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!

Saturday, June 29, 2013


My brother and I drank tea together while Rachel Maddow exposed nefarious things far right Republicans are doing to make women barefoot and pregnant.  The topic of relationships between men and women and power was a natural result, and Rachel got muted while Bro and I bemoaned our past and present states of love and lovelessness.

It seems to me that every female needs a brother and every male needs a sister.  Otherwise, how are we supposed to decipher the idiocy of the other gender?  It’s not like you can actually have that kind of honesty with your lover.  He/she thinks stuff that will never be fully understood without a sibling’s explanation.

Bro wanted to know why women ask him questions if they really don’t want to actually know the answer.  Explanation: women are asking leading questions to see what you're going to say.  They want to know if you are serious, reliable, or other desirable traits.  They aren't fact collecting the way men collect facts.  It's a major area for misunderstanding and answering "wrong".

For my part, I told Bro about my ex complaining I “emasculated” him by renovating a house.  My ex overpaid for it, needed to sell it, and we agreed to remodel the attic to get a better price.  Since he was the lazy, that meant I remodeled the house, but in so doing made him feel bad.  Bro’s explanation?  My ex was inferior stock and needed to be weaned from our potential gene pool.  I should be glad I gained useful skills.

I’m not really sure how this helps me in future dating other than being pretty clear that every man in my life needs to know how to use a hammer, but at least it provides me with an achievable goal, and it does give me some insight into the male mind.

The fact is that men and women are different.  I like pink.  I feel like the world tells me I’m not supposed to like pink anymore because that makes me weak, and I don’t understand why anyone else would care about my color preferences.  If men liked pink too, that would make too much pink in the world.  It’s better that they pick something else, so combined, our world becomes more colorful and wonderful.

I’ve always liked the yin/yang symbol.  Separate but equal, two halves of the whole, swimming around each other like matched fish.  Together, they radiate the energy of a sun, which is enough to power a solar system.  It’s the ideal of what relationships and our world can be.

As for politics, the old guys are going to figure out someday that women aren’t going to give up shoes or contraceptives.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


It’s funny how my mind goes sometimes.  “Surveillance?”  I thought about my job watching numbers, and then went out for lunch, went shopping… and somewhere along the line, probably during my inner rage that an artichoke costs $2.50, I envisioned my puppy with Mad-Eye Moody’s electric blue eye.  (That’s a Harry Potter reference for those of you who still haven’t fallen in line with popular literature.) 

“Constant vigilance!” is my puppy in a nutshell.  She patrols our borders and sits on the deck so she can survey our domain in a sweeping, penetrating gaze.  Indoors, she sits on the arm of the couch like a sphinx with an unobstructed view out two windows so she can protect me from children and squirrels.

The other day my brother and I were watching tv, each with our own side projects.  We’d been quiet a while when Bro said, “Did you know Penny caught a groundhog?”  Yay!!!  I hate those blasted varmints.  I put a lot of money into groundhog barriers and barricaded the garden with fence and other defenses, and the stupid things ate my broccoli anyway.  Grrr….

I responded with “I hope you gave her positive reinforcement!”  Bro looked a little disgusted and patted her on the head with an insincere “Good dog”.  I gave her a much more enthusiastic “Good dog!!” and ruffled up her fur.  She strutted with pride.*

After a while Bro said “Did I mention she brought it in the house?”  Well no.  “Where’d you put it?”  “I didn’t put it anywhere.”  “Why didn’t you get rid of it?!”  Bro pointed.  Dead groundhog neatly placed on the floor equidistant between us.  Eww.

Penny reminds me a lot of the original dog, Cindy.  She was half beagle, half poodle.  Her cuteness was on the order of a Llaso Apso, but she was much tougher.  Despite her stubby little beagle legs, she willingly swam across the river and patrolled the woods with me.  She was an outside dog, and aside from her annual haircut, grooming and baths weren’t part of the plan.

Everybody loved Cindy the same way everybody loves Penny.  They share(d) the same “of course everybody loves me!” attitude towards life.  Life must be good as a cute dog.  Both dogs listened to my troubles with the same kindness in their eyes.  Sometimes Penny lets me hold her like a baby and kiss her forehead, which smells a lot better than when I crawled into Cindy’s doghouse and cuddled around her.  It didn’t matter.  I’ll always remember the happiness I felt when my face was snuggled into her sunshine and river fur.

The Penny portrait is a rework of a previous doodle, but even though I bet you think I just whipped out this Cindy portrait, I actually put some thought into it, remembering her endearing qualities.  Sadly, there just aren’t many photos of her around, but her loving brown eyes and soft pink tongue live on in my heart J

*Note: While I care for most wildlife, my pup has permission to kill bunnies, groundhogs, and deer because they’re as friendly to my garden as a bulldozer.  She dutifully leaves my birds alone, and we only had one squirrel incident.  I’m pretty sure the squirrel survived, but now our yard is curiously squirrel-free.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


My first thought for “worn” is that I’m worn out.  What happened to those days when I could stay up 3 nights in a row doing homework?  What about those days when I partied through the night and watched the sunrise?

I went to dinner with my coworkers, and they joked about how I am the “young one” in the office.  That’s one of the perks of my job; it makes me feel there’s still a lot more in my life to accomplish.  And even though I am the young one, I can see that my coworkers who are mostly in their 60s and even 70s have a lot more life in them too, especially when you compare them to some of our volunteers and donors.

Aside from bad genes, I think most of us decide when we’re old and start acting like it.  When I was miserably married in my 30s, I felt old and fat and thought that 60 more years of this kind of misery was more than I could bear.  Once the divorce was signed, I realized my body would start cooperating with me again if I just got out and had some fun.  I started dancing every weekend.  I felt better in my 40s than I did in my 30s.

Looking back on my life, I see that it’s been a journey of peaks and valleys.  When I’m happy, I’m fit.  When I’m depressed, I’m not.  Not being fit can lead to bad choices and too many cookies and more reasons to be depressed.

When my brother moved in recently, he came with a lot of exercise equipment.  Some of it’s in the living room, and he’s prone to jumping up during tv commercials to do pushups.  It’s kind of impressive, but I’ve never done a pushup in my life, and I don’t really anticipate a time when I would enjoy doing them.  He’s gotten me to exercise with my iron door stop instead.  5 repetitions of this, then that, then these optional movements, and then I can ignore fitness again and eat M&Ms while I read my book in peace.  Bro is actually a good fitness instructor because he isn’t too pushy about it – though he did mention running an 8 minute mile.  I think 8 minute miles are in the same impossible category as pushups.  I’ll stick with my cast iron door stop.

The point is, we’re only limited by our own thoughts.  If you want to be fit, you can be.  You can start at whatever point you’re at because “fitness” is a vague term.  You can be more fit than you are at the moment by taking the steps instead of the elevator or picking up something heavy a few times just cuz.  It isn’t necessary to eat the whole package of cookies at one sitting.  (maybe?)  After a while, we quit feeling as worn out.

I don’t want to imply that people don’t have real physical issues to get around.  People get sick, and all this stuff is harder when we’re sick.  It’s just a reminder that we can put some effort into feeling better with a little positive action.  Even 5 repetitions of something simple can help.

Our brains work the same way.  “Use it or lose it” has some truth to it, but it isn’t a finite truth.  If you want to be more creative, or smarter, or more charming, or whatever, work on it a bit and it gets easier.

At least I’m working with this theory until I feel like dancing again J

Saturday, June 8, 2013


This was my first printed full-color project long, long ago.  I labored over it.  I ran out of time before it felt finished.  What a waste of time.  I could do it better and faster now, but I remember my earnest effort back then and feel some compassion for my younger self.

I grouse about how kids today are too lazy to waste earnest time on completely pointless things like this, and I think about my current job and think about how I’m still wasting perfectly good time doing things that won’t matter in pursuit of a perfection that doesn’t exist.
Proof we did actual work in NH
I wrote a long blog yesterday that I didn’t post about my trip to New Hampshire this week, and it struck me boring – my recital of the trip anyway.  The trip was great.  My coworker Diane and I visited our software company, and we spent a lot of time pulling weeds in our database.  I wonder if I’m wasting the same kind of time as I did on this Prisma color black hole – yet at the same time the things I learned will be part of the tools I can use on the job later.  Sometimes we don’t see the fruits of our labor for, em, 30 years or so.

Diane next to the car we wished was our rental car
As for the trip, Diane is a pleasant travel partner, the software people are great, NH is a pretty state, and we even got enough free time to see the ocean in The Hamptons and visit Boston.  We even drove through Salem, but as far as I know we didn’t see any witches.  We didn’t see any famous people either, but we did get our fill on scenery.

We weren’t supposed to get this much free time, but the software company had an emergency and gave us an unexpected day off.  Woohoo!!  We walked all over historical Boston and saw all the main historical sites.  The weather was perfect and we felt like we were playing hooky.  It was the best work trip ever!

Boston -- the steeple is the Old North Church
I have an almost formed thought that there’s a lesson somewhere in this trip.  Like all that time I spent with Prisma colors, the free time Diane and I spent roaming around may turn out to be important.  When I was in college, I was killing myself on my homework every night while my teachers complained that I needed to loosen up.  One of my exbosses told me that if he wanted perfect, he would’ve hired a photographer.  It took years for me to see that a spontaneous blob of watercolor might be the thing that made a piece of art sing.  That my “style” came out in my unguarded moments, and that’s the stuff people actually like best.

USS Constitution, which is still an active Navy ship
I’ve often felt that if something comes too easily, it doesn’t count.  I’ve also seen that my laborious learning process pays off later, even if it isn’t obvious during my moments of self-flagellation.  Anyway, thoughts to ponder while I reminisce my way through New England’s major food groups, sun, sand, mountains in the distance, laughing kids at Paul Revere’s house, the cute boy with cupcake frosting smeared all over his face, and juggler Bob (as seen on TV!) making the kids laugh…

The Holocaust memorial is squished in a narrow median strip.  It seems simple, but facts and quotes are etched on towering glass squares, numbers Nazis tattooed on victims etched on glass reaching up to the sky.  Looking up the towers, it hit me how many it means when they say 6 million people died.  This simple-seeming monument struck me deeply.
Hi from Hampton Beach

Relaxed and happy - and thankful I packed a hat!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I thought about ranting about my parents’ anti-sugar, anti-processed flour reign of terror for “sweet”, but that’s been done.  Let me instead tell you about my subversive tactics for lifting the restrictions of that awful regime…

I told Dad that there were ripe blackberries, giant, enormous blackberries that would taste wonderful in a pie, but alas, you just can’t make a pie without sugar and flour.  So sad.  No pie.  Such a shame too, because they were really sweet blackberries.  Wouldn’t hardly take much sugar at all to make such a pie.

I saw Dad’s resolve weakening.  He suggested honey, and I said that would make a gummy pie, but a touch of clove and cinnamon would really enhance those berries.  I let him gnaw on that a bit while I watched him swallow more than normally necessary and chew the inside of his cheek.

“Why don’t you go pick some of those berries and bring them home?” he said.  “No, it’s not worth the bother to bring them back.  I mean I would if I were making a pie, but you know berries won’t hold up when you’ve got to carry them that far.  They’ll get too smashed up.”

It was a standoff.  I watched Dad continue to swallow his Pavlovian saliva and contemplated my purple fingers.  Dad obviously wrestled with his conscience of healthy living and pie.  I could see pie was winning.

“Why don’t you take me to where you found them and I’ll just eat some there?” he countered.  “No way!  You’d eat them all.  Besides, they don’t care if I eat them, but they won’t like it if you go there.”  Check.  My 8 or 10 year old self could pick berries lots of places a grown man couldn’t, and Dad knew it.  I didn’t bother to tell him that the berries were on free land.

“Don’t you like pie, Dad?  It’s mostly healthy.  I mean, it’s mostly fruit, and fruit’s good for us.”

Dad’s conscience was on the ropes.  I licked my purple fingers and started wandering very slowly towards the door.

“Okay!  Okay!  One pie!”  Checkmate.  I made two pies.  After all, the crust recipe is for 2 pies, and you don’t really expect me to know how to half a recipe at that age, do you Dad?

I made sure there was some sort of fruit or berries in season for the rest of the summer.  We ate a lot of pies.  Mom made strawberry shortcake.  Eventually we even got cookies.  Dad bragged about my pies to Grandma, and she taught me to use ice water and not to touch the crust except to put it in the tin and crimp the edges.  Sadly, this pie wisdom has been rendered obsolete by ready-made pie crusts, but I still could make a crust if I had to, and I cut air vents in the top in a wheat pattern like our women always have because as Mom says, “It’s tradition.  We have to.” Or for the longer Mom explanation, wheat represents plenty.

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?  Can she bake a cherry pie, Charming Billy?

For those of you who read my post about spring water, I took pictures of one of the lawnmowers and a bit of the trout pond.  The kid is one of twins and they were awesome cute romping around.

The irises and the birdhouses are pics from work in the secret garden that only me and Br. Gary ever see, and in case you can’t tell from my general good mood, I think the internal audit of my department at work went great J