Moving forward

Well, I’ve finished my AAS degree at SMCC. I went out with a bang, feeling very confident, and now – two weeks later – I’m feeling all of that energy of anticipation and “get it done”ness crash hard. So, what else to do but rest and recoup?

Of course, this is one of those situations where the writer glosses over the intense feelings of insecurity, the panic-inducing thoughts of not being qualified enough, the doubt of whether or not anyone else even likes what is being created enough to pay for it…whoops. No, it isn’t. I can’t be alone in this. There must certainly be some kind of “syndrome” for graduates that rains on the parade for a bit after the report cards are received, and the accolades are doled out. Please feel free to share if you have felt even a little of this after you completed a big project, graduated from school – even after a big wedding. I could use some validation for this.

All shadow work aside, I am able to maintain a level of pride at the work that I did during my studies, and I am still very excited to find a way to create animation for the rest of my life. I have some pretty interesting ideas for music videos, and I am now free to set sail on the good ship “The Golden Pinecone”, and make my dream of Poppet coming to life a reality. Creating and being productive is what makes me feel fulfilled. My best professor encouraged me to stop calling it “anxiety”, and instead recognize that I have DRIVE. Feels much better to say it that way, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. I AM DRIVEN!

Self-portrait I did in Adobe Fresco in honor of Pantone’s Color of the Year 2022 “Very Peri”

First thing on the “To Complete” list is a music video for my dear friend, Kurt Baker. I’ve been working on a lyric video for his song “New Direction”, and I’m pretty proud of how it’s coming out! I’ll share it here as soon as its released. Thanks for being here, see you next time!

Ending a new beginning

Today was the last day of my last semester. I earned my Associate’s degree in Applied Sciences, focusing on digital media and animation. I have so much more to learn, but I’m so much better equipped for the next step, and excited to share my cool stuff with all of you – in a much more structured and intentional way, from now on. Please visit my portfolio here: Behance Portfolio

Final Semester!

My senior semester at SMCC has begun, and it’s a doozy! I am taking 2D animation with AfterEffects, Podcasting, Advanced Digital Illustration, Senior Portfolio, AND a Capstone internship at Assuaged, Inc. as a character animator. I’d say I have my work cut out for me, but I also decided to make myself available as a tutor for the Communications and New Media department, so I’m really asking for it!

The great news is that, with all of these resources, I will graduate in January with an Associate’s degree, along with a full professional portfolio, resume, skills, and even some experience under my belt.

I’ll be posting my projects and WIP here throughout the semester, as well as on my Youtube channel, here: My first project for 2D Animation is a cut-out style, like Terry Gilliam’s work with Monty Python, and I’m really excited to do this one! I have often created cut-out animations with kids I nannied for, as winter projects, so it will be fun to make one all on my own.

Stay tuned…


My father died in March. Due to the COVID restrictions at the time, his Celebration of Life gathering was held today, when folks are feeling freer to remove their masks, and the sun was shining bright over Two Lights.

My father was a deaf man, and his family and friends are largely part of the deaf or HOH community. Without anyone to speak ASL with me to keep it fresh in my mind, I lost my ability to talk to my father. We had a fairly estranged relationship, with my parents’ divorce at age 5 leaving me in full custody of my mother. I rarely saw him after that, and when I did, it was usually a surprise visit, resulting in an outing to a restaurant, being given money or gifts, and awkward communication. My mother would sometimes reveal her true feelings around how much I wanted to see him, in a slippery way that kept her clean. Theirs wasn’t a true love, it was two young people trying to perform roles they weren’t ready for. She made it clear that there was no love involved, on her part, ever.

I grew up being prevented from processing my feelings, so none of them ever went away. I was the “crybaby”. I sucked my thumb. I missed my father. He cried when he hugged me, for years. I remember loving him, I remember him teasing me, and I remember the day we left.

I was told to call my stepfather “Dad” in order to avoid confusing my new brother, when I was 10. My father became “Big Roland”, stripped of a father title entirely. My brother, Roland, who is the third, barely knew our father at all, and only knows the stories my mother has chosen to share. When my father did visit, my mother sat at the kitchen table and spoke with him, using ASL, and I never knew what they said. We were often shooed into the living room or to play outside, as if he had come to visit her, and not his children.

I believe my mother thought she was protecting us, but she was really still trying to protect herself. Trauma is a powerful experience that can change you forever, and whether or not is for the better is up to you. The important thing is to try not to traumatize others in your process. I lost the opportunity to have a real relationship with my father, who could have been a very good one. He was, to his other children. Hearing their stories, and seeing them with their own children, prove to me that he and their mother were loving parents. Only after he was gone was I able to really look back and reflect on what I knew of him, and the experiences I had with him, through my own eyes. He wanted to be with us. For this lifetime, I will focus on the best of the best memories, because I am only living my story. Maybe he was a bad guy in someone else’s. Maybe he was a hero to others. In mine, I really loved my daddy. That’s it.

At his Celebration of Life today, there was a hearty gathering of family and friends, some who didn’t even know I existed. Many remembered me from my childhood, and I was genuinely happy to see those I knew well. Though the awkward mask-wearing stage of COVID presented a different kind of anxiety, everyone was kind and shared love for my father, and for me just because of him. My own little family did a great job of coping with their personal social anxiety, with the kids all finding ways to play, and my Allison by my side, meeting the characters I have described so many times.

Nearly every encounter comprised of someone asking me how my mother was, or if she still lived in Bridgton, or if she still worked at the diner, or where is Roland III? I received stories about my father and how he knew each person, my uncle Ervin made sure I saw everyone, and knew who they were, and I got to meet my niece and one of my nephews for the first time. My oldest child carried around my brother’s youngest child like they had known each other always. I’m not sure anyone knows where I live, what I do in life, or anything about me, really, but it was still such a worthy time. I’m thankful for Vicki, my stepmother and the rest for organizing such a humble yet rich memorial for my father.

After we made it back home, I sat in the screen house in our back yard, overlooking the pond full of tympanic bullfrogs, and hung out with my wife and the small urn of my father’s ashes. The breeze brought sweet, cool air across the apple tree beside us, and the giant robin – a key player in our backyard activities – hopped around, grabbing all of the bugs and worms the freshly mown grass revealed. Reflecting on the day, with some rare idle chat, we took space together. My life is exactly as it was always meant to be, and don’t I know it. I am truly thankful.

Welcome, and thank you!

Having never been very consistent with online creative outlets, such as blogs and social media, I sincerely appreciate every “like” and “follow” that You gift me.

I recently committed to a digital upgrade by investing in an iPad Pro and Procreate. So far, I’m enjoying exploration in Brushes – there are far too many! I have been working on my first official creation in this format, and I’m so happy with it so far, I can’t wait to show you here.

For those of you who have just jumped on this random bandwagon, I will be posting my visual art, along with the origin or a story that goes with it. I am currently compiling material for a full length animated feature film for the Land of Lo, as well as writing a script and re-creating character design for a short holiday special, “The Golden Pinecone”, an adaptation of a children’s book I wrote many years ago. My main focus is animation, and converting my artistic style to digital in a way that I feel still represents my aesthetic – which, to this point, has been watercolor and ink, with bright colors, sharp contrast, and psychedelic slant.

I am writing the script in tandem with a script-writing class – very convenient! – and want to apply for an Adobe Creative Residency next spring, in order to fully realize a 25-30 minute animation on my own. So, please join me for the journey. I am very excited about what the next couple of years will bring for me, and would love to share the experience with You!

My face.