“Hey Kid. I see ya got a innerview with Rochelle Wisoff-Fields this week. I ‘member her from our first art show at the Saloon.”
“That’s right Pal, an’ the second art showin’ too. Oh, here she is now. Howdy Rochelle!”
“Hello Kid, hello Pal.”
“Rochelle, many of us know you from yer blog where ya host and write fer Friday Fictioneers. But yer also a visual artist. When did ya first idennify as ‘artist’?”
“Kid, I can’t remember a time I didn’t identify as an artist. You might say I was born with a purple crayon clenched in my fist. Some of my earliest childhood memories include those of my Sunday school classmates fighting over my drawings.
My mother was slightly less enamored with my earliest works, saying she could never find a blank piece of paper because ‘Rochelle scribbled on every sheet.’”
“So which came first, the visual art or the literary art?”
“The visual art. Although, I was quite the daydreamer and would often make up stories in my head. Often, I would illustrate these stories on paper while I was supposed to be paying attention in class. I can’t tell you how many times this got me in trouble with my teachers.”
“I’m wunderin’, d’ya have different muses or inspirations for yer different arts?”
“What a great question. I’ve never really thought about it before. I’d have to say yes. Although my writing muse speaks to me in pictures…more like movies. I see the scenes and hear the characters’ voices.
“My painting muse speaks to me in pictures as well. Surely, I’m not the only one, but there are times we’ll be at a restaurant or at someone’s house for dinner when I look at the glasses and think what a great painting they would make. Recently I was inspired by a ketchup bottle.
The same thing happens with landscapes. Once, while working out on my elliptical trainer I saw an amazing shelf cloud. I had to stop pedaling and snap a picture. What did we do before cell phones that double as cameras?”
“Right? As ya know, Rochelle, we opened up this here Saloon at the beginnin’ a the pandemic, ta give folks a place ta git away an’ ta keep us busy. How was yer arts effected by the pandemic?”
“During the first few months of lockdown I finished a novel I’d been dragging my heels on. After I delivered the manuscript and book proposal to my agent, I dove headfirst into my watercolors.”
“So were ya more productive when staying at home during Covid, or less productive?
“One of my bloggers nailed me when he accused me of being a social media extrovert and a real-life introvert. So I really wasn’t scratching at the door begging to go out. Save for swimming. I hated the pool being closed. Anyway, back to the actual question. Was I more or less productive? When I say I threw myself into it it’s no exaggeration. There were advantages in having fewer distractions. Between painting whatever I wanted and the commissions that came in, I counted at least forty-two paintings by the end of 2020.”
“Thet seems like a lot ta me!”
“Rochelle, tell about the virtual art fairs that you took part in.”
“As for the virtual art fairs, we artists made a concerted effort setting up Zoom meetings and virtual booths. We had a great time getting to know each other, however, at the end of the day, the fairs were disappointing in the sales department.”
“What hepped ya the most through that time?
“Painting was the main thing. I threw myself into my art.
Online connections like Friday Fictioneers, the blog challenge I facilitate. We have a supportive international community.
I lost count of how many shows I binge-watched while working out on my elliptical trainer. I watched the news as little as possible. Just enough to know what was going on.
Walking around the neighborhood. I live in the perfect area for that. I might know every inch within a three-mile radius.”
“What’s a book that you think more people should read?”
“Why my books of course. Wink wink. I actually don’t have a good answer.”
“Well, I read yer trilogy an’ sure think others would also enjoy the characters an’ story.”
“Is there a visual artist or a particular painting that has influenced or inspired you Rochelle?”
“Garth Williams who illustrated the Little House books.”
“Oh yeah. The Little House books and Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, among others.”
“Yes. I emulated him when I was a youngster. Norman Rockwell has always been my hero. Mary Cassatt’s mother and child paintings speak to me. At the same time, I love the drama of Van Gogh’s works. I’m a fan of impressionists such as Claude Monet. I’d have to say all of the above have influenced my current work.”
“What’s the best advice you ever got?”
“It didn’t come directly to me but through a monologue of a rabbi/singer Danny Maseng. His grandfather told him, ‘Be true to your gift. Don’t waste time.’ My advice is, Keep pursuing your dreams. You’re never too old.”
“Thank you for this innerview Rochelle.”
“Thank you Kid and Pal.”