Welcome to my artsy fartsy guest, Ellis Vidler, who writes about the role of arts and crafts in her life and her writing. What creative fun! ~ Sheila
Artsy Fartsy or Old Master?
Artsy fartsy or old master, art has always played an important part in my life. My father was an artist and photographer, and when I was very young, we’d open a book of his favorite Dutch master Frans Hals’s paintings to a random page. I’d point to the painting, and Daddy would make up a story about the character. I have a print of his La Bohemienne on my living room wall, and the book is now on my shelf. If you need a face for your story, try Frans Hals. His character paintings have great charm and personality.
I had visions of being an artist and, in my small-town high school, was pretty good. But when I got to the bigger pond, college, I found I didn’t have the flair, that extra something, for fine art. But I could reproduce objects. So I became a technical illustrator. Not quite the same but still fun. Now I’m addicted to Photoshop even though I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it can do. I designed the cover for Time of Death.
My sisters and I have tried every craft known to the Western world, and they were very good. We made elaborate macramé plant hangers. They designed and created beautiful needlework and knitted all kinds of gorgeous sweaters, hats, and shawls. Those things in particular defeated me. My mind wandered into dreams, and I lost the count and pattern.
One made fun earrings and created elegant Christmas wreaths. The other paints in a vivid, impressionistic style.
Pottery, a wonderfully tactile activity, was fun and I could dream and shape at the same time. I made a number of wobbly dog bowls. Yarn colors and textures fascinate me, and I turned to weaving. Fun but I didn’t to stick with it either.
I made papier-mâché clowns and even sold some in the
but that wiped out my kitchen for weeks at a time. The clowns baked for hours
at low temperatures, tying up the oven. My son, in elementary school at the
time, wondered why we didn’t have cookies in the oven like his friends’
mothers. Once, when he had a couple of kids coming over after school, he asked
if I could pretend to be normal—“just for one day.” I’m happy to report that
he’s no longer “normal” either. Florida
One thing stayed with me from the time I could print words on a tablet: I write stories, and all this artsy-fartsy stuff found its way into my books. My characters have all the talent I lacked, and I can create amazing images vicariously. My first (published—there were many others) heroine is a photographer. In the second, the hero is a tortured artist who paints stormy seascapes. In Time of Death, visions of violence come to my heroine through her drawings. The next one is an amateur actress. All have used their talent in some way to help solve the crime.
Art enriches life. From the earliest cave paintings, man has used art to express himself, to record life, and to dream beyond reality. It comes in many forms—music, acting, storytelling, dance, sculpture, and the creation of objects, all a way of sharing the artist’s visions and interpretations with others.
All my stories have some degree of romance and a lot of suspense. My first book, published by Silver Dagger Mysteries, was Haunting Refrain. Cold Comfort is my new romantic suspense from Echelon Press. The second was The Peeper, a suspense novel co-authored with
My collection of three short Southern stories, Tea in the Afternoon, is available on Kindle. There's more about me
and my books at www.ellisvidler.com.
Time of Death
Available on Amazon. Visions come to artist Alex Jenrette through her hands. When violence happens, her psychic streak compels her to sketch, and scenes she never imagined appear on her paper. The police think she’s involved in murder, and the prosecutor fears a psychic witness will make a farce of his case. The killer believes she was there. Check my Amazon author page for more details.