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!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I’m a problem solver.  I see situations and figure out ways to make things work better.  I cheer people up and look for solutions.  I suppose it’s all based on my very selfish need to have my world to run happily and smoothly.  It’s difficult for me when people won’t cheer up.  “Tension” is an over-nice word for my feelings when the world is chaotic.

It’s been one of those weeks when I can’t fix the problems.  I can’t resurrect the dead and I can’t make survivors happy.  I can’t keep certain people out of jail or self-destructing.  I can’t even find my brother’s cat.

When I told my brother that the word of the week was “tension”, he gave a derisive laugh and said I could blog about his life, “in fact, tell the whole sordid story!”  Well, I won’t.  I have self-imposed limits for this blog of keeping it to one typed page or less, and I’m pretty sure my brother’s love life takes more than a page.

Let’s just put it this way, his scheduled May 18 wedding day has come and gone, and he’s still single – and in the process of dashing those hopes and dreams, he lost his cat.  He’s missing the cat much more than the fiancĂ©, and he isn’t missing his potential mother-in-law at all.  I have to admit I’m not missing either woman and am quietly thankful he very narrowly dodged a bullet.

In the meantime, we’ve spent the weekend moving his stuff to my place, and I am convinced that man stuff is much heavier than woman stuff.  His weight bench attacked me when I tried to pick it up, which just goes to show that exercise is bad.  I’m not quite sure why lumber also attacked me.  It was by the weight bench, so maybe it was in collusion with the exercise stuff.

Mom and I agreed Brian owns too many books, and way too many artists’ coffee table books.  Them things are extra heavy, no matter how much inspiration might be found inside.  He also has piles of old textbooks, books on philosophy, comic books, notebooks, sketchbooks… Paper is heavy.  I swear he’s responsible for the death of an entire forest for his current store of knowledge and creative writing and drawing.  He also is very fond of rocks and metal.

So, I can’t mend the world or broken hearts, and I can’t find the cat, but I figure I can put my brother on the market in search of a better life partner.  He’s 42, obviously fit because of all that blasted exercise equipment, just as obviously literate and artistic, and interested in various forms of philosophy.  He loves pets, and would probably be willing to love your dog or cat provided it isn’t one of those little yippy things that jumps on him all the time.  He likes dogs you can take for a 10-mile hike in the park.  He has some money too because I found a jar of coins.

As for the other unsolvable problems in my world this week, prayers are appreciated for Phil and his family, Chris, the heartbroken, sick, and catless, and oh yeah, that I get through an internal audit this week at work.

I’m going to spend the rest of my 3-weekend in the garden or find my kitchen counter under all the superfluous stuff from my brother’s kitchen…

These are doodles with my new Faber-Castell PITT artist pen.  It’s a marker that’s kind of like a brush, with waterproof ink, and comes in different colors.  I love it.  Much happiness can be found in new art supplies!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I have an indulgence.  Every so often I load up my car with glass wine jugs I rescued from the recycle bins at City Hall.  People around here don’t drink much wine in jugs, or maybe people who drink wine in jugs don’t recycle much, so just finding and sterilizing acceptable bottles is the first step in my indulgence.

The next step is to sit back and take a pretty drive to the country to fill the bottles with spring water.  Spring water used to be free at a lovely spot alongside a river tributary, but people have built fancy houses uphill and messed up that pretty place.  Now I have to drive a little farther and pay 25 cents per gallon.  I think it’s worth it.  Even when I was at my most poor, I kept filling my water jugs.

The place I go now is a trout club, if you can imagine such a thing.  There’s a restaurant with food that looks really good, but us po’ folk don’t get to eat there.  Members only, though we are allowed on the property to fill our jugs and look out the pretty pond and see the goats eating grass because people at the trout club don’t want to listen to lawnmowers, or maybe people with $3,000 to join a trout club have a thing for exotic goats.  You can see the website here.

Part of my pleasure in going to the spring is the community of non-members filling jugs.  It’s a very mixed crowd.  Some people drive up in expensive SUVs and some people drive up in the rattiest pickups you’ve ever seen.  The SUV people only get a few gallons.  The truck people bring many 5 gallon jugs.  I’m somewhere in the middle with a gas-efficient car and a lot of 1-gallon jugs.

We all do the obligatory head bob at each other and scrupulously keep our bottles away from their bottles, and keep our bottle caps separate from their caps.  Sometimes we comment on the weather, such as “nice day” or “can you believe it’s this cold?”  Only the intrepid and the truck drivers come in the winter.  Then we do the head bob with a commiserating grimace as we get our hands wet with ice water.

Sometimes I think that the people around the spring are probably fascinating people with stories to tell, but nobody tells their stories, and I don’t know how to get them to tell.  The old people have a healthy, kind look – the type of people who probably worked as naturalists who retired to a hobby farm with Amish neighbors.  The truck drivers probably hunt out of season and have a deer hanging in their yard.

It’s a place where very different people collide, but it’s a polite and quiet place, and sometimes I need polite and quiet.  It restores my soul to bob my head at people who value chlorine-free water without having to talk about anything other than the varying degree of overcast skies.

When all my bottles are filled, and my heart rate has dropped 20 or 30 points, I get back in my car and drive home, racing along the back roads, up and down giant hills, and back to society.  Sometimes I sing, and sometimes I find room in my head to think about stuff I never have time to think about at other times.  I drink my water every night and relish my indulgence, looking forward to my next trip to the trout club.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I listened to an educational program on public tv and learned the greatest indicator of future success is grit, the determination to see something through, planning and acting on goals set far in the future.  IQ, emotional intelligence, and other obvious choices for success won’t do it.  I got a little bored with the program and slept the afternoon away on the couch.  After all, if we’re talking about goals that are years away, I have lots of future time to work on those kinds of things.

Kidding aside, I suspect the earnest public tv speaker is probably right, even though she didn’t have any suggestions how to drill some grit into people.  I also took a few moments to consider the criticism I’ve received for having too much of it.  “Stop and smell the flowers” and “live in the moment” advice from earnestly happy-seeming people started coming back to me. 

I’m sure most of these people were well-meaning, but I couldn’t change my nature.  I had an absolute need to paint pretty things, and most of my life frustrations centered around a lack of opportunities in my chosen field or the obstacles other people put in my way towards reaching my goals.  The more people told me “No”, the more determined I was to show them wrong.

Sometimes I think back on my past selves and wonder how I had the strength to keep banging away at these things.  Absolute focus takes an awful lot of energy to maintain over years, and I got tired, had meltdowns, and kept getting up and doing it again because I couldn’t/wouldn’t change my direction.  Someday somebody’s going to say that stubborn is an integral part of grit.

“Success” is a word with a lot of meanings, and I figure the lady on tv only meant it as professional success.  All those happy flower smellers probably achieved emotional successes that I didn’t spend my time achieving.  I’m not sure if I regret that or if I feel pleased about it.  I’ve had an interesting life, and I got paid to paint pretty things.  I’ve even smelled a few flowers along the way.

I’ve been thinking about these things because of the unexpected turn my career has taken this year.  I spend a lot of my time planning and number crunching, and that’s a long way from my happy time spent painting flowers.  On the other hand, I have a fatalistic thought that somehow all this number crunching fits into the master plan even if I can’t see what the final goals are anymore.  Or maybe all my past grit makes me good at what I’m doing now because I can think ahead to long term goals?

Anymore, I think my long term goal is to achieve a soft retirement.  That’s a long ways away, but I can envision a time when I collect a pension, have money in the bank, and have unlimited time to paint pretty things.  Pshaw to all those people who’ve criticized me for being too single-minded.  I stop to smell the flowers every time I paint them.

This project is something I did for Mrs. Fields.  If you want to buy it, you can go here, but I don’t get anything from it if you do.  The cookies are always good though.  The detail shows what the colors are supposed to look like.  I’ll spare you my internal rant about Chinese printers interfering with my single-mindedness.

Friday, May 3, 2013


The Illustration Friday word for the week is “Tribute” in honor of its founder, Penelope Dullaghan.  I’m sure Penelope has turned over the reins of the site to very capable hands, but I’d like to take a moment to say thanks for her efforts in creating a forum for artists to post their work and share their thoughts.

It’s inspiring to see what other people can create, whether it’s a website like IF or the individual posts people make to their blogs.  The Mother Theresas and Ghandis and Jane Goodalls are overlooked too often, and so it’s even easier to overlook more human-level accomplishments.  We all need to do our best at whatever we’re best at, and if we inspire others along the way, even better.

Sometimes I think about the blessings I’ve received in life, and most often I think of those blessings as people.  I have been very fortunate to have known some really admirable people who went out of their way to give me guidance and support when I’ve needed it.  In a week when we’re remembering Penelope’s support of artists, I’m reminded of all the artists I’ve known who told me to stick with it when I felt giving up.

In a way, I find this an odd thing to focus on today because I finally updated my LinkedIn profile with my new job which is more about management and a database than art, but I’m also spending my morning in a very familiar way – waiting for a printer to give me proofs.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that I haven’t really given up the art, and maybe this job will give me the freedom to paint what I want in my own time instead of selling cookies?

My apologies in advance for not answering your comments this weekend.  I’m taking a road trip with a friend and may or may not get to the computer.  It’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere just for fun, so I’m looking forward to a break from thinking about data and budgets and things.  I’m also starting to appreciate my new roommate situation because I can leave my Penny Penelope puppy at home in good hands.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and let’s all inspire somebody today!