inspired by: jon contino

I can't believe I haven't shared this with you yet! Brooklyn designer, illustrator and 'alphastructaesthetitologist' Jon Contino did this short, somewhat off-the-cuff interview about motivation, dedication and inspiration a while ago and it is pretty awesome.

(If you thought about skipping over it... don't! Start watching for the Brooklyn accent and you'll be hooked for the rest.)

Around the middle of it Jon muses, "Now that I'm able to actually produce the stuff that I like, I find more inspiration in the people around me who do other things... watching my wife bake a cake or sing... is so much cooler and more inspiring than seeing someone draw something slightly different than what I draw."

Jon's whole work ethic is invigorating but I had to share this part because I can identify with it so much; lately everything except art has been creatively stimulating for me, which I'm guessing is a transformation that happens to a lot of artists of all kinds once they start to mature and find their groove. We realize that our style is (thankfully! finally!) on its own track, and seeking and absorbing the work of other artists like us (or whom we wish to be like) isn't going to create momentum for our work the way we might have thought it would when we were first starting out. Not that appreciating other artists' work is a bad thing at all - I could pour over the portfolios of other painters and collage artists in a contented and loving daze all day - just that it's not where we should find all, if any, of our creative fuel. At least for me personally, the things I create change so much for the better when I incorporate the rest of the world into them rather than just the rest of my particular world of makers. Painters need to learn from writers, writers from dancers, dancers from surfers... the best ideas are created from our reinterpretation of what is new and novel, if only to our eyes.

What do you think... do you work better when surrounded by similar influences or when perked up by novel sights and things? 

(P.S.. I fixed the comment section! It should be much easier to sign in with any social media account or comment with just your name, if you like :)

winter's end

Wednesday was the official first day of spring, but we were blessed with a surprise snowstorm that dumped several inches of powder in here in New England and gave Mike and me a great excuse to get out of the city for one last snowboarding trip. We spent four days at Loon Mountain thanks to a gift certificate we've had forever and also got to check out some new (to us) places in the mountain town of Lincoln, New Hampshire.

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As always happens, by the last day I was itching to get back into my studio and unleash a few new art ideas including some experimentation with watercolors! I have never felt the urge to paint with watercolors in my life but it just feels like a promising new medium to help stir some new life into my paintings this year. Wish me luck!

wonderful world

Hello! Sorry for the long absence... a lot of art has been happening in my studio recently. Last week I finished this new painting, Wonderful World, a 16" x 20" mixed media quote on canvas. It says, "We live in a wonderful world full of beauty, charm & adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."

"Wonderful World" 16x20 mixed media on canvas by Mae Chevrette

Finishing Wonderful World means a lot to me; it's a beautiful quote I have tried, and failed, to turn into something moving for almost three years. I'm happy to have used one of my favorite photos from my last Appalachian road trip... an unexpected cold snap occurred while I was camping alone in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I almost wanted to pack up and head South, or home, or anywhere a little warmer, but that same cold got me up at 5am, kept other tourists away and created an almost magical, frosty and sun-dappled morning with a family of deer outside my tent.

A family of deer at dawn in the Blue Ridge Mountains

A family of deer at dawn in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Like a lot of other paintings I sketched out the lettering for this one, mixed up some color possibilities and let it percolate in my head until it all just came together. 

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The colors are decidedly spring-like and even a bit more feminine than my usual work... I'm very happy with it. The feedback many of you gave to the progress shots on my Instagram were so valuable and appreciated :)

You can see Wonderful World here on Etsy if you like - there are a few more detailed shots of the lettering and layers there.

commonwealth books findings

Nestled among the towering glass and concret skyscrapers of Boston's Financial District is the Old South Meeting House. Built in 1729, it housed the first protest meetings of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution. And nestled in the basement of the Old South Meeting House, down a dimly lit cobblestone alleyway, is a tiny used bookstore that caught my eye when I was out taking photos for a commissioned painting.

A lot of my mixed media artwork is created with discarded books, botanical plates and historical paper from out-of-the-way bookstores so I took a few hours to see what I could find. There was a lot of beautiful old stuff (and a kinda grouchy but obviously beloved bookstore cat.)