Friday, December 25, 2009

Ho-HO-HO Ya'll...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

with Holiday Magic and a Wonder-Filled New Year!

From top to bottom: Princess Emmaline, Jasper, Louie-Louise, and Luna.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tell me who I REALLY am...

I've had my astrological chart done three times in my life. The first was by someone with a personal agenda; I learned that I attract crazies. The second was done by my mother-in-law before she even met me. She never discussed it with me. The last was a quickie-fund-raising reading; I learned I'm an artist. But I still don't know who I really am.

Apparently, I'm no wiser this year with attending monthly astrology meetings. However, it's been a good time to work on my freeform sketching. I've also met some nice and very interesting folks. Then with just a bit of bartering, this time next month, I may have my answers as the president of the StL chapter is personally doing my chart.

So now I'm feeling very awkward and vulnerable. I hope she still likes me when it's all done.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hoppy Halloween...

I made this card from one of my all time favorite photos taken of Franklin as a puppy lounging on one of Bob Cassilly's frog sculptures located in Lafayette Park. I have this photo as a series and am making cards of it to sell on Etsy. (Oh, and my ex, the photographer, shall remain none-the-wiser and clueless.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Climate Change...

Polar bears are the world's largest land predator. Males range from 775 to 1500 pounds, while females maintain a svelte 330 to 550 zone. I read that they do scold their young for misbehaving with a slight scuff. They share their dinner and wag their tails when they want to play. They typically survive -40ยบ weather for weeks at a time and swim over 60 miles in arctic water to feed upon seals lounging on floating sea ice. That is… on a good day.

The reality is their environment is literally melting away. This unnatural change means the polar bears can’t evolve quickly enough to survive without it. They are drowning while searching for sea ice. They are resorting to cannibalism as they fight from starving to death. Their malnourishment is causing low birth rates. They are sadly in serious danger of becoming extinct.

The plight of the polar bear is very real and should be our wake-up call.

Our climate is changing. And this is a REAL problem.

Your help is needed. Take action via International Blog Action Day 09…

Step 1. Sign the petition to address the U.S.A’s role with pollution

Step 2. Get involved by following any of their dozen of links to educate, inform and promote knowledge.

Step 3. Pay attention to the UN Climate Change Conference (Dec 7 – Dec 18, 2009)

(This is a recycled posting from 2008 - knowing I'm not the only one who tears up with concern.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Mask...

Classe' gave me a mask one day that he made of paper mache'. He told me to paint it. So one sleepless night, after a long shift followed by some unwinding east-side, I made this painting of that mask.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I drew this waaay back in 1978. I sold it too. In fact, it was the very first drawing I ever sold. (Ok, a classmate offered me $10 to draw Jerry Garcia - but he was too cute to take his money).

The guy that bought this later informed me he was taking it back to Chicago, making prints of it and selling them. I was flattered and then confused.

Alright, I'll be honest... I've been confused about most things ever since.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Me, Classe' and Linda...

...OH MY!..!!

All three of us worked on this one night - but of course, it was Classe' who pulled it all together. He's a driven genius when painting, so exciting to watch. I recall there was no running water so beer was used to clean brushes.

He gave it to Linda and I hadn't seen it in over 20 years. I simply love it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Headin' Home...

Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home. - James Joyce

I often ponder the meaning of home. Growing up, I moved 16 times before I was 15. As an adult, I've stayed in this same general area, yet moved 19 more times - (each time the rent went up!). So my idea of 'home' was never a box with a door on it. My idea of home has always been centered on my family.

As a child, my friends changed as easily as addresses. I never knew how to keep friends longer than a year, but as an adult I’ve been fortunate to have friends who don’t let go. They remain close even when I let time slip between us. My family’s love is unconditional and now I’ve found that with my friends as well.

Home is still built upon my family but now includes my friends. My valued family of friends.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

An Independent Nature...

This 4th of July celebration was spent well outside my city limits. I ventured west to my brother's house and enjoyed a real neighborhood celebration. It was an amazingly different experience for me. It was Urban Americana at it's surreal best.

The neighbors all had the BBQ set up with lawn chairs in place for their little neighborhood fireworks display. Cute kids ran about like fireflies. Each man of the household pulled from their own bounty of fireworks as they took turns one-upping each other with lighting the next round. Not even a slow steady rain would slow them down. It took a brave old toad hopping through their battlefield to provoke a time-out. The rain continued, but it was my brother, the one who hangs with the Mensa crowd, who got under a big black umbrella as he lit one of the ‘big ones’. My brother is not a quitter. He played his best game. I believe he won the game with this move, sadly no one noticed due to all the smoke and rain.

As I left a few hours later, I paused to take in the quiet clean air, however it was thick with the most intense sounds from the neighboring nature. Frogs, crickets and birds, all boldly celebrating independence.

(My little American sparrow drawn as vectored lineart in Illustrator - 2009)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


...made with using an old wool sweater, some scrap fleece, yarn, thread and lovingly stuffed with bamboo fiber-fill. Shown here from two angles; it's a stuffed possum I made for my youngest nephew.

'Possum' was his nickname before his birth. Thankfully now, he's too cute to keep that name.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Most Resourceful Art...

Another week has passed with no time to create any thing new as there’s been some paying work around, cluttering up my world. With all that clutter about, I just fell in love with this piece of art made from someone cleaning up the area's trash. It was recently posted on the Wooster Collective (

The resourceful artist, Jim Darling, was perhaps a Bower bird in a former life.

The male Bower birds gather all sorts of found objects into collections that decorate their unusual nests. Many fancy bits of bright or shiny litter add something special to the mix...

Andy Goldworthy is the most famous of former-life Bower birds...

I don't know that he's ever worked with litter, however he's cleverly resourceful with just some icicles and spit...

And of course he is the master of building cairns...

There's a mysterious cairn builder here in town. As I drive west to the county on Hwy 44 each week, I've been watching a growing group of cairns perched on a bluff. The location's too precarious a spot to stop and snap a photo, but it does look a lot like this group found in Canada.

Now, if "we" can just be as "Darling-ly" creative with our local litter.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


...I bought this because I love the honesty of it's story.

It was painted by my dear old friend, David Classe´. It tells his story.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pick 3... Any 3.

Drawing live portraits can be most awkward.

An older man once hired me to draw his portrait. As I was starting, he whispered to me instructions to leave out his double chins. I did. He was happy and paid me very well. It looked nothing like him.

This girl's portrait was from my 3-color phase. I would draw using only the three colors the subject chose. I liked the openness it allowed me. Besides, if I didn’t do such a great job with capturing their likeness – at least they liked the colors.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Monster Behind the Bar...

I worked thirteen years at the Broadway Oyster Bar, seeing it through three ownerships. I fell madly in love with the place from the very first time I walked through the door and had to step over a dog sleeping in front of a glowing fireplace. There was a black and white cat hanging out on the bar. Her name was Pearl and she lived there. The Oyster Bar suddenly became the axis of my world.

The place had real character and soul. Burkhardt had started the bar with a solid foundation of amazing characters. He was the Piped Piper of building bars, and his following consisted of writers, poets, artists, musicians, carpenters, rivermen, smugglers and a real life, rail-riding hobo, named Smokey Joe.

Burkhardt called me one day and asked me to take over his shifts. It was his birthday and he didn’t want to work the bar any more, he just wanted to build them. I was 22 years old.

I would always hold great respect for those regulars, soaking in their tales while becoming more aware of the old soul deeply embedded in the place. The building itself was really old. It seemed to carry a good energy within it’s 150-year-old walls. Sadly the wall that held the back bar was later dismantled and moved back a few feet by ownership #4. Nice folks, who just wanted to gain more space, but ended up releasing the spirit that was once a part of Burkhardt’s Oyster Bar, that indescribable feeling of soul when you walked through the door.

This drawing, a self-portrait, was done one night as I attempted to wind down from a shift tending bar. It was around the beginning of the Broadway Oyster Bar era, (ownership #2), where business was tighter and money was being made. We were getting busier every day. The baseball crowd found out about us despite the lack of signage. The place was really changing and so was I. I had quit smoking and drinking because I was pregnant. My whole being was evolving towards its motherly side and it was a strict mother. We were busy enough without having to scold folks for messing with the trees, climbing the fence and just being rude. I was becoming the monster behind the bar.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Delmar Forsyth Line...

Our local transit system's recent cutbacks have reminded me of the days when I had weathered through their limited routes...

There was a time when I depended entirely upon the city’s mass transit system. I lived in Lafayette Square and worked out in U-City. I would take my two buses to get to work however the system would shut down before midnight, leaving me stranded half way home so I had to improvise. I would simply ride one bus all the way downtown and walk across town to my favorite dive bar. But this required a game plan to to stave off the possibility of any trouble.

My plan was simply a three-foot long, cardboard box filled with freshly popped popcorn. Of course! I worked at the coolest movie theatre in town and would box up the leftovers in one of the long, narrow boxes that the cups came in. I carried this along with my sketchbook and newspaper. The bus rides weren’t bad, I learned quickly to avoid making eye contact. My concern was the walk late at night when all the bad guys were out cruising the mean streets of our deserted city. Ahh, but I took comfort with my plan. Should someone bother me I planned on bashing them about the head with the cardboard box. I pictured popcorn flying everywhere that would instantly startle them, allowing me time to quickly run away! Surely they would leave the crazy girl alone. It tied in perfectly with the fact folks at the bar were eagerly awaiting the delicious popcorn each night and would take notice if I didn’t show up.

Such a beautifully brilliant plan which I never got to try out.

This is one of my rough sketches from the Delmar-Forsyth line.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


As Dom pointed out, I just reached 2 degrees of separation from the Beatles. Ahhh, but let's not forget that I'm just 1 twit away from perhaps my new BFF, Yoko Ono.

(Hey... live life as art.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Comes Early...

Events this week lent towards my last minute decision to forgo fluffy bunny ears and cute 'Spring's Sprung' puns as I opted to render a timlier Easter image.

(click on image for larger view)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

One Day You'll Look Back...

I was just going through an old sketchbook...

where I was into a simple line drawing phase and my daughter was in her monochromatic phase. My style was defined as contour lines, hers was freeform with a big red crayon. The common ground was my sketchbook. Every single page.

And this is the day I look back and laugh.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Digital Colorforms...

And who doesn't enjoy an overly dressed cat?

After drawing the holiday decorations and seeing how well they turned out... I've thought of many other things to do to this hairball of a kitten. But that's for another day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Tis My Luck Being Irish...

...that I just found a copy of my grandmother's lineage!..!!

A few hours ago, with a simple google here, link there, confirming dates and there it was. Three steps had taken me to a direct link clear across the ocean to the town records in County Tipperary, Ireland. I was suddenly looking at a list of her parents, brothers and sisters. Simple and quite amazing.

My grandmother was such a delightful lady who had settled in NYC when she married. She loved St. Patrick's Day. I think she really loved folks celebrating something Irish, and in a big way. When we were young, she would mail us each a religious St. Pat's Day card along with a small cellophane envelope containing real shamrocks from Ireland. One of her sisters would gather them and send them earlier in the month.

So this year, I feel she helped guide me to find this treasure of her family history. Our family line, our wee pot o' gold.

This drawing is of my art director's cat, Miss Miss. I just did a series for her, showing her Miss celebrating each holiday. I'll share more on that later, but today, it's all about St. Patrick's Day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Hills are Alive...

…with schmaltz.

Work has been pretty scarce lately. My last big assignment was a sample project with designs to woo work from some tough Canadian publisher. I was given a week to render a whitetail deer ecosystem. I used every day of it. The art director loved it, but the publisher didn’t. Oh well. We haven't given up yet.

This is a practice piece from the series that just evolved into…

“The Sound of Music”, Montana style. You know, in my own schmaltz’ed up style.

Schmaltz [shmahlts, shmawlts]
1. Informal. exaggerated sentimentalism, as in music or soap operas.
2. fat or grease, esp. of a chicken.
Also, schmalz.
Variations: schmaltzier, schmaltziest, schmaltziness, schmaltzy, schmalz, schmalzier, schmalziest, schmalzy
1930–35; < Yiddish shmalts or G Schmaltz; c. smelt

(The kid is my nephew, Aedan who has taken to music since a baby; 'Manda and I gave him the violin last year.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friends Don't Let Friends Sing Drunk...

My other brother and his wife journeyed north last week, from their beautiful world in the country, to take me out and about. We were belatedly celebrating our birthdays with our all-time favorites. Enjoying the best curry in town featuring an 11 flight-high view, then an acoustically perfect concert with John Prine. Since my brother just hit the milestone of 50!!! years; they spared no expense with getting the best seats possible. After all, we've loved John Prine and his music for over 35 years now. Wow.

I heard the show was sold out. Everything was going well, until a woman sitting behind me started singing. She sang out loud, very badly and didn't know the words as well as she thought. Clearly this woman had been drinking something that has a very long drunk factor. Okay, I let her enjoy the first two songs, as everyone was so excited; then I gave her the "Please...!" look. She got it - but only for a few minutes, as she was one of those no-short-term-memory drunks. So between songs we had a talk. I used some of John Prine's kind of empathy and, well... I made a new friend. She tried to control herself as best she could then proudly took to "high-fiving" me after each song. I don't do "high-fives" well; I'm always awkward, but I was willing to do whatever it took to enjoy the show. After all, I'm far too familiar with what could go wrong with overly drunk drunks from my spending 13 years intoxicating them in the past. This was obviously some serious time-delayed karma from my younger days. So I dealt with it, the best I could.

With three-fourths of the show over, he sang a sad song. My drunken friend started to sob. Out loud. Through the entire song. When the song was over, she left. Without even a goodbye.

So the next morning when I awoke, I reflected on the show and wondered if my drunken friend remembered it at all. A few days later I read a very favorable review of the show in the RFT where the author states he sat in front of a very loud drunk. His drunk not only sang out loud, he also hollered a lot. Again, friends should NOT let friends sing drunk (in public)!

You know… the older I get, the fonder I am of public stockades.

(The drawing is a cleaned & colored scan from a rough promo I had done for a local band... oh, about 20 years ago. I revised this to show "X" generally marking my brother's little piece of paradise.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Powerless (he's not...)

My youngest brother is an author. A real professional, gets paid to write stories, taken seriously, three-book first deal kind of author. And today it's so official. His first book is being promoted on Amazon and the book won't even be available until November. Check it out, this is the official cover (note plenty of open space for future award stickers)...

Oh, and the rights have already been sold to an Italian publisher. Yeah. It's going international. His first book!

"Congratulazioni Matthew! Siete notevole."

Here's the Amazon link to reserve your copy:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Subtle tokens of affection...

My ex made this one...

and I made this...

And then I made this for our child who occasionally calls me "SMother"...

That's with love. Right?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Chloe...

February 14th is a pretty special day. It’s the birthday of a friend of mine. She’s one of my favorite people that I’ve always been impressed by. Being bright and very creative, she’s spent years studying dance, music, art and is now getting involved in theatre. With charming looks and a sweet smile, she carries herself with poise and confidence. She knows what she cares about and does something about it. In fact, she loves animals so much that a few years ago she simply stopped eating them. She has conviction. And today is her birthday. Her thirteenth birthday.

I wish for her birthday that she embrace this milestoned era with maintaining a strong sense of self. She’s developed skills that will aid her through the teen years that we older folks reflect upon as “awkward”. (That awkwardness is only due to growing up too fast.) Balance is necessary to transcend well from child to adult. I wish for her that each day she enjoy her youth with positive energy and balance.

I believe in her…
“Happy Birthday Chloe! You are someone to be admired.”

(I remember she named her first kitten 'Butterfly', so I drew her surrounded with fun, flighty butterflies.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Proud to be American... again!

I grew up patriotic. Not the crazy, robotic, mindless patriotism, rather as the proud daughter of a USA soldier who taught us the right from wrong kind of patriotism. My first fifteen years were spent growing up in the Army and I remember a rush of pride each time we paid respect to our flag and all it stood for. That is until the Tricky Dick years (my father had also warned us about blindly following the leader).

Last week, that rush of patriotism returned when we United States of Americans warmly welcomed our 44th president, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.

President Obama has stirred the souls of the world as he's promised to lead our way to reclaim and rebuild our country. One of the first tools he’s provided us with is knowledge through the official Whitehouse website...

There, he’s initiated a blog that provides to everyone government communication, transparency and participation. Oh, and there’s also his request for feedback. Hmmm. Sounds like someone’s paying attention to the meaning of “government of the people, by the people, for the people…”.

What a guy!...!! (Awww, and he can dance too!)

(I was so very busy over the holidays; I was never able to complete my Christmas cards. Time spent was with family and working. So, with a few alterations we have here my latest rendering. Oh, and last report from my daughter, Ralphie has adapted well to the Brooklyn way of life and is making friends fast.)