Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stephen G. Yanoff, Author

From Texas, USA, welcome author Stephen G. Yanoff! Announcing Yanoff’s new book release The Second Mourning: The Untold Story of America’s Most Bizarre Political Murder, a non-fiction account of the terrifying and violent murder of USA President James A. Garfield.
The Second Mourning is a fascinating book, delving into political mayhem and prolific mysteries. I enjoyed Yanoff’s book and recommend The Second Mourning to those looking for a good read. The facts and events draw the reader into this non-fiction historical thriller.
The author of several intriguing books, Yanoff is also a prize-winning playwright. His books grace bookshelves around the globe. Listen to Yanoff on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, from 4-5 PM USA Pacific Time, where he will be featured via talk-live radio broadcast, courtesy of Voice America, on Star Style, a global radio program connecting with millions of listeners in 219 countries! Yanoff will be discussing The Second Mourning, as well as providing insight to the publishing industry.
Welcome Stephen!
What books have you written?
I’ve written four mystery novels which are based upon my career as an insurance investigator/underwriter.  Each book deals with an actual high risk insurance claim.  The books are:  The Graceland Gang, The Pirate Path, Devil’s Cove, and Ransom on the Rhone. 
What intrigued you about the death of President James A. Garfield?
The actual true details of his death were fascinating, but never fully explained to the public.  Had Garfield not been assassinated, he would have probably become one of the best Presidents in U.S. history.
You imply that The Second Mourning is probably the most important book you have ever written. Why?
I think it's very important to finally share Garfield's incredible life story, and to tell the untold story of his death.  His life and career deserve to be studied in greater detail, and preserved for future generations.  In many ways, he was one of the most remarkable men of his century.
Extensive research and bibliography, 731 end notes, etc. The details are all there. Did you have difficulty with obtaining any of your information? How long did it take to compile?
Early on, I decided to use "first-hand accounts" of the period, so I actually spent five years purchasing the books that were published during Garfield's term and shortly after his death.  These books provided an invaluable source of information, and they turned out to be a pretty darn good investment, too!  Compiling all of the endnotes (731) took approximately three years, but it was worth the effort.  New details and new claims must be supported by reliable sources.
There were several intriguing incidents in The Second Mourning. What factual incident stood out to you?
There were several:  The fact that the assassin (Charles Guiteau) was never asked to surrender his weapon at the depot.  The fact that Guiteau survived the great Chicago fire and one of the worst maritime disasters of the century, and the fact that he survived not one, but two assassination attempts on his own life.  I was also intrigued that Garfield had a strong premonition of his own death, and predicted the very time that he would die.  The face to face meeting between Garfield and Guiteau (in the White House) was also rather amazing.
According to The New York Times, on July 3, 1881 President Garfield had a premonition about his death. However, the morning of July 2, 1881 Garfield was shot. Did Garfield tell of his premonition while on his deathbed?
Yes, from time to time (during his lengthy demise) he would tell visitors about his premonition, which he had had since youth.  He even predicted some of the gory details that would accompany his passing.  
Charles J. Guiteau, Garfield’s assassin, was clearly an incredibly desolate man. What astounded you the most about his character?
The saddest part about Guiteau was that he was clearly insane from birth.  His mother, several aunts, and several uncles all died in insane asylums.  He also had a father who was physically and verbally abusive to him, and was thought to be crazy, too.  He literally failed at everything throughout life and was scorned and ridiculed from the day he was born to the day he was hung.
A great book! Now, let’s talk about your writing habits. Where do you like to write?
I write wherever I happen to be at the moment.  I am able to "block out" any and all distractions and focus on a thought, a sentence, or a paragraph.  Mostly though, I write in my comfortable study at home.
How do you maintain thoughts, ideas, and extensive reference material?
If I have a thought or bit of dialogue I want to use, I immediately jot it down on a pad.  My mystery novels require a lot of research, so it helps to use a dedicated notebook for each story.  I usually fill at least two notebooks during my writing of a new book.  Thankfully, there are no endnotes required for fiction writing!
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author has always been, and always will be, Mark Twain.  The man was a pure genius, and was blessed with an extraordinary amount of wisdom and talent.  I also adore his sense of humor.  In my opinion, his autobiography is one of the classic books of American literature.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading all (or most) of the books by two remarkable women named Louise Penny and Jo Bannister.  They both write smart, believable mystery novels, and they both have a huge following.  The best way to learn to write is to read, and these ladies know how to write a good book!
What are you currently writing?
I am in the middle of my 5th mystery novel, A Run for the Money.  I have also begun outlining another non-fiction book, this one revealing the incredible true story of the Reno Brothers Gang from Indiana.  (The book is titled, Hell-Bent in Heaven.)
As a playwright, what plays have you written?
When I served as playwright-in-residence at the University of Texas, I wrote 4 full-length comedies and several one-act plays.  One of my full-length plays (A Hell of a Time) was selected as the opening play of the Houston Civic Center.  I had a few one-act plays published, but gradually became more interested in writing books.
Where is your next book signing/event?
The next event for me will be the Texas Book Festival, which takes place in Austin, and is expected to attract 40,000 visitors.  The festival is the 4th largest book event in the nation, and this year I will be featured in two categories:  "Mystery" and "History."  
Do you have advice for beginning writers?
The best advice that I can give, is the advice that I received from a famous mystery author who is no longer with us.  If you want to learn how to write, start reading, keep reading, and don't stop reading!
List 10 things that your fans may not know about you…
My fans may or may not know that I was a born in Nashville, Tennessee.  That I was a collegiate wrestling champion.  That I worked as a stand-up comic and performed at The Improv and Catch a Rising Star.  That I was on the college sky diving team.  That I owned a marine archaeology firm.  (Treasure Island Group).  That I have 40 years of scuba diving experience.  That I had the privilege of exploring sunken cities in Greece and Turkey.  That I have a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree from Texas A&M University.  That I taught public speaking at St. Edward's University for 7 years.  And finally, that my personal motto is:  "You are never too old to be what you might have been!"
Connect with Stephen…

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Long Blue Line

Journal Entry 104

April 11, 2008

The Long Blue Line

By Kentucky’s most infamous author, No Sweat

As the American Anthem blared over the speakers and as I placed my hand over my heart, just beyond the reach of my six empty cups of Budweiser and my bitten cheeseburger with a piece of lettuce hanging out of it in all directions, beyond the large plate glass windows in front of me and out over and across the neatly arranged race track, the digital show of the American flag played magnificently on the screen that normally displayed Keeneland's hallowed Tote Board; A nefarious billboard having destroyed many wayward dreams of glory.
Finally, the honored and worn-out song ended and I along with so many other forgotten faces, drunks of the dawn, got to ease back down and be content that the near sacred ordeal was thank-god at end. Somehow, I was relatively certain that Francis Scott Key had not envisioned his inspired poem being spread among so much scattered horse manure; HONKY TONK WOMEN would have played so much better.
But, alas, I was alone, as any decent writer eternally remains, drunk and of one mind, to win the first race and play on the track's money for the rest of the day; To be that rare and envied individual: "THE GUEST OF KEENELAND ON THEIR DIME," however charitable and profitless the verdant institution mightily proclaimed.
In earlier harmony with the pre-dawn Kentucky state bird cardinals that were madly chirping out in the darkness and awakening myself and my family of oddly roosting buzzards so strange behind my home I had found myself gone, lost in the cannabis dawn, headed north on I-75 beyond all cares, barreling Trojan ferocious, occasionally seeing a glimpse of an actual highway; Ahab-steady-as-she-goes and whatever else it required to somehow amass myself at the horserace track where I had spent so many tainted formative years and where real men dwell and where the poor forgotten working commoners that drudge through another desultory counted eight hours, vanquished spirits physically absent, are left back lowly in the mire of their mundane and dreaded jobs.
Only, it had been raining. Nothing like a hard morning rain with those 18 wheelers challenging your every hint of a move on I-75; each medicated trucker headed to Dayton, Ohio loaded with god-only-knows and every mile a race for another dollar, and you in your old sports car a mighty two inches off the ground trying to adjust the volume and make sure the smoke doesn't accumulate and that your sunglasses are on just so and that you have two pens, one for backup…
Ah, but the gods were with me, why, I wasn't sure; perhaps they were enjoying observing the self-ruination a simple Kentucky mortal. But then, I was beyond such rank thoughts and once I again I had the divine pleasure to witness myself entering through the pearly gates of Bluegrass's Valhalla, finding my secret parking spot cloaked among so many trees. There, yes, I departed from my green chariot in somewhat perfect Estill county symmetry on this good Friday before The 2008 Bluegrass Stakes, to whence all equiness must be judged.
Soon I was out of my chariot, smoke entranced that it was, and trotting steadfastly in the rain towards the inner chambers of the clubhouse. Surely no mortal would be seen. Just the perfect darkness before day. A time to have breakfast with the jockeys and maybe learn something not on some poor program or form, that valuable bit of information, a wink or a nod from one of those small creatures, that gesture of long shot-sure-thing. Who knew beyond the gods which horse was sick?
But HARK! What was before me?  What madness? Yeah, oh verily yeah! 
And though my eyes were red, there was no denying this line, this line of blue. My God, where had this line of blue derived?  How could they already be here?  Thousands upon thousands!  A line-up dwarfing any Cecil B. De Mill cast. Oh how terribly wrong I had been about being alone. Oh, so verily mistaken. The cardinals had nothing on these pre-dawn creatures; this Long serpent line of blue.
I had passed them carefully as I continued my walk. A double blue line they were, as fine as Napoleon's troops headed into Russia, beginning in the parking lot and going all throughout the interior of Keeneland and passing by all para mutuel windows and rounding corners and each person mustered in it proudly holding their two blue bottles of Maker's Mark, ready to be used as weapons if need called; all of them giving me a glance as I graced sunglassesd by equally observing them as they observed back. Such a sight to see, those blue bottles with blue wax and nearly every person standing strong with anticipation. Oh but certain, dressed in blue. Enough blue to fill the ocean, enough blue to make a sky, enough blue to break your heart, blue upon blue, the line pressed on, heads aimed in one direction, a silent blue siren held them; Onward blue onward!
Minute upon minute I glided by the line with nothing availing me, thankful for being sick this Friday and unable to come in to lowly work.  It would be a few hours later when my call would be made:


     "What's wrong with you?"

     "I ache all over."

     "Oh, that's right, You lifted a pencil, yesterday. It must have been a terrible strain on you."

     "Yes, it was a big pencil."
Oh, but what a long blue line, a wagon train of blue people holding their blue bottles, each person a Conestoga wagon of blue, as though the confederates were invading and everything blue was in retreat.  
Finally, I came to that familiar glass door that I needed to enter; the same glass door where the blue hordes were funneling; a man stood guarding the door on the inside, keeping it locked. I stood there beside my new-found blue stranger looking at this Keeneland man pecking on the door.  "Sir, I just want a table. I'm not with these people."
The man was dumbfounded. In his mis-directions and confusion, as he surely had no instructions for something like me, he allowed me entrance. Thanking him, I took but a few more steps to find my white painted rod iron table and chair where-whence I immediately began to place pen in hand and write the beginnings of my new novel, PIGEON.  But disturbingly, I knew that something was awry and that something mysterious was close to me. I could feel a certain sprinkle of blue in the air; A cold smell of blue ice and a warm blue smell of summer beguilingly mixed in. Then, looking up, some twelve feet away, I looked directly at him as he was strangely looking at me; HE was the rags-to-riches reason the blue masses had lined up, the blue reason of all the maddening blue, yes, The Ward Bond of The Long Blue Line, The Legend his mighty Blue Zeus self, Joe B. Hall. 


Every eager man, woman and child was there wide-eyed to have Joe B. Hall sign their coveted whiskey bottle.

People fell out of rank on a constant basis coming up to me asking to borrow my poor pen as they had to fill out some official form that officified that their bottle had genuinely been signed by the Blue Zeus himself. And each time I explained, "A writer never loans his pen. Without it he is defenseless. Beyond his memory it’s all his got."

Each bottle metamorphosing from fifty dollars to over two hundred dollars at the stroke of Joe B's commanding signature. No mortal allowed more than two bottles. Each bottle carrying a serial number. The lower the number the more valuable the bottle. Everything in perfect logic.

I started to put up a sign on my table that I would sign the bottles for $1.00 each. And that they would own the signature of a future famous author. But I held still. There were two small boys being pulled on a blue wagon, both weary and crying on the passage. But no cry could deter this movement. It was Kentucky blue, bleeding blue, blue and blue yet. Let no man or child mistake that. Onward the blue line pushed. Each person reaching Joe B. and stopping to talk to THE LEGEND as he chuckled as though he were Santa in blue, telling tales of all blue manner over a loudspeaker that filled our room, barely understandable, but it didn't matter, it was Blue Zeus!

Little Mexicans, God only knows from which villages, ran all about like so many mice in a barn. Each with some cleaning weapon; them dressed in the Keeneland beige outfits denoting their lowly rank with those sorrowful green Keeneland hats and their little green lapel Keeneland insignia. Workers. No REAL green cards, likely. But then that was the way it was supposed to be; Kentucky proud relished hierarchy. Each Mexican sweeping and mopping and cleaning, putting in new trash can liners, wiping the plate glass, two of them singing making me wonder if they hadn't broke into my car. Such a delightful configuration of mankind in harmony; everything just it should Kentucky be.

Then the overhead TV screens all came on. On one, Martha Lane Collins, more square shouldered than Dick Tracy, began lauding Joe B. Hall. "ZEUS thwarted POSEIDON!" she clamored, relentlessly going on and on.

On another screen, Goose Givens, retold some begotten story between Joe B. and Bobby Knight.  He spoke of it as one might speak of the Holy Grail. "Long into the night we battled...."  or something like that. 

The LONG BLUE LINE held reverent throughout. Some all but weeping. One tall sophisticated looking lady, probably in her early 70's, hair tied back in a bun, long blue velvet coat with a blue fur collar, accidentally dropping her blue leather pocketbook twice the size of a checkerboard, bottles hitting inside, extra bottles she had snuck by the Maker's Mark guards. Ahhh Kentucky! 

Little did they know that the large bottle of orange juice I was drinking was three fourths vodka. I wished it was four fifths. The ordeal was maddening. In a state last in everything we had horses and basketball. I was soon to see jockeys dribbling basketballs as they raced their horses through the Kentucky Derby, I supposed. A lady stepped up to my table and started to give me a metal badge.  "Are you a Maker's Mark  Ambassador?" she mistakenly inquired.

"No ma'am.  But I am an Earl."

Note from Gina…
Recently I had the good fortune to connect with ‘No Sweat’ – an author from Kentucky, USA. The story as to why he is called ‘No Sweat’ will be revealed in his upcoming interview, to be posted here sometime in November; an interview you won’t want to miss! No Sweat (aka Earl) has shared one of his entertaining adventures/journal entries from Keeneland Race Track (Lexington, Kentucky, USA) one of America’s most frequented horserace tracks.  No Sweat was at Keeneland the day Joe. B. Hall, a former notable basketball coach, signed commemorative Maker’s Mark Distillery (blue) bottles on Friday, April 11, 2008, at Keeneland, along with Maker’s Mark president Bill Samuels Jr, and Keeneland Race Track president Nick Nicholcson; 1,300 fans lined up at 6:30 am for the signing of the special 18,000 numbered limited edition bottles made of blue glass and dipped in ‘Kentucky Blue’ wax, honoring Coach Hall and his late wife Katharine who died of cancer in 2007. The event raised funds for Kentucky’s cancer research program.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Insiya Patanwala, Author & Poetess

A 14-year-old budding writer Insiya Patanwala, is a gifted child with a creative imagination who is going to make a debut today in the literary world with her fantasy novel series titled Esoterica. This book speaks about the world of angels which fears an invasion by the devils and the story is all about how nine teenagers battle it out to save the angel world.
A grade IX student in one of the leading schools of Mumbai, Insiya’s passions include reading, writing poems, short stories and painting. She is passionate about her budding skills and plans to write a series of books, that connects her fascination of this world to the netherworld. Insiya is the elder daughter of renowned pediatrician Dr. K.S Patanwala and Counselor, Ms.K Patanwala, and she has a younger, naughty, brother who she fondly calls Hatsy.
Welcome Insiya!
What is the premise for "Esoterica”?
The story of Esoterica revolves around a girl called Sophia who despises herself more than anything. Sophia doesn’t love herself at all for the simple reason that she is a misfit everywhere she goes until she and her friends find a strange book with inscriptions in the middle of a football field. The book is the turning point in their life. Sophia discovers many secrets and dangers but she knows that it is too late to turn back. None of them will ever be the same. Along with their friends from another world, they dig through the many hidden secrets. Will Sophia be able to cooperate? Will she maintain herself between the two worlds without getting stampeded? Will she defeat the evil sorceress who awaits her death? Will she be able to protect her friends and loved ones? Or will she fail to keep her promises to protect the universe?
Are your characters and storyline based upon your own life experience?
All the characters in my book are not based on my experiences. However, the protagonist in the book, Sophia, carries my personality and nature. Some of the emotions in the book are related to what I have felt in my school and teenage life. You would understand Sophia’s feelings if you know me well.
Who is your favorite character in "Esoterica"?
I really don’t have a favorite character in the book. Each character has his/her importance in the story. Each character plays an important role in the book and has a special place. However, I like Sophia’s character the most since she is the one on whom the whole book is focused. She is witty, smart, and sentimental, she messes things up but gets everything right in the end, she can sacrifice everything for her loved ones, she is strong and the MOST important thing is that she is just like me.
Who is your target audience?
This book is meant for all age groups especially teenagers who face the same problems as me.
When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I don’t really remember when I started writing but it happened as a result of reading fictional novels. I started writing short stories at the age of six years, that’s what my mom tells me. Then I realized that the stories were actually good so I started combining them and proceeded to write a novel.
Where do you like to write?
I like to write in a place which is quiet and peaceful where I am alone with my thoughts and ideas.
How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?
Usually when I feel alone, sad or negative, I make it a point to write something like a poem or an essay down. It helps me feel positive again, like all the negativity is leaving my soul. For the poems and short essays, I maintain a file.
Sometimes when I am bored, like in the middle of a lecture at school, I imagine scenes in my head, which I later put it down on paper when I get time. I keep the thoughts at the back of my head and when I want to write, they naturally come to me.
Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author is J.K. Rowling. I have always been a fan of the Harry Potter series. In fact, I got the idea of writing a novel from the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling is my idol. The Harry Potter books fascinate me.
What are you currently writing?
I am currently writing the third book in the Esoterica series.
What are you currently reading?
Currently, I am reading The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan.
Can you share one of your poems?

Aren’t you stunned and mesmerized?

Look at that girl staring back at you.

She is in tears but still she smiles,

She is strong enough to keep it all inside.

You can see the pain in her eyes,

Deep in the darkness it hides.

But still her smile doesn’t falter,

Even she feels like breaking down.

She has got a thousand problems, fake friends and bullies,

But she never complains about it.

I am proud of that girl in front of you,

Do you think you know her?

‘Cause she is the one staring back at you,

Your own reflection through the mirror.
Where is your favorite place on earth?
My favorite place in the world is a place where you can sit peacefully without any disturbance. There should be no noise except the songs of the birds and chirping of insects.
There should not be a paved road but moist grass that touches the bare feet. When you inhale, you can feel the fresh air without any pollution and the soft breeze kisses your cheeks. The best place in the world is to be somewhere where there is no human activity.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to listen to music, paint, sketch, write stories or poems for fun.
The blurb of Esoterica:
Life is dull and boring for teenaged Sophia when all of a sudden one fine day life decides to surprise her. She finds a book that threatens to change her world. For good or for bad, only time will tell. Suddenly all that she believed in till now seems challenged as new realities begin to emerge. She is facing some of the weirdest truths of life confusing her if they are a dream come true or a nightmare turned into reality. What is in that book? Who is Sophia? What would you do if you were told – You are the savior of the Universe? To find these answers and many more join Sophia and her friends as they take a journey into the unknown where the lessons in knowing begin from themselves. From greed to deceit…..from friendship to families ….from adventure to fun and frolic, from joy to sadness, from victory to losses , from power to enmity and from love to hatred witness it all as you travel along on a magical journey of a lifetime to the world of Esoterica.

Connect with Insiya…

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Shannon McClane, Artist

LORD OF THE RINGS oil on linen 40"x30"
A Marwari horse

© Shannon McClane, Artist

World Artist, Shannon McClane creates stunning equine art, capturing the essence and soul of her subjects. Shannon’s creations are sought after by art collectors around the world. Her reputation for charismatic paintings is well-known throughout the art community.
Residing in Indiana, USA, Shannon has traveled the world to connect with diverse horse breeds as well as different cultures. Her talent shines through in each of her magnificent paintings.
Shannon, it’s a great pleasure to have you as a guest. Thank you for sharing your passions, life, and beautiful works of art…
When was your first encounter with a horse?
I was too young to remember my first encounter with horses because I can't remember a time I wasn't surrounded by them in some form or other. I collected Breyer statues, wrote to every breed association for info and posters. My green Schwinn bicycle had a stall in the garage and her name was Shambala. The picnic table and benches were perpetually on their sides as my friend Michelle and I set them out as our jump course. We cantered around from the waist up rider and waist down horse.

My first physical encounter with a horse was pony rides at the fair. From there it went to trail riding and rentals at the local stable. Then one day my father said he had a surprise for me. The family got in the car to go retrieve my present. My parents handed me a wrapped package that was to go with my surprise. As we approached our destination I got to unwrap it revealing a bag of carrots. We pulled into a farm and there was the most beautiful golden pony with a flaxen mane and tail. His name was Lightning and he promptly kicked me when I first walked up to him. He was a ten month old stud colt. My parents had no idea what they were getting into. We got him gelded and he turned out to be a wonderful pony. 
What is your riding discipline?
My riding discipline is dressage. I also do trick training and liberty work. I am currently training my horse in all of these areas. 
Where do you like to ride?
I like to ride anywhere really. I think it's good to break things up and keep it interesting. I might work in the arena one day and go out in the field or to the round pen the next. Same with the routine I'll ride one day and do liberty training the next. I think the more you do with the horse the more it builds his confidence and trust in you. 
Do you have a favorite horse breed?
I love all the baroque breeds the Friesian, Lipizzaner, Andalusian, Lusitano, and Knapstrupper. That said I have a black Arabian who is amazing. He's very baroque in appearance himself with a big thick upright neck. I call him my little Friesian. He's amazing very smart ~when I teach him a trick he'll come up with one of his own. 

How do horses influence your artwork?
Horses influence my artwork in many ways. I paint what I know and what I love. I have such empathy and I am connected to them. Everything they represent - beauty, power, grace, strength - all are qualities that make a great painting; when I paint one, the fact that I spent the earlier part of the day with one influences me as I remember the flow of the muscles under my grooming brush. That act translates itself into the shapes I create in paint. I use the same motions with both paint brush and grooming brush following the lines on the body of the horse. 

I am enchanted by equestrian theater. Partnerships between human and horse celebrating the relationship with music, beautiful lighting, drama, gorgeous costumes, and breathtaking acts ~ this is a dream of mine and so it takes form on my canvas. The equestrian theater arts greatly influence me as well. The lighting the drama, the horses, the music, everything I love all in one place! It’s phenomenal. My new series portrays the stars of present day equestrian shows and their acts. The portraits will document for history the acts and who was performing them for future generations to see. 

LATCHO DRAM oil on linen 30"x40"
Latcho Dram translates to safe journey

© Shannon McClane, Artist

Describe your studio…
I live in my studio. It's like a big L shaped room. My bedroom is off on one side and my living room is on the other. The studio is in the middle. It's small but cozy. I like living with my work. I see it all the time and so might see things that need to happen while involved in some other activity. I can either attend to it right away or make a note for future reference. My dream studio is to renovate an old barn or build a new one with a living space and art studio upstairs and keep my horses downstairs. I have a special little notebook that I keep drawings of it in as I design it so someday I can present them all to the builder .......I get brochures from all the barn builders and take all the features I like from each to create the fantasy barn! I see it with a very Rhohanish vibe. 

LIBERTAD oil on linen. 40"x 30"
Shannon's horse Hadji
© Shannon McClane, Artist
Do you have an artistic muse?
My biggest artistic muse is my horse. If there was a way to get him into my studio I would! There are however many (maybe too many) paintings of him in the studio. I have lots of objects like carved wooden horses and bulletin boards full of costume ideas, act ideas, photos of things that I am attracted to on them. 

What artistic mediums do you use?
I work mostly in oils, although I do have a few mixed media pieces with photo collages mixed in and painted on. I also like to draw in charcoal or lead pencils. 

How does your Hungarian Gypsy roots entwine with your artwork?
Gypsy influence in my work is seen in the bright bold colors I use. That is why I love to work in oils for they allow you to create rich jewel tones and warm rich colors, also the patterns in the backgrounds. I want my paintings to be rich and dramatic with a lot to take in. I want them to tell a story whether it's a portrait or a theatrical piece. This also is part of gypsy culture. 

 oil on canvas 40"x30"
What are you currently painting?
I currently have a lot of fun stuff going on in my studio. I like to keep lots of pieces going at the same time. For me this keeps things fresh and also if you get stuck on one you can walk away and work on something different. In order to get things finished sometimes though I may have to single out two or three and not allow myself to work on anything else until they are done. Otherwise I'd be drowning in millions of unfinished paintings. It's always so exciting to follow new ideas you have to balance that with discipline to finish them. 

Where are you currently exhibiting?
I am hanging a show at a doctor’s office next week. I've gone a non-traditional route in starting out. Seems like so many of the arts are working in new ways these days. I do lots of shows in restaurants and shops. It's a great way to get your stuff out there and noticed. I've made lots of sales that way. I do believe in galleries as well and there are some things currently in motion there also. 

You are working on a new theatrical act. How exciting! What can we expect?
I hope to do some guest performing starting next spring. I am working on a couple of acts right now with my black Arabian Hadji. Let's just say there could be a little belly dance involved! I'm also considering the idea of a traveling show of the Equestrian Theater painting series........

Connect with Shannon…

 GYPSY oil on linen 30"x40"
© Shannon McClane, Artist

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Paige Clements, Artist

Molly and Paige
Photo by Gray's Photography
From Texas, USA, Paige Clements is a budding artist. Paige is known for her beautiful equine and western art, capturing truth and emotion behind every day scenes.

The daughter of a life-long cowboy and a supportive mother, Paige knows the value of hard work and determination. With her American Quarter Horse, Molly, Paige values creativity and integrity, and knows what it means to love a horse.

Welcome Paige!

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
I have always had a creative personality. My whole life I have been decorating, coloring, drawing, and making the most exciting posters in class, but it wasn’t until my Jr. year of high school that I was in a position to learn about classical art. I transferred schools that year and by accident my counselor put me in art class. I was determined to change out at the end of the day, but when I walked into this open, bright, music filled studio and spent the class period getting to know the instructor I was hooked. Over the next two years this teacher changed my life. He taught me so much, and gave me the confidence to pursue my art. However, my ultimate goal in life is to finish vet school, but I will always keep doing my art.

Describe your studio...
My main studio over the last two years has been my high school studio. Now that I am away at college it is a combination of my dorm room, and a quiet study room in my building. I am still trying to work things out and get started on some new works, but no matter where I find the room to set up, as long as I have good lighting and my music, its home to me.

Copyright Paige Clements

What mediums do you use?
My favorite medium to work with is Pastels. However I have found that incorporating a variety into my pieces can really add to the piece in the way of texture and intensity. I have a couple of pieces that are charcoal only, and several pieces that are pastel, spray paint, water color, and color pencil. I have never been into painting mediums, so no matter what I do it is primarily a dry medium.

Do you have a favorite piece of art of your own creation?
I have two. My first one is my “Cowboy’s Last Ride” still life, and there is a story there. When I first started it I designed the entire still life myself. Set up the lighting, placed all of the pieces, and sat down to start. Then I gave up. I was struggling with the complexity of the piece so I gave up and walked away. I finished two more pieces before I went to back to it, reluctantly. My teacher fought me the entire time that I was working on the outline, and thank goodness he didn’t give up on me, because when I finally finished the outline, things where looking up, and as I worked on rendering (shading) the forms, it really began to fall together. Now that it is done, I fall more and more in love with it daily.

'Cowboy's Last Ride'
Copyright Paige Clements

My other favorite is my “A single step” piece. It is the most special to me personally, simply because it features my beloved horse Molly, and tells the story of the journey that she and I have traveled from the day I bought a slightly crazy, completely beautiful, abused 5 year old, to where we are now, as best friends and partners.
'A single step'
Copyright Paige Clements

When was your first encounter with a horse?
When I was a toddler my dad day worked on a ranch in Oklahoma, and I grew up riding horses with him on the ranch. We moved back to the city when I started school, but the love never went away. When I was 9 my parents bought me my first pony, and it has taken off from there.

Molly seems to be the inspiration for most of your artwork. What is her disposition?
Molly is my muse, a registered American Quarter horse, and a very long story. I will try and shorten it a bit here. Seven years ago my brother bought her as a “finished rope horse” and by the end of the 2 hour drive home with her, we knew better. She was a barely green broke ranch horse. He quickly gave up on her and sold her to some friends of ours that I kept my pony with, but I was already in love with her. She was my dream horse. About 6 months, and three failed training attempts later, I convinced her owners to let me try to ride her. I promised to do lots of ground work, get to know her. They agreed thinking that I wouldn’t even be able to catch her, but I’m as stubborn as she is. I rode her that same day, a month later we won our first event together, and seven years, a few flying dismounts, and a lot of ribbons and buckles later, she is my other half.

Molly and Paige
Photo by Gray's Photography
Molly is 11 now and we have shown in everything from Reining, working cow horse, and showmanship, to three day eventing. We even spent a year on the high school rodeo circuit. We get some funny looks when I tell people that she jumps and chases cattle, but that’s ok, that’s why I love her. We have also done tons of trail riding, canyons, ranches, down the highway, you name it; she would walk through fire for me, and I would do the same for her. I think the part about her that inspires me the most is that by being there from the beginning, I have seen her go from being so scared of humans she would charge you in her pen, to I can walk out into the pasture to catch her she trots up to me nickering, just seeing how willing she was to change and trust me completely after everything she has been through, it just shows what a big heart she has, and I want to capture that heart so that even when she is gone, I can see it and remember to try and have that kind of heart myself.

Besides Molly, what else inspires you?
Paige's Art on Exhibition
Beauty. I love beautiful things. It may sound unoriginal, but when you look at something, or someone that is so free it gives you goose bumps, I want to capture that; sudden acts of kindness, old traditions being kept alive, people rising to the occasion after a tragedy, or just a landscape that takes your breath away. I want to save it forever, capture it, give it my own colors and view, I want to show the world the beauty that they are overlooking while rushing around, forgetting to stop and enjoy the world they live in. I try and tell a story with my work, make people stop and take a step back, realize what they are missing in their lives, show them what they are really looking for to be happy. I guess in a way, I am inspired, but inspiring others.

Who is your favorite artist? 
My favorite artist is by far Vincent Van Gogh. I love his piece “Starry Night”, and I have always felt a connection to the emotion that he puts in his art work. Even though there are all landscapes and still-life for the most part, his use of color and light often depicts a view of his personal life at the time. I just really love how such beautiful works came out of such a dark, twisted, scarred life. It really shows that no matter how bad things are in life, you can always give the world something beautiful.

Where do you foresee your creativity taking you in the future?
I have so many plans! Like I said, vet school is my main goal in life. But in many ways my creativity will help me with that. Medical professions might require lots of math and science, but there is also an element of the unknown involved, and the only way to come up with new ideas or cures, is to get creative. So hopefully my creativity will inspire me to invent something new in the Veterinary medicine world, but as far as my art work, I’m not sure really. I’m planning on spending sometime in Europe, and maybe south east Asia. I’d love to be able to sell a few pieces, It would help pay for college, and I’d really just love to be known for my work. Who knows, maybe it will take over and I’ll become a professional artist after all.

Picasso said 'Art is a lie that enables us to see the truth' - what does Picasso's quote mean to you?
I love this quote. It can mean so many things. I think that’s the best part about it. To me, with my art work, what you see is not always the entire story. When you create art, it is up to the artist what they do or don’t show. I can take a picture of a girl holding a rose, and make it show the world whatever I want it to. If I put tears down her face, it’s sad, if I give it a slight yellow glow, it becomes happy. Artists have a unique ability to show or hide whatever they wish in a work of art. You can embellish or remove to prove a point. So while what’s going on in a piece may be slightly exaggerated, or under-stated, the artist choice is done to make people stop and take note, put things in perspective, or make sure that no one can turn a blind eye to the subject anymore. So while the artist might be lying a bit, the effect is that people finally realize the truth about what’s going on personally, or in the world.

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Copyright Paige Clements
Copyright Paige Clements