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 27, 2019


I sat on a mountain and looked at the galaxy.  I found infinite space infinitely overwhelming.  I think many people see their belongings this way.  My solution to the vastness of space was to feel the earth beneath me and to focus on the rock at my feet.  Organizing is like that.  Sorting and filing one item or topic at a time creates structure and reason in a chaotic world.  It calms me.

I was once told to add "organized" to my resume.  I said everyone says that.  "No, most people aren't organized and don't say they are."  I frankly didn't believe this but I've come to understand it's true.  Innumerable books are written on the topic, though I can't agree with Marie Kondo's advice to "Discard everything that does not 'spark joy'."  Crazy woman.  Belongings are more complicated than that.

I recently house-sat for a friend.  Before leaving, she suggested I amuse myself by organizing one of her bedrooms.  I know, this doesn't sound like much fun for most of you, and you didn't even see the amount of clutter she'd managed to stuff into the room.  It took me 2 days to get to the closet, and when I opened that closet things flew out of it and smacked me in the head.  I laughed and dug into my project.

About halfway through my friend's trip, I got grumpy.  I was tired from amassing large piles all over her otherwise beautifully decorated house, and also realized she wouldn't maintain the order I created.  It felt like a waste of time, but I was committed by then.  I trudged on repeating the mantra, "A place for everything and everything in its place".

My friend clearly wants to be organized.  She has piles of new photo albums and frames, folders, containers, and organizing books -- which takes up as much space as the stuff she wants to store.  Her issues are shared by many people.  I wonder how many people are like myself who feel compelled to organize things?

I love my personal library of alphabetized books which are sorted by subject, yet I'm aware most people aren't looking for this kind of bliss.  They just need to get their books onto bookshelves.  They close the door to the crowded bedroom while my skin itches at the thought of the hidden chaos.  I need to work on that.

This self-awareness reminds me of a time when a different friend and I shot photos of monarch butterflies resting after flying over Lake Erie in their annual migration.  Each of my photos was a single butterfly, aiming for perfection in the details.  My friend did landscapes of butterflies.  It hadn't occurred to me to see the world as she had.  I opened my eyes to seeing the world differently after that.

It takes all types.  My disorganized friend loosens me up.  I create order for her.  I think the ideal is somewhere in the middle?  I feel great satisfaction in the fact you can dance in that formerly packed bedroom.  She's thrilled.  I added "organized" to my resume.

"To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better." ~ Victor Hugo

Saturday, January 19, 2019


My winter botanical effort has been growing herbs in the window.  I’m feeling pleased to have accomplished this because these herbs had a rough start.  They were leftovers from my volunteer gig where I give away produce.  The food we give is often close to expiration date so the herbs were a little tired to begin with.  On top of that, they’d been outside for hours in the freezing cold.  I decided to root them in water even though they looked pretty sad, and despite the odds, the herbs are thriving.  They make me happy when I see the snow outside.  Sometimes I brush the mint or rosemary with my hand for the cheerful scent.

I’ve discovered the majority of people who get free food from my volunteer gig don’t know what to do with herbs.  I find this rather befuddling since food without herbs can be dull, or at least I think it’s dull.  Put basil on a pizza and the pizza is better.  Make pesto and put it on pasta. Make tea with mint.  The list of ideas is only limited by imagination.

When I was a kid, I wanted to branch out from recipes, but I didn’t know how.  I opened all the herb and spice jars and smelled them.  Tasting the spices didn’t really give me a good idea of their qualities, but the aroma was very telling.  I experimented until I found the combinations I liked best.

For example, I made a couple of apple cakes the other day.  This was also courtesy of the food giveaway leftovers because there were some sad looking apples left in the box.  I made one cake for a friend who appreciates apple cake.  His cake had the proscribed amount of cinnamon and no other spices since I don’t know his feelings about experimentation.  For my own cake, I added ginger and cumin.  I think it’s yummy.

We had a lot of people at our last food giveaway even though it was really, really cold outside.  I don’t know if this has anything to do with the US government shutdown or the usual poverty.  Keep in mind we give the food away in a middle class area.  The poverty is invisible around here, but it still exists.  It warmed my heart when many people went out of their way to say how much they appreciate our efforts.  It’s nice of them to say so.  It makes me feel happy about freezing in a parking lot.

I looked for a long time for a volunteer effort that I felt drawn to helping.  Handing out vegetables makes me happy.  I’m happy talking about cooking.  I’m happy to talk with friendly volunteers and food recipients.  I figure I’m getting quite a few positives out of the experience so it feels kind of too much to also get thanked for my own happiness.  It’s an abundance of riches and I get to take home free food too.  Even freezing outside feels like a positive.  I’m getting exercise and burning calories.

At the same time, I’m concerned there are so many hungry people.  It shouldn’t be that way.  If some of these people are hungry because of the government shutdown, that’s even worse.  Trump needs to forget about his wall and deal with his legal nightmares instead.  Good people are hurting.

Smile at someone today.  It will make both of you happier!

Saturday, January 12, 2019


People spend too much time in fantasy worlds where good and evil are clearly defined.  Fake sword fights on computer screens won't save the world.  Life isn't like that.  The knight on the white horse isn't coming to save you.  You have to save yourself.  Make your own life.

Sometimes I think I'm too stern about these things?  I've been disappointed too many times at the non-appearance of the white knight, and yet, some part of me still hopes Disney movies can be made real where good is rewarded, evil is defeated, mice do housework, and deer and bunnies play together in a meadow full of flowers.

Maybe I'm stern because I've been the boss?  Check your personal accounts after you've done your duties.  We've got deadlines.  Hop to it!  (Yeah, that doesn't work.)  Maybe I'm feeling stern because I don't have a boss telling me to hop to it?  I absolutely check my personal accounts before digging into work projects.

This Xandaria image is something I did for Mensa's membership renewal campaign.  It wasn't my concept but I like the idea of imagining yourself conquering the Netherrealm while stuck in the office.  I think my I Spy paintings are messing with my illustration efficiency though.  I got entirely too caught up making office things.  Who cares about the briefcase under the desk?!

Messing with details is my own problem except there are 2 more illustrations to do for this campaign and they have to be in the same style.  Oops.  Next time I'm going to do something simple and graphic.

I guess all of this plays into why I try to be vigilant about fantasy and time wasting.  I'm guilty of it.  The other night I wasted time watching stupid TV and thought about the masters of the past who had to get their work done while the sun was shining.  People who had to paint their fruit before it rotted instead of looking up reference online.  People who read books by candlelight because that's the only thing to do for entertainment in the evening besides darning socks.

As I continued to waste time, I got a mental pictures of French artists drinking coffee at cafes and drinking absinthe at the Folies Bergere.  Slackers!  Or, maybe all that slacking is important to the creative process?  Or plain justification?  Whatever.  If they had the internet they'd use it too.

I have all sorts of other thoughts about heroes, most of them heavy and critical.  My first effort at this post was about people living in Nazi Germany.  My second effort was self-flagellation about the times I was a hero and risked significant injury.  Sometimes I don't want to live inside my own brain, and I don't need to spread that around.

We need entertainment and escape.  Someone should remind me of that next time I'm lecturing about time wasting.  I'm not the boss anymore.  Do whatever makes you happy :)

Sunday, January 6, 2019


I'm writing on a Sunday and there still isn't a Friday word.*  I made allowances for holiday distractions in December, but what's the excuse in January?  Maybe I just get too serious about things.  I doubt the world's rotation depends on another blog post.  Yet, I find my posts are a way of publicly journaling about some things, stuff I don't even remember caring about a few months later.  Was the Olympics really less than a year ago?  Did I really just start my I Spy still lifes in March?  My, how time flies!

Actually, I did 2 pre-series I Spy paintings in 2017, but they were precursors, unformed inspirations that led to the series I started in 2018.  Looking back through the blog posts I can see how my work evolved to the paintings I'm doing now.  I can read about things I was thinking then that led to my current thoughts.

I couldn't realize I'd still be blogging when I started this years ago.  I had ideas for things I thought I'd write about and I haven't written about most of those things.  I remember feeling intimidated about airing my feelings.  I thought talking about myself was egotistical.  I've gotten over that.  I found other people agree with me, or don't, and we can still make friendships around the planet.  I find myself thinking of kittens and puppies and children I'll never physically meet and feeling my life is better for it.  Even sympathizing with your illness or losses adds something to my reality.

Thank you for sharing and joining me on the journey.  You inspire me with your own creative endeavors.

There are times I look at my computer screen and think I've already written everything I've got to say.  Somehow, I always seem to find a few more words to add.  Those words lead to more words and somehow there's another post.  Sometimes I don't want to make art for the post, and yet there's always an image to post with the words.  The process keeps me in a forward motion even when I feel stalled.  It's an exercise that keeps me limber like walking in the park.

I can't imagine what I'll write and paint in 2019.  It never occurred to me that I'd talk about okra in 2018, which I pickled by the way.  It's delicious.  I regret only making 2 jars of it and giving one of the jars away.  In any case, there will be more surprises in the coming year, and time will tell whether they'll turn out as well as pickled okra.

Wishing everyone a creative, happy, and successful year!

*IF gave a new word, "Wall", on Monday afternoon.  Let's just call all the thumbnail pics as a wall of art?