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, March 29, 2013


When my brothers were little, I’d cut a hole in a piece of bread with a biscuit cutter and drop an egg in the middle.  I fried the bread and eggs in butter and I had happy brothers.  When they were a little older, I took them to Denny’s every Saturday morning for an egg breakfast that was arranged in a happy face with bacon as the smile.  Now really, who doesn’t smile at bacon?

I hear people saying that their kids “won’t” eat all sorts of things.  I tend to think they must not be going about it right.  For instance, lots of kids wouldn’t choose carrots and parsnips, but if you cook them in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, what kid wouldn’t eat parsnips?  They’re better than candy.  I started adding apples and raisins, and carrots and parsnips became one of my brothers’ favorites.  Anything else you want to try in the pot?

Broccoli?  No problem.  Cheese sauce.  Kids will eat almost anything with cheese sauce.  Sometimes I skipped the cheese sauce and gave them a lemon wedge with the broccoli instead.  I don’t know why kids like lemons, but they do.  They screw up their faces and act like they’ve bitten into a hot pepper, but they keep going back to it like a deer at a salt lick.

I don’t think I harmed my brothers by feeding them too much broccoli.  They’re tall and healthy, and I’ve seen them eat vegetables without sugar.  Sometimes you’ve got to show kids that good food tastes better than junk food.

When my niece was little, she had a very limited diet.  She had a lot of rules about what she would and wouldn’t eat.  I said that she didn’t need to like everything, but she ought to try everything so she could decide for herself whether or not she liked it.  She initially acted like I was trying to poison her, but after a while she started catching on that trying food was fun and that she liked a lot of things.

I fed a friend pickled beets once, and she acted like a 2-yr-old being force-fed pureed Brussels sprouts.  I told her the same as I told my niece, “You don’t have to like it, but you do have to try it”.  Wouldn’t you know it, once my friend actually tried pickled beets she liked them as I shook my head in wonderment about how some people can be so afraid of a vegetable.

Sometimes I wonder about things like this.  Maybe it’s just my nature to explore, and food is just one more unknown to discover?  Sometimes I think that I was taught to explore in the same ways I taught my niece.  My mom liked to try new things in the produce aisle at the grocery store, and Dad was forever reading Euell Gibbons books about what to eat in the woods.  How do you know what you like without trying it?

I had a rare day off today and spent it playing in PhotoShop.  I probably wouldn’t have thought to do this piece of art from the beginning, but by being willing to experiment, I ended up with something for “egg”.  Maybe someone else might say that I wasted my day, but that’s like saying none of us should eat carrots because you don’t like carrots.

Creativity is an exploration.  Let loose, have fun, add cheese sauce!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


There are no jellyfish in Lake Erie.  The only jellyfish I’ve seen have been on tv or scattered around a Florida beach like a bunch of used plastic grocery bags.  I think that’s for the best because I hear jellyfish can sting and even kill you.  I can’t see the point of swimming with things that can kill you, so maybe it’s best that I live in Ohio.

So why a jellyfish?  Maybe because my snowbird friend was chuckling over the snow in Ohio when he was going to take a 5 mile walk on the beach in the Florida sunshine.  Sometimes I have to remind myself why I like Ohio.  I also had a lot of dull work to do and was trying to anticipate the IF word on Thursday night so I could post something.  I got an image in my mind of long vertical lines and a jellyfish happened, so jellyfish it is.

There are plenty of things I could write about with “swim” as the word for the week.  I grew up surrounded by water and can swim like a fish.  Well, I used to swim like a fish, but now maybe I swim like a basking turtle?  Maybe that’s why I harken back to childhood thoughts when I think about things to blog about.

Back then I had an extra special secret place downstream.  There was a deep, warm well of water in the river with a good sunning rock, and because nobody but me ever went there, I was free to drop my clothes on the shore and swim neckid.  One time I went there and saw that there were maybe a million or two baby water snakes squiggling around the entire edge of my rock.

I was torn.  Should I do something in the woods instead or plow through baby snakes?  I opted for snakes.  They didn’t scatter as I swam through them.  They kept squiggling on the perimeter and saw me as an extension of the boulder.  What sounds like somebody’s nightmare was an exquisite experience.  I was incredibly alive in that moment, with an overload of excited nerve endings.  I gently floated alongside snakes and pretended to be one of them.

I feel like I should delete this remembrance because I imagine people far away going “Ew yuck!” and Mom scolding me that I shouldn’t admit to skinny dipping or that snakes have some sort of scary diseases.  I get torn between repeating what I heard about women putting a snake inside themselves as a self-pleasing technique and stopping my typing fingers from repeating stuff I’m not “supposed to” repeat because we’re all supposed to be in lock step together dressed in beige.

One of the fun things for me about blogging is that I don’t have a goal when I start typing.  I just look at the word for the week and free associate.  It surprises me what comes out, especially when I start writing about swimming naked with snakes.  I bet other people have lots of things that they could free associate about too that probably falls into the “we never talk about that” kind of category.  How many of our most interesting experiences get squashed into silence?

Draw and write what you feel like drawing and writing.  Test your intuition.  Swim with snakes!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Eye Glasses"

When I was in elementary school, a girl came to school with a patch over one eye.  It didn’t give her a pirate’s rakish appeal; she looked like a poster child for not running with sticks.  She explained that she had a “lazy eye” and felt self-conscious, but I don’t think any of us other kids did anything other than show curiosity.  I secretly thought blue eyes must be weak, but the prettiness of blue was worth some sacrifices.

My classmates and I crowded around the little girl and listened to her explain about her doctor visit and prescribed treatment.  It was kind of exciting to the rest of us.  We weren’t as worldly, and a trip to the big city for a genetic anomaly was kind of cool.  And then we forgot about it.  She was a nice girl and we all played with her like we did before we found out about her laziness.  The patch was eventually replaced with thick pink glasses, and we all kept playing on the playground, trying to bump each other off the teeter totter or jump from the swing at the highest point or spinning ourselves to puking on the merry-go-round.  Life was good at recess.

We had a similar curious huddle around Sandy after she broke her arm on the cement at the bottom of the monkey bars.  How did they put the cast on?  How long did she have to have it?  How were they going to get it off?  Eventually each of us got a turn at being the center of attention in the huddle because this was in the days before kids wore helmets and knee pads and the playgrounds had cushioning under the monkey bars.

Kids don’t get enough recess these days, and they don’t get enough free time to play after school either.  Getting hurt is part of life, and it’s better to get hurt when you still bounce and heal fast.  Instead, kids stare at the tv and computer too much and end up getting glasses too early.  It seems like kids are too well behaved these days and therefore less interesting, even to themselves.

I went to dinner with a friend last night who made me laugh so hard that Chinese tea went up my nose and I ended up in a coughing fit.  I went to lunch with other friends today, and we laughed about my lawless youth.  I almost had another coughing fit, and one of my friends snorted decaffeinated coffee – which resulted in more laughter.  Do today’s kids ever laugh that hard?  I’m not encouraging law breaking, but c’mon, it is funny, especially when you consider that I’m working for The Church these days.  I’ve never been arrested, so you can’t prove anything against me anyway.

Every week I write something for this blog, and after doing this for a while I’m noticing that I’ve actually lived a life.  Some of it was tragic, some of it was hysterically funny, but it’s all mine.  I want everybody else to feel the same kind of ownership in their lives too.  We can’t all be rich or famous or the top in everything – or maybe anything – but we can snort a hot beverage up the nose in laughter.  All we have to do is be in the moment, and appreciate our moments.

In dog news… Penny got her stitches out today.  Yay!! She’s still a conehead because she’s not allowed to lick her boo boo yet.  She’s off her drugs, and now all I have to do is swab her belly with antiseptic 3x/day for the next week.  I’ve been calling her “Flower” lately because she looks so sweet with her head popping out of the cone.  The vet people love her.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Something I know from racking up a lot of yesterdays is that most people don’t want to learn from the life lessons I’ve learned.  Oh sure, someone might listen to me when I say don’t order spaghetti on a first date, but other than that, probably not – and for that matter, go ahead and order spaghetti.  I had a date when I nervously jabbed a fork in my salad and sent the bowl flying across the room into an innocent waiter.  The whole restaurant laughed.  You can’t buy stories like that when you’re holding hands with someone special and laughing at your memories together.

I told a young couple once that the most important thing about making a relationship work is to stay engaged with each other.  They thought that was too obvious and thought that would be easy.  Of course it was for them.  They were young and in love.  Years later, they’re separated.  It’s sad.  Why couldn’t they learn from my experience that flying salad bowls aren’t enough to keep a relationship together unless you make an effort to keep laughing about it together?

I write a lot about yesterdays on this blog.  It helps me center myself.  In reminding myself of happy times, I can remind others to think happy thoughts too.  I mentioned to an old lady recently that the longer I live, the more I realize that everyone has a story and pain.  She nodded and gave me a little smile that made me feel like I passed a test I didn’t know I was taking. 

My mom is buying property next to the house where I grew up.  I have a lot of memories of that land, some good, some bad.  I’ve been thinking a lot that I have a choice about what I’m going to remember and how that’s going to affect my now and my future.  I’ve written about some of my conflicted feelings connected to that land last year here and here.

So, should I think about the bad man who once owned that property or my friend who died too young, or should I think about picking raspberries and making stuff from old farm equipment?  I can still hear aluminum pie tins tinkling above blueberries and crows calling and feel the warm summer sun as I lay on my back and look at the blue sky while I listen to Dad talk about how much lime to put on raspberries.

It’s a choice.  We can be as happy or as miserable as we want to be.  Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.  If we’re grieving, all we feel is our pain.  We aren’t thinking about how fortunate we are to have had someone we loved enough to grieve over.  If our bodies hurt, we aren’t thinking about the times when all those nerve endings were exploding in ecstasy -- but we can rise above emotional or physical pain, and all those happy memories give us tools to use when we need them.

The sky is mostly blue today and it’s warmer than it usually is in March in Ohio.  I’m going to walk that property where I have all those memories and remember good things.  I’m deciding to have a happy day.

In Penny news, my geriatric puppy seems to be recovering from her emergency surgery last week.  She’s still got a cone on her head so she won’t pull out her stitches, but she’s eating pretty well and can do her business outside.  Yay!  Let’s hope she lives a long and happy life!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I used to go on hikes with a herd of buffalo, um, hiking group, that didn’t understand my desire to keep my feet warm and dry in winter.  They also didn’t understand my personal belief that hikes should be 5 miles or less.  I’d console myself around miles 6-10 with the thoughts of going to a friendly lunch afterwards, but by mile 11 I was plotting the murder of the hike leader.

On one of these hikes, we were at about mile 12 or 15 when I became aware that we were crossing the same stream that we’d crossed before, and even more aware that the blasted hike leader was hopelessly lost.  I figured I’d be damned before I’d wade through ice water again, so I climbed a pointed and icy boulder, balanced myself on the toes of one foot for a split second, and neatly launched myself to the bank on the other side of the stream.  This was apparently an act of beauty (stupidity), and a guy following me tried to make the same seemingly effortless launch.  It didn’t go so well and he was soaked.  To tell the truth, we were both lucky we didn’t break ourselves in half in the attempt, and I scolded myself a lot for doing it myself let alone allowing someone else to follow in my footsteps.

So, this moment in time points out a number of my talents.  I can inspire others.  I have a great sense of balance.  I can forge my own path.  Of course this also points out a few of my failings, such as a lack of common sense and self-preservation, but what talent comes without a few pitfalls?

The thing about talents is that it’s hard to say if they are really inborn or developed.  Do I have a good sense of balance because of my genes or because I grew up by a river with slippery rocks and shale cliffs?  Am I an artist because of my parents’ influence, their genes, the neighbor down the street, or the endless time I had to draw pretty pictures?

Talent is a seed.  We’re all born with multiple seeds, but if we want any of those seeds to turn into something, we have to water and feed them.  Art is one of those things that take a lot of nourishment, and it’s too easy to let our talents die.

I went to an art college.  We didn’t have any math or science or soccer students.  We were focused on all-important ART.  It was fun to be fully absorbed in an environment where everyone talks the same language and passion.  You’d think that meant everyone in our class launched themselves into the world as artists, but it didn’t work out that way.  A lot of my classmates (maybe most?) ended up following unplanned careers.  Many of them now feel intimidated about picking up a pencil again after letting years go by without expressing that passion.  They have talent.  They have knowledge.  They just haven’t watered the garden for so long, they’re afraid nothing will grow.

I think they can all have beautiful gardens again.  I haven’t balanced myself on an icy rock for a long time, but the ability is still inside me.  The only way I’ll ever know if I can still do it is to try to balance myself on one foot for a while.  Maybe I’ll give that a try in my living room instead of hiking in winter with the herd of buffalo, but sometimes the smallest efforts feed our talents until we give them our full attention again?

Completely unrelated… My perfect little dog is recovering from surgery.  Apparently we’re supposed to get female dogs spayed when they’re young, not just to prevent pregnancies, but also to avoid breast cancer and infected uteruses which can kill them.  Happy thoughts for Penny appreciated!

I made the watering can box for Gift Corp.