A NEW PATHWAY – PART 1

This college art assignment is an example of doodling that I channeled into my mazes.

Yesterday, I was playing women’s doubles and on every changeover the women were discussing their upcoming travel plans. I was definitely an outlier.

I’ve never been to Europe or any of the other exotic places my friends were excitedly talking about. Perhaps if I had a large sum of money, I would consider taking a trip. But because I have limited income, I’m very careful with my expenditures.

I found it interesting that I wasn’t envious or sad about my situation while listening to my friends. I examined my life for a moment and decided that I’m blessed to be living a vacation year round. Freedom is the path I chose after ending my long marriage in 2012.

I create art and music at my leisure, perform to a loving audience whenever I choose (via live-stream on Insight Timer), and I’m extremely close to all three of my adult children.

But this past year, my journey encountered a new pathway. As if rediscovering the music I loved as a teenager wasn’t enough, I have revived something else I also relished when I was young.

I am drawing mazes again!

My story can best be told with the many images I’ll be sharing.

It all began with reconnecting.

The theme of reconnecting with old friends has been part of my rebirth after I turned 50. Those renewed friendships have been incredibly meaningful.

Earlier this year, I visited with two former Junior High classmates. One friend I hadn’t seen in decades. Our reunion was lovely, and this new classmate warmly invited me to visit her beach house as a houseguest. Her husband knew me, because we had been in the same math class where I had drawn mazes when I was 14 years old.

A month later, I had a lovely overnight visit with this couple and I couldn’t believe what it led to.

The husband hired me to draw a maze, even though I hadn’t drawn one in over 40 years. He suggested that I create a maze in his company’s logo. I was paid generously, which was very much appreciated.

This new pathway was definitely a learning experience. I purchased new pens and ink to experiment with, and utilized my computer to design my maze. I created an outline template and then printed it onto different types of paper to experiment with. Drawing the maze was mindless and actually the easy part.

Now I’ll backtrack to describe the maze book I published at the age of 14. I wrote a post about it on this blog, back in 2011:   #44 MY AMAZING JOURNEY-PART 1

I am proud of my unique style of maze drawing. My mazes are actually pictures and incorporate tone. One of the last mazes I drew (before a hiatus of 4 decades) was of Richard Nixon.

I used to pass my mazes around in my classes. I would draw a maze inside outlines of hearts and even my friends’ names. (One friend told me that he has saved one of my mazes all these years!) I created mazes for class yearbooks. One day, my geometry teacher caught me drawing in his class and admonished me. But then he suggested that I try to get my mazes published. When I did indeed publish a book, I dedicated it to him.

Because an educational company published my book, it was required to be instructive. Below is a page from my book with examples of creating maze tones by using wider and narrower paths.

Once I finished drawing mazes for my former middle school classmates, I was ready to draw new mazes for myself!

No surprise that I chose a butterfly for my first new maze. This is my template.

Drawing a smooth line drawing with a digital stylus requires skill and a steady hand. With practice, I quickly improved. There were many advantages, such as being able to flip my butterfly wing to make it symmetrical.

I drew my butterfly maze twice, because initially I wasn’t satisfied with the first version. I ended up finding charm with both of them. The second maze was slightly more realistic, with more pronounced lines on the wings and less parallel spot separation lines.

After finishing two butterfly mazes, I wasn’t sure what maze I’d draw next. But then I received a letter in the mail that inspired me.

Six months earlier, I had sent a package to Barbra Streisand. In it were some prints of my artwork with a letter offering her one of my paintings. I also wrote about my passion for music and the healing songs I loved to share.

When I received a letter back from the Streisand foundation, I was floored! It was such an unbelievably beautiful letter that I wanted to frame it.

Here is a paragraph that took my breath away:

“Your dedication to sharing your paintings and music with the world is a profound gift. We admire your courage and your everlasting love for your dear son Jason, and we are inspired by your goal of sharing your healing artistic gifts with the world. Certainly, the world is a decidedly more beautiful and empathetic place with you in it!”

A CD was included with the letter. The cover art was very graphic and reminiscent of a maze.

Well, Barbra couldn’t accept one of my paintings, but perhaps a maze would be more personal and welcomed. I would draw Barbara a maze!

Although the CD cover inspired me, I looked for a more flattering image on the Internet. I found one and converted the photo into a black and white study. I diligently spent a lot of time on the preliminary work. There were many choices for the shadows on her face.

It was fun creating a maze for Barbra Streisand. I sent it to my new contact at her foundation and I share my letter that went along with it.

Every day, I check my mailbox. My new pathway is definitely thrilling!

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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7 Responses to A NEW PATHWAY – PART 1

  1. Belinda O says:

    I’ve been following this story on Facebook and I think what you’re doing is fantastic! Yet another talent. This one I wouldn’t have guessed, although it does follow your artistic path. Congratulations on all you’re accomplishing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Belinda. It definitely is a pathway that I didn’t anticipate. Creating mazes for my former classmate was wonderful and the money was such a help. He ended up hiring me for several mazes and his wife order two more!
      It certainly has been fun sharing – especially on Facebook. The engagement is so much fun and many of my friends there are former classmates I haven’t seen in decades! But they remember my drawings!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kegarland says:

    This is truly fascinating, Judy! I’m always amazed by your many talents. Someone once told me that most artists have more than one “medium” or talent, and you’ve consistently shown that ❤

    I love the Nixon maze and witty phrase lol Of course, that letter from the Streisand Foundation is also super cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much, Katherin. I’m glad you appreciated the Nixon maze. I was thinking I could make one of Trump and include classified documents. (I honestly can’t stand looking at his face for very long.)
      Im hoping that eventually I’ll hear from the Streisand foundation. It took six months the first time, so it just requires patience.
      Looking forward to your upcoming posts about your Christmas holiday.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ann Coleman says:

    Isn’t it amazing how doors open once you are willing to “put yourself out there?” I’m so glad you reunited with your old friend, and then her husband got you back into doing mazes….which are remarkably good, by the way. You may not be going on European vacations, but you are definitely living life to the fullest!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: AMAZING! SIMPLY AMAZING! 🤍

    Liked by 1 person

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