March 16, 2011

A Creative Degree: Finding My Path

An all over floral.  Yes, those paint chips at the top of the blog were from this painting.
I've struggled since graduating from college with a creative degree.  But perhaps that is not where I should start this little therapy session.  Feel free to just enjoy the images and ignore the words.  They are after all more of a reminder for myself when I stray.  They may however be inspirational- but I make no promises about that.
A Geometric.  A bit Denyse Schmidt eh?
My creative endeavors started at home at a young age, as creative things often do.  I was a curious child and as I've told you about me my upbringing played a role in that.  I made things for the fun of it, to help the forest animals (and humans).  I put what my mind designed into reality.  It was fun, fulfilling and often exhilaratingly addictive.  There were days where I think my eyes went from sleeping to knitting (spinning, drawing etc) to sleeping again, never seeing much else.
William Morris Inspired.
It wasn't such an easy choice when it came time to college.  My mind and body is not the book kind of girl (unless that book was about animals, making/doing things with your hands) so deciding what to do for the rest of my life didn't fit into the 4 year college degrees.  It took two years, much struggle and a chance meeting for me to learn about the Textile and Apparel program at UW-Madison. It sounded like the prefect fit
A traditional floral that your Grandma might wan on her davenport.
I loved learning all of the new things.  I am thoroughly happy that I found such a great fit.  The teachers and equipment offered many opportunities (studying in NYC was just one of them).  Sadly though being young I was quite closed minded.  I could have learned a lot more and gotten a lot more out of my education.  That was perhaps the best lesson of college.  Take advantage of what is in front of you.  Oh and get out of your room/house and make life long friends.
The same William Morris inspired design but as a hand drawn negative used in the printing process.
Fast forward to graduation.  I'm living in NYC.  I hadn't planned on moving back to WI.  I was destined for great and wonderful things and that involved NYC, right?  I'd never thought I would have even looked at moving back to the good ol' state of Wisconsin.  But the man I love (not to mention family) was living in WI.  Plus it was 2008 the stock market etc was collapsing- you know that song.  Jobs were impossible to find.  So to WI for LOVE it was.  I had no plan, no job, no place to live (unless I moved in with the parents-sorry Mom- not an option) no idea what I was doing.
Painted with dyes I call this painting "Little Shop of Horrors."
That was the first move I had ever made that wasn't for the sole purpose of satisfying my creative ambitions.  I was lost.  I knew it was where I wanted to be but I was utterly lost.  I just didn't have a clue as to where it was pointing me.  What was next?  All direction was gone.
A gouache painting inspired by a batik of mine, buttons and quilts.
A lot of learning and growing up has happened in-between -wink-wink-wink- then and now and that makes a huge difference.  There is still a lot of learning ahead but some of the main things that I learned (and they seem so basic once you learn them) are:

-Be okay with enjoying what you enjoy.  There is no requirement to create a masterpiece every time.  You do not have to be the best to be awesome.
-only do it if it A: makes you happy or B: must be done for survival (you and those around you will be happier and better off for it.  Yes this may mean volunteering/donating/advocating for others)
-When in doubt default to some version of happy.  ie take what you get and work it (ie small yard/patio= still a great garden, small paycheck= still saving$...)
-Follow your instincts but be practical.  If something tells you to move back to WI for love do it. Note: I knew I could always move in with the 'rents, right Mom?
Inspired by a Magnolia tree on the UW-Madison campus, "Sweet Magnolia."
Do keep calm and carry on.

*All images are of paintings/designs by me, Lauren Ann Paul.  Please do not reproduce without written consent.  Yes, liking and linking is great.  Just not printing or copying.  I know you understand.  :)


  1. This is really nice Lauren. As a once future art historian, I know why we get along so well. Keep figuring it out! Good luck!

  2. Okay, dear...I have to ask you this? What are these? Did you paint them? Are the fabric? I'm lost...but IN LOVE with them all. So much so that I want to buy one and hang it on my wall. And I'm not kidding. And I want one for my office too. Seriously.

  3. Thank you for the kind words ladies. They are paintings/textile designs that I did while in college. I am in the process of finding a place that can scan them in so they can be reproduced. Which one(s)were you particularly stuck by?

  4. Uh, I love them all. I'm pretty fond of "geometric" (I can see that in my sitting room and my office) and I like the magnolia one too. Oh, and I really like the gouache one and little shop of horrors one.

    So yeah, I kind of love them all. And I very serious about buying one or all of them! Let me know if you ever have them available!


Thank you. I love comments!