Rochester, NY, for a couple of book signings. While at the Hilton Apple Fest, I
met Jamie Rizzo, an illustrator, who was at the table next to me. We had a
delightful chat, and I invited her to be my guest on Meyette’s Musings. I am so excited to have my first illustrator on
my blog. Welcome, Jamie. For starters, describe your journey to becoming an
to start? It has been a crazy journey to be sure. It started when I was very
young, standing at a tall wooden easel in my grandmother’s art studio. Brush in
hand, she would try to teach me how to paint with oil colors. Sometimes she
would take over when it got too hard, but we always did it together. I learned
how to make clouds and trees and sunsets and even a horse or two (they are
really hard to draw).
grade school, art class was always my favorite class. Being a shy, introverted
kid, diving headfirst into a drawing was a way of escape for me. It let me
relieve stress and forget about the daily grind of middle school and high
college I had an especially hard senior year. My style is very heavily
influenced by the Japanese anime style of art and a lot of my pieces reflected
that and a heavy use of color. I found it hard to conform to my painting class
professor’s idea of what was right and what was not. I spent many hours on
paintings that brought me no joy. With each stroke there was a heavy sigh. Not
my best work, for my portfolio or my soul, but I got through it and passed the
class. Funny enough, another art professor told me that my style was very
different to not give up on it. To this day I am still not sure what my “style”
is, but I know I will figure it out someday.
we are in the present day; I’ve got a few conventions and shows under my belt
and let me say, wow, I am so not a salesperson! For someone who is shy and
doesn’t talk very much it is very hard to entice people to glance through my
binder of prints to find something they might want to purchase. Thankfully I
have wonderful family members that always have a few business cards in hand.
Even at the drive thru window at McDonalds, you can find my mother tossing
cards to customers when they seem interested in something I’ve done!
now I am in collaboration with Josie Waverly, a well-known local country
singer, creating a series of children’s books called Josie the Singing
Butterfly. I went into our first meeting having no clue what to expect. We
hit it off from the start talking about art and children’s stories and even
ghost hunting! She liked my drawings of the mini faeries with the chubby cheeks
so much that the style became the look of Josie herself! What a ride it has
been. From July 2014 to now, I am learning how to be a business partner and how
to actually sell my artwork. Hopefully I am not the only one who has trouble
figuring out how to price their works.
to you and Josie at the Hilton Apple Fest. And I wrangle with the same issues
as you do as far as marketing goes. Do you write your own stories and then
currently have two books self-published. They are not super professional, but
it is a good way to start. The first book is called Kaleidoscope.
It is full of poetry I’ve written over the years along with a selection of
artwork. At one point I thought I should put the best writings together in a
book and pair them with some of my best works. I have to say, it was hard to
bare my soul to the public, but now I am happy to share it. I had one of my
neighbors tell me that one of the poems really touched her heart. Her son
recently passed tragically and she turned to art to ease the pain. To think
something I wrote could touch someone like that is just mind blowing!
second book is a short story called BonBon’s First Adventure. It
is about an old woman who lives alone and desperately wants someone to be her
friend. Something magical happens and BonBon the candy cane faerie is born!
BonBon was originally a drawing I did just for fun when the idea popped into my
head. It is a cute, light hearted story for the holiday season! I am selling
them on my website currently. I also have another addition to BonBon’s
adventures started that should hopefully be done for the next holiday season!
Stay tuned for that!
Where do you find inspiration for your
inspiration comes at the oddest times. Lately I like to walk along the nature
trails at the local park. Far away from the buzzing noise of traffic and kids
on the playground I crunch through fallen leaves. I find the peace of nature to
be a comfort to me when things get hard. The trees rustle and sway, but never
do they break no matter how hard the wind blows. Yes, I’d have to say that
nature is my greatest inspiration. When I draw my faeries or other creatures they
are usually based on natural elements.
also comes from random encounters. I once passed an old bench in the middle of
a town I drive through often. For some reason it sparked words in my mind and a
poem was born! I also found myself wandering through a cemetery twice this past
month. I found it calming and peaceful which also inspired another writing that
I will publish soon. Another time I was working the first window at McDonalds
when I looked out to see a single maple near the road. It had always been there
and I passed it so many times without so much as a glance, but that day I felt
a connection and started to write in the middle of a busy lunch rush!
place of inspiration is world issues I feel strongly about. Since I have a
quiet voice I let my art or writings do the talking for me. I am very into
environmental issues and a few of my pieces reflect on how we treat the world
and the animals and people we share it with.
inspiration. What is your favorite medium to work in?
like pastels. You can get REALLY messy and blend the colors easily with your
fingers. Colored pencil is a backup when I can’t make that big of a mess. When
I can afford my own studio I will get back to oil paintings.
wonder how many attempts went into the planning. How many sketches do you make
before you are satisfied?
depends on the day. Some days I can do one, maybe two sketches and bingo the drawing is perfect. Other days
I erase and redraw with such force I sometimes just give up and put it away
until I get the urge to draw again.
creating an illustration from your first conception to the final product.
I get an inspiration. A tiny spark ignites in my brain and I have to write it
out or draw it before it bursts! I do a few doodles to get the juices flowing
then I dive head first into the main attraction. Sometimes I have to google
pictures to get the proportions right, especially if I am drawing a human
figure or if I get stuck. From there the sketches are either scanned and
colored digitally or transferred to canvas or gone over with colored pencil.
There is the rare occasion where I finish the pencil sketch then put it away
for months before I finish the piece. I either lose interest or become
frustrated with it. After that the piece is either tucked into my portfolio for
a later date or framed and sold to the customer it was drawn for. Right now a
lot of my work is done for self-gratification. There will come a time when they
will get their place at a gallery. All in good time.
would be MorMor, Edna Christina Rothrum, my grandmother on my mom’s side. When
she was young she taught herself how to paint and entered a contest. She would
have won, but the paper was not the right paper for the entry. Being poor she had
no choice but to forfeit. [She went] from humble beginnings to huge painting
sales in her front yard. Each house in the family has to have at least one Edna
Rothrum painting. She exclusively used oil paints to create her stunning pieces.
She was a master that is for sure and I think about her all the time. She
passed away in 2004 and not a day goes by where I don’t feel a tug of sadness
that she can’t be here in body during this exciting time of my art career. I
know that she is watching from above and can only imagine how proud she is. My
mom is a crafty wizard who used to do great portrait works, too! It runs in the
Rothrum genes, that’s for sure!
guest today, Jamie. I wish you the best of luck with all of your art in the
future. Thanks for being my guest today.