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, July 26, 2020

“Sandy”, #inktober52, #inktober

My college roommate was from the east coast, which she thought was superior to Ohio.  She waxed on about the Atlantic Ocean which I’d never seen.  I got sick of her putting down my home and said Lake Erie was just like the ocean.  It looks limitless from the shore and has waves.  In fact, the lake is far better because it’s fresh water and doesn’t have human eating monsters in it.  One summer she visited the lake and I visited the ocean.  We both exclaimed, “You were so right!”  We both kept sand from our visits.  It was a good summer.

Grandchildren are visiting next door.  They’ve been there long enough for me to both get used to them and not long enough for me to get used to their screeching.  Why do kids have to scream so much?  The girl has found more screechers to play with and has progressed from the perfectly adorable little child she used to be into an occasionally sullen near-teen.  Before you know it, she’ll turn into one of the most evil people on the planet, an 8th grade girl.  It’s too bad we can’t keep them 9 years old forever.

I rejoiced when the grandmas filled the car with coolers and towels for an obvious trip to the beach.  I had a lovely, quiet day.  Towards evening, I found I was looking forward to the kids coming back.  The grandmas are boring neighbors.  The only entertainment they provide is a reason to complain about their lack of proper suburban lawn care.  The kids are like having a flock of butterflies flitting around, a pleasant diversion during my covid seclusion.  Their car pulled in and the shrieking recommenced.  I scratched out my butterfly comparison and thought about unoiled heavy machinery.

The weather has been extremely hot lately, yet it didn’t occur to me until now that I should go to the lake -- sand, sun, fun, and all that.  I like swimming and the rocking of the waves.  Then I thought, sand gets everywhere, I’m pigment impaired and will get sunburned, and it’s not like I can socialize while doing these things because of Covid-19.  I argued with myself to go to the beach in the evening – but the bugs come out in the evening.  I hate being a responsible adult.  I want to be a shrieking butterfly.

I find that when society shut down, I shut down.  I quit reading my daily horoscope.  What’s the point if I’m not actually out in the world?  Actually, I’m not sure there’s much of a point to the daily horoscope to begin with, but it was part of my daily routine.  I don’t go to the store.  I don’t even know why my attitude changed so much when my actual life didn’t really change other than seeing a friend seems to require a hazmat suit.  I just feel like I’m waiting out the pestilence while my brain tells me that there isn’t a quick solution to any of this.  In fact, everything is probably just going to get worse.  I think I’m having a childish reaction.  Make myself small and maybe it won’t see me.  I think I must not be the only one responding this way but I don’t hear of anyone else talking about it.  They complain about being stuck at home, but they don’t seem to share my feeling that time has stopped.

Ohio is in the medium range of US infection.  Nobody I know has it, but the disease is around, or so they say.  I don’t actually see evidence of it which makes this all feel surreal.  The governor says everyone has to wear a mask when they’re out, and I hope people comply, though I’ve seen too many act like jerks about it.  A lot of people also don’t seem to understand their nose has to be under the mask too.  Oh well, I tell myself the nicer people stand a better chance of surviving.

Sand in a timer doesn’t seem very “sandy”, but it is what I’d painted just before I saw the word for the week.  I think this is the last Barbie painting I’m going to do for a while though I’ve enjoyed painting them.  You may notice some of the elements in this piece were in previous paintings.  I was consolidating my thoughts from the other paintings.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

“Garden”, #inktober52, #inktober

I started writing this post about how the darned varmints keep eating my garden.  I got up to get another cup of tea and looked down from my kitchen window to see deer eating my gooseberries.  They’re shameless.  They don’t even seem to care about the gooseberry’s vicious thorns.  The twins camped out in my yard for 2 days.  They didn’t care about my loathing.  Sure, I had a few moments when I thought about how pretty and cute they are, but I collected myself and remembered to go back to hating them.  I fantasize about eating venison.

Okay, let’s switch topics and talk about something more pleasant.  I was at Mom’s house and commented on a framed collection of pictures by my great aunt Ila Rhea (Lee) Little that Mom had on the wall which I hadn’t seen before.  Mom said I could have it.  Whoopee!  I took it home and realized I don’t have enough wall space either.  I propped it up against the dining room wall and find Ila Rhea’s art makes me happy whenever I walk past it.  That’s got to be a sign of good art.

Size: 20" x 24"
This piece is very nicely and professionally framed so I didn’t want to take it apart to scan it.  The reflective glass and shadow box format made it hard to photograph.  That said, let me share Ila Rhea’s art from her college days, from 92 years ago…

I think I inherited that table
Obviously, studying my aunt’s work is much better than studying the devastation of my garden.  She was a lovely lady.  I imagine her decades of students were glad to have her as a teacher.  I wish she was still alive so I could ask her things it didn’t occur to me to ask about life and art when I had the chance.

Mom got upset with me the last time I posted some of Ila Rhea's work (which you can see here).  Mom said it was a violation of Ila Rhea’s privacy.  I said I thought Ila Rhea would be pleased people could see her art.  It’s a way for her to live on although she’s no longer with us.  How many years after you die is it okay for other people to blog about you?  I think I’d be happy if one of my nieces or nephews posted my work after I’m gone.  What do you think?

As an afterthought, I googled Ila Rhea's name and found this post about the school where she worked early in her teaching career.  Fascinating.  More stuff I wish I would've thought to ask her about.
The great lady herself :)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

"Wires", #inktober52, #inktober

I lamented to a couple of millennial friends a while back that their peers don't know how to do real basic things like cook an egg or change a light bulb.  My friends were unfazed.  One idly asked, "What do they do when a light bulb goes out?"  "They call an electrician or wait until somebody else comes over who knows what to do", I answered.  My friend shrugged his shoulders and said, "Problem solved then."  I wanted to scream.  No, what about the next bulb?  Why are they wasting money on electricians?!

It seems like I should've remembered my concerned outrage when my kitchen light started acting up.  Sometimes the pull chain worked, sometimes it didn't.  Sometimes I had to climb up on my sink and fiddle with it until the light went off.  When this happened often enough that I found myself swearing on a regular basis, I plugged in an inadequate lamp because I'm not calling an electrician for a stupid light.  I'm good at ignoring some problems.

I told a pal about this and he told me the light was an easy fix, the inexpensive part easily found at the home improvement store.  Okay.  I listened, but I didn't get the part.  I envisioned the store being filled with guys too tough to wear masks during our ever-increasing Covid-19 problem.  Besides, my friend thought this was an easy part to find, but he's a guy.  Those stores are designed for people like him.  They're intended to confuse people with ovaries.  I kept living with my inadequate lamp and washed dishes in daylight until my pal showed up with the part and a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Thanks!

I'll admit I was more drawn to the whiskey than the stupid switch, but I dutifully went to the basement and turned off the "kitchen" breaker.  This did not turn off the kitchen light.  I went back to the basement and tried another breaker.  Up the steps, down the steps, up, down, up, down... F it, I turned off the main switch.  The light finally went off along with every other electric thing I own, including my tetchy computer.  Arg.

I climbed onto the kitchen sink and balanced precariously next to the ceiling while dismantling the light fixture, fiberglass insulation wafting in my face and sticking to my sweaty face on one of the hottest days of the year.  My pal had said there were 3 wires inside.  He was wrong.  There were 5 or 6.  Despite this confusing turn of events, I successfully hooked up the new switch, muscled the light fixture back onto the ceiling, and turned the main breaker on again.  Then, there was light!

I put a long-life bulb in the light fixture.  It's my sincere hope I never have to mess with that light again.  I turn the light on and off for fun these days.  I wonder at myself for being willing to live with that inadequate lamp.  I worry about all those millennials living through Covid-19 seclusion in the dark with raw eggs.

Would you have called the electrician or do you ignore stuff like this?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

#inktober52, #inktober, "Eyes"

I've always been a fan of N. C. Wyeth.  I love his lusty, heroic illustrations and the books that went with them.  I wasn't a fan of his son, Andrew.  He seemed spoiled and sulky to me, self-important.  That's the problem with being alive at the same time as another artist.  I can judge them, not just their work.  When he died and his Helga paintings were discovered, I assumed he had an affair with her and was even more judgmental.  I didn't want to like evidence of something I consider wrong -- though as far as I know Helga never admitted to anything other than posing for him.  I watched a youtube video on Andrew and realized I do like his work, and probably would've liked him personally a lot better than his father.  Maybe I need to gain some maturity to get there?

Andrew Wyeth's Helga
What our eyes see is bent by the way our brains think.  We all make judgments despite the biblical admonition, "Judge not lest you be judged".*  Our critical minds make observations which help us get through life, but it's like eating apples.  One apple is good for us.  Too many apples give us a stomach ache.  One judgmental, critical observation may be true.  That doesn't mean all our other judgments and criticisms are true too.

The important thing is to be able to change our minds.  Changing my mind about Andrew Wyeth lets me look at his work in a new way which will change what or how I paint.  On a national level, I'm hoping people will change their minds about social distancing, wearing masks, and climate change (plus who they vote into office!).  Being able to change course is a sign of intelligence and humility.  None of us know everything.  I respect the people who learn and grow through their lives.

Something I didn't expect to discover during the Covid pandemic is that I like masks because they hide fake smiles.  A real smile crinkles a person's eyes.  An old person with a lot of smile crinkles is a good person.  I'd like to draw them.  I want to get to know them.  I want to know what they know, and how I might be still self-deluding myself or unfairly judging others.  Some day I want to be the old lady with the crinkled eyes whom a younger person wants to know because I'll have discovered the secrets to life and laughed through the journey.

The internet is full of false perfection.  We all want to look better, seem more successful, be happier than anyone else.  I see TV commercials about ointments that take away wrinkles and I don't think the people really look that much better.  Other ads promote airbrushing your skin issues away.  That isn't where true beauty is.  I think this makes people look plastic and unreal.  Nobody wants to paint someone that fake, and the best art can exaggerate the flaws we see in ourselves because that's the stuff that shows our character and makes us interesting.  People who love us will love us with our flaws anyway.

Observe, have an open mind, be willing to change course.  You'll do better at whatever you do and will be a much more beautiful person to be around too.

I did a post about drawing eyes.  You can see it here.  I also did a post about painting an eyeball.  I still think about painting a mess of these and putting them on the mantle.

*Matthew 7:1, and a sign that even the unwashed can quote scripture :)