February 18, 2010

Paint Lab

Where have I been?

I blame taxes. At the beginning of this year, I realized how much I'm going to get reamed and I thought, "Why do I waste my free time on this?"

So in rebellion I took a break from drawing - I stopped sketching, I stopped working on side projects, I never mailed out the pile of promotional mailers I printed. I even stopped reading art related blogs. I finished building my new illustration website just because it was a web development project - not necessarily because of the art. I was frustrated with art and wanted to give up.

Well last Thursday I was reminded why I do this. For Valentine's Day, my boyfriend and his two friends surprised their special lady friends with a night at Paint Lab in Santa Monica. For a flat fee you get an evening at darling paint studio on Main Street in Santa Monica. You pay for the canvas you choose from their stock (there's an $8 "corkage" if you bring your own), and they provide paints, supplies, clean-up, and if you're there on the right night like we were, FREE wine and cheese all night.

Since it was a surprise, I wasn't prepared to paint anything specific. So I opened my mini sketchbook that I keep in my purse and flipped through for inspiration. I landed on my Mucha Girl sketch and decided to go with it. We were provided with some acrylic paints and cheap old scraggly paint brushes, but it was enough to get me excited. For about an hour, my five buddies and I sipped Chardonnay, munched on delicious bread and brie, listened to music, chatted, and PAINTED.

Here's what I miss about art: The social interaction. I miss taking a break, stepping back, asking for thoughts, looking at friends' progress and offering suggestions. I have been struggling with making art in my free time because it usually means skipping dinners or workouts, missing spontaneous happy hours, sitting at home by myself and working while friends are all out having fun. It usually means reserving at least one day of the weekend for time at my dining room table/"studio" while friends hike, explore, relax, or travel.

I've been putting too much stress on myself. Therefore, this blog is going to be less active than before.

I'm going to do my job as a graphic designer, and I'm going to be good at it, because I've always loved typography and organizing information for optimal user experience.

I'm going to continue to learn web design because I'm a giant nerd and sort of love coding.

I'm going to draw when I want to draw, or when there's an assignment, or if it's right for a piece I'm designing, and I'm going to enjoy it more that way.

Thanks for reading my thoughts. I'll be here off and on, and I encourage you to stick around.

By the way, my illustration portfolio has been redesigned - hand coded in XHTML and CSS. Look ma, no Dreamweaver! Let me know what you think. More photos from Paint Lab are below. Definitely check it out if you are in the area.



Here's me enjoying the free spread of wine, cheese, crackers, bread, garlic/oil spread... mmmmmm

Natalie channeled her inner Pollock.

Dave's started as Marilyn Monroe, but slowly became Marilyn Manson.

Jon painted his one true love... his puppy Shelby.  From memory!

Jon's fiance Melissa painted a heart in honor of Valentine's day.  I dig the grey background.

Here I am, working on Ms. Mucha

And Jason is oh-so-proud of his "Interpretive piece."  If you ask him, "who is Jacob?" His response is, "Who do you think he is?"  He truly belongs in the MOMA.

Thanks again for the surprise!