Ten writers for children. All with something to say.

4/7/10

Apple Lust


When the iPad came out this Saturday (iPadurday), I had to keep myself away from the local Mac store. Instead I sat at my desk and went through all of the tutorials and fell in love with this new bit of technology-- I am a visual artist and to have a surface to touch and maneuver everything with my fingers rather than a keyboard and mouse sounds like heaven! I have been waiting for the iPad since I first learned the computer-- "Why can't I just touch the screen and move it?" was my first question when sitting at my boss's new computer at the New York Public Library in 1986. Now I can touch the screen and push and shove and scatter things around like my desk top, at least I could if I bought an iPad. But I will abstain for now. I will wait for the kinks to get ironed out. I will wait for the speed to get faster and the price to come down. I will wait and continue to use a mouse and keyboard to put together keynote presentations and organize my images and words. And every time I visit a mac store, I will drool.
Most people who meet me think I am "earthy". Perhaps this is from living my formative years as a hippie in California and attending the University of California, Santa Cruz as an undergrad. Perhaps it is my fingernails always blackened with soil from spring until fall from the gardens I tend. I like to think it is my big hearty laugh that makes me earthy-- but whatever it is, everyone is always surprised to find that I have an iPhone and a small laptop that I carry with me most places I go. During book groups and writing groups if there is a question about an author or a book, I whip out my iPhone and look up the book on Amazon or Wikiamo (iPhone app for Wikipedia). If there is a question about the weather, I can look up ten days worth of predictions anywhere in the world. (Whenever I get homesick for India, I look up the weather in Mumbai-- not that it changes much from when I was there in October!) I no longer need to ask for directions or search for the dictionary in the house-- it is all there on my iPhone. I have even begun to paint with my iPhone. Last fall I read an article about David Hockney that inspired me to download my first "paid" app: Brushes. Now I paint while waiting in lines or while resting in the afternoon after studio and before dinner-making.
All of this technology is wonderful, even addictive, but when I begin a new book, it is with pencil and paper that I write out the first draft or sketch the first dummy book. And it is the paintbrush with whom I have had the longest lasting relationship-- and it is with this intimacy of hand-held paintbrush that my final illustrations for books are created. Perhaps that is my earthiness-- I always come back to the traditional methods of art making used by our ancestors for thousands of years- brush to paper/brush to cave wall-- it is all about that intimate touch from heart/mind and hand.

6 comments:

Stephanie said...

I love this post! I just bought a new little netbook which will make it so much easier to work when I travel. And my youngest, who is 15,was talking about what she wants to do. She said, "I think I want to major in art." It made me very happy:)

Lauren said...

Yay! I love art majors!(My youngest at 14 said: maybe I better start saving my allowance for when I become a poor starving artist.) That made me happy too- in a funny way!

john said...

Lauren, what a fun post. I did go to my Mac store Saturday to see it and it's even more beautiful than I expected. Still, I'm going to wait a bit, too. I love the mix you describe in your post. And I've got my dates for Mumbai and will be sure to carry your greetings.

Anne said...

What a fantastic little essay, Lauren. I miss your laugh, bring it to California! We'll walk to the Mac store and drool.

David LaRochelle said...

You are a role model, Lauren, of a person who isn't afraid to embrace new technology while at the same time holding onto her "earthiness." You inspire me, showing that we can live in the best of both worlds.

Edie said...

Lauren,
I love learning about all the sides of you through this post. Still looking forward to meeting you in person!