Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Muse Comes in the Most Unusual Way

A couple of months ago I had a dream. It was of a painting - a non-objective painting that I created. After I woke, I thought I would shake it off but the painting sits in my mind daily. Last week, I purchased a 36"x48" canvas and I spent a few hours yesterday and today working on it. I plan to make more time for it tomorrow. I don't know where this will lead me, if anything, but the desire to make it is so strong. The Muse wants me to.

I have put photography on hold. I was not liking where things were going with it, so I thought if I put it on the back burner, The Muse will come to me when she is ready.

It's rainy and the leaves are almost al fallen off the trees and onto the ground. I love kicking the piles of them when I walk down the sidewalks. I used to do it when I was a little girl and the smell of wet or dry, crunchy Autumn leaves always makes me smile. I do know that Winter will be upon us soon and if it will be like it was last year, then we'll be hit hard but right now, I want to hang on to this.

The holidays are also almost here. Making new traditions and trying to break old habits. Am I growing up? Maybe, but the little girl is still there :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The End of Summer

And what a Summer it's been. I feel as if I accomplished a lot and nothing at the same time. I'm working on images sporadically, shooting the occasional video when inspired but focusing greatly on the book project. That has taken a great importance - the motivation for it is how much and how far I want the message spread - That an overweight girl can rise from the ashes and become a phoenix. A fat girl not to be defined by that, but by beauty, grace and strength.

I am going to be working with an editor in the fantasy/sci-fi industry and I am very excited about it. I have a few publishing houses I have been looking at that I want to submit it to when it is revised, so hopefully 2012 will be the year it is published. Now to come up with a title...

On a more personal note, there is also another reason for my lack of physical activity in the art-realm:

This little girl came into my life over 5 months ago. She was running through my neighborhood without a collar. I took her in, spent weeks trying to find her home (and with the help of our local no-kill animal shelter) and after much effort and no word, I have officially adopted her this month. Daisy is a 3-year old smooth coat Jack Russell Terrier and while my husband and I mourned the loss of two of our beloved pets this year, and vowed we would not be getting a dog in the foreseeable future, we couldn't help but become smitten by this baby. She has been so loving, happy and joyful and if you are an animal lover like I am, you can just see in this photo how letting her run loose or just leaving her at any shelter would not have been an option. Perhaps there is a Higher Power that wanted her to be with us and help ease the pain of our recent loss. Perhaps, it was just time for her to be with us...or us to be with her!

And as Autumn - my favorite season - comes in, I will welcome it with open arms. It may be the beginning of an end of the year, but I look at it as the beginning of another chapter in the life of AnnMarie Tornabene. Looking forward to what will happen in 2012.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I have updated my website with new work. It's now August - and for me when Summer comes to an end, then the year is almost there as well. (

Seems August is always the month that I reflect on what I have done throughout the year. This was a tough year. I have to say tis is the first year that I really had the toughest time coming up with a new solid body of work. My mind has not had such a lack of focus in a long time. I did make work - a lot of it - I created videos, photos, paintings, drawings and wrote a book. I needed time, though, to sift through what I did, though and see what I could add to my site. I have done so and I have to say that I am pleased with what I have so far and now will see what needs further exploration. In the meantime, I am preparing for my second live performance for "A Book About Death: The Ties That Bind" exhibit taking place the night of August 13th in Bay Shore, NY at the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery. It will be another live performance - this one solo. I think the live performances are no different than my videos and even my still images - almost seamless.

I'm anxious to see what the next month brings to me in terms of work, though. Until then, I leave this post with a poem my dear friend Eric emailed me that sums up what my work and I am truly about:


Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them,
"Love me".

Of course you do not do this out loud:
Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,

With that sweet moon

What every other eye in this world
Is dying to

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Totally adorable

For those of you that don't know what my day job is - I am an artists' model. I pose for drawing, painting and sculpture classes and groups all across Long Island, NY (and some areas of NYC). I am one of the top models for most of the local colleges and universities - I say "top" because as an artist myself, I know what to give to the student/artist. My poses are dynamic when needed, and graceful otherwise. Most of the classes have consisted of students and/or artist ranging in age 19-90. However, within the last couple of years, I have begun to model for the younger kids - high school and under age.

The last two summers have been spent modeling at USDAN - a music and art day camp that has a great reputation, at least I knew for music. I had no idea there was an art program until I was asked to model there. The grounds of the camp are beautiful and the kids are cute - well, as cute as a woman who isn't into kids can be. Because of the nature of the camp and the age of the kids, I do not model nude but in shorts and a skimpy top. Yesterday, was the last day of a three-week session with one instructor. Because I knew the kids would be bored with the same outfit for three weeks, I asked him in the first week if I could wear a costume the last week. He agreed so out came the fairy wings:

The kids loved it. The art department head loved it. Hell, instructors and other kids from all over the camp grounds came to see me and photograph me the whole week. In fact, yesterday, I experienced the most adorable thing. The kids I model for are roughly between 13-17 years old. There is another section of kids in the "Discovery" zone which are ages 5 or 6. The instructors there caught wind that a real, live fairy was on the grounds so they brought their kids in to see me. I never realized how impressionable that age really is. One girl debated me saying I wasn't a real fairy because I had a tattoo and glasses. I tried explaining that I was here in Human form so they could see and identify with me but I didn't get the words out as the other kids were convinced I WAS a real fairy. They all screamed and kept asking me to fly and when I told them I couldn't at the moment, they were saddened. As the they left though, they were arguing with the girl that didn't believe I was a fairy. They honestly thought I was real and my heart swelled. The kids were the best and it was inspiring! Thinking of doing kids' parties now as a fairy - ha ha ha ha!

A great experience :) The photos here are obviously of me with the older kids. They were a hoot as well. As you can see, one boy just HAD to get into the faerie realm himself!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 12, 2011

New series in the works with a video as well. Not sure of the title of the series but "Unraveled" is a working title. Thanks to some new music by Heather Nova and old music by Bjork, I am inspired.

Wasn't planning on announcing this but I am too excited. I am also in the midst of writing a YA fantasy book. No title as of yet but it's about Kyrra, an overweight red-haired young girl who falls in love with a guy who doesn't love her. Ultimately, another loves her FOR her, she becomes a princess and "lives happily ever after"..oh yeah, there are faeries in it, of course. This is going to be a fun book with a self-esteem message for all girls that have body-image issues. The writing comes easy at times, difficult at others. I am enjoying the process very much and if I can get this published, I can add another creative feather in my cap.

Will update again when I have more to share. Here is one of the images from the new series in the meantime.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011

New ideas have begun to brew for a new series. Some old projects need to be tied up and completed as well. As soon as my day-workload lightens up, I can spend time with it all in my studio and in the outdoors. In two weeks, I go on vacation and my new, flawed friend Diana is coming with. As I may have mentioned, Diana has an intermittent shutter issue, thus forcing me to repeatedly click the shutter until, well, it goes "Click". Diana also doesn't have a place in which to add a cable release so I fancied one out of hemp string. She also doesn't have a tripod see where this is going? I have to modify and make-shift Diana in order to use her solo. It's good, actually. The new idea I have exploits the frustrating process of shooting and with the more-than-possible "accidents and defects" the end results will be. I am looking forward to the challenge!

In my absent-mindedness, I never once mentioned here on my blog about my video "Encounter #1" being shown all over the world. Thanks to the curatorial team of "Seeking Kali" (Bill Evertson, Susan Shulman and Ria Van Edyne), the video was submitted to a physical group exhibition entitled "Archetypology". My video is being shown in Croatia, Sarajevo, Berlin, Boston and Quebec. Who knew that a very impromptu and improvised 30-second video shoot (that was edited up to a little over 2 minutes) would get that much exposure? I am a happy artist indeed.

In the meantime, I eagerly await the warm weather. Mother Nature is being a little slow in bringing it in, teasing us once in a while with a few hours of it but then blasting some cold winds back! I love her but damn, is she cruel!

Here is a Diana image that I took last month:

Monday, March 28, 2011

OK so....

I really ought to be more diligent in updating this thing. I don't really know if people are even reading this or care, for that matter and in no way do I want to make myself sound so important but I am an artist and one of my goals is to share and hopefully inspire others....maybe.

Ideas are finally swirling around my head after what has been this massive artist's block. The concepts seem split between still photos and moving ones. I am writing in my "analog" journal when I can but I can't seem to physically "do" a whole lot. The video I previously uploaded was shot sometime in the Fall of 2010 and since I was in my studio the other day trying to do something, I thought I would make a go at a finished video. I like it, I suppose, but it's not what I would like to work on. I did shoot 5 rolls of film in a new-found cemetery the other day but with the kitchen sink currently out-of-order, I can not develop any of it.

Incidentally, a dear friend gave me a Diana camera still in the box, never used, awhile back. Since I haven't figured out a way to use it for my self-portraits alone, I had another friend help me test it out about 2 years ago with this outcome:

It was sitting in my studio until recently when I got the itch to really work it. First, I was going to try to modify it but ended up breaking the lens right off the body - don't ask. I glued it back on perfectly though with a super strong glue which managed to eek it's way to the focusing ring sealing it at 16ft. to infinity. Oh yes, the shutter also seems to be on the fritz. I need to push it down repeatedly until it finally opens. Good times, for sure! I used it anyway in the cemetery so I am giddy with anticipation to see if I got anything.....I think that with the way this artist block thing is going, the images have to be interesting. The post script is that I did come home from my photo excursion and with a needle, got the glue out of the focus ring crevice rendering it loose. Yay.

Two-woman exhibit comes down this week. No one saw it except on the day of the opening. It looked really strong, too. Note to self - in all of the years you have been showing, you need to know when to say "no". Not every exhibit needs to get you so far with your career, however, the place needs to be open to the public on a regular basis and decent foot-traffic or strong contacts from the curator of the space would be helpful. I also need to make some calls this week to make some headway on doing a live performance based on the "My Skin" videos.

Cemetery shooting has encouraged me to get back to work on the "Angels" series. I think I may have figured out the execution of them....details to follow.

The next few weeks should bring more hope for warmer weather. I am directly affected by it. This Winter has brought me so much sadness that I want to hurry up and shed that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Kind of Malaise

I need to get out there again. The desire is getting strong which is a wonderful thing. I was beginning to get scared that new ideas wouldn't come...I still don't know if I have anything concrete in my head but there are snippets of images I can see and I know that if I start shooting, some sort of flow has to take place. I have been creating illustrations and have to say I am bored to tears by them. I suppose I now know that it is not my calling. I made a couple of paintings and may even have an idea for a series of self-portrait ones but I want my camera back.

It's still cold even with the more milder days we've had. The chill in my body doesn't want to leave. I've seen people walking around with light jackets on, yet I am still in my winter coat with gloves and scarf. Will I ever get warm? I want to go back to the Delaware Water Gap. That place was so magical when I went there over 10 years ago. I am sure things have changed - as they should - I have changed so it will be interesting to revisit. When the weather does reach a level I can live with, I will plan a trip for it.

In the meantime, I will try to focus and write down the ideas I have. I know that I set up this blog to share things like that but some things I would rather keep to myself. My hand-written journals mean a lot to me so I keep them sacred.

It's 7:46am and I finally see some sun peeking through my window.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I redid the painting of me and this is the final result. I say final because it really was more of a struggle (albeit a great one) than I thought. I can photograph myself easier than this. I think.

Sunday is the opening reception for The Journey Within: Recent Self-Portraiture by Susanne Johnson and AnnMarie Tornabene. I will be exhibiting 10 of my "Rabbitholes and Revelations" pieces at the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York. I do hope to see some of you there. Please go to my website for more indormation -

Looking for a venue to perform the three performances of "My Skin" live. Working on some fantasy drawings and looking for my next inspiration.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 has started

I have very few new ideas with my photography but I do have ideas for drawing....

My somewhat commercial artist side of my brain has taken over and I thought maybe to make some extra money this year, I should draw more of my fantasy drawings and make a Blurb book of them. I was going through my ongoing illustration portfolio the other day and have some great ones from my past and I just completed a new one - the first for this year:

In addition, I made my first really successful painting...I've made some paintings in the past that were horrible but this clicked somehow.

There will be a video in the works soon as well...I have a male singer that will be performing with me so I am very excited about it.

And an exhibition of some of my Rabbitholes work will be on display end of February. Stay tuned for details...