Art Improv 101: How to Create a Personal Art Journal

Art Improv 101 means you make it up as you go along. Includes secrets of watercolor techniques, shading with pencils and pens, tools of the "trade" and tips for drawing faces, trees, and other objects. How to combine thoughts, look inward, officially doodle, have fun & observe your life. Dozens of technique illustrations. Author is a retired graphic designer and chronic art journal addict. More

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About Carolyn V. Hamilton

My first creative writing class was in my junior year in high school. I loved it so much (thank you, Miss Dearborn) that I repeated it in my senior year.

Forty years passed before I wrote any more short stories, poetry, or fiction.

In the meantime, I wrote just about every kind of advertising copy you can imagine: brochures, traditional print ads, speeches, radio & television commercials, direct mail letters, white papers and news releases.

From 1999 to 2001 I served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Suriname, South America. My assignment was “rural community development.” To tell the truth, I had a lot of down time in the village, where I laid happily in my hammock and read a lot of novels. Finally it struck me: why not write one?

Ever since I’d met the editor of Romantic Times on a cruise to Bermuda, I’d thought about writing a romance. After all, what could be easier? I thought.

I plunged into writing my eco-adventure romance, Hard Amazon Rain.

Little did I know that romance is perhaps the toughest genre to write. Those romance readers have real strong ideas about what they want and what they don’t want in their stories!

In Suriname, I was intrigued by the story of Elisabeth Samson, the first black woman in the country in the 18th century to get legal permission from the Dutch to marry white. I started out to tell her story in third person, but along the way this “voice” emerged. I have no idea where it came from.

Elisabeth Samson, Forbidden Bride was published by a small press in 2004. It subsequently created a furor in Suriname, where I was publicly accused of “stealing (their) black culture”.....and that’s a whole different story for another time.

By that time I was hooked on writing books. I’ve learned a lot along the way, book/tape/seminar/conference junkie that I am.

Where do I get my story ideas?

I’ve been blessed in my life with jobs and adventures that have taken me to many countries in the world and led me to meet a lot of interesting people. I take two or three of them, put them in a bottle, shake it up, and ask myself, “What if?”

I’m sure you’ve also found yourself on occasion in a situation where you thought, “You just can’t make this stuff up!”

For the record, I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington--hence the “webbed” feet-- and spent most of my adult life and career in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In Los Angeles in the 60s I got an A.A. degree in Commercial Art from Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and began my career as a Graphic Designer in the world of “Mad Men.” In the 80s I finished a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts at Antioch Seattle.

Among other things, I’ve been a secretary, sold radio time, owned an ad agency, won a bunch of awards for both advertising and community service, and am a Vintage Playboy Bunny.

Besides writing fiction, I have an internet magazine for women over 50 doing fun things: www.adventuress-travel-magazine.com

Enough about me....what do you like to read?

You can e-mail me any time at info@carolynvhamilton.com

I’d love to hear from you.

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