Welcome to my new website and blog! I am so excited to share my journey from in becoming an aspiring artist!
After having practiced international trade law for over 20 years and being a full-time mom of two wonderful girls (Jade - age 13 and Chloe - age 9), I felt a need to slow my day down a bit and unplug from my overly techie lifestyle by drawing. This happened back in October 2015 when I was in the library happened to pick up a book that, with others, changed my life. It was France Belleville-Van Stone's Sketch! The non-artist's guide to inspiration, technique, and drawing daily life. The book is filled with beautiful mostly pen and watercolor drawings that are so inspiring. France also is known for her amazing use of cross-hatching. What I think I loved the best about the book was how France shared her story of not being a classically trained artist and yet, finding time to draw, and actually drawing all the mundane things in her life, gave her such joy and fulfillment. She inspired me, a lawyer who doesn't think of herself as particularly artistic, to give drawing a try.
I grew up in a typical Chinese American family that prized academic achievement and financial stability. I went to college at UCLA and almost got a job with The Gap in San Francisco in their Human Resources department, though I had originally interviewed for their Merchandising group. Circumstances beyond my control left me without that job and not a lot of direction. It seemed as if all my friends were going to law school, so I thought I would take the LSAT and see how I did. I ended up scoring very highly and decided to apply to law school. I had an interest in international affairs, so I worked with an international human rights attorney in law school and ended up doing a clerkship with a judge on the Court of International Trade in New York. I loved the academic aspect of the law and the court.
During my clerkship, I took a life drawing class at Carnegie Hall and drew live, nude models for hours on end. That was about it for my artistic pursuits for the next 20 years. After my clerkship, I worked in a very big law firm in Chicago practicing international trade law and after that, I worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers doing the same. About 9 years ago, I started my own international trade law practice a former colleague who is an amazing lawyer and also an amazing mom to three teenagers, one of whom is an Olympic ice dancing hopeful. Our practice is small so that we can give our clients our personal attention - but, when the practice recently slowed down, I found myself not particularly inspired to embark on the marketing efforts to really find more clients. Instead, I focused on my children and my creative hobbies such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, playing the piano and ukulele, as well as outdoor activities such as camping and tennis.
I had many interests, but no real passion until I rediscovered drawing through France's Sketch! book and another super inspiring book from the library, Felix Scheinberger's Urban Watercolor Sketching. I loved Felix's style - you definitely get a sense of his personality just by looking at his drawings and what he chooses to emphasize in his characters and scenes. I decided to get some watercolors and give it a try. I had only ever painted with acrylics before.
After that, I found Danny Gregory's life-changing books The Creative License and Art Before Breakfast. Danny had really inspired France and many other people to draw everything around you so that you can really slow down and SEE the things in our lives that we gloss over and rush by. Danny's artwork is wonderful and all his tips about how to fit making art into a busy life really spoke to me.
From there, I decided to take an online art course through Sketchbook Skool, which was founded by Danny and Koosje Koene, an artist in The Netherlands. I took Expressing, which was a six week course taught by six different artists/teachers and loved it. The klass ended last week and I've already signed up for Stretching, which starts tomorrow. See my Homework gallery to get a glimpse of some of the work I did during the kourse.
Also, this week, I converted my barely used law office in my house into my new art studio and I love it!! My art supplies were living on our kitchen table and overflowing in a small drawer in the kitchen and now I can finally stretch out and be organized and comfortable. I bought a new scanner/printer and inspired by Michael Nobbs' Expressing klass, have printed out some of my artwork as posters to decorate my studio and further inspire me. Every day, I can't wait to come to my studio and create art! I also welcome every spare waiting moment in a busy mom's life to sketch.
Thanks for reading!