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, May 26, 2019


Mom firmly believed children needed to eat breakfast.  I firmly believed breakfast should be anything but oatmeal.  I think you can see this was heading to conflict.  I mean sure, oatmeal is great in cookies.  It's a wonderful crunchy, sweet topping for apple crisp.  Dumping it in water and cooking it to a gluey goo is unacceptable.

I know, some of you actually like oatmeal porridge.  I don't see how you can feel that way, but I'll accept your right to your preferences.  Mom did not accept my oatmeal feelings.  "You aren't going to school until you finish it!"  Maybe this kind of pronouncement would've made other kids happy, but I actually wanted to go to school.

I had a number of oatmeal removal tactics.  I filled my napkin with it and flushed it down the toilet.  If Mom left the room long enough I'd flush the whole bowlful of it.  Mom started catching onto this so I had to find other methods.  My favorite was to sit quietly while Sis2 loudly and insistently complained while shoveling oatmeal in her mouth.  I covertly shoveled my oatmeal into Sis' bowl when she wasn't looking.  If breakfast is important for achievement in school, Sis must've been twice as smart on oatmeal days.

For some reason neither Sis nor Mom thinks this story is as funny as I think it is.  Sis feels it's my fault she's over her lifetime limit of oatmeal.

Years later, I honeymooned at a cute B&B.  The proprietor proudly brought us oatmeal for my first day of married life.  You've got to be kidding.  I asked for anything else but he said that was his specialty.  Really, don't you have toast or an egg or something?  Nope, that's all he had.  I should've taken it as a sign to get a quick annulment as I watched in disgust the newly minted husband scarf down both of our portions.  There were other signs the marriage was a bad idea, but the oatmeal should've made it clear.  Oh well, live and learn.  It was probably some kind of oatmeal karma , Sis payback thing.

For another breakfast story you can go here.  Grandma, blueberry waffles, food is love kind of happiness.  It's hard to believe I've been blogging for 9 years!  I was certain I'd run out of stories by now.  I may take a break next week, but I'm not sure yet.  What I do know is that I have activities, dogs, and relatives next weekend.  Should be interesting.  Maybe more stories will come from all of it?

My dog is blissfully unaware of next weekend's chaos or the fact that she's going to get a bath and her nails clipped to be all pretty for the other pups.  If she only knew what was coming she'd start punishing me now because I'm pretty sure she remembers the last time we dogsat.  Her world was disrupted and she didn't like it.  She's an old lady who wants a peaceful retirement.  She hardly even bothers to bark at kids and squirrels anymore.  Old dogs are so easy.

I really intended to do different art for this post but I got lost in other things.  I suddenly realized I better do something quick so I let the computer help me cut some corners this time.  I recently did some actual art that would've been perfect for breakfast but the client doesn't want me to show that yet.  Maybe we'll get another food word soon?

Wishing everyone a happy week and weekend, with a thank you to the vets this Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 18, 2019


I find it surprising that many people haven't been to a farm.  It used to be a thing that city kids were trundled off to milk a cow.  They brought goats to my elementary school so we could milk them.  I can say with authority that cow and goat teats are different, the milk is different, and goats are delightful playmates.  Cows are a little boring.

There were still a few farms around where I grew up.  Now they're cow-less housing developments, but I remember laying on a tree limb that hung over a pasture.  I waited for a hapless cow to seek shade so I could drop on her back for a wild ride across the field.  Good times.  Cows don't have to be boring.  Nobody was hurt, but it did occur to me the potential existed when I got thrown onto the sh*t filled ground and saw cow feet a bit too close to my head.  I went and petted horses instead.

There was an interesting mix of farming in my childhood domain.  There were orchards and pleasure gardens.  Rich people had tree nurseries for tax write offs and bussed in illegal Mexican workers.  The Sheep Lady had her sheep, obviously.  The Nashes milked the maple trees for syrup.  Sometimes we had to wait for a tractor to painfully roll down the road in front of us.  I learned the advantages of different kinds of manure and could identify it by odor.

Most of the farming ops were small, family businesses.  I thought it was normal to live by food production.  I liked buying home-grown produce at an unattended stand at the end of someone's driveway.  I think all of this should be normal.

The giant cow illo was used
for a brochure for Lake Farmpark,
a demonstration farm that lets
kids pet animals
I used to sell organic produce at the Willoughby Market before anyone cared about organic, but after the farms had sprouted McMansions.  A woman asked me why my potatoes were dirty.  I apologized and said I hadn't had time to clean them.  "How did they get dirty in the first place?" she asked.  I'm sure I had a stupid look on my face.  "Uhh, because I dug them out of the ground?"  The woman laughed.  "I thought potatoes grew on trees!"

Oh my.  That kind of thinking is too far from the farm.  Here's something else you should know about potatoes and other root vegetables -- if you're going to buy anything organic, buy root vegetables.  Chemicals stay in the ground after they're sprayed and concentrate in the food.  By comparison, lettuce gets sprayed but then it rains or the farmer waters it which washes off the plants.  Things we eat that are above ground are less toxic than the root veggies.  You should still wash everything though because who knows how any of our food is handled anymore.

It's midday Saturday as I write this.  I've decided my new policy regarding IF's perpetual tardiness is to just use the word we've got when I'm ready to post.  It beats getting annoyed every week.  Ohhmmmm...

I've weeded my garden and am ready to plant.  The groundhog is ready to wipe out whatever I put in.  I haven't seen the deer lately, but I'm sure they're ready to kill everything too.  I know they're still around because they cropped my lilies.  I've already started bitching about my neighbors' lack of mowing (evidenced in photo below).  The temps were in the 40s this week but tomorrow is supposed to be in the 80s so I can stop complaining about being cold and start complaining about being hot.  In other words, yay for the change of seasons!

Sunday, May 12, 2019


I went to college with a guy who was a really good artist.  I felt inadequate when I saw his homework in class every week.  I aspired to get better at my craft, but also recognized some people are just superior.  Imagine going to class with Rembrandt or Caravaggio or Da Vinci.  At some point you have to acknowledge some people have a magic the rest of us can't achieve.  I settled for working hard and knowing some day I'd be able to say I knew him when.

Part of my flawed thinking of the time was that my friend and I looked at the world in very different ways.  He was an action guy.  He saw the world with a wide lens and a fast shutter.  My world is much slower.  I look at one still thing intensely.  I couldn't be him, and it was wasting my time to try.  Comparing myself to him made me feel plodding and less than, a draft horse to a gazelle, but I was determined to succeed as best as I was able.

After college, I interviewed with a man who sneered when he read my resume.  "Spoiled, self-entitled snots go to your college!"  What?!!  I remembered the experience as a lot of sleepless nights of hard work with the best of mutually supportive friends.  My interviewer named my old classmate as a guy who thought he was God's gift to the art world.  My friend did have an ego, but I thought he deserved it.  He was really a great artist.  "He doesn't respect deadlines!  There are guys who have worked 40 years who are better than him!  Nobody will hire him!"  I was shocked as I listened to about a half hour of diatribe against my old friend.

I didn't get the job either, but I learned valuable lessons.  Keep your ego in check.  Meet deadlines.  Art hirers share info about artists so keep your reputation clean.  Most employers would rather have a draft horse than a gazelle.

At the job I did land, a big part of the job was paint cans.  Have you even bothered to notice art on paint cans?  Of course not, but somebody has to do it.  Hand with paint brush, hand with paint roller, hand with paint scraper... oooh!  A full body illustration of improper use on a ladder!  Yes, my ego was definitely kept in check.  I stayed employed.  I was grateful when my reliability led to better projects and eventually better jobs.

I don't know what happened to my old friend.  From the sound of it, he probably had to move to the other side of the world to get a job.  Maybe he paints houses now?  I thought he would be the one to become famous but I haven't seen his name or work again.

The point is you don't have to be best.  In the billions of people on the planet there is only one "best", and since art is subjective, we don't even know who that person is who will be remembered a couple hundred years from now.  Just do your best at whatever you do.

This painting is my latest.  You may notice there's a Grimm's Fairy Tales in the background, but don't confuse this with what I told you about my childhood Grimm trauma.  After our book burning, Dad got me an album where Danny Kaye gently told me stories with less mutilation and blood.  Well, it's still Grimm, but it was better.  I don't really understand why Dad thought I needed Grimm in my life.  Do any of you remember record albums?

It's Sunday as I write this and once again there wasn't a word on Friday.  Start a new tally for lateness.  Did I mention anything about deadlines and reliability?  Let's count my Schwinn Racer (which was the best bike ever) and the canoe license towards last week's prompt of "transportation".

Revision... Monday has given us a new word, "Farm".  Okay, same art but let's say the stick with string counts because it's used to make straight planting lines in the garden :)

Friday, May 3, 2019


We finally got a new word!  Wipe 3 weeks from the last lateness tally and hope for future Friday reliability.  Let me briefly shift my irritation to Ohio politicians who passed a $100/year fee for hybrids (electric cars $200) because roads are financed with a gas tax.  I spend about $100/year in gas to give you an idea of how harsh this is.  I suspect the main reason for this tax is fuel-efficient cars are driven by Earth-friendly Democrats.  Grrr.

It's one of those days when the last thing I want to blog about is what's heaviest on my mind.  I notice my burdened brain keeps saying negative things.  Even positive things come out negatively.  Nobody wants to read a depressing post so I keep deleting and starting over -- but maybe negative words is the thing to talk about?

I had a boss who was horrible in so many ways she was called in front of the state board of ethics committee.  Even so, she actually taught me something, which goes to show you can learn from anyone.  She told me to only use positive words.  I was standardizing signs for the park system and thought her directive was impossible to achieve.  "Danger!  Don't lean on the fence" is straightforward.  Everyone understands it, but I wasn't allowed to use words like danger, don't, no, not, etc.  You try it.  What words would you use?*

Some people have the knack for this.  They're perpetually sunny and decorate in pinks and yellows.  They get on my nerves after a while, but they're kind of nice to have around too.  It beats being around people who decorate in black anyway.

It took time to get my mind around positive words, especially when I was around the horrible boss.  I kept thinking she was just making my life unnecessarily hard and words are only words.  I grumbled she only used positive words to manipulate people.  I kept tinkering with my signs and eventually managed to solve the positivity Rubik's cube.  I started making an effort to change the way I speak.  They're only words, but words can make a difference.  Thinking in positives makes for a better life.

I had a later job where I worked with very nice women.  When they talked about TV programs of the night before, they remarked how pretty someone looked, how nice someone seemed to be, how talented, how smart, how wonderful!  I'll admit I looked at these pleasant women with some suspicion at first.  I was used to women sniping at the TV women.  "Can you believe she wore that!"

One of the nice women told me she used to be like that because she grew up with a mother who was depressed and nasty.  The whole family talked in negatives and this nice woman spoke like her mom until she caught herself at it.  She was dismayed and decided to change her ways and spread good around instead.  She said it took her quite a while to master, and now she's a ray of sunshine in the world.  Her positive approach is echoed by others.  We need more people like this.  It's a skill we can all learn and use.

As for my burdened mind, I'll try to think more optimistically.  For those of you who pray, please include Chris in your thoughts.

The model train art is Ad #2 of Mensa's membership renewal campaign.

*Answer:  "Please stay on trail"