vintage toys

Yes, I will pay back my student loans…someday. In the meantime, I paint!

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In process kewpie sitting in vintage cabinet
In process oil on canvas

Someone recently told me that “Students who take out excessive loans, enjoy their college years, and don’t work during that time earn less sympathy.” As if college is just a big carefree party for free loaders!

Everyone deserves an education! For years I didn’t go to college because I didn’t think I could afford it, always struggling in low paying jobs kept me distracted and thinking I couldn’t go to school at the same time.

For 10 years I drove past our college and saw the warm lights shining out of the tall windows of the library and just knew in my gut that I wanted to be there! Finally when my boys got a bit older I felt like I had the time and energy to tackle college. My desire to grow and learn outweighed my fear and idea that I was not worthy of education. I walked in and found out I could get a degree in only four years and that there were grants and loans available for me to do that! I registered and started classes that evening! I felt like I was “home.”

I learned things I would never have learned if I let myself stay stuck in one dead-end job after another. My self knowledge and confidence grew. I found a way to do the things I’ve always wanted to do! I met amazing people – students and professors – who are still in my life today.

When my fiancé died from suicide ten years ago and I was unable to function in a 9 to 5 (nearly paralyzed by PTSD, depression, and anxiety) it was school that kept me going. I found out I could increase the amount I was borrowing in order to pay my bills while I finished up that last year of school. And that’s what I did. Meanwhile, government grants were eliminated and tuition rates rose every year.

Then after graduation, knowing full well all along that I would be paying my loans back and fulfilling my obligation, I got the first bill. My monthly payment was over $650! Who can afford that! Even if I had landed a job utilizing one of my degrees immediately after graduation, wouldn’t be able to afford a monthly payment that high. When I applied for income based repayment it went down to like $39 a month.

I know lots of other people in this same situation. For most, college is not a four year party, a free ride, or enjoyable most of the time; it’s very hard work and a major accomplishment. However, I don’t expect sympathy from people who have never gone to college, or invested in their education, or even try to understand the people who do.

Troll at the salon. Oil on canvas.
The Sandbox. Oil on canvas

#educationextortion #studentdebt #everyonedeserveseducation #educationisnotaprivilege #shamedforwantingmore


Back At It

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Finally getting back into the studio on a more regular basis and it feels great! Now that I have a job that doesn’t suck the life out of me, completely in line with my beliefs, helping to fight the good fight, I have more mental and physical energy to paint! Yay!

Paintings usually evolve over time. This one I started quite a while ago, set it aside to finish up some commissioned paintings, and now I’m back to it. Here are some in-process shots of this Troll having the time of his life in the sandbox…

Any suggestions on what to call this one?

Decided to change the bulldozer to a sand pail

…then decided on a different sand pail.

Almost done….

Yup, all things are connected

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Sometimes I’m reminded of how all things are connected, of how things that are right for you are drawn to you, what you need at any given time…it comes.

Lately, I’ve been working feverishly in my yard – creating new beds, planting new shrubs and flowers, spreading mulch, creating walkways with step stones. And while I’ve been working I’ve been feeling like I’m not accomplishing anything since I’m not in the studio painting. Ridiculous, I know.

Then I realized that this is my cycle. Every Spring when it starts to get warmer out, I get the urge to get outside and plant stuff, and ready my yard for hanging out in the summer. And it’s been gorgeous out! I’ve been able to be outside while the azaleas and dogwoods bloom and everything gets lush and greener.

And in doing all this compulsive digging, I feel as if I’m really getting to know this little patch of earth that I call my own. So far, I’ve unearthed an old metal toy car and two marbles; I’m sure there’s more goodies hidden just under the grass.

And then I come across this article in Brain Pickins about Derek Jarman and his gardening and how this creative gardening process helped him accept his fate, deal with his grief and it was beautiful and I completely identified with his efforts, his process in his garden… Here’s a link to the article:

And all things are connected. I might be working something out, even if I’m not conscious of exactly what it is. Or maybe I’m simply enjoying the hard work, the joy of getting my hands dirty, the time I have now to go wild and do each project that comes into my mind while I’m waiting for my next job, next opportunity. And soon I’ll feel the urge to get back in the studio. (Especially now that the garden I’ve planted looks perfect from my studio window!)

Sock Monkey Adventures Now in Prints!

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Two of my sock monkey paintings are now available in 11×14 matted prints. Just $29 plus shipping will get you one of these for your very own!

They’re available through my etsy but if you contact me directly at I can give you this discounted price.

Add a sock monkey adventure to your life!

A Walk in The Park – 11×14 matted digital print
Not the Last Picture Show – 11×14 matted digital print

Sketches, Studies, and Sock Monkeys

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I’ve been teaching my drawing classes, in-person and online, and my demo drawings have become a catalyst for my own work.

Here’s a study in preparation of the next Sock Money Adventure painting…

Stay tuned for further progress.

Immortalize Your Favorite Friend

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I absolutely love making portraits of people’s beloved teddy bears and other toys! Getting to know them, hearing their story, posing them, and lighting them to accentuate their best features…

Go up to the attic or under your bed or in the back of your closet and find your favorite childhood toy again. Give him a hug and then commission me to paint a portrait for you!

Kory Bear – oil on canvas
Johnny – oil on canvas
Sexy Simba – oil on canvas
Jean – oil on canvas

“…a landscape painted by a mole…”

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“Realism, n. The art of depicting nature as it is seen by toads. The charm suffusing in a landscape painted by a mole, or a story written by a measuring-worm.” –Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary (1911)

I was painting small things, toys left out, or caught out exploring. From the eye level of something or someone small…

Well, Hello Sailor…
M is for Mushroom
Roll Me Over
Amanita Muscaria

Fight or Flight!

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In process

The fear and anxiety of this pandemic is activating that basic irrational human instinct of Fight or Flight. Instinctually we want to live and we want to feel safe and comfortable while we do it. For many people, when they feel intimidated they go into fight mode. See Karen refusing to wear a mask and having a tantrum in the grocery store.

For me it’s always Flight! Run! Get away and go hide someplace where I feel safe! Go to my happy place – go to Poppyland…

For the past couple of days I’ve been hiding in my studio, back to painting my friends, the sock monkeys. Now they are enjoying a huge buttery bowl of popcorn and watching a moving on their vintage Movector Super 16 projector.

#pandemic #fightorflight #inthestudio #workinprocess #wip #oiloncanvas #sockmonkeys #vintage #stilllife #popcorn

Fun Stuff

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I’m ready to paint some fun stuff now! Recently started this one of smooching sock monkeys…

Work in process

If Toys Could Talk

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Little wondrous things.

I like to paint them.


Sometimes big. Sometimes small.   clockmoth

gyro                           woodendoll

troll    Little trinkets and toys.


Where have they been?            clown





If they could talk….





**Details from my paintings. To see the entire paintings go to My Work page.**