I’ve been in gloomy San Francisco for a few days and as much as I love this city I can’t get down with the weather. Call me crazy but I don’t want to be wearing a wool cape in April. I needed a dose of inspiration and color today so I ventured over to the Balenciaga exhibit at the de Young Museum and nearly cried when I walked into the room filled with Cristobal Balenciaga’s flamenco-inspired dresses and matador jackets. Flamenco music was playing and the whole scenario was incredibly moving and inspiring. And I guess it was my lucky day because a lovely lady working the front desk granted me free entry to the exhibit by giving me an extra ticket that someone had left behind. It ruled. After running around the city all day I headed back to my friend’s place and got lost on the internet, getting a second dose of inspiration and color from VADS, the online resource for visual arts that serves the academic community by providing over 100,000 images of visual art that are freely available for learning, teaching, and research in the UK. A little piece of me died inside when I looked through The Basic Design Collection, a collection that “shows an approach to tertiary art education which attempted to purge students of what was believed to be ‘false’ culture of romantic imagery which has been projected onto them by secondary examination requirements, so that they could be effectively introduced to elementary notions of the European avant-garde, immersing them in a general culture of serious, experimental artistic endeavor.” The images are all works of art by students, key educators, and artists. I particularly love the ’60s abstract paintings, analytical drawings, and the color exercises shown below. The color combos and the shapes are blowing my mind.