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I bit the bullet and dove into my computer-based work this week, sourcing public domain images from the Library of Congress and starting to process them in Photoshop and Illustrator so I can use their silhouettes.

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To keep myself from falling asleep, I’m keeping Mozart in the Jungle or Hamilton’s America going in the background. “Wait for It” still stops me in my tracks every time.

I’m also giving myself chunks of time working on these backgrounds, which is wildly rejuvenating work compared to carefully tracing objects with the pen tool in Photoshop.

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Also a little of this pen and ink stuff.

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I’m actually really excited about where this next round of Cultivate is going: incorporating silhouettes from my personal photographs and history; and I’ve worked out that the backgrounds will be laser cut to function on multiple levels of wood panel. But right now it’s time for the far less transcendent work.

In Hamilton’s America Lin-Manuel Miranda jokes about having started by creating only two songs in two years. About creating the rest of Hamilton in a more reasonable timeline, he adds: “You set these deadlines and you meet them.”

It’s so simple, but it really is the secret. One foot in front of the other, and then you look up, and you’re somewhere completely new. I’m looking forward to that moment! In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to these inspiring folks while I get the work done.

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