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, July 25, 2015


Get your kids muddy and let them discover lady bugs.  "Nature" is meant to be experienced and loved, not simply watched on cable tv.  This is clearly obvious to me, but just as obviously isn't being lived by enough people.

When I was little, I lived outside most of the day.  Watching morning sunlight sparkle the dew on opening flowers was magical.  I listened to the rustling ripples of the river sliding into the day amid the first bird calls.  I smelled the damp earth and the green of grass.  I felt the soft fuzz of a bumblebee walking on my leg.

We've separated ourselves from what matters.  Children are programmed from dawn to dusk, and adults scuttle about their business in climate controlled homes, cars, and offices without time to touch flowers and stop to listen to the crickets and frogs.

We make other experiences, which in our human vanity we think are more stupendous than anything "natural".  Louis XIV wanted square trees at Versailles to show man had conquered nature -- which is another way of saying that man had conquered God.  If you're rich enough, you don't have to be exposed to nature.  Nature is available to everyone, so it can't be special enough if you can afford to get out of it.

We're animals.  We live, we die, and no amount of insulation is going to prevent it.  We even embalm our dead to stave off that reality instead of letting our bodies fertilize trees.  If you spend time outside you can experience the logic and peace of it all.

All this rushing around that we do, does any of it matter?  In a 100 years, will anyone care if you won a video game, typed a great report, gave a presentation, or painted something cute?  For a very few of us, the answer might be yes.  For the rest of us, no.

Human vanity causes mountains to be pulverized for profit even though we all know "you can't take it with you".  I know a guy who won't open his windows on a nice day because a bug might find a way inside.  "You have screens on the windows to prevent that!"  Doesn't matter.  He won't run the risk of nature touching him in any form.  I have to wonder if any of our current mass shooters spent enough time outdoors.

I came home from work the other day pissed off.  My brother said, "Maybe you need a walk in the woods?"  Yeah, probably -- but I'm pissed and walking in the woods will make me feel better.  I'm angry.  I want blood!  We took a walk.  I raged for about 1/10 of a mile and got distracted by cattails, chipmunks, cute dog, cute guy, birds over a pond...

I came home and painted my floor at an average rate of 4 leaves/hr plus a leg cramp.  Since there are hundreds of leaves, this project will take 4 lifetimes, but maybe at the end there will be something that survives me in 100 years.  Maybe I'll achieve a higher peace in the meantime?  But one thing I know for sure is that in 100 years I'd rather be fertilizer for a tree that holds a bird nest than to be remembered for pulverizing a mountain.

Go outside.  It helps set your priorities straight and makes you live better and longer.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


A book I've been reading says to journal our worst experiences to bring to light faulty messages we’ve absorbed that are so ingrained in our thoughts we don’t even notice they’re in the muzak of our minds.  We’ve all got these kinds of crap thoughts.  How often do we actually look at them, or consider who put them in our heads in the first place?  Why do we allow them to poison our lives?

I have been called a lot of names in my life.  I was told the bad in my life was because I "deserved it".  I certainly won't say I'm perfect, but a lot of this is just blatantly untrue and unhelpful, and mining memories can either feel like I'm suffocating in an avalanche of negativity or mining treasure, or perhaps a bit of both.  There is gold in finding a better way to think and feel, but sometimes you've got to go into a very dark cave to get it.

But, when we look at the source, and question the statements, we can get rid of the running diatribe of verbal abuse someone else started and we continue in our minds.

If I am any of the nasty things I've been called, then let me challenge myself to improve those areas -- but that's not why someone said those things in the first place.  They are/were bullies who want(ed) to make themselves feel better by knocking me down.  I'd rather take self-improvement tips from someone who sets a better example.  Since the only person I control is me, then I need to set a better example for myself.

Somewhere I heard the advice to talk to myself as if I were a child I loved and wanted to guide in helpful ways.  For instance, I wouldn't call a child selfish.  It's a normal phase of development, a time when I'd encourage the child to understand the good in sharing.  Hoarding a game of checkers is less fun than playing it with someone.  Pushing the swing is sometimes as fun as sitting on it.

Doing these kinds of mental exercises makes me aware of things I like about myself no matter how much other people have tried to contain me.  That's the real treasure.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

(Sorry for venturing into a biblical quote.  I really get enough of that at work, but it's on point and explains Dumbledore’s sister’s grave, something I’ve wondered about.)

Let's share our treasures this week.  Make the world a better place by saying nice things to others and especially to ourselves!

SLOW progress report on the floor, made slower my tendency to use a tiny #2 brush.  It doesn't help that I'm still a bit sore from falling off the deck and the realization that as I age the floor keeps getting harder and farther away.  I remind myself that the point of this insanity is that I wanted a long-term project for contemplation.

I told Bro I was going to paint money amongst the leaves for "treasure".  He said not to do that because he'd keep trying to pick it up.  When my friend John heard that he said I should definitely paint money on the floor.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


My new neighbor came over to introduce herself when I was picking gooseberries.  She's missing a cat.  Haven't seen it, but sure, I'll keep an eye out for it.  I offered her gooseberries, but I think she was confused by them.  I thought about making her a gooseberry tart in neighborly good will, but, well, you know, that would take effort.  Isn't the thought enough?

I brought the gooseberries and a colander of currants inside, then saw the deer eating my crab apples a few feet from the kitchen window.  "Scat!  Get out!!" He leisurely moved behind the garage.  I went back to my berries and he came back.  "Scat! They're not even ripe!"  Stupid deer.  My brother said he's beautiful.  Sure, majestic even -- but he eats everything.  Then the squirrel spiraled down the apple trunk and into the garden and I launched into the murderous thoughts of summer with venison fantasies.  I want a scarecrow with rocket-propelled missiles.

I like to garden, in a lazy way.  I put in seeds, watch the miracle of life, then eat the bountiful harvest.  Maybe sit and weed the garden a couple of times to make myself feel like I'm responsible and tidy about it all.  Maybe weed it a lot if I have stuff to think about.  I put all these berries in the freezer so I can put them in chocolate cakes, because you know, if chocolate cake has organic berries, it becomes health food.

I haven't made much progress on the dining room floor this week.  I took a walk in the park, obsessed about work, started reading a book about cults... You know how all this stuff goes.  I could make a lot more progress if someone would just pay my bills and leave me time for baking gooseberry tarts and creating.

When I was a kid, gooseberries were extra special because they were rare.  There were only 3 bushes of them in my pilfering range.  Now that I think of it, I was taught early to steal.  I ate berries, climbed orchards... whatever I wanted, and could get away with taking, was fair game.  It was standard, expected behavior from children in an area of summer homes and unattended gardens.  Children expected to get sworn at and occasionally threatened with firearms.  Bus stop conversations included tips for access to especially tasty treats while we waited to go to school.

We stole from adults we liked least.  Our ethics were nuanced, and had nothing to do with stuff we learned at church.  The adrenaline of possible consequences was part of the joy.  I was taught to be a risk-taker and rewarded with pie if I brought my pilfering home.

I just wandered into this bit of memory, but now that I'm thinking about it I have to wonder about how robbing summer gardens steered my life.  I feel a little conflicted, but mostly remember the sweet taste of berries on a hot summer day and laughter in the chase.

Then there's karma.  Maybe my gardening suffers from the consequences of my early pilfering?  Is that damned deer a reincarnation of one of my old neighbors?  Maybe I'm good at growing currants because I never stole them from anyone?

Saturday, July 4, 2015


I took a road trip to Kentucky with my friend this week.  She got Baker's bourbon straight up.  It has a sharp taste, and I think my friend worried she’d melt her dental work.  I swapped her with my mixed drink, and I liked the straight bourbon so much that I got another.  I was pretty buzzed after that, but you know, ya gotta experience the local scene, and in KY, that means bourbon.  I also tried to cut up an apple and decided a plastic knife isn’t keen enough for the task -- which is really all I feel like saying about “sharp”.

On the way to KY we visited my old alma mater, Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD).  It’s been years since I visited, and things look entirely too clean and civilized.  It was a slum when I lived there, and it’s just not the same without the abandoned insane asylum (Deaf and Dumb Asylum). We used to get liquored up and test our nerves by roaming the derelict building.  Awesome fun, or maybe there’s just something in me that loves trespassing and exploring?

My house was to be demolished after I lived in it but someone has beautifully restored it
Party alley
Anyway, in current life, we went to my old house and I looked at the back alley where my classmates and I used to have wonderful drinking parties.  Good times!  I don’t think I burned off all of my brain cells in carousing, and I’ve kept lots of good memories.  I didn’t even bother taking a picture of the college.  They’ve added onto it, and since the bright pink Fashionetta got torn down, none of it looks the same really.

The 3 flags that matter in German Village -- America, Germany, and OSU
We abandoned the old times tour and had lunch at Schmidt’s in German Village to satisfy my Pennsylvania Dutch inner child. I had sauerbraten with spaetzels, sweet and sour red cabbage, green beans… mmmmm.  I showed a little restraint and refused the spectacular cream puffs.

So much for you people who blog your vacation photos of spectacular places in Europe!  I’ve seen Columbus and Louisville!!  Okay, maybe not exciting, but I did get out of my rut this week.

My puppy is helping with this painting by finger painting with puppy prints
This painting may not be very “sharp”, but it is what I’ve been working on.  Maybe the sharp points of negative space between bricks?  This painting is going take some time, so thought I’d show it in phases.

I sewed some canvas together to make it large enough to cover the floor to my dining room, stapling the edges to the floor and stretching the canvas to make it lay flat enough.  A very washy raw sienna base coat helped start things off.

The only real idea I started with is the brick circle.  This will be under the dining room table and is centered under the light fixture.  It’s a high traffic area from the kitchen, outside, and to other parts of the house so I made stone paths.  The dining room is open to the kitchen, so I carried the square tile of the kitchen floor to the background of the stone paths.

I like the idea of bringing in the outside nature, so I made leaf prints in the outside corners.  I’m going to lighten them up a lot in the future, which is going to take a ton of time, but this painting is my new hobby.  I’m planning on spending a lot of time thinking/meditating about stuff while I work on it.  I’ll give you another look when I get to a new phase.