This is Marie. She was my very first assignment for Face Factory Paris. “Your face on a t-shirt”. Can’t wait to get some more orders. You should check them out.
Marie is also my first ever venture into video taping my process. A little help with the editing process and a time-lapse painting video was born. I have to admit, it’s a bit dark. Sorry about that. I’m working on my lighting situation. But, come on! How fun to actually see how much work goes into one of my paintings. I never realized it until I watched it. Seriously, I guess I really do zone out when I’m painting. Go to a place all my own…
The perfect holiday gift… Harry Potter inspired Magical Notebooks. Handmade by yours truly. Perfect for the Harry Potter / Hogwarts fan!
These notebooks are hand-bound using the codex style of book binding. They measures 5 1/4″ x 7 1/2″. The notebooks come in hardcover and their interior pages are BLANK and have deckled edges. These notebooks are perfect for all your Hogwarts note taking. The original art on the cover has been created and printed by me.
Comes in 2 sizes 128 pages, or extra thick at 320 pages and also come with a blank bookplate on the inside cover. The inside covers (endpapers) of each book are unique and fabulous.
They are all delivered to your local post office by my owl “Spells” who loves his job. He tends to get a bit carried away when doing owl post and might leave a feather or two behind (oops, sorry).
This is my hometown, Wellsville, NY. Isn’t it cute. So cozy, so friendly, so Rockwellian. What a wonderful place to grow up. I had a great childhood in this small, sleepy, Western New York town where the closest city was a 2 hr. drive away. My parents never locked the doors and we could wander anywhere we desired, unsupervised. Everyone knew your name. It was safe, it was serene, it was something that nowadays is hard to come by.
As kids we would walk everywhere. To a friends house, down the street to the five and dime, to school and back, into town with the train tracks guiding us. To my dad’s car dealership after school, where he would always give us money so we could head across the tracks to the Elmhurst Dairy and get ice cream. (Of course we’d always remember to bring him back a chocolate shake). We’d also wander into the woods (basically, my backyard). Here our imaginations ran wild. We would play army and parachute from trees, pretend we were trapped in the wilderness, build forts and structures with sticks and in the winter we would try and survive sledding on “Devil’s Run”. My mother always said, “If you’re bored, go outside and play with a stick.” and we did. My summers were spent pool hopping, garden raiding, catching fireflies and playing “monsters” with the neighborhood kids til way after dark. It was a moment in my life where nothing mattered, there were no worries, and time seemed to stand still. We only knew we should head home when my mother would yell at the top of her lungs from the front porch. It was precious.
Then, my teenage years… Much time spent at the local pizza joint, Pizza King. Hangin’ with my friends, gossiping and deliberating on whether or not 30 was considered old. We’d head to “The Hill” or “The Pines” to party. Some nights it seemed like the whole town was there. Then there was Friday night football games, dances, pep rallies, cruising down main street, going to the movies, shaving cream fights on Halloween. Hanging with my friends “The Screamers” seemed like the best thing in the world. There were many a long night dreaming of the future and what it may bring…
My cute little town is considerably different today which makes me reflect on what is no more. My favorite bakery, which had the best donuts I’ve EVER had is no longer there. The five and dime where we’d stock up on candy cigarettes, the local newsstand in town and the department stores of the past are now long gone. My favorite was Newberry’s. My dad and I would have our father/daughter time there. We would sit at the lunch counter and split a banana split! Also gone is the Target of my day, The Ames ‘Big N’ where I bought my very first record, a 45 of Billy Joel’s It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me. Also no more is my father’s car dealership, Hetzel Motors. The memories of playing “store” in the parts room with the antique register and jumping on smelly tires in the attic are some of my favorites. When I was about 16 he wanted me to intern with one of the mechanics. Should have took him up on that one. He had his own gas pump and was brave enough to let me take a brand new Firebird to the prom. Even my dear childhood woods have been developed now with houses and apartments. My grade school and high school have been expanded, the middle school, where we all experienced our awkward years, knocked down.
When I find myself in Wellsville now I have to say, I love shopping at all the cool new boutiques in town (especially New Vogue and Trend Addictions) and grabbing a coffee, or beer (depending on my mood) at the cafe at the new Creative Arts Center. Heck it probably even has wifi. My adored Wellsville has become a victim and a champion of the changing times.
This portrait I have done of my hometown reflects the Wellsville of today, not the yesteryear of my youth. It has grown as I have grown. It has changed as I have changed. I now live almost 300 miles away, but Wellsville… will always be home.
Sometimes I fall in love with one of my pieces. This is one of those times. I actually have that wallpaper (but in black and white) in my former office, which is now my daughter’s room. I still find it fabulous! And I hope she never begs me to take it down. The wallpaper in this painting was added digitally after the painting was finished. I love the mood, the attitude and everything about this one. Having a professional print made, and I’m hanging it in my bedroom.
As an artist, I don’t have the luxury of a dedicated marketing team… so, enter social media. It’s the perfect and simple way to get my art out there and seen. Today we are experiencing the world in a completely different way than anything before. It’s all at our finger tips, literally… and, you know what? I want to be a part of it.
Thanks to social media, not only do I have the ability to show my work to thousands of people (I actually have more followers on Instagram than the entire population of my hometown) but I get to create something that makes people happy, sad, angry, or whatever… just sparking an emotion, even if it’s for a split second. I paint things that altered my way of thinking and tug at my sensibilities. And sharing this with people and having them respond with a “like” is a new age conversation. And in the time of fractured attention spans I enjoy altering someones thinking as my image flies by their screen. And when someone takes the time to leave me a comment, well… I know I’ve evoked a response, and that’s pretty amazing. Something I created has had an impact on someone else.
What social media do I use? Well, Instagram is my go to. Then facebook and pintrest. Of course my blog, www.longbluestraw.com where I do, on occasion, bloviate about my art. But, I do have to admit… I’m on instagram all the time! I constantly “check-in” with the artists I follow. I love to see what they are creating, what they are up to, what others are saying about their art. And I love to discover new artists and become part of their community. It’s like having a conversation without actually speaking.
If it wasn’t for social media, I wouldn’t have discovered a lot of new art, seen places I’ve never been, entered contests I would have never knew existed, been contacted by people who have hired me. And most importantly, I’m able to justified myself as an artist. You can just pull up my instagram portfolio and, boom!… Look at all that… Artist!
But the best part about social media for me is that I now have lots of new friendships with other artists from all over the world. Connections that I would have never made before, and that’s pretty cool.