Violeta, Before Triumph Original Painting

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“Violeta, Before Triumph,” Oil on gessoboard, 8″x10″ by Gina Matarazzo

 
In a daring and bold move unsuspected by her critics, Violeta elegantly and gracefully prevails, restoring the honor of her mighty and noble family. What sort of action this was, she did not divulge to me, but rest assured that it was most spectacular!
Fair Violeta will be exhibited at IX10 in October and will be available for sale, framed, for $600. I had a lot of fun working on this one. And check out the excellent frame, I have for her…
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I thought the frame was so perfect, that I didn’t do the usual “painted frame” border around it. I love painting fanciful borders, but sometimes I opt out for certain reasons. Sometimes due to the previous comment and sometimes due to the size of the painting. For smaller paintings, to maximize painting space, I’ll exclude a border…but usually make sure I have lots of fanciful details to compensate. I am excited to be working on the two paintings I am currently involved with, but I’m looking forward to working on something larger too. I have vague ideas but nothing concrete yet. I have plenty to keep me busy until IX10. I still have to frame everything officially (the above picture is not real…I just threw her in the frame to take a quick photo), make prints and postcards and such and organize myself.
On a side note, I’m looking forward to being a juror for this year’s “Phillustration” show at the Philadelphia Sketch Club. It’s a wonderful show and PSC is a fine institution with lots of art history. Art can be submitted now until October 15th. There are cash prizes and there is a nice opening to attend if you get accepted. Here’s the prospectus if you are interested and pass along the info to anyone you know who might be interested in entering! Click on the images below to view submission guidelines.
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The Power of Pictures & Time Lapse Update

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It’s surprisingly fun to look at the progress of my own drawing. Ha! I really can’t wait to start painting it. I mentioned in my last post that it’s an idea I cam up with a few years ago. Sometimes ideas need an incubation stage. I think I wouldn’t have liked this idea as much had I tried finishing it before. Or is that just what I tell myself for procrastinating on it? Ha! I am trying to make more progress on my other painting I’ve started before starting this one. So I’ll do a color study at some point and then start this one. I’d like to get it done in time for IX10, but I might be pushing it. I still have a lot to do for it. I’ll know better in two weeks if it’s even a possibility.

On another topic, I was looking through all my Instagram pictures I’ve taken over the past few years, and it reminded me of how memorable pictures are for me over everything else. I’ve never had the greatest memory my whole life. I’d study for a test, pass the test and boom! — most information was gone within days. If I don’t use the information, I lose it. It’s probably the same for most things with me, but sometimes something triggers recall of a particular memory. When I look at pictures, I’m instantly taken back to what was happening in the photo and what was going on in my life. That’s why I like Instagram so much. Since you can preview everything as picture uploads, it’s all good memories. You don’t have to sift through comments and things or anything weird that someone posted on your wall like on Facebook. I guess I’m fairly “picturecentric” to coin a phrase, though, since I make pictures too. Although I guess pictures make everyone remember stuff. I guess that’s why everyone is so hell bent on taking pictures with their phones while cool stuff is happening. Maybe they’re secretly all worried they’ll forget all the good moments without having pictures to back them up?

Next week I’ll post the finished painting of “Violeta, Minutes Before Triumph.”

Stay tuned!

Work in Progress Time Lapse

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So I’ve had this idea for a few years now, but never had a valid reason in my mind to bring it to life. It’s been in a brainstorming list on my phone for a while (still is) and made it into little thumbnail drawings in my sketchbook several times, but I’ve always passed on it. There’s a call for tiny dragons on Art Order for a new book, so I figured, what the hey. Gives me an excuse to paint it and maybe I’ll get in the book. And if I don’t, well, I’ll have another painting for IX in October. The only problem now is, will I finish it for the deadline? I suppose so.

So here’s a time lapse gif of the work involved in getting this idea figured out. It’s not finished yet, but I thought I’d give y’all a sneak peek before it’s finished. Those flat discs will be coins. I gotta make up all kinds of fake antique coins. Eep. I’ll update this to the finished drawing next week.

Have a great weekend!

 

Video and Sleep

It is no doubt that I’m overworked. But the weird thing is, the more I’m working on, the more I get done. And the more I’m working on, the more ideas I get. I like juggling things. It’s really hard being creative sometimes in your free time when you have a creative full time job. And vice versa, really. Some days I don’t get enough sleep because I’m working late on a project or I might be in bed, but thinking about working on a project I’m excited about and have a hard time falling asleep. Or sometimes I just crash at 10pm on the sofa because of the aforementioned. When I have goals, I am overly dedicated to them. If I don’t have any real goals, I’ll work slow and not get anything done. It takes a while to learn that about yourself. And yet, as I’ve probably said before, I’m a lazy person in a workaholic’s body. I would LOVE to laze about and relax and take naps all the time. The main problem with that is, if I let myself get too relaxed for too long of a period of time, I’m afraid the lazy person in me would never want to work again. Does that make sense?

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Anyway, in between working on other things, I posted a video on my website this week that I’m very excited about. I co-created it with my brother, who composed a beautiful original musical score for the project. It’s purely delightful! It’s only two and a half minutes long, so take a look/listen! It’s kind of a visual journey of my artistic vision of late. I thought it would be a good introduction to my work for my website and wherever else for people who aren’t familiar with my art yet. And if anyone needs original music for a project, Chris is available with reasonable rates. You can contact him at cjmatarazzo(at)yahoo.com for more information.

Go check out the video here.

Hope you liked it!

Off to finish a freelance project and hopefully to bed at reasonable hour. I’ll let you know how that worked out.  😉

Wilhelmina, in Reverie – New Painting

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Wilhelmina, in Reverie

“Wilhelmina, in Reverie” (Oil on gessoboard, 11″x14″)

Above is a scan of the finish of “Wilhelmina, in Reverie.” I learned a lot while working on this painting. I’ve been using walnut oil as a medium for the past few paintings instead of liquin, which is a medium I have always liked and have used for years. I wanted to try it because I thought it would dry less dull than liquin does. (When oil paint dries, depending on what your mediums are, it will dry to a dull finish, so that you can’t really see the true colors/vibrancy of the paint. At which point, to continue painting, you need to “oil out” the area to restore it’s luster, which means you apply more medium to the surface.

I just found walnut oil to be too thick and slow drying. I don’t like using extra sicatives like cobalt dryer to speed up the drying. I’m not a health nut, but it just smells so “chemically” like it will do real harm to your brain. Now that I’ve gone back to liquin for the Chihuahua piece I’m working on, I feel like I’ve been reunited with an old friend! It’s so light and thin and quick drying, and when it’s dry it’s not tacky, so it won’t attract additional dust.

Working full time and painting at night, I need to be able to paint any time I sit down at my easel. And since I’m tired from working all day, if I have ANYTHING to deter me, it will encourage me to be in bed by 10 and I’ll never get anything done! It was good to try something new — I used it for a few paintings, but as of now, I’m officially back to liquin. Although I might try linseed oil again in the future. Matt tells me to try it again (I used it when I first started oil painting in high school). He likes it. We’ll see. Experimenting is always good. But I want to enjoy working with liquin for a while.

Anyway, Wilhelmina will be going to IX10 in October and will be available for sale there.

And now to work on some sketches for a while and off to bed. Have a great weekend!

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:

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

Here it is in its intended frame:

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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!
😉