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!

Friday, March 29, 2019


It has taken forever to paint this latest canvas.  Actually, I started it and ignored the fact it was propped in a corner, but I think actively ignoring something takes a lot of energy and should count towards actual painting time.  Painting over stuff should count for at least triple time, not forgetting time spent painting the original images in the first place.

This is the most recent of my mental health paintings.  I'm not really complaining about the time I spent on it.  I enjoy doing them.  The hardest part isn't the painting, it's thinking through an issue and deciding what to paint.  Another self-imposed difficulty is that I start painting without a plan.  The painting grows as I sort my thoughts.  That makes it hard at later stages when I can't figure out how to make everything fit and work together.

When I quit ignoring this canvas in the corner, I started carrying it around the house with me.  I took it out for drinks with my girlfriends the other day.  It was almost like having another person at the table.  My friends ask me to bring my latest when we get together, but this painting got a mixed response.  I'm curious what do you think of it?

Bro2 came over and took a new jar of pickled okra because he liked the first jar.  (I couldn't even get my friends to try them.)  He saw my painting and said, "Hey!  I know that box!"  We talked about the box and other things.  I think the painting is a conversation starter.

Since I've had this piece around in the active stage for so long it feels strange to let it go and move on to the next project.  I'm kind of used to being annoyed about its incomplete, nagging presence, but I'm pretty sure I'll get over that pretty quickly as the next painting traps my interest.

In other health thoughts, I'd like to say I'm sick of avocados, but I'm really not.  There were a quite a few left over at the last food giveaway and I took some home.  Now I'm down to my last half of an avocado and really hoping we'll have more this week.  Sure beats okra at any rate.

My food volunteering has improved my diet, as I keep getting organic produce from Trader Joe's.  I appreciate their donations and recommend you shop there since they have a giving ethic.  The only problem for me is they donate big quantities of certain things like okra.  Or, they give us a lot of snow peas and snap peas, both of which are great, but there's only so many peas a person can eat.  There's a young girl who comes who loves both kinds of peas though, and there's an old guy who loves okra, so maybe it's all good.

My library is giving away seeds from a seed bank.  I'm going to start my garden inside for even more vegetables.  Maybe the groundhog and deer will even let me eat some of them?  I can't garden outside yet even though the temp was 60F yesterday.  They're predicting snow for Sunday.  But I killed another mosquito this week!

I could go on another rant about climate change and politics, but I just don't feel like it.  Maybe finishing my mental health painting has helped me achieve a new, blissed-out state of being?  Or maybe it's the avocados :)

Monday, March 25, 2019


I used to manage a billionaire's estate.  You can see photos and read about it here.  There was a dungeon in the bell tower basement with a real executioner's sword.  There was even a skeleton.  It was plastic, but the billionaire and I laughed about it.  I didn't laugh about the sword.  It gave me the creeps.  The beautifully etched designs on the blade were worn where it had hacked off heads.  Ew.

Once again IF gave the Friday word on Monday so I don't feel very cooperative about writing more about dungeons.  Let's consider it my not so silent protest.

I've been exploring my teenaged brain lately.  What a mess!  Maybe all teenaged brains are, but I'm pretty sure mine was more messed up than most.  I grew up, mostly got my act together, and pushed the teenage years into a hidden corner of my mind.  I hid it so effectively that's it's been a challenge to excavate it.

Of course you might ask, why bother?  So glad you asked.  Because ignoring the past doesn't make it go away.  Its lurking influence effects my life in subversive ways I can't identify because I hid things so thoroughly from myself.  I think that's true for many of us, though I suspect most are content enough not to bother figuring this stuff out.

I talk with a high school friend sometimes.  We walk down memory lane and each of us is surprised by the things the other remembers of our lives back when, especially the bad stuff.  I call her my "Truth Teller" because she calls things as she sees them.  We play a very important role for each other because we can verify each other's lives.

Maybe you're still lucky enough to have all your friends and family.  I haven't been so lucky.  I've lost a lot of people and part of my life seems to disappear with each death.  Part of these people disappears every time someone else dies who knew my people and knew my life the way it used to be.

In a way, writing about my missing people is a way to keep them alive in a different form.  They aren't forgotten.  The impact they had on my life lives on through me and the others whom they touched when they were alive.  I can only hope I've had some positive impact on others and someone will remember me when I'm gone.

Examining my teenaged life isn't about the happy memories though.  It's about hard times and bad decisions.  It's remembering people who had both light and dark sides, or some who only had dark sides.  Hiding from those realities is like locking a part of myself in a dungeon.  I am who I am today because of who I used to be and who I used to know.

It's a quest.  I want to live my life with every element in it, without editing things into what I wish it was.  I want to celebrate other people in their entirety too.  In the end, we don't love perfect people.  Learning from our bad decisions and accepting our flaws make us infinitely more interesting and loveable in the end.

Friday, March 15, 2019


Rich people got busted this week for cheating their kids into top colleges.  I don't think this is news.  Do you really think the current US president would've been accepted into any college based on his own achievements?  Of course not.  He's barely literate and admits he hates reading.  Cheating by rich people isn't new, but it still ticks me off.

I was a good candidate to go to college.  Never mind I was a juvenile delinquent.  I had excellent grades and a drive to succeed.  My guidance counselor never spoke to me.  I didn't even know that's what she was supposed to do.  Nobody told me anything about college admissions or financial aid.  Dad had known, but he died.  One teacher told me to apply for a specific scholarship and then I was on my own.

Thankfully, I got the scholarship and got through college, at one time working 3 jobs while attending school full-time.  My grades suffered from my exhaustion and the sexual harassment I received at one of those jobs.  My grades dropped to a 3.2 GPA and I wasn't considered for boons offered at school like interviews with prominent companies.  I walked barefoot 10 miles to school in a blizzard, uphill both ways...

Oh, right, the point.  Well, I'm pretty sure it's easier to get good grades when studying is the only thing you have to do, you have enough food, and you have money for supplies that make your homework easier.  Rich people's spoiled brats are already guaranteed to get ahead.  They don't need to cheat or lie on their taxes.  Put them all in prison.

I talked to the father of one of my friends at a party.  He crowed about how he'd cheated the system and got significant financial aid for his son.  Never mind this was a wealthy family.  I could've stabbed that man in the heart.  I sputtered that I didn't get any financial aid.  My friend's father called me "Stupid!"

Maybe I was stupid, but I have to live with myself.  Rich people know how to get what they want, and they aren't burdened by my sense of ethics.  They rig colossal systems to keep getting what they want legally, let alone more than that.  They don't deserve more than the rest of us, even if they feel like they do.  I'd like some of that easy privilege too.  "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!"*

Maybe getting upset about this kind of thing is a colossal waste of time, but we all like to think successes are earned and we can succeed too if we try hard enough.  "Behind every great fortune lies a crime" (Balzac) shouldn't stop any of us from trying to achieve, to do our best, and to be kind to each other in the process.

I'd like more money than I have.  I'm not going to cheat to get it.  I'm glad the bad guys got caught this time.  

I was looking through a box of papers the other day and came across the receipts for my great-grandparents' house (T.L. and Lucy).  I don't know the full story of it, and I don't know why I kept the receipts when I cleared out my Grandpa's home (Winley or W.W.).  I think I liked seeing how the debt was paid over time.  It shows love and commitment.  You can see those values in great art and writing too.

The art above is from a gift I gave my niece for getting her masters degree last year.  I'm pretty sure she didn't give anyone half a million dollars to achieve it.  I recently painted an elephant for someone which would've been great for "colossal" but I forgot to photograph it.  As I've said many times before, I'll try to remember next time!

*Brady Bunch reference for those of you in other countries or too young to know.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

"Black & White"

Some students had a hard time in our college philosophy class.  We were told in the first lesson we couldn't use the Bible to prove anything.  You can believe it, but don't use it as a verifiable source.  "It's the Word of God!"  How do you know?  "The Bible says so!"  That's a circular argument.  Our Buddhist teacher said she didn't care what religion we practiced.  She cared about our logic.  It was the first class I'd had that taught thinking.

I watch too much news and see a lack of thinking going on in politicians, reporters, and the rest of us.  We get our talking points from the party of our choice and just accept those points to be true.  How do we know they're true?  Because our side told us so!

My friend in Florida chuckled over the miserable winter I've been having.  I don't know when he last lived here, but he was amazed when I told him I only shoveled my driveway once this year.  "Climate change is happening faster than anyone is acknowledging", I said.  I told him about getting bitten by a mosquito a couple weeks before.  I think he feels lied to by the national weather reports, but they're correct in a way.  I have had some nasty weather this year.  It just doesn't last.  A few days of freezing misery, then the temps bounce above freezing again.  Back and forth, but never cold enough, long enough to kill the damned mosquitoes.

I don't want to be cold, but it takes 10 days of solid cold to reset trees and animals.  I want to eat apples so I'm willing to be cold for 10 days.  How are we going to make that happen?  Black and white answers regurgitated from political parties aren't the solution.  We need to honestly address the issues we face and be open to other people's ideas.

I dated a Republican attorney who was pretty high up in his party.  This obviously didn't last very long, especially when he pressured me to go to an Ann Coulter lecture, but I've long remembered him for some of the things he said.  For example, I wanted people to drive fuel efficient cars but noticed the vehicles around me were getting bigger and bigger.  He said that was going to continue to happen until we taxed gas more.  I said that would punish the people who couldn't afford it and the people with money would keep buying big vehicles.  He cited European taxes.

I heard him.  I didn't like it.  I don't want to spend $10 or $20 per gallon of gas.  I sputtered and tried to think of better rebuttals to him while conceding he'd made some good points, not enough to convert me, but I learned something.

We need logical discussions outside of our preferred groups.  We need to get along, think, and learn or we aren't going to eat apples or nuts or anything else that grows on a tree.  If we don't save the pollinators we aren't going to have bread or corn or most other kinds of food.

It's happening faster than most people are noticing.  I got bit by a mosquito in February!

Saturday, March 2, 2019


I sat at a rest stop in West Virginia thinking about the word for the week.  A man with a bushy beard, camouflage hat, and a plaid shirt walked by.  I thought, "Yeah, that's American fashion!"  I'd like to act superior and everything, but I had on a t-shirt with pajama bottoms, both of which probably had paint on them.  Hey, I drive in comfort.

And what a drive it was!  I went from Cleveland to Gainesville, Florida.  I'm pretty sure that's roughly equivalent to Scandinavia to South Africa.  It was 23F on the day I left with gusts of gale force winds.  Brrr.

I drove up and down and around mountains, even through mountains before arriving at Sis1's house in South Carolina.  I left my coat in the car to look at flowers in their yard.  Bro-in-law took us for a drive to look at houses, farms, and a historical site commemorating the Revolutionary War.  We went to dinner where I told our waitress that I'd like "anything but okra!"  You guessed it, she brought me okra.  I tasted it, rejected it, gave it to Sis who actually likes the stuff.

The next day's drive was supposed to be shorter than day 1.  There was a huge accident in Georgia where I parked my car on the freeway and got out to talk with my fellow travelers.  I decided to consider it a cultural exchange since there wasn't much else I could do about it.  A friend back home called and said she got snow.  I laughed.  Even being stuck on a Georgia freeway was better than more snow.

Prickly Pears

There are lots of little lizards but they're as camera shy as my friends
I got to Florida eventually, hugged my friends, and was extremely glad to stop driving.  We spent some lovely days together.  One of those days was spent watching the Michael Cohen hearing.  I know, it doesn't sound like a vacation kind of thing to do, but it's what we all wanted to do.  Shared interests make for great friends.  I took breaks to photograph lizards and smelled flowers while enjoying the sunny, balmy weather.

Some of these old houses are used as B&Bs now

Someone actually lives in this jungle since they put their recyclables on the curb

Just to show Americans are friendlier than those in DC would have you believe.
This is the sign in front of the jungle house.
Gainesville is nice because you can walk to everything.  The streets are mostly shady with big trees dripping with Spanish Moss.  Many of the houses are very pretty.  There's lots of parks, flowers, art galleries, restaurants, shops.  It's a university town so there's young people with a feeling of energy around.  Another of my snowbird friends drove from Venice, FL to visit with us too.

Spanish Moss hanging from trees
You'll notice I haven't included any people photos since they act so camera shy.  I meant to take pics at Sis', but I forgot.  I was too wrapped up in the conversations I guess and it felt like time was short in SC.  I reminded myself to look for photo ops in FL, but I got distracted by squirrels and things.  To be perfectly honest, I think I was just glorying in the balmy weather.  I didn't even care when it rained.

Then I had to drive home.  The predicted "light rain" was a monsoon in SC.  I ended up parked on the freeway again because a whole string of cars slammed into each other.  I hoped that was it, but no, I was repeatedly parked in North Carolina too.  I eventually stopped for the night in Mt. Airy, the "big town" Andy Griffith used to go to near Mayberry.  I had the best fried chicken for dinner, and okra wasn't on the menu.
Southern monument -- who thought we needed to laud road construction guys?!
But I hit some rough roads and guess I do appreciate them.

Last day, I crept through the twisty, windy mountains with my hands tightly gripped on the steering wheel because the world was a solid gray of fog.  I really hated mountains and driving by then, but eventually I made it back to Ohio where the sky was blue, the snow had melted, and 34F didn't feel so bad.  Kinda miss Florida though.