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!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


My brother Brian is guest artist for “Jungle”.  We went to dinner and I said I was too tired to make art, though I did manage to write this post.  I hosted a 3-day event at work this week and it made my brain tired.  Brian cooperated by filling up napkins with drawings while we waited for dinner and a cute waitress from another section flirted with him.

I recently walked with a couple of men in the Glen where I grew up when one of them said “I forget how lush it is here, so verdant.”  Yeah, I know, besides NPR ads, nobody uses “verdant”, except the Glen brings it out of people.  It is verdant and lush.  It’s an isolated jungle in every way except for the lack of tigers.

Brian's idea for a diarama on the mantle.
Apparently it's mandatory to have an actual smoking volcano
The Glen is bordered by the river and hidden from the world by high shale cliffs.  Rain falls and gets trapped in a microclimate of humidity.  The river jumps its banks and leaves rich deposits on the soil, and things grow excessively.  Lush.  Verdant.  More green than green usually is, with more flowers packed per square inch and more oxygen than anywhere else.

It’s no wonder that I grew up as a feral child.  I spent my days discovering secret things hidden in the unlimited, uninhabited woods.  I was happy surrounded by flowers and leaves and trees with the water constantly gurgling and rippling and the plethora of birds and bugs and whatever else hiding in my jungle.

In my adult life, I knew someone who insisted thought isn’t possible without words.  He couldn’t understand my childhood where there wasn’t anyone to talk to, and no reason to put my observations into words.  I absorbed, I looked, I felt -- I just was.  When the crows called a warning, I understood their intent as clearly as if someone said “watch out!”, and I conveyed my thanks with the feeling in my heart.

Sometimes people tell me I belong in Los Angeles or New York, as if all artists belong shoved into a cityscape.  They dismiss from mind the long line of artists who sought solitude in their own jungles and don’t understand that I can’t hear my own mind when surrounded by the masses in the concrete jungles.

Spending my days as a child with animals for companions taught me different ways of feeling and communicating than regular kids growing up with people around.  I’m empathic; I feel what other people feel without really taking their words at face value.  People lie to themselves and others all the time, but their feelings can be felt if you listen.  Sometimes getting bombarded with all those feelings is too much for me.  No, I don’t belong in those big cities.

I thanked a woman for working that event I hosted.  She smiled and said “You’re welcome.”  It didn’t matter what her words were, I knew she was sending invisible poisoned darts my direction.  I smiled and moved on.  I can’t change her feelings, and the situation is too complicated to explain here, but I think there’s a big gap between her feelings and her mind, and if you ask me, feelings always win even if the mind doesn’t acknowledge that reality.

Life is more honest in the jungle where there isn’t a need for words and the truth can be felt.  Sometimes I think blogging is a way to express things I didn’t express when I was that feral child in the woods.  I suppose words are necessary so we can all learn from the lessons other people have lived?

Saturday, July 20, 2013


I’ve had some awful jobs, but the rubber factory was the worst by far.  Before you giggle, please realize I was schlepping 8-12’ extruded rubber cushions for railroad tracks.  The air reeked to the high heavens in a cloud of chemicals that seeped into my every pore.  It didn’t matter how many baths or showers I took, I smelled bad, even to myself.

It never occurred to me before having this job, but rubber is heavy.  Long, filthy tubes of it were loaded onto flats, and my main job was to pick each one of them up, trim the ends to size, then stack the filthy, hateful things onto a different skiff.  All day, every day…

It wasn’t the kind of job for dreamers.  All the safeties had been removed from the equipment, and it would’ve been easy to lose an arm, let alone fingers.  I tried to be attentive, but it’s hard to stay attentive 28,800 seconds every day, especially with all the dopey, noxious fumes.

I didn’t complain.  A collection of the meanest women outside a roller derby biker bar worked there, and they didn’t appreciate Sweet Polly Purebred coming in for a summer to pay for college while they were stuck in that pit for life.  Most summer workers didn’t make it a full day.  I guess I’m stubborn.  I worked there all summer at the exorbitant wage of $3/hr.

Eventually they even started talking to me nice, and I examined their tattooed arms planted on the lunch table.  Keep in mind that this was before tattoos were cool, and there weren’t aesthetically pleasing.  The tattoos looked like they’d been pounded into their skin as part of a sacrificial rite. 

These were rough women who probably beat up their Hell’s Angels boyfriends when they got home.  They were short trolls, but their steel arms were bigger than my thigh, and their shoulders were wide and inflexible.  I’ve known scary people before and after this group, but I’ve got to admit this clique scared me most.  They all carried knives and laughed about using them.  I always had to work my other job when they invited me out after work.

There are times I’m inclined to wallow in self-pity about something, but the women in the rubber factory remind me that whatever miseries I experience, at least I’m not them.  I’ve always had hope, while they never dared to dream for anything other than what they had.  It wasn’t that they were stupid, they just didn’t have any other avenues.  The only expectations they’d ever been given is to be a robot in the factory, until the robots actually took even that.

I’ve been in other factories, and the people were different – cleaner, nicer.  For a lot of people, a factory is just a job, and a job they justifiably take pride in doing.  I’m just talking about this sweaty, awful place and the specific people who worked there.  It was just the ugliest, most desperate place outside of the third world, but sometimes it helps to think of the rubber factory where the rules are clear:  do your job, don’t complain, don’t show weakness.

Since I survived the experience, I’m glad I had it.  Wouldn’t do it again for nuthin’.  Wishing those women the best if they haven’t been murdered yet.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I made this map when someone insisted I’d like nothing more than creating free art, in her words “for your portfolio!” Sure. Thanks. Never mind the closet full of good stuff I made for paying customers that I can’t fit in my portfolio, or that I repeatedly said “NO!” I caved because I was pretty sure she’d hound me into the afterlife if I didn’t give in. Aside from saying “never again!” and skipping over the part where I wasn’t told they cancelled the project until after it was completed, or that she never apologized…

Okay, I had a map and thought about places I’ve been and those maps I’ve seen on the backs of RVs. I don’t know if people on other continents keep maps on the backs of their RVs, or even if they have RVs, but some people in America do. They’re usually old people with enough money to have an RV and enough leisure time to fill in a map, which for the record, I’ve never had enough of either of those things at the same time to indulge in such things.

I started coloring in states where I’ve been. I think I’ve covered a lot of ground for a dedicated homebody. I haven’t been to Texas yet, but I’m going this fall, so I pre-colored it in too. I even did international travel because I went to the Bahamas and covered a lot of ground in Canada, but Canada doesn’t feel very international except Quebec.

While much of Canada is extraordinarily beautiful, that circle bar up there at the top is a place nobody in their right mind wants to go. It’s freezing in August. We should leave it to the bears. I put more circle bars at other places I’m never willingly going to go to again. I think you can tell my ranking system is east of the Mississippi and below the Arctic Circle.

I realize my rating system may not suit everyone’s tastes. At a truckstop halfway between Cleveland and Indianapolis I met a woman traveling in the opposite direction. She absolutely hated Cleveland. Just goes to show some people are nuts, but I suppose home is where your heart is. She thought I was nuts when I said I hated Indianapolis. We suggested trading husbands so we could each live where we wanted to live. Who knows? Maybe I’d still be married if I had her husband instead?

The husband I kept for the time and one of my brothers rhapsodized over the “big skies” in all those big rectangle states while I vowed never to return to a place with a “Mad Woman’s Creek” every couple hundred miles or so. There was a reason those women were mad. Too much sky, not enough trees, and no water anywhere. Give those states to the bears too.

I claimed the whole state or province for every place where I’ve put my feet or seen out of a car window, and then I prettied up my map some. I didn’t count seeing the Grand Canyon out of the plane window because that seemed like cheating. Someday I’ll get over the big water and see Europe. There are a lot of paintings to see in person on my bucket list.

Where have you been, and where do you want to go? What would your map look like, and what places do you think I should reconsider?

Sunday, July 7, 2013


I was a little kid in the 60s when hippies were protesting the Viet Nam war and everything else their bourgeoisie parents represented.  I told my dad that I couldn’t see how he could argue against “make love not war”, but I was too young to know that making love was an actual act little kids aren’t supposed to know about, and the hippies were doing it all over the place.

I sat on the floor and played with my blocks and felt rather torn about whether the hippies were dirty and lazy or doing something really inspirational.  Having no real understanding what a draft card was and never worn a bra, I didn’t see any point to burning them, and I didn’t get what was the point of burning flags either other than all this burning stuff made my dad really, really mad.

“It’s just a thing, Dad.  They aren’t hurting anybody.”  “It’s what it represents!” Dad shouted, but that didn’t explain anything to me either.

A young man with long hair and cutoff jeans played guitar at church one week.  I was in love.  He was handsome and played beautifully.  Dad sputtered “How dare he come to church like that!”, and I thought the young man’s long hair was pretty and clean, unlike all those hippies on tv.  “But you like guitars Dad!”  After all, Dad leaned forward to watch the tube anytime Charo played blazing fast flamenco music.  I hate double standards – well unless the double standard is working in my favor and lets me look at handsome young men.

I admired Charo’s musical skills.  I didn’t like that she dressed like a porn star and shook her ample chest to get recognized for her abilities.  I wanted the equality that I started to recognize in the barrels of burning bras.

Sometimes I wonder how much all these major events of my childhood formed me.  Sometimes I wonder if the sanitized wars we’ve been having in later years robs young people of passions that make their lives more meaningful?

“Passion rebuilds the world for the youth.  It makes all things alive and significant.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verse under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela

“Passion is energy.  Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Oprah Winfrey

“If you don’t have a passion, you’ll give up.” Steve Jobs

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
~ Martin Niemoller