Saturday, September 19, 2020

Who am I? (on going list)

Who are your favorite artists? John Singer-Sargent, Gustav Klimt, Henri Rousseau, Norman Rockwall, David Hockney, OKUDA SAN MIGUEL, Kirsten Ulve, RETNA, Kehinde Wiley, Aaron De La Cruz, Julia Ibbini, Jan van Os, John Hersey, Von Glitschka, Ron Chan, Nicholas Rougeux, Al Hirschfeld, Bunnie Reiss  

Who are your favorite musicians? Earth, Wind and Fire, Louis Armstrong, Yo-Yo Ma, Johann Pachelbel, Vivaldi, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians  

Tell us about your personal/professional background: It took me until my 30's to figure out what I wanted to do the rest of my life.  

Tell us about one event that completely changed the direction of your life. The birth of my son in 1991, made me more serious about everything.  

Who are your favorite heroes/heroines of fiction? Elizabeth Bennet (okay, any Jane Austen heroine) 

Who are your favorite characters in world history? Carole Lombard, Kathyrn Hepburn, Jane Austen, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Galileo, Leonardo, my art teacher - Otis Lumpkin, Alan Turing

Tell us about your background: Product of a single mom in the 50's, insecure from not having a hands-on father. And later, dealing with alcoholic fueled fights between mother and step-father, dealing with an alcoholic grandfather. Had an advantage of living in many places around the world. Lived between having everything and having nothing. 


Where would you most like to live someday? In a rustic cabin in the woods. The entry has a 12 foot carved totem, there is a very large library, must have wi-fi. A river close and a view of snow-capped mountains.

Friday, September 18, 2020

New website

I found a job posting on Indeed that really intrigued me! And made me make a mad dash to finish my new website! It makes me happy to see one job in many that gives me a little thrill. ;)

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Drink the bleach

Since I guessed I have been permanently banned from Twitter, they are still "thinking about my status" ... I must find a platform besides Facebook to air my anger.

Another installment from Margaret and Helen you might enjoy! Drinking the Bleach.

Get off our lawn!

I am not the only one done with this mess! GET OFF OUR LAWN: The case by an angry, old lady for why Donald Trump doesn’t deserve your vote.

 "How dare you. How dare you, Mr. President. We are out here in America doing EVERYTHING we can to NOT get or spread this disease. And some of us are doing it without knowing if we will be able to pay our rent next week. We are wearing masks. We are social distancing. We are making sacrifices every day in hopes that we can reduce the number of deaths. For me 1,000 deaths were too many much less 200,000.

Every other first world country has gotten this thing under control and here we are still leading the world in cases and deaths.  That’s not success.  That’s failure.  You want to blame this city or that state.  You want to blame this Mayor or that Congressman.  How is that helping anything? We needed to work harder at this.  We needed to ALL come together and do what was needed to be done.

And then you do this? You bring a thousand of your fans together without masks, without any precautions whatsoever? And then you put it on television and rub our noses in it with a million dollars’ worth of fireworks?  Fuck the Hatch Act.  I don’t give three shits about the Hatch Act.  Screw it.  And SCREW YOU MR. PRESIDENT."

And not I am following: Margaret and Helen Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting…   

About: My name is Helen Philpot. My grandson taught me how to do this so that I could “blog” with my best friend Margaret Schmechtman who I met almost 60 years ago. I have three children with my late husband Harold. Margaret has three dogs and some birds with her husband Howard. I live in Texas and Margaret lives in Maine.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Shona Wilson

For the last twenty years Australia-based artist Shona Wilson has intimately collaborated with nature by building sculptural assemblages that incorporate a myriad of found organic specimens. In her 2016 body of work, Offering, she formed mandala-like pieces from objects such as seedpods, twigs, and bones that were intended as gestures of gratitude to her practice’s source—nature.


Friday, September 04, 2020

Stick a fork in me, I think I am done

My best friend was telling me the other day that I was posting happier stuff on Facebook and she thought I was doing better with my trump-rage-posting. She has been telling me for three years that I was radicalized which my response is/was: If I don't speak out about the stupidity I see going on, I will be complicit in acting like this presidency is normal, which he is not! If I don't say something about something illegal he does daily then it will feel like I approve of that behavior, which I do not.

I agreed her assessment but later started thinking about that. After 3+ years of sheer panic, I mean waking up every day at 3:45am in tears, thinking about where our country is and where it is heading ... I am exhausted emotionally. And our situation gets worse BY THE DAY.  He lies and 39% of Americans believe him. He gets the CDC and the FDA to lie and play along with his Covid-19 cover-up and ignorance. He has the GOP by the nuts, afraid to speak truth to any lie that falls out of his mouth.

Losing my job didn't help. Worrying about finding another. Worrying about the world trying to deal with Covid-19 while many are ignoring science and facts that we are not going forward in our quest to overcome this pandemic until we all get on the same page, wear mask, stay home as much as we can, limit social contact, certainly DO NOT go to Sturgis and hang out with thousands of bikers NOT wearing mask. At this rate, we will be in this pandemic for a long time and our economy will NOT bounce back. Small businesses that we love will shutter their doors, restaurants will falter, more jobs will be lost and jobs we have lost will not come back. All preventable, if we just practice some smart and civilized restraint and stop listening to politicians, in particular ONE idiot (I will not call him a politician) that wants his great economy back ("the greatest economy HE created in the history of our country") and keep encouraging schools, business to open no matter what the risk. Trump's new Covid-19 professional advisor, Dr. Atlas is telling the world that we need herd immunity which means most of us "older folks" will be dead ... and they don't care. Of course, let's not mention that Dr. Atlas in NOT an immunologist like Dr. Fauci, who has advised six Presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues.

I have also been worrying about the vast number of people about to be evicted, families, older Americans, bound for the streets? If the economy keeps going in this direction, we will see another great depression.

Trump has literally tainted everything he has touched. He has ruined our wonderful country. His hate, his lies, his racism, his cult followers have turned this country into someplace I do not recognize. I have seen little hints of what is going on in the past. My own father whining and complaining that "the government" was coming after his guns FOR YEARS and guess what ... he still has all of guns. I have heard my own family spewing hate against Mexican/Americans and gays way back when ... I ignored it because I saw a world that was growing away from that kind of thinking. My world, the world I lived in, worked in, did was not think like that. Then Trump's birther movement started and I ignored that because I thought it was stupid and was not worth the energy even addressing it or fighting with people about it. And I was so wrong. There we 39%+ Americans out there, including some of MY best friends and family who nodded their heads in agreement and would have sworn Obama was not an American citizen, or that Michelle was really a man in drag, or that he was tarnishing our "White House" with his "black thinking". I now know I should have started screaming much sooner, severing family and friends way before trump was elected, in general, paying closer attention to QAnon, the Federalist Society and the dribble over at FakeFox and right wing radio. I knew about all of these entities but not as much as I should have. I was far too busy and comfortable wearing my blinders.

We have a willfully ignorant man in office, supported by willfully ignorant "Christians" claiming this man is sent by God! Every time he said something horrible during the 2016 campaign we all thought, surely people will now see him for what he is. And NO, they didn't. Even now when something comes to light his cult ignores it and still claims God has sent him to us. I made the statement on election night, he is the Antichrist and I believe that more than ever. He is evil. 

But I am tired. And I am working on getting the VOTE out. But if he wins again, I really do not have a game plan to hold onto my sanity. And by the way, 187,000 Americans have died as of today from Covid-19.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

I woke up in the middle of the night and ended up watching Showtime's "Love Fraud". Graphics by Martin O'Neil were fantastic. You can look at one piece of art for hours and never take in all the elements!

LOVE FRAUD title sequence from CUTITOUTXGRIFF on Vimeo.

A page from his studio

Kevin turned his studio into a page from his studio! Adorable. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Day in the life ...

It is difficult to be a part of a collaborate, create group one day and the next day, you are out. I am having a problem with that. I miss the phones calls and emails with colleagues discussing projects and solutions. Sharing ideas or sharing fun stuff we have found. Of course, they are too busy to keep up with me. But I do miss it. My life right now is "reworking" my resume to NOT reflect my age. On linkedin JOBS board. Watching kids while the kids work or replace the fence that has been down in my backyard for over a month. Cleaning up the same dishes or sweeping up the same mess on the kitchen floor. Everyday is a Saturday. Trying to figure out how to make a living without taking a job. My husband has had rotary cuff surgery so he is recovering from that. The baby just woke up, so I am off!

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Question ... What makes you special?

The career counselor asked that dreaded question the other day. "What makes you special in your job?"

I freeze on this question because I feel I always go above and beyond for most jobs. But to talk about it feels uncomfortable and embarrassing.
After a couple of uhs and ahs, it did dawn on me. I am the go-to person to get something special done in a hurry, under a budget restraint, for the head honcho of some company (but don't spend too much), for a 100th anniversary gift for a family Fred Hutchinson's family members, a very, special thank you gift for a donor. Those sort of gifts. Those moments always get me going in a fun way.

I don't know why but if you give me that kind of challenge, I am ALL IN. 

I decided that a science flask ($12.00), engraved to a donor ($50) was a good idea. And we made many of them. We also used this gift idea for fellow employees, each of us writing a personal little note, wrap it up with thread, put them in the flask. Something for them to read for years to come.
Fellow co-worker celebrating her 25th year at Fred Hutch must have a special appreciation gift. I hand-made a 25 page, accordion fold book with 25 photos of her years at the Hutch. It was fun! First -find a gift box for presentation, storing and use that for your card size, second - have a bone-folder, third - piecing many 11x17 sheets of paper together just so, fourth - have a great writer and photo editor to supply the essential ingredient!

When Madame Peng Liyuan, first lady of China visited, I quickly found a beautiful crystal trophy 3-D laser etched with a DNA strand that was stunning and appropriate. It arrived in time for the visit.

I also found a source in New York for a Fred Hutch vessel to be 3-D lasered-etched in a trophy for special Board Members thank yous, or employee going-away gift. A little expensive, but worth it!

When Fred Hutchinson turned 100, We decided a personal, hand-made book/card signed by the entire campus would be a nice gift and we made it happen. Sitting at a table, getting people to sign blank pages of the card that would later be sewn together. It was a hit. Practically free. Except for some printing and vellum paper. With the help of an excellent writer!

And of course, there are the going-away Hutch Magazine covers for each departing employee. Although I have yet to create mine ... working on it!

A fun project was when Biden decided to visit Fred Hutch and we needed to put together a booklet with a days notice. I came up with the idea of having the cover printed, on black heavy card stock and another cover printed on vellum with white ink and our logo. I had a great relationship with one printer and begged them to print these covers in one day and they agreed! (That is the advantage of having good, personal relationships with printers) ... while we were waiting for the guts to be written, edited and printed in our own little copy center. I decided we could print, fold the book, fold the two cover pieces and use a green large rubber band I found at Office Depot (not very expensive) to hold it all together. Copy center printed, the entire art department trimmed, folded and assembled these adorable books. HIT! Inexpensive. Done. Biden came. The art department made special backdrops for his visit and posters for labs. It was all a hit. 

I found an incredible, generous local artist who worked on making a vessel lamp prototype. So these are a few of the projects that makes me special. ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Keeping my fingers crossed

It has been an interesting year so far. Scary, isolating, busy, stressful, lonely, messy, noisy (in my house), chaotic and lots of reflection in the last month. Full of family, barking dogs, and kids running around naked. Reflecting on what to do with my future self. Am I too young to retire? Do I have it in me to start my creating my own for real? Do I have it in my to even get my studio back in order?

I am sad for our country and I refuse to let one odious remark that trump makes go unnoticed but posting it somewhere on the internet. I am sad because I have lost so many friends and family because of this horrible man. I could have ignored that they supported a racist, money laundering immoral moron to run our precious country to the ground ... but I just couldn't do it. That was my line in the sand and for that I have a handful of family and friends left in my circle. I feel like an orphan except, I luckily DO have my excellent family around me. I am thankful for that.

I embarrassed because I see the most horrible videos of racist crap going on in our country and I think, "where were these people hiding"? Even white people are completely disgusted with white people right now. How can we be acting like this in 2020? Trump has given these most vile people permission to be the worst of humankind and are not ashamed to be filmed acting out in that way. Will we ever stuff it back in a bottle? Or will be just have to figure out a way to live with it for the rest of our lives?

I feel frustrated because of the privileged "Karens' running around making fools of the human race. Demanding little kids show their license to sell lemonade on the sidewalk or ask a Mexican family to leave a park. I mean. The audacity and stupidity of this is astounding.

I am making a long list of the ideas of have had in the last 7 years to create and make. A list of what I would really love to do. Trying to decide whether I go back to school and learn UX and UI design or do I move on from graphic arts and do something entirely different?

Untethered to a schedule, I am finding that taking a nap anytime during the day to delicious. Happy hour can come in mid afternoon. Baking and cleaning can be done whenever. Binge watching all kinds of foreign mysteries. Soon will come helping Mason with her online school work, school will be online for the first 4 months of the school year. We are going to be busy for sure.

But this blog has been my best friend for 16 years and I want to document what is going on in this tumultuous times. I don't think the kids have a clue how unusual all of this is and how scary it could become if we descend into a full blown depression, which is completely possible. I don't think they understand that no one will have money to get their hair colored or may even build a house. I keep my fingers crossed that our economy will not sink into that.

But I am keeping my fingers crossed everyday for a better day to come on so many fronts. Our economy, our country, our politics, my future, our health. It seems endless, doesn't it? ;)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Foray into my future

I am waiting for the "newly unemployed" seminar to begin, a perk from my "you're laid off" package. Reading through LinkedIn jobs and saw this piece by Mika Brzezinski on "How I'm dealing with the stress of these extraordinary times". I guess no matter what your station in life, we are all trying to deal with this new reality. I do more dishes than I would like to, at least two loads a day. The kitchen floor just stays dirty, needing vacuuming almost everyday and I opt for once a week (not a floor you can walk barefooted on, if you know what I mean). We consider what we are having for dinner with more energy and reverence than ever before. We also bake more, brownies, cakes and cheesecakes ... to reward ourselves for not leaving the house? We spend more money on groceries but there are 6 of us here and I feel justified in the expense. I watch lots of foreign, subtitled, Swedish and Finnish mysteries.

I know my house is noisier than most. We usually have a least 2 TVs going, two kids screaming, David and I yelling at the news, 3 dogs barking. I went to a neighbors and her house was completely silent ... and I thought ... what a difference. Could I handle the silence after years of chaos?

I used to say, I feel so lucky, I still have my job and now that is gone. Unfortunately, I have too much of my identity wrapped up in "a job". I am aware of that. But at 64, I am pretty sure getting hired again, except for a sales clerk or Costco sample person ... might be very difficult. I am trying to be realistic. It is too soon to retire and too old to get hired. That is a conundrum. 

I am considering something on my own. Painting or building something? More sculptures or fltr skulls? I can tell that this is the right direction because I get giddy and light-headed at the thought of it. I just need to get through my initial fear of being unemployed, uninsured and figure out my best path for now.

Then there is the reality of the pandemic and the politicizing of wearing a mask. We have a president that is a psychopath and it is so depressing that 30% of Americans don't see that. I don't understand it all, mind-boggling! The fear of contracting COVID-19, which I have nightmares about all the time and question the kids at length about where they went, how many people were there, did they wash their hands. In other words, they are all getting sick of me. But seriously, David and I have enough health issues that we will not survive it and I do not plan on ending up on a ventilator and alone in ICU. Dark times we are living in, where you call to check on your cremation plan and see how much you still owe.

My seminar complete, they will help me update my resume and cover letters. Have a look at my LinkedIn and help me write an announcement of looking for work, which I sort of already have. See previous blog entry ;) One on one coaching. Looking over my social media (oops, wait until they see my Facebook). I know they going to tell me to stop the Trump Facebook post and tweeting ... but I am not going to do it. And I will not dye my hair brown.

I have decided I am going to write more letters in the next two weeks. I loved writing letters and have not done in ages. Did you see that post where residence of nursing homes were asking for pen pals? I just think this is such a great idea. And write my M-I-L a nice, long letter.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

A blank wall

I love the wallpaper by Antonio Marras! Wouldn't be nice to have a blank house to decorate? 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Processing my future and the process of my past love

Parting thoughts. Before all my memories fade.

Spent yesterday returning my equipment to Fred Hutch, computers, badge, etc and collecting 7 years of work and stuff. 7 boxes later, chock full with my printed samples, paper samples, my books, little torn pieces of paper as inspiration for something?, photos, purchased cards for inspiration, layouts, color schemes with pantone chips ... I was out of there. 

David and Mason went with me for moral support because I was a little afraid I would not get through it without tears. Everyone at Fred Hutch use to urge me to purge my inspirational keepsakes but that was never a consideration. Actually, it would make me a little annoyed when people insisted I did not need those books, posters, pieces of torn paper or art for inspiration. Who are they to say I don't need my visual hand-holding through the design process.

Mason was going through every little piece of paper saying "I really love this", "we have to keep this" or "this is the cutest thing I have ever seen". So of course, I brought lots and lots of paper sample books and stuff for her to do her "art projects" with. She spent 5  hours after we got home going through the boxes, making one box for "paper" and one box for "things" ... and of course, being my mini-me, kept just about everything. ;) She said after finishing going through all the papers, "I am living was my best day". She would love a magazine cover or a piece of art and I would say, "I did that", and she would oohhh and ahhhh. So it was quite an entertaining, uplifting afternoon.

So now I have gone through all of my samples. Kept 4 of each and recycled the rest. Threw away most of my mock-ups, and paper samples, envelope samples for a project, color schemes. As I am going through each one, reliving the process of coming up with the idea and designing it. The thrill of each project is the process of coming up with the idea and getting everyone to sign off on it. It is also the process of getting bids from printers, talking to printers about the best way to approach printing the piece, the best paper, paper weights, envelopes. Ordering samples of foils (I love that), ordering sample envelopes and colors (usually from, ordering in special paper to check color and texture. You would be surprised how many papers are NOT available these days in small quantities and if you have a large job, they can order up paper from a source. These things I have learned, sometimes, the hard way working closely with printers. I have the greatest printer connections and they have always been the best to me! My favorite printer is TCC Printers, Cathy would also patiently talk me through what I had imagined and was it feasible. What was the best way to go about it and what were any cost-saving solutions. I really loved that part of every project. Well, honestly, I can't think of too many parts of any job I did at Fred Hutch that I didn't love to bits and pieces. And honestly, every step of the process is thrilling!

It is all about cost when you work for a non-profit. Can you add something "special" and stay under budget? A foil? A die-cut? A converted envelope? Usually the budget is very small. But for more prestigious events we could have foils and die-cuts maybe converted envelopes ... a designers dream. Spending lots of money always makes me nervous! And I promise you, if you don't press-check something, it will be THAT  print job that goes awry! I only had one major malfunction in 7 years. A misspelled word on an invite that was not caught in the early editing process and made it through a printing. We have it reprinted and replaced in each very expensive "mirror envelope" carefully pulled open using a blow-dryer on 800 invitations. NERVE-WRACKING.

I designed all sorts of things. Invitations, rack cards, tri-folds, logos, branding for doors after our redesign, branding for vehicles, illustrations for stories, logos, animations, posters, special thank you presents, the lowly newsletter, cover illustrations for research magazines for science papers for our researchers, we had a quarterly magazine that we all took turns designing, photo props (I made 4 cells over a weekend), environmental signs for campus, special handouts for conventions, recruitment for donors, desktop backgrounds, powerpoints for TED talks. In other words, we (the art department) did it all. 

But there were other things as well: handmade books, vessel lamp prototype, Hutch Going Away covers for employees leaving, I made an accordion fold, 25-page book for someone celebrating 25 years at Fred Hutch, pieced together and delivered in a special box. I bought science flask and had them engraved with a simple message of thanks to donors. (Flask cost $12.00). We also used that same flask to for a present for someone who had been at Fred Hutch for many years, we all wrote a messages on bright paper, rolled them and tied them with string, deposited them in the flask and popped the stopper on. What a great present for her to have for years. I really thought long and hard about fun, less expensive ways we could honor donors and employees who honored us with their donations and years of dedication. 

If a department wanted me to do special science cards for donors, for NO money. I would print them, fold them, personalize envelope liners, package them, all by myself, for the LOVE of just doing it! And be so happy doing it. I personally bought a creaser for this project and I suggest if you do many cards you invest in one!

One fun and fun project was when Biden decided to visit Fred Hutch and we needed to put together a booklet with a days notice. I came up with the idea of having the cover printed, on black heavy card stock and another cover printed on velum with white ink and our logo. I had a great relationship with one printer and begged them to print these covers in one day and they agreed! (That is the advantage of having good, personal relationships with printers) ... while we waiting for the guts to be written, edited and printed in our own little copy center. I decided we could print, fold the book, fold the two cover pieces and use a green large rubber band I found at Office Depot (not very expensive) to hold it all together. So the copy center printed, the entire art department trimmed, folded and assembled these adorable books. HIT! Inexpensive. Done. Biden came. The rest of the art department made special backdrops for his visit and posters for labs. It was all a hit.

I decided we did not play up the "vessel sculpture" on our campus designed by Ed Carpenter. It is big, sparkly, beautiful ("employs light to represent the optimistic spirit of the institution"). I decided we should use the image more. I made several vector based silhouettes of it and we started to use it in amazing ways. One day I had a vision of a blank card, the silhouettes of the vessel in a holographic foil (which is what it looks like in the sun) and my wonderful art director said "go for it".  I mean how lucky? How much fun is that? We have used that silhouette now on many projects, driving home that we have this amazing, "larger than life" piece of art on our campus. 

So my wonderful job was not just about "the website" as the main bean-counter would have you believe. My job there was so much more, so much deeper and more fun. Although, I did just design the webpage for the upcoming "In For the Hutch" microsite. So I can DO web design. It is just not my strongest skill. 

I am so thankful that I had 7 years to work at my dream job. I did so many amazing things there. Well, amazing and scary for ME. Most of it scary in the sense you never know if people are going to "like it"or "approve it". Amazing in the sense, that I got to use ALL of my talents. I really don't consider myself that "talented", but I do consider myself interested in EVERYTHING and willing to try ANYTHING. And will expand my horizons in many ways. In that sense, I am proud of my work. Willing to figure out a way a "make it happen". 

So I am willing myself to come up with the "future me" and I am thinking  ... folk art? Maybe David and I will pair up and do stock art illustrations?  I just need to get out of my depressed funk, "can't believe that just happened to me" state of mind. Naps and lots of binge-watching-Netflix? Dreaming up what is next for me?

I wanted a poster but they did not want that

I ended up with these multi, folded, many patterns, photoshopped art invitation. I liked them but I think the poster would have been so much more fun!

My original mood board

This was the original idea, more scientific images, no one liked it

Invitation printed on a bandana! I Loved it! I printed the enclosure paper bag on our printer at work

Just  a few examples of my fun at Fred Hutch

The vessel lamp prototype

Monday, July 06, 2020

Future path

I was laid off from my job last week. Me and 76 others at Fred Hutch due to COVID-19 economic downturn. It has taken me a a couple of days to get my head wrapped around starting again at 64.

But we are having beautiful weather this week. And I am going to focus on that instead of looking for work.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Ward Schumaker

Just found my new favorite artist, Ward Schumaker. More work can be found here

Sunday, May 31, 2020



Belle Clipart Boutique on Etsy 

Pencil Pop

Jean-Augustin Barral


Tracey English