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, January 28, 2018


When I was a feral wolf child in the woods, I spent my days really looking at things.  I stared a dragonfly in the eyes while it glared back at me.  I looked at a crawdad's feet, not just the pinchy big claws, but all the little claws on the skinny legs too.  I touched the spiny fur of its shell.  I noticed how algae sways with the river current and how water bugs scamper across the water surface.  I listened to the birds singing and found the softest moss bed in the forest.

Why do we let this world of wonder belong only to children?  Not that kids today have the requisite infinite boredom to explore the world so minutely.  It seems nobody makes moss curl up with a finger touch anymore.

The other day I was entranced by the vivid blues and purples of my snowy world.  I started feeling like I "ought to" paint what spread before my eyes.  Thinking about what I "should do" takes away the beauty and just becomes a chore.  I decided not to paint the colors and watched the fat snowflakes fall.  It seemed like the absolute best way to spend my time.

The snow melted and the sun came out.  In the brief moment of sunshine between weather fronts, I walked to the store, a distance just far enough away to be discouraging, about 1 1/2 miles away.  I saw the word "blue" before taking my walk and decided to pay attention to blue things in my world: blue sky, blue jay, blue signs, blue dumpsters, blue trash on the side of the street, blue cars, blue coats.  Oddly, there aren't any blue houses.  Around here it seems they are only white or brick, except for one gray house and 2 beiges.  Nonconformists.  My house is both white and brick so I've clearly adapted to my environment.

I got up and refilled my glass from my blue water pitcher and noticed my next door neighbor's blue house with a blue appliance repair van in the driveway.  Okay, even when I'm trying to pay attention to my world the obvious can escape me.

I think this is really the point though.  How often do we really look around?  If we're zipping around in cars or glued to our hand-held devices, all those blue signs go by without notice.  Why would we notice blue dumpsters?  How long has it been since they replaced the industrial green, banged up dumpsters in the business parking lots?

I walked past a woman in a blue nursing home uniform.  She didn't look up from her phone.  Hey!  Let's interact!  Join me in the real world instead of just the virtual one!  Of course I didn't say that.  I just felt a little lonely for both of us.  Everybody is endlessly talking, but nobody is really saying anything.

I'm going to make an effort to take daily walks and to pay more attention to the world around me, not because I "should", but because it makes me happier than vegetating in front of the computer.  Who knows what other kinds of things are out there waiting to be noticed?

Friday, January 19, 2018


Sometimes I write some tips for artists, but it occurred to me today that tips for artists are really tips for anyone who looks at art.  We can appreciate images more when we understand more of what the artist intended.  The week's prompt is "5".  I'm pretty sure everyone sees and understands 5 hash marks here.  Maybe you notice I put 5-petaled flowers in the background.  Extra points if you notice the vertical lines are also in clusters of 5.  Each element reinforces the message 5 and adds more visual interest for the viewer.

In 1793, Jacques-Louis David painted "La Mort de Marat" (The Death of Marat).  In some ways, it looks like a comparatively simple painting for David.  The image is powerful, even if we don't know the first thing about Marat.  However, this painting speaks across language barriers and our ignorance.

Forget everything anyone else has ever taught you about looking at art.  What do you see?  How do you feel?  Whatever any of the professionals tell you, how you feel about a piece of art is the final word about whether or not a painting is great or not.

Once you've acknowledged your emotional reaction to the painting, consider the points I made about my 5 brushes.  Even though I assume you don't know who Marat was, do you see repeated themes in the painting that are giving you clues?  I would guess that you notice multiple papers, ink, and quills.  Perhaps your eyes go to the large background?  Maybe you notice the drapery falls as the hero's arm is falling?  The bloody knife is on the floor while the dying man's hands hold a paper and a pen; this isn't a suicide.

Let me tell you that Marat was a radical journalist during the French Revolution.  Now what do you think?  Does it change how you feel about the painting?  I can also tell you he was an ugly man with a debilitating skin condition which caused him to wrap vinegar saturated cloth to his head while he soaked in medicinal baths.  A board was placed on the tub so he could continue writing.  Charlotte Corday, a royalist woman, stabbed him for his political activism.  She was tried and executed for the murder.

Considering Marat was a remarkably unattractive man, David gave him a hero's death.  He used the traditions of Jesus and the saints' martyrdoms for a journalist with serious and smelly health problems.  The drapery falls with the dying man's arm.  The light and shadows move forward.  So much is expressed in such a beautiful way, for a crime scene which was anything but beautiful.

For artists, this painting is also a reminder not to get too trapped by reality.  David was true to life in setting the scene by using the green cloth and the packing box by the tub, but his idealism created an image far different than an ugly man dying in a bloody tub.  We're reminded of what the man did in his life.

What do you want to convey?  How can you use repetitions of a theme to carry your message?

Saturday, January 13, 2018


My guitar has butterflies.  This pleases me.  I hope my butterflies don't die in the case from neglect.  Guitars sound better when they're actually played instead of propped in a corner gathering dust.  I'm not a great player, but I'm pretty sure my guitar would prefer inexpert attention than none at all.

Let me apologize again for presidential insults of people and countries with pigment, US allies, or geez, everybody who isn't blonde and Norwegian this week.  What happened to 1960s "make love not war" ideals sung around campfires?  I leaked tears when I listened to this Seeker's version.  I'd like to blame that on menopausal hormones, but I'm just in touch with an earnest wish for a better world.  We should all sing by more campfires.

I refuse to give up my idealism.  We each make the world better with every kind action and word, and even the negatives around us are a chance to learn and make things right.  For instance, this week I've learned the continent of Africa is thriving.  It's far more than famine and AIDS.  Haiti is more than a hurricane disaster zone.  45's "s***hole" comments pushed the media to tell us some positives for a change.  Yay!  Tell us more!

I've complained about public tv's seemingly endless shows about multiculturalism.  It feels racist to complain, but I feel like they're beating me with a stick about an issue with which I'm already agreeable.  Stop lecturing me!  It's like sad puppies or starving children charity ads.  I care about puppies and children, but I'd much rather see something about how a donation results in happy, healthy children/puppies.  Stop miring us in negatives.  Teach us about positives.  Teach us how to get to the positives.

The truth is, we're attracted to negatives.  A traumatic, abusive bond with someone can be far more enduring than a loving relationship, but time with an abuser is time that wasn't spent with someone loving.  Lately I've noticed on my antenna tv there are 2 stations devoted to murder 24 hrs/day, not to mention the other stations' murder shows.  I'm sure cable tv must be far worse.  We're rapt with attention over disasters, abuse, and strife, and media outlets will continue to offer this kind of thing because it keeps our viewership better than "good" subjects.  It takes effort maintaining positivity in a negative world, but I'm convinced it's worth the effort because surrounding ourselves with good people and experiences leads to happier lives for everyone.

I met a young woman outside a store where we were both waiting.  We discovered we shared a birthday that day.  I told her she was pretty.  She was taken aback that I'd say something nice, and then worried I was hitting on her.  I laughed and said I like boys.  We chatted and laughed some more for maybe 15 minutes before we left in different directions, never to see each other again, but with positive memories.

It was such a simple thing.  She was pretty, and nice too.  She was pleasant to talk with when I was burning time.  One small action that didn't cost me anything for a young, black woman who told me she needed a kind word that day.  My bit for race relations might be a helpful memory for her when she listens to racist comments.

Haters get more coverage than the majority of people who don't share those views.  What if all of us who care about others make more effort to say nice things to each other?  Open doors, treat people like people, express some curiosity about them?  Listen to their stories, or just smile?


Friday, January 5, 2018


I can't swear that I didn't reuse some words in this piece.  I tried to pay attention, but proofreading isn't one of my better skills.  I took this week's prompt as a test of how many A words I could think up.  I'll admit I started cheating, but sometimes getting a word off the computer reminded me of quite a few more words lurking in my mind.  I also remembered words that I couldn't define.  I can't really explain why I'd know a word exists without knowing how to use it.  I'm not sure I'll ever really understand my own brain, but I continue to look at it as an interesting object worth studying.

I started another painting, but it isn't far enough along to show it to you yet.  Instead, let's look back at the year that was.

I'm reminded that I've spent much of the last year obsessed with the news.  I try to ignore it, but I can't.  Sometimes my obsession leaked into my posts.  I tried to keep that at a minimum because I like to get along and share happier thoughts.  Some of the things I wrote about in the last year feel like they happened a super long time ago.  Did I testify in court in February?!  I'm pretty sure that was at least 5 or 6 years ago.  Went to the cheese factory with Bro2?  That had to be in some other year too.  Some things feel so immediate I can't believe they happened months ago.  I'm also reminded of things that I didn't discuss but were seeping through the tone of my posts.

I lost 3 friends in 2017.  Two died, one was very old, one was too young.  The third friend is just going in a different direction with different values and priorities than me.  It happens.  It's sad.  I wish him well.  I found out another friend died a couple of years ago.  I hadn't kept up with him, but I'd kept him in my heart.  Even though he died a while ago the fact of his death is new to me.  I'm feeling my own mortality.

I ranted about wildlife more than is seemly, which is ironic coming from a life-long environmentalist.  I even married a professional environmentalist at one time.  That was a mistake, but hey, live and learn.  My deer and groundhogs are safe from my murderous thoughts, still brimming over with glossy health.  I expect they'll demolish this year's garden and I'll probably complain about it.

I wrote a book.  I even sent out a number of query letters to publishers.  I still think the book should be published, but I didn't send enough queries.  I just collapsed on my momentum.  I mean really, I already devoted all that time writing the thing.  Why do I have to put in energy to sell it?  Besides, it's a non-fiction effort on a topic I want to forget (working for Religion).  I'm adjusting my attitude about this starting next week.

I painted this year, real paintings that I'm proud of myself for creating.  I did some illustrations for magazines.  That felt good.  Sometimes I wrote about making art too.

Mostly, I think the past year was focused on decluttering my mind, pulling out past issues that never seem to die and trying to find a new way forward, taking time to breathe and evaluate what really matters to me.  I've spent a lot of time studying better ways to accomplish these goals too.  I'm pretty sure those topics will come up in some future posts.

Wishing everyone a happy, successful, productive 2018!