This week’s video is a little over-the-top but I had fun making it despite the depressing subject matter. Every week there are new advancements in AI that enable people to avoid being themselves in front of others. Is AI democratizing art or destroying it? Is there a point in consuming things that no one bothered to actually make? Should we engage with people who don’t bother to write their own comments?

I have a lot of questions and concerns, and I lay (almost) all of them out in this video. Stay tuned for a future video where I’ll talk about what I think is the actual danger to the arts in this day and age.

“For what is original is only what is true, a newly perceived truth; the peculiar is the imitation article. And there is a very great distinction between the freakish oddity of peculiar things and the genuine original work.” – Harold Speed, The Science & Practice of Oil Painting, 1924

I forgot to share yesterday’s Oil Book yesterday – oops! Here it is – a long one with a lot of information about choosing safe paints. I try to maintain a non-toxic oil paint studio which is actually pretty easy. I talk in this video about what materials I choose and misconceptions about other types of paint being safer.

If you’ve been hesitant to try oils because you think acrylics or watercolors are safer I think it’s important to understand all paints are using the same potentially toxic pigments and acrylics have the added hazard of formaldehyde as a preservative. Oil paint gets an unnecessarily bad rap in my opinion because of old school standards that can be left by the wayside in favor of safer materials.

Today I also drew a winner for a 3 month subscription! The winner was vhsu! Each month I’ll choose a random winner from those who have an activity rating of 4+ stars. I want to make sure whoever gets it will actually use it rather than giving it to someone that never opens the e-mails. Congrats vhsu!

Can you win more than once? Yes! If you’re already comped and you get drawn again, you’ll get another 3 months added on.

Have a great weekend everyone and I hope you do something creative.

Subscribe to my Substack to be entered into the monthly comped subscription drawing

This was originally posted on my Substack.



Way back in 2008, when I bought my first “set” of professional watercolors*, I bought an array of Winsor & Newton colors in tubes. At the time, Dick Blick (now they just call it Blick, but the OGs remember) had a special freebie; buy so many watercolor tubes, get a free book by John Barber about mixing watercolors.

*My first “set” was actually just a bunch of individual tubes that Amy Brown recommended as a good start.

I didn’t know who John Barber was back then, and owing to the incredibly large number of artists named John Barber, I still don’t have a clue. I am pretty sure it’s not famed maritime artist John M. Barber, but I think it’s a little odd that the JB who made so many color-mixing guide books doesn’t have any kind of web presence at all. That may be due to the fact that his author page lists his date of birth in 1932. I hope that when I am in my 90s you’ll forgive me if I don’t maintain an internet presence.

On initial inspection, the book didn’t look that interesting. The swatches on the front cover gave no indication of what little treasures were actually inside the book. Once I opened it I was blown away.

I don’t often talk about my time in classical art instruction as a student, because it was fairly short-lived and unsuccessful for me. My allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, and asthma got the best of me, and I had to drop out and take incompletes. That was after I had gone to school for video game design, which turned out to be a for-profit loan scam.

I remember in one class JD Parrish had us make a bunch of swatches of color, which seemed like a punishment at the time. We wanted to draw, and paint, and be geniuses, and he wanted us to take some training wheels and learn basics. Boring! After we had finally painted all the swatches, he told us to start cutting them out and arranging them similarly to the wheels above. We thought he was nuts, honestly. I remember several of us sitting at a table together and just exchanging a look like, “why the hell is he making us do this?”

That was just months before I came across John Barber’s books by happy accident. Then it clicked into place why JD made us do what JB was doing. I have several color recipe guides, but I think that this is the best way of visualizing color mixtures.

Over the years I’ve made lots of little charts like these, which are better than nothing. At a glance, though, they are kind of jumbled, chaotic, and a little hard to track visually as the mixtures are very basic and run diagonally in close quarters with so many other colors. It looks neat, but it doesn’t provide as much information as you’d like. Of course you can fit a lot more colors into something like this than the cool wheels above.

Over and over I’d find myself getting that watercolor mixing guide out and looking in there for ideas and inspiration. Until a few days ago, when I discovered that something has happened to it. Either I loaned it out to someone a long time ago, and forgot, it is just hiding somewhere, I lost it when I moved, or maybe someone donated it on accident.

I figured I could still find one on the Internet and I sure did, for $85. A little too rich for my blood, even for my favorite color guide.

In my searching I found out that John has written lots of books on mixing color. It looks like he’s actually never written a book about anything else, which I found a little odd and interesting.

In each of his guides, John lays out how to make 2,400 colors out of a standard palette which usually features all the greatest hits. You know the ones, raw sienna, cadmium red, violet, rose.

His method of laying out these color mixing guides is probably the best that I’ve encountered for visualizing mixtures. At any rate, I was surprised and excited to find out that there are actually lots of John Barber titles, and I grabbed a new copy of the guide above for mixing in oils, watercolors, and acrylics for $20, and a used copy of The Watercolour Wheel Book for about $5, from ThriftBooks.

I’ll post again once I’ve gotten them and had a good look inside, and over the next few months I’ll be working on and eventually share a printable swatch card, or maybe two or three options, depending on what I come up with.

It’s been on my mind a lot since I noticed last summer that several of my watercolors were actually going bad. Not just drying out in the tubes, but actually FESTERING! Gah! I don’t know why, but a tube caught my eye and I thought, “I better smell that.”

WHY! WHY! I REALLY WISH I HADN’T. I still get chills and sometimes gag when I think about it.

I stopped everything I was doing on the Angel Tarot and went into emergency mode, quickly moving all my watercolors out of their tubes into pans, those little white squares they are sold in dry, instead. But then I was left with a huge problem – how do I keep track of what I have, what pigments are in them, if they are permanent, or toxic, or who made them?

And so I have spent most of my freetime lately making a portable-size catalogue of everything that I have, what’s in it, who made it, and so on. I really hated that swatching project JD made us do, and here I am all these years later, making approximately fourteen billion swatches of color. I’ll let you know if I ever finish this thing.

 Several years ago, I think in 2013, I started doing “Days of Christmas” on my website. I would offer a crazy deal for that day on one print, or put a free item in every order – something fun like that. I don’t think I managed it the last couple of years. Between my chronic illness, surgery, caring for my grandparents, homeschooling, and daily drudgery, a lot of the magic of the season disappeared for me. This year already feels very different, and I really wanted to bring back the Days of Christmas thing. It was fun and I think the people who participated also enjoyed it.

Today I’m giving away a free book with every order. I’ll do this until I run out of books, but I don’t think I will run out of books. I have a lot of books!

I’m also donating the profits from my Santa Wizard paintings to Disabled American Veterans again this year. I usually do the donation myself which means I have to wait until my bookkeeping is all done, but this year since I moved my sales to eBay, eBay will automatically disburse the donation to DAV. One less thing for me to worry about and hopefully anyone who wondered if I actually donate the money (I do) will feel better about donating this year.

Aside from that today I am in the very chilly studio working on finishing a Saint Lucy/Lucia painting in the Swedish tradition. What I mean by that is, even though Lucia was not Swedish, girls dress up as her in Sweden on December 13th, wearing crowns of greenery and candles, and they usually carry offerings of fika – gingerbread cookies, buns, and mulled wine or coffee, or both. Saint Lucy is seen as a light-bringer, and of course in very dark and snowy parts of the world, that’s fabulous and definitely worth celebrating as the darkest night of the year approaches.

The figure they base this celebration upon is either Saint Lucy, the Italian martyr, or Adam’s first wife, who had relations with the devil and produced invisible infernal offspring. Look – I have no idea what this has to do with Christmas, but it is beautiful and captivating, so let’s just go with it.


I thought the weather was going to warm up, and I suppose it did, but now it is just raining, blustery, barely tolerable inside, and going outside for firewood makes one feel like an adventurer. I will have to embrace my adventurous side at least once more this morning and go let the birds out. Of course I threw my coats in the washer last night and forgot to put them in the dryer, so I have a single fleece and that’s it. Since it was going to warm up I also let the fires go out so I could clean the ash out of the stoves. The thing is since a large portion of my house is stone, brick, and glass, it has a certain “earthship” quality in that it will heat up enough to be comfortable just from the sun. But if it is cloudy and 47 degrees outside it makes no difference at all. Yesterday it was sunny. Today it is not. Brr.

I guess it’s as good an environment as I’m going to get for making Christmas art in Georgia. It hardly ever snows before Christmas here, so I will just have to imagine a few snowflakes blowing around in the rain today.

And, before I forget, this Lucia painting is indeed December’s full moon painting. The December full moon is sometimes known as the Cold Moon or the Oak Moon, or the Long Night Moon. Lucia felt like a fitting figure for this one.

Last month I painted the Mourning Moon and I just posted the video of that one this morning.


I hope you are staying warm in your corner of the world.

 Lately I looked around my giant 500-something square foot studio and realized, “I don’t have any space in here.”

Why is that, I wondered. I don’t have enough storage, that’s part of it. Then when I looked at the storage I do have I realized:

  1. I have painted a lot of stuff in the last 3 years – at least 100 oil paintings, a handful of watercolor pieces, hundreds of sketches, and then all the paintings that didn’t work out, reference material, punch lists, and so on.
  2. I have a lot of SHIT in here. No, that’s not a funny acronym, and pardon my French – but seriously, what is even IN my vertical file? A survey of two of 24 cubbies reveals a lot of reference material from 10 years ago, a batch of bad prints also from 10 years ago, and a coil-bound sketchbook that got smashed and won’t open, from 16 years ago. Send help.
  3. Another survey of shelf space reveals a lot of empty drawers and shelves. Why? I couldn’t find the perfect thing to fit there, so nothing goes there. It all goes on the floor instead. Why am I like this?
  4. It doesn’t help that there is a piano and a bunch of stuff that doesn’t belong here in the middle of the room, I guess. The piano has to stay because the floors upstairs are 111-years-old and frankly, I don’t trust them with my heavy piano that is almost as old.

It’s strange how you forget how many paintings you’ve done until you’re looking at a stack of rolled canvas and paper. Even then, some of the paintings are hung up around the house, and some needed repairs or a coat of varnish, so they were tucked away somewhere safe. I have been discovering paintings I forgot I still had everywhere all week. I kept wondering why I wasn’t selling any originals, well…

I had about 12 of approximately 140 pieces of art actually listed online. It would probably help if I actually put them all up for sale, huh?

I have a lot of work ahead of me. I have barely gotten my backlog of OLD work posted online, I keep finding more, and I have a list as long as my arm, single-spaced, of paintings hanging up or paintings in archive clamshells. How did it get like this? When did I stop putting things for sale online? And how did I not notice that I forgot to ever post any of this stuff online? I blame the complication and overwhelm of having an online store, an eBay store, and an Etsy store, a wholesale division, art show stock, and probably some other stuff I forgot about. Simplifying everything down to just the eBay store means suddenly it’s very obvious what needs to be done, whereas somehow before it wasn’t as clear. When you add into the mix the chaos of working on a tarot deck and moving, I guess it’s not really surprising that a truckload of art has been just sitting here.

Hopefully by the end of this week I’ll have a good grasp on what’s actually here and have more usable space again. At the very least it will be December 1st and I’ll have a handful of goodies from our advent calendars and a fresh batch of cookies to soothe my sorrows.

I think one of the hardest things an artist can do is raise their prices. For around twelve years I have kept my prices the same. That meant sometimes I had to make sacrifices to keep my prices that low, like bring back old art, or buy a different brand of paper. Eventually we look around and realize our art is the cheapest art in the show. Sometimes we have uncomfortable conversations with other artists, where they whisper at us that our prices are so low it’s hurting us both. Then we have to figure out what that means and decide if we’re going to keep it up or do something about it.

I decided last year I needed to do something about it. I had planned to return to conventions this year, but that didn’t go as planned. Nonetheless, I needed to raise my prices to be more in line with the price structure other artists with similar skill and subject matter were charging. I also needed to raise them because, as much as I hate to talk or even think about money, the price of everything has gone up. Most of the money my art generates goes into keeping me alive, to be frank, and everything that I need to stay alive has gone up in price exponentially. It’s also hard to ignore that my own medical expenses in the last year have been pretty crippling. Between needing a lot of medications and medication shortages driving up costs, being Tiffany has been a little rough lately. If I’m going to stay alive and make more art, I’m going to have to charge more for my art.

It’s that simple, and unromantic.

It seems pretty fair to me. I am more experienced than I was in 2020, or 2015, or 2010. I have worked on some cool things now and this year I took some classes in order to get a better understanding of where I’d like to go with my art from here. And when you buy something from me, you get the benefit of all that experience that I’ve gained.

Still, some people have been with me since my originals were selling on eBay for $10. It may be hard for them to accept that most of my newer paintings are closer to $1,000 than they are to $10. But in that same span of time many of my friends went from the same place to selling their paintings for $4,000 or more. Realistically, even at $1,500 for some of my newer paintings, I’m still not asking enough, and over the next few years I’ll be doing what I can to try and add more value to my paintings so that I can survive more comfortably on my art.

Or maybe I’ll just give it up and go do something else.

When those are the two choices, I hope you understand why my prices have gone up. If you’re reading this because you’re an artist wondering if you should raise your prices or just pack it up, I wish you peace with whatever choice you decide to make. It is not an easy conversation to have with yourself or with a collector, but it is necessary to reevaluate your prices on a regular basis and bring them in line with the value you are offering. Hopefully you don’t have to explain yourself, but if you do, maybe I’ve given you a few ideas on where to start.


I remember when NaNoWriMo first became an internet “challenge.” Back then I thought I’d really like to participate someday, but I was a teenager and lacked the organizational skills to write anything more than a short story.

As time went by I still thought about it every year but I had a lot of other things going on. In 2005 I began selling my art online and had my first art shows. Art took center stage for a while until 2011 when I started my family, and until 2019 the years are a haze of childrearing and not sleeping enough.

2019 was, I thought, the start of a reinvigoration of my art career. I had a few very successful conventions and was setting up a full roster for 2020. And then we all know what happened.

In the time since I’ve struggled with my health and my immune system, and every time I’ve thought I was ready to go back to conventions and traveling, I have had second thoughts. My autoimmune problems flare up, or as the case was with 2023, when I was intent on going to two shows, my grandmother got very sick. She literally died the day before one of those two shows, and while I think she would have wanted me to go, I didn’t want to leave my family.

In 2021 through the first half of this year I worked on the Angel Tarot, and that had to be my sole focus because my health was so terrible. Once I wrapped that up, I resolved, I was going to “win” NaNoWriMo. I’d had an idea for a book back in 2021 and I wrote the first 4400 words of it and then tucked them away for after the Angel Tarot. I never thought the AT would take as long as it did, but when I finished it at the end of July this year I thought that was perfect. It would give me a couple months to wrap up some art, go to that show that I didn’t make it to, and prepare for November, when NaNoWriMo traditionally takes place.

Things didn’t really go to plan as we already covered but I still knew I had to do NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t going to put it off anymore. I wondered if I would be able to come up with 50,000 words to write since I have never tried anything longer than a short story before. To my surprise it was very easy to come up with the first 4k, another 2 or 3k every day after that, and some days 5 or 6k.

On Saturday, the 18th of November, I “won”.

I crossed the finish line at 52,428 words, and I think about halfway through my story. I probably won’t write the remaining 25-40k words until after the holidays since it’s such a busy time of year anyway and I would like to sell some art. For now I am satisfied that I won NaNoWriMo so early that when I clicked the button to collect my winner goodies, I was simply greeted with the message that I was there earlier than expected and nothing was ready except a .gif of a dancing dog.

Today seems like the perfect sort of day to return to working on winter paintings, posting things for sale, and getting ready for Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s blustery and very dismal outside, and inside this 111-year-old manor I have two fireplaces roaring. I have splurged on a pressure canner and I will spend the day preparing ingredients, making stock for soups and canning them, and listing things on eBay for Black Friday. We’re expecting a lot of rain over the next 48 hours and cold weather after that, so I am looking forward to cozying up with my computer next to the fireplace and keeping warm in the kitchen. For some reason the kitchen is always hot in this place, even when the rest of the house is frigid, but on winter days I don’t mind it.

Anyway, time to go throw more logs in fireplaces and get ready for a long day of miscellaneous chores.

an oil painting of a woman in a black dress sitting on stacks of books arranged like a throne

It’s funny how going from working on something like the Angel Tarot to working on whatever you’d like can make you feel like the slowest painter in the world. While working on AT I reached a frenetic, unsustainable pace in the last month of it to get it across the finish line, and now while I have a lot of projects in the pipeline, none of them have hard and fast deadlines. Instead of working like a madwoman I can slow down and enjoy the process again. I can also examine some of the processes I use now and determine if they are ones I want to keep.

When I first started out painting I always started with the faces. If I liked the face the rest of the painting would usually turn out good. If I didn’t like the face it usually turned out to be a weird omen that something would happen during the rest of the painting and the whole thing would either end up discarded or be one of my least favorite pieces. It’s not the “right” way to paint – you should paint the background first, and go from left to right if you are right-handed, and opposite if you are left-handed – particularly so if you are using an unforgiving medium like watercolor. I never much cared about what was the “right” way to do things when I started out. Seeing the finished face and liking the result also motivated me to finish some of the more boring parts in order to show the world the little character I had made.

One day I recall someone saying something like, “you can always tell an amateur painter from a professional, because amateurs always start with the faces.” Or something like that. And I didn’t want to be seen as an amateur at that point, so I immediately stopped painting the way that works for me and I switched to painting “the right way.”

Now I don’t care if people think I am an amateur. Some people will think you are an amateur no matter how skilled you are or how far you go. You don’t have to sit in on very many conversations between artists before you find one of those people. They are everywhere and usually they aren’t very good or very successful anyway – at least that’s been my finding. I think sometimes these comments come from a place of deep dissatisfaction with the speaker’s own work or insecurity about their financial success. Maybe the only thing they have left to feel good about is that they are doing it “the right way” even if it isn’t really working for them.

For a really long time I stuck to painting the right way, and for a really long time I’ve struggled to connect to my paintings the way I once did. Initially when I started on this painting I was doing the same old thing. I started on the background in the left corner. And then I thought, I’d really like to see her face. Realizing that I didn’t have to work around the wet paint, that I wasn’t on a deadline and I could just paint her face, let it dry, and work on the rest another day, I went ahead and painted her face.

Once her face was there it was much easier to convince myself to paint the tedious background of this piece. I think it has great visual effect, her throne of books, pumpkins, autumn leaves, and a cozy firefly lantern, but it was nonetheless tedious to paint 130 books and if I didn’t feel connected to the piece I probably would have given up after the first few dozen books.

Feeling connected to your work as an artist is so important. Often we get caught up in the idea that the subject matter of the painting is where the connection lies, but the process is also important. Working the “right” way has its merits and uses – if I had to hurry to finish this painting then working around the wet paint on her face would have been tricky and I might have smeared it on accident. But if the “right” method hinders your personal connection to your work, makes you enjoy it less, and makes the process feel like a slog, then leave it behind and do whatever gives you that sense of connection. That connection, that desire to finish the piece and share it with the world, is often what will prevent burnout and artist block – at least that’s how I feel. Having to stifle myself and especially working on things that I can’t share, or don’t like enough to want to share, always makes me feel blocked and burned out faster than anything else I could do.

I don’t really care if it is childish to paint the faces first. I have been doing that since I started this piece and it’s been working fantastically for me. I also did it for approximately 200 pieces before I stopped painting the faces first and those pieces are the ones that I built my career on. I see each of my paintings as little stories and it’s hard to connect to a story that doesn’t have a main character, isn’t it?

This little story is sort of a self-portrait. No, the character isn’t me, but the hoard of books? Yep, that’s me. Her To Be Read list is probably as long as mine, and if I didn’t have a library in my home I’d probably be sitting on chairs made of all the books I haven’t read yet. As the weather turns cold and gray I relate more and more to this character. Little pumpkins from my garden dot the surfaces of my house, I miss the fireflies of summer, and if I had the shelf space I would probably go out and buy a list of books as long as my arm. Unfortunately even in my private library shelf space is running out and I am beginning to lose my closet space to the books I am reading currently. Perhaps I will have to give away some that I have read or maybe I will have to build more shelves on the remaining empty wall of the library.

The rest of this month will be spent working on some wintery paintings, some special things for Yule, and NaNoWriMo. Since I am currently taking it easy with paintings and giving myself more time to work on them, I decided I would take the time to do something that I always wanted to do and write a novel in November. I am on track as of this writing at 16% of the way through my novel. Only 20% of the people who attempt NaNoWriMo actually finish it, and I intend to be in that 20%, but I also intend to finish some paintings.

Hopefully I can do both and maybe add something to your TBR pile.



I remember many years ago when I was very young, perhaps 20, meeting an artist that I looked up to at a convention. He lamented that no one really did pen and ink work anymore and that it was a dying art. I made it my business to learn pen and ink after that. I’ve never gotten any jobs for it, so I’ve come to the conclusion it’s not that artists don’t want to make it, it’s that publishers are looking for color art instead. But I did discover I really enjoy it.

I think around that same time InkTober, the monthlong challenge for October to produce one ink drawing every day, came about. I wonder if Jake heard a similar complaint, or had one of his own? At any rate, now the internet is flooded each October with pen and ink work that publishers mostly don’t even want anymore.

But if you love an art form then you just keep doing it anyway, don’t you? And that’s where I’m at. Every October, because that’s when people are looking for it, I dust off my little storage bag of Tombow and Rapidograph pens and I get to work on what I have carefully plotted out sometimes for the whole year in advance. I tell myself I am going to finish one drawing every single day, and then…

Life just lifes all over the place.

This year was much worse than any other year. October so far is a blur. I don’t really remember when we put my grandmother on hospice. In June, actually on her birthday of June 10th, she slipped getting out of her power recliner and she landed on her butt right in front of the chair. She had osteoporosis and her spine was surgically fused, so she broke her back that morning and it simply never healed. If you’ve ever lived with a broken back for a normal amount of time you know she was in a lot of pain, but in her case she wasn’t a candidate for surgical repair either because last year she had a heart attack and she still had a big clot in her heart and a lot of other concerns. So instead of living with a broken back for a normal amount of time, she lived with it for 4 months.

Right around that time dementia set in and we couldn’t get her to push her little call button for help. We tried and tried but one day she fell again trying to get herself, broken back and all, to the bathroom. On that day she scored a broken ankle to go with the broken back. The ankle never healed either.

It was obvious to me her body was just giving up. Other family members had a harder time coming around to the same conclusion. Her body was out of energy to heal itself and even though she was stubborn as an ox and tough as nails, the flesh was very weak. Eventually, after months of trying to get her to heal, the decision was finally agreed upon to put her on hospice.

Things took a sharp turn around the beginning of October. She barely spoke and was less and less helpful when we had to get her out of bed. She rang her call button all the time for the weirdest things, because like I said, dementia had set in, and the Roomba making its way to her bedroom was a national security breach. Sometimes she didn’t know who we were anymore. All-in-all it pretty much sucked for everyone.

For me it was hard to settle into work. I knew all the time that the buzzer could go off because she needed help, or because she wanted to watch a TV show that hasn’t been on in 20 years, or my grandpa was laughing too loud, or because she wanted to “go upstairs” which genuinely puzzled us all – the only thing upstairs is a dusty attic full of holiday decorations.

It’s funny how something like the anticipation of a bell ringing can stop an artist from getting settled into work. If it wasn’t the bell ringing it was all the healthcare workers coming and going to check on grandma, and my desire to clean the house at least enough that it didn’t look like we had a poltergeist infestation. This and that added up and for a while now I haven’t really done much painting at all and I definitely didn’t manage an ink drawing every day.

On October 11th I had some appointments and errands to run, so my son and I left the house (my uncle was here). When we came back that afternoon something had happened while we were gone but no one apparently noticed. It looked like grandma was sleeping but as the day went on she just slept and never rang the bell. Eventually we realized she’d had a stroke and couldn’t really open her eyes anymore, and that started a whole new flurry of activity in the house as hospice workers brought oxygen and came more frequently to check on us.

Over the next two days she deteriorated pretty rapidly and left us on the morning of Friday the 13th.

My grandma loved Halloween, scary movies, and witchy stuff, so I am certain she would be amused she died on Friday the 13th if she had any awareness at that point. It was pretty clear she wasn’t aware anymore, though, thankfully. It was clear that she was in a lot of pain until then, and when she still had a few words she told us all the time it hurt. To be honest, in the weeks leading up to her death I spent a lot of my time praying that she would be released from her suffering. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. Her bones would never repair themselves and no surgeon would ever agree to work on her frail body. She wanted to be alive but her body disagreed. It was all around just a shitty situation.

She’s finally out of pain now and a sense of peace that I haven’t felt in a very long time has come over me. A couple days after she died the last healthcare worker came into the house to collect the hospital equipment we had collected during her short time on hospice, and that was it. The door shut behind him and the house felt quiet. I heard the muse whispering again, a voice I couldn’t hear above the hubbub of medical chaos, and I went back to the studio.

I only have two ink drawings this time around, and I don’t know if I will even plan on doing this next year. It seems like an invitation for mischief and perhaps I’ll just sneakily work on these things all year and release them in October instead. Hopefully you’ll play along with my little trick.

The first drawing is “Poison” – obviously the whole wicked witch with apples trope – and the second is “Spiders” – a cute little witch in stripey socks trying to shoo the spiders out of her old-fashioned under garments. Huge thanks to Howard Lyon for the wonderful Gibson Girl reference photos I have been using in my figure drawing practice lately, which led to these two drawings.

You can get both of them on eBay, Poison and Spiders.


Obviously my grandmother received a lot of medical attention during the last year and a half. My mom and I both missed work to take care of her and my mom actually ended up taking a job that doesn’t pay as much as she’s used to making because she thought it would give her more time at home (spoiler alert: Don’t do this, it won’t work out). Every time my grandmother needed medical attention she had to be taken in an ambulance because of the broken back, and because of her dementia-related falling she was getting a lot of medical attention over the summer (we really tried, y’all). She depleted her savings and my grandfather is still alive and living with us, so we still have to take care of him and try to save what we can in case he needs medical attention and when the time comes, yunno, another funeral to pay for.

Times are pretty tough for my mom right now as the cremation turned out to be more expensive than any of us thought it would be. My grandma requested no services and wanted the cheapest option for her final expenses, but even then it wasn’t that cheap.

If you can and you want to help my mom, she has a GoFundMe to pay for my grandmother’s final expenses. And if you can’t right now but you want to do something in memory of my witchy grandmother, please remember to donate to Toys for Tots this year and every year. She often organized Toys for Tots drives (and scholarships, fire victim relief, and a whole lot of other stuff I don’t even recall) and it would mean a lot to her if people donated toys in her memory.

GoFundMe Link


If you take anything away from this lengthy post at all, I hope it’s this: Please make your final arrangements for yourself. Pre-pay for anything you can, get a will, and talk to an estate planner to legally protect your family and your money from predatory nursing homes. If the system were better here in the United States, my grandmother could have been taken care of in a nice rest home and her family could have visited her lots and continued to lead productive lives. Instead the system is trash, so she would have spent her final days in a hole in the wall that bilked us for thousands of dollars until her estate was depleted and then they would have dumped her into an even worse hole in the wall that would cost the taxpayers almost as much.

And that’s scarier than any Halloween InkTober thing ever.

Recently I said things on social media and Patreon about starting over my full moon series from many, ahem, moons ago. When I first got out of school in 2008 I started painting them in watercolor. I wasn’t very good at painting back then but that never stopped me from selling the paintings. In fact I have very few of those not very skillful paintings left and lots of my more skillful work that sits around. I don’t know what that says about anything but there it is – if you are worried you aren’t good enough at painting to sell your paintings, guess again.

Anyhoo I never finished the series back then. I did a few of the pieces and then toddled off to other ideas like I frequently do. I have ADHD and that is my excuse for everything. But recently I have been taking classes again and I thought for sure it would be a fun thing to work on the moon series, but start over obviously because none of the pieces would match otherwise.

The Blue Moon piece I did in August went swimmingly. It was an experiment in working with water-mixable oils for the underpainting and I found the whole process really enjoyable. I also really enjoyed working with the new things I was learning.

I’ve always wanted to paint more like the “classical dudes” but you have to understand I grew up in a really rural area and the only art around me was weird abstract stuff and cowboy art. I never actually have seen, to this day, any paintings in person of any of my personal art heroes. For real! Opportunities have arisen for me to see them, but then life has gotten in the way and I’ve missed the traveling exhibitions that carried Bouguereau, Waterhouse, and Alma-Tadema around the United States.

When I was a kid and I saw those paintings in books and whatnot I just figured nobody really paints like that anymore, or if they do I would never be in the position to learn how they do. But with the Internet there’s really no excuse against learning pretty much anything. The internet has encouraged people to become their own doctors and do their own scientific research, so the internet can also fool me into believing I am capable of Academic and Pre-Raphaelite painting techniques, right?

Well anyway I think I got pretty close on “Blue Moon” and I was pretty happy with it. So I set out to paint “The Harvest Moon”.

Cue sad trombone music.

I started the painting and it was alright. But it didn’t have the same look as Blue Moon, which is obviously what I’m going for. And then I didn’t like the colors and didn’t know if glazing could salvage them, and blah blah blah, fill this space with all kinds of artistic self-doubt, and here we are the morning after The Harvest Moon and I have not painted it.

I’ll come back around to it later, probably at the end of next summer when I make my way around to the Buck Moon and Sturgeon Moon. For now it is time for me to switch and focus on October’s Hunter’s Moon. And maybe in the future I won’t talk on social media about my plans for future works, since, you know, *gestures*, this.

I AM working on a new calen- no. I’m not working on anything else that is serial or going to be released on Kickst- you know what, I’m going to go drink some coffee.