Maria from BreakdownChick hasn’t given up on nominating me for Quotes challenges, for which I’m very grateful! A couple of months back, she nominated me for the 3-Day Quotes Challenge, which sadly I have not yet taken her up on. But like I said, she’s still determined to get me to quoting with her. And as I love Maria’s determination and her blog, I just had to immediately take up her the Living Life 3,2,1 Quote Me challenge!
Many thanks, and hugs, Maria!
I’ve chosen one of my all-time favorite sage-type person—Terry Pratchett—whose incisive sageness always strikes me like inspirons and pushes my mind into a tizz. There’s a Pratchett quote for almost any mood or situation in life, I find, so for my two, I’ve chosen one which particularly resonates with me now, and one which I find has been true for most of my life…
I’ve been unusually nostalgic this part six weeks, so this quote hit home. Having left home as many times as I’ve returned (and I don’t mean that on a daily basis), I know this to be truth. Whether I’ve left home for a few weeks or a few years—some things never change, yet everything changes, too! But often it’s me who’s changed…unless it’s been 5-10 years and then it’s all the changed road systems and how much you pay for bread and milk.
And in being so nostalgic, I know ‘never leaving’ for me was never an option, and ‘going back’ whether in time or person won’t ever give me back missed opportunities, the same situations, or even the same friends. Because Life is change, said someone (can’t remember who), and I’ve changed. Which is good, ‘cos it means that even though I often feel I’m just existing, I’m really living too 😀
Oh, oh! And bonus thought: When you come back to working on something, or restart it, it’s never from the same point, nor does it have it the same outcome. Ask any writer who’s composed paragraphs in the shower or while waiting in a queue.
Ah, yes. We all know this to be true from our days in school onwards, especially as my schools didn’t encourage fantasy or science-fictiony thoughts, but instead often tried to make me accept things like:
School days are the best days of your life (not true, never been true—at least for me)
You should be more like your sister (why? Just because I don’t use long words (or sound like everyone else around me) doesn’t mean I’m stupid)
You’ll never make a living as a writer (okay, sorta true. But times-they-are-a-changing and I’m hoping to prove this one wrong.)
There are only three to five careers for a woman and boys shouldn’t spend time in the kitchen (and yet we learn about Marie Curie, Amelia Earheart, Indira Ghandi…and aren’t you watching Gordon Ramsay and buying Jamie Oliver’s stuff)
Outdated mindsets are the only ones worthy of consideration and study (yes, Mr Physics teacher, Quantum physics and String Theory are now mainstream and not something I made up to ruin your day)
New-fangled, untested and harmful beliefs/practices (I was never fashionable, so these go in one ear and out the other)
Religious stuff which makes no sense (I have my own conversations with the goddesses, gods and angels, thank you).
Exhibiting an open mind leads to some interesting debates, though, and some miraculous friendships. It’s just annoying when your new-found passion is old news to me, or your logic so wonky it makes me dizzy.
I keep an open-mind so I can fill it up with the things I want to, and I’m guessing it was the same for Terry Pratchett, and likely for you, too.
And apologies for the mini-rant. I don’t know quite where that came from, perhaps Mercury rushing bye 😀
So, thanks again to Maria for getting me out to blog again!
I used to do ‘reality checks’ with myself to bring me back down to earth when my thoughts and dreams were getting too lofty or my dreams seemed not to be materialising…and these reality checks did bring me down! Maybe too much so…
And that was not the intention.
So, instead, I thought I’d turn my new ‘reality checks’ into something more positive — my Happiness Check! There’s nothing wrong with flying high if it keeps me happy and positive, and focusing on the positive brings it to the fore instead of hiding behind all the things I think aren’t happening in my life.
I’ve known Jessica Matteliano as a writer for a while now. I was also excited to discover her work as an aist. If you have a fascination for portraiture, both animal and human, you’ll definitely want to have a look at Jessica’s lively work. And here we have Jessica Matteliano In The Limelight!
You have a great eye for expression and portraiture. How did you discover this ability?
Thank you! I believe that art, no matter what medium, is a means of expression. It could be an internal feeling that must be transposed onto paper, or an external force to communicate a message. The face, especially the eyes, is what humans are initially drawn to look at. Because whether you consider it a euphemism or truth, the eyes are the windows to the soul. I began drawing as a young child, and my first subjects were strictly animals, mainly horses. Even from then, I desired to capture the soul inside the eyes. In the eyes is where a portrait comes alive. Until the eyes have the effect I’m looking for, the painting will not be complete.
I adore your noirish Classic Hollywood Portraits. Tell us about them.
In an age where everything is sensual and risqué, I am drawn to the classic Hollywood portraits that showcased a more modest and classy beauty. A number of years back, I decided to begin a series of these talented and classic faces due to the fact that much of my generation, and younger ones, aren’t aware of these names or faces; by painting them, while bringing color to their timeless eyes, I would hope to bring them the attention that they still deserve, to bring admirers back to another time of nostalgia and enigmatic sophistication.
And the pet portraits? Tell us about those too.
During my early years until around the age of 17, I refused to paint humans. My few attempts at painting them back then were never up to my par, so I “boycotted” the human figure altogether from my sketchbooks and portfolios. My main focus during those early years were mainly horses and wild animals. With the help of friends and family, I began receiving commissions for dog portraits, mostly in the pastel and pencil medium. It’s a hard niche to get into as there are so many talented pet portrait artists out there in all mediums. All my commissioned work is strictly by word of mouth, and it’s a subject I still very much enjoy.
I’m amazed by your animal illustrations. They are so vibrant and full of energy…The chameleon’s eyes, and there’s all the wonderful horses too! How long does a work like the chameleon or a single horse take you?
As mentioned before, horses were my main art subject from young. A horse piece requires much less time to complete than an unusual subject like the chameleon, or a bird, etc. It’s all about texture. The more detailed (furry, feathery, or scaly) the texture, the longer it will take me.
I have a tendency to underestimate the length of time it will take to complete a drawing. Without the background, a full-body horse in motion (colored) will take me around 5-8 hours. Something more detailed, such as a reptile or bird, can take twice as long, if not more. Due to external circumstances, it usually takes me a few nights to complete a painting.
I was fortunate to come across your tutorial on creating portraits in Photoshop and picked up a few tips myself. Will you be doing more tutorials or running a workshop in the future, perhaps?
I’m glad they were helpful! I enjoyed creating those tutorials as I love helping others improve and learn. Part of the fun of looking at other people’s artwork is discovering their tips and tricks and adapting them to your own style. I haven’t created a tutorial as of late, only because I feel that there is already so much out there, how could I possibly offer something “new?” I’m afraid I don’t have the time or means to run a workshop at the moment, but if someone requested a tutorial from me in the future, I would most certainly oblige!
You draw inspiration from a wide range of cultures (for example there’s a rune prominent on one Asian-looking character’s hair accessory) and from the natural world too. I know you’re a fan of Pinterest. Can you tell us a little about your creative process/es?
Much of my inspiration comes from other images, whether it be a photograph or a painting – hence, the ever-growing number of pins on my Pinterest account! Every image has a mood, and oftentimes that mood will connect with what I’m currently feeling. My fantasy portraits tend to reflect a theme, such as the Ihwaz painting. I wanted to portray a symbol of what I was feeling at the time (“The path is hard and lonely and there is no end to sight”). I recall being inspired by headdresses and wanting to create a portrait with a headdress. Ihwaz is Rune number 13 and symbolizes the yew tree (Yggdrasil), as well as symbolizing magic and the archer’s bow.
Anyway, when a certain image strikes me, I will take it and transform it into my own vision. Oftentimes, it’s nothing more than wanting to accentuate the movement and grace of a horse mid-stride, to bring out the way the sun makes the dappling shine along its musculature. My writing follows a similar method where I am inspired by another work of art and my mind uses it as a launching pad to create my own version.
I knew you first as a writer. Do you find your art feeding your writing and vice versa?
Not necessarily. As a full-time wife and mother, part-time worker, and full-time freelancer, it’s hard to be able to let my creativity flow the way I’d like it to. I have to compartmentalize much of my art and writing projects in order to be productive. I hate to sound like a clichéd artist, but creativity needs time to grow and bloom. That being the case, my writing and artwork are separate entities, though I’m hoping that one day I will be able to merge the two together!
So here’s what I’m finding difficult: finding a balance between designing and writing, and expressing my creativity vs working on projects which might actually pay! Any advice for me and others like me?
Prioritize! My family comes first, paying jobs come second, and personal projects third. With my busy schedule, nearly all of my personal endeavors are stuck in the wayside. Figure out what is most important to you, which leads me to my second point: organization is imperative! When an idea does strike me, whether it’s writing or art-related, I jot them down in an idea journal (bullet journal, in my case). Inspiration to paint a particular drawing come and go, but writing tends to be more mechanical for me. I enjoy figuring out the details, so writing down new ideas works best for me.
I spend the daytime hours working or taking care of my home (cooking, cleaning, schooling, errands, etc.), and after dinner, I begin working on my freelance projects. If I’m ahead of schedule, I’ll instead spend time on my personal writing projects. I do mandate myself at least one night off during the week for my personal projects because stress does build up after 5-6 consecutive nights of staring at the computer screen!
You’ve worked on a wide range of projects: gaming, calendars, commissioned private portraiture…and there’s the writing projects too. What new venture are you excited about for the future?
I’m currently working on two paid art projects, as well as a commissioned pencil sketch. And right, not to mention my personal two writing projects that are subject to the regular work load! I’ve just completed one novella and am currently in the editing process, and I’m excited to begin research for the second novella! I’m anticipating writing content for the game art project I’m currently working on.
Thank you so much for interviewing me! It was such a pleasure and I am truly honored to be a part of your wonderful blog!
And thank you, Jessica, for taking the time from your crazy schedule to answer these questions and share your work with us.
About Jessica Matteliano:
I’ve been sketching since single digits and began digital painting in my late teen years. Around the age of eleven, I began focusing on detail and accuracy and discovered that art was something worth pursuing. Pencil sketches and digital paintings are the preferred medium, and wildlife and portraits are my preferred subjects.
Writing fiction vies for my attention. If I’m not painting, I am writing (or reading!). I began writing in my single digits as well, and my life since my teen years are filled with writing and art projects.
Now at age 30, with a family of my own and life responsibilities, my free time is spent alternating between writing and painting.
The one and only Alan Dean Foster — writer, educator, adventurer and creator of many of your favourite sci-fi and fantasy worlds — is the guest of this week’s interview for my sci-fi/fantasy feature over at InBetweener.
You can read my interview with Alan Dean Foster here.
I chose this quote to share with you because:
So many writers are writing to someone else’s prescription, when all they have to do is write what the story demands. That way lies integrity. That way makes you good enough, if only to your own worst critic — yourself.
How do you define integrity in your art and writing?
Christoph Weber, a new writer in the science fiction and fantasy genre, kicked off my sci-fi/fantasy feature this May over at InBetweener.
I chose this quote to share with you because it resonated with me, and I know that many of us bloggers have been fighting the same darkness in the form of depression, chronic illnesses and fear caused by this uncertain and bewildering period that we’re currently facing.
I thought you’d like to know that someone is celebrating your bravery 😀
You can read my interview with Christoph Weber here.
And if you need a laugh, you can see what happened when Arnold answered Christoph’s phone for him over on his blog here or here.