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, October 29, 2016


You would think that there's only so many things you can do with stripes, but the options are endless.  Fat, narrow, pink, blue, straight, wavy, patterns in between, patterns in the stripes... on and on and on.  In case you can't tell, I've done a lot stripes.  You'd think I'd get bored with them, but I don't really.  It's like a simple toy that never ceases to please.

I did these boxes two years in a row for Gift Corp (though only kept photos of one year's boxes).  One year, the stripes were simple.  The other year, I changed up the stripes with different widths and dots.  I'd like to say that stripes are so simple it's all easy money -- but it isn't.  There were a lot of variations before everyone was happy and I got paid.

I always notice boxes in stores.  Every box has an artist somewhere in the process, whether it's Tony the Tiger breakfast cereal or generic air fresheners.  I've been known to go through all of the Kleenex boxes on the top shelf to find the prettiest pattern to keep on my desk.  I feel like my purchase rewards the best artist, even though artists aren't paid commission, but maybe the best artists get appreciated a little more by their employers?

I sometimes get annoyed that "commercial" art is less valued than "fine" art.  Okay, maybe stripes aren't going to get people very excited at an art gallery, but illustrators make beautiful art with a lot more restrictions and headaches than someone who paints whatever they want to paint.  Norman Rockwell, N. C. Wyeth, and many more illustrators were remarkable artists, "even though" they were illustrators.

I was visiting friends recently and noticed a Charley Harper book.  I happily looked through his images and was inspired, comforted, intrigued, and more as I thought about how much his art influenced my childhood environment.  How much of his work was commercial, and how much fine, and what difference did it make?  Good art is good for everyone, no matter if it's a zoo poster or a one-of-a-kind painting.  In fact, I'm enough of a populist to think the more people with the poster, the better it is for our whole society.

Another friend came to my house for the first time.  I'll admit, I can be a bit self-conscious about first-time visits because once in a while I notice that my home is eccentric and eclectic (and usually messy).  In other words, different than the ways most people decorate.  I don't own a beige wall or a properly fluffed accent pillow.  It's just easier to meet at a restaurant than to host people.  At the same time, it always fascinates me to see what other people notice when they come over.  Yeah, large painting on the floor will get noticed, but beyond that, where do their eyes land?

This stripe pattern was also
used as a tower of boxes
In this case, my friend commented on a large painting I did of rocks, though that wasn't what she looked at the most.  She looked at my Charley Harper inspired raccoon longer.  I suspect she just didn't know what to say about it.  Maybe she wasn't sure if she liked it.  I didn't ask, but after she left, I studied my raccoon and felt the same kinds of good feelings I felt when I looked through the Charley Harper book.  Maybe in the end that's the best thing we can hope to achieve through our art?  Even if we achieve pleasant feelings through something as simple as stripes?

Friday, October 7, 2016


I looked at my ice cubes yesterday and remembered drawing them not so long ago.  When I saw the word for the week, I looked them up because I thought "This is ridiculous!  I just did 'ice'!"  As it turns out, in March, 2015.  Oh my.  I think I'm getting old when time just starts sliding away really fast and we're decrepit and on a walker in no time.  My aunt warned me about this twisted reality.

Depending on the day I'm thinking about it, I either feel young or old.  Not young like a child or teenager or anything, just young enough that I can still do whatever I want to do.  I feel like there's still plenty of time to achieve things and really live.  On another day, I might feel like too many things ache and I'm inches from the grave and can't do anything spectacular anymore.

Both things are true, neither are true.  Life is what you make it, whatever your age.

I've been thinking of writing something for a while, in a vague kind of way.  I started a novel years ago.  I felt happy about what I had started too, and then it started descending into soppy and sloppy ideas that seemed like too much effort to clean up. I'm thinking of digging it out and looking at it again.

I know one of my self-sabotaging tendencies.  I'll look at it, it won't be great, and I'll think, "Why do it if it isn't earth-shaking?"  Well, why not?  Why stop myself from something just because it isn't the best?  I know lots of you have some variation of this even though we know that we have to put effort into things to gain the skill to do something well.  How much time did we put into learning to read and write in the first place?

I think it just depends on whether or not we enjoy an activity enough to perfect it, and "perfection" is an illusion anyway.  Sometimes I like to write.  Words flow out of me easily, and I enjoy that ease.  Sometimes it feels really, really hard and I have enough hard things to deal with.

When I make ice cubes, I don't worry about "perfect" cubes.  I just want cold tea.  If I'm feeling a bit whimsical, I might put a flower in the water first.  I made an apple cake, and supplemented my apples with over-ripe pears.  I wondered if it would work, but I didn't feel like my self identity hinged on creating the latest, greatest thing.

There's something about putting things out into the world that opens us up to fear of judgment.  I experienced those fears when I started blogging.  Now that I've been doing this a while, it feels like those fears were a million lifetimes ago.  I notice what other people prefer reading, but I'm not afraid anymore.  If you don't like this week's post, come back next week and see if you like that post better.  Hopefully I've gotten better at it with experimentation.

Yes, maybe it's time to dust off that book beginning?  Winter is coming and cold, dark days sound like the perfect time to try.

(And yes Sharon, you have inspired me with your own writing efforts on The Chorus of Crows!)

Sunday, October 2, 2016


I discovered my yardstick collection in my garage this weekend.  Local businesses used to advertise on these handy measuring tools.  I like that the businesses were often selling paint, and as an artist, paint is good.  I'm especially pleased that I have a yardstick from Morse Graphics and one from Fredericksburg where my great grandpa lived.

A giant praying mantis climbed onto my window screen while I was staring out into space thinking about all the other things I'd rather write about than "weapon".  Did you know the females often kill their male partners during sex?  I suppose violence exists in a lot of species, and doesn't even require weapons.

It's a little ironic that I have a yardstick collection because Mom used them as a weapon.  The yardstick broke once when she smacked it on the back of my bare legs.  I laughed.  She went from mad to really mad.  Things went downhill from there, but I had a sudden realization that she couldn't keep hitting me anymore.  Sometimes the lesson learned isn't the lesson intended.  On the other hand, I don't display my yardsticks in the house.  I'll keep them in the garage.

I've spent a lot of effort lately in cleaning out the garage and rewiring it.  In some ways, I think this is a waste of time since I don't spend much time in the garage anyway.  At the same time, it annoys me that I couldn't use the garage because it was crowded with too much stuff, dirt, and cobwebs.  It becomes symbolic for other things in my life, a large, unnecessary, rotting appendage.  Bro3 re-sided it, so at least it isn't rotting anymore.  Mostly, I'm just working off excess energy and getting some exercise.

I took a class in stained glass when I was managing a fine arts program at the local civic center.  Making something intentional creates a lot of unintentional wasted glass.  I used it to pretty up my garage windows.  Reglazing these windows is still on my to do list for the garage.  It was far more important to get rid of every unnecessary nail, screw, and hook that the man who lived at the house before me put in every few inches on every rafter and stud.  I ended up with a heavy pile of rusting iron and bashed my hands and arms pretty badly in the process.  A friend accused me of "domestic violence", pointing out that it doesn't always take 2 people for violence to happen in the home.

I don't regret these scrapes and bruises.  I've had this garage for years, and for years I had to put things where that disorganized man had left me a mismatched shelf or hook.  I ripped out the shelves on one wall and replaced them with orderly shelves that actually make sense and let me store long pieces of lumber.  I'm tired of settling for what is instead of what I want it to be.

The point of all this is that whatever you do, it's better to strive to improve the world than to just rot with the garage or take out your aggression on someone else.  Look for the beauty.  Create it.  Share it.