Back in October the idea of this year's Christmas card were entered into my sketchbook with a few rough pencil marks and scribbles. I knew I wanted to include a local scene, the colorful Christmas lights, people, and of course a dog or two. Playing off the idea from last year's card but something different.
The first piece of the puzzle was to find just the right background. That's when I came across a photo I took a few years ago of a snow scene of the Branford Green. The photo was shot early in the morning, so the street lamps, red doors and stainglass windows of the church were dim.
To create the atmosphere I had invisioned of a warm, inviting New England winter scene back out I went to collect more reference photos. It was late November when the sun was just setting I was able to capture just the right light and the church was glowing.
Now, with the scene set, back to the sketchbook for how to add in the figures. With Lots of quick sketches, I filled a few pages but nothing hit me until I was in the middle of an online course, Visual Storytelling taught by the legendary Disney art director, Bill Perkins.
Although the course is geared towards developing strong visual storytelling for film and animation the principles of design and composition can be applied to telling a story on canvas with a brush and paints.
Inspired by one of my all-time favorite movies "Back to the Future" A 1985 film with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. A light-hearted sci-fi classic where Marty McFly is thrown back into the '50s in a DeLorean car time machine invented by Doc Brown. Marty encounters a younger version of his parents and he's caught in a situation where he must make sure his parents fall in love or he won't exist.
Here's my version of "Back to the Future" where my three kids, Victoria, Raymond and Veronica present day are looking back about 18 years to when they were just about 8, 6 and 4 years old with their young golden retriever puppy "Kisses" who meets up with their present day dog "Bear".
Although neither scene actually happened independently of each other, it's all been created out of my imagination, I love the visual story that it tells, and it also tells a little about the storyteller, me.
Ever since I was a little girl, Christmastime holds such fond memories from my childhood. From family gatherings, to Christmas service, plugging in the christmas tree lights at 5am waiting for my family to wake up, to counting the days until Christmas Eve. I have to say my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were a key component to keeping these traditions going. It was important to them and they passed that down to their kids.
Over time our family dynamics change, some traditions were dropped to make room for new ones. We blended and merged to come up with a whole new mix. And yet again, over the course of another decade gone by, these new "traditions" morphed into yet something else.
So what do you have, this melting pot of memories, wishes and a playful imagination.
Wishing you a very joyful holiday season filled with new and old traditions -
Linda S. Marino Art
Branford, CT 06405
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