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Below is a shot of my work in progress. I bet it seemed that I haven’t been doing anything! Lazy girl, you say! Not so, not so! I’ve been plugging away at the new painting a couple hours per day, four or five days a week. It appears I’m working my way from the outside in. It’s kind of a concentric image, so it’s just been kinda happening that way. Also, I like to work on the tedious things first, like the frame, so that when I’m done the rest of the painting, I don’t groan at still having to paint that part! So you can’t see it all (I’m sneaky that way!), but everything around the nest in the middle is painted in. Not that it’s all final just yet, of course. And you can see my inspirational Beatrix Potter reference in the background.

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A few weekends ago, we took a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It’s such a beautiful area – part of the Berkshires. Seeing his paintings in person is always such a treat, and this time was no exception. In fact, MS and I noticed a lot more things in his paintings this time. I don’t know if it’s because a different set of paintings were on display than when we were there 10 years ago, or what, but there were little details we never noticed before. For example, if you are familiar with “Art Critic,”  you might get a kick out of this photo:

Detail of Norman Rockwell painting "Art Critic"

Detail of Norman Rockwell painting “Art Critic”

Check out those globs of paint on the palette. That isn’t a rendering of globs of paint, THEY ARE globs of paint! MS and I mused that there’s probably a speck of paint in that massive white glob that may still be wet! I can’t even imagine how he got it to Saturday Evening Post like that! Maybe he had it photographed in his studio? I wonder if anyone at the museum knows.

I remember hearing once that as an illustrator, NR knew that if a job had to get done and he couldn’t possibly meet the deadline, he’d just make sure he got the important parts finished. I had noticed that about some paintings in reproductions, but there were quite a few in person that I never realized had “unfinished” parts. Here’s the full painting of “The Boxer.” Notice the boxer’s robe. It is plain white with the underdrawing lines showing. I never noticed that before! I’m really enjoying looking at paintings more critically again. For so long, I’ve just enjoyed them more as images, but taking a second, third and fourth look to see how they were painted has been very eye opening.

Detail from "The Boxer"

Detail from “The Boxer”

After you see the exhibit, you are invited to walk over to his studio which is on the grounds of the museum. It was moved here from its original location in Stockbridge. Here’s the back view. Quite a nice set up. We both decided we’d take it, if given to us. 😉

Back of Rockwell's Studio on Museum grounds.

Back of Rockwell’s Studio on Museum grounds.

Since my Dad has passed away, I’ve noticed a lot of things about death (to say the least). One of which is how until you lose someone very significant in your life, you don’t quite realize how much their presence can be felt without them being here. Sometimes it’s almost as if they are more alive in some way in death than in life. I’m not talking ghostly apparitions or anything. For example, when I hear my Dad’s voice or the sound of his trumpet on a recording, he is SO real to me. In fact, when a song of his pops up in my shuffle, I say “hi” to him in my head. So it wasn’t really surprising when I saw this empty chair in Norman Rockwell’s studio, after seeing so many of his paintings, that it gave me that same feeling. It really felt like he was there. We have been so lucky to have met so many wonderful illustrators over the years in person. I would have LOVED to ask him questions about his work and just jabber over a cup of tea with him. But I’m pretty sure he’d get up pretty soon and tell me he had work to do.

In Norman Rockwell's Studio.

In Norman Rockwell’s Studio.

Here’s a couple new animal studies I’ve done lately. I’m liking tiny animal kings, for some reason.

"King Mousey" pencil study by Gina Matarazzo

“King Mousey” pencil study by Gina Matarazzo

Pencil study of chipmunk standing by Gina Matarazzo

Pencil study of chipmunk standing by Gina Matarazzo

I’ve decided to be a little more proactive about selling some of my artwork. I’ve put some of my original drawings up on Etsy. MS was kind enough to cut me some special custom mats the other day. Check the shop to see the drawings available! I haven’t put all of the available drawings up yet. I plan to do that in the next week, so stop back soon! Lesser expensive prints will be available too.

On a side note, I just can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by! Can you?! Some kids have even started school already! And what with this mild weather we’ve been having, it will be that much more difficult to know when to switch over to the fall clothing!

See you soon!

 

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