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, October 24, 2015


I need a new adventure.  I'm not sure what this is going to be yet, but it has to be more exciting than making applesauce or watching Pete and Dave fixing my shed this week.

Last night I dreamt about "adventure" and remembered walking in a South Carolina plantation garden.  I am delicate in the sun, so I had on a big, floppy hat and a long, loose skirt while everyone else was dressed in Ugly American summer wear.  That's too-tight tank tops with lewd slogans and too-tight shorts.

There was a guy in a holey shirt that had faded a light salmon.  I suppose the shirt started out red?  I couldn't look away from the curly blonde fur on his shoulders while he couldn't bother to check his unruly kids.  His wife's chest oozed around all the edges.  I must've looked like another flower in the garden by comparison.

A British man pulled up in a super cute red convertible.  He was dressed impeccably, as he had a business meeting in the Big House.  Nothing more than light conversation happened with him, but I guess I've always wondered "what if".  He was clearly interested, and I was interested too, but I regretfully watched him walk away.  I was probably being responsible about something.  Sometimes I hate that about myself.

We all face moments of opportunities gained or lost.  Often those moments are as ephemeral as catching a falling leaf in the breeze.  I think most of the time we don't recognize the chance or the choice, but sometimes we do.  Not taking that chance in the moment is the choice of a different future.  Too often, the reason we don't take a risk is because of misguided inhibitions and fear.

I listened to a radio program, Reclaiming Conversation: ThePower of Talk in the Digital Age.  Psychologist author, Sherry Turkle, has researched what's happening with people who are glued to their devices.  People text instead of talking face to face, and have lost the ability to empathize.  They have so many fears, they avoid personal interactions.  How many opportunities are lost because they're hiding behind their phones?

I'm  upset that people don't know how to sit down and have a cup of tea with a friend for an afternoon or how to actually get together meaningfully in a romantic relationship.  I share lunch with the ladies in my office every day, and we talk about stuff.  We like each other, suffer each other's quirks, and support each other.  This stuff matters, and people need to put down their phones and notice that it matters.

I'm glad I drove to SC to walk in a plantation garden.  I regret not asking that man to join me for lunch.  I'm glad I'm a responsible worker.  I regret giving too much of my life to jobs.  All of these little choices end up being the sum of our lives.

I'm trying to think of ideas for my next adventure -- to go somewhere, do something new, expand my life in some way.  Maybe I'll actually fill out the paperwork for a passport?  Take a class or say "hi" to the next guy who looks at me?  Do you have any suggestions?

I'm usually terrible at remembering to show works in progress (WIP).  I thought I'd try to remember to show you this piece as I go along.  This is on a 3' x 12" canvas that my buddy Korki gave me.  Thanks!

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I have an excellent memory for certain things.  I can describe Grandma's kitchen in vivid detail.  The more I mentally step into that kitchen, the more things I'll remember, like the ceramic Donald Duck planter on the scalloped corner shelf filled with spare change.  3 kinds of Chex cereal in the white cabinet.  The shamrock and the jade tree on the window sill.  The smell of good food.  Grandpa chuckling.

Sorting apples
Since I have good recall, it's easy for me to believe I'm in control of my subconscious.  I have issues, (who doesn't?) but I know where they come from and try to deal with them accordingly.

I worked at an ice cream store when I was a teenager.  One evening I suddenly faced a boy whom I hadn't seen for a while.  He went white and stammered an apology.  "Yeah, okay.  What kind of ice cream do you want?"  I was busy and needed to keep up with orders.  I didn't know what he was apologizing for, but some part of me was sizzling.  That felt uncomfortable, so I stuffed the feelings and doubt deep inside.

Bad apple
More time went by, and I watched a tv show about teenaged violence.  I suddenly understood that apology so easily, it was like I'd never repressed getting attacked by my guy "friends" because I'd turned one of them down.  Andrew hadn't helped them, but he hadn't helped me either.  He just watched me knock a guy out and stun another while the rest piled on me until another friend came roaring to my rescue.

I wonder when there's news stories about repressed memories.  Clearly, it happens.  I lived it.  Yet, too often it seems like people are making things up, or following the misguided directions of a therapist.  I began to doubt my reclamation of this memory, so I asked witnesses if it really happened.  It did.  Drat.  I wished it was a bad dream.

But, if we know what we've experienced, we can work on it.  Refusing to think of something doesn't make it go away.  It affects our lives.  Not talking about something because it makes other people uncomfortable is trading their temporary comfort for a more permanent disability within ourselves.  Reclaiming my memory and giving myself permission to talk about it gives me power over my own life and decisions.  In a backwards way, I live more consciously now because I stuffed those memories then.

I make better friends now, and I value them.  John (and Mom) gave me organic apples from their trees.  Thanks!  I've been happily canning applesauce and gave some of it to other friends.  My brother asked for apple cupcakes, big cupcakes, like muffins at the coffee shop with crystallized sugar on top.  I threw in a couple of past prime bananas too.  I'd show you a picture, but they were ALL gone in one night.  I seriously don't know how he managed to digest that many apples without severe stomach distress.  The ladies at work suggested they'd like apple cake too.

Itsy bitsy 4 oz. single serve canning jars
I don't know if we have to experience the bad in life to appreciate the good, but I remind myself the good people in our lives make life sweet -- and the applesauce sweeter too.

This is why I have to get apples from others.
Sorry for the photo quality, it was taken through my kitchen window
and the window screen.  This is just 2 of a large flock of the varmints.
The snowman has a stuffed head.  This is another tower of cookies I made for Mrs. Fields.

"An unexamined life is not worth living." ~ Socrates

Friday, October 9, 2015


I was freezing to death my first time in "sunny California" and went to a department store to buy a scarf.  A very nice lady struck up a conversation with me and helped me shop.  I was pleased that she liked my choices, but I was a little confused because she didn't seem to be a salesperson.  She was just friendly, and since I was on my own in the big city, I enjoyed her company.

We talked about this and that.  She seemed curious about my life and what had brought me to the frigid state.  She suggested sites of interest that I might enjoy during my visit.  If I lived around there I would've asked her to join me for lunch, but a man came and took her away.  She climbed a podium with "Christie Brinkley!" in 4' letters across the front and I felt a little stupid that I hadn't recognized her.  I noticed posters of her on the store doors when I left and felt even more stupid.

I wonder if Christie ever thinks of me?  I imagine she seldom meets anyone who doesn't know who she is.  I bet she very seldom gets a chance to just be buddies with a regular girl.  This happened a long time ago, back when she was on every magazine cover and her husband Billy Joel was always on the radio.

Back home in Ohio, and a lot of years later, I went to a party and was a little disappointed because I heard that Matt Dillon was going to be there, but he wasn't.  I spent a lot of the evening talking to a friend of Matt's whom I wasn't interested in because that guy liked to go to exotic places and gamble.  I don't gamble.  I like my money too much and don't have extra to throw around on chance.

At work on Monday, my intern fell all over herself because I got to meet that guy.  She had a full-size shirtless poster of him in her bedroom.  I have to admit that I still don't know who he is.  He and his brother are both famous for being in some war movie, but I don't watch those kinds of things.  Just one more reason I wasn't compatible with him.

I guess the one thing I can offer famous people is anonymity?  I'm pretty clueless about entertainment trivia.  I know other people are crazy for it, but to me it's mostly fluff for when I don't have something more interesting to do.  I watched a PBS show about an entomologist who studies ants, and I thought "I'd love to meet that old man!"  Or, you know, Matt Dillon because he's pretty.

This art is from a project I did for Mrs. Fields.  There were a lot of parts: wine tubes, bell-shaped boxes, tins, towers of boxes.  The whole series did very well, even though my boss fought me every step of the way about presenting it to the customer since she didn't like it.  Just goes to show that you've got to sell the salesperson before you can get to the customer.  Or sell your own stuff.

The stars had 3 different colors of backgrounds which helped mix it up without re-creating new art for every part.  I miss working for Mrs. Fields.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I miss the cookies :)

Friday, October 2, 2015


I love the drag of ink on paper.  I especially like ballpoint pens on newsprint.  I used to "correct" people's faces in the newspaper so I could indulge in the rich feel of that inky experience.  Sometimes I put makeup on people or changed their hairstyles.  Sometimes I turned them into monsters.

I remember this so vividly, the smell of the paper, the ink, the light coming through the living room window, the feel of the splintery pine floor... Memory is a strange thing, and I've been spending a lot of my time in it this week, painting a map of my childhood.

I'm amazed how many memories are vivid in my mind.  I can tell you the name of the horse that lived on the corner 40+ years ago.  Buck, which is also the name of my nephews' great uncle, and whom I met once about 30 years ago.  All of my senses remember details too small to be important for long-term memory, but they're there*.

For you young'uns who know the Glen, this is the map of my childhood, not the present.  I included houses that were built while I lived there, even though part of me wants to wipe out about 10 of them.  In my youngest years, our house was the only one on our side of the street, and the Turk's property was an overgrown lot with a row of bee hives.  I used the county property map and satellite photos, so it's as accurate as I can make it.

For those of you who don't know the Glen, plain rectangles of 2 and 3 acre lots might make you think that the land was open.  It wasn't.  The Glen is richly treed.  Everything on the other side of the river was miles of untouched forest, and our side of the river was closed off from the world by a giant hill and cliffs.

It was a clannish neighborhood of regular and crazy people, recluses, criminals, and artists -- and something I know to the bottom of my soul is that I belonged.  There were people who loved me or hated me, or who were totally apathetic to my existence, but they were my people, and I was as much a part of that landscape as the giant oak tree.

I have thought about my writing and art, and realize all of it is autobiographical -- and that's what it's supposed to be.  The subject of my life's work is my life.  Maybe in some way this is true for everyone who creates?  But for me, it's literal.  In sharing my story, I tell the lives of other people who can't or won't tell their stories themselves.  Our experiences entertain or resonate for other people.

I started this floor to decorate my home, but also to give myself time to meditate and find my way forward.  I didn't know where the path would lead, and was open to the discovery.  I'm looking forward to polyurethaning the canvas this weekend, painting over the speckles I made on the wall and baseboards, moving the furniture back, cleaning house, and living the most authentic life I can live.

I went back through my posts to see just how long this floor has taken me.  I started this in June!  Okay, I've successfully held down a full-time job and lived a regular life, but I've put a huge amount of time into this.  I used up big tubes of green, white, brown, and yellow paint and wore out brushes.

As for "ink", I used a ball point pen in early phases and I can't tell you strongly enough it's a terrible idea.  I used a lot of paint covering that up again.  I resisted the urge to use the ballpoint in later phases for that reason, but there is some ink on it.  I can also say that using a silver gel pen over acrylic means a quick death to the gel pen.

(Korki and John, "they're there" is for you!)