Around the start of the new year, Free Expressions Seminars and Literary Services asked me to design a postcard featuring a quote from author Annie Dillard. The intention was to start the year off by inspiring Free Expressions's vast network of aspiring and established writers to make 2015 their best year yet, filled with stories, fables, and fiction. After the first postcard went out, the lovely women at Free Expressions had a genius idea to keep their clients engaged and motivated: each month, they would mail out a postcard featuring an inspirational quote from a beloved author. The back of each card offers writing tips and encouragements, and a random handful of the postcards gift their receivers with free literary services.
I have had a blast these first four months coming up with beautiful ways to represent the wise words of Vera Nazarian, Pablo Neruda, Ray Bradbury, and Annie Dillard--it is like a monthly assignment to get creative juices flowing. These postcards are fun experiments. I get to play.
Past and Future Travels of Here Right Now is a collection of 300 pen-and-ink drawings I started in April 2010 and completed in April 2011. To see the full collection and to purchase works from the project, please visit 300drawings.com.
After I graduated college, I was a newlywed woman with an art degree. In the epic post-university scattering of 2009, my community fragmented out across the country. Dave and I wound up in Florida--a state where we knew no one, with foreign streets and monolith clouds and a country between us and the familiar.
The first several months in Florida were a new experience in loneliness. My life had been spent in a large network of dear friends, each supporting and fulfilling different needs and affections; I was a woman created of community, now expecting one other human to satisfy my need for society. It was an unfair, impossible task for me to place on my new husband, particularly on introverted Dave who was deep in his own worries of providing for me despite a heartbreaking career change.
My days were spent exploring the alien city on my bicycle, and at night I created little gifts to mail to faraway friends, crafted needless trinkets for our home, and made art that simultaneously felt wonderfully self-important and utterly insignificant--which, overall, is mostly how I viewed my life.
One evening, I drew two little landscapes that demanded fondness--the style was as foreign to me as the Florida landscape, and the pieces felt like a new adventure. I instantly ran to the store, purchased a stack of cardstock (150 sheets) and a paper cutter, chopped the paper in half, and decided that I would create 300 of these grayscale drawings. I considered myself to be a serial abandoner of large projects, and it was with a deep distrust in my own ability to complete anything truly time-consuming that I committed to the work. I will make five drawings every day, and it will only take a little longer than two months to finish.
It took me one year.
A lot of things happened in that year. I got a job at a local health food store, which plunged me into a community of misfit toys and outdoor wanderers. Dave and I stumbled onto Felicitous, which turned out to be a stumbling of gargantuan significance. We moved into a house on the Hillsborough River. We moved out of the house on the Hillsborough River. Dave lost his job. We traveled to Colorado, Massachusetts, Key West, and Palestine. We went out on boats into the ocean. The ocean filled with oil. We used a ragtag menagerie of free or borrowed vehicles that constantly broke down, only to be replaced with another free or borrowed vehicle. And as I worked through all the changes that were rapidly veering into our still-newlywed relationship, the landscape served as an ideal subject for coping with it all. Everything appeared in the work.
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