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, December 29, 2018


I couldn't find my water pistols, a clear sign I haven't played with them enough in recent times.  I always enjoyed running around after my little brothers and splatting them on hot days.  This developed into something of an arms race with bigger and bigger super soakers and the garden hose.  Good times.  I'm not too old for this but maybe they are?

A different brother came over and saw this painting.  "Do you think it's appropriate to show your brother a naked Ken doll?"  I laughed.  "He doesn't have any genitalia!" I protested.  "Well, alright then."  Bro sat down and contemplated while I finished doing whatever it was I was doing.

Ken was trouble for me in this painting.  I needed reference, and I didn't know I needed a 1969 model.  I spent hours looking for my first love and learning stupid doll facts which had nothing to do with my early memories of stealing Ken from Sis1 and Barbie, or was it Tammy?  Who cares?  That bimbo didn't have anything to do with my relationship with Ken.  I envied her car though.  Ken and I had a pedestrian relationship because I was sure Sis would miss a car theft while she didn't seem to notice an absent Ken.

This painting isn't really about those early years, but clearly Ken made an impression on me in a way that manifested in later times.  I won't explain it.  Make conclusions however you'd like about him being featured on this canvas.  The larger point is that we carry our past with us.  Some of that's great, some of it's heavy baggage.

I like to think of the year end as a great time to drop that baggage so I can look forward to the new year as a fresh start.  Issues properly addressed and filed give me more head space to think about happy stuff like playing Mother May I with my sisters or squirting water at my brothers in the yard.

This painting took me a long time to do, though most of that time was spent sitting around and pondering instead of painting.  I told my brother I think it's too busy, but he said all the busyness is interesting.  What do you think?

The main thing for me is that finishing this painting was liberating, exhilarating.  I literally danced around the living room for a while in my happiness.  Issues addressed and done, a lighter load for 2019, and I get a painting to show for it!

Maybe there will come a year end when all of my issues have been addressed and I'll just paint flowers, but until then I'll keep making these paintings.  I like sorting through my thoughts and memories and especially love the happy feelings of completion and accomplishment.  May everyone find their own project they like doing as well.

And yes, I have a lot of siblings with 2 older sisters and 4 younger brothers which makes me a solidly middle child in a very noisy house.  I so envied only children, but then I wouldn't have had a sister from whom I could steal Ken.  Or, maybe Ken would've been mine in the first place?  But then I wouldn't have had anyone to shoot at with the water gun or with whom to play Mother May I.  Maybe it all comes out as a positive?

I hope everyone had a pleasant Christmas (or holiday of your choice) and has a wonderful, exciting, fulfilling, and happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

"Winter 2"

I drove east shortly after sunrise the other day.  Snow had dusted the trees through the night and the morning sun glittered on branches like sparkling fairy dust.  It was absolutely gorgeous and shook me out of my cold morning crabbiness.  Sometimes beauty slaps us in the face to make us appreciate the world we live in.

Yesterday's fairy snow is gone and December gloom crept back on me today.  I went to the park under a warm gray #6 sky.  The pond was cool gray #8 with #7 ice floes.  The bare trees are shades of gray brown on a brown ground amid brown leaves.  A brown squirrel scampered by and brown ducks flew overhead.  I set off with determination on the gray gravel path.

"This is good for you!" I panted to myself as I trudged forward.  My shoulders and legs felt like they weren't connected properly.  I adjusted.  I considered taking a shortcut back to my car.  I found myself tense again.  I adjusted again.  And again.

Eventually all the parts started working together.  I decided that if my world is gray and brown, I'd name the shades.  I started noticing all the colors in the subtleties.  Green moss dust on tree trunks, burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre... green grass!  Rose brambles held a hint of green in their brown vines, a bush held some green leaves.  I walked past a pair of deer, one of whom was intently licking the contents of the other's ear.  I couldn't make up my mind whether to feel disgusted or laugh.  Maybe it's deer foreplay?

There's a couple more places where I could've abandoned my walk, but I managed to do the complete circuit, including going up and down a couple of significant hills.  The leaves on the ground didn't look brown anymore.  They were a vibrant orange.  The bare patches on a sycamore tree reflected a vivid blue.  Same leaves, same trees, different perspective.  Of course it might've had something to do with the stroke I was having coming up that last hill, but I'm thinking positive.

In the season of gifting, remember, fairy snow and shades of brown are also gifts.  All we need to do is put ourselves in a place to see them and open our eyes and minds.

Wishing everyone happiness and peace during the holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2018


I like making snowflakes.  I liked cutting them out and sticking them on winter windows in school and I liked sticking them on the windows at home.  I still liked cutting them out when I was designing packaging for a living.  Some things are perennially perfect activities and I don't care about all the little bits of paper that get scattered around.

Mom hated the snowflake activity.  She did care about scattered bits of paper.  She hated Legos and all sorts of things I liked to do.  That's fine.  She didn't have to cut paper or play with Legos.  Do your own thing.  Be happy.

This sounds so simple.  It is simple.  There's all sorts of aphorisms that reinforce the thought.  The problem is we talk ourselves out of it, and other people try to talk us out of it too.  For example, when I happily cut snowflakes at work, my coworkers told me to get serious and quit having fun.  I shooed them away and kept cutting.  An afternoon of quiet clipping turned into many successful package designs.

Although this supported my paycheck, I didn't consider it "important".  They weren't like Rembrandt's portraits, Van Gogh's sunflowers, or anything else the masters created.  I kept waiting for an epiphany to lead me to my own masterpieces.  I think too many of us keep waiting for an epiphany and don't even cut snowflakes in the meantime.  I'm not just talking about art.  Whatever floats your boat, do it.

Mr. Roger's "Nobody else can live the life you live" has been stuck in my head for quite a while.  “You are a very special person. There is only one like you in the whole world. There's never been anyone exactly like you before, and there will never be again."

This has often struck me as both absolutely true and impossible.  There are so many people in the world.  All the great paintings have already been painted; there are no new ideas, just variations on snowflakes that look like solid white when they get together.  And yet, no two snowflakes are alike, right?

My recent paintings are an attempt to live up to Mr. Roger's affirmations.  The paintings are about my unique life.  Nobody else could paint them because I'm telling my stories.  Someone else could paint similar objects in a similar style, or paint their own stories in their own way, and it would be something entirely different.  That's great.  Even with the billions of people on the planet there's still room for all of us to express ourselves.

It's one thing to aspire to the masters and another to be choked by their achievements.  I don't want to be Van Gogh.  He was nuts.  Rembrandt died poor.  I'm painting in a pursuit of happiness.  It doesn't matter if these men achieved more posthumous fame and fortune.  What matters is following Mr. Rogers' wisdom and being my best me.

I've been thinking of these things for a while, but maybe I'm being extra fatalistic since I found out Jason Furcsik died.  He's another of my brothers' lifelong friends from the Glen, and yet another of their friends to die far too young.  I feel so sad.

On a brighter note, Bro2 brought his new puppy over.  For a ricocheting ball of energy, he is so gentle with my ancient dog.  It's funny to watch them play together.  They're in love, and I have to say I'm in love with the adorable little thing too.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


I'm not a chef, but I've been telling people how to cook lately.  Okra?  Deep fry it.  Use it to thicken things.  It's just a green vegetable.  Hide it in soup or stew.  Too many peas?  They freeze well.  I freeze celery too.  Cut it up and freeze for later cooking.  Grated cauliflower?  Sauté, microwave, or add it to other things.  I bet it would be good mixed in with mashed potatoes.  I saw a creamy cauliflower soup on one of the cooking shows.

All of this cooking direction is the result of my latest volunteer efforts.  I stand in a cold parking lot and give food to people who need it.  I'm enjoying it, which seems a bit crazy since I'm freezing out there and it seems downright criminal that there are people in such a wealthy country who need food handouts, but everyone is so nice.  My fellow volunteers are nice and the recipients are nice.  They tell me how to cook things and I pass on their tips.  We all bond in the cold.

None of us have any say about what kind of food we'll be handing out, therefore, okra.  Despite its popularity in the South, very few people love it in Ohio.  We all know it's slimy and gross, even the majority who have never eaten it before.  Given a choice between okra and sugar snap peas, people took the peas.

The Canadian winds blowing off of Lake Erie are brutal.  I found my long johns and silk socks.  It helps.  I used hand warmers inside my winter gloves and sealed the leather gloves inside plastic food prep gloves.  I shiver and hop up and down while people laugh.  I never realized destitute people are so jolly, or grateful for that matter.

Oh sure, there's some crabby old women who demand butter when we don't have it that week.  Here, take some eggs.  Want some okra?  Actually, I think the brightest side of okra is the incredulous looks I got when I offered it.  The other bright spot was when an older man lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw the okra.  I gave him a lot of it since he seemed to be one of the few people who knew what to do with it.

One of my friends volunteers to serve dinners at a nearby church.  She happily stays inside where it's warm, but otherwise there are quite a few similarities: happy people, good food, camaraderie -- and the fact that there are people in the US who need free food.

It seems to me there are people who volunteer for things and many others who don't.  I think the ones who don't are missing out.  It doesn't have to be about food.  My dinner-serving friend used to volunteer as a receptionist at a children's hospital.  She's an elf for Santa's train.  I've volunteered at the parks and schools.  I tended flowers in city planters last summer.  Just pick something you like to do and find a place to do it.  The things you gain may be hard to quantify, but I'll bet it makes you feel better while making other people's lives better too.

If I haven't convinced you to volunteer somewhere, it's a good time of the year to give too.  Lots of charities need your support.  Pick one, or many, and spread some happiness.  If you want to give to Food Not Bombs, contact them at FNBeastCLE@gmail.com.  We're especially hoping someone will donate a used van, truck, or SUV for delivering food.

As for last week's deadline, yes, I got my project finished in time.  It didn't matter.  I'm in the middle of a major redirection of the project with a new short deadline.  Sigh.  Actually, before the sighs I had a temper tantrum by the latest instructions.  I've progressed to sighs.  Thankfully the only witness to my tantrum was my dog :)