Friday, July 31, 2009


I like to make it a point to thank everyone who stops by and leaves a comment. However, on Parenthood, I couldn't find email addresses for two kind visitors so I'd like to say thank you very much to Elizabeth and Shawna for your wonderful comments. Enjoy the weekend and thank you for stopping by.

I hope to post later, but it is Friday and it is raining. What that has to do with anything I'll never know, but it seems to work....sometimes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BUG LIFE: Parenthood

oil on linen

I have the greatest respect parents. Never took the plunge myself, although I have been mom to two German Shepherds, two cats, one rabbit and presently our Chocolate Lab, Devlin, the Wonder Dog. I learned the hard way that that level of responsibility is about all I can handle.

When I was sixteen, my Mom wanted to make sure I was employed over the summer and toward that end, she accepted a job for me that I will never forget. Our family dentist and his wife, also a friends of the family, were planning a trip to Europe for the summer and wanted to leave their toddler son with someone they knew and trusted. Before I could object, a crib appeared in my rather cozy bedroom, along with a huge box of toys, clothes and diapers. Little Douglas moved in on a Saturday. I wanted to move out the following Sunday. Without knowing it, my mother had effectively put an end any hope she had for becoming a grandmother. It was the very worst summer of my life. The responsibility of a ten month old was something I was completely not ready for. I was depressed, tired, resentful and cried all the time. As we all know, a teenager isn't wrapped all that tight anyway and little Dougie pushed me right over the edge. He was simply adorable and I took very good care of him, but when his parents returned home and retrieved him, I knew motherhood was not for me. Even during my trial marriage, when it was decided we'd produce offspring, I shut down and never discussed it again.

Are the caterpillar parents rearing up, bursting with pride over the little one they're hovering over or are they overbearing and impossible to please? Are they patient and loving or angry and withholding? Are they teaching the little one how to take care of himself or are they teaching him to depend totally on them? I see both sides, good and bad. They did the best they could with what they knew at the time and I'll be forever grateful to them. I rather like how I turned out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Ok, so every day was a bit of a stretch. New rules! Two days off each week. From drawing that is. I worked on the newest bug painting today as well, but, it's a bit of a slow go. Today, oddly enough, I felt compelled to work so I took advantage of it.

Also, making myself accountable, blog-wise that is, seems to be working. I posted a while back that I wanted to create some original music for my website. I didn't. I think creating a piece of music, however primitive, from start to finish would be good for me, so I'm committing myself to just that by August 31st. I need to update some work on the site so, I'll have them upload the music with the new work at the same time. There, it's done. I'm committed. We'll see.

Is time going by a lot more quickly or is it me?

Thursday, July 23, 2009


pencil on paper

Oh my! Two days in a row! I kept my promise. Drawing every day is good for me, I know, but like eating correctly and exercise, how long can one possibly keep it up?

Hopefully I'll have a new bug piece by next week. I'm also working on a 20x24" still life which started out well, but really "jumped the shark" somewhere along the way. I put it in the cooler for a bit, see what it looks like after some solitary confinement.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


pencil on paper

I haven't posted in ages, however, I am working! There are three paintings in progress but that disconnected feeling has resurfaced so I made myself yet another promise.

Remember the "I'm going to draw every single day!" promise? Not! Gonna try again. Especially when I'm not finished with a daily.

We used to get a bunch of stock photo catalogs in my old office. One was a handy, dandy easy-to-handle size of black and white photos, mostly faces, which I saved for just this purpose. We'll see how long that lasts. Hope to post new bugs very soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

BUG LIFE: The Bully

oil on linen

Meet Slugger. He's a bully. If you'll note, his right feeler thingy is missing. I imagine it was lost in a fight. He looks particularly ferocious to me for some reason. Mean and ferocious.

I remember grade school, the playground, warm milk in shrunken cartons, nap time, and the terror of facing that anything but sturdy, bright yellow metal fire escape during our monthly drills. And, I clearly remember Iris. She was different. Different in a way that a child senses different. It was that difference that drew kids to her like a magnet. They would encircle her, on the play ground, taunt her, poke at her, call her names. She would draw in on herself, put her head down, wring her hands and peer up through tangled bangs like a wounded puppy. I also remember standing in that circle once, listening to the other kids, watching Iris recoil nervously, wondering what it was all about.

And then, abruptly, I wasn't in the circle, but off to the side watching what was happening. I saw myself standing there, and as my eyes fell upon tiny, shrinking Iris, I actually saw her for what seemed like the first time. And, she looked completely different to me! She seemed somehow suddenly stronger than the children taunting her, somehow more calm, peaceful and knowing. Those are pretty weird sensations for an eight year old. But I remember it like it was yesterday.

The kids soon tired of taunting and dissipated. Iris went back to what she was doing. I have no idea what had happened or what it meant, but after that, whenever I saw Iris in the halls, I made a point of smiling at her and saying hello.

I've been working on a few graphic design jobs and haven't been able to paint much these past two weeks. I hated painting the bully. It wasn't fun and I found myself loading the brush with color I knew was wrong but somehow hoped it would work. I think it shows. A break is in order. Working on some fun concepts though, so all will be well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


oil on canvas

This is a commission that the client returned simply because I accepted less than optimal photo reference. I'll never do that again. The initial portrait was done from a composite of 2 photos, the best I could find out of the selection the client provided. It involved putting a head on a body and switching positions, basically it wasn't a good idea. Surprisingly enough, the client loved it, but just wanted to me change the direction one of the pups was facing in. I decided it would be better just to start over.

Happily, the proprietor of the boutique I do the portraits through—"for the love of Pete!"— took some new snaps that were just perfect for reference and voila...Bella and Calvin Part Deux. These are the busiest critters I have ever worked on. Whew!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

BUG LIFE: Flexiblity

oil on linen

I'm not the least bit flexible. And I'm not talking about only physically either. I'm learning, but it's been quite the struggle. Where would this little guy be if he weren't flexible? He wouldn't get very far for one thing.

I'm learning about my own personal inflexibility by watching reality TV. I often wonder if, when filming is over and cast members have a chance to see how they behaved, they would change anything if given the chance. I think we'd all benefit from a little hidden camera coverage of our daily lives. Perhaps we'd get a chance to see if we are indeed who we think we are. Or would we be capable of objectivity? The same voice directing self-involved, immature behavior certainly isn't going to call us to task for following its instructions now is it?

Still, if we could only see ourselves as others see us.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

BUG LIFE: Solitude

oil on linen

Solitude. One of the primary reasons I fell for and married himself was because I felt and still feel as comfortable with him as I do when I'm alone. I love solitude, unless of course a thunderboomer is coming. I see this wasp as an adolescent who just had a huge blow out with M&D and struck out on his own. He hasn't a clue where he's going, but being in charge of the direction his flight takes is quite the heady brew, so he's fearless. I guess, for our purposes here, we might want to ignore all that instinctive wasp-like behavior hot-wired into his DNA that keeps him tied to the nest.

Ok, now I am vexed! I'm typing in HTML. Eeeewwooo! Hate it, hate it, hate it. Takes me back to those antique machines we used to use called typewriters. Figures. Ya get to the place where you can create a painting, take a shot of it, upload it to a site and have it then available for any and all who wish to view it, and then, bam! ya can't choose the font you love! Ridiculous analogy, but I feel better.

I entered the Trampoline series into "Sanguine: The Temperament of Blood," the July exhibition at and was accepted! Then I decided to enter the Bug series in the August show and in doing so decided to name any and all bug paintings with the tag "BUG LIFE:" (ya know like Thug Life) — followed by the title of that particular bug painting. That felt neat, I experienced my very first "series" buzz. No pun intended.