A few weeks ago, after I returned home from a fantastic weekend trip to Paris, where I took lots of colorful photos, I wrote this post about quieting down a bit. I wanted to do some simpler designs: designs with simpler compositions and 'quieter' color palettes.

Here is one of the first pieces that came out of that attempt:

 

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At the same time, I was completing one of my Chapter 1 'tasks' in The Artist's Way, a book/course that has totally transformed my life over the past several weeks. The task was to write a thank you letter to someone from my past who had really 'championed' my work. So I wrote a card to a teacher of mine from the Art Students League of New York, where I took portrait and figure drawing classes from 2001-2004.

I remember that it took me a while to find the ASLNY, when I first moved to NYC in December of 2000. But when I did, a whole world opened up to me ... It's a place with a long, rich history; It was founded in 1875 for artists, by artists. I think the first class I took (figure drawing from a live model) lasted pretty much the whole day on Saturdays. I loved it! I hadn't really been doing much painting or drawing since I graduated from college a year earlier, and being in that environment made me realize that I needed to make art like I needed to breathe air! And what an honor to be able to study there, where artists the likes of Georgia O'Keefe had studied!

Somehow, over the past eight years, working as a graphic designer, studying for my MFA (which was much more 'conceptually' focused) and getting into surface design, I've pretty much abandoned working by hand. I've done an occasional portrait here and there, but never gained any momentum. The computer is, by comparison, so much easier to set up (turn on) and clean up (turn off) and takes up so much less space (space is at a premium here in the Netherlands ...) Plus, Photoshop is SO amazing!!

But in the interest of creating simpler compositions and quieter color palettes, last week I decided to go back to basics and bust out my old drawing pencils and papers. It was so nice to be physically active while drawing - standing up, stepping back, dancing around a little bit, even getting a sore arm! (I'm really rusty and out of shape, obviously!) I'd forgotten what that was like.

Anyway, I really enjoyed drawing again, the good old-fashioned way, and I am committed to incorporating it in my work more and more from now on. On Saturday I went to the public library in Den Bosch and checked out a stack of books on still life drawing/painting from the Golden Age until today.

I think there is so much territory to explore at the intersection of traditional and digital arts!

Here is the piece I completed most recently (today) using a hand-drawn motif that I then edited and arranged using Photoshop:

 

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On Thursday, if I can get a babysitter, I have a meeting at Dutch Design Week with an interior designer who has his own product line and may want to use some of my designs for some wallpapers. I'll keep you posted!

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