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, February 22, 2014


"I'm kinda bummed I missed the flood this year" I thought to myself while I drove down a twisting, scenic road next to the river.  I smiled to myself because I'm not sure if people would laugh at my dialect or feeling.

Take this dialect quiz to see where you're from (sorry, it's just the US).  I am clearly from Cleveland, but I could go to Toledo or Detroit without an interpreter.

At my first college party a boy said, "You're from one of those W cities by Cleveland, aren't you?"  ?!  That's a pretty specific 10 square miles in the world, and people on TV talk like me.  Mostly.  But even westsiders think I have an accent.  I don't see it since they're the ones who talk like farmers.  Sometimes people even ask if I'm British.  That's people from Cleveland, mind you.  No offense to my British friends, but I'm pretty sure you know you talk funny.  I know because I've watched all the Harry Potters.  Besides, everybody I've known since I was a kid talks my way.

As for missing the flood... well, I love the spring floods and we haven't had a good one in a long time.  Part of it's that people see my river in the summer and say ignorant things like "Aw, that's a pretty, little crick" without realizing that they're insulting and underestimating a force that I love.

Okay, it doesn't have a whole lot of water in it the summer, but it is the fastest river in Ohio -- which has to count for something.  When it freezes solid like it did this year, with many tons of snow on it, I expected a big event, but alas, I missed it.  It's a mere 6' deep now and the ice on the sides is nonremarkable and melting fast.

When I was about 10 or so, I was listening to the neighborhood men laying bets on when the ice would break.  We heard a low, moaning, creak in the dark night -- but nothing happened so they kept betting and drinking.  Creeeeak.  Hmmm... the men revised some bets.  CRACK!!!

The water oozed under the ice and we started walking slowly backwards.  The men laughed and popped open more beer.  The water kept coming, so we walked backwards a little faster.  Still coming, then really coming, and we turned around and ran as fast as we could and still barely managed to escape while the river ice folded on top of itself in a roaring blast before it broke free, smashing everything and everyone in its path.

The next day there was mud in some houses and other houses had been rearranged.  Above the river banks huge blocks of ice rose like staggering skyscrapers after the apocalypse.  Climbing those blocks was a terribly bad idea since they were super slick slides straight into the roaring river.  (Which doesn't mean I didn't try before ceding to some common sense.)  The National Weather Service says the record flood was 18' deep, but I could swear I've seen it higher.  Any way you look at it though, it's Nature's orgasm with a lot of water moving as fast as it can to Lake Erie.

Einstein used to stare at a flooding river too.  I don't think it's a coincidence he's the one who came up with E=MC2.  I'm not sure how he factored space into this because the mass takes up a different amount of space depending on if it's frozen or fluid -- which was my original thought when I started writing about this, but even I've got to admit that's a really abstract thought even in my own head.

Photos are from a parking lot I was in earlier today.  Keep in mind that stuff has been rained on and melting for days!

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I have nimble fingers and an artistic nature.  The days of macramé and Girl Scout lanyards were good for me.  High grasses next to the river became braided rugs in my play areas.  From low tree branches I hung hippie walls of long strands of grass with shell and rock "love beads".  I tucked in flowers and wore flower leis and headdresses.  I moved in some boulders and logs for furniture, then made woven mats for cushions.

You know, now I'm starting to think about all that criticism I used to get about being too much of a tomboy and I'm wondering how many tomboys put that much effort into nesting and decorating?  I guess I never liked being frilly.  My mom spent a lot of time making a white and pink dress full of ruffles, lace, and rick rack.  I told her I hated it and didn't want so much fluff, but she was bound and determined to make the horrid thing.  I wore it to church exactly once.  I'm sure I looked adorable.

After church I went to the rapids and slid down them on my butt until I was absolutely sure that the river sludge would never come out and the torn fabric could never be repaired.  Mom cried, and Dad told her to look at the kid she actually had and dress me accordingly.  I got swatted for leaving my church shoes at the river, but I figured that was a small price to pay to banish pink rick rack from my life.  Plus, I got my first pair of shorts as a result, but to tell the absolute truth, I ditched even those when I was playing by myself in the woods.

I'm pretty sure that there aren't many kids who got to run around with such complete abandon then, and real sure even less of us today.  But still... someday I'm going to be an old lady and smile to myself about the feel of water and mud between my toes and a summer breeze tickling me through the pines while I laid on my braided grass rug and watched a lady bug and ate pilfered fruit from the neighbor's orchard.

Sometimes I become aware that other people are afraid of things it hasn't occurred to me to fear.  I don't mean to be insensitive, but I often think that all they need to do is quit being afraid of that stuff.  According to livescience.com, the top 10 fears are:  snakes, spiders, elevators, people, heights, dark, thunder and lightning, flying, dogs, and the dentist.  Really now, only 1 of those is actually scary, and what could possess people to be afraid of dogs?

I've played with many snakes and here's the truth -- most of them won't bite you unless you stick your finger in their mouth.  This is a truth that I learned by trial and error, and even bitten, it didn't really hurt very much.  That's kind of the point.  If you get out and try things you'll find out that things don't hurt as bad as you fear.

Soooo... write your book, go on an interview, look down from a bridge, or do whatever it is that you're afraid to do and you'll find out it doesn't kill you.  Do it enough and you'll find out it isn't even very hard anymore.  You might even end up published or employed.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


When you grow up in a place without buildings and people, it's easy to imagine life in prehistoric times.  Birds were pterodactyls and deer were dinosaurs and virgins were thrown off the cliff to appease the river god.  Whispers of Indians walked the river bank and stone and shell offerings were arranged in secret patterns while clay watchers protected my domain.

Sometimes creating a post for illustrationfriday is fun and easy.  "Prehistoric" has been a struggle.  I keep thinking about the downside to the isolation of my childhood.  When people don't think their actions are seen, bad things can happen.  Some of the people drawn to isolation are drawn there because they don't fit into society.  They function on the prehistoric level of dragging off your neighbor's mate by the hair or fighting wars that no one is fighting with them.

I made my rock arrangements and clay watchers because it was something I could do in an uncertain world.  Sometimes we all want to do something even if we don't know what to do.

Sometimes I'm glad I've lived an interesting life, even with all the monsters that I've met.  "That which doesn't kill you only serves to make you stronger" -- right?  (Friedrich Nietzsche)  On the other hand I've known multiple people who committed suicide, so it's not a fail-proof statement.

We all have demons, and we all find our own ways to cope with them, even if the last coping method is suicide.  I'm not suggesting that's a good coping method, but sometimes it's all that's left.  When I hear about a school shooting/suicide, I think that I've known people like the shooter.  They have so much rage there's no place to take it or way to show it without cutting down a schoolful of innocents.

When we see the world in terms of Disney princesses, how can we help the Adam Lanzas?  Even if you don't give a damn about people like him, how best to protect society from someone like him?  I don't think politicians have a clue about the desperation of some of the people amongst us.

My brother works at a hospital, and he tells me how crazy people come in, are housed for several hours, then set back on the street again because none of the limited mental health facilities will take them.  We need better solutions.  We need to get our collective heads out of Disney idealism and deal with the reality of the people around us.  We aren't in the world alone.  The crazy people are with us.  We need to actually see them and try to help.

We create our own realities -- until someone shoots a child and the murderer's reality is forced onto us.  That's the way politics seems to work.  People live in their happy Disney worlds and can't and won't understand that not everyone is as blessed.

Like I said, sometimes I'm glad I've lived an interesting life.  My experiences have helped me see a larger world.  Perhaps someone else can understand more through my life without having to look into the eyes of the crazy people?

Saturday, February 1, 2014


I'm pretty sure that wherever you are reading this, it's probably more exotic than Ohio.  Sometimes I gripe that even our wildlife is non-interesting in various shades of brown.  Brown squirrels, deer, groundhogs, bunnies... brown, brown, brown with a little bit of gray mixed in.  We're great for camouflage here amongst the brown tree trunks and lead gray skies.  The best we've got in winter is a cardinal, and just cuz it's Ohio, even the female cardinal is brown.

Okay, so it's winter here and snow is falling after a week of miserably cold temperatures.  My attitude might be suffering and I think I could really use a vacation to someplace by the sea with colorful people, houses, birds, and fish.

The internet lets us travel without much effort, and the internet has been occupying me a lot lately because I finally have a new website for work.  Let me say upfront, I'm not going to dispute religion here.  You're either Christian or not, Protestant or not -- but I work for the Catholic Church and want to share my latest opus with you.

Redesigning the website for my job  was complicated.  There were different priests with different ideas and different levels of experience all trying to pull all of the order's websites together through an outside firm.  You never realize how many pieces parts and decisions go into a website until you have to sweat out all those details.

I admit I've spent a fair amount of time cussing this year.  I got forgiven for it by a priest one day, but almost immediately resinned, swearing like a sailor up till the end of this project.  But at long last, the website is finally ready.  See it here.  I'd love feedback.  Please make your comments here on my blog or in email instead of on the website.  I know at least one of the photos isn't the best.  I'll improve the photos as I get better shots.

It's interesting for me to look at the pictures on the site because I really didn't mean to have my current job.  I took the PT job for reliable income while I picked up whatever "real work" I could in a bad economy.  It was a little paycheck, but enough for me to get by while I was searching for something else, plus it's close to home.  I really enjoyed the freedom of going to work sometimes and the park other times.

My boss quickly started giving me projects far beyond our original arrangement.  I just as quickly figured out that I'm a lot happier with harder projects than I am with routine tasks.  I started poring over financial reports, talking with printers, designing things in PhotoShop... and then my boss suddenly died in the hall last January.  Now I was boss, and my casual PT arrangement became 7 days a week of OMG how am I supposed to keep up with all this?!!

It's been a stressful and rewarding year.  I work with a lot of nice people, and little old ladies bake cakes and cookies.  People pray around me all the time and there's a beautiful garden for me to watch the little brown birds and brown squirrels.  I get to use a lot of my old skills in art and advertising... but I really want a vacation to someplace exotic!