Nichole and I are working on text for an upcoming book today, and some of my sentences were getting complicated. It was clear I was applying the proverbial lipstick to a pig – dressing up an uninspiring thought. So I scrapped it.
I started playing with an idea for a simple matrix that would keep my ass in line. I mean, I know what I should do (keep it simple, stupid!), but am human and stray.
I liked it enough to take it from notebook to illustrator and printed one for our studio. If you’re tempted to gild the lily when you’re writing, you can download a copy HERE.
Raising my glass to clear ideas!
The half-baked version …
Unlike New York and the internet, Paris sleeps. And because I’m often jet-lagged and up all night when I’m there, I get to experience the city when it’s dark and quiet.
I appreciate the silence and shadows, and those late nights are a cherished respite. A respite from the instagram-ification of everything. From staged shots of breakfasts, shoes and homes. From polished online personas. From being connected to everyone, yet feeling disconnected. From fearing that we are no more than the sum of our clicks and likes. From technology.
Paris at night – with its quiet, intimate streets and dramatic light – is my favorite place to disconnect and think. There is a wonderful weight to the stillness of the city at rest. It sharpens my senses and clears my head. I spent a lot of time over the last year walking those streets in the wee hours, and the solitude is intoxicating.
Today, I’m sharing the first images from a new ongoing series. Paris Noir reflects a retreat into the shadows. I want to spend time as a voyeur at backstage dramas rather than be an audience member at paid online performances.
I draw aesthetic and thematic inspiration from Film Noir. I love the sense of mystery invoked by dark shadows, high contrast lighting and solitary figures. I’m exploring themes of social malaise and fragmented identity to pose a bigger question: What happens when we step out of the spotlight?
I’m on a solo trip to Paris this week. Evan and I usually travel together, but I’m here working on a new project for Chronicle Books (more on that later).
I’m staying in my friend Erica’s studio apartment in Montmartre. It’s the most charming place, and each day as I come and go, I’m greeted by this sweet fella who resides inside the gate. If you follow me on instagram, it’s no secret I’m a crazy cat lady, and this tuxedo cutie won me over the first time I stepped past him. He didn’t flinch or bolt into his house, he just stayed put and watched me as I walked by. I don’t speak cat, but it’s poorly translated as “I own this place.”
We’re spending a week in Mont Tremblant for a little R+R, fresh air and skiing (well falling down for some of us).
It’s nice to step away from the computer and reconnect with nature.
For the past few months, we toyed with the idea of changing the name of our studio from Little Brown Pen to Obvious State. Evan and I have some very exciting projects planned for 2013 that will take us in new directions, and felt that the legacy of Little Brown Pen was limiting how we saw the future. But inertia kept us from changing, and we put off the decision.
Well the universe gave us a big kick in the pants this past weekend when our website, littlebrownpen.com, suddenly stopped working. A quick investigation revealed an unauthorized transfer of our domain. Without boring you with the details, we no longer own the domain, and we’re not sure we’ll get it back.
Now that the initial shock is over, however, we’ve found the silver lining. We inadvertently got what we wanted! And now 48 hours later, we have our new site, our new name, and we’re ready to get back to work on all the great projects we have planned for 2013 (fear not, Francophiles, there’s more Paris-related fun on the way).
We would really appreciate it if you update your bookmarks and spread the word. The one real loss is our inbound links. We hope people can find us!
We both want to thank you for your support over the years, and hope you’ll enjoy coming along for the ride this year.
I’ve meant to pull together a list of our retailers and finally got around to it. So if you’re interested in checking out my illustrations in person, here’s the list. I’m adding a few more in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll make this a more permanent fixture on the site.
Politics & Prose (Washington DC)
Powell’s Bookstore (Portland, OR)
Library Foundation of Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
Skylight Books (Los Angeles, CA)
Mxyplyzyk (New York, NY)
Bookshelf and Gallery (Thomasville, GA)
Barner Books (New Paltz, NY)
Book Mobile Vermont (Rutland, VT)
Gertrude and Alice (Bondi Beach, New South Wales)
Yard Gallery (Holywood, Northern Ireland, UK)
Maria Popova of Brain Pickings posted a wonderful read, Goethe on the Psychology and Emotion of Color.
“… his most fascinating theories explore the psychological impact of different colors on mood and emotion — ideas derived by the poet’s intuition, which are part entertaining accounts bordering on superstition, part prescient insights corroborated by hard science some two centuries later, and part purely delightful manifestations of the beauty of language.”
So I have a little announcement to make.
Although Evan and I have co-run Little Brown Pen Studio for the past four years, this blog has mainly been my space to share photos from the Paris Color Project. But we have so many things in the works, most notably Evan’s Illustrated Quotation prints, that we’ve decided to join forces here.
Next up: a return to Paris next week to begin a new project, and some additions to The Paris Print Shop via Evan (French authors!).
Thanks for reading along all these years, and we hope you enjoy a more comprehensive view of what goes on at Little Brown Pen.
Congrats to Heather Bond (#144), the winner of a signed copy of Paris In Color! After reading through all of your kind comments, I wanted to send each and every one of you book.
I am so grateful for your support, and I was extremely touched by your words. I’m also happy that many of you have followed along with the project for so long – I don’t think I would have finished it without blog readers.
So THANK YOU all again for everything.
Have you ever thought about how much of what you consume–Facebook updates, tweets, instagram photos–is forgotten within a few minutes? Hours?
What makes something stick? Worth sticking? And what is the lifespan of a tweet, a photo, an update?
I ask because I can not remember (without looking) what I retweeted, liked on Facebook or saw on Instagram yesterday. Can you?
I instagrammed (wait, that’s a verb now?!) a photo of my living room the other night, and a few of you were interested in seeing the prints behind our sofa. We recently painted the walls gray (they used to be this icky harvest gold color), and it looks so much better. The power of a few cans of paint is not to be underestimated.
… with metallic Sperry Topsiders. Evan snapped this photo of me wearing them in Paris. Matching reflections!
Okay, so why a photo of me wearing shoes?
It’s reminiscent of Pinterest, but it’s entirely product-based, and serves as a place to share the things you currently have or covet. You can “stalk” your favorite bloggers.
My first reaction was “who needs another platform?” But the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It’s a way for me to share things I rarely talk about here on the blog, and I’m always interested in what my favorite bloggers are coveting or wearing. In fact, when I first started reading blogs, it’s what I enjoyed the most.
Having said that, I’m not a big fan of blogs that only focus on products, which is why I’ve chosen not to talk about them here very often or at all. But I do like sharing a good shoe find, and I’m always on top of the latest breaking beauty trends because I write about them for a living. To be honest, once in awhile, I miss my Bravo TV beauty and fashion blogging years.
Currently Obsessed is a shopping platform that allows bloggers to recommend products like a personal shopper would. So in the interest of full disclosure, if you buy something you like, I get a small referral fee.
I’m excited to have a place where I can share products I have bought, want to buy, or recommend without having to work them into my content here on the blog. Once in a while I may point out something special, but if you are interested in the things I’m obsessed with, you should stalk me on my page.
I’ll also always have a link to it here on the blog (it’s currently in the sidebar).
Include Lancaster, Pennsylvania. No need to explain, right?
Here’s where you tell me an upside down heart has some horrible, inappropriate meaning, and I’ll be forced into a state of embarrassment for the rest of the day.
On the other hand, maybe you have no clue, like me, and we’ll imagine it’s something wonderful together.
Where do I start?
The response to Paris in Color thus far has been overwhelming. The tweets, the pins, the mentions on Facebook and of course, the book purchases. I awoke this morning to discover that Paris in Color is currently the number one selling book in the Travel Photography category.
I am beyond grateful for all of your support, and I wish I could buy you all a bouquet of flowers (as pretty as those above!) or a fancy dinner, or both. I don’t feel like any of this would be possible without you guys. Without the blog, and your comments and your willingness to keep coming back, there would be no book. I may not have even finished the project.
So thank you all again. Here’s a link to the Travel Photography Best Seller List. You played a part!
PS. Many of you have asked about promotions planned, signings, etc. I do have a few things in the works, but until then, writing a review on Amazon would make me do a happy dance.