Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hobby Hoedown Features Viola Ryan's Paintings

Big Yee-haw welcome to Author Viola Ryan. My eyes were bedazzled when Viola sent her photos of the paintings she is sharing with us today, as well as two paintings her daughters created. There's a lot of talent in that family! Viola explains how she became interested in painting. If you're a writer, I think you'll completely understand her reasoning.

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Thanks for having me again, JQ. I love getting a chance to chat with new people.

I used to write Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction. That’s how I learned to write and how I realized I was a writer. One of the cardinal sins in fan fiction, the one people will blast you most for isn’t grammar mistakes. It’s creating what is known as a Mary Sue. That is basically the author inserting herself into the story. It warps the story because the canon characters around her often act out of character in order to elevate the Mary Sue. The author can’t let anything bad happen to the Mary Sue and conflict is key to any story.

When I started writing The Mark of Abel, I wanted to avoid this, so I made my character an artist. I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler, so I figured she was different from me and I wouldn’t turn her into a Mary Sue. I love art, so I could handle her talking about art. Then came the scenes where she actually painted. Painting is a key plot point in the book. I needed to learn how to describe the act of painting.

I decided I needed to take a painting class. It didn’t matter if I was horrible at it. I just needed to learn the language, so I could write the scene. I found a class on acrylic landscape painting. The class was a lot of fun. All I needed to do was bring a blank canvas. The instructor provided the rest and walked us step-by-step through each painting.

Not only did I love it, but I was pretty good at it. I have an eye for color and there are few straight lines in nature. My favorite part was mixing the colors on the canvas to paint the sky. I took the class for over a year before I attempted doing a painting outside of class. I had learned various techniques and applied them to my own original creation.

My husband is in the Coast Guard and we travel around a lot. Finding a friend I feel truly close to is difficult. When we lived in Delaware, I found such a remarkable woman. I call her Super Mom. She had previously only lived in California and Texas. She’d never seen a real fall before and the colors amazed her. Her husband is in the Air Force and I wanted her to be able to take fall wherever she went. That painting was the first one I did outside of class. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it to her.

My daughters have inherited my love of art. I took my oldest daughter (at age 13) to the painting class with me. I taught my youngest the way I learned, by going step by step. Their paintings proudly hang in their rooms.

The two photos above were painted by her talented daughters, Jessie and Meghan

When I finally wrote the scene, people ask me how long I’ve been painting. Recently I made another friend a New England fall scene to take with her to Washington State.

You can find all of my other paintings at

If you want to read the scenes I wrote thanks to my hobby, check out The Mark of Abel.

Is a frustrated artist Lucifer’s ticket back to heaven or will falling for her reawaken the compassion that got him expelled?

Lucifer is fed up with humanity. He created hell to deter evil, but man’s inhumanity is only escalating. He just wants to return home to heaven, but ever since that little problem in the Garden of Eden, the Pearly Gates remain firmly shut to him. It doesn’t help that he’s the first vampire, an abomination in God’s sight.

Fortunately, two thousand years ago Lucifer’s estranged brother, Jesus, gave him a prophecy. To fulfill it, all Lucifer has to do is find the right artist, study her artwork and the path back to heaven will be revealed. The artist even bears a symbol so he knows who she is. Too bad she is murdered every time he finds her.

Janie’s a frustrated artist and college art teacher who wants two things—a guy she can show her paintings to and a night without nightmares. Each nightmare plagues her until she paints it. She doesn’t realize these paintings are key to unlocking her destiny, one that could redeem the original fallen angel.

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About Viola Ryan:

A very good friend of Viola Ryan in high school said, “You don’t think outside the box. You blow the thing up.” Sometimes boxes need exploding. That’s why she’s here. She has a whole bag of C4 and isn’t afraid to use it. She’s blessed with people who treasure her eccentricities or at least put up with them.

Sometimes the box can be a cozy place. Without some sort of stability, her two daughters’ and her life would be unmanageable. That stability comes from her husband. He’s the rock holding her family together.

On the flip side, his career is anything but stable. He’s a Chief Marine Safety Technician in the US Coast Guard. They’ve lived from Kittery, Maine to Yorktown, Virginia. Fortunately, the moves have all been on the east coast. Then again, the Coast Guard tends to guard the coast.

Her oldest daughter (16) was born on Cape Cod, not far from Plymouth. Massachusetts. Her youngest (12) was born in Yorktown, Virginia, down the road from Williamsburg. Viola jokes they’re doing the colonial America tour.

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Amazon Author Page:


J.Q. Rose said...

Viola, thanks so much for sharing these gorgeous paintings. I have never heard about the "Mary Sue" in writing. Thanks for the heads up about that.

Unknown said...

Thanks for having me. My kids love having their paintings online

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank your girls too for sharing their paintings. Happy to have them online!

Penny's Tales said...

What a talent Viola! I took oil painting about 100 years ago and I loved going to those lessons. How nice that your girls are following right along! thanks for sharing AND your book looks wonderful!

Unknown said...

Thanks. I had a lot of fun writing The Mark of Abel. I'm working on the sequel now. I'm very lucky when it comes to my girls. They are also budding writers.

Anonymous said...

Good post, and good paintings. I've taken several art classes; though I sometimes catch a glimmer, I have yet to uncover my painting talent! I wish you much success with your writings and paintings!

Helena Fairfax said...

Beautiful paintings, Viola. You have a great eye for colour. Good for you for branching out and trying a new skill. They are lovely

J.Q. Rose said...

Stan, I have taken art classes too. For some reason, what I picture in my head never looks like what ends up on the canvas!

Helena, the colors in the artwork certainly wowed me too.

Thank you for leaving comments for Viola.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Viola, wow! What talent! I'm so envious. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Nice paintings. Thanks for sharing!
: )

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Joylene and Susanne, Thanks so much for stopping by. The paintings make me smile.

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