Judy Mastrangelo is an artist and author of some renown. She has worked on many projects and has had much success. This interview with her focuses on the way she views art. If you want to know what makes an artist tick– this is the interview for you. Let’s see what she has to say…
What are the most expressive art forms, in your opinion?
It’s difficult to pinpoint the most expressive ones. I enjoy all of them, including the forms which incorporate several different art forms all together. Artists who are able to express themselves through various forms of art are very fortunate because they can delve deep into their inner selves to create and thus give great enjoyment to others.
Watching films are a wonderful way that I’ve found to enjoy several of these Art forms combined in the comfort of my home, if I’m not able to see a live concert, play, etc. There are many films which include several of the Arts, such as music, dance, literature, painting, sculpture, etc. I’ll list some of my favorites…
These are some FANTASY MOVIES which incorporate great Literature, Music, Dance, Painting, etc:
Contemporary ones: The Tolkien Movies: “THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY” and “THE HOBBIT TRILOGY,” “HARRY POTTER” movies, the “ONCE UPON A TIME” TV series, etc.
Old Classics: “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” (1935) which includes the text of the Shakespeare play, and a wonderful ballet to the music of Felix Mendelssohn; “THE WIZARD OF OZ,” “CAMELOT” (1967), “MARY POPPINS,” etc.
Early Walt Disney Animations incorporate amazing artistry, delightful literature, and beautiful music: “WYNKEN, BLYNKEN AND NOD” (1938), “SNOW WHITE,” “PINOCCHIO,” “FANTASIA” #1, “BAMBI,” etc.
Great ballets unify wonderful dancing, lovely costumes and sets, and beautiful music. To me, female ballet dancers personify the image of delicate and graceful fairies. “LES SYLPHIDES” exemplifies this in my mind, using the beautiful music of Chopin, orchestrated by Glazunov. It is one of my favorites, along with “THE FIREBIRD” (a fantastic fairy tale with music by Igor Stravinsky.)
The following two old films show the lives of two great opera composers, and some of the operas that they created, which used great singing, literature, music, sets and costumes: “AMADEUS” (1984). (This movie takes liberties with the biographical facts of Mozart’s life. In reality, he was not “killed” by Salieri. They were really friends.) But it’s a wonderful movie nonetheless. And the movie “WAGNER” (1983) with Richard Burton is a great one also.
One of my favorite operas, “HANSEL AND GRETEL,” with music by Engelbert Humperdinck, based on the story by the Brothers Grimm, was made into a delightful film (1954) using animation and hand sculpted dolls with lovely fantasy sets. The entire movie is extremely enjoyable, with beautiful music and wonderful singing.
What materials do you like to use when working?
I enjoy painting with acrylic paints on canvas.
How do you decide when something is moving in the right direction?
When I have a “good over~all feeling” about it.
Can a painting that has gone wrong be righted? Is it possible to save a work of art?
I usually remain positive about my art. Even though a particular painting I’m working on is not going as well as I would like it to, I always hold onto the hope someday I’ll be able to “do it better.” I do understand that I am not “in the league” with my “great hero artists of the past, and no matter how hard I try, I don’t have the ability to come up to their greatness. But I do love to paint so much that I never give up with a troublesome painting.
The way I handle a problem painting is to just leave it alone for a while. This could be days, weeks, or even several years. I usually find that when I come back to it, after a hiatus, I see it with a rejuvenated vision, and am usually able to do a better job with it than I did before.
What books would you recommend for the budding artist?
There are many wonderful and inspiring books for a budding artist to read. I do a lot of research in art, and am constantly getting books about my favorite artists. I love to read all about their lives, their painting techniques, and see photos of their art. I would suggest that artists make a list of their favorite artists, and do the same. The world of painting is a very exciting one, and as you learn more and more about the different schools of art, and the individual artists, it will constantly thrill you and inspire you.
There are also many wonderful books written by artists about their various painting techniques. I myself have written just such a book. It took me several years to write. In it, I tell about my painting methods. It is called “PAINTING FAIRIES AND OTHER FANTASIES” and is available on Amazon as an Ebook.
What was the first painting you worked on, and how did you feel about it?
I always enjoyed nature, even as a child. One of my first paintings was a watercolor of a tall Birch tree. It seemed to have an Oriental influence to it. I was very happy with myself when it was completed. I knew then that I really wanted to make painting a part of my life forever.
Are there any other artists who have influenced your work?
There are many great artists who have been influential to me with my artwork. The list is too long to mention everyone. I particularly love the “ARTISTS OF THE GOLDEN AGE OF ILLUSTRATION” such as Maxfield Parrish and Margaret Tarrant, THE PRE-RAPHAELITES, my favorite being John William Waterhouse, the RENAISSANCE ARTISTS such as Leonardo da Vinci, etc., THE HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL of Landscape painters, THE DUTCH SCHOOL OF STILL LIFE ARTISTS, etc.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see some amazingly beautiful original paintings of great artists of the past through my travels, such as in the VATICAN MUSEUM, THE LOUVRE, VERSAILLES, THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, etc. And of course I also enjoy seeing the paintings of my favorite artists when I visit them in my own collection of art books.
Is it good for an artist to be influenced?
Of course each artist is different. I suppose there are some who prefer to be completely original, and to shield themselves from all influences. But I think that no matter how hard one tries to do this, unless you are in a coma, or otherwise not aware of your environment at all, one is always exposed to influences. I think that some things are good influences, and some otherwise. It all depends on the individual and their tastes and desires.
I know my answer may sound somewhat vague, but I honestly believe everyone is different in this respect. In regards to myself, at this point in my career, I do shield myself from certain stimuli which I feel to be somewhat “negative,” and which I feel would not give me the “positive” feelings that I need to create the art I am involved in at this time. During past periods of my life, I was open to what some might term a wider range of influences, and as a result, my artwork incorporated those elements also.
But all in all, speaking for myself again, I am influenced by the amazing world around me. It gives me endless inspiration with my art. I love viewing the beauty of nature in my own backyard, with my little animal friends, and the flowers and trees around where I live.
And I’d like to mention that I’ve also been privileged to visit some amazing places in various parts of the world, which have greatly influenced and inspired my artwork. Some of these places were:
Beautiful Castles, palaces, gardens, and towns, such as Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Windsor Castle, Versailles Palace, and the amazing Fantasy Gardens of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli near Rome.
I also visited the “fantasy” town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria, which was rebuilt after the war and used as the setting for the movie “THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM.” These were all influential experiences that I’ll never forget.
Do you work every day or are there just days where you cannot work on your art?
I do try to work at my art every day, as much as I can. There are of course days when I don’t have time to paint, because of prior commitments. But I often think about my paintings, even when I’m not in front of them on my easel. I do love doing my artwork, and I never tire of it at all.
Where do you begin when you start a new piece of work?
I’ve developed a method which I call “MIND PAINTING,” where I first visualize my painting in my mind. I’m sure many other artists do the same. My new work then just seems to develop from my first mind “vision” of it, where then I develop it as a painting on canvas. I talk about this technique in my book “PAINTING FAIRIES AND OTHER FANTASIES.”
How can we learn more about your work? Do you have a website?
Yes, I have two websites.
My new site tells all about my current projects, interviews, etc, and has a place where you can sign up for my newsletter: http://www.judymastrangelo.com and this is the link to my original site: http://www.themysticalvisions.com