Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
Home Artist Blog About Me Life in Alaska Purchase Site Index Speak
Home » Archives » December 2005 » Painting Requires BRAAAAAAAINS

[Previous entry: "SOLD!"] [Next entry: "MORE SOLD! / National Fine Arts Registry"]

12/07/2005: "Painting Requires BRAAAAAAAINS"

From a recent email: “I’m curious and maybe it’s none of my business but what kind of music do you generally listen to while you’re painting? I imagine it’s something beautiful like Mozart or Ella Fitzgerald.”

Well, I’d like to say that I listen to classical music or jazz while I paint but the truth is…I watch/listen to zombie movies. Some of my favorites to paint to are:

28 Days Later, Night of the Comet, Resident Evil (and RE Apocalypse in a pinch), Dead Alive, Evil Dead, Shuan of the Dead, and Dawn of the Dead (the remake that takes place in the Crossroads Mall). I know, I know, the George A. Romero zombie films are classics so when the Land of the Dead comes out on HBO I’ll be sure to add it to my repertoire.

I don’t know why I love watching these films over and over and over again but I find them comforting. I also love vampire movies…Blade being my favorite but I’ve watched Queen of the Damned more times (they play one of my favorite songs “Get Down with the Sickness” in both Queen of the Damned and (2 versions) in the Dawn of the Dead (remake).

Hey folks, those who haven’t already lost *all* respect for me, it’s not really about how “good” a movie is. It’s something else, I especially love the part where mayhem initially ensues (snippets of TV broadcasts forecasting doom in the background while unsuspecting people go about their lives). Really… any apocalypse movie will do but zombies hold a special piece of my heart.

zombie-painting-nude-woman (64k image)

Replies: 26 Comments

on Thursday, December 8th, dave from Nebraska said

I love zombie movies too.
The one in the mall is a goodie!
I believe our cyber buddy Holly had a cool zombie game linked on her blog site at one time. I always lost and was dismembered.
Thanks for the pic you little undead imp.

on Thursday, December 8th, Elise said

You realize that photo isn't *actually* of me right?
Anyway, that game is called De-Animator I still play it from time to time. It's really addicting.

on Thursday, December 8th, holly said

LOL!!! Best entry ever!!! Noooooooo zombies! I hates them!!! That pic is hilarious. Zombie game...zombie game... did I post that? Did you see where I put my braaain? I think I need it back now.

A couple of my blog readers I know for real and in the flesh got together over Thanksgiving and conversation drifted to the topics discussed on my blog. I mentioned that while I would like to lean more towards academic blogging, those entries tend to result in *crickets* (via Elise, please do not call the plagiarism police on me) for comments. Indeed, the entries that always draw upwards of 15-20 comments are the ones about zombies. Damn zombies that I hate. Stinking up my website with their undeadness.

Anyhow, have you ever seen the vampire movie "Near Dark"? One of my favorites.

on Thursday, December 8th, Elise said

Was it Dio that originally posted that zombie game (where if you get overrun they attack you and pull your spine out?)

And no, I've never even heard of "Near Dark" but I loves me some vampire movies so I'll have to check it out.

And as for the content of your blog topics, I think you have a nice mix of academic and bizzaro entries to keep all your fans varied tastes satisfied!

on Thursday, December 8th, Kasia said

I must admit I am astonished! of course not by the films, cause i like horrors, too, but by the fact that you do create your paintings while listening to "zombie" music. I have looked at your paintings and looked and looked, but i didn't notice any "zombie" influences - i mean your pictere are "calm" and "peaceful". I do not feel any thrill while looking at them. They are magical, but it's the white magic, not the black one. I know there are a lot of classical tones in this music, but there are those certain "moments" that make you jump or look back over your shoulder. And I feel safe while looking at your works!

on Thursday, December 8th,">Jackie said

E: how strange...I have always had a fascination for monster movies myself - mostly vampire movies when I was young. We watched a gross 'slasher' type - that I wasn't expecting to be a slasher movie - the other night. It was a French movie - and as soon as I find that zombie that ate my brain, I'll share the title with you! So Holly - maybe that's what happened to your brain, too?
My favorite vampire movies were the Hammer films - with Christopher Lee as Dracula. I think there was "Drink the Blood of Dracula", and then there was a gross one called "Count Yorgi" (be warned: there is an awful scene where a cat is consumed by a new vampire). All version of the original Dracula story are good. I've read Bram Stoker's book so many times... but never got into reading Anne Rices' tomes - they are just tooooo looong. I discovered HP Lovecraft in high school. I always wonder what the parents of the toddler I babysat once thought of me, when I forgot a Lovecraft book of short stories at their house...
Happy horrors to you all...

on Thursday, December 8th, holly said

Ohhh! Yes! Christopher Lee!! "Dracula has Risen from the Grave" is another of my favorites (it's a Hammer film).

Here's hoping the missing brain problem is just zombie related and not actually age-realated!

on Thursday, December 8th, Elise said

Kasia, I think the paintings are calming, or meant to be...but I actually find that watching zombie movies helps to relax I'm expressing my inner sentiments in my paintings, not actual horror movie images...I don't want my paintings to be "exciting" in that way.

It's something even I don't understand but I feel that nothing kick starts a painting session better than a zombie or vampire movie, although it has to be one that I've already seen many times. If it's a new one, I need to actually watch to sit down and watch it with the lights out.

And Jackie, who knows, maybe it's an artist thing? Dio is really into Zombies as well (and Dave from Nebraska too it seems) so maybe it's not as strange as it may initially seem.

I always thought an excellent job would be to work as an FX artist for a studio that specializes in aliens and monsters.

And Holly, I've never heard of Dracula has Risen from the Grave either. I'll add it to my list as well. For some reason I think I prefer very contemporary horror flicks, to the chagrin of my film critic friends, but it's just a personal taste...something that I can relate to more easily.

on Thursday, December 8th, ann said

I love the photo! It's great that you love zombie movies. I wouldn't have guessed that you watch them when you paint, though. I agree with Kasia on that one.

on Thursday, December 8th, Elise said

I haven't *always* watched zombie movies while's probably one of those pattern like the kind sports fans have...hey, I didn't wash my hair last night and the Red Socks won so I'll never wash my hair on game day again! I probably had some kind of creative streak that coincided with an orgy of zombie movies and now there is some connection in my brain between the two. Our baaains really are facinating aren't they?
(and tasty from what I've heard)...

on Thursday, December 8th, Howard said

Near Dark is a great movie. Imagine White Trash Vampires and you'll have an idea whate the moive is like.
There's an australian zombie movie that came out in 2003 called "Undead" which was really funny and very strange.
There's also a French movie called "They Came Back" where the dead come back to life. It's not a zombie movie though. The dead who come back look perfectly normal but act very creepy.

on Thursday, December 8th, Elise said

Wow, this is great. I'm going to have a whole new list of titles to add to my obsession.

Thanks Howard!

on Thursday, December 8th, Howard said

You'll have to thank my room mate. He's the real horror movie fanatic. I don't think I would of seen a third of the horror movies I've had if it wasn't for him. Just recently he made me watch all of the Hammer Dracula movies. I think the orginal Dawn of the Dead is his all time favorite movie.

on Thursday, December 8th, Elise said

I'm not even sure I've seen the original Dawn of the Dead...I promised myself I wouldn't spend money buying or renting DVDs if I paid for cable TV so now, pretty much if it isn't on TV, I don't watch it. But the above may force me to make an exception. Thank your roomie for me. BTW, I didn't realize you had a room mate, I've considered that myself for financial reasons but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to work as well with someone looking over my shoulder.

on Friday, December 9th, Rod said

First of all, I'd like to say whatever you used to make the image of the 'painting zombie', I am impressed! I actually thought it was real at first and I thought, Elise doesn't know any zombies...or does she!?
Has anyone seen Rick lately?
But seriously, I can relate to creative juices flowing due to the influence of familiar/comfortable cacophonous stimuli, whether it be Bladerunner in the backround or monster crazy brain-eating zombie vampire co-eds!
Wow, I should copyright that title!

on Friday, December 9th, greg said

Lol!!! I think (intellectually speaking ... tut-tut!) it's very possible to enjoy a dichotomous tension in the external stimulii of one's creative environment, which may not necessarilly affect the aethetics of one's style! :hehe:

The grotesque is, after all, considered one element of what we consider "beauty!"

I think it's whatever gets the blood up! ... or perhaps, if you will ... the braaaiiiinzzzz! :D

Hammer Dracula's are the best! The orig Dawn of the Dead was one of the most disturbing and thought provoking films, I remember from my formative yrs.

Have you ever checked out Rob Zombies' movie series starting with "House of 1000 Corpses"?? I haven't, just wondering...

Now that I think of it, perhaps those come hither eyes of these painted women, really *are* screaming "Me eat your braiiinns out!" ?!? :laugh:

on Friday, December 9th, Elise said

Hey Rod, how I made the photo was the use of three seperate photos. One, a painting of an 24X30 canvas on an easle in my studio that I use on my Commissions page in order to show scale.

The second, was the image of that nude that I'd recently posted to my blog.

The third was an image I pinched from a site that makes latex zombie masks. In the real photo the guy is holding an ax.

Oh yah, and a forth of a paint brush I lifted from DickBlick.

I love PhotoShop! (and I probably have too much free time on my hands)...

Oh, and speaking of Bladerunner, I've done many a painting while that movie has been playing...yes indeed!

And Greg (hi by the way, I've missed ya!)
I have seen House of 1000 Corpses and it wasn't really my cup of tea...too nasty in a not fun way.

But I think I really must check out the Hammer Dracula films now...and the original Dawn of the Dead. In fact, I may consider renting the entire Romero collection over the holidays. I know that his films (spaced out about once every decade) deal with the most prevalent social issue of the times and therefore elevate the films above that of mere zombie status.

My friend Danel does some great reviews considering the social commentary of Romero's films at:

Including his Night of the Living Dead:

And Romero's own remake of Night of the living dead in 1990:

Dawn of the Dead:

Day of the dead:

and finally Land of the Dead:

on Friday, December 9th, Jill said

Wow ... I'm not a painter, but that seems really random. I would have said Mozart too. Zombie movies ... cool.

on Friday, December 9th, Elise said

Hi Jill! I think fellow blogger Holly would absolutely *love* your blog and the photos you've taken from your bike, that's hard core man!

Homer is one of my all-time favorite places in're lucky to live there...

on Friday, December 9th, holly said

OMG. Elise, I'm leaving you for Jill.

Wait, no I'm not, because I'm a cycling wuss and after looking at her blog I am overcome with shaaaaaame and loathing!
*off to Nashbar to buy studded tires...*

on Friday, December 9th, Elise said

Well, I knew you'd leave me eventually, everyone does...


I used to have studded snow tires on my bike when I lived in Anchorage and didn't have a car. I'd drive it all winter long through some crazy ass weather. I have to be honest here when I say that I don't miss that!

on Saturday, December 10th, Rod said

All I can say from just reviewing thisi topic is that zombies will get you more interest/responses than any other topic in the world. :satisfied:

on Saturday, December 10th, Rod said

Oops! I forgot my P.S., Speaking of Bladerunner, you mention painting to the film/soundtrack and also I see there is a mention of Bladerunner influenced art on your website, but I can't find any product. What gives?!?
Just to let you know I have a passing interest in the film and I've seen it once or twice and might be interested in artwork based on the film.
Hope to hear from you soon. :plain:

on Saturday, December 10th, Elise said

Hey Rod,
I thought I had told you that my roll of canvases and a box of original prints got lost when my dad was taking that back to O'Neill with him when I was moving out of the place on Doris Street.
I believe those paintings were in that roll.

But I may redo the one with the umbrellas some day because I really loved that one.

on Wednesday, December 14th, Mike said

Night of the Comet now thats one you don't see every day. I have been waiting for that on dvd.
I think you must add Dead & Buried (1981) to your list. A zombie movie that steps through the looking glass.
I can vouch for near dark, great flick. How about John Carpenters 'Vampires'?

on Wednesday, December 14th, Elise said

Hi Mike,
I've been waiting for Night of the Comet on DVD as well, let me know when it's out ok?

I don't think I've seen Dead and Buried, I'll have to add that to my for John Carpenter's "Vampires", I didn't like that one so much. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood when I saw it though, I'll have to give it another look.

Thanks for the suggestions...