I’m pretty sure they’re going to sleep for the winter now anyway.

Up till this summer’s bee watching, I never really paid attention to how many kinds of bees there are – black bees, yellow bees, striped bees, bumblebees, and lots of other bees too.  I’m pretty sure the variety of bees in the priest’s garden is because of the wide variety of flowers he plants in there.  I’m pretty sure there has to be acres of honey somewhere, but I’ll leave the bees to it.

Completely un-zoom related, I recently fixed a friend’s dresser.  In fact, this was kind of an anti-zoom activity because I had to build up layers of wood putty to mend the broken bric-a-brac.  I’m pretty sure I spent entirely too much time doing this, but I have to admit I enjoyed it.  I conferred with another friend about what kind of paint to use to camouflage the putty (we decided on oils), and she suggested that I take before and after pictures.  Good idea.  Wish she suggested that before I started, but I think you can tell what I was doing from these pictures.

This dresser was put out for the trash a lot of years ago, and my friend’s husband rescued it.  I’m glad he did.  It’s very solid, and now it’s pretty again too.

What is not pretty is the dark brown puddle of oil-based stain I kicked onto my friend’s carpet.  I will take any suggestion if anyone knows how to rectify that mess.  I tried blotting and also tried turpentine, but the main thing I accomplished by that was to make myself rather high and befuddled.  She says not to worry about it, but I feel bad and would like to know how to fix it.

Coincidently, I talked to another friend recently (which is starting to sound like I have an awful lot of friends!) who made the observation that I spend too much time feeling bad about other people’s issues.  I’m not so sure his observation applies in this case since I am very clearly at fault, but it does give me something to think about – which brings me back to bees…

I watched a nature show which talked about how bees communicate, and the host said bees are a lot like how our brains work.  One bee = one brain cell or synapse.  When you put all those synapses together, it’s like a whole hive of bees swarming together as one conscious thought.  I started thinking about that, and wonder if each human = one brain cell of society, and don’t humans swarm the same as bees?  Just something for you to think about, or maybe I’m justifying feeling bad too much when other people feel bad?  On the other hand, if everybody’s happy, then I’m happy too!

Friday, November 9, 2012


“What are you?” is a pretty common question in the US, but maybe not very common other places.  I’m pretty sure Germany is full of Germans and China is full of Chinese people.  Maybe Germany has some Turks or China has some Koreans, but I’m guessing those people haven’t been there long enough to become an unrecognizable blend to prompt the question, “What are you?”

A black friend of mine once asked me why nobody asked what she is.  I hadn’t thought about it up till then, but I’m guessing they don’t ask because they figure A. she’s black, and that’s pretty obvious, or B. maybe black people don’t know what they are since America had that whole slavery problem.  She and I are actually very alike in our ancestry, so we had some fun.  We’d introduce each other to new people with, “This is my sister” and watch people suffer internal cerebral crumbling.  We’d relent a little and say, “We had different mothers.”  Then laughed while whoever it was tried to accept that into their world view.  We didn’t feel a need to fill those people in that we also had different fathers.  There’s more than one way to tackle racism.

In a recent conversation with someone who immigrated to the US from the other side of the planet, he mentioned that he couldn’t trace his family any further back than his great grandfather.  I found it curious he never asked his parents or grandparents about their younger lives and older relatives, but maybe it’s as simple as their lives were the same as the lives of everybody else who had occupied that corner of the world as long as people have lived there?

My family tree is a textbook study in American migration patterns.  Pick a branch and you’ll find out how white people filled up everything east of the Mississippi.  For those of you outside the US, that means the right half of the country, not counting Alaska and Hawaii.  It’s conceivable I’m related to everybody in America in some way or another, including my black girlfriend.  That feels nice, but it also makes me want to know who I’m more directly related to too.

All that moving around in the frontier meant that people picked up and left relatives behind.  They couldn’t talk to someone on the phone back then, and often those branches of the family tree were pruned away and forgotten.  The question of “what” I am becomes a certain longing to know where my people came from, and this is echoed throughout America no matter what color you are in the Crayon box.  We have tv shows and websites and clubs and libraries to help in the search.  It’s fun to find relatives you didn’t know you had.  It’s fun when we find out we had famous relatives too.  Everybody should have some royalty in them somewhere, but it’s also good to know we’re related to regular people too.  It’s rather amazing how much stuff has been written down about them.

As for current news from Ohio, Election Day is over!  No matter how anyone voted, I’m pretty sure all Ohioans are relieved we can answer the phone again without robocalls and can safely go to the mailbox without seeing half a forest of political ads.  I feel like I’ve been under assault for months by politicians’ verbal abuse.  It’s hard to express my pleasure in getting a grocery store ad again.  Especially a Thanksgiving ad, which has got to be America’s best holiday, our national contemplation of gratitude… like being grateful pollsters will ignore Ohio for a while again!

BTW, I used to do work for Heinen’s.  This isn’t my ad, but you can imagine some of the glory of working at that job.  (That’s sarcasm in case you missed it.)  Still, it’s a good store if you’ve got one.  I hear they have turkeys.

Friday, November 2, 2012


I sang happily and often when I was young, and that was just great until some adult or other noticed that I had a pretty good singing voice.  Then I’d get pushed onto a stage for school assemblies, and that’s when it was no longer fun.  I’d start calculating how hard my head was going to hit the floor when I fainted or whether I was going to puke in front of the whole school.  I never lost that fear even though I happily sang hymns to my college pals when we got drunk, or sang around campfires, sang in the garden, sang at the top of my lungs with all the windows open. 

When I was in 2nd grade, I went to a school assembly and “Vince”, a 6th grader, a very, very tough 6th grader, did a solo of “Beautiful Dreamer”.  I was spell bound.  Who could’ve predicted that a neighborhood bully could sing like an angel?  Nobody was going to laugh at Vince.  He’d pummel them for an accidental smile.

I wasn’t sure what I was learning when I listened to Vince sing, but I knew it was important.  He seemed to know he could get away with singing pre-adolescent soprano when nobody expected it of him.  To my knowledge, he never performed again, at least he never sang in front of me again.  It’s one of those memories that stay in my heart, without really knowing why except that it was so beautiful.  Maybe that’s reason enough?

But even so, it was the tough boy singing so exquisitely that made the difference.  If he could do it, I could do it, and did when it was my turn on the stage.  People clapped politely when I was done, and I knew I was safe from school assemblies for another year.

I recently read Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  She makes the point that even extroverts can be shy.  Haven’t we all had moments when we felt like the Ugly Duckling?  After reading this book, I’m more sure than ever that I’m an introvert, but was left wondering just how shy I actually am.  I’ve felt shy.  Painfully, achingly shy sometimes.  I know the feeling of being lonely in a crowd.  Still, I can talk to strangers and have managed talking to hundreds of people at a time.  Of course I had out of body experiences in moments like that, but people have told me that I didn’t have Turrets swearing episodes, so it all worked out and I lived to tell the tale.

I recommend Cain’s book.  It’s good for introverts who want to feel some validation in an extroverted world, but I wish extroverts would read it too.  As Cain points out, it takes both kinds to make the world go round, and maybe if extroverts understood introverts better maybe they might quit trying to make us all get together for brainstorming and teambuilding activities.  Real creativity happens when we’re by ourselves.  Cain recommends people come up with ideas before a brainstorming session because when people are in a group, they have to take turns in expressing ideas, and often the loudest, most persuasive person’s ideas are used instead of the best ideas.

On the other hand, we have to be able to sell our ideas or they end up in the closet and nobody gets to see them.  It would be as if Vince never sang “Beautiful Dreamer”.