I’ve always had a thing for cows, especially Holsteins. I love the graphic black and white color from an artistic point of view but it’s their soulful eyes and moist pink noses that capture my heart. I’m going to begin a new piece today with cows as my theme since I know the subjects that tug at my heartstrings make the best art. As cliche as it sounds, art has to come from my heart. If it’s forced, you’d know it. I’ll share my work in progress soon.
For now, take a look at two of my recent farm collages– Pennsylvania Farm #1 and Pennsylvania Farm #2. These pieces are in response to the knowledge that family-owned farms and farmland are being lost every day. Don’t even get me started on developers, “progress”, and the almighty dollar! Instead of focusing on the negative, I want to show the beauty of farms and pay tribute to this way of life. Hopefully, my art will inspire others to protect agricultural areas and begin to shop locally 🙂 These are autumn and summer scenes respectively.
Sometimes an experience can touch you so deeply that it changes your life forever. I feel that way about a Joan Baez concert I attended last year. I was so moved just by being in the same room as Joan that my eyes filled with tears. “Ok, Susan, get a grip or you won’t be able to see the show”, I told myself with a laugh. What an amazing woman… her musical ability and passion for equality and other human rights issues inspired me to create two collages called Come Together I and Come Together II. I’m happy to say that Come Together I has already sold but Come Together II is still up for adoption 🙂 Yes, that’s how I see the sale of work that is special to me. Have you been moved by a particular experience enough to take action in your own way?
We’ve all gone through our creatively blocked moments. I know I’ve had my share of them! If I’m going to be honest with myself, I get most blocked when I worry about what everyone else might be thinking about what I’m doing. Will they like it? Will they buy it? Self-doubt is a real inspiration killer!
So what do I do about it? Play. I go into my art studio and look around, grabbing anything and everything that calls to me. Then, I look over the collection of goodies. Sometimes I need to edit the pile, noticing what goes together and eliminating what doesn’t. I set the edited pile of paint tubes, fabric swatches, images from magazines, whatever… aside and grab the foundation for the work. This foundation could be a sheet of paper, a canvas, or a pillow form. It’s whatever I am using as the basis for the work.
Now, here’s the gutsy part. I have to make the first move. I have to sew, splatter, brush, cut,or color…. somehow marking the surface of the piece. Isn’t that first mark the hardest to make?! It can be difficult but liberating. Because once you make the first mark, you have given your piece a voice. For the rest of the journey, it will talk to you. It will tell you what to do next and even tell you when it’s done. You just have to listen. Give it a try!
Last night, I participated in a Native American pipe ceremony and drum circle. What an honor for a non-Native woman from the burbs! Every moment was sacred from the smudging to honoring the four directions in a sacred circle. I admire those so deeply rooted in their beliefs that they are completely focused on the moment, free of judgement, and sincere in their practice. They connect with the sky, earth, ancestors, elements, plants, animals, and each other… a universal community. We celebrated the 1st anniversary of their handcrafted drum by playing our own drums as the three women beat on the large drum they share. Each drumbeat was more of a heartbeat, resonating in each of us.
This is exactly the kind of experience that inspires my artwork. Meaningful, symbolic, beautiful, and pure. As I heard the words of their prayer and cast my eyes across the landscape, I saw earth, air, fire, and water before me… literally in the view from the backyard. The small lake, symbolizing hope that water will eventually fall from the sky & break this hot spell. A crispy brown field baking in the scorching sun, begging for much needed rain. A breeze comforting us with a bit of coolness without promising anything more.
I’m heading into my basement studio, away from the sun’s glare… let’s see what this experience inspires in my art.
Welcome to Pure Susan. This blog will be where I share my completed artwork & thoughts about nature & spirituality as well as get your feedback about works in progress. My artwork was missing that certain something until I saw images of the animals affected by the BP Oil Disaster in 2010. Talk about inspiration! These gorgeous creatures deserve to live in peace but many humans have let them down. I’d love for my art to change that. My purpose is to inspire others to protect the environment and celebrate the beauty around us. Finally, I feel my art has passion!!
Treasure in the Gulf is my first collage using a technique I began exploring last summer. While I’ve had trouble parting with the original (it’s one of my “kids”, I’ll bet some of you feel that way about your creations, too), I’ve sold prints and notecards up and down the east coast. Proceeds went to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center in Jekyll Island for the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles. What do you think of him? I haven’t figured out how to get the image to appear below instead of this link. Any suggestions?