You get something, I get something.  I’ll buy your therapy.

Dish out your self-portrait. Be creative + crafty or dangerous + sharp.  Be you.  Exaggerate. Pour out some paint, throw in some mud, use your fingers, and make a mess!

Why should you waste time with chunks of crayon, erasers, and glue sticks?

Therapy.  It feels really good.  And who isn’t a tad narcissistic these days?  Check out my mermaid waves. Also, I’ll include a link to your website if you want some attention.

Other than a free therapy session (unleash your inner tarantula or unicorn), I buy you a drink. Since I can’t and won’t take you out for a drink, I’ll send you a drink via snail mail.  (Spend it on cotton swabs or jelly beans if you don’t drink alcohol.)

I get the doodle, and you get the drink.  Win-win-WIN.  There are stipulations, of course.  And I don’t just give drinks away.  Effort is necessary.

Here’s what you get when you give:

Share a self-portrait with your story, and you’ll be savoring a delicious PBR in no time. $3

→Bacon beer in your belly.  Submit a diorama with the story, and you will taste the meat in no time.  Cheers.  $5

→If you are eco-friendly and apply organic materials to the caricature (with story), then salt up the arm, a tequila shot is on the way.  Tequila! $7

→Ambitious and dangerous?  Two drawings with two stories = One delicious dirty martini.  Encourage a friend to play! $9

→Delight your friends.  Collect 5 self-portraits + stories.  Send.  Celebrate with a round of shots.  $21

It’s easy to submit.  Fill out the form.

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Yellow eyebrows

May 20, 2010

“My sister was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease when she was in her early 40’s.  By the time they figured out what she had, they gave her three months to live.  She ended up living for three years, due in large part to her fervent love for her young daughters.

Her name is Kathy.  She was technically my half sister, but was like a mother to me.  I packed up all of my things and moved from Florida to California at her suggestion when I was in my early 20’s.  It never occurred to me that anything ‘bad’ could happen to a young woman in a car alone on a three or four day trip across the country with all of her possessions in her car, including a large television more or less in plain view in the back seat; and nothing bad did happen.

She took me into the fold, made me part of her family.  We would take long walks and she would listen to me rattle off incessantly about whoever I was dating at the time – she was patient with me as I painstakingly dissected every conversation and wrung my hands over every nuance of what was said.

She was home.

So I painted her.  Tried to convey the strength of my love for her and the power of her courage with the color choices.  Most of all I tried to capture the pain in her eyes.  The resignation.  The fear.  And a glimmer of hope in her yellow eyebrows.

It occurred to me long after the painting was done that her eyes were green.  Mine are blue.

I had painted my eyes into her face.”

-Art and story by Lisa Valle, 44, from Portland, Oregon

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Art by Melissa Garrett (daughter) from Bristol, Tennessee

“My name is Melissa. I have always felt like I was born in the wrong area.

I feel that I would better ‘fit in’ in a large metropolitan area, such as New York or LA. However, I went to a very rural high school in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. It was not out of the ordinary for the students of my high school to wear their overalls and roper boots to school, fully adorned in the cow and horse manure from working on their families’ farms early that morning.

Agriculture and Horticulture were the most popular areas of study at my high school. Old pick-up trucks with a dead deer in the back from the owner’s most recent hunting trip were plenteous. I, on the other hand, did not find this aspect of my area’s culture attractive in the least bit.

Each morning when I got ready for school, unlike the others, I did not think of what would be most comfortable to wear that day. I focused on what was stylish and appealing. I spent much of my time with my fashion magazines. My dream job is to be a fashion stylist of the stars (although I am currently in college to become a nurse).

As my picture describes, I treated the halls of my school like a run-way, modeling the fashionable looks that I put together. I did stand-out from the ‘norm’ of my peers, but I didn’t mind. I love expressing myself through style.”

-Melissa Garrett, 20-years-old

Art by Barbie Garrett (mother) from Bristol, Tennessee

“This is a self-portrait reflecting my vision of who I am.  As I was having fun drawing, I was reflecting that this is not how others see me, I think. I started to send a picture of just two green eyes on a white background.  I see myself that way sometimes, on the outside looking in.  And invisible.

This reflects the parts of me I enjoy.  I purposely left out my family, even though that is so much of who I am.  And, I purposely left out my faith, which is also much of who I am.  This is just a simple ‘look at me’.

I spend much of my time out on the porch, working on my laptop in my porch swing.  I am a freelance writer, and this is a lot of who I am. I am the Social Media Examiner for the Knoxville Examiner. I write about many different topics, but it is often cooking and crafts. I am a kitchen gadget addict:  I have 3 bread machines and 3 rice cookers.

I am a church organist and a former piano teacher.  I do a lot of things, but I usually do them on the front porch in my porch swing.

Obviously, I am a philosopher, and not an artist!”

Barbie Garrett, 50-years-old

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Spring break rat

April 27, 2010

“I consider myself to be part of the rat race, however; I am a spring break rat. I went on said break in 1985 and never made it back. I stopped in Denmark, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Greece, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Holland, Belgium, Eastern Block, Thailand, Malaysia and Ecuador (painting along the way) only to discover that a party is a party is a party.  Twenty-two years later I returned to my home base in Houston and decided to go on back to school.  I will complete my masters degree at retirement age.
So where ever you are, whatever you do – accept the rat race but live up to your own rodent identity.”
-Art and story by Kirstin Baldwin from Houston, Texas

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Meet Macedonio

April 25, 2010

“I was a stand-up guy until about a year ago when I was confined to this wheelchair.  Now, I do what I used to do but sitting down.”

Macedonio Garcia from Meadows Place, Texas

Zebra art by Macedonio

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Falling tide

April 22, 2010

In ’05, I finally removed myself from a relationship that was becoming increasingly restrictive. That night I moved into my studio and felt so many emotions I didn’t know where to start.

So of course I started painting.

The image is called “Swift current on a falling tide”

Being a west coast girl, I see life in coastal metaphors.  I was finally in motion, moving fast into a new phase of my life.

The falling tide refers to the fact that as the tide goes out hidden rocks appear and have to be navigated.

The mask is actually lifted from another painting of mine, but seemed appropriate in that I had put down the perfect woman and wife image and was willing to be messily, grandly, scatteredly, creatively, myself once more.

What a wonderful night that was!

I painted all night and into the dawn and then slept on my studio couch till noon and got up to paint again.

-Art and story by Corinne Paquette-Parker

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Beardless Bill

April 12, 2010

“This my first drawing of my new face, so perhaps I look bewildered.

Until six weeks ago I’d had a beard for 25 years; lately it had become a wild beard too. It was due for a trim and I needed £400 to open a temporary homeless shelter.  So I decided I’d get some sponsorship for shaving the beard off completely. (In the end I raised £600.)

Shaving the beard came as more of a shock than I had anticipated. Once it was gone I not only had a new face in the mirror but a whole new set of expressions. Ghosts flickered across my reflection: my late father (which was no surprise) and the face of the poet Philip Larkin (which was unexpected).

I’d thought that one of the first things I would do was draw a self portrait but that was impossible because I could see nothing in my new face to get hold of. Even after six weeks it was a confusing business because I had to work entirely to the face in the mirror without any sense that what was appearing on the paper was me.”

-William Saunders from London

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