This is a print I made on rice paper of my great-great-great grandmother, Caroline Northrup Darling, based on an image of her from the 19th century.

I find art, the act of doing it, creating it, very therapeutic.

The first piece I ever sold was while I was in college. I had been taking a few art classes, some requirements for my graphic design degree, most because I thought they’d be fun.

I submitted a few pieces to the annual student art show. Two of mine were selected. One, an etching from a copper plate titled Beware of the Man, received an honorable mention. Later I learned it had been sold. The buyer was a college vice president. It was nice to be recognized and even nicer to have someone buy it.

My personal logo, based on a design I first made in high school and later perfected in college
My personal logo, based on a design I first sketched as a doodle in high school and later perfected in college

While taking graphic design classes in college one assignment was to develop a personal logo. I had tinkered around years earlier with doodles and drawings. I had sketched an image using my initials, A-J-H, which I also use to sign my blog posts. I played around with the three letters, merging them together. The final product is to the left.

During a critique session in class, a fellow student mentioned that it looked like an A+, or an A plus, however you put it, which was an interesting interpretation. I have to say that I am very much in love with it. I may just start plastering it everywhere.

I enjoy using various software to create art. After having spent a small fortune on a litany of items during college, including software, I’ve become a big fan of the open source movement. My favorite is the vector-based Inkscape, followed by GIMP. Of course, I still use the expensive toys such as Photoshop, when available. The Seattle Public Library has Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite on many public computers.

A boy has dreams.
I created this image thinking of a movie studio, such as DreamWorks. As a boy, I had wild, fantastic dreams. I built empires in my mind. I was a dreamer. This is a recreation based on my memory. The original I created in college.

There’s nothing quite like dreaming of something and then doing it. That’s how art is done. And business. And movies. Just about anything.

Life and circumstances can sometimes beat this creative vision out of a person, sadly. Well, I’m determined to keep it going, no matter what happens.

Of course, traditional methods are sweet, too. There’s nothing quite like carving up a piece of wood, smearing some ink on it, and seeing what it looks like printed on a piece of paper.

This fall, 2015, I took another printmaking class at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. This sailboat is the first project from that session.
I based this image of my Grandpa’s farm in South Dakota on a photograph I took when I visited the place a few years ago. The barn is the only building left. A strong storm, possibly with a tornado, had just passed through the area days before, tearing up the old trees lining the road.


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