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, January 31, 2020


A wise woman once told me, "The law doesn't guarantee justice; it gives you a chance for justice."  I was young, angry, and idealistic then.  I didn't just want justice, I needed it.  I didn't get it.  Others with more power, influence, and money won despite a boxful of documented proof and a signed confession.  I'll admit to some lasting bitterness.

My wise friend was right.  We only get a chance for justice.  That doesn't mean we'll get it.  OJ Simpson got off.  Kobe Bryant was hailed as a fallen hero this week despite admitting his behavior was nonconsensual when a teenager accused him of a violent rape.  Kobe paid her off like so many other powerful men paid their rape victims to keep them silent.  The reporter who dared mention this after his sudden death was suspended.

So, even while hope springs eternal, I have a jaded view of 45's current trial in the US Senate.  Everyone knows he's guilty.  He's admitted it, his chief of staff admitted it, on and on and on.  It takes a 2/3 majority to convict and it's a foregone conclusion the Republican senators will let him off.  Too many Americans don't know the facts and don't care to learn them.  I'm afraid this criminal will not only get acquitted, but get reelected and/or tank the economy and/or get us into more wars, not to mention setting a legal standard which destroys the principles upon which the US was founded.

I've been through this before.  As a child, I watched the Watergate hearings.  Guilty, guilty, guilty -- yet the Republicans defended the indefensible.  I couldn't believe they supported criminal behavior.  When Nixon resigned, I was elated to see some sort of justice.  When Ford pardoned him, I felt betrayed.  Reagan and Bush got off on the Iran-Contra proceedings.  Clinton got off for his actions with his intern.  Let's face it, perps get off all the time, and the more money and power they've got, the more likely they'll get off even if everyone knows they're guilty.  I feel like going to DC and yelling "For shame!" at all of them.

A pal and I bashed the Washington idiots over lunch this week.  My friend had worked up a head of steam when our pretty, young waitress showed up with our bill.  I said, "If you agree with us about the trial it'll be good for your tip!"  She looked surprised and I felt a little abashed for putting her on the spot -- then she launched into an impassioned, impromptu speech about how no young person could support the president, no woman should support him.  Her hand on her heart, she didn't bother to lower her voice as she poured out her feelings in an educated lecture of the state of things.

She looked like a heroine from another era.  Get that girl a soapbox!  Let's take her on tour!  She is everything good and wonderful and she did my heart a lot of good.  She gives me hope for the future no matter how messed up the current state of things might be.  (She got a healthy tip too.)

So yeah, hope springs eternal even while I expect to be angry and disappointed by the Senate trial.  This too shall pass, yet this disappointment is motivating people.  I have hope that the current Senate cowards will be replaced in November.  Maybe we'll get another trial next year with a more just outcome?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

"Selling Art (or anything else)"

I met a fellow painter not so long ago.  She wants to sell more art.  Yeah, we all want that.  She thinks the answer is Instagram.  Okay.  Do that then.  She did, but her art didn't sell even though her art is good enough to be marketable.  I got to know this woman a bit more and recognized she lacks empathy.  The only thing she cares about her customers is that they give her money for painting whatever she wants to paint.  She talks non-stop about herself.  She's taxing to be around so I quit talking with her.  I'm pretty sure her customers feel the same way and don't like being treated like ATMs.

Art is a collaboration between the artist and the viewer.  If you want money from someone (in any field), you have to give them something they want in return.  You need to be empathetic to what their wants might be, not just to manipulate them into one-time purchases, but to honestly care about what they want to build relationships.

Maybe they want cat art because they like cats.  Maybe they want to feel like they're part of the creative process and their support is a contribution that makes them feel good about themselves.  Maybe they want to be friends with the artist.  There are loads of reasons for people to buy art that doesn't have anything to do with what's on the canvas.  We need to figure out what customers are actually seeking and match efforts to the buyer.  If you create only to suit yourself, then don't be surprised nobody is buying it.

I've been having art flashbacks since visiting the National Gallery in Washington, marveling at the technical skills of the masters, but also trying to define the magic they captured.  In contrast, I've thought about people online.  Most show the world their ideal selves, not the sweat pants torn t-shirt version of themselves eating ice cream.  Some people relentlessly put all their insecurities and vulnerabilities out there.  It's too much either way.  I've got my own problems.  Don't dump your perfection or garbage on me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy when other people are happy.  I'm sad when others live hard times. It's just that there has to be some balance and honesty in our relationship.

Rembrandt was hugely successful and made tons of money when he was young.  He lost it all and died poor.  Somewhere in the course of his mistakes and tragedies he learned humility.  His honesty comes across in his later work.  His self portrait is vulnerable.  He was certainly capable of painting himself in Photoshopped Facebook perfection, but he painted himself with flaws.  My heart aches for him across the centuries.

Rembrandt is speaking to his viewers.  He trusted them with his truth because he had the empathy to know others wanted to see that honesty.  That takes bravery, and I think all the masters share that kind of trust and courage.  I think we're missing that today, or maybe it was rare even in Rembrandt's day?

Many people can learn to paint well (or write, program, or whatever).  Technical mastery is a skill.  Put in enough time and effort and you'll master just about anything you aim to do.  Getting someone else to care about your mastery requires more.  You have to have the courage to let people see your flaws for them to actually care about you and what you do.  Relationships and money follow truth.

The above art is from my current painting.  I'll admit it was an itchy, difficult effort to paint a negative.  I took a photo and reversed it to see how well I'd done it.  I'm rather pleased at the results considering the faces are only 1/2" high on rough canvas, and I'm also pleased at the imperfections since it's of my wedding photo.  My ex looks like a zombie and that seems appropriate.  I've made mistakes.  I kind of like seeing that reflected in the art :)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

"Red Panda"

I was only dimly aware red pandas exist before IF inspired me to look them up.  Now I know they look kind of like raccoons and Wikipedia says there are fewer than 10,000 of them in the Eastern Himalayas and South Western China due to habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching, and inbreeding.  Sad pandas.

I don't know what I can do for them.  The extinction of plants and animals around the world worries me, and I hope somebody can save them, but it is just too big an issue for me to handle.  I suspect most of us feel this way.  Maybe we donate to a charity and then just go about our lives.  There's probably something I should start or stop doing to save the pandas, but I don't know what it is.

Ignoring problems or getting depressed about them don't solve those issues.  What can we do?

I read about the decline of Monarch Butterflies.  Around 1 billion of them have disappeared since 1990.  I like butterflies.  They're pretty.  They pollinate things.  They eat milkweed.  I'll plant some milkweed.  This may not solve the larger issues of big agriculture's chemical use, but it's at least something within my abilities.  One positive action off my to do list.

The point is to do something, anything that helps.  I have a little landscape pond in my back yard for the wildlife.  I enjoy watching the song birds splashing around in it.  I keep goldfish in it to eat bugs.  More people need to have ponds and bird baths because the birds need water.

I don't use chemicals in my yard.  It only makes sense to me that a product designed to kill one thing will probably kill more than the intended targets and isn't healthy for anyone.  Other people's lawn chemicals get washed off and leak into the water supply which poisons all of us, including the plants and animals.

I compost.  Healthier soil makes healthier plants which are stronger in their fight against the things that attack them.  Healthier plants also make for healthier animals.  I've shown you how glossy and healthy my groundhogs are.

I take my own bags to the store.  There's no reason for me to get plastic bags every time I shop.  I try to avoid buying plastic or things packaged in it.  After I wash clothes, I hang them up to dry instead of running the dryer.  I wash my dishes by hand because it takes less hot water (and I don't have a family to clean up after).  I use cruise control on the freeway (mostly to stop myself from speeding too much, but it takes less energy too).  I turn off lights and use energy-efficient bulbs (except for where I read).  I recycle.

There are a lot of ways we can help the planet.  I welcome your suggestions.  Let's do what we can to live in a world with butterflies and pandas.

Saturday, January 11, 2020


Hey, whaddaya know!  IF finally gave us "technology" for a new word and I just painted a computer mouse.  It's a sign 2020 is going to be an excellent blogging year, right?  Right?  Hope springs eternal.

Every January I look at my previous year of blog posts to remind myself of life's journey.  I've felt like I was very internally focused in 2019 but looking through my posts I did a lot of people things.  Volunteering at the food giveaway has been interesting.  I've been repeatedly annoyed IF forgets to give us new words on Fridays.  I worried about 45 starting a war with Iran last summer.  I participated in Inktober and took some trips.

My dog died last fall.  I still "see" her all the time, and I'm not ready for a new pup -- but I keep thinking about one.  Every time I see a dog I think about the breed's pros and cons.  I'm leaning towards finding a beagle mutt, maybe in the spring.  I'm not looking forward to house breaking, puppy feet on art projects, or furniture chewing.  I'm certain I've mentioned how much I like old dogs who understand how to share a peaceful coexistence.  Bro2 says my new dog will find me when we're both ready.  We'll see, and see what else happens this year.

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but I have some goals for the year.  I feel kind of superstitious talking about them like revealing your wish when blowing out the birthday candles.  Hopefully, good things will happen without too many bad things to balance the scales.  I tried to cut back on my caffeine and immediately abandoned that when I got a screaming headache.

I usually try to avoid talking about politics on this blog, but I don't know how successful I'll be at that this year.  The US presidential election will happen in November.  The current president is impeached and his trial in the Senate will probably happen soon.  How am I supposed to be quiet about that?  If he starts a war with Iran I'm pretty sure I'll have to say my piece about it.

It's January in Ohio and my neighbor's magnolia tree is budding.  I have my window open because it's 60F degrees outside.  In other words, I'm pretty sure I'll be thinking about climate change this year.  That's nothing new.  I've been thinking about the environment since I was a child and the Cuyahoga River caught fire, spawning Earth Day and motivating Nixon to create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  To this end, here's a video about the toll fashion takes out on the world by comedian Hasan Minhaj.  Currently, I extend my deepest sympathies to Australians and scorched koala bears.

The mouse above is from my latest painting.  I wasn't happy with the painting, but I didn't want to toss it out or repaint parts of it.  I finally came to terms with my artistic angst and revised the canvas.  I'm much happier.  I don't know why I fought myself so hard about it.  It took much more effort to fight myself about it than to actually make the revisions.  I'm still working on it, and will show you when it's finished, but I'm going to set it aside and work on something else for a while.

I hope 2020 is going great for you so far!