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, October 29, 2010


I made this painting during a previous period of unemployment when I was making extra bucks substitute teaching. I was killing time during a free period, and it was pleasant to rag leftover tempera paint onto a scrapped piece of poster board. That didn't kill enough time, so I made circles over the background with a plastic circle template. I took it home and finished it with colored pencils. Somewhere along the line I decided all the circles represented coins, and I needed to bring more coins into my life. I liked the colors well enough that I hung it up at home, but I have often thought that I should've been trying to manifest dollars, not coins. I'm still trying to manifest dollars.

I liked substitute teaching. The kids were fun and often sparked new ideas in me for my own work. I liked popping in and out of their lives, hopefully leaving some useful tidbits behind.

One class, there was a very dry lesson plan about water cycles. Clouds rain, water flows downhill, evaporates into clouds... The kids looked like they needed poked with cattle prods. When I explained everything flows downhill, that all junk eventually ends up in their drinking water, they started to pick up a little. One punk kid made a joke about drinking pee. I said "exactly", and they all started talking. It was a lively, educational discussion, and I think I helped make about 28 kids more environmentally friendly.

Sure beats "killing time" between classes, but I guess even that goes to show that it's our choice what we do with our time. We can bitch and groan about time wasting, or we can use the time towards something more valuable.

On a completely different note, I found this Confederate money in a box this week. For those of you outside the US, America split in two in the 1800s over issues of states rights and slavery. A very bloody war was fought, and the Confederacy (Southern states) lost. My grandpa's family was from Tennessee, which is how this money ended up in my box. I doubt I could get $5 for it today even though it is 150 years old. Money from winners is always more valuable, isn't it?

The bill is very delicate, so I scanned it to look at it better. I haven't decided what to do with it yet, but it seems like there's an art project in it somehow? If nothing else, at least the South got an artist to design it in the first place, but it seems like bloody money. I just think it's interesting, and thought others might like to look at it too.

Friday, October 22, 2010


"Racing" reminds me of a family camping trip where I met a bunch of Algonquin boys running in a field. They ran back and forth and back and forth all afternoon. They insisted I had to run barefoot, and I got spiked in the foot with some woody weed. I pulled it out and kept running, and they praised me for being tough.

I envied their freedom. Everybody got along, everyone laughed, and somehow running was something they were driven to do. They didn't care if I was a girl as long as I could keep up, and I think it was the first time I felt like my sex didn't matter. It was also before I wanted to be noticed as a girl. When they started tackling each other, I got tackled too. When I tried to tackle a big boy, he snatched me up and threw me to another kid who carried me like a football to the end of the field. I guess I should be glad that was before football players started spiking the ball in the end zone.

My first thought when I saw the word of the week is that nobody can make me draw race cars in my free time. My second thought was Winslow Homer's "Crack the Whip". It wasn't much of a jump to remember the Algonquin boys from there.

I love Homer's action and the balance of realism with loose, impressionistic brush strokes. Flowers are quick dabs of color, faces are smeared blobs, but the anatomy is correct and real. The painting is much smaller than I imagined before seeing it at the Butler Museum in Youngstown, Ohio. There is a lot of info about Homer online, and if you aren't familiar with him, I'd recommend looking him up. He did a lot of powerful work during the American Civil War, and spent his old age in New England painting the ocean. Much of his work has hidden social messages, and I admire his spirit.

Crack the Whip is a kids' game where they all hold hands and run together until the kid at the end stops and yanks the chain of children. As shown in the painting, the kid on the end falls off. I played this with my siblings when I was small, and it kept us occupied until we were all a sweaty heap of laughter.

When I started this blog, I had such different ideas in mind. I didn't realize it would so often become a diary of happy little memories of childhood, but the words of the week take me back, and I'm glad when my stories hit a note with other people. Grownups get too bound up with thoughts of bills, and what we want, or what we can't have. We forget what it's like to play, to feel free, and to see the future as endless as a perfect summer day running with healthy, friendly boys.

Homer's work speaks for itself. I wasn't about to paint a similar subject for comparison, so the top pic is something I did in PhotoShop, and the other is a pencil doodle to fit the theme.

Thanks to everyone for their comments about my "spooky" post. I'm sorry I wasn't able to return everyone's visit. I've been having headaches, which I guess is just another reason to think about happy summer days of childhood :)

Friday, October 15, 2010


I was in the woods once, walking towards a barn at night, and an owl flew right over my head into the open hayloft. Absolutely silent. If that's not awesome and spooky, I don't know what is. I don't care if I understand an owl's feathers have a special fringed edge to muffle sound. It's freaky when a large bird silently swoops over your head at night.

There are a lot of spooky things at night. The house can creak and groan when it settles, we can't see into the dark, and our imaginations can start running wild with wonderings about what is just outside of the light. It doesn't help when we actually experience things we can't explain or when other people tell us such things aren't possible. How can we be sure the things we "know" are really true?

There are two different worlds on Earth. There's the daytime animals and human activities, and when all of them go to bed, the others come creeping out. But humans still tend to circle the bonfire or eat at the brightly lit all-night restaurant, or work third shift under the factory's sodium lights. At heart, I think most of us are afraid of the dark.

The owl eyes are colored pencil on black construction paper. The bats are watercolor and pencil.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I grew up in an isolated valley, and one of the things I wanted most was transportation out of there. Nature is great, but I wanted a friend that didn't have fur, scales, feathers, or a shell.

The next-door-neighbors were "Summer People", meaning they came to garden in nice weather. They were "Old Country" (Europeans), and because of them I have the idea that all Europeans must keep everything they've ever owned. Instead of throwing things away, they had stages of storage. Good stuff in the house, okay stuff in the barn, junk hidden in a clearing amongst the pine trees.

I'd really like to make excuses about plundering their junk, but I mean really, did they actually expect me to leave their unsupervised stuff alone? The fact that many of the rusty old farm tools had wheels on them made them very attractive to me. I had endless time to clean and oil them into some level of functionality. I think it's probably a good thing I didn't know how to make a motor or I would've driven out of the glen without looking back.

My creations didn't get me out of the valley, but I had fun making them. I also enjoyed decorating them with pine cones and flowers while I waited for my fairy godmother to turn one of them into a carriage to take me to the ball.

Friday, October 1, 2010


When I was a teenager, I got a job as a lifeguard at a summer camp. When the counselors learned I liked art, my duties got expanded to teaching crafts to the "slow" kids. I guess it's all how you look at things, but I didn't think the kids were all that slow, but that was before half the kids were diagnosed with ADHD and given Ritalin. Maybe they weren't the best at school, but part of the problem was they really didn't like sitting still very long. They'd slap their projects together quickly, then look for trouble until I thought about the salamanders. After all, we were doing crafts at a picnic table in the woods.

I showed them how to look beneath rocks and rotten logs and sort through the leaves to find the squiggly little things, and taught them to hold the salamanders gently because they have delicate skin. The kids happily looked for bugs and grubs to feed them while the kids who liked doing crafts finished their projects. My class became their favorite, and the counselors ended up giving them to me through most of the summer. They were sweethearts.

There was more to the job because we were also trying to get "retarded" adults out of an institution and into group homes by teaching them basic skills. I was to teach them water safety. That's a story in itself because they really didn't get the concept. Also, about half of them weighed about half a ton each, and if they decided to walk on the bottom of the pool in the deep end, I was the one who had to get them out. But even with the scares they gave me, the adults were sweethearts too. I racked up a lot of love that summer!

The picture is wax pencil on coquille board. And yes, I know the terms I used aren't PC any more. I wrote this in context of the times and say "developmentally delayed" now.