Art for fun and…

Wow, what a long strange trip it’s been!

It’s hard to believe that Ray and I have been working on Essex & Orange for over two years now.  So much has happened since we started and we’ve been having a hard time trying to figure out what it is we really want to accomplish with this site.  We think we may have figured it out.

I’m one of those people who has multiple sides, and people who think they know me will always end up being surprised by one thing or another.  I’ve never been a big believer in astrology but I am a Gemini, and I guess if there ever was a classic Gemini, I would be it.

It’s difficult for artists to be politically conservative.  For some reason artists have been categorized as being odd or different, and therefore fit in more on the progressive side of things.  Frankly, I don’t think that’s the case at all because if being odd or different was the issue, they’d all be conservatives!

We are the real free spirits and I find it continually amusing that those in the arts who make themselves out to be so avante garde essentially spend most of their time creating art that’s very similar to what the other “artists” are creating.  It’s like a sea of lemmings out there…everyone swimming in the same direction while dismissing those that swim against the current.

I’m one of those uncooperative people.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area would have been so much easier for me if I could have just towed the progressive line.  I admit that there was a short span of about two weeks when I was in college when I really tried.  Then somebody said something so amazingly stupid that I realized it just wasn’t going to take.  I’d been raised with common sense, and try as I might, I couldn’t shake it.  If someone told me the sky was green I knew they were crazy, and I could always spot that Emperor who was walking around buck naked, (and I tell you, sometimes I didn’t want to see that!).  I don’t think it has anything to do with superior intelligence, although God gifted me with a decent set of brains.  I think it has more to do with being raised by parents who lived in the real world.  My dad ran a business, my mom had a budget, we kids were expected to do well in school and stay out of trouble, we went to church twice a week, and we didn’t break the law or even think about it.   We were a typical American family of the time.

However, we weren’t automatons.  My father worked long hours but he enjoyed documentaries and museums, he was a font of interesting historical facts.  My mother had a love of design, she sewed beautifully and made sure we were well dressed.  She decorated her home herself, and did all of the traditional Mom things, and she played the violin and worked with a youth orchestra.  My older brother lifted weights and was built like a football lineman, he was also a competitive classical pianist.  My younger brother did his own thing,  he played goalie on an ice hockey team in California in the 1970s, (not your typical California sport), he also followed the Grateful Dead and spent years living in a houseboat on the Delta.

Anyone who looked at our family from the outside would not know all of the talents and abilities we shared, nor would many of them understand why we did what we did that was unusual for our place and time.

The thing is, we are Americans, and we live our lives as we see fit.  We are able to do what we love, to try out new things, to break down barriers, and make people question their assumptions.  We don’t fit into any round hole, and we don’t want to.  We want to be the best person we can be, and to use the talents God gave us, whether they were conventional or not.

If there was one thing I learned as a child, it’s that you never judge a book by its’ cover.  Never.

That’s one of the reasons I love to do the art I do.  I love to push people’s buttons, to get them to think for themselves for a change, and if I get a chuckle out of them, all the better.  Life isn’t fun enough today, we need more laughter, and we need to take ourselves less seriously.

The art that I do is digital collage which I ended up doing because of a project I did for my last job.  Before that I’d never used Photoshop, but now that I’ve been using it for years I can’t think of anything I enjoy more than taking silly vintage images, photos, and my own drawings and turning them into something fun, bright, and cheerful.

I used to make these intensive beaded art quilts.  They were fun to make, and I had some success winning contests and placing well in quilt shows, but they took forever, and I mean forever.  Sometimes I’d get an idea and by the time I finished it I was so over it you can’t imagine.  It’s amazing that I ever finished anything!

Now I can whip out half a dozen fun designs in an evening, enjoying myself painting and filtering and layering to get just the right effect.  Sometimes digital art seems like a sell out, it’s just too fun and easy.  I know I should be sweltering working away in a garret somewhere, but frankly, sitting in my recliner with the dog tucked in next to me suits me just fine.

I hope you enjoy my artistic contributions and quirky sense of humor.  The illustration below is an example of what happens when someone drinks too much iced tea.  When I saw these bears with shotguns I immediately thought about  bears and what they normally do in the woods.  What a wonderful coincidence that it sounds so much like “shoot”!


Too much iced tea and a sense of the absurd fed by a steady diet of Monty Python as a teenager, that’s the recipe for creating art that’s fun.

Why not?

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