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, August 17, 2019


I spent quite a bit of my youth looking for melonheads.  Well, I never actually looked for them.  This NE Ohio folklore has had teenagers drinking and/or kissing in the dark of a specific wild and wooded area for over 100 years.

I was a kid when I first heard about melonheads.  Tough, older boys told a frightening tale of how they'd driven to a mansion in the daytime and hairy humanoids attacked their car, jumping on the hood and baring ferocious teeth.  Neighbors gathered to listen and examine deep scratches on the car.  I resolved to stay away from melonheads until my teenaged heart fluttered at a cute boy's invite to seek the monsters out.  Thankfully, he was more interested in drinking and kissing than actual cryptozoology. 

There are different stories, but the version I learned is a Dr. Crowe kept hydrocephalous (water on the brain) children.  He experimented and tortured them until they revolted and killed the bad doctor.  The poor children with melon-sized heads fled to the woods and lived there ever since.  Of course sick kids with big heads couldn't actually do those things, but keep logic out of this.  The fact is people report seeing melonheads which keeps the story alive.  I'm uncertain if I've seen them for that matter...

1. A noise woke me up when I was a very small child.  I peeked around a wall and saw a hairy monkey-like animal on the kitchen counter.  It snarled at me with a lot of sharp teeth.  I backed away and went to bed, hoping it wouldn't rip me and my family to shreds in the night.  Our house was under construction at the time, with plastic across the back to keep out the weather, but apparently not the wildlife.  Obviously, the art above should be all the evidence you need to convince you of its existence.  Okay, it's pointy ears weren't green, but other than that.

2. I was driving 35+ mph in the melonhead zone with girlfriend #1, at twilight.  A field was to our right, and something that looked almost human was running in that field.  It was going in the same direction as we were and it kept pace with us.  The light was very poor.  I can't say what I saw, but my girlfriend saw it too.  It scared both of us to death.

3. Girlfriend #2 and I drove from a party in Ashtabula (another rural place of weirdness).  I'll admit, we'd been drinking, but neither of us was impaired.  Our headlights lit up 2 humanish figures in a deep ditch at the side of the road.  It was 3-4:00 a.m. and there wasn't a house for a mile or two in either direction.  My friend absolutely, adamantly refused to go back.  I said, "What if there was an accident and they need help?"  My friend sanely pointed out we would've seen a car.  I don't want to sound crazy, but I'm real uncomfortable remembering those faces.  I'd like to think they were heavily bearded guys in a ditch where nobody in their right mind would be in the middle of the night.  I don't know what melonheads would be doing in the ditch for that matter.

Sunglasses next to print to give you sense of scale
but the black shadow they cast is kind of misleading
4. Girlfriend #3 and I found these 8 1/2" long tracks when we were walking in the woods.  We looked for the track-maker, but we couldn't find it.  It later occurred to me we should've looked up in the trees instead of at the ground.  I took my friend home, learned how to make a plaster cast, then stood nervously in the woods alone as the plaster dried.  None of the naturalists at the parks' headquarters could identify the tracks, even after poring through their reference books.

For more on melonheads go to Wikipedia or Weird Ohio (the last testimonial is very like my #2 above).  There are lots of websites on the topic which makes me wonder.  Life is strange.  Was the folklore of Dr. Crowe torturing sick children the best way for folks to make sense of animals that might actually exist, but aren't supposed to be real?  Or was it all to make girls clutch their boyfriends in the dark?

Saturday, August 10, 2019


My knee is permanently scarred from a close encounter with a tar and chip street.  I also lost my virginity in the bicycle accident as I was riding a boy's bike and the bar slammed my pelvis in a bone crushing way.  Okay, maybe I didn't technically lose my virginity, and I didn't even know what a virgin was at the time, but tell it to my younger self as she clutches herself in the grass and tries not to vomit at the side of the road.

Other than picking tarry rocks out of my knee, I kind of liked the tar and chip road.  The tar bubbled and oozed on hot summer days.  I skipped around and popped bubbles.  I squiggled my bare feet in thick, black splotches.  It's not like there were any cars getting in the way of my fun.  I'm sure Mom loved the black tracks I made across the living room floor when I got home, but I often cleaned my feet first with gasoline.  Yeah, very healthy.  I feel kind of whoozy at the memory of the fumes.

Can you really remember being a child?  Not just a mental picture like a snapshot in a photo album, can you feel the sun on your head?  Smell the pine trees and tar?  Hear the crickets chirping and the breeze blowing?  Taste Grandma's cooking?  See your own small body by looking down?

Creativity seems magical.  Ideas can feel like divine inspirations we draw from outside of ourselves.  Yet, I think most of creativity has real, tangible sources like observation and memory, skills all of us can develop.

I have to think a minute to remember what I had for dinner last night.  Pea soup.  Why bother remembering?  It doesn't matter unless I want to describe it to someone else -- and creating is all about sharing something.  If you want someone else to like your creations, appeal to a person's senses, the more senses the better.  My pea soup has a lot of potatoes in it, carrots, snow peas... This is a shopping list.  My stomach growled when the microwave dinged and I burned my fingers when I lifted the hot, creamy soup amidst the wafting cloud of thyme and tarragon... You see, more senses, more details, more interesting.

It's the same with painting.  Many people draw something floating on a white piece of paper.  Give it a background!  Give it a shadow!  Remember how things look in real life.  Memory isn't magical.  We all have it.  Look around in your brain and see what's in there.  Maybe your childhood street was cement.  Maybe you chalked pictures on it?  Can you taste the smell of chalk dust?

Then, after you've worked so hard to remember things and add details, start eliminating.  If it doesn't add to the story you want to tell, erase it.  In writing, I've decided I don't need the word "that".  It's often a waste of space and I use it a lot.  Delete.  In a painting, maybe I put too many petals on a flower.  Be willing to paint over, write over, everything unhelpful to your project.  When I first wrote board reports, I thought I had to tell board members and bosses everything I thought was important.  They don't care and don't have time to read it.  I changed my ways and got praise for my 1-page, bulleted reports.

The painting above wasn't meant to be anything, and I just photoshopped street lines on it for IF's word for the week.  I created the painting by fooling around with some cheap supplies and thought I'd use it as a background to something else.  I like bits of it though, and now I'm not sure what to do with it.  Maybe I'll use parts of it in something else, which is part of creativity too.  Experiment, play, pop tar bubbles on the street and see where the road takes you.

Friday, August 2, 2019


I effected government this week!  There was an emergency city council meeting for community feedback about erecting an apartment building for seriously disturbed and/or addicted people a couple of blocks from the schools and public library.  I had misgivings and went to city hall to find out more.

I didn't have much notice so I couldn't research anything to form an opinion.  No one else had much notice either.  All were outraged council tried to slide this by without public input.  The emergency meeting was only held due to quick actions by 2 council members.  I've never seen city hall so crowded.  People were jammed shoulder to shoulder, butts to tummies, and most couldn't even get in the room -- but they shouted and clapped from the jammed lobby.  It was hot in more ways than one, but we all stood for hours in a crowded room without air conditioning during suffocating high temps and humidity.

The pretty spokeswomen for the project appealed to our empathy.  Sick people need a place to live.  Are we a hard-hearted community who would turn these unfortunate people away?  I think most of us care about mental health and caring for those who need help, but the pretty women lectured us so long the angry horde started yelling at them to shut up with their sales pitch.  This is unusual in my town.  We're polite, not like our neighboring city and my hometown.  Those council meetings are legendary.

It turned out the residents would be very minimally supervised and could come and go as they pleased.  The city would get a 1-time payment of $100,000, no property tax would be charged.  No income tax would be earned as the residents would be too sick to hold jobs.

The citizens were allowed to speak, and some spoke really well.  I felt a sense of community with people who've lived here for decades and even generations.  At the very end, I  spoke up and said I'd listened to what everyone had to say.  Others had voiced my immediate concerns when I heard about the proposal and I summarized their points, dinging the mayor for his lack of research and community involvement. 

I raised a point others were too nice to say about the geography of my town.  We're close to the big city, but just inside the county line of suburbia.  With easy freeway access, we already struggle to deal with the drugs and crime leaking over the border.  We're a tiny city and our police have too much to handle.  (The police chief loves me now.)  The money offered by this for-profit company would be gone in no time for police, roads, etc.  The company didn't offer guarantees the residents would take their meds.  If one of them committed suicide, it would be our people cleaning up the mess. 

The pretty women spoke about how we should care for the troubled in our community, but these weren't "our" people.  We're happy to take responsibility for those in our small city, but we can't take on the big city's problems.  I talked for my whole 5 minutes, and I'm pretty sure everything I said was on point.  The council president nodded as I spoke and I got a round of applause from the angry horde.  I'm patting myself on the head for speaking well at the right time.  Yay!!!  I was flushed with the joy of accomplishment, or maybe heat stroke?  Did I mention there wasn't any AC?  Plus, I hate public speaking.

The police chief gave the grim stats of another city with one of these facilities.  He reemphasized my point the company wasn't offering enough to cover our costs to host them.  Then, it turns out the property is a cemetery without head stones.  You want to dig up a graveyard to put unsupervised severely mentally ill people by a school?!

Some councilmen still voted for this mess despite the angry horde.  I think they got together with the company's pretty women over drinks and forgot politicians work for us.  Now I know who to vote against next time, but the majority of council voted it down.  Yay for the people!!!

Let me add a point about caring for mentally ill people.  We should.  It's the right thing to do.  People who need help should have a place to get it.  It's just city planners need to use their brains about where such facilities are placed and listen to the people.