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, June 30, 2019


I've discovered painting restoration videos on youtube.  They're so soothing and fascinating.  I suspect many people would see them as dull as watching fishing (which I also like), but I don't smoke pot, so you know, calming, ohhhmmm.  Fewer calories than chocolate.

I know art in a photo or video isn't the same as seeing it in person.  On the other hand, extreme close-ups of intricate details of Queen Elizabeth's dress isn't something I'll probably get to see in real life.  How was the lace painted?  Look at those pearls!  See the shadows on the embroidery stitches!  That's info I can use in my own work in the future.

Restoration is often a war on abuse.  One video showed a painting that had been ripped when it fell into a chair.  Nooooo!!!  Maybe you non-art types can't understand how seeing that damage could make me cry, but some of you can relate.  It's like seeing starving children and abused puppy commercials on tv.  Okay, maybe some of you don't care about that either.  There's no hope for some people.

The invalid painting is lovingly placed on the table for pre-op.  Nails are removed, dirt scrubbed off, yellowed varnish stripped away, holes patched, edges reinforced, old retouching removed... I'm sure all of this is tedious beyond belief and keeps cotton swab companies in business.  I keep thinking the restoration sometimes takes more work than creating the painting in the first place.  Eventually, the restorer gently dabs on new paint on the injured parts (the part I wish I could do) and a new coat of varnish seals it up for the next 100 years.

Proud before and after photos play at the end of the video, often with emotional music.  The baby has been saved!  Let's all rejoice together!  Onto the next abusive disaster.

There's something wonderful and lovely to think someone might like my paintings well enough to take care of them after I'm gone.  It makes me happy to look at my great aunt's art hanging in my computer room.  I hope someone else treasures it after me.

I saw multiple people messing with their phones while driving this week.  Nothing they were doing was important enough to put my life at risk.  They crossed center lines on the road but probably thought they were driving fine.  Everything these days is aimed at the trivial and immediate.  I think everyone would be better off if they slowed down and thought about what will be important in 100 years.

Think of Queen Elizabeth.  She had small pox as a child and used lead makeup for the rest of her life to cover the scars.  Once a week she cleaned it off with mercury.  I'm sure this seemed real important at the time, but it slowly killed her and made her look worse.  Her skin turned gray and her hair fell out.  Who knows what it did to her brain cells.

My advice?  Don't text and drive.  Watch paint dry.  Take life slower and don't worry about how many people "like" you at this particular minute.  If you want to join me in watching painting restorations, try this one by Julian Baumgartner.  I find it fascinating that he could rescue a painting on paper that was mounted on wood.

The art above is a detail from one of my recent I Spy paintings.  You can see I have monkeys in it but no foxes because Illustration Friday thinks the F is for Mondays lately.  Maybe I'll give you a fox next week if this pattern continues.

Saturday, June 22, 2019


I woke thinking about dodge ball.  Brains are like this, spitting out ancient, trivial data for no apparent reason.  I sometimes enjoyed playing the game.  I thought boys could be unnecessarily rough, but I wasn't particularly scarred by the experience like some.  Why would my brain regurgitate dodge ball?  Why would the smell of the medicine ball and storage locker come back to me with such vividness?

When I saw this week's IF word is "war" dodge ball made sense, though I'm not sure how my dreaming mind would know which word was coming, and I'm not sure what to say about gym classes so long ago.

The actual war I'm fighting lately is against wildlife.  I hit the deer with a rock and broke my slingshot.  Both me and the doe were surprised I actually got her.  She looked at her chest in mild confusion, then went back to eating my tree.  I jumped around on the deck and yelled while she munched.  "I'm getting bigger rocks!" but I just chucked slingshot rocks.  A couple of lazy bounces later she was in the neighbor's yard.

It's pointless.  I'm on her daily rounds.  She walks right next to my window as I work on my computer every morning.  Her spotted twins tagged after her yesterday and I was torn between, "how beautiful!" and "damned varmints".  It doesn't help that I have a vast herd of groundhogs (6) and a squirrel.  They're cute too if they weren't trash compactors of everything I want to grow in the garden.

Against my social conscience, I went to Walmart for slingshot tubing because that's the only place I know that carries it.  I looked at people in the store because I've heard the dress code at Walmart is youtube worthy.  Everybody seemed pretty normal.  I saw guns lined up next to the slingshot supplies and briefly considered buying one.  I'd have a better chance of hitting the wildlife with a bullet than a rock, but you know, city ordinances, not really wanting to kill things.  I'll stick to rocks.  The wildlife is safe.  I'm just venting frustration.

I'm willing to share with wildlife.  Eat a little, but save some for me.  No, they just destroy everything.  I haven't gotten a pear for years.  They mowed down my tomatoes over and over last year.  Selfish and destructive.

I'm glad the US didn't start a war with Iran this week, but the warmongers will keep trying.  Of course, none of them would fight it and it's a proven way to win elections and siphon money from the populace into rich people's pockets.  I don't believe anything the administration says about the situation.  I assume the drone was over Iran.  Why have it anywhere except over their territory?  There was another incident recently where the US accused Iran but those claims were disputed by the people who were actually there. 

I've already admitted I considered shooting my wildlife this week, but it only took a little thought to get past that idea, an idea I probably wouldn't have had if I hadn't seen the easily accessible gun display.  People in power need to think a little more before they make war plans.  It would be better to challenge Iran to play dodge ball.

The illustration is something I did for the June edition of Mensa's Bulletin magazine.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


In elementary school, a couple of girls started to bully me.  Sis tattled at home that I was going to end up in a fight.  Dad said, "Don't fight.  But if you do fight, win!"  He brought home boxing gloves and taught my siblings and me the basics.  I got pretty good at it but didn't need those skills at school.  I resolved my issues with words and class solidarity.  The only fights I had were with my siblings, with or without boxing gloves.  I guess I got a lot of practice and some confidence.

I was in middle school when a bully slammed my face into a gym locker.  Maybe she thought it was funny, but I didn't.  When she ran past a couple of minutes later I stuck out my foot.  She did a spectacular trip and slide into a wall of lockers.  Here's a tip, don't tick off the class bully.

She had older, meaner friends.  They banded together to threaten me.  As a tall girl, I looked down at the tops of their heads while they hissed, "Your ass is grass, man!"  I wondered what does that even mean?  Why am I afraid of these midgets*?  But there were a bunch of them and only one of me, and they were all accomplished fighters.  Fear seemed logical. 

I endured a couple weeks of torment before Sis and her friend woke me up one morning.  This embarrassment had gone on long enough and they had arranged a one-on-one fight for me.  This sounded like a terrible idea.  They sang a ponderous Te Deum as they marched me to my execution.

I didn't really have a problem with my bully.  We always got along before.  Just call off your evil friends.  No.  She put up her fists and I noticed she had a giant, face smashing ring on her finger.  That hardly seemed fair.  Give me a sec to go home and get the brass knuckles.  No to that too.  I circled and feinted to avoid that ring but she punched and caught my earring with it, ripping it right out of my ear.  I watched my earring fly through the air and lost it, both the earring and my sanity.

I pummeled her until I was pulled off by Sis and her friend.  Their Te Deum was replaced by a victorious military march to the bus stop.  I almost felt sorry for my bully since she was crying and had 2 spectacular black eyes (which stayed black a long time).  I knew she was abused at home and that her cohorts were going to abuse her for losing the fight.

I achieved some respect in school.  Others were afraid of these girls up till then.  Good for me for winning.  Nobody at school bullied me again.  I felt more relieved than proud.  Fighting isn't something to feel proud about.  I've often thought Dad gave me the best advice.  Don't fight.  If you do, win!

Winning fights isn't all about who has more muscles.  Preparation, confidence, and strategy under fire often has a lot to do with it.  Bullies eventually lose when they underestimate their victims.  It's something I think about in these crazy times.  I keep wondering who had a father who taught them to box?

The drawing is from way back from my college anatomy class.  Good muscles for boxing :)

*Apologies to little people who may be offended by my use of this term.  I used it because it was literally the word I thought in those pre-politically correct sensitivity.

Friday, June 7, 2019


As I mentioned in my last post, my marriage was a bad idea.  Oatmeal was an early clue.  A later moment of clarity happened as I had an out of body experience watching myself scream like a lunatic on top of a Yellowstone National Park mountain.  A kindly seeming old lady gave me a sympathetic and understanding look as I screeched about how my head felt shattered from the air pressure and no, I was not going to go down the 10,000' mountain to go up the 12,000' mountain.  There was a grizzly bear in the distance and I welcomed it ripping me apart so I could be done with mountains.

We went fishing in a valley and the husband lived another day.  I met a nice Japanese couple and traded away my fish.  They had some fascinatingly intricate fishing flies.  There are restrictions to how many fish you can catch in a day and when my husband discovered I'd given away my share he started to set off to catch some more.  I think he understood my mountain temper tantrum was about to reemerge when I said I didn't want to eat any more fish.  Get me a #@$# hamburger.

The last straw was when I got up the next morning and found the wet pants left to dry on the picnic table the night before were now frozen solid.  That's it, I'm done, I hate camping in the cold.  We packed up and left with a blizzard at our backs across all those interminably large Western rectangle states.  It would've been nerve wracking but the husband drugged me with Dramamine.  That was his only good decision on that trip.

Frozen pants.  I was smiling, so maybe I wasn't quite as crazy as I remember?

I noticed on the drive out west that we crossed "Mad Woman's Creek" or "Crazy Lady Stream" or something along those lines every day.  I completely understand.  I don't want to leave you with the wrong impression though, I'm not normally prone to temper tantrums and screaming in front of grizzly bears and strangers.  I just came to accept I was raised in a valley and I should stay in lower elevations where I'm much sweeter.  It's best for everyone.

Relatives from out of state came to visit this week.  That was nice.  We talked about our ancestry, especially as the DNA site revised who it thinks we are and took away most of the interesting parts.  I'm feeling skeptical though because multiple relatives are interested in genealogy and I know I have more in my genes than the company says.  Nobody even mentions Neanderthals.  I've got to have some of that, right?

One of my ancestors, Bertram Cramer, was born in Eastern Pennsylvania in 1821.  When he was 18 he walked to Ohio.  That's 361 miles (581 km) as a crow flies, but a lot of it is up and down mountains so really much further.  According to "History of Wayne County Ohio" Volume 2, written in 1910, "He had an important part in the early development of this section of Ohio, as at the time he came here there had been but little improvement, the country being densely covered with the primeval forests, through which there were no roads, rough trails answering the purpose."

Cool.  Maybe it's easier to get over mountains when you're walking?  I wonder if he screamed at the top of any of them?  At least he wouldn't have had a sympathetic old lady looking at him if he did.  Maybe a bear.  I'll try to do better to live up to the example of my pioneering ancestors.

My apologies to everyone who commented for a slow response.  I do appreciate your comments.  As expected, it was a crazy week.

The Badlands

The absolute top of the world where I was above the clouds and in the clouds
and lamenting the fact I was spending my vacation in the snow.