Did I ever mention that in my past life (the week before Christmas in 1993, to be exact) the condo building in which I lived burned to the ground. I lost almost everything, which is probably why it wasn't hard to part with much when I packed up and moved to the Netherlands 2 years ago.
However, it's precisely because of that fire that I have been determined to preserve as much of Astrid's artwork online as possible. It's only taken me two years to do it but here it is...the best representation of what her mind and hands have accomplished in her adult years.
To begin with, the school system in Europe is not like in America. Kids start specializing much earlier and, at age 16, Astrid was ready to start. She had wanted to be a carpenter since age 10, but no school in Holland at that time allowed girls into their program. An employment agency recommended Window Dressing as her next best option because it required carpentry in its coursework.
So at age 16 Astrid started her economic and technical training at NIMETO in nearby Utrecht for the next 4 years of her life. This was where she did most of the following artwork, during 1971-75, preparing to be a window dresser. (She graduated in June, 1975, and then flew to America in August, where she spent the next year of her life, at age 21. But more on that later.)
Remember poster paint? We're talking about the early 70s, before the internet, when Astrid had to mix all her colors by hand and figure out how light interacts with them.
All 4 of these color palettes are made by hand and took hours of mixing paint.
Dry paint looks different than wet paint, she says, and had to be taken into consideration.
Assignment: Use only two colors, purple and white,
and make a drawing with all the color variations in between.
A simple assignment tells you amazing things about color!
Again, only two colors (blue and yellow) but look how together they make the new color green.
What thrills me about this drawing is that Astrid was on the Dutch national youth softball team when she was 16-17 years old. Later,when she was 23 she was the catcher on a ladies softball team that had an exchange program with the Grand Rapids, MI, team. So Astrid actually played softball in my home state (Grand Rapids, Holland, and Petoskey) long before I knew she existed!
(Astrid did this as extra credit, using the colors white and green.)
It's a small world after all!
Assignment: Design a game. Astrid decided to make wood puzzles of national flags.
She was always interested in America and lived there for a year after she finished school.
Assignment: Come up with a theme and make variations of it.
Astrid loved downhill skiing at that time in her life and chose that theme.
This is a line drawing the teacher gave them.
Assignment: Make it into a block/cube and design anything you want.
So Astrid made up her own horoscope signs!
Not all 12 signs are represented; some are variations of the same symbol.
(click to enlarge and see if you can guess the signs)
Assignment: Pick an object and design something from it.
Pen & ink creations were varied.
Assignment: The shoe drawing was an ad for a magazine.
The bottom-left design was all one line, without lifting the pen from the paper.
Architectural perspective is always a part of drawing, of course.
In perspective, the horizon line is always important.
How you see something from above or below is different.
Remember, this is the 70s. No AutoCAD!
Astrid says it was the tools she loved using for this project more than anything else.
(Sorry for the poor quality, all from photos I took.)
Assignment: Add something to your perspective.
How about colored pencils (they never used felt pens)!
Assignment: Take an Old Masters painting and simplify it.
Include the artist's name in your design.
Assignment: Pick a berry and do something with it.
Astrid first did the pen & ink design from which she created a needlepoint pattern.
She says she was just an "average" student and needed extra credit.
So she also stitched the pattern she created.
Assignment: Try watercolor painting for fun.
Astrid said it was very difficult for her, which is why she didn't finish it.
She didn't have the time then to master it. Maybe when she retires, she says!
Assignment: Make a linoleum cut.
Since it was Christmas time, she even used it for her Christmas cards.
Assignment: Design one animal and use the same characteristics on 3 others,
for a child's room. Aren't they cute! :)
Uilenborg = Owl Village.
Wrapping paper, logo, truck signs, even shopping bags!
Assignment: Take a picture from a magazine and use 3 techniques for drawing it.
Then incorporate it into your own design (top design against the flag)
Because Astrid was going to the U.S. 2 months later, she chose the Marlboro Man.
She did it. Her schooling paid off!
Notice that her specialty was men's clothing,
in Amsterdam, Hilversum, Den Haag, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Leidschendam, and Nijmegen.
In 1971 (before technical school) she took a Van Gogh postcard and did her first (and only) oil painting.
Try anything once! But for her, it took too long to dry...no patience for it.
She was with the Mennonite Church in their exchange program, working as an au pair,
and wanted to do something creative in the evenings.
The family crest on her mother's side intrigued her at age 12, so she drew it.
(In that regard, this belongs up at the top of the page, doesn't it!)
Do you see the 'hart?' We've been connected since the beginning of time!
In spare time, there was always freelance graphic-design advertising to do.
Again, this was long before internet tools. All by hand.
Sometimes she made the props for freelance window displays.
She made logo designs for friends, cards for wedding and baby announcements,
as well as her own year-end greeting cards.
See the two pen and ink designs on the right (above)?
They are part of this book below, printed by a local book dealer in 1984.
Add book illustrator to her repertoire.
(Her married name was Frieling for 27 years.)
Did I mention calligraphy?
I did calligraphy in my day but nothing ever like this!
Who takes a box-making workshop like this just for fun?! (1988)
And just to say she did it, she first knitted slippers
and then a fisherman sweater (1991-2).
In the 4+ years since we discovered each other on our Shutterchance blogs (August 31, 2007), I have watched her do other accomplished things....
And oh, she has her own machine to string rackets for friends. Pocket money!
I watched her make this Pirates of the Caribbean float for their city's 1025th anniversary in 2008.
Her ladies soccer team helped her but basically she built it.
Guess who got to be Cap't Jack Sparrow!
And guess which float won First Place among the 30 that entered!
This was the model she built for the women to reference as they started!
Full circle, back to what she always wanted to do, you've already seen her carpentry skills.
Our apartment is full of her craftiness and creativity.
She can even sew curtains and drapes...as well as grow orchids!
She can also play the clarinet in an orchestra...and sing in a choir!
They say you should continue doing in your marriage what first attracted you to each other.
As long as we can, we will, loving our photo hunts wherever we go, near or far.