Tuesday, November 3, 2015

And so it still exists...

I feel it necessary to write this post because this has been an important, ongoing thing in my personal life, as I am sure it is for many women. This post is that of my opinion, but based on what I have seen and experienced so far in my 46 years of life.

There has always been this strange idea of what the "beauty ideal" is in our society. I think, in the realm of art, that this is a pretty broad thing - beauty can be seen in line quality, curves, shapes but that is a bit abstract and a digression, I know. But talking specifically about female beauty, I believe that it comes from within and reflects back in the person's eyes, stature, smile - a level of confidence, a gentleness and grace. Sometimes, it's something you can't describe in words but just feel.

 Still, after I don't know how many years, many women are still deemed beautiful only if they look like something unnatural and superficial; a very small waist, but accentuated with round hips, buttocks and breasts that can only exist if the rest of the body was round and curvy. There are also the large, almost soulless, eyes and lips, small nose and chin..I am sure those of you reading this understand what I mean. There is lots of art depicting this, too, which seems to have influence. What other factor seems to complete the equation is that of age, but more on that in a moment.

My initial issue that I had in my life was that of my body.  I have always struggled with weight and at two separate times in my life, weighed over 300 pounds. I was publicly bullied, ridiculed and abused by many for years. Obesity, in the public eye, is/was not only looked at as a health-related problem, but a social one - fat women were not beautiful. Things have changed today, views have shifted with bigger women becoming more accepted as beautiful, however, age is still a factor there. Curvaceous women in their 20's and 30s are still firm in places and their skin is still smooth, or at least Adobe Photoshop corrects that in photos.

And with age and me lies the latest "issue". I am putting that word here in quotes because it's a dichotomy. As I get older, I look at the changes in me. From weight loss, first but of course from age, my body sags, wrinkles and has a mind of its own at times. My face is showing signs of bags/wrinkles around the eyes, the beginnings of a wrinkled chin and the oh-so-famous extra bit of skin that hangs under the neck. At first, I sighed and shuddered at the thought this is finally beginning to happen to me, however, as I look at how happy I am with my life and that I am proud to have certain wisdoms (and a handy bottle of hair dye for now), I am more than ok with the way I begin to age.

Which brings me back to the original motivation for this post. If you have been following my blog here or are on Facebook, you have seen me advertise some of my more commercial self-portraits for sale via RedBubble. On Facebook, I belong to certain art groups and sometimes I shamelessly plug myself. Today, I posted this photo, on which someone, a female by the way, commented, "Good picture but if you held head differently it would eliminate the turkey neck which you dont see on any pre-raphaelite art..the hair and dress colour looks fantastic though."

 Now, many people feel that to waste my energy talking about this is pointless because they think this person is just an idiot but there is something I need to say about her. This woman represents others that probably think about beauty in the aforementioned sense, and the fact that she is a woman, is very disheartening. We, as a sex/gender have been fighting to be accepted (whether we want to all admit that or not) in all that we are, and though she may have a problem with her own self, the fact is, that it probably took her no more than a few seconds to feel the need to make that comment and without thought. To me, that proves that there is an automatic response to beauty. People not taking the time to examine beauty but to simply spew out thoughts based on the societal views. Judgements are made so very quickly and it's very sad.

So, it is not one person's view, and of me, that upsets and angers me. It's what this person represents that does. I realize that there is no real solution and that people will always have their opinions, which is fine. However, I do feel that teaching and showing everyone that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and ages in the media, in songs, and everywhere else that society clings to is necessary and needs to become more aggressive. In addition, YOUNG girls must be shown and these things and help them to be able to accept themselves, be happy and look in the mirror and see how beautiful they are and will always be.

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, November 2, 2015

20% AGAIN!

HOLIDAY20 is the promo code to use when ordering to get your 20% off your order!


This is just one example of what is for sale in many different print sizes and formats. The canvas print is my favorite, I must admit.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Inspiration, perhaps

Last week, I went to the Musée D'Orsay to see two exhibits - "Splendour and Misery" and "Who's Afraid of Women Photographers?" The first, was a huge exhibit dedicated to the subject of prostitution in the late 1800s. The statements on the wall spoke about the women and men that made this their profession, their practices, the legal and illegal ones, etc. While some of that was fascinating, the artwork was nothing short of phenomenal! I got to see, in person, some of the most famous pieces that I have only seen in art history books and for those of you that may not realize, there is nothing, NOTHING like seeing a piece in person; to see the brushstrokes, the colors (that are rarely reproduced well) and to just take it all in as the piece of art it was intended to be. Toulouse-Latrec, Degas, Van Gogh, only to name a few were on display. I was floored.

Interestingly - well maybe not because symbolism has always grabbed me - this piece inspired me with something I am working on now entitled "Elle" by Gustav-Adolphe Mossa, an artist I am not familiar with:

I suppose the illustrative quality is also something that always catches my eye. Still, I am trying to get my style to change to something not so obvious. Not sure my mind can pull that off though. When one pushes too much, the work becomes forced, and in the end, not good. However, the symbols in this piece speak to me in a way that I may be able to do something with....We shall see.

The second exhibit of women photographers was a little anti-climatic for me. It showed the history of how women made it into a male-dominated field, which I do feel is very important and the auto-portrait themed room was my favorite, naturally, but overall, I think straight photography is making me yawn...a lot....these days. Very little is grabbing me emotionally and well, I can go on and on about how the internet has made photographs to saturate into your mind that everything begins to look the same. I won't need to write about that, in my opinion. It's too tiring. ;) Here is the auto-portrait "Cat and I" by Wanda Wulz

OK back to thinking about my new series....and thinking...and thinking!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

40% off TODAY

Today only, Blurb is giving 40% off any order. This is great because the books are a little pricey so now is your chance to buy when the price is down. Click on my link to see which book you would like to buy (or both!)


And use Promo Code Downtime40 when ordering. Don't wait!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My 2 books redesigned

AND for sale once again! They are both available in soft or hardcover and "Rabbitholes and Revelations (including the Not Wonderland series) is available for your tablet!




      The Divine Journey by AnnMarie Tornabene
      Make Your Own Book





Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rabbitholes and Not Wonderland

An epiphany:

When I create art, it's in the moment, expressing what's going on in my life at the moment of its creation. I am re-designing two books - Rabbitholes and Revelations/Not Wonderland and The Divine Journey in hopes I can find a cheaper way to publish them. At the moment, I am re-writing my statement for Rabbitholes and Revelations. The series was created when I married my now ex-husband and I was making bad choices with the relationship and other negative things that was happening then.

I realize now that this series was something I needed to create in order to FINALLY see what was wrong. I look at my life now and the photos in that series and I think I listened to the photographs...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This is me - repeating some facts here

I am writing this for myself as part of self-discovery.

My name is AnnMarie Tornabene (Tornabene-Boivin now) and I am 46 years old. I am an artist born and raised in New York but in January 2015, I moved to France. I live with my husband Gilles in a nice-sized apartment in a suburb of Paris.

My husband is the best thing that's happened to me. He is my equal, my soulmate and I never thought I would ever find that possible in a partner. We work as a team and balance each other out. I have also found something within me, in the way I respond to him - a maturity (sometimes) and a level of understanding and it's because my heart is so full of love for him.

I had a difficult childhood and a still difficult, complicated family life. I was married once before and look back on that as a learning experience, and a stepping stone, not a time filled with bad times or hate. I am a constant work in progress and I am alright with knowing that a final masterpiece will not be created - human beings live, change and evolve constantly, so I think death is the end result. However, my one goal is to be as happy with myself and my choices as I can be, during the one life I do have.

I make art when my mind allows room for it, which has also been difficult this last year. However, I am always wanting to go back to my camera, to my drawings, to my canvas, to my Photoshop and I make sure I do somehow. Right now, I am excited about a new series I am about to begin. Because of recent money problems, my focus went to try some selling, unconventionally, but I am reigning it all back in to just create once again.

Currently, I am in process of becoming a permanent resident here in France. This can take up to 6 months and while the paperwork gets processed, I am to obtain a regulatory visa so I am able to work. We hope to get this next week, as long as we have all of the sufficient documents but we are waiting for a few more things. Things are stressful right now because of that. It will be a long time until I will be able to speak enough French to fully function here (mais j'apprendre) and because I am not working, I am not bringing in an income. This has been the most difficult - living off of a credit card that I am uncertain with when I will pay it all back.

I am discovering more of myself though. I have found I do not take things for granted anymore. I do not have a car, so I walk and take public transportation everywhere which gives one a different view of the world than from inside a speeding car (taking a toll on my body, though!).

 I am now considered the foreigner so I am doing what I can to adapt and show my love and appreciation for being in this country. I am also learning to have more patience with myself and my goals, knowing that I am courageous for doing something this bold in my life. I have traveled to different states in the US and a couple, so far, in Europe but I never lived outside of New York until now.

And I am learning the language. When I practice my verbs each day and can form some simple sentences, I am proud of these accomplishments. Je sais que je peux le faire :) (I know I can do it)

In conclusion, I am happy, albeit the struggles. And as with most challenges, rewards are near. Some are already here:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Selling my art - patrons, please?

I have climbed out from the mound of legal paperwork to write this post and I am probably repeating myself here.  As I continue through this transition of moving to another country, I can first, with 1000% confidence, say that this is the best decision I have ever made. I am very happy and very much in love.

However, it still is a major transition and, well, I have hit a major economic crisis. Without getting too personal, my husband and I are struggling more than we thought we would at this point because I am not legal to work here yet and there are things that are not quite settled. My only options right now are to really try and sell my artwork. I have two places with work for sale right now:

An Inventory Sale through my website. These are prints from my flat files that have been made either as artist proofs or final prints. There are pigment prints and silver gelatin ones. I needed to make room for new work and to also just keep the prints that are ready for exhibition.

 You will have to email me with your orders but I am shipping worldwide. I know the fees to ship overseas can get expensive, but I will work with you on the cost, depending on the size of your order. my website - www.annmarietornabene.net

RedBubble for more "commercialized"  work, including some from the "Works of Art" series. Here you can order from them direct and they have available anything ranging from cards to poster prints. They also have canvas and metal prints available. Pretty awesome, I think -http://www.redbubble.com/people/atornabene and no, I am not having my work on T-shirts, mugs, etc. I will never go this route with my art. So, you order from them directly and I get a percentage of the sales. It's a good percentage too and of course, the more I sell, the better the money.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my email list has been flooded to death with posts of what I am selling so here is just one more place to promote it. I will be sharing this blog post anyway with my feeds and if you can share and pass the info along to anyone that might want to become one of my patrons, please do.

Today is our 2 month wedding anniversary. I am not the type to count things like that - anniversary does mean annual, but this is so huge for me, that right now, each month needs to be celebrated.

Thank you for reading :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

another new one

I am trying to really focus on art making at the moment and not on other than things that are happening in my life (transitions and all, you know) and I finished creating this piece today. I started working on it a week ago and every day, the images I layered changed and evolved and soon I had this. I abandoned the idea that it has to represent something and just went on feelings. I am pleased with this and my mind has been on the environment more lately. Global warming and what is really happening to our planet. It's almost as if we have no control over it anymore...

Here is "Hear the Earth" ©2015 AnnMarie Tornabene

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Woodland" series

I have been creating images the last 2 weeks. They are illustrative, but what else is new? I am about to get a new MacBook Pro, so I have been perusing my external hard drive and seem I have so much source material to continue with these digital composite/collages that I began doing with The Divine Journey work, so while I am still wondering where I am "going", I thought I would follow fondly down the path of my faerie self and into the woods. Here are several images that I think make the cut....



Monday, August 10, 2015

Inventory Sale Update and other news

I have updated the design on my website for the Inventory Sale pages so you can see larger versions of the works for sale. Also, I am offering, for the first 5 buyers, a free SIGNED copy of one of my artist proof books for any purchase over $100!

I am shipping from France internationally and will work with you on shipping costs. PayPal only at this time. For more questions or to place an order, please email me at atornabene5469@gmail.com!

In other news, I am feeling the desire again to create. I have a new idea brewing, which of course mirrors current events. Transition.......my life has gone through a major change and I see my work going through one as well. I will still be using my figure in my work, but not so clearly and obviously. I am wavering between so many ways to go about this because,  with an illustrative thought-process, it's difficult for me to think abstractly or go underneath the surface. In any event, I must get shooting as soon as this heat cools down. At the moment, we have 30 degree (Celsius) days, and no air conditioning so indoor or outdoor shooting is not happening.

And, off the topic of art, for those of you that do not follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I share a few photos that speaks volumes.....July 18th, I married the most amazing, fantabulous man I have ever known. I never thought "soulmate" existed until now. My perfect match in every way. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Inventory Sale Live!

The sale is live. Both digital and silver prints available. Click the link to see what I am offering - Inventory Sale I am accepting PayPal only and the currency is in US dollars. Thank you and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me. Copy and paste atornabene5469@gmail.com.

Thank you, merci et bonne journee ;)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Inventory Sale!

My apologies for the silence! An update to let you know that I will be offering some rare prints, artist proof books and other works within the next week or so. Stay tuned for inventory and prices! And if you are interested in something in particular, please email me at atornabene5469@gmail.com!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Divine Journey Book

I have finally completed and ordered copies of the book for those Kickstarter supporters that pledged $100 for their reward. These books will be hand-signed with a personal letter and shipped to them promptly. Soon, it will be available for purchase by the public via Blurb, and I am also in the process of looking into an ISBN number so I can sell it elsewhere, too, like Amazon.

And have I photographed anything lately? Do I have any ideas floating around in this mind? Very little. My personal life is going through some more changes so my mind is not ready to turn that into anything artistic, though I hope it does once things are settled. I will post this one image though, that I created recently but not sure if it's a precursor for a new series or just a one shot deal, literally.

And several months ago, I created two more images still in the Divine Journey frame of mind but I am thinking they are pretty weak but here they are:

I can honestly say that it is time to definitely move on with my work. I have set out to complete that series and it is time for something new..so, I am confident that it will soon start to happen.

Friday, March 20, 2015

I love gardens and parks

And who doesn't? Les Jardins du Luxembourg is quite lovely off-season so there were not as many people around. I saw a few tourist groups and groups of older people doing slow-movement martial arts type of things, which I thought was a little funny, but the air was very open and I was able to stroll around without feeling rushed or annoyed.

It was a little overcast but the weather was warm. Spring has arrived and I had to take advantage of it. I realize the parks are one of the few places that I truly enjoy spending time alone in. I should rephrase that - certain parks anyway. There are ones that are romantic and quiet that are ideal for a picnic, walk or just quality time with your beloved, but I didn't see Luxembourg as that type of park. (Parc de Sceaux is more like that even if it's massive).

 I photographed a bit and I always remember when I do that, shoot subjects other than myself, the process is so very different. I search more for different angles and compositions, my eye moves around the viewfinder eagerly looking for secrets and hidden gems that I don't see what my naked eye. And what I always have loved about parks are the surprises you find around corners, when you explore at your own pace. La Fontaine des Medicis was one such gem that I must return to for a future shoot.

Next week, I will be off to Parc Monceau for more shooting and though I still have no idea what my next photographic project will be, I am back to enjoying the active process of shooting.

And I have to say it again. I am lucky. I am blessed. I found my true home here in all of my surroundings from my suburban life in Massy to the arrondissements of Paris. I don't see myself ever tiring of it and with my one true soulmate at my side, I can say without hesitation, I am truly happy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Paris Art Scene

After settling here a bit, I finally took a few days online to explore local art galleries in Paris. I found a few sites that listed some and I found several that seemed fitting for my work and went on to visit two the other day. Both located dans le sexieme arrondissement (the 6th arrondissement) - one on rue du Seine and the other on rue Mazarine - both streets near each other and apparently not too far from Quai Voltaire, where the Musee D'Orsay is.

Not surprisingly, when I got to the area, I saw many galleries peppered throughout a three block radius, similar to Chelsea in Manhattan but better because pubs, restaurants and a few other cool businesses made up the rest of this area so if you wanted to take a day of looking at art, you had a great choice of places to go for lunch during that time.

I went into one gallery, introduced myself to the owner (with an assistant that spoke better English) and gave him my promo card. I never would have dreamed to do this in NewYork but I am new here and FROM New York so I thought by telling them that, it might make me even more appealing (in fact, their faces had an expression of awe when I did tell them of my move) so who knows.I was told if he was interested, he will call me. I emailed them the next day to say it was nice meeting them and to remind them of my website. No response since but that's expected.

I walked into other galleries and it seems their white wall setups are all the same and as usual, I saw both good and bad art.

And speaking of art in general, I have just been dabbling with painting and with mixed media image transfer paintings again....two examples here but not quite sure what these are. I am thinking they are more experiments with different acrylic mediums more than finished work.....

And here are a few shots taken near the galleries:

The weather is getting warmer here, which is also a good thing and I feel for my friends in the Northeast US for dealing with all of the ice and snow. Now that March is almost here, let it be the end of that for you all!

Until next time....

Friday, January 23, 2015

First Update of the Year

OK, so it's the end of January but it is technically the first update of the year. Moving to another country has taken precedence so now that I am getting acclimated and settled a bit, I can finally type this.

It has been an amazing and wonderful experience so far and with each day and each new experience, I am more confident of the move I made here. I am learning the language, having two great "teachers" to help me and I have started to move around and make my way locally and in Paris somewhat independently (with a very loving and doting man making sure I am alright every step of the way). I even have a daily routing I get into and it usually involves one visit to la boulangerie for baguettes. This reminds me of my grandfather when he used to go to get fresh Italian bread all the time.

The dust has also settled a bit for me to be able to return to the Divine Journey book to finish the layout and revise my statement. It's almost complete and my hope is that it will be ready for publishing within the next few months. I am about to get my printing space setup (will be buying an inexpensive printer for now, within the week) but in the meantime, I have been creating a new painting to get my creative mind working again.

I will end this brief post with some photos of my new environment and two of me and the man that is my shining light, my soulmate and the one that has proven to me time and again that true and unconditional love does exist.