New Art Show via IX Gallery

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Happy to share that a couple of my pieces are now available via the IX Gallery Inaugural Show that runs until August 14th. This is a real treat! There’s a lot of beautiful art to choose from if you are so inclined, so check it out!

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Featuring over 50 artists and nearly 120 works of art, IX Gallery’s first show is now available for viewing at www.ixgallery.com!

Linda Adair • Samuel Araya • Julie Bell • Shaun Berke • Brom • Armand Cabrera • Jeremy Caniglia • Dan Chudzinski • Kinuko Y. Craft • Felipe Echevarria • Bob Eggleton • Craig Elliott • Jody Fallon • Scott Fischer • Teresa N. Fischer • Marc Fishman • Annie Stegg Gerard • Justin Gerard • Donato Giancola • Lars Grant-West • Rebecca Guay • John Harris • Michael C. Hayes • James Herrmann • Richard Hescox • Stephen Hickman • Greg & Tim Hildebrandt • Greg Hildebrandt • Luke Hillestad • Patrick Jones • Rich Klink • J. Anthony Kosar • Jota Leal • Vanessa Lemen • Don Maitz • Gina Matarazzo • Matt Mrowka • Aaron Nagel • Tran Nguyen • Ryan Pancoast • Lucio Parrillo • Colin & Kristine Poole • Colin Poole • Mark Poole • Rob Rey • Tooba Rezaei • Forest Rogers • Laurence Schwinger • Dave Seeley • Hajime Sorayama • Matthew Stewart • Bryan Mark Taylor • Vince Villafranca • Chet Zar • Dariusz Zawadzki

 Here’s the press release if you want more info… IX-Gallery-Press-Release-6-9-17

Art in Tradition

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A year ago today, we were vacationing in England. One of the many highlights was seeing tons of famous art in many of the best museums in London. While we were there, it struck me that one of the things I love about drawing and painting traditionally is, well… that it’s a tradition that is hundreds of years old (and more if you include primitive art). By taking up a pencil or paintbrush and pushing it around a surface, I am connected to a wonderful part of human history — one that creates and celebrates and does not destroy. A part of history that leaves something positive behind for the future.

One day in particular, we were in the National Gallery and I ambled into this small room not paying complete attention, and upon the wall in low light was a large Leonardo da Vinci cartoon (a cartoon in this case is a full-size preparatory study for a painting). I turned around, looked up and it took my breath away. The emotion was part awe at the beauty of it and part reverence toward his reputation and influence. I’ve always LOVED his drawings. Seeing his sketchbooks in person is always a real treat when they are on display, but there was something more striking about such a large drawing. There was such a PRESENCE about it. Maybe it was because you could see the presence of his hand in the strokes or maybe it was the sheer reality of the work involved in planning a painting that struck me too. As you can see by my new drawing below, I also create preliminary drawings for paintings. So you see, I can say that I have a few things in common with DaVinci! (Indulge me). And that connects me to a tradition which is pretty, pretty cool.

Here’s a new one in the works…

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Random thought of the day: I think I’m going to start using “cat” to refer to certain dudes from now on. I like when people used to say that.

The Creative Brain and Bunny Painting

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Finally finished this little painting a week or so ago:

Bunny_Rabbit_Nature_Tea_Cup_Fantasy_Gina_Matarazzo

Sophia Zettericini, con Torta (Oil on paper, 3.25″ x 5.5″)

Here it is in its intended frame:

Bunny_Rabbit_Nature_Cupcake_Fantasy_Framed_Gina_Matarazzo

She is for sale, framed, btw. Contact me if you’re interested. 🙂

Part of what I love about working as a creative is what it does to my brain.

There’s a weird phenomenon that happens that I can kind of feel. Well, maybe it’s not a feeling, but a sense that things are popping or bubbling into existence. This happens at different times. It’s kind of like a fuzzy picture coming into focus in my mind’s eye and then boom…there it is. I think it’s at its peak for me when I’m trying to come up with an idea for a picture. And then it continues as I’m painting something from nothing into something. A painting and its imagery is really just illusion come into a form our brains can recognize symbolically. So when a painting is finished, the challenge for me is whether it lived up to the expectations I had while the idea was in my head.

It happens to me all day as I’m trying to come up with decisions and ideas while designing books. But it’s the most challenging for me when I’m working on making pictures. I love collecting ideas and figuring out how to finesse things together. It’s such a creative mess and I love untangling it!

What do you love about the creative process?

 

 

On Personal Happiness and New Sketch

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As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look once in a while, you could miss it.” And that’s why from time to time, I check in with myself to make sure I’m happy. I never want to wake up some morning and realize I haven’t been true to myself. (Sure, we are rarely 100% happy with everything going on in our lives at any given time, but as long as the happy-o-meter tips toward mostly happy, that’s sufficient to me).

One of the most eye opening thoughts about leading a happy life was something I came across randomly. The person mentioned that there are two facets of happiness: Enrichment – the feeling that comes from love, relationships, family, friends, and Fulfillment – the feeling that comes from personal growth and achievement from your life’s work, career or other personal accomplishments. That was kind of an a-ha moment for me because “they” (you know, who they are) say that family and relationships are the most important things for happiness as though you should never want for anything else. So if you do “want for something else” there is basically something wrong with you or you don’t value the people in your life enough. IT’S SO NOT TRUE. For me, it’s definitely the difference between enrichment and fulfillment. We all need love, but we all need to feel a sense of fulfillment from the work we do because…well…simply…in this life we need to work to live. That’s a lot of time that needs to be spent away from family, so it should be spent on something worthwhile! If we could spend all of our time with our families, perhaps that would be enough. But we can’t, so we also need personal fulfillment.

And this really isn’t limited to a career. It could be volunteering and doing charity work or a fierce love of quilting. It’s just something you do on your own that gives you a profound sense of accomplishment.

This may not be how I will assess my happiness in the future, but for now, it works for me. I do believe that the Eastern philosophical notion of contentment through just “being” is probably the higher road to aspire to, but I admit that I’m just not evolved enough yet as a human to pull that off. Maybe someday.

In the meantime, I will “do” and enjoy working. Here’s a sneak peek at a new painting I’m starting soon…

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Do you check in with yourself once in a while to make sure you are doing well and on the right track? How do you measure your level of contentment? What contributes to your happy meter?

New Print and New Way to Work

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I’m trying not to look too much at the calendar and how much I hope to get accomplished by the IX 10 show in October. I’m a little horrified that it’s already April. Ack! I think I spent too much time thinking.  I also wanted to try doing Dragoncon this year, but Matt reminded me that I already am at full capacity just with the one show. It’s true. Ah maybe next year.
Things are exciting lately for me in the studio, though. I’m working a little differently, with a medium that takes a bit longer to dry, which now means I have to work on multiple paintings at once, so while one painting is drying, I have something else to work on. On the one hand, it’s a little frustrating to have to wait longer for things to dry, but on the other hand, it forces me to be more productive in getting new ideas worked out. I admit that if I don’t have a new idea worked out by the time I finish a painting, it takes me twice as long to come up with something new. Always happens to me! I think this might help keep the momentum going a little better. Momentum brings out the creative sparks in me. So this past week I’ve been focusing on two new sketches and dragging my feet on my current painting, because I also hate finishing one without having a new one on the board ready to go. If all goes well, by the end of next week, I’ll be able to start on two new paintings. It will certainly be a juggling act. But hey, that’s my life anyways.
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I just received new prints this week of “Henrietta, in Her Wildest Dreams.” They are 12″ x 18″ and signed. Go here to purchase if you so desire. Perfect for your Frenchie loving pal’s birthday!
Well, I’ve a schedule to keep. Back to work!
😉

Being an Artist is Not Quite What I Expected

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Here’s a new little painting. “Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled.”

Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled

“Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled.” (Oil on paper, 3.75″ x 5.5″) © Gina Matarazzo

Being an artist is not quite like I expected, and yet, it’s everything I had hoped for.

When you’re a kid, sometimes you are lucky enough to have an idea of what you want to be when you grow up. Sometimes you agree with that when you do grow up and sometimes you chase the ghost of what you thought you wanted to be when you were a kid. And this ghost chasing can keep you from being happy because you think you “promised” your inner child something and if you don’t honor that, then you can never be truly happy.

Well, I got news folks, that inner child never knew the whole picture. That inner child didn’t know how you’d feel as an adult and he/she didn’t know how you’d feel about a lot of things when you gained real responsibility. Heck, that inner child would probably be stunned and shocked at you to find out that you love vegetables EVEN LIMA BEANS! Things change. You learn and grow. And this includes the things you want to do in life and how you decide to do them when you become an adult. To change your mind or see things differently isn’t a betrayal of that inner child. It’s getting to know the real you behind the instincts.

For example, for years I wanted to work for Disney and be an animator. And when I grew up and went to college, the reality of what that entailed made me change my mind. I knew enough to know that I didn’t want to draw 24 frames per second. That’s a lot of work – and that was back when you had to do it all by hand (OK…I had no idea I could have just worked on backgrounds at the time…which I might have been cool with). But anyway, that wasn’t me betraying my childhood dream, that was me realizing something about my true self. I just didn’t want to work that hard. And knowing that about myself was important. I don’t think that lifestyle would have made me happy.

And as it turns out, the freelance illustration lifestyle didn’t suit me either. (That was my second choice in college). Every time I’d get a freelance job, I couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could work on my own projects. I knew enough to listen to my inner self rather than my inner child. And so I found myself working as a Graphic Designer with full time pay, benefits and a steady paycheck. My inner child didn’t know how much I would grow to love a steady paycheck and the value of health benefits.

And here I am today, loving being a Graphic Designer and loving coming home to work on my own personal artwork. Where will that lead me? I’m not sure. But I know I’m having fun working as an artist and that’s all my inner child ever really wanted.

Here’s a painting I finished a month or so ago:

Henrietta, in Her Wildest Dreams

“Henrietta, in Her Wildest Dreams,” (Oil on panel, 11″ x 14″) © Gina Matarazzo

And I also got news last month that the following painting made it into “Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Vol. 24” (due to be released at the end of this year).

Animals in Forest Fairy Tale Oil Painting - Gina Matarazzo

“Her Majesty, in the Afternoon,” Oil on Panel, 18″ x 24″ © Gina Matarazzo

The only real complaint I have is that I’m usually working all the time and I’m exhausted. But I will do that for as long as I am able and enjoy it as long as I’m able. When I can’t do it anymore, then I’ll rest and sleep and read more books and sit on the sofa more.

Did you want to be an artist when you were a kid? Did you become one? Is life an an artist what you expected it to be?

 

No News Is Good News?

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“Ravi the Squirrel” (Oil on Panel, 8″ x 10″)

"Mouse Explorer Extraordinaire"

“Mouse Explorer Extraordinaire” (Oil on panel, 4″ x 4″)

Yikes. It’s been about a year since my last post. With a full time design job designing books (yes – I switched from CD album design to book design) and painting at night, I need a whole other person to do social media updates (AND clean my house!) Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook so you get more up to date posts of my work (I do post more regularly there). But here’s catching up with everything that’s happened since the last post.

The biggest thing is that I was juried into the IX9 Main Show this year. I am very excited for that and have been furiously working on art to bring to the show. Just finishing up one more painting, so I’ll have five new paintings for that show which is just a month away!

I finished this painting shown below for “The Art of Saving a Horse” gallery show mentioned later in this post.

Mouse Explorer Extraordinaire #2“Mouse Explorer Extraordinaire #2″ (Oil on Panel, 6″x 6”)

I also completed and published a book of my sketches and paintings which is available for sale in my web store. I only have a few copies left in the store and am reserving the rest for IX9 in October. (But after IX9 I’ll add the remainder to my store).

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“Animals Imagined” book. 6″x9.” 64 pages.

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Interior Page of book.

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Another interior page of book.

Here is the line up for the exhibits I’m participating in this fall:

IX9 – Reading PA – I will be attending and exhibiting my work here in the Main Show from October 19th – October 23rd 2016. I will have original paintings for sale, along with prints, original drawings and my sketchbook, “Animals Imagined.”

Dream Worlds: The Art of Imaginative Realism – Canton Ohio Museum of Art – I will have three pieces exhibiting in this group show from November 26th 2016 – March 12 2017.

The Art of Saving a Horse – IKON IMAGES, The Illustration Gallery, Canton, Ohio – I will have one painting exhibiting in this group show. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be donated to Last Chance Corral, a horse rescue in Athens, Ohio. October 15th – December 30th 2016.

Sweet Dreams

“Fox Sleeping” (Oil on Panel, 11″x 14″)

So that’s almost up to date. I’ll post the two new paintings when they are done in the next couple of weeks.

Promise! 😉

 

Finished Fox Oil Painting “The Familiar”

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"The Familiar," Oil with gold leaf on panel, 18"x24"

“The Familiar,” Oil with gold leaf on panel, 18″x24″

I worked all darned summer on this thing! Here it is! Here’s a refresher on its history here. It’s a large size for me, so it took me quite a while, chipping at it a few hours per day about five days a week. Funny how painting traditionally again, I realize how great it is to have something to see and hold that’s an object as opposed to digital illustration which is an elusive art form, what with being digital and all, but it sure stinks when you scan a painting in and then have to take days to clean the darned thing up (removing dust particles and reflections of EVERY SINGLE SHINY BUMP AND BRUSHSTROKE) to make a presentable image to show online. AND all of that and it isn’t quite accurate at all! Kind of like the difference between watching a performance of a play on TV and actually seeing a performance live, on stage. So, please go see art in person when the mood strikes you! You might forget how different the original art is in person.

Speaking of seeing art in person, “The Familiar” and many more of my paintings will be on display at the Showcase at IX8 in Allentown, PA this year in a couple weeks. I’m super excited and panicked at the same time. I still have so much to do to get ready! I don’t know how artists do multiple shows per year. It’s exhausting!

Wish me luck!

New Study for Upcoming Painting: “The Familiar”

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"The Familiar," pencil on paper by Gina Matarazzo

“The Familiar,” pencil on paper by Gina Matarazzo

Here’s a new pencil study for my next painting, titled: “The Familiar.” It’s about the journey of a fox spirit animal named Kimi. Here, in a rare glimpse, we see Kimi at rest, entertaining a few forest animals with her magical skills.

I’m working on color a color study now and hope to start painting in a few days. Since I only get a limited amount of time to devote to painting each day, I’m guessing this will be my summer. I am looking forward to it!

Hope you have a great week and a Happy Fourth of July!

“Fairy Bunny Eve” Finished Oil Painting

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"Fairy Bunny Eve." (Oil on Panel, 11" x 14")

“Fairy Bunny Eve.” (Oil on Panel, 11″ x 14″)

Above is the finished “Fairy Bunny Eve.” It took me much less time to paint than “Tamias Striatus,” which was similar in amount of detail/complication, but I stopped working on it for a week or so to start working on something else and finished it up Memorial Day Weekend. Now all I have to do is frame it. And that’s going to be a little more difficult than usual, as our frame source has ended. MS used to frame everything at the framing store he used to work at years ago, only paying wholesale prices. So now we have to find a new source that isn’t crazy expensive. And I have to stop painting weird sizes.

To remind yourself what the sketch looked like, go here.

Hope you like it! For my next painting, it seems I’m getting adventurous. At first I wanted to get two more paintings done this summer. But then, I thought, what if I did one painting this summer that was the work of two paintings in one? Larger, with more going on… Anyway, that’s the plan. I’m working on roughs now and I hope it doesn’t take me too long to pin it down, because it’s June!! I SAID…IT’S JUNE!!! Ack! The next animal hero will be a wise ol’ fox.

New (old) flat file cabinets.

New (old) flat file cabinets.

On a side note, because of MS’s old boss selling the shop, we got these wonderful used flat files for the studio! We’ve been wanting these since we each knew flat files existed (which is a pretty darn long time). New ones are crazy expensive and they are heavy and awkward too, so finally the price was right and we had the means of transporting them home. Aren’t they beautiful? It’s always nice to acquire “tools” of our trade that are useful.

Well. That’s all for now! Back to work for me!