Kicking the Bucket List


I had never even heard of the term “Bucket List” until the movie came out. Maybe its a good list to have if someone just gave you the news that you time is limited. We all have expiration dates we just don’t know when or how. The way I view my life I have done amazing things, gone amazing places, met and heard amazing people and experienced much more than most can imagine. I have no need for a bucket list.


I have traveled and toured 45 states, toured and/or worked in 9 countries outside the US. To get to these places I took cars, trains, airplanes, bus and boats (mostly ferries). Among my favorite places: Ireland, Mexico, San Francisco, CA, St. Augustine, FL, Portland, OR, Taos, NM and Natchez, MS. I haven’t taken count of the Museums I have been to but no matter where I visit if there is a museum I go.

Name Dropping

I’ve seen near 100 live performances by some of the most famous bands and bands that would become famous like Elton John when he was the warm band. I have been present during readings by extraordinary writers, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Toni Morrison, Alice Walk and Scott Momaday. I took in two Broadway plays in NYC, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “Sunday in the Park with George”. Being an illustrator I have the opportunity to meet and or talk to renowned artists, Tom Wilson (Ziggy) was my boss, Garfield creator Jim Davis, visited Laurel Burch,  Debbie Mumm and Mary Englebreit in their Studios. Lest I should forget was the chance talk given by Jacques Cousteau. FYI: Coincidently we share a birth date.


I’ve ran down the center of Medicine Park dressed as Little Britches the outlaw. Performed Western reenactments for the likes of NATO visitors. Given demonstrations and talk before audiences of all ages and size of groups. Concepted and graphically illustrated characters for cards and licensing including Strawberry Shortcake and Friends, Care Bears and Get-Along-Gang. Slid down a 60ft concrete slide in the historic Castro district of San Francisco.

As you can surmise by my life experiences are more like a book of lists. I am 70, more Travel, Performances, People, Action will be added not because it is a goal because the opportunity presents itself.


My New Transparency

Earthtones Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style
Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style 3D ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

Transparency is a word being bantered around in the American lexicon, specially in matters of politics these days. But “my transparency” has nothing to do with politics. I purchased a pair of clear acrylic eyeglass frames because frankly, I am tired of wearing glasses since I donned my first pair at age four. Clear frames would be they closest I could come to no frames. (It was determined years ago that contact lenses would not work for my “special” eye condition).

Translucent Orange Square Ring
Translucent Orange Square Ring ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

How it all started had more to do with my lateral method of thinking. “Ah” I thought I would now build around the concept of transparency. When one searches for “transparent plastic” Lucite pops up, a form of acrylic. Even though I was a young adult in the 1970s, I somehow missed the lucite bandwagon. In my possession was only a few translucent blue bangles. Two to be exact it had been sold as a trio but somewhere in my half a dozen moves one was lost. I am a frequent browser of both eBay and Etsy and I began my search by typing in “clear lucite”. The first piece that caught my fancy and fit my budget was an asymmetric clear chunky ring with sharp edges. It was obviously hand carved and polished. It had one small flaw, a 1/8 nick which you wouldn’t know unless you were told. Bought it, loved it.

Square Clear Lucite with Embedded Blue
Square Clear Lucite Embedded Blue ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

I also experimented by buying a “lot” of rings less than a half of which I kept (some were too small others to glitzy or pink). I moved the rest to a local gallery and put an impulse buy price on them. A few have found the right finger to go on. Other lots have come up but none too promising. So I have gone back to single stunners.

So many directions I could have taken (a few I took that weren’t right for me) I have settled on what I would be buy, mostly rings with an artistic twist. I prefer ones that are either translucent or combination of translucent, clear and opaque. FYI: Sellers often make mistakes here and don’t know the difference between

Red Sphere, OrangeDisk Clear Band 3D
Red Sphere Orange Disk 3D ©2014 Muriel Fahrion

transparent, opaque and semi opaque. The other restriction I put on my purchases is price staying under $10 including shipping. So yes, I’ve have to restrain myself and not go for the tempting pricier pieces and believe me there are a lot of those.

Clear Stacked Cylinders

It is hard to tell what decade my rings come from but no matter I am buying them for style first. Lucite appeared on the scene in the 1930’s but most of what you can find in rings come out of 50s, 60s, and 70s. Flash forward to today there are some new designs coming out. Alex Bittar lucite creations are interesting but way too pricey for me. Jackie Brazil Sorbal comes closer but outside where I’ve set my limit. If you are looking for some fun inexpensive lucite or Milano glass rings I might suggest “Carrot Box” who carries fun rings in a myriad of colors. But for me I will probably stay with vintage.

Lucite seems to fit who I am, it is light and more importantly fun with just enough flash for this artist. Besides having the rings gives me the opportunity to render plastic items in 3D. I am sure I will add some new Lucite to “ring” in the New Year!

Translucent White Square End
Translucent White Square End
Earthtones Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style
Earthtones Embedded Stripes Pyramid Style
Note: 3D renderings ©Muriel Fahrion 2014.

Artcestry: The Wunderle Artistic Inheritance

No doubt we are a large family on my mother’s side with somewhere around 300 individuals coming down from my maternal grand parents, Aloysius and Lucille Wunderle. My aunts and uncles and their families all lived in the Cleveland, OH area. As the original 50 first cousins grew to adulthood they moved about country. It is only since Facebook that many of us have reconnected and at the same time we are learning but each other’s families and each others interests. Maybe because I am an artist myself that I find it remarkable the number of visual artists there are among the cousins and the cousins’ kids. I know that in the mix of my mother’s siblings there are those who could draw and some could paint including my mother. Uncle John and Uncle Charles both took art classes. Taking into consideration that only 1% of the US population are visual artists would mean there would mean a total 5 of the cousins might be artists.
Having put the question forward the answer I arrived at was at least 10, double the national average. To compare, there are about the equal percentage of doctors in the US meanwhile in our family doctors number zero as far as I know. Obviously the artists in the family are not show-offs as when ask to submit their art I ended up for the most part hunting for the images on their facebook and beyond. Through no fault of my own and for not trying, I may have missed some cousins and some art. I can always add names and art to this post if the cousins contact me. Please feel free to move about the the images.

Artist Cousins…

Michelle Losey Nazzaro, Painter, drawing. Cooper School of Art, Cleveland, OH
Mary Losey Kevdzija, photographer, painter / drawing. Cleveland Institute of Art
Laura Losey Faulkner, Artist, Pencil/ charcoal and pastel
Mark Losey photographer
Andrea Wunderle Coble, Artist/Illustrator/ Interior designer. Andrea Coble I received my under graduate degree in illustration at Utah State University. I did cover art for a small magazine in Germany after working for MEM Art Services in the USA, right after graduating. Then for about 5 -6 years I switched gears and fell in love with interior design and worked in high end designer galleries. I also received an award in Germany for my large abstract prints depicting Cleveland of all things. Now I paint on gourds and love to plan a good party. I throw one a month it seems.
Paul Wunderle, Photographer
Susan Norris Trentel,Drawing, Plush and Doll plush design, Clothes designer, pattern maker. Cooper School of Art
Muriel Norris Fahrion concept Illustrator, 3D, cute character developer and photography. Cooper School of Art
Sheila Franczak Tolbert, Painter of portraits, nostalgic images and dog portraits/ Interior Decorating. Dog Portrait is of Tank, he passed away last spring and my friend asked me to paint it for her husband as a tribute. I paint in acrylic on canvas. I do not advertise, I paint for friends, family and an occasional referral.
Patsy Norris Welsh/ stained glass

Cousin’s Kids

Colin Fahrion Concept Graphic Art, Medical Illustration, website design and random acts of creativity, Cleveland Institute of Art
Ted Intorcio Comic Book illustrator, commercial design. Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh
Bill Trentel, Graphic Designer and owner Trentel Graphics. Carnagie Mellon, Pittsburg, PA
Rachel Welsh Igas/ Graphic Design/ Computer design Rachel Welsh de Iga BFA in Graphic Design from WVU and have worked as a graphic designer, multimedia designer, art director, etc. I still love drawing the best. I currently have a client who requires me to create works of art on her brown paper lunch bags every morning before she goes to school. I get a kick out of the fact that her friends clamor to see what she brings in (realistic or abstract) every day.
Denise Ginley, Photographer, Food Design. Evergreen State College. Visit her at Little Market Kitchen Blog
Kim Fahrion – Interior Design/ Poster design/ crafts, Has taught these subjects to High Schoolers Nancy Gebauer paints and draws. Teaches art classes.
Mary Trentel Hall– Quilter/ Crafter
Julie Norris, Photography

Cousin’s Grand Kids

Kendall MacKeigan Fashion Design/ Art (cousin’s granddaughter)
Morgan Shina Hosokoawa Ward, fashion design (cousin’s granddaughter)
Cassandra Kelemen Kling, Nature photography

Note: Thanks to Rachel Welsh Igas for the original title “Artcestry”


Starting with buying $3 mini colanders from Big Lots just because I love the color! I was washing carrots in the orange one when it hit me how I loved the orange in orange. For the background I found shiny bright colored folders located in kids school supplies and the rest was 2 weeks worth of experimentation. I would walk into the grocery store and buy things that I wouldn’t normally buy but the colors screamed “buy me!”. I like it that I can make my art and eat it too! The final video product is a minimalistic conceptual color directed piece set to a techno dance beat. All  photos were shot with the iphone 5 on the front veranda out of the sun but still in natural light. Video assembled with iMovie.

I wanted to pair the images up with a musical background so I began sifting through iTunes starting by searching for “Colander”. There were about 4 songs with that name but Joseph Capriati dance mix was perfect. I gave him credit on the video. If you loved it go to his site listen and/or buy.

The most logical thing for me to have done was to make the images into prints. Two of my graphically inclined friends are nudging me to do so. Its in the works.


Our Own Personal Portland


It was a trip I have been thinking about for years, a journey to Portland and Oregon. Not for any reason in particular but for the fact that I have never been to the corner of the U.S. The last few years have been traumatic what with the ice storm, wildfire, my husband’s cancer, death of family members and all. Along with that we hadn’t seen our son for over a year and half. My grown children make me happy. So the trip was planned months in advance to squeeze between Michael’s scan and his chemo and naturally to mesh with our son Colin’s vacation time. It looked like things we were going to be perfect but then… The storm hit and we had 8 inches of rain in one night and were struck by nearby lightening, not once but twice. It took out 11 appliances and flooded our newly completed room. It was a bit of scramble but we set up repair people, order replacement small appliances and parts and talked to the insurance adjuster. We left the rest in the hands in our capable daughter to deal with and we headed off to Portland.


Our son Colin and his girlfriend Tess traveled by car up from San Francisco and met us at the airport. We had rented a precious house in Hillsboro a short drive from Portland in an amazing flowered neighborhood. We chose (or rather were persuaded by our son to chose it) based on the fact that they had egg laying chickens, a hot tub, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. We experienced unusually lovely weather  with 6 days of mild temperatures and only one day of cold drizzle.

The Vintage Shops: All the great vintage clothing shops are too numerous to mention. We probably hit 5 of them. Well managed and laid out. Prices are reasonable.  The Bins of Goodwill where you buy clothes by the pound. Wash your hands afterwards but we found some pretty fab stuff there.

2013-04-23 12.02.42

Pittock Mansion: Most fabulous view of Portland EVER! You can view the mountains and the city. The mansion is beautiful outside and in with marvelous interior details.

The Museum of Contemporary Crafts: The focus on the day we went was Bowls. It is a small museum but sometimes small is better.

Japanese Garden: Tranquil beauty, a meditation while walking through it.

Leach Botanical Garden: We arrived at the blossoming of the Magnolias. Who knew there was so many varieties?

Our Friend’s High-rise Condo: Seeing Portland from the 25 floor with a 270 degree view was awesome. If you don’t have a friend that lives in a highrise in Portland try one of these recommended restaurants for the view.

Portland is REALLY bicycle friendly so if you have one use it but it is also walker friendly. Our friend took us on an 4 1/2 mile walk that took us through the Portland State campus where we got to see the Benson House, stopping at the Keller Fountain Park (now my favorite city fountain ever!)  over an array of bridges crossing Williamette River.

2013-04-22 11.39.05

Powell’s Books: The rooms are arranged by colors. There are 3 floors and seemingly endless number of books. A book lover’s paradise. I bought a couple of poetry books. Everyone walked out with books.


The Hat Museum: Yes, you must see it. The only way to see it is to reserve a tour. It is $15 a person but if you love hats it is a have to. Our tour lasted 2 hours. You will be thoroughly dipped in the history and etiquette of hats. It is the prettiest neighborhoods of Portland, the Ladd district. One amazing bungalow after another.

Cannon Beach: We grabbed a bite at Sweet Basils in the town for some fabulous fresh crab and headed toward the beach. It was the only cold and drizzly day we had but one MUST walk on Canon Beach or you can’t call it a trip to Oregon. We did our best but then headed down the coast and stop at a friend of a friends rented cottage on the ocean for cocktails. Colin carried all you needed to mix up a variation of great drinks. The folks were extraordinary and amazing to chat with.

Stumptown Comic Fest: I thought this is not going to be my cup of tea. The coolest thing I discovered was all the talented indie comic/ graphic novel artists. Many of them were drawing right on the spot. Who doesn’t love artists?


Where we ate…. Portland is renowned for excellent cuisine. Today with the help of sites like “Yelp” you can find top rated independent local places. You have to love the industrial look that some restaurants take on. One example was The Pizza Research Institute in Eugene, OR where we met for the first time my cousin and his family. I believe it was a converted auto body shop. You order from a menu with a quirky assortment of pizza toppings. My choice was the apple, smoked gouda and walnut pizza. Loved it!  In mid-city Portland is Abby’s Table an open kitchen format that features cooking classes. You eat at large stainless steel tables. If you are vegan, dairy or gluten challenged this is your nirvana. I am none of these but still found the food to be very tasty.


On our way to Eugene we stopped in Corvallis where we ate at Nearly Normals fresh, healthy menu. I loved loved the pumpkin tacos!

When you are in Oregon drink Oregon Beer! Its the terrific. We stopped at Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene and bought a sample tasting.

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A note about Voodoo Donuts. We went to the one in Eugene just to say we stopped in. I did NOT eat a donuts but Michael & Colin did. I just don’t eat donuts. So if you LOVE donuts go there or just go there because it like going to Chicago and eating Chicago style pizza. In Portland you could wait hours to get in unless, as my sister tells it, you go at 3 in the morning.

I’ve talked to a lot of people since we returned home. Many said, like I had, that wanted to go to Portland someday. I say enough talk just DO IT!