Monday, September 5, 2011

Auditory Inspiration

Freaks Alive - On the Inside - from the Carnival Collection by Mab Graves

Detail of The Cabinet of Curiosities - from the Carnival Collection by Mab Graves

Freaks - from the Carnival Collection by Mab Graves

Detail of the Albino Girl on Freaks - from the Carnival Collection by Mab Graves

Te Knife Thrower's Assistant - from the Carnival Collection by Mab Graves

The Amazing Tattooed Lady - from the Carnival Collection by Mab Graves

Dearly Beloved,

I often get asked where I get my inspiration. What I surround myself with. What kind of music I love and like to listen to when I paint.

Well, on the subject of music and auditory inspiration - I am the only artist I have ever heard say this - but I don't really like music. I mean I LIKE music alright, but I never work to it. It's too repetitive and chaotic. It's too controlling and emotional.

I prefer to listen to audio books actually. When I paint, I try as hard as I can to distract my conscious mind and let my subconscious auto pilot take over. Books are a great way to really engage and follow a plot or story line. They take over. You are the character. The story kidnaps you.

Music is a very "self" media. It's all about feelings or memories. I have some very dark places that I don't care to dwell on. They are done and it's over and I don't want that darkness to creep into my work. There is most certainly an "offness" in all my pieces, but it’s a personal commandment for me that I don't dabble in the self-pityingly morbid.

More than anything, I just get bored of hearing a pop star sing about herself. More than one song and I'm done. Let’s go somewhere. Let’s have an adventure.

It was a sad realization for a condemned bibliophile like myself when I realized that my two passions – reading and painting – directly conflicted each other. They both require your eyes and total focus. Then (sneaky me) I discovered the audio book loop-hole ^_^

When we were little, my parents read aloud to me and my sisters almost every night. We would beg to be read the same books over and over. It got to the point where they would try to play tricks on us and change what our beloved heroes said, and immediately four little pairs of eyes would fly up and four little voices would cry “No! THAT’S not what he says!”

To this day, I still just love having someone read to me.

My pieces are about stories and so that's what I immerse myself in. Crime novels, historical fiction. Mysteries, fantasy, dystopian fiction. I love it.

The books I listen to don’t really affect or influence my work. They're just an escape.

Here's a list of a few of my favorite audio books to date (listen to them over and over! The library loves me ^-^)

Lolita – Narrated by Jeremy Irons (my absolute favie!)

Blood Canticle – by Anne Rice - Narrated by David Pittu

Blackwood Farm– by Anne Rice - Narrated by David Pittu

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister – by Gregory Maguire - Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

Wicked – by Gregory Maguire - Narrated by John McDonough

Birth of Venus- by Sarah Dunant – Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

Interpretation of Murder – by Jed Rubenfeld - Narrated by Kirby Heyborne

Hunger Games – by Suzanne Collins - Narrated by Carolyn McCormick

Catching Fire – by Suzanne Collins - Narrated by Carolyn McCormick

Coraline – by Neil Gaiman – Narrated by the Author

Neverwhere – by Neil Gaiman – Narrated by the Author

I LOVE the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple murder mysteries by Agatha Christie



Sunday, July 3, 2011

These Hands...

I'm going to tell you a secret.

Not many people outside of my family know this, but I have had pretty awful arthritis in my hands since I was fourteen. In my hands.

Painting for me is breathing. It's a heartbeat. I have no idea who on earth I will be when I can't do it any more.
This year, it has gotten worse. When it rains my joints get so bad that I can't grip. I can't pick up a glass of water or hold a fork.
It's moved up from my hands and is spreading.

There is a little clock in the back of my mind. It's counting down to a little ball of pink terror.
I know I can't do this forever. I know this. These poor little hands won't hold out.
I am so grateful for every minute that I have to paint.

Why do I tell you this?
I decide it was time to write this aloud, because even though every minute of my passion hurts me, I couldn't possibly be happier when I paint. I am complete.
A lot of us have complications. Restrictions. People who tell us that we have unrealistic career choices.
There is no dream you shouldn't follow.
Ignore the odds.
Even if you have only a few fleeting moments before it's gone
you will always be proud that you did it anyway.

We need to unite. Let's tell our stories.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cameo Creation

I am not a jewelry wearing kind of girl. I never have been. My ears were have never been pierced. Even when I was little, Playing Pretty Pretty Princess with my sisters- I always wanted the BLACK ring.

So. Why do I paint cameos? Why do I now as an adult, make jewelry?

I wanted to find a way to paint original pieces that real people could afford.

When I started showing, I had so many sweet people love my creations, but I spend hundreds of hours on my bigger pieces. I wanted to find a way to paint my little girls (without mass producing) in a price range that anyone could reach.

I also love to take my toys with me. Everywhere. And I have imaginary friends. They come with me too.

When I paint I fall in love. I really truly do. I go to run errands and walk out the door with a painting under my arm. I strap her into the passenger seat and we would go.

Painting cameos is a happy medium.

There is an utterly magical element in wearing something with it’s own little soul and personality. I’m serious. Take it from a girl who never even wears necklaces.

When I wear one of the girls, I find myself periodically throughout the day just placing my hand over her. Just to feel her there. Just to know she’s there. It’s not like wearing a little chain and bauble that you forget. She’s the only one in the world. I feel so pretty.

That’s why I do it. Because every girl should feel that special. Like she can have something beautiful and unique to wear. Something that no other girl can have. Something real.

I’m not a jewelry wearing kind of girl. But sometimes, I make an exception.