Friday, July 8, 2011

Featured Artist

Rosemarie Montefusco
Rosemarie Montefusco is an artist and writer from New York. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, crochet, botany, entomology, and collecting riker-mounted insects, especially Saturniidae moths.  She currently lives in a small cottage with a black cat named Lurleen and owns far too many mugs than any one person should.
     She’s in the process of writing her second novel and self producing audio excerpts from her first novel: A Moonserpent Tale.
What attracts you to watercolor as a medium?
I find watercolors offer a juxtaposed appeal, which gives me the best of both worlds when it comes to illustration and art. For illustration purposes, they give me the control to define lines, sharp light, shadow and texture, so I can accurately portray the specifics of a given subject. But for more traditionally artistic and expressive purposes, watercolors offer freedom and flexibility that allows unexpected things to happen.  I also love them for their economy and convenience. I paint in acrylics as well but not nearly as often for the fact that transport and setup is a bit more involved.  I love that I can carry my watercolor setup just about anywhere, from the middle of the woods, the beach, or just a different room of my home. Hate to say that cost drives my creative process, but canvas and tubes do add up very quickly compared to cold press paper and half-pan refills.

Does your work as a writer influence your painting?  Do you find yourself telling stories through your paintings?
My writing certainly influences my paintings, but not nearly as much as my painting seems to influence my writing.  As a kid, I loved drawing and painting a scene, then I’d find an audience member or two and explain what was going on in the painting.  I can’t think of too many specifics—only a few that involved some sea monsters that were summoned by the setting sun.  When writing, my background as a visual artist really comes into play through description of settings and characters—lots of specific adjectives that I usually end up cutting for the sake of word count and reader sanity.  For me, there’s just something about painting and writing that enables me to define the world I’m creating.  In both my paintings and my fiction, especially since most of my work is fantasy, it’s very important to me that things look and feel a particular way.  In writing you have to let go of some that and trust your reader’s imagination, but with painting the specific shades, textures and other physical qualities of a subject are totally up to you.  An art background also comes in handy when it comes to illustrations and cover design.  I love books that have a strong cohesion between the style of writing and the style of illustration, and when they’re coming from the same hand, there’s all the greater chance of achieving that feel.
Are there new themes or mediums you anticipate exploring in your upcoming work?
I’m still very new to scientific and naturalist illustration.  There’s endless subject matter there for me to explore.  I’d like to do more series pieces in that subject realm.  I planned out a serious of small marsupials, each one paired with a single species of native flora.  That may still come to be.  I’d like to do more narrow vertical and horizontal style paintings.  There’s just something about that limited space within a canvas that’s very appealing for me.  It makes the painting easier to “attack”—they’re also nice when you have limited wall space or narrow niches between windows, doors and other paintings.  Mixed media pieces with colored pencil illustration in addition to watercolor are also somewhere on the horizon.  I may even add some henna watercolor pieces in there as well. Mehndi looks pretty cool on a wall in addition to the palm of your hand.
Many thanks to Rosemarie for sharing her fantastic watercolors!

What do you think of the stories told through Rosemarie's paintings?
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