Thursday, November 27, 2014

The series, she is done!

It's been a month since I have updated and so I do now with great news! The Divine Journey series is complete! any artist will tell you, as complete as it can be. I should probably just use the term "resolved" instead. There could be a time in the future where I revisit this but with ideas that I now have brewing, I think it's time for a new journey, especially as my big move will happen in a little over a month.

I have started the layout of my book but will be sometime before I get that resolved. I need to rewrite my statement and make sure the images coincide with that in a way that is not confusing for the viewer/reader. I also need to compile a final Credit list, including my Kickstarter supporters that have pledged certain amounts and some very special people that have made this all possible. I believe the list will be lengthy.

Another bit of news is that an art collector has purchased a good number of my prints today. She was very enthusiastic and appreciative of my processes and content which is so very validating. She chose not just from the new series but from "Rabbitholes and Revelations" and one from "Not Wonderland.  I am very thankful for the connection and for her support.

And in that vain, I would like to take this time - the day before Thanksgiving to say thank you to all of you who do support and love me and who have kept me sane. I won't be naming names but you know who you are. This past year has been tumultuous and I have been doing my very best to stay focused on my goals and I am getting closer to them. I know i could not have done it without you and honestly, mere words do not express my gratitude.

So, please go to my site and see the complete "Divine Journey" series and I do encourage comments and opinions so please feel free to either comment here or shoot me an email.

Happy Thanksgiving and much love to you all!

Friday, October 31, 2014


The last few months have been stressful to say the least. Plans are set in motion with my move, though and I finally have some space (and peace) in my mind to think about other things, including working on my art again. Before I post a few of my latest pieces, I want to take a moment to reflect on another personal thought. I have, consciously or subconsciously, been seeking out male role models my whole life. My maternal grandfather was the closest I had to this when I was a young girl, as my father wasn't emotionally available to me due to his mental illness. As years went on, I looked for men that were teachers, handymen and ones who were strong in some other way. I rarely found ones that stayed in my life, though, but now there are a few that I found that have this inner strength, and I believe they are in my life permanently (one HAS been in my life for over 15 years). They have taught me that I could be strong and do anything, and are also strong for me when I can not be. They give me support, unconditional love and constantly remind me of this with their words and their actions. And all I can do is the same in return. I hope I do that.

This piece that I created a few days ago, is dedicated to them (three men in particular). It is yet untitled.

And here are two other images that are new. "Crown of Thorns" and "Three Graces 2014" respectively. Soon, I hope to finish the Divine Journey series and start the editing process and layout of the book. 2015 will be a bit unstable in some ways but I have my "rocks" in place. Those I can depend on.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Recovering and a thought

It's been almost 10 days since getting back from my Europe trip and what a whirlwind of emotions and actions that have begun to take place. I am trying to work on creating new pieces for the conclusion of The Divine Journey series and I'm grateful that I have until May of next year to complete the book.

However, there is something I need to post here:  I've learned over the course of some months...I have had this blog since 2007 and though I've posted infrequently, and almost always about art, very few people have ever taken an interest in it. Suddenly, in recent months, more and more people are talking about it, possibly because my personal life, to them is much more important than my art....

I didn't set out to create this blog for airing my personal life, but since many times my personal life is interspersed with my art, I imagine it coming up from time to time. And since this is indeed a public forum, it has the chance of being read by anyone and everyone.

Such is the life of a blogger, I suppose. But like anything else in the public eye - if you don't like what you are reading, don't read it. If you do not like my art and what it stands for, don't look at it. For me to have to censor myself about me and my life for the sake of someone else's feelings means I'm not being honest with me. Having said that, I have not once slandered anyone, set out to hurt or embarrass anyone, nor have I ever brought the unwanted attention (if at all) in the public eye about any one ...well, ok, Damien Hirst needs a few words said about him but then again, who hasn't done that already?

I consider myself a good and decent person, trying to figure out herself, her art and her life and I have chosen a public forum in which to do that. Some don't agree with it but it's what I've chosen. When I write a post, I keep in mind exactly what I'm writing and know well that there might be some repercussions....and well that's part of it all, isn't it?

So to those of you that are suddenly interested in my blog - excellent and thank you very much.  I'm very happy and grateful that I have your attention and maybe you'll appreciate what I'm posting here without judgement. And if you care to judge me and what I write here, well, that's too bad because not one of you is above me and all have faults and flaws of your own. We all have our lives that we need to live through and most of us are far from perfect and none pious.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming and a new image to share:
This was taken at the Certosa di Bologna in Italy and am very thankful to have received written permission from the certosa to do this. I am pleased with this outcome. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The photo that had them running!

So here is a photo of what I was seated upon when security came and told me to delete the photos in front of them and had us leave Pere-Lachaise you can see, I was clearly vandalizing...

In reality, if I received written permission from the cemetery, this would have been allowed. Pere-Lachaise is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world due to its history and the celebrities that are buried there. Like many public places, permission is expected and as the case was in Italy at the Certosa, it would have been granted to me if I had done so. OK, lesson learned.

And PS - the images I was able to recover from there were not very strong anyway, so this was all moot.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back in New York - photos and update

My internet connection in Italy was scarce so my apologies for not being able to update there. I hit a major snag while there - my luggage was delayed for several days so I couldn't photography myself until Thursday - the day before I left! And this time, I got written permission to photograph in the Certosa di Bologna so no problems with anything! Also, the heat in Italy was the worst I think I experienced these three weeks and I felt ill on several occasions. Nonetheless, I managed to get some great photos! And many thanks to my gracious host and hostess - Max Tornabene (we STILL don't know if we are related!) and his girlfriend Federica. They were so kind, warm and hospitable and Max made a great model as well!

I am in the process of working on the photos as I type this and I only have a few to post here from the England leg of the trip so here are a few: The boy is Tyler of whom I wrote about before. What a wonderful kid and model! I will add more photos as soon as possible!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

France, I'll be back home soon

Today is my last day in France until I'm back living here in a few months. I've seen many amazing and breathtaking sights, experienced many delicious foods (crepes, fromage, chocolat et du pain - what more do you need?) and taken in many different types of ambiance dependent on what arrondissement I was in. I've been photographing like mad, finding statues and inspiration at every corner. I also set out to the two cemeteries I was on a mission to photograph at.

Having said that, an altercation of sorts took place at Pere Lachaise historical cemetery. As I was interacting with a monument, a security guard not only came by to stop me (something I never experienced in the states), but had to contact her boss - the cemetery "master" I'll call him - to come look at the photos I took and forced me to delete them, explaining in a brute way, that I wasn't allowed.....I had taken some wonderful poses with statuary that were now gone. I explained to him that I was an artist and in no way intending any disrespect but was told because I didn't have written consent, I was not allowed to, I guess pose with the, basically if I had permission, I was allowed to do this. (That makes, not really) We were then told to leave immediately. My boyfriend suggested that because I'm not French, I was let off easy.....there could've possibly been worse consequences. I'm hoping that with data recovery software, that I can somehow retrieve the deleted photos, especially since I've swapped out memory cards making sure I didn't shoot anything over the deleted data. And there was a couple of shots the "master" didn't see that I was able to keep...

On a better note, I did manage to interact with one beautiful statue at Montmarte Cemetery. And what a better atmosphere that place was in general - much more what I'm used to - quiet and peaceful as opposed to Pere Lechaise that was so packed with people, I thought I was in Disneyland.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Bologna - where I know I'll be surrounded by angels everywhere and I have my cousin that will pose for me for a side project in homage of Caravaggio. I'm looking forward to that as well as the fooooooooooood! I'll be back in the states on August 8 and will start working on the completion of The Divine Journey in the midst of preparing for my biggest journey in my life yet - my move to France, to a surburb outside of Paris. Those blog entries will be saved for another time...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Viva la France!

Today is my second full day in France - right outside of Paris and it's been wonderful so far! Planning my shooting excursions, I first went to The Chateau de Saint Germaine en-Lay - a beautiful piece of French architecture surrounded by equally beautiful landscapes. Tomorrow, I will be heading to the Musee D 'Orsay, Notre Dame and a few other locations in the surrounding arrondissements. Fromage et chocolat will be had!  Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is the main attraction for working on my "Divine Journey" series which will take place the following day.

I wish I could include photos right now, but sadly, my iPad is the device that I am blogging on, which makes me unable to upload and add. I promise to edit these entries once I'm back.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Last Day in the UK

Today is my last day here as I embark to France in the morning. Since I had such a short time, I've had very early, very long days to get in as much as I could. Long meaning an average of 18-20 hour days. I finally slept in this morning and got almost a full 8 hours of sleep.

Last post was about Monday and Tuesday so on Wednesday, my friend and photo assistant Neil took me to Chester where there was another section of ruins. I shot a bit, though compared to Lilieshall, there is no contest in which area was better. Still, I didn't want any ruin go unturned (ha ha). Afterward, we met up with a couple of friends and had some fun in a "posh looking pub" in Manchester - this part we were in definitely reminded me of Manhattan, or moreso Chicago.

Yesterday, I met up with one of my kindred spirits, Louise. As believers in fairies, she and I met a long time ago on an enchanted website and even from online, I felt this warm vibe from her. She is more like that in person. Her smile is radiant and warms up even the coldest of people. We met in Chester and took the train to the Lady Lever House and Walker Art museums respectively. Port Sunlight is a town I'm meant to live in, by the way!

Louise assisted me in the museum performance  pieces (recreating the Pre-Raphaelite works). And ohhhh, what artwork I've seen! In Lady Lever was a special exhibit of Rossetti's "obsession" with Jane Morris and I also finally saw original paintings of Burne-Jones, and even a Waterhouse! I was in heaven! Walker had some of the most amazing sculptures. Where angels dominate many US museums, fairies do here...of course. The two museums alone were so worth this trip!

Today, I had my second photo session with Tyler, my friend's son. I don't have children, and I don't think I've ever spent sufficient time with 9 year olds, but i will say that this boy is something special, something I can't put into words. He's not a typical 9 year old, I can say that. We went outside and before I had a chance to think of poses, he just started doing the most amazing things. He pulled a dandelion and began to blow on it, he climbed behind a bush and showed his face through, he ran into the center of this shady area and turned to look at me. It's as if I didn't have to direct him at all, and when I did, the images lacked...however, the only time I really needed to do so, though, was when I was in my angel costume and needed him by my side. Still, there was little I needed to say and when I did, he did it exactly as I envisioned.

The same feeling came over me today when I shot him as it did on Tuesday. There was something else that allowed me to connect with him on this photographic level that I can only think of as magic.

And when I asked if I could get a hug as one last shot, he gave a firm "no, we are done" and walked off with his hands in his, ok, maybe he's a little typical of a 9 year old boy :)

As I said before, photos will follow. At the moment, I don't have a way to up/download any. My apologies!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the UK

My second day here in England and the weather nor the sights have disappointed. The countryside is lovely and after a frustrating start yesterday (two of the abbey ruins I wanted to visit are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays!), my wonderful tour guide, Neil and I found two great locations to photograph in. Shrewsbury Abbey -  not in ruins and an active church it seems, and Lilieshall Abbey ruins. Those ruins in particular were magical, just walking the grounds.

And speaking of magic, I found some in a beautiful 9 year old boy. My friend Brittany's son is an honest to Goddess intense little guy. He's sweet and loveable but he's got a depth about him that leaves you frozen in his gaze. I photographed him today on these church grounds in a town called Knutsford in Cheshire. I learned that the church was built atop Druid ground and as my friend felt the magic and energy from there, it wasn't until I looked at her son, that I felt something. He allowed me to photograph him with headstones and trees and looked right at my lens for each shot. I was so drawn to him, that I followed him through the grounds and found something in him that I need to continue shooting. Originally, I was going to have him in angel wings (and still might if I can get him to agree to wearing them, though when I asked yesterday, he adimantly said no), but I think what I got today might have been more....real.

My plan for tomorrow is Chester and Manchester with my trusty tour guide. A pub with some good cider will be in order too, I think.

And photos  to follow...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Getting close

18 days until I leave -  the first leg of the trip - England. Wow...18 days! It's becoming surreal. Most of the planning part is finished and I began packing my gear yesterday (though I need to make sure everything is fully charged). Here is a photo of what I am bringing. Think it's enough?

My biggest dilemma at the moment is the angel wings. Measuring at 40 inches wide and 24 inches high, I'm hoping my suitcase can fit them along with my clothes, other costume accessories (did you honestly think I was going to leave behind my corset and antlers??) and tripod!

I am sure the airport security people will be having a field day with me...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My upcoming European trip

I sent an update to my Kickstarter supporters today for the Divine Journey project that was what has led to my upcoming trip. So, I thought I ought to update this now, since my blog is what I will be posting on while on my trip so I can share some of my experiences.

I am leaving in 40 days! I have all my flights and trains booked (except for some local train trips while in England) and have lots of ideas already forming in my head. In England, since it is more old religion, than that of Catholicism, I will be focusing on mainly two things -  Number one: abbey/castle/monastery ruins that I will absorb the energy from and become inspired to photograph in (and hoping to include the most lovely 9 year old boy as my newly found cherub...although a 9 year old is hardly cherub. Must figure out definition then.)

The second will be my continuous re-enactments in the museums via the Pre-Raphaelite works (see photo example). A side project that started out to just be for fun but may have some deeper concepts going on here. I might as well take advantage of the Lady Lever and Walker Art Galleries while I am there!

The second leg of the "tour" will be France - Paris, mainly - where I will be exploring two huge cemeteries - Pere Lachaise and Montmarte. both historical, so I will be sure to find some very unique angel statuary, and perhaps some other figures that can be used in The Divine Journey work. Of course, I will also have to go to the Musee D'Orsay and Notre Dame in addition to what should be continuous photo opportunities at every glance.

Lastly, is Italy. How can I go wrong in Italy? This is my heritage! Angels and Saints that I am sure I will trip over (no disrespect to my Catholic peers there). Another side project will take place while I am there, too, since my host - a man who I am almost certain is a distant cousin (we share the same last name and boy, does he look like he comes from my father's family!) looks like a Caravaggio painting. I have become inspired by his face ever since I first saw and "met" him on Facebook. He is a creative, artistic crazy person like me, so he was all for it when I asked if he would pose for and with me. This will definitely be a once in a lifetime treat so I  must truly focus on getting some wonderful shots.

And speaking of that - equipment - I decided to bring my newly adopted Canon 40D - a DSLR (thank you, Chris!) for most digital work, but I am also bringing my Nikon FM2 with about 6-8 rolls of TMAX 400 film. Yes, indeed, I will be shooting black and white film but since I am no longer developing it anymore, I will have it developed and I'll scan them in. "Why bother?" some ask. Well, you can still see grain in a scanned negative and I do love the look of that. I also feel that some of the work I do there, like the Caravaggio studies, needs to have tangible negatives as opposed to digital files that may (hopefully not!) disappear off my hard drive one day. But the digital vs. film argument will not continue now, since that is a tangent I do not want to embark on in this post.

So, if I do not update this again until I get to Europe, know that I will be doing my very best to post and update it as much as I can while there. Thank you for reading this, as always and much love to you all.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Trying to Live in the Present

As the title suggests, this task is very difficult. I have been in a whirlwind of excitement, thinking about nothing but the trip to Europe. I will finally be booking my three flights on Monday, but have to wait a few months to book the train from Manchester, England to Paris. Apparently, it is too early to do that. Because I will be on a fairly tight schedule, I have to widdle my schedule down to the most essential things. Yes, of course I will be having loads of fun, thanks to my dear friends whom I am spending time with in each place, but I am there to work and I need to make sure I get to those locations above all else.

Ah, but living in the present....I am printing the rewards due and ordering the mini portfolios for my supporters and I mailed out my passport renewal. There are two events that will take place before that time - this weekend, I am attending a fun convention with a friend of mine and in May, is my birthday road-trip, probably to Massachusetts. I still have to work, I still have my everyday life to lead but the romantic in me keeps thinking of this trip. I suppose it will indeed be one of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences so I am just beyond excited.

I intend to use this blog to document my travels throughout as well so stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


My Kickstarter goal has been met with a couple of days to go! This has been unbelievable and I am still trying to process it all. It's been almost like a surreal, slow-motion movie. I was at a little over $3000 yesterday morning. I spent the weekend in a little bit of a funk, as I had resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn't going to make it. I have put my blood, sweat and tears into this campaign. I stepped out of my comfort zone to speak on camera about my work (hopefully, that will become useful in the future when I become a famous artist and need to be interviewed live - ha ha ha) and having to advertise, and constantly push this, making some people annoyed and even angry! I didn't want to fail after all I have done and no matter how much I told myself that trying is not failing, I wasn't feeling any better.

Then yesterday morning, I posted, what I thought would be my last update. Almost on bended knee trying to get my supporters to do whatever they really could do by telling them how wonderful I was feeling about where I was at, and though I felt depressed, I honestly did feel blessed that so many people believed in me so much that they would back me in a way that I never thought would or could.

Then, I went about my usual routine, putzing around Facebook for awhile. It was within less than 5 minutes after I posted my update, that I was messaging with a colleague of mine - who wishes to remain anonymous. I asked "any chance you'd be able to support me in my venture?" I realize many of us have limited resources, so I never expect anything but hope. What I received was nothing short of a miracle. The colleague donated $2000. "They"pushed me over my goal mark and I almost fell off my chair speechless. I had to make sure I was looking at it correctly, with thoughts racing with "what am I looking at here? Maybe it's a typo." It wasn't.

It just goes to show that one never knows what will happen. Your whole life can change in a matter of seconds. Usually that statement is referred in a negative way - like a tragedy, but it can be said, as in this case, in the most positive way one can say!

My prayers have been answered and although I credit this one person so much, he can not take ALL of the credit. All of my other wonderful supporters made this all possible for me. The comments, messages, virtual hugs, encouragement and even loads of help and advice (Craig Alan Huber and the amazing and resilient MaryAnn Lynch who have pushed me and inspired me!) have given me the best experience one could hope for.

Lastly, I would like to say that as I sit and go over the logistics of my trip to Europe, I look at the campaign and see I have hours to go and am still receiving donations.  I am thrilled and would like to set the bar a little higher in order to get some extra funds for "breathing room" and to go toward the production of the book since I will probably be self-funding most of that. I have about 45 hours left from the time this blog post is published. For my supporters that have donated smaller amounts, if you would be able to upgrade your pledge, now would be the time to do so. For those still considering backing me, please, please donate. For those that cannot, please forward my link as much as possible.

And everyone again, though these words are really less than adequate to express my deepest gratitude, it's all my mind can muster at the moment. THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU!


Sunday, January 12, 2014


I posted on Wednesday about Kickstarter and wow, has this already been an emotional ride. I am slowly getting backers (most are very generous so far) and I have been excited and thrilled but also anxious and impatient. This project and my travels to Europe to shoot are very important to me. Probably more so than any other photo project I have ever worked on. Perhaps it's because there is more than just the personal aspect to it. I think this is my strongest work to date and so I may have said that in the past on the work then - that only means that I am becoming a better artist, constantly improving my vision.

Kick start - yes I separated the word because I am thinking this - the campaign has kick started my drive to create but more importantly, my drive to promote my work. Sure, annually, I send out packets to galleries, update my website and Facebook pages but my blog is pretty stagnant and not much outside interest in my work other than from my Facebook page.

So, I think this Kickstarter campaign has forced me to join other social networking sites in hopes to get the word out about me and my art. I can now be followed on Twitter and Instagram and I hope to get more followers here as well! Here I post one of my latest images - "The Three Graces" © 2014 AnnMarie Tornabene

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kickstarter Campaign for The Divine Journey

OK, my friends, here it is. I have officially launched a Kickstarter project to help me complete the photographic series I have been working on since 2009. You can read and hear all about it and  please make a pledge! You can donate as little as $5 or more and you can see what you will get for each dollar amount. Also, if you know anyone interested in my work and would like to help me, pass the link along. Thank you!