Love is…

wheel of love

…I was going to say ‘a crap shoot’ but that would be mixing literary and visual metaphors. But it sure can be perilous.

As you might guess, I have ambivalent feelings about Valentine’s Day. Could be because my fortune in spinning the wheel in recent years has been a little spotty.

Like J. Geils, I’ve had the blues the reds and the pinks. It’s one of the sad facts of life that, sometimes, ‘this thing they call love it’s gonna make you cry”.  Still, I hope your Valentine’s Day is a sweet one!

For a more somber look at the perils of love, visit my illustrated memoir.


Artist, reveal thyself: a new creative endeavor


52at52 started out as a year-long self-portrait project but has morphed into an illustrated memoir of thwarted love. In other words, just another way for me to expose myself! If you’ve ever loved someone hard, you may find something that resonates. Pop over and have a look: 52at52

52at52 will remain the working title for the time being until I decide on a name more appropriate to the content. I plan to regenerate the 52 weeks of self-portraits project on my 52nd birthday in May. I’ll keep you posted.

From Above, Alone

I was finishing up From Above, Alone for a personal art project when Illustration Friday’s topic for the week, Lonely, showed up in my email. I don’t submit often to IF because I’m usually too busy working on something else, but this seemed like a serendipitous perfect fit. Watercolor, ink and graphite on hot press paper.

From Above, Alone is a companion piece, albeit a sad one, to From Above, a painting I created in 2009.

If you’re a Facebook user, you can follow me there: The Gretchen Show on FB. 

What every girl wants…

Well, maybe not every girl, but this one did. When I was young and my relentless romanticism was in its earliest stages, I devoured movie magazines and Harlequin romances. That doesn’t make me much different from many girls who grew up during the 70s. I also read Tiger Beat,  had a crush on David Cassidy and thought Alfred E. Newman was hysterical. But what really made my heart race with unbridled desire was the “Golden Age” of the Silver Screen. I loved the movies, the stars, the stories about them. The scandals, tragedies, triumphs and all of the glamour. I had (still have) coffee table books filled with black and white photos of Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Hedy Lamar, Maurice Chevalier, Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper. I listened to “The Shadow” late at night on WRR. I was transfixed by movies from the 30s, 40s and 50s. That period of Hollywood was winding down by the early 70s but wasn’t dead yet. And I think it must have been in the back of some of the screen magazines I read then that I saw the ads for weekend getaways for couples in an exotic place called “The Poconos”. Imagine: little hotels tucked away in a mountain range (far from the Texan plains where I lived) that offered weekend packages for lovers – with heart-shaped bathtubs! That seemed to me the very pinnacle of romantic excess. I dreamed of going there one day with my Harlequin-esque lover who would sprinkle rose petals on the scented bath water before he lifted me in his arms and lowered me into the bubbles. Alas, that is one dream never realized. And now I know those tubs are cheesy and probably moldy as well. But ah, the fantasy lives on.

I’d still like to visit the Poconos and see one of those tubs.