All I Have is Who I am …. Marelle Couture Monday, Jul 20 2020 

All I Have is Who I am …. Marelle Couture

I wrote that, again with my trusty Papermate, on the visor of my old car.  My father had left it to me on his death bed.  In fact, car, was the last word he spoke.  I never got to see him before he died, I was far too ill.  In fact I had been bed ridden for most of the last several years before he passed.  Many of my pieces were created from the comfort of my recliner.  Where there is a will there is a way is something I live by.

I ran an exhibit years ago.  It was a tactile touching experience for the blind to view art in their unique way.  I wrote about it a little bit in my blog post, The Hopscotch Hands on Exhibit for the Blind.  During the set up of my show with the Blind Boys of Alabama , I was taken to the hospital in Wayne NJ.  The van with all the art work in it was left in the Toys R Us parking lot on Route 46 in Totowa.  I made it all the way from Pennsylvania.  I wasn’t feeling well for a long time and had no idea how sick I really was.  The doctor diagnosed me with endocarditis and I was admitted.  It is a very serious heart infection.  Jinxed again, dammit, What to do? I was lucky at that time to have some help.  My brother and his friends got the van and the art work and set up the show.  It was rather funny.  I was on the phone with my brother, the auto mechanic, and he was asking what pieces went with what title cards.  I would describe the painting and they played match game as they set it all up.  God, I miss New Jersey.

My treatment would be 6 weeks of IV antibiotics and bed rest for the duration.  The Bergen Performing Arts Center made room for my show just for the Blind Boys of Alabama and I was honored.  The wait to get in there is very long.  So it surprised me that they asked if they could continue the show for an additional 6 weeks.  Just the time I needed to recover.  Oh, God is so good.  I finally got to see the show when I went to pick up the pieces that didn’t see.  Some of the abstract ones were hung upside down.  It was fantastic and I still consider it my greatest show.

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3D Marilyn Monroe (from the Hopscotch Hands on Exhibit for the Blind)

So here I am starting out with nothing and the desire to paint is so strong.  I love doing murals and painting furniture but I am talking about painting now.  Free flowing gone in the mind and creating in a place the exists not in space or time.  I am talking about my great escape … Fine Art.

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Fashion Week – mixed media

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Pink Dress – mixed media

What to do? With my little paint box and my notebook I just started painting.  Wild, free; bold and angry, mostly. It’s therapeutic and really who cares what it is painted on.  While painting I remembered a Wall Street broker who left his job, moved to the Poconos and started painting landscapes on paper bags.  They were so beautiful.

You can see his work here.  Artist Ed Lopez  What people don’t realize is that some of my most coveted pieces were actually done on cardboard.

Waiting for everything you need is such a waste of time.  I have been waiting for several years just to get back to work.  Now, here I am and the act of painting is just what I need right now.  Gotta get it down and out.  Because I am so angry, such a wasted emotion has set up camp in my yard.

angry

The Angry Painting

Why so angry you may wonder?  Well, the time came for me to renew my website.  My daughter and I created it in Las Vegas while we were staying in a shelter.  They had a computer lab and we wasted no time.  It really is lovely and funds were given to me to turn it on.  But what I found out is some asshole stole my domain name.  Some brokerage company has purchased it. Someone said it was a compliment that they thought it valuable enough to invest in it.   WT literal F.  I can bid on it and then every year bid again and again and on an on.  So many years and so much work for someone else to hold my reins.  Fuck!

My website

I’m trying to publish my website and someone actually suggested starting anew.  This same person told me to change my name years ago.  I wonder if they would have told that to Tina Turner, who absolutely knew the worth of her name.  I doubt it.

Tina Turner

I’m not lying down and I am not bidding on what is mine.  I am Marelle Couture.  Watch what I do.

To be continued…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Envy Thursday, Jul 16 2020 

A sexy sneaky little word that inevitably creeps up on all artists in all mediums and all forums.  There is not much you can do about it expect perhaps to recognize it sooner, if that is even possible.  The clues are sometimes subtle and other times right up in your face but still sometimes you are not sure why.

When I first moved to Pennsylvania I made some acquaintances and was displaying my work locally.  At one location my pieces were hung in the brand new show room along side some pretty sweet rides.  Before that showroom was even fully finished I had my pieces up.  Everyone was very happy with how it looked and all was well.  Except for the one guy, he was a real pill that one.  He started by insulting my work and really going out of his way to be rude.  I shrugged it off as he was having a bad day.  A few weeks later I stop in and the same man is escorting me to his office to show me his art from high school.  He had this stuff all over his work space.  Did he really hate my work? I doubt it but I don’t doubt the fact that he was envious that it was not his work up there.

      Cliffs-mixed media           Inside the Castle Walls

Nevertheless a girl has got to keep it moving….

This has happened a few times, if you read my posts you may have seen the B. Marlow scandal, talk about envy, geesh.  Onward now to Salt Lake City.  I was new to the area and staying in a shelter when I approached the gaming shop.  All I wanted was to paint and his windows were absolutely bare, he couldn’t afford anything.  Good, cause I wasn’t looking for money, just cover my supplies and tell me what you want in your window.  He chose a Pokemon theme for the first one.  It was just before Halloween and I knew the kids would love it, even the ones from the shelter.  Pokemon it is.  I picked up the paint and went to work.  During the time I was there one employee displayed that same rude behavior and even got the girl at the cafe to join in.  Oh they were such a delight.  They actually stole my tote with all the paint and brushes in it, tossed it into the dumpster.  I found that out much later.

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To make this shitty story shorter, the dude liked to draw, he did illustrations and had his own comic developing.  He did have his work displayed in the store and it was very very good.  I told the owner  someone should nominate him for a Geekie or at least have him self submit.  When I was nominated for my Black Queen the publicity was wonderful.  I really thought it would be a great opportunity for this guy to be seen.  He didn’t see it that way and actually decided to paint on the very next window I was to start.  It didn’t work out I really never got to see it and they covered it with a large board.  I don’t know why unless it wouldn’t come off, but things were getting really unruly and I just put my brush down.   Know when to walk away I say.

 The Black Queen on Geekie

I could give you more examples but they really are all similar.  Often times their talent is amazing but perhaps they don’t believe it or the opposite.  They believe they are so great that all eyes must be on them at all times.  You just gotta dodge em all, if only there were green.

The Envy

Relevant Relevant, it is not all Relevant Thursday, Jul 16 2020 

Relevant

The time has come to wake up the links.  They lie dormant with no where to land for years.  It is time to redirect them to the now.  They bounce you see back and forth all to get you to me.  Learning the madness of SEO and relevancy was no fun at all.  While in Salt Lake City I took some coding classes to improve my website.  The library there is amazing and offers free classes for all kinds of things.  These are one on one opportunities to learn from the in the know.  I took advantage of all I could.  I learned that even photos have a link behind them.

It takes quite a bit of left and right brain thinking to create and market well.  I often recommend getting the Artist Market book to get the low down on who is looking for what and how to submit your work to them.  It should be given to every student upon graduation from Art School.

artist market

So what is relevant? It means it must apply somehow to your content.  I can’t just add keywords willy nilly like and I don’t want to miss out on any opportunities either.  Here is the best example I have to take a link when you can, seize that opp.

Here I am with the lovely Lady Lisa Lampanelli.  The purse she is holding is not the one I created for her.  She held mine for the photo.

Me and Lisa

During one of my self searches I found the purse I gave to her years later on the North Shore Animal League website up for auction.  It was broken and the price was very low.  I posted it to let my clients know it was available and with my lifetime repair policy, I would repair it for the new owner.  I remember some fellow designers were upset at the price and how could she give it away and yada yada yada.  I saw it quite differently.  This was a major link to a large well known foundation I could use, for it was relevant.  What she did with the purse was her business and she decided to give it to help the furry ones.  You can’t fault her for that gesture.

Take the good with the bad you just never know what can happen.  When my Marilyn jacket was posted on the Regretsy site I thought it was fantastic.  Not everyone shared my opinion because it was meant to make fun of my work, however it actually led to it’s sale.  Not everyone shares the same opinion and the author of that blog stood alone on that hill.  I thanked them for roasting me, for I had a wonderful time making that sale.

Even the greatest personal tragedies can lead to some good.  It certainly doesn’t change what happened it just offers another path to go down.  Personally I like taking the scenic route.

The Look Book Monday, Sep 3 2012 

The Look Book

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Every artist has that inevitable task of putting together the portfolio. The look book if you will. I remember way back in high school getting the low down on how to assemble the monstrosity of a portfolio to show to potential learning institutions. It was black, bigger than me, with a zipper that ran around the edges. Not the most convenient nor inviting forms of display. It certainly didn’t beckon one to look inside. Nonetheless that was the way back in the day.

Time rolled on, jobs poured in; I was now a mural artist. Big blank canvases with the permission and a pay check to paint away. It was a wonderful messy job and it paid the bills for myself and my newborn son. Those works of art were captured on film and put into a plastic protective photo album. Nothing fancy, after all I was always found with paint somewhere on myself. It was kept in my brush bag. For every mural job came onlookers interested in my work and seeing what else I could create. Out came the painted photo album. Today I can’t imagine doing that kind of work again. It was very difficult especially with a baby at my side. It paid the bills and I paid my dues so it goes… par for the course of being an artist.

After that I took years off from art. Laziness is what I attributed it to, wasting my talents. In actuality I had a very rare heart condition that is usually detected and corrected in infancy. My aorta was completely shut. For those in the medical profession that may be reading this and saying, that is not possible, I assure you I can back up what I am proposing as a medical miracle. No more no less. There is no medical reason why I survived past 7 days of life, never mind being 34 with two children. I underwent massive open-heart surgery and took a year to recover. I sill have a few kinks to work out but lets face it, I am simply not in the mood for a second open-heart procedure. To put it bluntly….open heart surgery sucks.

Okay, so here we are a year later. With a brush in my hand a couple tubes of old oil paint and nothing but olive oil and a dusty canvas standing in front of me. I must of stood there for an hour. It had been so long and I felt so lost and far behind my artistic goals. I prayed often, not in the conventional sense but just conversationally. So I said I don’t know what to do. And the answer was simple…..just paint something, don’t concern yourself with technique or brush strokes or anything like that…..just paint. So I did paint….it was the most personal piece to this day and will never be shown. It is my version of my heaven. It is where I go in my mind whenever I am too ill to physically move forward in this world. It is my own personal oasis where everything I can not do here I can easily do there. Everyone should have one. It is most comforting. I can honestly say that for at least 14 years of complete bedridden illness, it saved my sanity and kept me fighting as I do to this day.

Let’s move on…..for a year after that first painting I experimented with all types of things on canvas. I had built up quite the collection of fine art gallery ready pieces. But the question lingered…what to do with them. I remember so clearly the day, the place, and the overwhelming sadness of having this accomplishment and not one clue as to what to do with them. All I wanted was for them to be seen; that was all. Above my bed hung one of my pieces as a headboard. As I lay there in tears I lifted my hand behind my head and just felt it. The old beads and crystals swirling in a most beautiful pattern. A treat for the eyes but in that moment I found it to be a treat to touch. Then the answer came as it always does, right on time,……I bet blind people would love to view these. Bingo!!! Within minutes I had it all planned out. One month later I was exhibiting my pieces to the blind convention in Harrisburg PA. The president of the PBA came up to me and said…”I have not had sight since I was 5 years old, but, when I touched the portrait of the boy I got a image in my mind. Keep up the wonderful work you’re doing.”

I have to pause here to say how amazing it is to have accomplished something that was considered impossible and the mere idea was laughed at by many. I managed to put an image into the mind of a man without sight. For each and every person that touched my pieces all walked away with an image but no two were ever the same. Every painting took on a new view depending on the mind that was processing the touch of the piece. My greatest show of this blind exhibit, The Hopscotch Hands on Exhibit for the Blind, is one I was unable to attend. With the van full of my work on my way to the Bergen Performing Arts Center I had to pull over and dial 911. I had been feeling awful for a while but no one in my area could figure out the cause. Within 20 minutes in the hospital I was diagnosed with endocarditis-a heart infection. I would be in the hospital for quite some time. The show went on as planned. My brother and his friends rallied and got the paintings there and hung them up. The Blind Boys Of Alabama were having their concert there along with my show. I was elated. I didn’t care that I was not there. I was on the phone and I got to read all the comments in the mailing list book from the attendees. Thankfully the show had such a great response the gallery asked if I would mind extending the show for an additional 6 weeks. That was exactly how long I was to be on IV antibiotics. It worked out perfectly. When I showed up to pick up my work I had to laugh and cry at the same time. I got to see it and it filled me with tearful joy and my brother had hung some of the pieces upside down. It was wonderful and still makes me smile as I write this. The greatest show I never attended.

bridal look book

Now this endeavor absolutely required a professional portfolio. A sleek black 12×24 photo album with the black lined plastic pockets. You can find them in any fine art store or catalog. I put all my newspaper clippings, painting and pictures of my exhibits carefully arranged. I was so proud of my work.

Unfortunately I hit another speed bump and it lead to 8 years of illness. Surgeries, infections, more surgeries, and next thing you know years spent in bed seem never ending. Yes I spend many hours in my very own heaven. How else does one cope?

I began making smaller things that I could make on a tray or my lap. Mostly just for myself, a purse for my doctor visits and tiny gifts for the nurses that took care of me at my hospital stays. I even made myself a very elegant eye mask. Sleeping in the hospital is….for lack of a better word….a bitch. I say if you’re going to be ill be fabulous doing it, whenever possible. I started having breaks in the stream of diagnoses and would have a week or two when I felt pretty well. I would work like crazy, making as many pieces as possible. One day I kept saying I am going to sell these. That one day came about 2 years ago. My daughter opened a shop on Etsy and started selling my creations. She wants so badly to go to college and this was a way I could help her accomplish that.

We did better than expected in that first year and I am still not fully recovered. The final diagnosis has been made and it isn’t the best news to say the least. So I work as hard and as fast as I can to create pieces that have already been made in my own heaven. Each and every one I already made in my mind, now it is just a matter of bringing them to life. I have so many yet to make and will continue regardless of my physical limitations for my mind has no limits. My ideas are not even my own, they are gift given to me during my visits to heaven.

So why the title Look Book?   Your look book or portfolio, if you prefer, not only holds your art pieces.  It, in fact, holds pieces of your heart, soul and your life’s purpose.   So choose it well.  After all it is your legacy bound together in a single book.

Well, the time has come to compile the creme da la creme of my work and assemble them into a album. Not just any album as it turned out. I certainly could have Marelled a store bought one or just did another presentation in a long sleek black number. After all, it is the way it is done. Then I stumbled upon Dragos. There are no coincidences in life and the people we meet along the way are a part of a bigger plan. Even if that person happens to be all the way from Romania. The minute I saw his work I knew he was the one to make my portfolio. My Look Book. Captivating is how I would describe the leather hand bound covers he creates. The work of an old world master. He only uses tools he has made and takes great pride in the details. To be honest I was so in awe by the cover I didn’t even give much though to the rest of the album. But, Dragos sure did. I was going to do a post of his work when the album was done but today I received pictures of the inside. Just the pages blew me away. What he has started was a book worthy of heavenly creations. I will proudly post the finished album but I couldn’t wait to show what he has done thus far. I am to write back to him to tell him how I like how it is coming along. I am just going to send him the link to this post.

Without further ado, I give you Man Dragos….An absolute Master of Book Binding.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/dragosh

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Hopscotch Hands on Exhibit for the Blind Interview Thursday, Aug 9 2012 

Hopscotch Couture: One of a kind finds blind art exhibit interview

By Rachel A. Pugh, Weekender General Manager
Feb 15

A Touching Art Exhibit

Making something new out of something old is always fascinating to me. I had the opportunity to meet Marelle, a local designer who takes things from the past and turns them into beautiful pieces of art and accessories. Here’s a closer look of the artist, her company and her beautiful vision.

I started making the couture bags about seven years ago, and it just sort of took off. Some have been sold to women as far away as Spain, Brazil and Australia. Now they are my favorite item to design.

It really wasn’t any one thing. I have been drawing and painting since I was a small child. I did my first portrait at the age of five. I have never wanted to do any other line of work. It feeds the soul, and that, to me, is better than any other job I can think of.

A lot comes from women from the past. I just love vintage and Victorian items. I also look at what people are wearing, what is trendy. Sometimes I just start a piece and see where it goes.

Most of my vintage jewelry came from a lovely little lady I met, I call her mamma. She and her husband had been collecting jewelry for over 60 years. He passed away, and I bought most of what she had. Everything else comes from estate sales, auctions and online vintage stores.

At first, this was just an idea I had — to make a tactile touch exhibit for the blind. I sent out e-mails to blind councils to see if it was even possible, or wanted. I was invited to bring my art to the PBA convention in Harrisburg. The exhibit was very well received. When the president of the PBA touched a three dimensional portrait I did, he said, “I have not had sight since I was five, but, when I touch this painting, I get an image in my mind.” That said it all! I felt like I had accomplished the impossible. I put an image into the mind of a man who could not see. The blind understand faces, and I am told that is why my exhibit works. My exhibit has visited several blind conventions and centers. I have been asked to do other celebrities, such as, Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” Paul McCartney and Lucille Ball. This exhibit gives me great joy and satisfaction. I have also learned that the blind do appreciate art, if given the chance to view it, in their way.

I think I am all over the map on that one. Besides purses, I design jewelry, hair pieces, hats and custom clothing. I paint murals, modern art, furniture and portraits. I have even done the program covers for the Pocono Raceway and logos for businesses. My most accomplished medium, however, is pastel portraits.

A painting called “Sara’s dress.” It is a mixed-media piece of a little girl’s pink dress. It is just so delicate and touching. I just love the subtle pink and beige colors. When it comes to my jewelry and purses, I keep the pieces I like. Sometimes it is hard to part with something as personal as your art. You leave a piece of yourself in everything you create.

I sent some of my work to the Lambert Castle in New Jersey, that was alongside many other artists. Besides that, at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in New Jersey, my exhibit was shown alongside of The Blind Boys of Alabama — they are Grammy Award-winning gospel singers. I also had a show at the Kirby Center alongside the Trans Siberian Orchestra Revival. For quite some time I have been doing solo shows, the first one at Allure Salon and Gallery. If I could find other artists willing to participate, I would love to include them in this exhibit.

Art Exhibit from Allure Salon and Gallery

As strange as it sounds, it is modern/vintage and sometimes borders on avant-garde. I do have a saying for my accessories, “Only One for the One and Only You,” so I try to create a variety of different pieces, for a variety of different women.

Absolutely, I have done many consigned pieces. If you can imagine it, I will find a way to design it.

First Blog Ever………. Friday, Mar 18 2011 

Hello all, Marelle here, silly, in a good way, artist and designer, mom, and owner of personal pet a zoo.  I am the one with the long hair.  I know we all look very similar.  There are two cats also, I just misplaced them at the moment. 

Now here is a little bit of art.

I look forward to chatting about art, funny moments and new words, example: sweater nutter, schmere, and triskett.