The Memento, an Autographed Copy

What a thrilling moment to finally get my hands on my own autographed copy of The Memento by acclaimed author Christy Ann Conlin!

The reproduction of my painting, End of Spring, inspired by the author’s own photo and licensed by Doubleday, came out beautifully and I’m adoring all the details of the jacket designed by Five Seventeen. The feel of rag edges fill me with delight and the inscription and acknowledgement made my heart sing and my eyes tear up!

And then there’s the story itself  – an exquisite, genre bending tale of waves and islands, of teacups and tragedies of secrets and whirs and whispers, of needle sharp jabs and sensual tinglings, of promises and betrayals, of heavy scented languid days and mysterious spine chilling nights, all set in that place I have called home in a tongue I am not unfamiliar with. A place called Petal’s End – how dreamy is that?!  Enjoying this gift from my dear friend the master storyteller!


The Next Chapter…

Today Shelagh Rogers interview of author Christy Ann Conlin was broadcast nationally in Canada on CBC radio’s The Next Chapter!  That’s my painting, End of Spring (cover art for Conlin’s novel The Memento) up there on The Next Chapter shelf – a beautiful sight!

Shelagh Rogers brings out the best in the authors she talks with and I loved hearing Christy Ann Conlin share with her how ghost stories infused her upbringing in Nova Scotia and influenced her writing, how she’s fears the sea (ironic for a Maritimer – or maybe not), and the actual inspiration for Petal’s End. She speaks so tenderly and insightfully about this hauntingly beautiful place we both grew up in.

My autographed copy should be in my hands any day now…I can hardly stand it!

Click here for a link to the interview.

Behind a Cover – a Collaboration of Artist and Author

Today is the official publication date for The Memento, Christy Ann Conlin’s haunting new novel and I thought to celebrate I would share a little bit about how my painting, End of Spring, wound up on the cover!  Spoiler Alert – I know the author…but it is so much more than just that.

A book cover is a big deal! It’s supposed to lure in the reader with a compelling image that not only captures the spirit of the book but works well with text and has fantastic shelf presence. A lot is riding on this image for both the author and the publisher. Consequently, there is a designer and a sales & marketing team in place to get it just right.  Not something you might trust to your best friend, not if you were the author, not if you were smart…or is it?

Truth is, the author and I go way back, growing up only a few miles apart and have been collaborating (formally and informally) for years!

We’re both so influenced by this unique place we come from, its compelling culture, its crumbling beauty and its often lost potential, all of this informs the approach to our work – our sensibility and aesthetic.

In fact, one of my photographs was licensed for Christy Ann Conlin’s debut (and best selling) novel, Heave (although I think they may have cropped out the best part). We had been traipsing along dirt roads of the North Mountain between the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia checking out abandoned houses, graveyards and wildflowers when I snapped this candid shot of my oblivious friend.



Christy Ann Conlin is a great photographer as well and she’ll often share a shot with me and I will fall in love with it both because of her great eye for subject and composition but also because it speaks to me on a deep level of the essence of home. Such was the case when she sent my this lovely photo of a field of wildflowers overlooking the bay out toward Isle Haute. I called the resulting oil painting, Christy Ann’s Lace.



Another example of this cross pollination comes from a photo she’d taken of her mother’s vintage creamer filled with Lily of the Valley which she’d placed on the railing of her porch. I loved the ring of cows around the lip of the creamer and thought it would be a little surreal to paint cows into the field as well, inspiring not only, Lily of the Valley with Cows but my entire Birds and Teacups series, of which Blackberry Tea I was the first!

Christy Ann had been working some birds and teacups into her writing as well which I became increasingly aware of while working on this Birds and Teacup series. I realized that my series, while not derivative of her work was very complimentary. When The Memento was finally finished and it was time to talk about a cover with her publisher at Doubleday, Christy Ann recommended they take a look at this series on my website. While they loved the paintings, they were immediately drawn to another piece, End of Spring, without even knowing that the painting had been inspired by the author’s own photo! They said it was everything the novel was, striking in it’s melancholy and mystery, poetically but unforgivingly rendered, Gothic but terribly tender!

It’s no wonder! Christy Ann had found the bird lying dead on her doorstep as she was deeply in the process of writing her novel. She’d slipped her grandfather’s shovel under the bird and taken a photo, overcome by it’s sad beauty. I adored the photo and told her what a great painting it would make. It had a striking composition and an up tilted perspective, the shovel elevating and framing the bird, even reading like a tombstone. To me, the image spoke of our curious arm’s length relationship with death. The photo seemed to honor the bird and allowed us the intimacy of seeing in death that which is fleeting and unobservable in life. The translation to paint and canvas was very true to Christy Ann’s photograph I heightened the color, contrast, texture and the larger-than-life scale helped to make this quiet moment feel monumental.

Needless to say, I was delighted when I was approached by the publisher for licensing rights and am so thrilled and honored to have my art on the cover of my dear friend’s fabulous novel. It’s a real tribute to our collaborative working relationship!

If you’d like to see the stages of the painting process, please visit an earlier blog post here.

If you’d like to enjoy a trailer of the book please click here.

If you’re American or don’t have a fantastic local bookstore you’d like to support click here.


End of Spring as a Book Cover!

I am so delighted to announce that my painting End of Spring has been picked up by Doubleday Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada to grace the cover of best selling author Christy Ann Conlin’s new novel, The Memento, set to be published this spring 2016!

This is my first glimpse of the advance reader’s copy that will go out to get reviews and the like but already I’m so pleased with how it’s looks. I love the color reproduction and the font they’ve chosen……I can’t wait to hold it in my hans and read it over and over!

Closer to the publication date I will begin to share all the glorious details of how this came to be!


Fine Feathered Friends

Fine-Fearthered Friends blouse 3

OK, so maybe I always liked dressing up, but these fun themed exhibition receptions, like tonight’s Fur, Feather and Fins reception at the Pacific Art League, are always a great excuse to pull together a look that relates to your work! It’s not a costume party of anything, I’m not going to wear a feathered mask or wings but I do enjoy drawing subtle references to my work in my jewelry and maybe in one item of clothing. To that end, I found this great silk blouse on sale at my favorite store Anthropologie which I’ll wear with a golden feather ring from another of my haunts, Etsy.

Fine-Fearthered Friends blouse 2

Fine-Feathered Friends blouse 1 2013

Fine-Feathered Friends 4

I like how these printed birds are as realistic as my blue robin and provide a joyful counterpoint to my painting End of Spring.  I also adore the filigree work which I like to incorporate into my Florilegia series.

End of Spring Marie Cameron 2013 40x30 oil on canvas

It will be interesting to see how people respond to End of Spring tonight! The reception runs from 5:30 – 8:00 pm. See you there!

Fur, Feathers & Fins Invite 2013


Works Like a Charm!

Marie Cameron's lucky charms and her painting End of Spring 2013

I’ve been wearing my lucky feathered themed jewelry, willing that my painting End of Spring would be selected for the Pacific Art League of Palo Alto’s regionally juried exhibition “Fur, Feathers and Fins” and happily, I found out the other day that it was!

Feather Charms, vintage and vintage inspired jewelry.

And while it may sound silly or superstitious to be relying on charms when it comes to such matters, there’s nothing frivolous about positive thinking! These shows with a specific theme are an excellent opportunity to go out on a limb and create something specifically for that prospectus, a piece that may not have been in your direct path, perhaps something feels like a little reach for you. The only way to enter into these new arenas is with a positive can do attitude that’s open to experimentation and flexibility even failure. Knowing that missing your mark will not devastate you and being willing to accept that possibility of failure and not being paralyzed by it is a key component of self-belief.

Charming swallow, feather ring and feather cuff.

A talisman of some kind can be a lovely reminder that you have it in you to grow and surprise yourself – and of course I just love jewelry!


Painting End of Spring

Novelist Christy Ann Conlin loves her some Flannery O’Conner! Southern Gothic may not only influence this author’s writing (Heave & Deadtime) but also her photography as evidenced from her shot of a dead robin on a shovel which she so kindly let me paint. It’s the beauty in the ephemeral fleeting nature of life that makes this melancholic image so poignant for me.

Here’s my process of rendering her photo, Sadness of a Gothic Bird, into my oil painting, End of Spring.

End of Spring in progress 1 Marie Cameron 2013

First I blocked in the negative space of the shovel.

End of Spring in progress 2 Marie Cameron 2013

I sketched in a loose grid with thinned oils allowing me to sketch the outline of the bird more accurately.

End of Spring in progress 3 Marie Cameron 2013

I wiped off the grid with a rag damped with mineral spirits so the lines would not show through.


End of Spring in progress 4 Marie Cameron 2013

Using loose washes of paint mixed with lots of mineral spirits and linseed oil I let the pigment drip and spread naturally.

End of Spring in progress 5 Marie Cameron 2013

I used the damp rag once more to pat and wipe the surface for texture. Great technique for pavement and rust!

End of Spring in progress 6 Marie Cameron 2013

More of the same.

End of Spring in progress 7 Marie Cameron 2013

Impatient to start working on the bird I started to block in it’s base colors. In retrospect it would have been more efficient to complete the background completely then overlap the shovel then finish the bird but there is something to be said for the integrity of working the whole at once too.

End of Spring in progress 8 Marie Cameron 2013

As the base is completed I’m starting to explore some of the details.

End of Spring in progress 9 Marie Cameron 2013

I return my attention to the shovel, wanting to achieve a glowing, almost halo effect aganst the dark backdrop.

End of Spring in progress 9 Marie Cameron 2013

Time to bring the bird to life, or as close as possible as though it has just stopped breathing. In this case it’s all about the realism, the deep careful observation of detail. This comes from the stillness of death, in life there would be an impression only.

End of Spring Marie Cameron 2013 40x30 oil on canvas

Dotting the (i)s and crossing the (t)s. In this case it was paying attention to the transition of pavement to shovel to make sure the shovel appeared to be hovering over the pavement instead of appearing as though the pavement was painted around the shovel.
Get out the camera again Christy Ann, I’ll paint ’em and fast as you can shoot ’em!


For more on Christy Ann Conlin’s compelling “Rural Goth”, click on her books below. FWI, I took the photo of the crumbling porch on the jacket cover of Heave. It’s so inspiring when friends share an aesthetic!

Heave by Christy Ann Conlin Dead Time  by Christy Ann Conlin

Day in the Studio

Marie Cameron Studio With Iridescent Cobwebs 2013

My studio as the wisteria would see it, the air laced with iridescent cobwebs.

Today was a perfect day, iridescent spider webs trailing from the skies and across my face on the way to work. The air was heavily scented with wisteria and lilac, all flooding through the open windows of my studio, mixing with the smell of linseed oil. NPR was talking about the secret lives of cats as seen though mini cat cams and I was finishing up a painting that my son has named End of Spring.  I was taken with the melancholy beauty of this image when I first saw this photo by my multi-talented friend and novelist Christy Ann Conlin. She was generous to let me use it for a painting and although I should be prepping for Open Studio I’m so glad I dropped everything to do it. I love how this dead robin lying on a shovel transcends its profane circumstance and is elevated, literally and figuratively, to a vantage where we can experience a moment of wonderment at its life.

White Wisteria 2013

Wisteria sinensis “Alba” I wait for it all year long.

Sensation Lilac 2013

Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’, a twist on a childhood favorite grows beneath my studio windows.

Marie Cameron painting End of Spring 2013

Finishing up End of Spring.

End of Spring Marie Cameron with feathers 2013

Examining real feathers.