On the Easel: Bunny Fairy Eve Painting

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“Bunny Fairy Eve” Pencil on Paper by Gina Matarazzo

Here’s the sketch for “Bunny Fairy Eve.” I just started the painting last week. I am trying to finish the painting by the end of May. We’ll see how it goes.

I thought about my Dad when I was working on this, because he introduced me to drawing when I was two by teaching me to draw Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. Made me wonder if I would still have become an artist had he not spent that special time with me. I do remember being very delighted watching him draw – like he was a magician performing a magic trick. He’d draw usually in felt tip pens with very sure and deliberate strokes like some comic artists do. It was so fun watching each line build upon the others, eventually becoming something familiar and happy to me. He and my Mom told me I used to ask him to draw his caricature of me all the time: “Do Deeny…” I would say (mispronouncing my nickname of Beanie). It was basically a bean shaped face with big eyes and a tiny nose and whatever hair I had at the time of execution. Sure wish I had some of those drawings! He’d draw them on napkins and things like that at the table after dinner, so we never really thought of saving that stuff. He was actually quite good at drawing characters, caricatures and comics. Somewhere we have a comic book he drew when he was young of a roller derby girl, sometime in the late 1940s. Not sure where it went when my parents moved. At any rate, I think I should dedicate this painting to him. Drawing and painting makes me very happy and I owe it all to him.

Kind of funny (odd funny) how those kinds of memories come back and sparkle with so much more meaning and life now that he’s gone. Thanks, Dad.

See you later!

“Queen Birdy” Final Oil Painting

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Finally, our King Birdy has his Queen…

"Queen Birdy" (Oil on Claybord, 6" x 6")

“Queen Birdy” (Oil on Claybord, 6″ x 6″)

birdy pair

Don’t they look happy together? Well, they are keeping up appearances of civility, I suppose. Now that I post this, I think it would be funny to paint a third painting of their heirs…but I need to move on from this! Haha. My natural tendency is to come up with ideas that are a bit humorous and cute, but I have been trying portray a more understated humor in my new work. I often find myself dialing things down a bit. Humorous–but not too funny! Cute–but not too cute!

Oh and in other news…if you didn’t notice, I added an Instagram feed on my blog. I often post in progress shots of what I’m working on that I never publish on the blog, so feel free to follow me there for all the sneak peeks! I tend to tease with Instagram and publish final work on the blog. It just seems to be easier that way.

See you soon! Enjoy your week!

Queen Birdy Sketch

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And so, the lonesome “King Birdy” gets his Queen…

"Queen Birdy" (Pencil on Paper)

“Queen Birdy” (Pencil on Paper)

I’ve already started the painting. I’m trying to make the most of my time by working on this oil painting while simultaneously working up the sketch for the next larger painting involving a very lovely rabbit. That way there’s less time between paintings for me. I mentioned last time how I don’t like that lull. I love working on sketches in general, but when they are complicated – like the rabbit one coming up – I love them even more. I could work on it forever. Drawing is pure fun. And when you work on other people’s ideas all day long, it’s even better when you get to work on your own.

Oh and I got good news this week. There’s an art annual called “Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art,” and I managed to make the final cut this year! This year marks its 22nd year in publication. One of the judges (five judges total) mentioned that there were over 5500 entries this year, so the competition was pretty huge. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to be a judge with such a large amount of work to go through. See me under the “M” section under the artists tab. You can see my hubs’s name in the next column under “S” for Stewart. He usually gets art into this annual. I’ve entered probably 6 times in the last 15 years and this is the first time I got in. Won’t it be funny if our art ends up on the same page? A lot of artists’ work I admire will be in the book too, so it would be super cool to be next to their art too. I don’t know yet what piece got in. MS says they will mail an acceptance letter and tell me what piece to upload to their FTP site. This annual is pretty much an industry standard, so it’s a good thing to get into. The book comes out in November – just in time for my birthday – which is only about eight months away. (Yes – I count down the months until my birthday ALL of the time and I’ll be doing it every year I am lucky enough to get!). ;)

See you most likely after Spring has sprung! Eight more days in these parts!

“King Birdy” Oil Painting

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"King Birdy" (Oil on panel, 6"x6")

“King Birdy” (Oil on panel, 6″x6″)

 

"King Birdy" (Graphite on Paper)

“King Birdy” (Graphite on Paper)

Well, I’ve been so busy painting that I forgot to post the sketch for this painting before I did the painting! Ha! So here’s the finished oil painting and I threw in the sketch just because I should have done that before. I had great fun painting this fella. The fatness and coloring of his feathers made me think of portraits of medieval kings and/or King Henry VIII. For some reason, I feel strongly that he should have a Queen, so I’ll be working that up soon too. They will make a nice pair, I think.

I’ve been enjoying painting more regularly and I have a big goal this year. I’ll be displaying my work in a great art show in October! More information on that when the time comes nearer. I haven’t had a good goal in quite a while. I find it invigorating!

I’m getting a little ansty/fidgety because I’m still in sketch stages with the Queen Birdy and the next larger painting. I don’t want too much time to pass between paintings. I tend to forget valuable lessons learned rather quickly! On this painting, I put a medium cool ground of acrylic paint underneath the drawing. It made for a much quicker painting in that it prevented me needing to build up layers of color for opacity. It was a welcome change from the Chipmunk painting where I didn’t do that and I had to spend a lot of time building up color. There’s nothing wrong with that process – in fact it can yield glowing results – but for a girl with a full time job, she needs to make good use of every free hour she has available. Especially when most of her free hours are late at night when she’s already tired from designing all day.

Hope everyone has a good week!

See you next time!

 

Chipmunk Saint Final Oil Painting

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"Tamias Striatus." Oil and gold leaf on claybord panel. 11" x 14."

“Tamias Striatus.” Oil and gold leaf on claybord panel. 11″ x 14.”

“Tamias Striatus.” My little Saint Chipmunk.

I learned a lot with this painting, including how to gold leaf with genuine gold leaf, which is a little trickier than using composition gold leaf. For example, it will stick to parts that you aren’t expecting it to! So if I ever gold leaf a painting again, I’ll most likely gold leaf at the start of the painting. Another reason to gold leaf the area first was that it changed the look of the painting considerably…meaning the color of it made an impact on other colors in the painting. It made such an impact that it required a fair amount of repainting! It’s such a pretty thing to add to a painting. It’s going to be hard to restrain myself from using it more often. I don’t really want to make it a regular thing. But in this case, when I came up with the idea, it was obvious that the halo should be gold leaf. This is my little homage to the little character in our yards that makes a big positive impact on our ecosystem. Good job, little fella, good job!

Have a great Valentine’s Day everyone! Let’s keep the love going all year round.

Bunny Pencil Studies and The Fairy Godbunny?

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Fairy Godbunny? (Pencil on Paper by Me).

Fairy Godbunny? (Pencil on Paper by Me).

Funny Face Bunny Studies (Pencil on Paper by Me)

Funny Face Bunny Studies (Pencil on Paper by Me)

As you can see, I’ve been exploring the possibilities with bunnies. You can betcha the fairy godbunny will make an appearance in a painting this year, make no mistake. ;) Too fun to pass up!

Pencil Studies

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Pencil on paper. Bunny Studies by Me

Pencil on Paper. Bunny Studies by Me.

Pencil on Paper. Flower studies by Me

Pencil on Paper. Flower studies by Me.

Just a couple studies I did recently. I finally started the Chipmunk painting this weekend. Too early to show anything yet. I have a bunch of Fridays off until the end of the year because I had so many unused vacation time left.  If I can make good use of them, maybe I’ll finish it by then. That’s aiming really high, though! We’ll see what happens. I’m not in a race, mind you, but it would be nice to finish a painting in a shorter time frame than usual.

Off to get the Thanksgiving groceries list finished. I can’t believe next week is the big day! Here’s hoping the refrigerator doesn’t die like it did two years ago. Ha! Although, if it does, I have a backup plan in the back of my head just in case! I will prevail!

See you later!

Baby Animal Studies and My Favorite Things

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"Baby Bunny" study by me.

“Baby Bunny” study by me.

chipmunkbeebeeE

“Baby Chipmunk” study by Me.

I like to give myself a reality check often. This week I pondered how happy could I be with only a few possessions. I was pleased to see how few things would make me content. I don’t believe I’m attached to things. I like things, and I like having things, but I know deep down, that they don’t mean all that much. For example, if I break a special Halloween item (the horror!), I get sad for about 5 seconds and think “oh well.” BUT, there are a few things I would take with me on a deserted island or if I had to live in my car. One of which is the greatest book I ever bought, which I picked up in Stockbridge, MA at a Harvest Fest a couple weeks ago: “The Art of Beatrix Potter.” See a few examples of the works collected in this wonderful out of print book:

Plate from "The Art of Beatrix Potter"

Plate from “The Art of Beatrix Potter”

Plate from "The Art of Beatrix Potter"

Plate from “The Art of Beatrix Potter”

Plate from "The Art of Beatrix Potter"

Plate from “The Art of Beatrix Potter”

Currently, I’d say this is THE book I’d keep with me. It inspires me and delights me greatly. I find her work sort of effortless looking. Sweet and simple, and a treat to look at. I could look at this book forever. I’d also keep the new Grover doll I bought in NY in the spring. I’m not a big doll collector, much less stuffed animals, but he reminds me of my childhood and all the happiness he and other Muppets like him gave to me. I become instantly happy when I look at him. INSTANTLY! I’d probably keep one or two key pieces of jewelry that mean something to me…and of course pencils and a sketchbook, for obvious reasons. That’s it. Oh–and my cat shoes. They give me instant joy when I look at them too!

What few things would you take on a deserted island? (And I’m not talking, matches, wood, and water. Let’s pretend that stuff is there. I mean luxury items.)

Chipmunk Love – New Painting Idea

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"Tamias Striatus" (Pencil study for new painting by Gina Matarazzo)

“Tamias Striatus” (Pencil study for new painting by Gina Matarazzo)

I have been studying rodents lately and I have come to dislike that they are usually vilified by humans as “pests.” Since I’ve been trying to see everything from a different point of view these days, I’ve come to believe that they are not in our world, messing our gardens and homes up. We are in their world, interrupting their natural lives, covering up their burrows, making their already dangerous lives more dangerous with traps and poison or scaring them off. If they are able to think in terms of society, I think they surely think that humans are pests.

We have been putting up what’s called a “Big ol’ Kob” in the backyard since late spring, and it’s been quite a display, watching all the yard animals fight over it. And they aren’t really fighting over it at all–which is the funny thing! They are mostly sharing. One morning, there was a big squirrel on top of it, shaking it and trying to knock bits loose, while a couple birds, another squirrel, a bunny and a chipmunk were on the ground around it, picking up the kernels and generally waiting for their share. Really looked like something out of a Disney cartoon. That afternoon I was inspired to look up information about chipmunks and I learned how important they are for the ecology. Among other things, their natural way of life (collecting nuts, seeds, etc.) helps to establish seedlings in the forest. If you look at the “Ecology and Life History” section of Wikipedia, it gives a little insight into this.

So, here we are, thinking of these little fellas as pests who dig in our yards, messing our grass up, when they most likely do more for the world during their brief lives than most of us ever will! And this of course, inspired me to portray a chipmunk as a little saint or angel in his natural habitat.

I hope to do color studies in the next week or so and start the painting in November. I’m not sure if I’m excited to do that frame or worry that I’ll be kicking myself over it. Haha. Time will tell. I had a fun time creating it, so I think painting it will be fun too.

See you soon!

 

“The Nest” Final Painting and Studio Revamp

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"The Nest" by Gina Matarazzo (Oil on Clayboard, 14" x 16 1/2")

“The Nest” by Gina Matarazzo (Oil on Clayboard, 14″ x 16 1/2″)

Finally finished this thing. If any of you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you were seeing sneaky peeky iPhone photos with glare on them. So here’s the final scan with no glare! Imagine, I thought this frame was a lot of detail to paint. Wait until you see the final drawing for the new painting next week! What am I thinking?!

My new studio setup.

My new studio setup.

On a side note, I’ve been super stoked about my new studio space. Early August, I got the urge to move stuff around so I can use my space more efficiently, utilizing my computer as an aid for painting and drawing instead of struggling with my phone and printing out reference photos. This make for piles and piles of paper all over the place and it was hard to keep everything organized. Now, when I find photo reference, I can keep it right on the computer and open it up in photoshop and zoom in/compare/contrast, flip things. It’s really silly that I waited so long. MS always bragged about how he liked having his computer so close to his easel. So now I have everything at my disposal. I can turn one way and draw at my drawing desk and turn the other way to paint. And what’s very nice is I can now look out my window too! Much better than the view of the railing and the air conditioner. Doing this freed up a lot of the space and now there’s more room for the printer and scanner and the peripherals are hidden behind my computer. The only flaw is that there is a drawer in my main desk…but I forgot and it’s against the wall now. Ha! There isn’t much in there, but there are some drawings. Ooops! But anyway, it’s so much better. And now it’s like…my stuff/MS’s stuff. Rather than my stuff, his stuff, my stuff, his stuff. If you get the picture.

So, this is an excellent time to take a break while we go back to the Norman Rockwell Museum tomorrow. We decided in July that we’d go back in October, and so off we go! We hope to do some hiking in the peak of Autumn in the Berkshires, weather permitting, and soak up some fun vibes at a Fall Festival and recharge. I don’t know about you, but I am still in disbelief that summer is over. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in front of the easel.

See you next time!

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