I’m a College Dropout

water droplets on rose leaves
Some little water droplets resting on rose bud leaves.

Before I regale you with my banal story of college-drama, check out my guest post – as a clark! – over at the Wakefield Doctrine.  You won’t be disappointed.

Well, I’m not an undergrad drop-out.  I did get two undergrad degrees plus enough credits in art and education to qualify for a triple major.

I did drop out of an MAT program.  Twice. 

In today’s world and economy, so many people are heading for their master’s degrees.

I have so many friends who have.

In fact, of my five really, REALLY close friends in college, two of us still have our bachelor’s degrees.  One friend got her master’s and my two other friends got their PhD’s.

Plus, being in education, I kept thinking, I want that master’s degree.  I WANT that master’s degree.

So, off I went.  I was teaching Spanish, and I thought I’d do the track that would eventually make me a professor. 

I mean, everybody where I was working was getting their master’s or their National Board Certification.

I had to do it.

But then I would sit at my computer writing these 25-30 page papers in Spanish and stare longingly out the window.

¡Qué aburrido!

Or I’d stare at my artist’s easel.

Or at my camera.

Or at the multiple windows and tabs open on my computer.

Or I’d turn on some music.

I wanted to be doing ANYTHING but writing a paper.

I’d clean the house.

I’d mow the lawn.

I’d run errands.

Eventually, I would get the paper written and turn it in.  I’d always strive for an A.

But then I kept thinking Why am I doing this?  I’ve never wanted to be a teacher in the ‘forever’ sense of the word. Yes, I always want to teach in some capacity, but not like this, with the testing and grueling requirements.

So, I quit after two classes.  Plus, the campus was two hours away, so trucking it to class once a week and then teaching at the community college on top of my regular teaching job to help pay for it was about to kill me.

After a year, that same gnawing on my psyche returned and I thought, But I’ll make more money if I just get my master’s.  It’s only two and a half years.  I can do two and half years.

I returned for my MAT and endured two more classes.

Ah the money.  I think of a Gandhi quote that hit home:

“Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.”


It would take work to make more money.  But…would it be this kind of work?

Every time I sat down to the computer, to crank out hours and hours of reflections, essays and reading, I always thought about how I could be outside playing frisbee or how I could be hiking and drawing and doing art.

And then I thought This is not part of my overall plan.

It takes courage to listen to yourself.

I mean, my parents told their friends that they told me they were proud of me, that I’d be the first in the family to get my master’s, blah blah blah.

But I didn’t want it.

I wanted something else.

I wrote a post called Living the Life of an Artist where I had a journal entry that echoes what I wanted out of life.  It was dated in June, three years ago when I was taking one of my graduate courses.

Somewhere along the line, it dawned on me:

The world doesn’t need more people to get a master’s degree.  The world needs more beauty and love and wonderful words.

And that became my passion.  Instantly.

Every moment since then, three years ago, I’d been working on doing that very thing.

Yeah, I kept teaching.

Yeah, I kept putting my dreams off – at least a little bit.

I knew that one day I would take the plunge and just do it.

When I was student teaching back in 2006, I kept telling everyone I knew: I have 5-7 years of teaching in me.  After that, I need to be creative and autonomous.

And 6 years into my teaching career, I left it.

It sounds crazy.

But I was going crazy.

What’s life like now?

I can tell you it’s not easy.  I can tell you I have plenty of self-doubt sometimes.  I can tell you it can be really difficult to control that inner voice that says Give up.  You can’t do this.  You’re ludicrous for trying.  And you quit a good job when so many are out of work.  You’re nuts.

That stupid voice gets less and less time and space in my head.  That stupid voice, dubbed SUV (ironic, right?),  could go to hell.

  • I had to make the decision to walk away from a steady income and security.  And that’s not easy.
  • I had to make the decision to be poor – at least for awhile.  And that’s not easy.
  • I had to make the decision to give up certain comforts and just hope that everything would work out.  That’s not easy, either.

Then I started doing something: I began to spend time each day not allowing myself to dwell on any of that.

I began to read inspirational stories and filled my head with positive thoughts and a determination to live out my dream.

Because it was now or never.  Because when you think I’ll get to my dream when I retire or after the kids are grown or I’ll wait until we’re in a better financial situation then you’re giving yourself permission to live out the status quo.

That far-off day you begin living your dream and stop living the status quo might never come.

No one is going to make our dreams come true except for us.  Not only that, we’re all on borrowed time.

Too many of us end up working in jobs we don’t like, out of necessity.  And we toil away only to be replaced by someone else when we bow out.

I kept thinking about how the Education Machine was pounding out my will to live.

And that I’d be doing exactly the same thing 30 years from now if I stayed.  Believe me when I say that:

a good friend and fellow teacher put in 23 years before she retired and when she left, she literally only got a small get-together and that was that.  She was replaced the next day.

Please believe me when I say I’m not “dissing” education.

The point I’m trying to make is that we have to find our passion.

For some teachers I worked with, I knew they had found their passion.  You could feel it when they stepped into the room and no matter what happened with the administration or with national cries for “hold them more accountable” they went right on teaching with a pure fire and love in their hearts.

I admired them for that.

Then I thought, What if everyone was doing their passion?

What kind of world would that be?

I now believe that I’m helping people in a different way: from the images I snap, from the art I produce, and the words that I write.

They all help define who I am; though they only a PART of who I am.

The WHOLE of who I am is that I am making the choice to live out my values, philosophies and vision.

I hope to inspire others to join me on this road…that is admittedly full of potholes and traps and curves and ice and snow and sunny days and there’s plenty of room…follow the double yellow line until…you find your own line.

It might be a dotted line, or have reflectors that act like beacons…or it could be a smudged, nearly invisible line that will eventually lead to some panoramic vista.

And the journey will be worth it.

I have a deep-seated need to make a difference in the only way I know how: by using my talents to inspire, to add beauty, to add peace, to spread love, to bring hope.

I am not perfect.  I struggle with my own values and visions.

But I get back up each day and begin to move forward, farther than I did on the previous day.

I also believe in signs.  My friend Dana shared a video put out by UpWorthy that gave me chills.  She shared it WHILE I was writing this post.

I had to include it.  It’s well worth the 3 minutes of your time.  You might walk away changed…forever.

And may we all unite in our pursuit of happiness.  May we find happiness in little things, like water droplets on rosebud leaves.

If you like the image above, you can purchase a poster of it (or other products with the same image) over at Zazzle.com:

Budding Rose Leaves with Water Droplets
Budding Rose Leaves with Water Droplets by Pictimilitude
Check out Prints & Posters online at Zazzle.com

Meditation for Creativity

yellow spring flower with water
Daffodil with droplets

This daffodil is growing on the mountain up from my house.  Once again it was raining and in a moment of blue sky, I ran outside to see what looked interesting with water on it, and I found this daffodil, all by itself on a patch of green daffodil leaf buds.

Don’t you love the scent of freshly rained-on earth?

The sound of wet droplets dripping?

The sight of little water bubbles reflecting everything upside down?

I try to remember to be mindful of such things in my daily life.

So often we’re pressured to work, cook, clean, pay bills, research, get online, do a hobby, play a sport, go to a movie, be entertained, eat out, listen to music, do this, do that and the list goes on.

Do you ever take time to just be?

The older I get (and I’m in my 30’s with plenty of obligations and work-related goals, etc.) the more I realize I have to take time each day to just be.

I suppose this task is easier for introverts.

I’d even argue that creative people tend to be introverts.

Or clarks.

A few years ago, I started getting into meditation.  It was the result of stress, and anxiety from just living a day-to-day life.

One of the first introductions I had was from Dr. Wayne Dyer.  I grew up Catholic and his meditation on the Our Father was really neat to me.

Since then, I’ve grown a lot more spiritual: finding my own path, if you will.

I respect all beliefs and religions, but for me, my path to a higher sense of self also included – besides writing, art, and photography – meditation.

To me, it’s always been about a sense of focused prayer and a way to calm my racing mind that never, ever seems to stop.

I discovered a book back in 2009 called Deep and Simple by Bo Lozoff.  I was blown away at his wisdom and teachings.  He effectively found a way – especially with his interfaith spirituality – to live in harmony with all world religions.

He was a strong advocate for meditation: to calm the mind, to curb anxiety, to become more perceptive, to enter another plane, to have heightened instincts, to increase self-awareness – for so many reasons.

I’ve worked on the practice of meditation ever since.

And profound things happen when I do it regularly.  Things like knowing “someone is going to call” or thinking about someone and bumping into them later that day, even though I hadn’t seen them for months.

There are some months where I don’t meditate as much.

I always have to go back to it because I’m naturally a worry-wort and my anxiety levels go up when I don’t meditate.

Lately, however, I’ve been trying to do it more and more.

And the funny thing is,

I feel like meditation is fueling my creativity and artwork.

Don’t ask me how or why, it’s just that I feel like good things are happening.

I wanted to include a video that talks about meditation for creativity.

It’s an hour long, but it’s great to listen to while you write or draw or…whatever.  🙂

It also occurred to me that I should maybe include an image of the prints and products I’m making with all the images from the Pictorialization Project.  So, here’s an iPhone 5 case:

Daffodil With Water Droplets iPhone 5 Case
Daffodil With Water Droplets iPhone 5 Case by Pictimilitude
Browse Daffodil Casemate Cases online at Zazzle.com


Now the telling question: do you meditate?  Do you feel it helps?



Forsythia: A Segway to Creative Education

Yellow spring flowers

It’s the 8th week of my Pictorialization Project and I feel like it’s coming along nicely.

I continue to crank out photos, drawings and paintings.

The forsythia that you see above is blooming vibrantly in my yard, despite heavy rain and even some snow and really cold weather.

It’s almost like a reminder to stand strong, no matter what, and hold your ground.

For whatever reason, the Highway 209 painting that I posted about yesterday has made my mind swell with so many thoughts.  If you click the link, you’ll get a glimpse of what I mean.

One of the thoughts I mentioned in that post was about standardized testing.

Many of you know that I used to be a teacher in a public school – before I started to feel like a little yellow flower that began to wilt…under the daily grind, the daily pressures, the meetings, the testing, the how-well-do-you-fit-in-this-box mentality.

And you may also know that I stepped into the void last summer.

I’ve talked about it a few times.  Probably more than a few times on this blog.

It’s turned my life upside down.

Some things about this experience are exhilarating and incredibly awesome.

Some things about this experience are downright scary and frustrating.

What does this have to do with school?

I watched this video over the weekend (thanks MissOlive for sharing it with me) and I can tell you that I was absolutely dumbfounded and mesmerized.

Ken Robinson, a creativity expert, spoke at a Ted conference proposing that schools need to teach children to be more creative: to include dance and music, art and theatre as part of the everyday curriculum.

I couldn’t agree more.  And if you can watch the video, I can’t recommend it enough – especially right around the 17-minute mark.  Robinson is brilliant and humorous and if people listened, we’d have an educational revolution on our hands.

Let me go on a tangent for a moment and tell you about my own school experience.

And here’s a shout-out to my parents who recognized this need in me to be creative and want to learn about so many things – for the sake of learning.

My parents sent me to private schools for my entire school career.  I thrived in private school, too.

In high school, I took every class that suited my interests: textiles, musical theatre, drawing, painting, AP art (before my schedule then didn’t permit it), along with the usual array of biology, calculus, chemistry, philosophy, health, and English courses.

Part of why I dropped out of AP art, though, was because I kept thinking, “I must study biology or something that will allow me to make some money later on.”

For their part, my parents actually never pressured me.  In fact, they often told me not to put so much pressure on myself.

But, I wanted to study something in the sciences for the longest time.

So off to college I went and I took biology courses, math, more calculus and general chemistry.

I really, really wanted to be a doctor for awhile.  Then, I became interested in forestry after I found out that insurance companies seem to suck all the joy out of medicine.

Maybe it was also because my parents were running a nursing home and perhaps I could help them.  Or perhaps it was because I loved studying about plants and life.

Or it was because I knew artists didn’t make money.

Some did.  Usually after they were dead.

So, I studied anthropology, first, because it included my true loves: biology, language, culture and even art.

Then I returned to school to study Spanish (because um, what exactly do you do with anthropology if you don’t want to be an ethnographer or an archaeologist or a professor?) so I could teach, and get a fine art minor and dabble in my true love.

Because society told me that I couldn’t make a living doing art or writing or whatever creative thing that filled me with passion.

I’ve come full-circle. 

It’s like this life grabbed hold of my psyche, seized it and wouldn’t let go until I fully acknowledged that leading a creative life was the only way I was really going to be true to myself.

Sometimes, however, I think society is right: it’s incredibly difficult to live a life as a creative person.

It’s hard to make a lot of money at it – at least at first.

It’s hard to put food on the table unless you have another job.

But my question is this: WHY does it have to be that way?

Why can’t art/writing/music/theatre/photography/etc. be treated as currency with which to really make a living?

And why does our society not seem to value Creatives unless they’re making a lot of money at it?

Some of these statements are coming from personal experience and some are just those existential thoughts that come out of wondering why it can be so difficult for artistic people to “make it.”

Granted, for the record, I think of art (and its derivatives) as a business: you have to put in what you need to get out of it and you can’t expect to make money at it the first little while.

After all, you can’t open a coffee shop and expect to operate in the black for the first 3-5 years.

Just as you can’t start ANY business without a lot of money up front or without taking out a loan.

It takes time, hard work and patience.

But, the point is that the US is at a critical moment in history where we need to celebrate creativity. I feel like our future – and the future of many nations – depends on it.

Think of it like swimming: you train and train every single day.  But, you can’t overdo it.  You need to cross-train to give your muscles a break and to strengthen other parts of your body to help build up your whole body.

In fact, I read a blog (I forget where) about a girl who was going to compete in a swim meet and was going to train harder and longer to beat everyone else and win.  She tore her ACL two days before the meet and ended her swimming career.

Now, going back to the US, the entire emphasis seems to be on math and reading.

How many children get out of school and tell you they love math and reading?

How well-rounded are they?

And if I tell you that it’s been scientifically proven that when you do other things – incorporate more creativity – in your life, you do your “main thing” even better, what would you say?

It begs the question: are we tearing our brain muscles (like the girl who tore her ACL) apart because we’re so focused on two things?

Is that why the US is outperformed by MOST industrial nations in the world?

I work part time at a private school now, and I can tell you that the students aren’t forced to read until they’re ready.  Art, PE and Spanish are integral to the curriculum.

The students are there 4 days a week.  Not 5 and not for extended days, either.

And they perform brilliantly on required national tests.

Could a more well-rounded education have something to do with it?  Could the fact that the students where I teach are “required” to spend time playing and just relaxing for a portion of the day?

Being creative has helped me be more resourceful.

It gave me courage to step away from a stereotypical job that wasn’t fulfilling to one that is just as difficult but infinitely more in tune with who I am.

And I’m doing what I love: art/photography/writing.

spring forsythia
Do you dare to be a little yellow flower that will thrive by doing what you love?

I’m not here to tell you that I don’t encounter difficulties – difficulties that frankly make me question my sanity at times for branching out and doing what I’m doing.

I think it’s because I’m not showing the outward signs of material success that society somehow uses to gauge your progress.

I am here to tell you that I feel like we need some sort of paradigm shift in society: one that uses creativity to launch a nation of thinkers and problem solvers.   One that makes it easier for creative people to eke out a living so that they can leave a lasting legacy on the planet without succumbing to societal pressure to conform and be chained to a punch-card.

A shift that allows you to be a little yellow flower that blooms, grows into a full-fledged plant, and changes to iridescent colors with the seasons.

Are you that flower?  Are you creative?  Does society need to change?

10 Reasons Why President Obama Should Buy My Painting of Highway 209 Overlook

western north carolina mountains painting

Haha, I got you there with the title, didn’t I?

If you came here for a political debate, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

This hare-brained idea came to me as I was putting the finishing touches on this painting – the last in the triptych – last evening.  I mean if Julie DeNeen has Anderson Cooper on speed-dial, why shouldn’t I have a line with the President?

I really do want President Obama to buy my painting, and I have some valid reasons for that.

I mean, politics or not, I respect him.

Just as I’d respect any president of a great country.  (Did I ever mention I met Hillary Clinton?  I was at a leadership conference when I was in high school…but that’s neither here nor there.)

In any case, as I was painting, my crazy mind wondered about all the various reasons Obama should buy this painting and/or the whole triptych in the Highway 209 Overlook series – a quintessential scene from western North Carolina.

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. He likes western North Carolina.  He was just in Asheville last month and said he might retire here!
  2. He’d be supporting my Pictorialization Project which would allow me to continue a lot more easily until February 2014, the month this project concludes.
  3. He’d be supporting small businesses – a great boost to the local economy.  On the one hand, I’m my own little freelance writing/photography/art business.  On the other hand, I’m going to be having an exhibition for this project at True Blue Art Supply in downtown Asheville in August.  You have to admit: the publicity for my little project and for True Blue would be epic.  Still, WNC Women’s Magazine will receive a write-up from me about all my Pictorial shenanigans.
  4. He’d be supporting the arts.  The US is rather obsessed with reading and math and then testing everyone on these subjects and it’s slightly neurotic at best.   Sure, the tests can prove that we know 5+5 = 10 and that the story about how “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” merits a critical essay, but um…what about creative thinking?  Supporting the arts is critical to help cultivate a nation of creative thinkers, too.
  5. It’s what the cool kids are doing.  Who wouldn’t want a triptych of a beautiful scene?  (I’m tooting my own horn slightly here, but…just work with me, would ya?)
  6. I’d personally deliver this painting (and/or the matching photo print and charcoal drawing – see below) to the White House.  Yes, yes, they’d have total permission to search me.  But really, I’ve never been to Washington, D.C. and I can’t tell you how much photo fodder I’d get: the gardens, the monuments, the White House…and I’d have this secret hope that I could get one, maybe two photos with the President.  Since my Picto Project focuses on WNC, I’d probably have to bend my own rules for the project on this one.
  7. The President loves Asheville (see number 1 above).  He’s been here like 5 times.  And he loves the restaurant “12 Bones.”  I do, too – and I don’t usually eat pulled pork and barbecue.  Thus the painting is a nice reminder of the beautiful area to which he might move.  Not that the painting has anything to do with “12 Bones.”
  8. He needs a little color in the Oval Office.  I mean Time Magazine has a whole photo essay of all the personal touches Obama has added to the world’s most famous office.  But, it still doesn’t have a painting from western North Carolina.  The blues and greens in my painting will complement the pastel yellows of the walls.  They’re all analogous colors, of course!  Blue is next to green which is next to yellow on the color wheel.  Of course.
  9. Everyone should have at least one picture of something in nature – be it a photo, drawing or painting – hanging where they work and/or live.  You have to stay in touch with The Mother – at least a little bit.
  10. And the final reason Obama should buy this painting?  Because my nutty brain doesn’t really think there’s a chance in hell of that ever happening, but just for fun, it would really make my day…no week…better yet, my life!

So there you have it: the reasons why Obama should buy my painting and/or triptych.

What is it about this painting that makes it special?

Well, I started with the photo that I snapped just outside of Hot Springs:

blue ridge mountains overlook

Then this was followed up by the second part of the triptych: a charcoal drawing:

black and white drawing overlook western north carolina

And concluded with the painting that you saw at the beginning of this post.

It’s always fun to see the evolution of a painting; here’s a slide show of my progress:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope you enjoyed it.

And Mr. President, if you are wondering, this painting is worth $800.  The whole triptych would be $1000.  No charge for shipping and handling if you let me come to the White House to bring it to you.  Ha. Haha.  Ha.

A girl can dream, right?

Add Variety to Your Blog With Cartoons and Hand-Drawn Illustrations

When you have a blog, images are of critical importance.  I mean, the internet is a visual tool.

This is why I ALWAYS have at least one image with every post I do and I make sure they’re my own…or from a guest.

Today I have a guest post from Chris Desatoff.  His blog is I Work Off the Clock and his writing offers a great perspective on many issues from technology to anxiety.  If you’re not subscribed over there, you really should be.

He’s also a fellow writer over at HubPages, so if you really are into great articles and gnarlyrad writing, you should follow him over there, too.

And as for me, I still have my daily creation for the Pictorialization project, but you need to go to the gallery to see today’s selection.  I couldn’t steal the show today, because we’ve got some witty images in today’s post.


Without further ado, here’s Chris:

Stick Figures
“Top 10 Reasons Why People Stop Following You On HubPages”
copyright Chris Desatoff

Increasing traffic to your blog is always a challenge.  It takes a lot of time and consistent, hard work to get a blog to the point where it is bringing in a lot of views every day.  But views alone don’t always equate to blogging success.

Did you know that a lot of your visitors don’t stick around long enough to even read your posts?  They come from Google or from a link somewhere out there, take one quick look at your blog, and then click back in a matter of seconds without giving your content a chance.

Keeping new readers on the page long enough to read more than a few sentences is a challenge for even the most successful bloggers, so what can you do to increase your blog’s “stickiness” and grab your readers’ attention?

One method that should be in every blogger’s bag of tricks is the use of hand-drawn cartoons and illustrations.

Why Cartoons Instead Of Photos And Slick Graphics?

It’s not really a case of either/or.  You’re still going to use high-quality photos and computer-generated graphics on your blog to engage your readers and draw them into your content.  But the point is that every other blogger out there is already doing that too – on every single post – and readers can start to get numb to it after a while. 

So to mix things up a little you’re going to want to add something that your readers haven’t already seen 150 times today.

It’s All About Providing Something Different

Remember when those foul-mouthed, sarcastic cat pics first started popping up on Facebook?  We’d never seen anything like them!  So bold!  So sassy!

We loved them.  And we’d share every single one of them with all our online friends.

Every.  Single.  One.

Every.  Single.  Day.

But now I want to hack up a hairball every time I see one of those things.  I mean, I still love cute cats.  And I still love sarcasm.  And everybody still loves the word bitch.  But it gets kinda old when you see it all day, every day, doesn’t it?

kitty drawing
Jojocat Comic
copyright Chris Desatoff

Just like cat pics on Facebook, posting photos of the same old thing on every single blog post can also lose its impact over time.

Readers may love your adorable kids and your cute dog and your sassy cat and your sleeping, drooling husband – and they are still going to want to see pics of them – but if you’re posting those pics every single day, they aren’t going to add much to your blog.

Those photos aren’t going to have the same emotional appeal that they used to.

So occasionally give your readers something different that will hold their attention.  It’s not that cartoon strips are better than photos, it’s just that they’re different.

If everybody used cartoons in their blog posts every day, then this article would be about “using photos to add variety.”  But that’s not the case…so…yeah.

Something different is what catches people’s eye, so give them something different every now and then.

Humorous Drawings And Simple Sketches

A little humor goes a long way.  Think for a moment about your favorite bloggers.  Aren’t many of them hilarious?  Don’t they have the funniest pics and memes and whatever else on their blogs and social media?

If you’ve been sticking with straightforward photos for all your posts, try injecting a little humor in there with a funny drawing.  Something to get a laugh.  A stand-alone image, with or without text, that relates to your topic can really make a post stand out from your usual routine.

But a drawing doesn’t have to be funny to get the job done.  A simple illustration that is relevant to what you’re talking about in your post can be very effective, even if it’s not “funny.”

Multi-Panel Comic Strips

Actual comic strips with three panels and dialogue balloons are a lot harder to pull off, but they are definitely worth the effort.

That last panel is everything.  That’s the punchline.  Get it wrong and the whole thing was for nothing.No pressure =)

I’m starting to love doing these again.  I did one for an expectant

mommyblogger as a giveaway from my own blog, and it was a lot of fun.

Illustration of pregnant girl
Giveaway artwork for SkyMommy.com
copyright Chris Desatoff


One thing I’m learning from it, though, is that when you make your own comic strips with dialogue for Internet use, you need to go back and ink all your lines and text with thick, heavy strokes or they won’t reproduce very well.  You can see what I mean with the example here.  You have to click on the image and kinda squint to read all the dialogue.

When creating your own cartoon strips, be sure to go back and make those lines a little thicker.

Ah, well.  Live and learn!

Low-Tech Infographics

Have you ever sat down at Denny’s with one of those Amway guys?

(Okay, some of you weren’t even born yet back in the 80’s, but stay with me.)

Do you remember how they would grab a pen and a napkin off the table and start sketching out a simple, little flow chart showing how you can grow a home-based business by getting other people to contribute to your “downline” or whatever?

Logo for JS Matthew
Logo design for freelance writer/photographer JS Matthew
copyright Chris Desatoff

Those napkin drawings weren’t much to look at, from an aesthetic point of view.  They were actually pretty ghetto.  But they communicated something powerful.  And they weren’t some slick, professional marketing brochure that cost a ton to produce.  In fact, it was their low-tech nature that made them even more effective.

It was an effective gimmick.  Why?

Because it was different!

But What If I Suck At Drawing?

Who cares if you suck at drawing?  That’s not the point.  If you can communicate something in your drawing, if you can get the reader’s attention somehow with it, then that’s a successful image.

Mark Ewbie On HubPages

Some of you may be familiar with the stick figure art of Mark Ewbie on the writing site HubPages.

Mark sucks at drawing.  Yeah…I said it.  (((Luv ya, Mark!)))

Okay, that was just for shock value.  Actually, Mark’s artwork isn’t bad, but he’s not a very technical artist – or at least the drawings he uses in his articles aren’t technically all that difficult.

Mark Ewbie
“Even stick art can jazz up your blog. Copyright Mark Ewbie”

But I love his artwork.  You do too.  We all do!  Why?  Cuz he’s the funniest guy ever and his sassy little stick figure drawings are brilliant, and they make you laugh out loud.

You don’t need to have great technical skill and artistic genius to create images with impact, so stop using that as an excuse.

And even a trained artist will sometimes “dumb down” their artwork a little to appeal to a broader audience.

Sometimes, simpler is better.

Do It Today!

So now it’s your turn.

If you aren’t using sketches or other handmade images on your blog or social media accounts, why not give it a try and see how your readers respond?  You never know…they just might like it!


Artist and illustrator Chris Desatoff
Chris Desatoff

Chris Desatoff is an artist, photographer and writer in Hawaii.  You can see some of his drawings, photos, and words on his websites and facebook.www.facebook.com/photocat808



Forsythia and Doodles

Yellow spring flower

Spring forsythia is blooming, as are the daffodils.  But in a cruel twist of plummeting temps, it’s only supposed to get into the 30’s here today.

I was wearing flip flops yesterday.

I can’t really complain: most of the US is dealing with storms or their aftermath, so…I’ll take cold sunshine.

It doesn’t prevent me from wanting warm sunshine.

And the Pictorialization Project continues on.  I’m not going to put it in the title of my posts anymore.  I did that so I could establish it as a keyword, but my “related posts” feature is going haywire with the word “picto.”

I’ll just do it once a week so it can help me keep track of where I am in the project.  Week 7 is almost done.

I keep thinking I want to do Sharpie art as part of this project.

I’m working on the painting of Highway 209, but I’m already thinking about the next drawing of the Old Barn.

I think I might try a Sharpie drawing of it.

But, I’m not sure how I’ll approach it.

So far, I’ve done realistic drawings of the inspirational photos I’ve captured.

However, you might have guessed from my paintings, I love doing abstracted, stylized versions of objects and scenes.

I guess I’m addicted to lines and geometric patterns.

I came across this website yesterday called Zentangle.  Basically, it’s a site about how to draw using lines and patterns.

You can imagine, I began to watch the videos and check out the Tangle Patterns.  It’s not too different from what I already do.

Last summer I did all these doodles with Sharpies on a table:

Sharpie Art Table

Now, compare that to Zentangle:

And now, my doodle-juices are flowing.

The thing is, I’m trying to figure out how I’d incorporate this into a barn drawing, though I’m starting to formulate an idea.

It might be one crazy-looking old barn.

What do you think?

Should I stay with the realistic compressed charcoal drawings or branch out an incorporate Sharpie art into this project?  Weigh in when you comment.

I can’t wait to see what you think.


Pastoral Scene | Wordless Wednesday 12 | Picto Project Week 7

Farm in WNC

Welcome to another Wordless Wednesday.

Except it’s never wordless for me.  I mean I think someone conjured up that concept for photographers at some point, but somehow overlooked that many photographers are writers.

Or maybe it was a moment of enlightenment and somebody thought, just get an image pasted into the blog.  No words.

Still…maybe it was one of those last-minute things where someone was like, “I don’t have time to write, so I’ll come up with a ‘cover-up’ so no one will know I’m a procrastinator.”

I’m a little guilty of that last line…though I’m still writing.

I usually have my Wordless Wednesday post all scheduled and ready to go on Mondays, actually.

But I’m all out of whack this week and I couldn’t sleep, so here it is, 5:30 in the morning (probably a regular wake-up time for many people, but NOT for me).  I’m an 8 o’clock kind of gal.  (And that’s the beauty of scheduled posts, too.)

And then there’s Time.

How many of us say, “I wish there were more hours in the day to get everything done”?

That statement has always struck me as odd.

Sure, I’ve used it because I’ve felt like that.

But then I think about how the time that we’re all given should be enough.

It has to be enough because unless we are some sort of Creator and can bend space and time and create a multi-dimensional universe, I’m afraid we’re stuck.

But when did we humans start using that phrase with such regularity, anyways?

And why have we scheduled our lives such that Time is of the Essence?

That’s probably why I couldn’t sleep: well, first I was thinking about my dog, but then I started thinking about all the things I needed to do:

I really need to get on the ball with selling my prints and artwork.

So, I lay there thinking, yeah, okay, this week I’m going to post to Zazzle – because I haven’t done that since January (I was a little disillusioned by it) and try out RedBubble.

I need to talk to print shops and frame shops.

I need to create PayPal buttons and a page where everything is for sale.

Oh, but Time.

I have a long meeting at school later today that will take up my entire afternoon.

And there’s the painting I’m working on.

And there’s the online art-licensing seminar I want to participate in this evening.

Let’s not forget that I need to spend time with my husband or that I need to take some time out for exercise.

And there you have it.  No Time.

So then I think, maybe I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing at this moment in time and that there’s a reason I haven’t gotten everything done.

Everything in its own Time, right?

It makes me a little crazy that U.S. society programs us to be productive all the time and when you’re not, you feel guilty or that somehow you’re not worthy of down-Time.

Our Puritanical ancestors really left us an interesting legacy.  Were they so preoccupied with Time?  Or were they really too busy to think about it?

I can imagine that most of their time was devoted to surviving: building shelter, trying to grow food, stay warm, cook, get water.

When our power was out for 9 days back in 2008 in the middle of winter, I remember that a huge amount of our time was devoted to climbing our mountain to get water, boiling the water so we could drink it, using our campstoves to make food, and monitoring our gas-logs (before we had our wood stove).

It was an ordeal.

Let’s not forget that sitting at a computer increases the likelihood of turning you into a Stay Puft Marshmallow.

So, I try to remember to work out.

Every day.

I didn’t say I actually work out.  I just remember it.

See?  I’m remembering right now.  Except, I think once I’m finished with this post, I might crawl back into a very warm bed and perhaps fall asleep.

I could use that Time to do other things.

But no, I’m going to use my Time to catch up on a little shut-eye.  That seems rather important in this quiet, early morning moment.

And all this brings me back to the image above.

It’s a pastoral scene, taken in Waynesville, NC.

Though it’s 2013, this photo hearkens back to a Time when scheduling things for yourself didn’t involve down-to-the-minute accuracy.

A time when natural rhythms and time with family were the norm, and people didn’t go off to work for factories or corporations.

A time when Time seemed simpler.

And now…for the REAL reason you’re here…

Wordless Wednesday.  (Maybe you’re here to read, too, but…I had to say that for, you know…rhetorical effect.)

In any case, link up and/or comment.  Grab the button if you want.  (And yes, when Time permits, I’ll make an html version so it’s easier to grab that button.)

I’ll try to be by to comment on your blog and tweet.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone.

wordless wednesday pictimilitude button

And link up, Buttercup.

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