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, April 29, 2018


There's odd satisfaction to seeing people scavenge stuff piled on my tree lawn for garbage pick up.  I felt I should run out and say it's all been contaminated with mouse poop and mold, but it rained.  Nature protected them by washing it.  I was also tempted to ask somebody to help me carry out bigger pieces of furniture, but I was tired.  Maybe next week?

I've been trying to transform my basement, but it's a slow go since I'm very sensitive to whatever lurks down there.  I suspect the worst culprit is mold I found on the rafters once the mouse poop ceiling came down.  My eyes have been red and swollen.  My tip for the week is to put used teabags on them to suck out the evil spirits.

When not washing rafters (spiking my delicate hands with a nail and splinters), I've been washing endless basement stuff.  There's a lot of it.  You wouldn't know it to walk through the main part of my house, but I collect and hoard things.  For instance, 8 teapots -- and I never use a teapot.  They're just pretty.  One was Grandma's.  I can't get rid of a Grandma thing, even if it's contaminated with mouse poop and mold dust.  I carefully washed it and packed it nicely in a new box.  Some of the others have unpleasant memories attached though.  I'm debating whether or not to start selling things.

I've also continued to try to transform myself by plodding along on my latest art therapy painting.  This latest has been dragging, but it is accomplishing its purpose.  Slowing down and really thinking about a hard period of my past helps me see things differently.  I can see positives.  I can sew negatives together in a different way.

I think most of us create a shorthand in our minds about the past.  For instance, my ex-husband is a narcissist.  He hurt my self-esteem.  Bad husband.  Slam the door on the past.  The painting isn't about him, but I can't think about that period of time without remembering the part he played, and throwing out the mental shorthand, really spending time thinking through things, I discover new truths that I can actually feel in my body.  Fiddling with the painting layout, I actually laughed when I came up with a moment of gratitude towards him.  I didn't think it was possible.

We can't ignore the past.  We carry it around all the time, even when we refuse to acknowledge it.  It effects our decisions and behavior.  It creates who we are now.  It becomes our choice what we're going to do with it.

We can't change the past, but we can change the narrative.  The fact that this painting is taking me a long time to create is an indication of how complicated the issue is for me.  It gives me something to think about when I'm washing rafters and dishes.  And like cleaning physical things, I feel like I'm scrubbing my mind.  I think I'll be a lot happier when all the mold and mouse poop is gone, really and metaphorically.

BTW, the keys are just a part of the painting.  I'll post the whole thing if it ever gets finished.

"Adding wings to caterpillars does not create butterflies, it creates awkward and dysfunctional caterpillars. Butterflies are created through transformation." ~ Stephanie Marshall

Friday, April 20, 2018


I love pink.  Not the plastic pink in the girls' aisle in a store, but pink flowers and pink cheeks, pink awnings, pink lipstick, pink puppy bellies, pink, pink, pretty pink.  It's a living, happy color -- which has very little to do with what I've been up to lately other than the pretty pink scarf I tie on my head before descending into the pits of hell.

You may remember that I mentioned I've been on a dust elimination quest.  This has helped my sinus issues, but it didn't solve them, and I was running out of things to dust.  Then, a ceiling tile fell down in the basement.  I noticed a hint of an odd, indefinable smell and studied the old, crappy ceiling.  I've never liked these acoustical tiles, but I never felt like getting into the mess of tearing it down.  I don't spend any time in the basement other than wash clothes and store things anyway.

The tile on the floor looked disgusting.  I mentioned this to a buddy who reminded me of my plumbing disaster a few years ago.  He suggested that the mold in the basement may have gotten into the ceiling.  Ugh.  I went back to the basement and studied.  On my friend's advice, I put on a face mask before reaching up and pulling down another tile.

Mouse poop!  Eeks!  Disgusting!  My house has been defiled!!!

I knew I had a mouse a few years ago.  It got into the dog food and gnawed on a couple of my sweaters, but I found its corpse before I got around to murdering it.  Mouse problem over, at least that's what I thought.

I decided the ceiling had to go and started pulling down more tiles.  There wasn't a little mouse poop, there was a lot of it.  Eeks, eeks, yuck, ew!  Since it was trash day, I loaded up the bin and stopped for the day.

I woke up the next day obsessed about mouse poop.  Could it really be the thing that has been making feel lousy?  I looked it up online and found out it can actually kill you.  No wonder I feel so icky about the situation.  I pulled the rest of the ceilings down, loaded up the trash bin again, and bagged the rest where they are piled in the driveway awaiting next week's trash truck.  Included in that trash is mammal poop, mouse nest, and a bird skeleton.  I feel like I can't wash my hands enough at this point.  I've bought plastic gloves and disinfectant to wash everything I own.

In an odd way, I'm actually feeling good about all of this.  First and foremost, because I'm getting rid of something disgusting, but also because it feels symbolic.  I sometimes think of my house as a mirror.  The first floor is everyday life.  Upstairs is higher ideals.  The basement is subconscious.  I didn't know I had mouse poop and a dead bird in my subconscious, but I'm glad to discover it and eliminate it.  And in an odd synchronicity, my current art therapy painting recently made me aware of the disgust I feel towards some people in my past.  It feels like cleaning mouse poop is cleaning my brain too.

I have a lot of scrubbing to do.  I think I'll play some P!nk to make the chore go happily.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


The weather was glorious in Ohio for a couple of days this week.  I went to the park and smelled flowers.  I listened to a deafening riot of frogs trying to get lucky at the pond.  I felt the sun on my face and was feeling generally at peace with the world when a man jogged past.

Joggers are common, but this guy stopped me in my tracks.  He was shirtless and had on tight, spandex, uh, what to call it?  Let's say it was less material than underpants, and the brightly colored British flag's X was clearly marking a spot that us Ohioans keep private.  He also had on brilliant lime green spandex on his wiry calves that were sort of like rippled knee socks, or maybe neon greaves?  He smiled, and I was dimly aware that he was good looking, but it took me some moments before I could put that whole picture together in my mind.  I hope to see him again sometime.  It was kind of like seeing an exotic and fascinating insect, or maybe a Sasquatch sighting.

When I look at Jane's blog, she never has such skimpily clad and brightly colored men jogging through the English parks.  What's going on in this guy's head?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Aside from these cultural exchanges, I can say that I don't care about the upcoming US/British nuptials.  We aren't living in a Disney movie.  If Princess Di's life showed us anything, wearing a crown comes at a cost.  I hope her son and his wife fare better than Di did.  And yet, Queen Elizabeth looks a lot like my grandma.  I have red headed siblings.  It feels like a family wedding, which leaves me wondering why I didn't get invited, but thankful I don't have to buy a present.

I'd like to say that I think monarchies are obsolescent and democracy is patently superior, but I watch the news.  Current events make me doubt the wisdom of letting some people vote, besides making me question the value of humanity in general.  It's like the old curse, may you live in interesting times.  We're living it.

Oh well, I've been waging a personal war on dust lately.  This goes against my general reluctance towards housekeeping.  My house is clean and tidy enough, but I've a theory that dust is causing some of my sinus troubles and headaches and I'm working on stamping out this scourge from my life.  It may kill me.  I did a thorough cleaning of all the hidden spots in, under, and behind furniture in one room and spent the following several days coughing, wheezing, and miserable.  When recovered, I attacked everything dog-related, including the dog.  This caused a couple more miserable days.  The dog's bath seemed to only create more shedding.  I feel like I'm losing the battle, but I shall persevere!  I'm feeling considerable sympathy for whoever cleans monarchs' palaces.

Friday, April 6, 2018


A friend commented on my "monkey mind" when I split our conversation into maybe a fifth or tenth tangent without completing a point about any of the subjects.  "Say what, huh?"  He quietly explained how our minds can behave like monkeys: aggressive, fearful, scattered...  At the time, his patient voice soothed and comforted my monkey brain, but the conversation stayed with me ever since.

Google "monkey mind" and you'll find lots of articles on the topic.  Here's one by Forbes.  In it, the author suggests the following 8 ways to quiet your mind:

          Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
          Color, count, recite, run
          Talk to someone or write
          Practice acceptance
          Help others
          Reword the rhetoric

Obviously, my first pick is "color"!  Though to be honest, on a good day I use most of these techniques.  On a bad day, well, probably none of them.  I certainly don't want to present myself as holier than thou about such things.  I'm a work in progress.  This painting is the latest in my art therapy efforts where I explore my past jobs and try to soothe my monkey mind from yelling "Die, die, die!" to people in my past.

This painting made me think about the job in different ways.  I did a lot of good work there, and I wanted to show my portfolio on the canvas -- but that wasn't the point.  It was more important to remember how many variations of stripes, dots, hollies, snowflakes, and hearts I created.  Also, the fights with China through online translation services, the complex math and technical drawings my coworkers refused to do, the number of Advils I swallowed for migraines.

 And for all of that, working my way through the painting lets me find gratitude.  I'm a far better artist for having working there.  It's just been hard for me to feel thankful when the people were so awful.  Painting lets me slow down and quiet my monkey mind enough to feel that gratitude.  It also helped me discover aspects of working that matter to me.

Actual comic by Bill Watterson which I hung in my office at that job.
I love Calvin and Hobbes!

Onto the next adventure, being the job before that, which had even more awful people.  To give you a clue, my first step for that painting was to look up prison records of a couple of them.  You can't say my life hasn't been colorful!  But it's like the reindeer jumping off the canvas, the point is to leave these people behind and to find happiness in the experiences.