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, June 29, 2012


“Refresh”?  You gotta be kidding me.  I’m melting in Ohio today.  It’s at least a million degrees F with about 5,000% humidity, which means we are now hotter than the sun.  At least I think so.  I don’t actually know how hot the sun is, and I’m not going there to stick a thermometer in it, but I do know I’m HOT, and not in that pleasant, sexy kind of way either.

Even with this equatorial heat, this is a time for parties in the US because the 4th of July is when we celebrate our break from Britain and became our own country – not that we actually do anything very patriotic, unless picnics are patriotic?  In my clan, Sis #1 and her family are coming to visit this weekend.  Time for potluck!  And time to sit in the shade and drink a lot of iced tea.

Yay!  Jane from Jane’s Journal gifted me a Sunshine Award.  I’ll admit it, I’m shameless about loving this kind of thing, and I think it’s wonderful how blogging buddies spread their love around.  Jane has a wonderful blog, and I hope you visit her site.  I’m feeling especially happy that she gave me this award on turtle week since I love turtles.

Part of the joy of awards is getting the chance to spread the love to others.  Jane nominated me, but said that other deserving bloggers can just take the award for themselves, so I’ll follow her example.  My nominee is Amanda Dilworth.  I love her use of colors and patterns, so check out her site too.

Now I have to answer questions…

1. Favorite animal: My dog Penny is my favorite, but like I said above, I also love turtles
2. Favorite number: 4.  I like the way 4s are the corners to everything.  They seem so solid.
3. Favorite non-alcoholic drink:  I drink a lot of iced tea.  Not so sure that’s my favorite drink, but that’s what I actually drink.
4. Facebook or Twitter: I hate Facebook, but that’s the one I use.  I don’t want to get sucked into Twittering too.
5. My passion:  Kids, education, science, fairness… Oh yeah, one passion?  Art.
6. Getting or giving:  Both can be fun, just like getting and giving awards.
7. Favorite day of the week:  Saturday.  That’s the day most open to everything.
8. Favorite flower: This is like choosing between blogging buddies, but I think I’ll pick day lilies today.
9. Favorite country:  I’ve only been in 3 countries so far since I’ve never gotten off of North America, so I don’t have a lot of comparison.  But I love home, so I pick the US, though in all honesty, I almost picked Canada.  They're very nice there and the scenery is great, but it's too cold most of the year to be my "favorite".

Friday, June 22, 2012


I shared a bedroom with my 2 older sisters when we were little.  It was a 2-bedroom house, and even though it was a fairly large room, it wasn’t big enough for that many sisters, and definitely not big enough when a brother arrived.  So, Mom and Dad added another bedroom and bath to split up the kids.  My first pick would’ve been to get rid of some of the siblings, but okay, another bed/bath is good too. 

Bro and I moved to the little bedroom in the front of the house.  That was okay for a while, but our parents didn’t share my desire for a small family, and when Bro #2 was added, I was kicked back to the big room with my sisters.  We were all bigger than the first time we were roommates, and had bigger needs.  There wasn’t enough space.  Well, there might’ve been if we were all perfectly neat and organized like Sis #1, but Sis #2 and I weren’t like that.  #1 roped off her territory with yellow police tape, but that didn’t stop #2 and I from getting into her stuff.  Trespass and punishment was a continual and epic war – with a little time out to feed the salamander, fish, turtles, and whatever else lived with us at the time.

None of us were very interested in staying in the house though.  In the day, I had the woods, and the woods is a place of many rooms.  In the most literal of ways, all of the animals have their own separate places.  The deer would mat down the grasses behind the grapevines under the trees’ canopy, and the mice and others did the same thing in miniature.  I could randomly choose 4 tree trunks as the corners of a pretend room and furnish it with sticks and rocks and carpet it with moss, but my favorite places were the hidden alcoves that let me sit in privacy with a view of the passing world.  I watched the animals and I watched the older boys building tree forts.  I left the boys flowers in their forts once in a while because they never decorated things pretty.  Girls weren’t allowed, but nobody complained to me about my flower gifts.

Sometimes I laid on my back and watched the sky, deciphering the shapes of clouds and looking into the infinity of blue.

I knew people with large estates, or bedrooms they didn’t have to share, but did they really have more than me?  Sometimes I think about how we all run around trying to earn more, buy more, more, more, more, and never really appreciate what’s free and what we already have.  We don’t let children play in the woods by themselves anymore to imagine whatever they might imagine before they’re programmed into accepting other people’s dreams.

I guess I feel a bit sad today.  A childhood friend’s mother passed away.  She was part of my old life.  She saw me skipping down the street with my bucket and fishing rod.  She gave me cookies.  I haven’t seen her for decades, but she is part of my mental Polaroid picture of childhood.  I remember the smell of her perfume, and the click of her high heels, but now she isn’t here anymore.  It feels like one of the bridges between now and childhood has fallen down like one of the boys’ forts.

I guess it all boils down to people matter, often in ways they never intended or noticed when they’re doing things.  We carry parts of those people with us until we die, and those parts are passed on to the people we’ve affected along the way, so in a way, nobody ever really disappears.  We’re all part of the infinity of blue.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I hold a lot of secrets – other people’s secrets.  I must look trustworthy or something, and I don’t spill what someone tells me in confidence.  The only time I screw up is if I don’t realize it’s supposed to be secret.  For instance, friend A got laid off.  I told mutual friend B, who spread the news to other mutual friends.  Friend A told me a month later that she still hadn’t told anyone about her work situation.  Huh?!  How do you expect to find another job if nobody knows you need one?  Don’t you trust your friends enough to support you through difficult times?  Aren’t you lying to friends when you meet for dinner when you can’t afford to eat out?

In my opinion, Friend A put me in an awkward situation by not telling me her work status was a state secret.  I had to retrace the trail of well-meaning friends and say “act surprised when she tells you”, which makes me feel like I was forced into a type of lie.  Friend A didn’t tell anyone for about 6 months.  That level of secret keeping about job status would’ve never occurred to me.  I absolve myself for that faux pas.

A note of caution here, explicit language follows…

Friend A’s secret was important to her, but for secret keeping, it’s mere comic relief.  Sure, being out of a job is important, but keeping it secret isn’t.  The majority of real secrets often fall under sexual violence, and victims are frequently the ones who hold those secrets most closely to their chests.  The statistics for rape are incredible.   http://www.rainn.org/statistics  Of course it’s hard to know whether these figures are accurate because many people never report the crime.  Of all the people who have told me about getting molested, none have reported it to the police.  In addition, it isn’t just a woman problem.  Lots of boys are raped too, and it’s even harder for men to admit that they were victimized.

Part of the problem with this kind of crime is that the victims often feel they deserved it.  They were in the wrong place, or wearing the wrong thing, or didn’t say no good enough, or even enjoyed the attention, or in the case of men, might’ve gotten a hard-on.  It doesn’t matter that fear and/or contact can give a guy an erection, the victim feels even more tainted and wrong.  So victims keep the secret, which leaves criminals free to mess up more people’s lives.  Society reinforces this silence by saying we should only talk about pleasant things, or how can you ruin the life of Uncle, Dad, Brother, Cousin, Neighbor, Friend with your unprovable allegations.

If it has happened to you, get help.  Tell someone.  We tell children to tell someone if it happens to them, and it’s true for grown-ups too.  Holding those kinds of secrets can corrode you from the inside out.  And remember, the only one at fault for this is the criminal.  Nothing you did can justify what they did.  It’s not your fault.

So, I hold other people’s secrets, and I’m not about to share them here, but it is my deepest wish that more victims talk and more people listen.  When enough people are secret keepers, maybe we can take another step towards ending this kind of violence?

This art was a logo I did for Women Against Rape (Columbus, OH), oh maybe a lifetime ago.  It was a project that just landed on my desk, but working with that group I learned so much about the prevalence and violence of this despicable crime I became a life-long advocate for victims.  I dug this out of my archives and decided to mess around with it in PhotoShop for Illustration Friday.

Friday, June 8, 2012


“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” never rang true for me.  My actual friends mean much more to me than shiny objects, but I have a lot of shiny objects in a big box I hardly ever open.  I like to take my trinkets out once in a while to play with them, but seldom wear jewelry.  It just doesn’t occur to me because it doesn’t have much practical purpose.  I can understand women living in places where they have to wear all their wealth because they don’t have a wall safe to keep it in, but otherwise, what good is a diamond?  They are vastly devalued as soon as you walk out of the jewelry store.  Money spent on a diamond is money you didn’t spend on a house or your child’s education.  Maybe I’m just too practical for jewelry?  I don’t like high heels very much either.

I do, however, love rhinestones.  Take me to some old lady’s garage sale and let me go through her box of sparklies.  Yay!  Sometime after I have spent between 25 cents and a max of $10, I have something cool to wear for dress up.  Woohoo!  And to top it all off, I always get more compliments for my garage sale finds than for “real” jewelry.  I get to feel good about recycling and giving old ladies pin money, plus I don’t have to contemplate violence in third world diamond countries.  It’s all good.

When Grandma was gone and Grandpa was about 4 or 500 years old and had to be moved from his house, I spent a lot of weekends cleaning out Grandma’s stashes of stuff.  She had a lot of things carefully stored away, and a lot of heavy things had to be packed into cars or carried to the curb.  I’ll admit to some resentments that I was doing so much work when most of my many siblings weren’t helping.  It wasn’t like I was getting to keep very many of the treasures because the will was split between Mom and her brother.  The day one of my sisters came to help, she wanted to look at jewelry.  Well!  Jewelry isn’t heavy, so I’ll admit I wasn’t taking this with the best grace, but Sis likes jewelry, and she got to keep a pile of things from the jewelry box.  I sat on the bed and sulked about life changing around me and no Grandma, and let the jewelry sorting go on without much attention since as I’ve already said, I don’t really care that much about jewelry… until a small velvet box was opened and a blue ring sparkled in the sunshine.  My hand was out before anyone had even registered whether or not they liked it or not.  I can’t even tell you why my hand was out so fast.  I just knew that this ring was mine.  I don’t think Mom really wanted to part with it, but it was the only thing I asked for, so I got it.

Mom said the ring had some history because it had belonged to Grandma’s grandmother, and Grandma fought about it with her sister-in-law, or maybe it was her aunt.  Years later, my uncle married a gemologist who informed me that it’s blue topaz (my birthstone!), ringed in fresh water seed pearls, and set in white and yellow gold.  Of course it really doesn’t make any difference to me if it were glass set in pewter, but I’m happy that it’s my birthstone.  That makes it feel even more right for it to come to me.  I don’t wear it very often.  The wire that’s holding the seed pearls is very brittle and I worry about carelessly sticking my hand into a pocket and causing things to fall apart.  It isn’t super valuable, but it’s invaluable to me.  I like having something that Grandma and her grandma actually wore.

When I saw the word for the week is “shiny”, I started to paint one of my garage sale finds.  I’ll admit I’m headachy today, and just don’t have the attention span to finish this piece, so I just took a picture of it instead.  Let’s call it a work in progress.  I painted the ring a while ago, and headaches are a good enough excuse for art recycling, right?

Friday, June 1, 2012


I had a near death experience (NDE) when I was young.  There wasn’t a bright light.  Jesus and dead relatives didn’t come to greet me.  In fact, nothing about my NDE seemed to be like everybody else’s.  I just went into a strange gray place and waited for the outcome.  I felt like there was a doorway to another kind of life if I actually died, but I didn’t get to see what was on the other side.  To tell the truth, it wasn’t very exciting, but the experience left me with a hurried feeling that I have to accomplish things, but it was tempered by the fact that I was still young and had a lot of time.  The afterlife was giving me very mixed messages, especially since I wasn’t told what I’m supposed to do.  “Why am I here?” is a question that’s been asked for millennia.  There has to be a point to it all, right?  Is it to make art, or touch a child’s life, or stop war, or save the planet?  Whatever it is, hurry!!

Sometimes I get very impatient with time wasters.  My ex was a master at it.  Waiting my turn to talk to customer service in India is an exercise in misery.  “You’re wasting my life!!!” screams in my head while I listen to canned music on the phone.  Maybe that time could’ve been used to cure cancer, but I’ll never get it back.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t have a clue how to cure cancer.  Maybe I could’ve learned how in all those cumulative hours with customer service?  How many people have died from cancer because customer service sucked out everyone’s life essence with elevator music?

Two different people have told me about hellish NDEs.  These people were nasty before their NDEs and neither seemed to think they had to change afterwards.  One woman told me she had to feel the pain she caused other people.  She had teased another girl to tears on the playground, and the grown woman who had to feel that pain mocked the little girl for crying.  The woman completely failed to learn empathy, and she’s terrified to die.  The lesson here is obvious to me, but is completely non-understandable to her.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing something as completely obvious in my life, because if I recognized it, then I might know what I’m supposed to be hurrying up and accomplishing.

When I was living in the woods, I took daily walks with my dog and examined the minutia of nature in a quiet, contemplative way that’s only possible when we don’t have any major responsibilities.  I found a small field of violets and picked several million of them while my happy dog, who had even fewer responsibilities than me, slept in the puddle of sunshine.  I made a lovely purple syrup out of the flowers which is high in vitamins A and C.  It tasted wonderful.  I bottled enough to last quite a while, but all good things come to an end, and eventually I needed more violets.  My trusty dog and I went back to the violet field and discovered that the predominant plant in midsummer is poison ivy.  Bummer.  No more violet syrup, but the experience taught me that everything has its season.  Everything happens in its own time.  If I honor the seasons, I’ll never have to hurry.

Well, at least that’s the way of life when we’re in tune with nature, but people have an annoying habit of putting deadlines on things.  Once, my boss gave me an impossible deadline and I snarled in exasperation, “All your deadlines are arbitrary!!”  She actually laughed and admitted it was true.  The deadline in question WAS entirely arbitrary.  “Okay, get it finished by next week.”  What?!?!  I was torn between conflicting urges to hug her or kill her.  Maybe if I’d only half-killed her she could’ve had her own interesting NDE, and possibly become more empathetic?

I doodled this art in pencil on notebook paper while watching TV.  That seemed too lazy, but I lacked energy to actually get up for better supplies, so I doodled it bigger in ball point pen on another piece of notebook paper.  Since I wrote about actually doing stuff and living my life’s mission, it just didn’t seem right to do such lazy art for this post.  I scanned it in and fiddled a while in PhotoShop.  Do you think I should’ve left well enough alone and just used the pencil version?  Do you have an interesting NDE to share?