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 28, 2018


I look at my curled up lump of a dog at my feet and search for inspiration.  She sighs.  An ear twitches.  She sinks deeper into sleep and twitches a foot.  I watch her belly go in and out with each breath.  That's it.  She isn't offering any more inspiration than that unless it's for me to take deeper breaths and relax too.  Course if I got up and said "Let's go for a walk", she'd be up and bouncy in a split second, which I think is pretty incredible since she's ancient.  I hope I'm doing as well when I'm her equivalent age.

I couldn't think of what to write next so I got up to refill my glass of iced tea.  I bashed the glass on the doorframe, sent glass and ice flying in a noisy crash, and my puppy lazily got up to see what I'd done.  She sniffed an ice cube and wandered outside.  The glass didn't break, thankfully.

I was making a sandwich when she came back inside.  She hovered hopefully underfoot.  I dropped a bit of cheese and pointed at it before carrying my sandwich back to the computer and everything became as it was before.  Old dogs are so easy.  We have a rhythm.  We understand each other.  She leaves my art piles alone.

Lacking any blog inspiration, I go back to watching her breathing.  In out, in out, I match my breath to her's and get myself into a dopey hypnotic peacefulness.

In this relaxed state, I remember recently painting a portrait of my cousin's cat.  A cat is close enough for a "dog" post, right?  I sent the painting as a congratulations gift because she recently finished her law degree.  I'm impressed.  She's roughly my age and clearly is still tackling new challenges.  That's inspiring.  Makes me want to quit watching my dog breathe and do something inspirational too.

I also painted a portrait of my niece who recently graduated with her masters degree.  She likes Asian things and bleaches the ends of her hair blonde, or blue, whatever.  This isn't my usual kind of painting, but I enjoyed making it.  I hope she enjoys having it.

Shaking myself out of my hypnotic dog watching, I did have weather excitement this week with a microburst of tornado like winds, hail, and thunderstorm.  Trees and branches came down.  The top of a tree came down next door, flying over their garage but stopping short of their house and cars.  Really, it could not have come down more nicely.  It even just missed flattening my gooseberry bushes and hibiscus.

The neighbor next to them had a tree take down the electrical lines and we were all out of power for a day.  When the electric company came they asked to saw up my next door neighbors' downed tree so they could bring their equipment in the back yards to rescue the electric lines.  This was a huge relief as they're 2 older sisters who don't do chainsaws.

I thought the excitement was done, but no, I woke up to fire trucks and lights flashing.  The grounded wires sent electricity into the ground which traveled into the garage of the neighbor 3 doors down.  The garage smoldered and smoked, but no serious damage.  Really, I think everything turned out as luckily as it could for a micro tornado and it caused the neighbors to socialize when they were out with their dogs.

Monday, July 23, 2018


I moved the train and finished my latest painting.  I was feeling pretty darned pleased with myself when I got out the bottle of Liquitex acrylic medium to finish it.  I put on 2 coats of gloss varnish, and went to the store for a new bottle of matte.  When I got home that night I used the dregs of the old bottle of matte on my painting. 

Just so you know, matte finish isn't as durable as gloss which is why I applied the gloss first.  It's helpful too because you can tell if you've missed a spot with the gloss.  Don't fuss with acrylic finishes.  Put them on and leave them alone -- but I noticed some specks.  I fussed it a bit to get things right before setting it aside to dry and going to bed.

Next morning, it the harsh light of day, ohh noo!!  I didn't get all the specks out.  A couple areas looked misty because I'd overworked the finish.  I tried to scrub a couple of the specks and went from misty to cloudy.  This turned into continuing and deepening disaster.  I read online help.  I called a retired chemical engineer.  Nobody offered hope.  I scrubbed, dabbed chemicals, hosed it down in the kitchen sink.  Eventually, I ruthlessly scrubbed the thing with an old toothbrush.

After a while, everything looked fine when the painting was wet.  It looked horrible when dry.  With nothing to lose, I applied the gloss finish over the damp painting.  Success!!!

So, should you ever be faced with the same miserable situation you can try this when all else fails.  You may also be pleased to know that I didn't slap the chemical engineer when he told me to just repaint the whole thing.

After all of this high drama, I was next to a busy road weeding the city's flower pots when a good looking guy waved at me and yelled, "Woohoo!  Beautiful!!!"  It's been a long time since a good looking guy has woohooed me and this lifted my spirits.  At a certain age this doesn't feel like harassment.  Of course it's entirely possible he was praising my flower pots, but whatever.  I'll take it.

And yes, my painting does address camping.  The name tag tucked behind the wash cloth is from my days as a teenaged camp counselor for "slow" kids.  The kids were sweethearts and they weren't slow in any of our activities.  Teaching them to draw and study salamanders was fun.  I applauded at their somersaults off the diving board.  We skipped down the trail and sang.

My duties got expanded to include lifeguarding institutionalized developmentally disabled ("retarded") adults.  This was more challenging because they don't remember instructions.  Rule #1: do not go in the pool before the lifeguard gets there.  I can't tell you how many times I found an obese person on the bottom of the pool, and I still wonder about the other counselors who would leave them by a pool unattended.

I don't know why the skinny people didn't drown themselves, but it was always a 300-400 pounder at the bottom of the pool.  To make things worse, the rest of the class had a hard time understanding I needed help getting that person out of the pool.  They all agreed it was really, really funny when the drowned person puked on me after I gave them mouth-to-mouth and got them living again.  I was puked on too many times to count.  Character building, right?  I loved that job, and I loved all my kids and my kids in adult bodies.

I'm especially proud of my apple!

Saturday, July 14, 2018


Last night I happily settled down to what someone called "food porn", in this case, The Great British Baking Show.  The theme for this competitive cook off was "pie".  I love pie, and TV is a great way to enjoy it without calories.

I was confused right off the bat.  The contestants made Wellingtons.  That's interesting, but it isn't pie in my mind.  One of the hosts took a side trip and ate eel pie.  My face still screws up painfully at the thought of it, and I wouldn't call that a pie either.  It was kind of like a hot pocket.  Then, the contestants made a molded meat pie.  Okay?  I sort of see the "pie" in this, but not really.

I was feeling very unBritish about this point when they said the grand finale was to be "American" pies.  Yay!  I sat and ate rhubarb gooseberry sauce (which is good, but not quite as yummy as rhubarb mulberry) and scowled as the British slammed American pies as "too sweet".  Well!  They should try some of my rhubarb.

I'll admit, I didn't realize my pies were "American".  I thought a pie is a pie.  Maybe I should've realized "As American as apple pie" is often said because pie is an icon of Americanism?  But you can say the same thing about hot dogs and Germans make sausages.  I imagine they make something hot doggish.  I figured the same was true for pies.  French make tarts, and that's fairly similar, right?

I've made a lot of pies in my life.  I should go over there and teach them how it's done because British ideas of American pies is just wrong (though Ryan, the winner, clearly got it right with a key lime and ginger beauty).

I'll also admit that the more I thought of British ideas of American sweetness, the more I remembered pies that were disgustingly sweet.  Okay, if all you've ever had is that kind of thing I can understand a preconceived distaste for pie.  Block those images from your mind.  Think of the natural sweetness of fruit in a flaky pastry.  Mmmm.  I've even blogged about pies before which you can see here.

I am not about to touch the subject of current political relations with the US and Great Britain and other NATO allies because it's just an embarrassment like too sweet pies.  Just let me offer my continued apologies and express appreciation for the big balloon and your protests.  I don't think pie could even make the president behave properly.

On happier news, despite the deer and other vamints repeatedly mowing down my garden I got my first tomatoes.  Hooray!

Friday, July 6, 2018


I saw the word and thought, "but I'm not in a funk!" -- which made me wonder what a funk is in the first place while singing Play That Funky Music in my head and chair dancing, physically demonstrating that I'm in a decidedly good mood for no particular reason other than the weather is spectacularly pleasant after a blisteringly hot week.

1. noun, North American, a state of depression
2. noun, British, a coward. verb, avoid (a task or thing) out of fear 

Oh funk.  I like to write about happy things when I'm feeling happy.  I took time to wash gooseberries.  The bushes have sharp thorns and are one of my few deer-proof garden happinesses these days.  Have I mentioned one doe has twins??  Not to be confused with that other doe with a single fawn.  My only competition for these berries is from song birds, and I'm willing to share with them.

I use gooseberries in chocolate cake because then it's health food (obviously).  I put in cranberries and/or currants sometimes too.  Chocolate cake is clearly the best way to get vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  My latest, best cooking discovery is combining rhubarb and mulberries.  I cook it into a thick sauce to mix with plain yogurt.  The berries make it possible to drastically reduce the amount of sugar usually used with rhubarb.  I added cinnamon and ginger with just a touch of cloves.  Oh, oh, oh!!!  Mmm.

I suspect many, maybe most people don't know about these foods.  I've never seen gooseberries in the store, but I spent countless hours of my childhood laying on my back under my neighbor's bushes, carefully plucking berries off one by one and stuffing them in my mouth.  Sun warm, tart sweet, and delicious.

Perhaps I'm being a funk not to write about being in a funk?  I've been depressed.  It sucks.  I've been seriously, chronically depressed.  That sucks even more.  I found the best solution to that state of being was divorce.  It's amazing how quickly I got happy and healthy once my ex was out of my life.  This solution might not be advantageous for everyone, but I bet there are some who could benefit from it.

I've been reliving that period of time in my head recently to see what I can learn from it.  Simply, I put up with too much, waded past warning signs, allowed myself to be put down, ignored, overworked, and other unpleasantness.  I tried to resolve issues with someone who wasn't interested in resolutions.  It's no wonder I got depressed.  I was shoving every reasonable instinct and thought deep, deep underground.

I'm lax about showing works in progress so I thought I'd show a bit of my latest.  Sometimes I think showing finished pieces ignores the struggle to get there.  I found reference photos of baby food and UNICEF from the 1960s, which didn't exist the way I wanted so I pieced parts together for accuracy.  I'm not happy with where the train is so I quit working on it and will start over and repaint it -- despite putting the layout together in PhotoShop in the first place.  That stupid form in the background caused me all sorts of misery getting things to line up properly.

I'm not perfect.  I make mistakes.  I try to learn from those mistakes and persevere.  Then, I chair dance and revel in my happy days!