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!

Saturday, November 30, 2013


My Girl Scout troop sang in public a lot.  We went to the mall when that was new, and a pretty woman gave us hot cider and candy.  I liked singing, and liked it even more when I got candy.  I’m sure we were adorable.  People smiled a lot.  The newspaper printed our performances and names.  It’s too bad the media doesn’t do more of that kind of feel-good stuff these days.

I was feeling semi-professional by the time we were sent to the nursing home.  We knew our song list and had it down pat.  I happily went off to “cheer up the old people”.  I liked old people, so cheering them up was fine with me.  Besides, old people were usually good for some cookies.

The nursing home was a low, dark building.  It was hidden behind trees because nobody really wants to look at old people or to be reminded that we’re all going to get old someday.  Once you’re sent there, you’re just waiting to die.  I knew that.  My great grandpa got sent to one when he was really old and he didn’t last very long after that.

Inside was dark too.  It took me a minute for my eyes to dilate and see my surroundings, and I gasped when I did.  Old men were lined up in wheelchairs in the dark, ratty lap afghans were clutched by arthritic hands – if they had hands.  Crippled feet were tied to footrests – if they had feet.  Their heads hung listlessly and slobber dripped on their shoulders.  Their eyes were blank, or ashamed, or missing.

It was a nursing home for WWI vets.  I knew about war because Viet Nam was going on.  I knew people could die, but I didn’t know about this.  I tried to tame my sick stomach while we were arranged in front of the broken men.  I tried not to cry.  I didn’t want them to know they made me sick, that I was glad the nursing home was hidden from regular people having regular lives.

One old man sat in his chair and watched us.  He and another man seemed like the only ones actually living in reality.  He gave a little smile, and I sang just to him.  I couldn’t bear to look at the others.

WWI is so much ancient history now, and it was back then too.  Was it worth wrecking those men’s lives?  Was Viet Nam worth it?  Afghanistan?  WWI created the circumstances that created WWII.  WWII victors drew arbitrary borders in the Middle East, which created ongoing wars there.  Nothing good comes from wars except making the rich richer, and in my opinion, they’re already rich enough.  My life experiences made me a life-long, non-apologetic pacifist.

I’m upset Congress plans to wreck Obama’s deal with Iran, just because it’s a deal that Obama arranged.  They hate him beyond any kind of reasonable discussion.  Idiots like John McCain want to live in a constant state of war and don’t want to negotiate with anyone, but there’s no reason to have another war in Iran.

Iran will develop nuclear energy whether we like it or not.  Making a deal with Iran to oversee and limit that development is only good.  War is stupid and the price is too high.  Maybe we should send all those old men in Congress to the nursing home?

The refrain from The Ballad of Billy Jack

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of Heaven
You can justify it in the end
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after...
One tin soldier rides away.

I know this is isn’t a great video, and if you’re too young to remember Billy Jack it probably looks stupid, but I’ll admit that watching it made me cry.  Same things then are the same things now.  “Give peace a chance.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013


My Shadow
Robert Louis Stevenson
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

There are moments when I feel like skipping and quoting RLS – and then I remember I’m a grown up and not supposed to skip.  Being an adult sucks.  Sometimes I skip anyway.

A couple of years ago I did a post about drawing shadowsAll that’s still true, so I thought I’d talk about color instead.  It’s really simple.  Colors that are closer to the light source are warm, colors away from the light are cool.  Warm colors are yellower, cool colors are bluer.  Vary that as much as sensible to your heart’s content.

I just saved you a lot of expensive college education.  Donations can be made to me at…

This was a self-portrait I did when I was in college at a time when I thought I would scream if I had to stare at myself for another however many hours.  I asked if the self-portrait had to be my face.  My teacher said “no-ooo” with another one of those looks of “oh crap, what is she thinking of now?”

He was a great teacher, but not such a great painter.  He knew it, and I felt sad for him when he mentioned it.  His paintings were technically perfect, they just weren’t inspired.  I’d see his surprise when I’d do something like painting vibrant colors where they didn’t belong, but he couldn’t seem to get past his studious, analytical nature and have some fun with paint.  I enjoyed making this painting even if it’s not really that good – and isn’t enjoying the process part of being an artist?

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Sometimes I see a word for the week and think “I know just what to do for that one!” – and then my mind won’t cooperate.  I saw “tail” and I thought about white tailed deer nearly going extinct around 1900.  Canadian geese were almost extinct then too, but both species made it back from the brink with flying colors.  It’s hard to find a place in Ohio where you can’t step in green goose poop now and deer are in everybody’s back yard eating gardens and trees.  I made a peacock tail feather in marker, photo, and ImageReady even though it has nothing to do with anything I’ve been thinking about and isn’t really a program that I like working in.  It's like I'm punishing myself through art.
I try to write about happy things, but sometimes life interferes.  Ranting about it doesn't do anybody any good, including me – but it also doesn’t do me any good when someone says “just get over it!”.  Maybe stewing is the best possible thing to do when faced with insoluble problems?  Perhaps stewing helps me discover new solutions?

In a nutshell… I had a job quite a while ago where I was abused in a multitude of ways by multiple people.  After years of trying to put that behind me, I saw one of those people a couple months ago, and then another this weekend.  These sightings brought up old feelings.  My jaw is clenched, and I can’t just will myself to unclench it because as soon as I put it out of my mind my jaw is tight again.  Just wishing away feelings doesn’t make them go away.  I can’t trick myself out of thinking about it.  I’ll dream about it.  I’ll draw peacocks instead of deer.
I understand I can’t get justice in an old, abusive situation.  I understand my internal combustion only injures me.  I recognize that I can’t “just let it go”, and I’m not alone with this kind of thing.  How many of us hang onto old hurts without being able to change what’s already happened?

My friend runs a hypnosis school.  In one of his lessons he said, “Go back to the first time you felt something.  See that first situation in a new way, and all the following instances that made you feel like that will fall down like a line of dominoes.”  I was a test subject for his class, and they took me back to a moment I never would’ve thought still existed in my memories.  It was liberating.  I’m searching for another liberating moment because I don’t want to waste any more of my life thinking about crappy people from the past.

In a way, all we are is our memories.  Past events made us who we are now.  I’ve had wonderful bosses and horrible bosses.  They all taught me, even if some of those lessons only seem to cause hurt when I think of them.  All we can do is take the best out of every situation we live, but I really do wish I could figure out how to “just let it go” when I think of the crappy moments.

Sometimes I think I have everything I need to live my life.  Whatever talent and assets I’ve been given helps me deal with the situations I need to face.  I think that’s true for all of us.  We get different positives to deal with our different negatives.  We just need to trust that it all balances in the final count.

I took a walk with my brother this summer.  The deer are so plentiful and tame they barely care about me taking pictures.  Since the light was fading, they aren’t the best photos, but it was a pleasant time in the park.  Score one positive when I’m thinking of negatives.

What do you do when you are faced with a ghost from the past and bad memories?

Sunday, November 10, 2013


My friend loans me jigsaw puzzles.  We get together every couple of weeks or so and hand off a pretty box of someone else’s art in a restaurant parking lot.  We laugh about how she’s enabling my obsessive compulsive nature.  Sometimes she gets serious and asks if she should quit enabling me, but hey, it’s not like I’m doing drugs.

Doing puzzles lets me decompress and think about stuff.  I play food shows in the background, and between puzzle pieces in my hands, other people cooking stuff I’ll never eat, and vengeful thoughts about people who annoy me, I get around to thinking about things that actually matter.

When I started out as an artist, I sat at a drawing table for many hours a day and had plenty of time to think.  I liked painting painstaking things, and didn’t have to concentrate my full brain on what I was doing 100% of the time.  Eventually the chatter in my mind would die down and I would just be with my art, my hands and mind moving together in a blissful nonthinking.

Computers wrecked my zen time, but I found times where I could get back into it if a project was complicated enough.  Not enough zen time for my real needs, but some.  Now I have a hard time settling down to anything focused except for puzzles, so the parking lot handoffs give me a happiness I used to get at work.  I only get 1000 pieces every couple of weeks so I can’t get too OCD about things.
This week, my friend gave me a puzzle of 999 pieces.  She dismantled her vacuum cleaner to find the missing piece, but wasn’t willing to dismantle a cat to find it.  I made a new piece for her.  The hardest part of making it was cutting it out to fit.

So what’s all this got to do with energy?  In a perfect world, people add something good to each other’s lives.  In this case puzzles, but more than that, my friend is sharing something she enjoys, and in sharing, she gets to share her pleasure in what’s basically a solitary activity.  She’s giving me something beyond a loan of colored cardboard.

She’s very good at giving like this, and part of myself observes from the outside to see how she helps people by giving not what they think they want, but what they actually need.  Too often we think of gifts as things, but real gifts are actions that help us to be better than we were yesterday.

When I first saw “energy” is the word for the week, I thought about psychic vampires who suck energy from others.  Isn’t it better to think about the positive people in our lives instead?  Angry thoughts just kill us faster.  Happy thoughts of gratitude help us live the lives we’re here to live.

My current job has a lot to do with prayers.  It never occurred to me before working there that reading other people’s prayers would change me, but I think it has.  Seeing other people’s suffering reminds me to be grateful for what I have and to look outside of myself to add my prayers to someone else’s heartfelt pleas for help.

In that vein, prayers are appreciated for Mickey who is going through chemotherapy and Danny who is having surgery this week and possibly chemotherapy afterwards.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I went to a Halloween party and saw a couple of people from high school.  It was funny to talk about now and then, and somewhere along the way I laughed and said “I was a very badly behaved teenager.”  It kind of brought me up short when my old friend said “Yeah, I remember!” with a mixed expression of sternness and amusement.  He was like that back when I was misbehaving too.  I bet he went home with hopes that his kids aren’t me.

It’s odd to know how clearly he remembers my misbehavior, but without knowing that I’ve been a mostly responsible adult.  He just remembers my reckless hedonism.  To make things pinch a little more, he has moved to the little gossipy area where I grew up and has found out that everybody knows everybody else’s business there.  It’s a reminder that there are a whole lot of people who probably remember the follies of my lawless youth.

I laugh and tell people that I went through a wild period.  They just don’t really know what I’m talking about when I say it.  They might think most teenagers miss curfew and break into somebody’s parents’ liquor cabinet.  Maybe they do.  Child’s play.  When I say reckless, lawless, hedonism… well, maybe some of those things should remain secret?

I always seemed to have a duality to my nature, and I kept those parts separate from themselves.  I had goals.  I changed my brothers’ diapers and cooked dinners, did laundry and home repairs, plus whatever else was necessary while my mother worked second shift.  When I wasn’t doing those responsible things all hell broke loose.

There was a time when my friends were comparing their report cards in the hall between classes.  In a grading system from A to E, they congratulated each other for the lonely C’s and empathized with each over between their D’s and E’s.  I shoved my report card deeper into my book, but one of my friends grabbed it and her look of disbelief made all of them grab it in turn, all of them looking at me like they never knew me at all before that time.  I hung my head in shame.  Straight A’s.  Sigh.  Not cool.

My friends were supportive, and I was glad I wasn’t shunned for being different.  I went to advanced classes with their support and enjoyed being with the “good kids” who didn’t imagine me being anything other than one of them.

In a way, I feel like my current life is a remake of high school.  I work at a church, do responsible things, and spend my days with people who probably never cut class when they were in school.  It’s kind of like being with the good kids in Trigonometry again.  It’s all a side of my nature, but at the same time I swear extra when I get home because I’m not actually that good.

At least I don’t keep my dark side hidden from myself the way some people do.  That can eat you up inside.  I figure it’s better to know my demons than to try to outrun them.  I didn’t get a horrible disease or kill myself during my wayward youth so I figure it’s all for the best.  No regrets.  (Mostly?)  But at the same time, maybe I should keep some of this history secret?