Monday, October 3rd

August Challenge Winner – Christi Madden

August Challenge Winner

Madden Art

Please list the URLs of your 3 favorite cards in your storefront and why they are your favorites.

My choice of favorite cards tends to be a bit, shall we say, elastic, being influenced by mood and season and who knows what else.  These are my current choices.

Tuxedo Cat on a Blanket Next to Sunny Window – Tuxedo Cat Birthday Card

The original painting for this one is casein on board; I caught a photo of Belle in one of her favorite spots as the afternoon sun created shadows on the wall, and used that as reference for the painting.  So, a favorite photo of a totally awesome cat became a favorite painting, which became a favorite card.

Happy Birthday Black Cat with Feathers Mr. P Card

This is one of my very first cards on Greeting Card Universe, and was inspired by Poussifri’s tendency to talk to me (okay, fine, meow at me).  I always liked the design, and loved having Mr. P. on it, but became less than thrilled with the digital painting of him, so I painted a new one (Wacom + Rebelle app) and replaced it (same design, new painting).  That’s when this card became one of my faves.

Cat with Teddy Bear Sleeping Under Christmas Tree  Card

The kitty sleeping on Santa Bear’s lap part is pastel on paper, scanned in; the rest are elements I bought or constructed digitally.  Putting this one together was sort of like doing a puzzle, both challenging and fun.

What was your inspiration for your winning card? Please walk us through the process of how this card went from an idea to a greeting card.

When I first read the theme for the challenge, “in your new home” immediately became “in your new haunt” for me.  I knew I needed a spooky setting, a house, and a ghost, and found a house on a public domain site, but still wasn’t sure how it would all go together.  So I started painting the background and erasing the windows in the house so that I could get light in them.  Somewhere along here, I knew what the ghost should say, and that’s when I realized I needed two proper looking ghosts from a bygone era.  At this point, I had the basic design, but getting the background right and placing the house and ghosts really took some time – lots of working and reworking to get the scene to feel right.  And then I realized that the inside verse should be a poem pulling the whole thing together:  new home, moving in, and ghostly haunts – three or four drafts later, voila!

What sparked your interest in art? Did you start as a young child?

Art became an integral part of my life at a fairly young age.  I was friends with a girl living a few doors down, and she and I would draw together.  The biggest influence, though, was my mother’s appreciation of art, and the encouragement and support she offered.

Do you have formal training or are you self-taught?

For sketching, drawing, and pastels, I’m largely self-taught.  Painting, and the use of color, really opened up for me when I took painting and design classes at Laguna Gloria in Austin (Austin Museum of Art was there at the time, but later moved), and Austin Community College.

Is your work done by hand and then scanned or do you work entirely on the computer?

I have done work by hand and then photographed or scanned them, and I also do some entirely on the computer.  Or, like the Cat and Teddy Bear card, sometimes a mixture of both.

What GCU artist(s) do you admire?

I love Mary Sparrow Smith and her wonderful Westies, especially her White Shadows sympathy card.  Rachel McNaughton’s watercolors are amazing.  Bill Martin creates abstracts with a superb use of color and brush strokes.  Ramelle Richardson has breathtaking Chinese New Year designs.  There are so many more!  GCU is incredibly lucky to have the array of talent it does on this site.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

Christmas is my favorite holiday.  It has all the cozy trappings and bright, pretty lights; Christmas carols and cards; trees and ornaments; and memories of Christmases past, like visiting the Tower of the Americas each Christmas Eve for a number of years in childhood.

What makes you a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady?

Well, I have it on good authority (husband, siblings, …) that I am a little crazy, and I am a cat lady (never met a cat I didn’t like, though I have met one or two who weren’t so fond of me).  Then there’s the barista who made a point of speaking to me when she needed a home for a cat she’d found and couldn’t adopt, as she was already one pet over the allowed number in her apartment.  Or the cashier at a grocery store who said she wanted to come back as one of my cats, because they were so spoiled.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?

Well, I was once called “the LUST lady.”  I was working at the Northwest Regional Office of the Washington State Department of Ecology in the Toxics Cleanup Program’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank unit ;-)

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