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. 😉
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!
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!
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
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…
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.
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?
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?
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!
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!