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, August 25, 2013


My high school friend was cute, fun and smart – and attracted troubles like a magnet attracts nails.  We stayed friends after school, but at some point I’d had enough with the drama and lost touch.  She found me online after a lot of years, and I have to admit I paused to consider before answering her email.  I remembered her crazy husband and other stuff I’m not going to mention here.  I still cared about her.  I just wanted to keep my sanity.

It was a bad time in my life when she contacted me.  I was laid off and broke.  People kept telling me I was “too old” to get a job and nobody would hire me without a current employment, but I kept applying and wondering what I was going to do with myself if I couldn’t get work.

Sometimes what people need most is money.  I hear politicians saying stuff about welfare and food stamps, and one thing I know for sure is that none of those people know what it’s like to really be poor.  I understand welfare doesn’t teach people how to fend for themselves, but we need a place to live and food to eat before we can think about stuff like career advancement.

Even in my poverty, I knew I was better off than a lot of people.  I’m healthy, smart, educated, and able.  I have friends who gave me emotional and financial support when I needed it, and they provide living examples of how to get through difficult times.  It’s so much easier to keep going when you see the road you’re supposed to be on, and I have to think that it would be much more difficult if you’re stuck in the country or in the ghetto without those kinds of examples.

I know it’s supposed to be shameful to accept money from friends, but mine gave me some in ways I was able to accept, letting me keep my pride and keeping my head above water.  My highschool friend said I had helped her when she needed it and remembered things I hadn’t given a thought about since they happened, like giving her $50 so she could buy diapers and necessities.  That $50 was a long time ago.  I never regretted it or missed it even though it was quite a lot of money for both of us at the time.  It’s just something she needed and I had to give.  I didn’t give it to her for a payback with interest 30 years later.

We can give to some people and all they’ll do is take.  They’re bottomless pits, and they use a lot of emotional extortion to get what they want.  It isn’t helping to give to people like that, but there are so many people like I was at that time.  I desperately wanted help, didn’t know how to ask for it, or how to accept it when it came.  It was far easier for me to give that $50 back when.

My highschool friend thanked me for past favors I had forgotten about.  She gave me credit for sacrifices I made for others that I didn’t think anyone else ever noticed.  I didn’t do any of those things for a karmic rebound a few decades later, but it makes me think there’s a lot of truth in the saying “what goes around comes around”.  Maybe not in any of the ways we expect, but things have a way of working out.

I offered to pay her back when I had money again, but she said “no, just help someone else in the future.”  Excellent advice, and something I admire in another of my friends.  Let’s all spread some hope to people who need it.  I resolved to help others in ways that helps them back to their feet.  It’s hard to know how best to help, but sometimes the simplest answer is best, and sometimes it means money for diapers.

(BTW, my highschool friend straightened her life out and it's been a pleasure talking with her again.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I had lunch yesterday with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. I told him about the things I’ve been doing at work since I took over my office and shared some of my accomplishments. My job is all about numbers, and that’s what will get me recognition and an eventual raise, but what I’m most proud of is the people and my part in spreading a little happiness.

My life changed dramatically when my boss came in on a Monday and died suddenly in the hallway. I abruptly became responsible for a lot of people and a whole lot of money. I told the ladies, “You know your jobs. I expect you to do them. Let me know how I can help.”

This was a radical change for them. It was also radically different when I told them I like to lead by consensus. They were used to the boss issuing orders they had to follow. If asked for their opinions, they stood a pretty fair chance of getting yelled at. I started having weekly meetings. They bring their coffee and laugh a lot. I added a guy, so we aren’t being sexist.

“I want to work in a happy office. If you’re happy, I’m happy.” In an office all about numbers, I don’t think anybody dared to hope for emotional support. Just do your job and shut up, you know?

One woman told me that before I took over, her desk was always neat. Now her desk is covered with paper all the time. I worried she was going to say I was pushing her too hard, but then she popped out with “I love it!” She broke out into the most beautiful smile and my heart did a little flip flop.

I like the people in the office. They go out of their way to say they like me too. This is a far cry from the last office where I worked where I avoided eye contact because I didn’t want to have fights. I had 3 bosses, all making a point of subjugating everyone else. The company folded after I left. It deserved to fail.

I worked with one of those people at a previous job, decades before. He was overpaid, undertalented, and really great at making people at the top believe he deserved power and compensation. That company folded after I left too. Sometimes I wonder how it is that big bosses don’t look at the general misery of the workers and see it as a reflection of how well a person supervises.

Some people think that miserable workers show the strength of the supervisor, but it suppresses ideas. Maybe it’s because I’m an artist, but I think I see the overview of power. If the people in my office feel confident, happy, and constructive, they help me do more, and do more better than if I keep them all oppressed. They offer ideas and take initiative, and I like seeing other people’s creativity bloom.

And yeah, the numbers are holding up too, and I couldn’t have accomplished that without the help of everyone else in the office. It isn’t my success – it’s the success of everyone in the hive. We all made it happen, and they know it. They trust me because I trust them. That’s power.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


My 200th post!  Woo hoo!!  I never could’ve imagined it when I started blogging in 2010.  I was “Adrift” at the time, and the Illustration Friday word for the week fit me perfectly.  Looking back on 200 posts I realize that this blog has been both a personal and cultural diary of the times.

Starting with “Adrift”, I was laid off like a lot of people.  I was upset with the gulf oil spill.  My dog died, my friend died, my basement flooded.  I figure that was enough to depress anyone, so I wrote about happier times in my life when I went camping with my family or ate breakfast with Grandma.

I was still laid off and depressed in 2011. Another friend died. A big tree fell down in my yard. Looking over my posts for the year, I think I was trying to remember the people and events that formed me and my place in the universe. I remembered jobs I had and things I learned along the way. I put my art in a gallery and recounted disappointments in people and relationships. I had a lot of migraines.

I was more actively living in the world in 2012. I was working regularly again, and because I work for a religious organization, my environment made me think about spirituality in different ways. Because I work in an office, I started thinking about relationships between people too.

This year, the boss died and my world changed dramatically when I got promoted. You may all thank me for not discussing the finer points of dealing with personnel or databases, but those topics have been foremost in my mind this year. It’s been crazy, and my posts have often been more rushed than I’d like, but I’m happy that I’ve still managed to post every week. I also notice that I did more hearts than usual this year.

Blogging has been a pleasure, and thanks to all of you who have been with me on the journey. I love seeing your comments and appreciate it when you give me new things to think about. I love visiting your sites and seeing what’s going on in your mind and life too. Thanks especially to Mary Lou who got me started with blogging in the first place.

Here’s to hoping for another 200 posts for all of us!

…Oh yeah, “Fresh”… hm… Well, there was a guy who got fresh with me in college and I decked him, but I suppose that’s hardly the story to tell? At the time I got a lot of flack from my friends for “overkill”, but I’m very belatedly feeling kind of pleased with myself for knocking Dave out. He deserved it. Thankfully I haven’t felt a need to deck anyone else in a long time.

I’ve got fresh food growing in my garden and ate my first tomatoes of the year. Yay! I ate a blueberry off of a bush yesterday and felt summertime and happiness spread through my system. We’ve gotten a lot of rain in Ohio lately, and the world is fresh and green. Are these enough “fresh” thoughts?

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I looked through pages and pages of stock photos online for a work project, and felt my usual irritation that creative people aren’t paid nearly enough for their work, and my further irritation that I can never seem to find exactly what I want in those stock photos. 

Of course some of my irritation could be from too much work and not enough play.  I decided to go home early, but my car took a left instead of a right out of the parking lot.  I drove into the big city to Lakeview Cemetery.

Lakeview was created in a time of huge wealth in Cleveland, when cemeteries were parks for the unwashed masses to stroll around in and admire.  Us regular folk still like to stroll around there.  It really is like a park, with lots of trees and serenity and sculptures.  We wander around the winding drives and try to find weeping angels and tour the tomb of President James A. Garfield.

I suspect nobody outside of the area even knows who President Garfield was, but he was a local boy, so he got a grand tomb.  He became president in 1881, and was assassinated in the same year.  I don’t think he really did much in his 4 months of office, or during his 2 months of lingering death after getting shot, but he’s got a beautiful building for his remains with an excellent view of Lake Erie.

Garfield’s tomb and Wade Chapel are both on the national register of historic places.  The chapel is a small building, but it’s stunning.  There are windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany, and there are spectacular mosaics on the walls of Old Testament prophets by Fredrick Wilson of Tiffany Studios.  Seeing Tiffany masterpieces is like seeing Van Gogh paintings in person.  When you study that kind of thing in books or slides in a lecture, it’s hard to see what the fuss is all about.  When you see Tiffany masterpieces in the light they were designed to be in – well, it can take your breath away.  Gorgeous.

My original idea in going to Lakeview was what’s more “hybrid” than an angel?  And I knew just where to find them.  How lucky am I to have such a spectacular cemetery to spend some time shooting better angles of angels for that work project too.  Okay, so I didn’t limit myself to angels and took pictures of a lot of sculptures, angels or not.
I used the work camera which is, em, limited, so my apologies to my photography friends for the lack of technical brilliance with these photos.  I’ll fiddle them in PhotoShop for that work project.  The angel doodle is part of the fine layout I did.  Sometimes I like these little drawings better than the finished product.

And for those of you who use Blogger, what's up with it this weekend?!  This was ssoooooo hard to post today!