Monday, June 23, 2014

Masha Laurence: Guest Interview

Today I welcome the wonderful artist Masha Laurence to my blog! Masha specialises in custom watercolours and illustrations inspired by classic literature. Her drawings are beautiful!

I have asked Masha a few questions about her work and how she goes about coming up with such wonderful illustrations, particularly the inspiration behind her Jane Austen prints, of which there are many!


She has also been so kind as to offer a giveaway of three lovely prints to one lucky winner - I will give the details below!

Visit Masha's blog here. And her lovely shop on Etsy here.


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1.  The majority of your lovely prints in your shop seem to be orientated around Jane Austen; her world, her works, her characters. How did you first come across Jane Austen; reading one of the stories? Seeing an adaptation? Which story is your favourite?
 
 I first came across Jane Austen watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice adaptation with my mother-in-law.  It was love at first site.  I have since read and re-read all of Jane Austen’s books and many spin-offs too.

I love all of them really, for different reasons.  But my favorite story is Persuasion, because it mirrors my own love story in a small way.
 

2. Why do you love Jane Austen and what is it that appeals to you about her work? What inspired you to begin painting Austen related artwork in the first place; her wit? The strength of her characters? Did you think that the beauty which just resonates (well I think it does!) from her books and the world she creates needed to be drawn?

What I love about Jane Austen’s work is first romance, I love how funny it is, and how witty, how clean, how polite and how honest it is.  Some people might think that Jane Austen glossed over things of her era, but I think she was incredibly honest about her life and I love how she made everything turn out beautifully in the end, unlike what really happened to her and Cassandra.  What first inspired me to paint Jane Austen related pieces was my love of costumes.  I grew up in a theater family and my mom was a costumer who took me to work often, I remember wandering through big hallways lined with costumes for ballets and operas and wanting to be big enough to try one on.  I scribbled dresses on everything I could growing up and after we watched Pride and Prejudice and every other JA movie I could lay my hands on my mother-in-law suggested that I draw some of the heroines, because it looked like something I am always drawing anyway.  Yes, the beauty does resonate from her books and I am so glad I can put it on paper in my own way.

3. You are a really talented artist! The elegant style of your paintings is delightful. They really have a charm about them! When did you start drawing? Were you ever taught how to draw and paint? Of course, you must enjoy sketching and painting; do you find it relaxing? (I really wish I could draw!) 
Thank you.  I started drawing like I said, when I was little, my dad is also a self taught artist and he painted murals on our walls and floors and whenever I would come into his room he would hand me crayons (very rare commodity in Russia at that time) and let me draw.  I believe we are all born with a creative spark within us and I do find it relaxing, and challenging too, but mostly, like any creative hobby that helps us escape the real world I really love how art takes me someplace else. 

4. How exactly do you go about drawing the characters? Do you base them off actors who have portrayed them in adaptations? Or do you use your own ideas of what they look like for the drawings? On the subject of film and television adaptations, which is your favourite?
I base my characters on many different things.  To be completely honest I am not a good portraitist, so if you were to look at the models I base my characters on you wouldn’t recognize them.  I get inspired by JA or other period movies.  I look up good images from movies on the internet.  I look up poses and facial expressions on Getty Images and costumes on Pinterest and in books.  But most often I will just be reading a Jane Austen novel and a paragraph will jump out at me and I can see it in my mind, so I get to work on it as soon as I have time and search for the right pose, the right face, the right costume, put it all together and voila, those turn out the best.  I believe in inspiration. 
My favorite movie adaptation is Pride and Prejudice of 1995 and the close second is Northanger Abbey done in 2007.  And 2009 Emma, my husband and I watched that one together and we both just loved it.

4. Who's your favourite of Jane Austen's wonderful characters? (Mr Darcy?! He is mine!) How about when you draw them; who is your favourite to draw? Who did you find the easiest? And the hardest to draw?
You can have Mr.Darcy, as handsome and mysterious as he is, I prefer the sincere and caring Mr.Knightley and straightforward and open Captain Wentworth.  My favorite to draw are the heroines, they don’t have annoying legs that are so hard to get right, just lovely flowing skirts that are easy to draw.  The hardest are people with smiles and hands, if you look at my paintings I try to hide their hands and they never have a full smile, I am still learning the necessary skill for those.

5. I believe I saw somewhere on your shop that you can also do custom orders? What type of things do you do for this? Do you enjoy doing special requests?
I do custom orders quite often. A lot of us have favorite parts of Miss Austen’s novels that we would like to see in a piece of art.  And when people come to me with those questions I get to sketch out their ideas on paper until I catch their vision and go on to paint it.  I do enjoy special request very much as they are challenging and interesting, it is always fun to see what other people want to see in a piece of art.  One of my requests was a Lizzy and Georgianna at the piano, even though it’s not in the book,  and another was a portrait of the Bennet sisters in the room with their parents when Kitty’s cough was bothering Mrs.Bennet and another one of Captain Wentworth walking the pier on a windy day in Lyme.

Thank you for a most interesting interview. It is always good to find out more behind an artists inspiration! 
Sophie, thank you for having me on your lovely blog.  

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**GIVEAWAY - ends Monday, 30th June **

Masha is providing three lovely 5x7 prints for a lucky winner! This giveaway is open internationally. 

To enter, leave a comment below and the winner will be picked randomly.

Please leave your email address and please say whether you are in the US or UK or otherwise (please state country). If you are the lucky winner, I will email you to ask for your mailing address. 

Good luck, and thank you again to Masha for this interview and for offering this giveaway!
 

(Visit Masha's blog here. And her lovely shop on Etsy here. )


Your affectionate friend,
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28 comments:

  1. These are so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your love of Austen, and describing your process.

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  2. Lovely prints I know my students would enjoy in my classroom!

    rcmsilvia@gmail.com USA

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    1. I think they are charming! Good luck!

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  3. These prints are so beautiful! nic.clawson@gmail.com
    I'm in the US!

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  4. I love her prints! I won two at a different blog, I got the one of Darcy and Lizzy walking, and one of Lizzy and Georgina playing the piano!

    dramaqueen4ever96@gmail.com

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    1. They are lovely aren't they!? Good luck!

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  5. I am in awe of your talent, Masha. I used to dabble a little in drawing when I was younger but I give up as I'm a perfectionist who always find fault in my drawing. Malaysia is where I'm at now.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I am a perfectionist as well which is why I am no good at this drawing lark! Good luck!

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  6. THANK YOU, Sophie and Masha, for the chance to see such wonderful artwork!! Beautiful, inspiring, simply gorgeous!
    I would consider myself very fortunate to be able to own one of these masterpieces!
    Great post, as always, Sophie!
    (and you know where I live ;) )

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    1. Thanks Joana! Good luck! And yes, I know where you live ;) That sounds a tad stalker ish haha! Good luck!

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  7. Another lovely interview, Sophie. Forgot to mention that on the one with Joy!

    As someone who has absolutely no talent whatsoever when it comes to drawing or painting, I'm somewhat in awe of your talent Masha. Your pictures fit so well with the works of Jane Austen. I had a little chuckle at your comment about finding ladies easier to depict as they don't have any awkward legs, just lovely flowing skirts.

    As you know, Sophie, I'm in the UK. angmardee (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Thank you! I am glad you enjoy my posts :) And I loved the comment about the legs as well! Good luck! :)

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  8. Those are so beautiful.Masha is very talented.What a charming interview and I loved hearing what Masha's favorite heroes were and how she likes to draw the heroines because of the dresses.

    Nicole D. USA
    betta_grl(at)hotmail(dot).com

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    1. Thank you! The drawings are so lovely! :) Good luck!

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  9. I loved your sharing what inspires your artwork. Your paintings are beautiful. I can't draw or paint for anything. I enjoyed your post Sophie. I'm in the US an my email is skamper25 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and I am glad you enjoyed it! I wish I could draw half as well as this! Good luck!

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  10. Please do not enter me in the drawing, Sophie, as I already hit Masha's Etsy store and have chosen the ones I would like to decorate my shelves and desk. These are just beautiful. Had you not featured the artist, Sophie, I would not have known to look for her artwork. Thanks for posting.

    Best wishes, Masha, for much success. You do beautiful work.

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    1. Oh which ones did you choose? :) When I came across them I just had to share her lovely art with the world! :)

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    2. I ended up with the 8x10 hero and heroines, Lizzy and Georgiana at the piano, Darcy and Lizzy walking from behind, separate portraits of Darcy and Lizzy and one more that I forgot. They are gorgeous and she was very quick to ship and gave me a discount for my next purchase. Yippee!

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    3. Good choices! :) She is lovely :)

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  11. Oh the drawings are so lovely! Everyone looks so elegant. Pick me pick me!
    USA
    Okmackrory (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Aren't they lovely!? Good luck! :D

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  12. I really love her prints :D
    cookiesmasher5@yahoo.com
    and I am from Israel

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    1. Aren't they gorgeous?! Good luck!

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