Great Wave at Paisley-gawa

Today's art journal post (with apologies to Hokusai!):

Thought note: Today's art journal post is an homage (a modest one, of course!!!) to Katsushika Hokusai's "Great Wave at Kanagawa," which is a gorgeous piece of artwork, which I never, ever get tired of staring at. I dunno if it's because it's such a technically amazing work of woodblock cutting and printing, or because I love the ocean so much, or because there's a picture of it on a ruler I got at The Metropolitan Museum of Art many years ago . . . but I love it. I doodle paisleys sort of obsessively . . . and am working on some acrylic works incorporating designs such as these. Will post when finished with those . . . I plan to start showing them publicly by early fall.

Tech note: Faber-Castell Superfine pen + a Faber-Castell grey brush pen (#272) . . . in my Moleskine notebook (thick pages, 5.5x8.5 each page); if you want to buy the thicker pages and they don't have a sample open at the store, just look at the page count. The ones with a lower page count (which are the same thickness) are the ones with thicker pages. These take watercolor and acrylic and gel medium, and Mod Podge, and collage, and almost everything else I've thrown at them.

Happy Art-making,


Psych Book Drawings, Day 15

thought note: i love to draw angels - and iconic women - Anywayz. Yesterday, i buried a little tiny baby bird  - outside my studio window, between the daffodils. I found him on our driveway, i think he left the nest a bit too early - and just didn't make it. made me really sad, even though i'd like to be all philosophical and talk like The Lion King "circle of life" stuff (remember when Simba asks, "hey why do we eat our friends, Dad?" - Yep. "Circle of Life."  i like to think he's in a better place now (the bird, not Simba), but i don't know how all that works . . .

tech note: Faber-Castell artist pen, "F" (fine)

Psych Book Drawings . . .

Thought note: I've been drawing and doodling and designing things on the pages of an old psychology textbook I bought a few months ago. You'll see it sometimes in the collages I do, apropos sections of it worked into designs. This week I started taking out a page at a time and doing a random drawing, doodle, or design on it. This is a great way to repurpose an old book which otherwise doesn't have much else to do . . . and a great economical way to find drawing papers. I have for EONS repurposed my calendar/diary pages (many a card company has taken a cartoon submission from me on a dated repurposed page from Filofax!) I bought this big ole textbook at Mermaid Books in Williamsburg, an awesome used book store. The pages fascinate me for different reasons, the subject being one, but truth be told . . . I luh-uh-uv the smooth, toothless pages . . . great for marker art.

Tech note:

This is done on an old textbook page, with Copic Sketch and Faber-Castell brush pens, with shading in with water soluble pencils (Prismacolor and C'aran D'ache) - more to come!


Here's today's Psych Book drawing.



Let Them Eat

Today's Art Journal Posting

Thought Note: In DC our apartment is in Capitol Hill, and I encounter the homeless every single time I leave the apartment. I keep quarters and Sacagawea dollars handy to give out, and I usually greet them. It's so little to do. My son volunteered at a soup kitchen in DC, and spent the whole day with a homeless man who had a Master's degree. I can never thank God enough for this man, and the impression he made on my son; how he sees a homeless person not as someone who "deserves" what they are getting, but as a human, like any of us, who has, for now anyway, hit on some very hard times. How close we can be to that - and how glad I am that I don't think I'll ever hear my son complain about the poor or their neediness.

This is an Art Journal spread I just finished this morning. The first line of the hymn is "Blessed be the man that provideth for the sick and needy;" and the words "Let Them Eat" speak for themselves . . . but remind us of the "Let Them Eat Cake" attitude that many people have - I've got what I need, so screw the rest of the world. It's a heartbreaking thing to see and hear . . . but, I do believe that most people have bigger hearts than that.

Tech Note: the background was made with watersoluble crayon scribbled, then brushed around with water; the dotted pattern is from dipping small-bubble bubble wrap into acrylic paint and using it as a stamp. I made the envelope from Satin Design 100% rag vellum, and then stamped a design on it with acrylic.

I'm Not OK, You're Not OK . . . But That's OK

We are all on a journey . . . and we should remember that. People can change. We can grow. And we are all in the middle of silent (or not-so-silent) struggles . . . in which we try to better ourselves, we beg God to make us better and/or we beat ourselves up for not being better. Hang in there. A cliché I love.


I love Sharpies. Not to be confused with Shar Peis, those chunky wrinkly dogs, two words (and states of being) I try to avoid, but that's another blog altogether! This is to encourage you that you don't have to have a kabillion dollars in art supplies to make art.

Anyway, I love to draw, soooooo much, that it actually interferes with everything else!

I love to draw tiny little lines, and millions of little marks, funky lettering, and paisleys of all sorts. Funky paisleys, loose paisleys, paisleys which have little skulls grinning in them, paisleys your grandma would love to have on her Xmas table :-). I like them all. I can stare at them for hours, and I can draw them for hours. Soooooo, it just occurred to me recently that this might be kinda an obsession. I did my Dansko clogs, I'm working on other shoes as we speak, I just drew on a stool, and next I'm doing my studio rocking chair!

I'm doing all these things with Sharpie markers - they go on everything, and on most surfaces you can seal them with gel medium after to seal it in . . . anyway, short post today, as I'm cleaning up from Xmas - YES THE TREE'S STILL UP!!!  Don't judge me!

So, here are a few pix of projects I've done with Sharpies. More to come, I'm digging through digital files and making more art as we speak!!

peace, love, and other things hippies say,


Forget Regret

This journal piece I'm posting is a meditation, and I call it a meditation, because then you will think I really really worked hard on it. But! That goes against the whole point of ART JOURNALING, which should be done pretty quickly, to reduce the self-editing factor. I know you can hardly believe I ever edit myself, but oh-yes-I-do. Okay, and if you cannot work quickly, work slowly but HONESTLY. Not yelling, just emphasizing. I'm posting a piece I did last August, when I was working hard to not regret some things. The results of choices I've made -  bemoaning my woeful business sense, wondering when I come off as insensitive, (lots of lack of sense here), wishing I were taller . . . you know the routine. (BTW, I'm 5'6", but due to my width . . .) ANYWAY!

Today I want to encourage you (and me) to focus on the future with the learning from the past and awareness of the present. (Should I sell this as a motivational poster at Staples?!! You tell me!) No, really. I have been guilty of beating myself up, why I did this, why I didn't do that, why I didn't choose one thing over the other, why I wasn't more assertive or why I didn't understand a certain situation clearly, or why I don't look like a supermodel. (Geez, back to shallow.) Plus, I have a straight answer on that one, and it has to do with my sincere, deep, and heartfelt love of collard greens cooked with ham hocks, blackeyed peas cooked with bacon, and a big corn pone served up with buttah. I hear that the bona fide supermodel Kate Moss has said, "Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels," and I think that's because she's never had my mama's cookin'. And, for my part, I choose the comfy soul food I grew up with. (Okay, but I'll exercise more this year.)

So, here's to forgetting regrets . . . I cannot say "no regrets," because in my estimation, to never have regrets at all would mean one is a very insensitive arse of a person. So, don't beat yourself up, don't be an arse; hang in there, look forward.

BTW, this is meant in no way to endorse MSNBC's new promo phrase "Lean Forward," because I think that's stupid. It just makes me think that they don't believe in actually GOING forward, just looking like they might consider it at some point. Like, hey, don't you think we won't, 'cuz we're gonna. Maybe.

"Lean Forward" also makes me think of those trick clown shoes which hook into the floor so they can lean all directions and not fall over.

A clown leaning forward.

Brrrrrr. Way to give me the heebie jeebies, MSNBC.

peace, love, and other things hippies say,


You Gotta Fly First and i mean it . . .

Listening to the radio right now like I do. A lot. And there are a lot of shows and interviews about (but not enough, they are too busy trying to figure out WTF is up with the latest candidate-we-never-heard-of-but-he's-got-an-ego-and-a-kabillion-dollars-so-why-shouldn't-he-run??!!!) job-hunting, how to survive being unemployed, and I feel the pain. But, unlike the viewpoint of a lot of those shows, it's something I'm used to. So, maybe I should say I'm empathetic, but not really in pain. Anymore. You see, I'm a freelancer. I've been a freelancer for many years. Also, my hubby has been a professional in theatre for decades. And, in theatre, most of your work is year-to-year, month-to-month, or show-to-show contracts. So, we know what it's like to put ourselves out there, work our butts off, and hope people don't stop seeing shows and buying art/cartoons/handbags-I-make-while-watching Rocco's Dinner Party.

My several years of attempts to get back into the "corporate" world just proved to me that even though MAYBE I could get in, staying in was another matter altogether. I mean, they TELL YOU TO DO STUFF. Like, all the time!! And, after you've been a stand-up comic (IS THAT WORD HYPHENATED?! I dunno), and a freelance cartoonist . . . well, let's just say that being a professional smartass doesn't exactly prepare you to EXCEL in a cubicle. (Read: they don't LIKE it when you say what you really think. They just asked you that because HR told them they are supposed to look like they give a flying f--- . . .) gaaaahhhh. See what I mean? Anyway, I gotta stick to jobs where brutal honesty and political incorrectness pay off. So, being a comic/writer/cartoonist/artist, or however you prefer to describe me, is PERFECT for me. I can blog in my  PJs. I can sleep in my clothes and then work all day in the same thing. Saves time. I can wear no makeup. Like EVER. I can pontificate on my blog and Tweet and Facebook and other nouns-turned-verbs. Is that a gerund? I dunno THAT, either. SEE HOW HONEST I GET TO BE? See how I get to yell in type whenever I feel like it!! THAT is freedom.

But, there are tradeoffs.

The freedom it does not necessarily allow you is financial freedom.

This doesn't mean you don't make money. It means you never know WHEN you're gonna make money. It is feast or famine. With a lotta famine in between. It works for me to wear my PJs as clothes and my clothes as PJs, first of all because I wear black all the time, so it works as a fashion statement, but also because I haven't bought new clothes in a long time. But, I don't care. I use gift money to buy art supplies. And then I make art and then I sell it. Circle of Life. Like in The Lion King! (Though, as our very little boy pointed out to us when that movie came out, "It's actually a Circle of Death. Because the lions eat the other animals.") Which brings me back to the corporate world.

The thing about not having a job and being in this scary scary market? Well, first of all you need to know that every artist, writer, singer, musician, actor, performer, event planner, filmmaker, freelancer of ANY sort which you know is USED TO SCARY. We live it, we breathe it, we ride the knife edge of when will another licensing check come, and will it, and do I have the money to go after fill-in-the-blank who definitely did not pay up, and thanking God that there are still AWESOME companies and people who value artists and writers, and then back to pleez-let-them-return-my-original-artwork-intact - WAIT!! This knife has too many edges. Bad metaphor. Roller coaster better? More of an analogy than a metaphor? I'm blogging, I don't have time to look these things up, and I have to get back to my 1920's-Paris-Bistro-Table-turned-art-table  and make some draw-rings. Man, don't I love the dash? Or hyphen? You can look that up, too, if you feel compelled. I have a Harbrace College Handbook, but it's gathering dust at the moment. I'm too  busy downloading vampire novels on my Kindle to bother that thang at the moment.

Anyway, all this yammering is meant to ENCOURAGE you. For reelz. Because, I have put myself out there. As have many others. Many of us are hurting in this economy (and if techies and nurses are having trouble being un- or under-employed, how do you think this economy is treating comics and writers and artists? The non-famous ones, I mean), but you need to put yourself out there. And keep doing it. It ain't easy. Matter of fact, mostly it sucks the biggest wind.

You might be surprised at this, but I'm actually an introvert. I'd rather sit and have a glass of wine with one or two friends than work a room or attend any party. I avoid crowds. (With the notable, which is why I'm noting it, exception of being on stage performing stand-up, and don't get me started on the psychology of that one! I just enjoy. Then I go backstage and beat myself up for all my mistakes, make notes on my set list and wish I'd been skinnier because then EVERYONE woulda liked me, really liked me!) Anyway, I do love performing comedy. I hate the business of comedy.

Trouble is, the business of freelancing ANYTHING is how you get the work. I have a couple of clients right now (and I feel really really BLESSED in this way) who really like my stuff. So, it's a volume game for the most part. If I do ENOUGH work, usually I make sales. It's a LOTTA work, I mean. You'd be surprised how many ideas get generated, drawn, and submitted to get ONE accepted. And I've been in this a while, so I'm not sending in stuff they've seen a kabillion times. But I love it. That's why I'm in it.

I had a whiny little text session with a friend in LA t'other day about how much I HATE the comedy business. Not the comedy, not performing it or writing it, or having tons of awesome hilarious people as friends, but the actual GETTING OF THE WORK. It sucks.

It's gonna suck.

This reminds me of a little thingy I read in (I think, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) Syd Field's book on screenwriting. Someone asked him in a seminar if Hollywood was really sexist and misogynist and racist and religionist and ageist . . . 'cuz that's what they had heard. His answer was . . .

YES. Are you IN or are you OUT?

So, that's the attitude we have to have. Even when we owe people money. Even when we don't know how to look nice for an interview, even when we are sick of getting new photos and spending hours resizing files and posting videos. Even when we really don't want to hear a critique of what we do, even when it seems everyone else is getting the breaks. (They're NOT.)

Are you in or are you out? Your decision.

I'm in.

I am a professional smartass.

And I'm glad my meds finally kicked in.

peace, love, and other things hippies say,


ADDED AFTER ORIGINAL POSTING: BTW, I'm not trying to give advice here. I'm just trying to encourage you. You are not alone. A lot of people feel your pain. And, really, actually  know how you feel, deep down. Ignore the politics of this - the politicians who tell you they care usually don't, or used to, but are so far away from our day-to-day, they are clueless. (When your job is trying to be popular, well, I guess it does something to you . . .) So, hang in there, in spite of them. (Okay, maybe that IS advice.)