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Music in art creation – my process

Druid Tree Painting by Maura Satchell, ArtistAs you might know, I make visual art as well as write. Recently, I’ve noticed an interesting thing. I work by two different mental processes when creating, depending on whether it be by words or pictures. Here’s the scoop:

The other day I was asked about my process in writing my (insert shameless plug here) second novel The Gray Lady of Long Branch  (Four Pillars) and in explaining my strong dedication to the organic process, I also mentioned I work in silence. No music, no television, no people (if I can help it, but that depends on how close to deadline).  I do this because those external distractions would dim “the voices in my head.”

I know what you’re thinking: Get out the straightjacket. =)

In all seriousness, though, I can only describe it in this way:  Thankfully, I type blindingly fast, so, I process my thoughts in my brain and type to follow up. Usually it’s my own thoughts, but sometimes, I get the voice of the character, or a reminder voice of an old professor, or some other voice coming to me. It informs the process of what I’m doing or downright puts the dialogue right into my mind, accent at all.

When creating visual art, I find creating to music pleasant and sometimes very helpful. It seems to free up my work so my strokes are less controlled, more flowing and easy. The most striking marriage between my painting and music came several years ago when I was working on this Druid Tree painting for a solo show at a fabulous restaurant in Nashville years ago. I was painting to Dave Matthews Band and still remember the feeling of that union as I created that work.

How about you? Check in and tell me what type of art you work on and about your music or non-music preferences. OR, take this conversation to your favorite social media channel and carry on the discussion there!


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Book number two nearly done!

My Gray Lady of Long Branch book cover front and spinepublisher, Four Pillars Media Group, and I have narrowed things down and it looks like we’ve chosen the cover of my second book, The Gray Lady of Long Branch. I’ll await an actual physical mockup before I give the go ahead, but this means, it looks like we’ll have a release date some six weeks from now, say around end of July or first of August. That will work as it’s in time for some last summer reading.

The idea for this book came several years ago when I was staying at a friend’s beach house in Florida. It occurred to me a place like that had to have witnessed squillions of special occasions and played witness to all varieties of culture.  As my mind wandered, in fact, I created several chapters while there. Unfortunately, the files got corrupted and I lost them, but the concept and broad brush strokes remained.

And beckoned. And kept calling out to me like orphaned children needing adoption. Life became too busy for several years, but this past year, I was able to bring them — and the remainder of the book — to life.  And frankly, I love it! Now let me tell you about this sweet gem of a book that I’m so very proud of. Here’s the back cover copy which will give you a feel for it:

If walls could talk…

A grand Victorian beach house in Long Branch, New Jersey is the setting — and narrator — of this novel that weaves a rich and colorful tale of the home’s owners. A wealthy banking family, and later the flawed but endearing DiStefano family celebrate milestones and make memories in the “Gray Lady.” Their stories intertwine with those of some of the interesting vacationers that occasionally rent this Jersey Shore beach home.

In addition to observing and reporting on the people that dwell inside, the Gray Lady is witness to seven decades of cultural touchstones and historical events, as experienced by the home’s different inhabitants. She takes the reader on a Jersey Shore journey during the Vietnam War, the 1960s, the death of Princess Diana, Y2K and September 11th as these events relate to those who seek shelter under her roof over a period spanning seven decades.

The Gray Lady of Long Branch is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs right to the very last entertaining sentence.

Stay tuned for information on it’s launch! It shouldn’t be long now! Does it sound like something you’d like to read?

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So in addition to painting… I write

Empty Sky novel front cover
Cover for the fictional novel “Empty Sky” scheduled for release in late July, 2014. The cover image uses one of my paintings.

I’ve been writing all my life.  My first poem, about bears, was at age five and all through childhood, teen years, and in adulthood, I’ve written poems to process my feelings.  I later delved into stories and fiction.  In college, I’d write term papers for others and loved taking on such assignments of my own.  I majored in Mass Comm and worked as a reporter covering local, national and even international stories at times.  I loved being in the thick of it, but didn’t appreciate the paycheck and eventually sold my soul to corporate America after a time, lured by the security and extra zero’s in one’s paycheck.

In 2004, I co-wrote a screenplay “Empty Sky” with a fine Nashvillian named Paul Lopes.  We tried, unsuccessfully to market it and with Paul’s full approval, I took the story and crafted a novel out of it.  The 3oo-plus page fictional work sat gathering dust until late last year when Four Pillars Media Group came knocking.

We’re in the final stages of bringing this book to press and I am so excited!  It’s like emerging from a long slumber to actually hold the paperback proof copy in my hands, finally!  It is in post-editing now and is slated for release in July!  In case you are wondering what it’s about, here’s the synopsis from the back of the book:

“Grammy winning producer Matt Buckley has an enviable career in Nashville and all the material trappings success can buy. But his personal life is a mess and the death of his father sends him into self-destructive freefall. A chance meeting with a stranger who’s just lost his own son inspires Matt to get his act together.

 After taking some positive steps forward, Matt meets and falls for April, a struggling musician and single mother of two. Emotionally damaged from a troubled past of her own, April is understandably reluctant, given Matt’s history and reputation. But with courage, love and humor, the two manage to work through their personal baggage and trust issues toward a life together and a fairy tale ending… or one would think.”

In case the cover looks familiar, it incorporates one of my own paintings!  I wasn’t sure, but now that I’ve held it in my hands, yeah, I think it works!  More importantly, in testing it out on others, they like it too!