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?
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. 😉
Finally finished this little painting a week or so ago:
Here it is in its intended frame:
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?
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…
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?
Here’s a new little painting. “Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled.”
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:
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).
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?
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.
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!
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!
Finally, our King Birdy has his Queen…
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!
And so, the lonesome “King Birdy” gets his Queen…
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!