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, September 25, 2015


I thought I'd have my floor finished by now.  The only thing left was the center, and how hard could that be?  Of course it might be easier if I knew what's going in that center, but I've been enjoying the process of discovery.

It would also help if I didn't get very complicated ideas like an astrological wheel -- but a subtle wheel, because I didn't feel like making my floor all about that.  This turned into days of math and fussing, for what's basically a 1 3/8" wide ring that hugs the inside of the brick circle -- which still leaves me to ponder what goes inside of that.

This eternal calendar gave me the chance to write the names of important people's birthdays.  I won't say this will motivate me to actually give birthday gifts, or give them on time, but it improves the odds.

I noticed trends in the birthdays of people who've made a difference in my life, either for good or bad.  I'm going to look for more Virgos because they are consistently nice to me.  Grandma was a Virgo, and Grandma love is right up there with dog love in unconditional and forever.

Things would move along quicker on the center of the floor if I quit taking time out to add more animals to the outside leaves.  I keep telling myself that I'm done with that part, but then I think maybe another dragonfly?  Maybe more flowers?

My dog thinks that all of this has gone on long enough.  She paces back and forth in front of me and nags.  Soon.  We're almost there.  Really, how long can it take to paint the inside 4' center?

Then I sit on my stool and ponder, which really annoys my puppy.  Why can't we take a walk or curl up with a book?  I've been giving her dog cookies to shut her up.  She's standing in the way of my creativity and self-expression.

I won a gift certificate once for entering a story in a contest.  That $25 validation probably made it possible for me to blog because I was bunched up in a million different ways about writing.  Letting my words out into the world was hard, especially since the story was about grieving the death of someone who mattered to me.  I unexpectedly had to face another fear when I had to read the story out loud to a group.

I wrote about the same kinds of things that are now living on my floor because nature is my center.  When the snow falls, I'll have summer in my dining room.  I'll have visual cues to remind me of happy times and help chase away winter blues.  I'll see the names of important people in my life and remember that loving and being loved is the greatest prize of all.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I loved The Little Mermaid when I was small.  I had a book of the original Hans Christian Andersen story with beautiful b/w illustrations.  I sighed over the handsome prince, and sighed over the beautiful illustrations too.  I've always valued good art.

Dad used to say that to be "cultured" and "well-educated", I had to read all the classics.  So I did.  Go ahead, ask me about Dickens or Tolstoy or whoever.  Really, somebody should ask me something about this stuff, because I'm pretty sure nobody has ever cared whether or not I'm educated or cultured.

All that reading filled my head with romanticism and idealism -- and I doubt that makes my life better.  Would you date a Musketeer?  Athos is an alcoholic who killed his wife (twice), Aramis a hypocritical slut, Porthos is stupid, and D'Artagnan... well, I guess he's okay if you didn't mind him rashly trying to get killed at any moment.  It's a great story, one of my favorites, but it doesn't provide a very good model for real life.

When I read and reread The Little Mermaid, I was swept away by the romanticism.  I couldn't see that she gave too much of herself away for a fantasy.  Forget Disney, I was reading the original story which is a lot harsher and written by Hans who never got lucky romantically in his entire life.

I've been guilty of giving too much of myself in the same ways.  Okay, an evil witch didn't cut out my tongue and tell me to stab my lover, but how often have I given more than I received?  A: too often.  And it isn't just lovers, it's all sorts of other people too.

My internal romantic has gotten me in all sorts of trouble and bad decisions.  No matter how practical or tough I can be about all sorts of things, a part of me is Ariel and nukes my own happiness.  I'm working on it.  I've been thinking about these kinds of situations a lot while I sit on the floor and paint with my smallest brush.

At the same time, I think fantasy is the root of all creation.  We need daydreams and nightdreams.  They are the source of everything we make or bring into our lives, but we can't dream anyone else into what we want them to be outside of our own fantasies.  I'm searching for balance.

"Mermaid" reminded me of this cookie jar -- except I guess it was Tinkerbell.  Oh well, close enough.  I try to block out Disney work from my mind.  To say they are picky and demanding is like saying world annihilation is inconvenient.

This cookie jar never happened even though it did get to the prototype stage.  I just thought I'd show you something other than the floor (though I have some nice butterflies and mushrooms.)  This project involved gobs of technical drawings from every angle and then many revisions on each of them before they canned the whole thing because Chinese people don't understand Tinkerbell.  Disney also wavered between using the old Tink vs. the new one, which meant I had to do the whole thing over several times that way too.

I told my brother I needed a mermaid and he obliged on a napkin while we waited for dinner.  I objected to "toe flippers" and little arms, but he just giggled.  That's worth something :)

Friday, September 11, 2015


I watched Dr. Phil yesterday.  I’m not recommending it.  My mind rebels when I see how some people treat each other.  Yesterday he talked to people who say Bill Cosby drugged and raped them.  I don't want to believe it, but I think it's true.  The man who made me laugh as a child is a sociopath.  He got away with criminal behavior for decades.

Tom went out with my friend in college.  He asked me out after they quit dating.  I asked if she minded.  She said, "Uh, well..."  "I don't need to go out with him.  I'll just say 'no'."  "It's okay."  "No, really..."  "It's fine.  Go out with him."

So I went out, but I told him I had a lot of homework and needed to be home by 10:00.  He was handsome and charming.  He had lots of money and spent close to $300 on dinner.  Considering this was back in the 80s, that really was a lot of money.

I enjoyed the evening.  Let's do it again -- but he pulled up to his house instead of mine.  Touch, grab, slap, "Take me home!"  "Do you realize how much I spent on you tonight?!"  "I'm not a prostitute!"  Wrestling match, aided on my side by his seat belt.  I escaped and slammed the car door -- as luck would have it, on his hand.  The door mechanism went around the bone in the back of his hand and effectively immobilized him.

Through his open sunroof I could hear him yelling, screaming, and threatening for a few blocks as I raged through the worst section of town in 4" heels and my best dress.  A group of very rough men stood outside a bar and watched me storm past.  An older man stifled a smirk and I almost smiled in return.  Ah, sometimes I miss my younger self.

I told my friend about my misadventure and she said, "Yeah, he did that to me too."  What??!!!  "How could you let me go out with him?"  "We--elll, I didn't think he'd do it to you too."  Thanks one hell of a lot.

Tom was at a party a couple months later with an industrial-looking sling.  Mutual friends told me he'd had to have surgery on his hand.  No regrets on my end.  He confronted me and I said if he didn't vamoose I'd tell everyone exactly how his hand got damaged.  Maybe someone would like to damage your left hand too?  I spoke loudly enough to kill his social life.  I'm not absolutely sure, but I heard he got beat up that night.

Tom was handsome, smart, charming, and wealthy.  Why did he think he could buy me, and failing that, rape me?  I'm thankful I got away.  I wish Bill Cosby's victims had gotten away too.  Sadly, I believe them.  There are villains in the world.  Sometimes the villains are handsome, charming, wealthy, and famous.  I wish the victims had felt safe enough to speak up sooner so there would be fewer women hurt.

Salamanders aren't villains.  They won't hurt anyone.  This one's for Sue who had a spotted salamander in a terrarium on the dresser when we were kids :)

Saturday, September 5, 2015


I took my ladies out for margaritas in thanks for everything they did in moving our office this week.  The new office looks good although there are still a lot of piles.  I also don't know why one computer monitor doesn't work, but all that can wait until next week.  Margaritas were important.

When I told them the word for the week is "old", M said a doctor told her that if you're going to have a health problem, it'll show up between the ages of 50-60.  If nothing crops up, you're golden.  So far so good?  She's in her 70s and skateboarded a computer stand down the hallway.  I hope I'm doing that well when I'm her age.  No, I wish I was doing as well as her now.

I have creaky knees and sore feet from a lot of walking, climbing, hefting, and shoving this week.  It reminds me of my 30s when I felt old, fat, and depressed from an unhappy marriage and divorce.

I sat at a picnic table in the park with Betty, watching a flock of girls run across a field.  Betty sighed.  She was old enough to be my mother and said she'd never run like that again.  She used to love running and Scottish dancing.  She even took a trip to Scotland to dance.  Her loss of ability hit me in a powerful way.

Added dogwood flowers
Not long afterwards, my dalmatian ran across a field.  I thought "Why not?" and ran with her.  I wasn't sure if I could do it any more, but we made it across the very big field.  I wasn't even that winded on the other side.  We ran some more.  I played with her.  I pushed thoughts about breaking my ankle in a rabbit hole out of my surface thoughts.  We waded in the river for a while, and ran around the field some more.

Something major shifted in my thoughts that day.  I was sorry Betty couldn't run, but I still could.  I didn't have to limit myself, and Betty was thrilled for me when I told her about it.  She laughed and clapped when I danced with her son around the living room.

I put myself on a diet and got out and lived.  I looked and felt better in my 40s than in my 30s.  I danced a lot.  Once in a while I run in the backyard just to keep proving to myself that I still can, and I remember Betty and thank her for teaching me a valuable life lesson.

Painting my floor vividly reminds me that deep knee bends should happen more than once a decade.  The floor has gotten farther away than it used to be and I'm unwilling to say this is the last project like this that I'll be able to do because I'm getting too old.  It's time to take my physical life in hand again.

I have all the leaves painted!  Woo hoo!!!  This is the least exciting part visually because it's repetitious and basically just the background, but I've thoroughly enjoyed doing it.  I look forward to coming home from work so I can paint and think about things.  I've been sorting out things that I've had shelved in my brain and seeing whether or not I need to throw things away, recycle, or rearrange them in another box.

I've got ideas for the next phase, and I'm excited at the prospect of a 3-day Labor Day weekend which I can fill with dragonflies and flowers.

BTW, the floor is obviously a compass which points north.  The dragonfly is a correction pointing to big water (Lake Erie).