A couple weeks ago my assistant, Chelsea, interviewed Margie Whittington, the artist who did the watercolor artwork that will be featured on The
Callahan Brothers books that will be released next month. Check out the interview below…
Chelsea: Hi Margie. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed about your artwork. The watercolors featured on Emily March’s new Callahan Brothers series are beautiful! What’s your background as an artist?
Margie: I paint primarily in watercolor. I teach adult watercolor classes at the Fort Worth Woman's club in Fort Worth and The Upstairs Gallery in Arlington, Texas. I've been interested in art all my life, majoring in art in college. I've worked in advertising and in picture framing. I started teaching art classes about 20 years ago. It is very satisfying to share what I love with my students and see them grow and progress in their art work.
Chelsea: What inspires your paintings? Do you focus on a particular subject matter or go “as the muse directs you”?
Margie: I have to plan a variety of subject matter and techniques for teaching purposes. I enjoy painting "en plein air" with a group of artists who meet and paint our doors. Nature is the most inspiring subject matter.
Chelsea: How did you come to do these pieces for Emily?
Margie: Emily had seen a couple of paintings I had done of Hell's Gate, a rocky cliff formation on Possum Kingdom Lake, on my blog. She contacted me through email about the paintings and asked permission to use them on her book covers. In addition she sent me photos of the lake and asked for three more paintings.
Chelsea: Have you done artwork for book covers before? Are you an avid reader?
Margie: This is the first time I have had artwork on book covers. My art work has been published before. Several of my pieces were produced by Home Interiors and Gifts for their product line. Optimist International commissioned and published four paintings I did for their limited edition prints and plate series. I have had a number of ink drawings included in three "Zentangle" books published by Chapel Hill Publications.
I like to read but mostly I listen to audio books because I can paint or do handwork while listening!
Chelsea: What went into the process when you sat down to do the watercolors for these covers?
Margie: Emily provided some very good photos and detailed descriptions of what she wanted. I painted the three paintings in the same style as the two she had seen on my blog, very traditional, transparent watercolors.
One of the paintings was a dramatic view of the cliff looking up at it, another was a sunset view and the final one was of the cliff looking down on the shoreline. The photos were excellent and gave me a good starting point.
Chelsea: How much feedback and interaction did you have with Emily during the creative process?
Margie: We emailed back and forth some but after she sent the photos and descriptions, I just went to work. She emailed to see how the paintings were coming and I had just about finished them. I emailed her some photos of the paintings, she responded that she loved them. That was wonderful to hear.
Chelsea: Would you agree with the statement “Don’t judge a book by its cover”?
Margie: Being a visual person and an artist, I do judge a book by the cover sometimes. If the cover appeals to me I'll give it a try. The cover sets the mood and setting of the book. Yes, if there is an appealing painting on the cover that is even better.
Chelsea: Is there anything else you think readers should know about the artwork for these books?
Margie: I am very pleased to have my paintings on the cover of Emily's books. It is amazing how the internet, Google and my blog played a part in Emily finding my paintings of the location where her stories take place. What a delight to receive her first email saying she enjoyed my work and wanted to use it on her book covers. An added bonus is that we both live in Fort Worth, Texas. Emily is lovely person and I am glad our paths have crossed.
You can check out more of Margie Whittington’s artwork on her website at http://mwhittingtonart.blogspot.com/.
Luke (Book 1 of The Callahan Brothers series) will be available August 21st. Click the book covers above to read more about the series or to pre-order!